Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Eloquent Fold takes the Small Library of Big Ideas to Long Sutton Library

It was lovely to return to this library.  It had been our favourite space last year, for it's light airy atmosphere and the positive vibe that seemed to ring through the place.  Again,  we were not disappointed. we had a hearty hello from Astrid one of the librarians and  we met new people and greeted old friends from last year's project.

The drive into Long Sutton was a bit showery and overcast, but as usual, the skies seemed to brighten as we approached our destination.

Since Boston, Carole and I have re-viewed our sessions and decided to make a few changes to allow them to flow a little easier on guiding people through the ideas creating process.

So this week was all about learning how to make the book structure and starting to think and plan initial ideas. Although we had brought stamping equipment with us it was not needed.  This almost became a bonding session where the group got to know each other and the way Carole and I work as artists.

Our group felt very much like a micro community supporting each other, sharing and suggesting alternatives or adaptations to their ideas. One lady shared how excited she was to be part of the project and was looking forward to next week.  We were supported by the lovely team from Transported Art who made sure we had everything we needed included a bountiful supply of tea, coffee and biccies.

Although the group started with 5 ladies it soon expanded when two gentlemen from last year's project appeared.  Unfortunately one of the chaps hadn't been aware of the sessions, but I feel that will be remedied next week.

So, I can see our little group expanding as the weeks go by.

Next week: Carole will bring along her portable printing press.  I love dabbling in printing, but there is never seems to be enough time. I love the vibrant pages that churn there way out of this wonderful machine and the pride that shows in the faces of the people who have a go.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

The Dreaming House - Art Textiles at Newstead Abbey

Etching of Newstead Abbey
Yesterday, I visited Newstead Abbey for the second time. Instead of collecting work from an exhibition I was going to see one.  It is a beautiful location and is famous for being the ancestral home of the poet Lord Byron.

Newstead Abbey, the perfect location for this absorbing collection of contemporary textiles.  The works displayed makes reference to Byron and his work connecting to themes of romanticism, memory, childhood, supernatural, ruin and decay.

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

Portrait of Lord Byron

I had my husband with me so the catalogue was most beneficial in helping him understand what the artist was trying to achieve.  

Vital Organ by Shelly Goldsmith
The work Vital Organ by Shelly Goldsmith was one I found difficult to connect with and very much needed the catalogue to help me understand.  I feel this was due to the fact you couldn't get close enough to examine the piece.

In Charles II dressing room there was situated Heather Belcher's work, The Sampler.  I very much enjoyed the use of felt and the photos that had been transferred onto the surface referencing a dressmaker's book of patterns and samplers.  These were well displayed and needed to be on a blank space to appreciate their form which to me were very much like pages removed from a book.  

The Sampler by Heather Belcher
Caroline Broadhead, Ready to Tear, was also displayed on a white background.  This gave the opportunity for shadowing to come into
Ready to Tear
Caroline Broadhead
play; one of which is painted directly onto the wall as in "troupe l'oeil" alongside a natural shadow that had occurred due to the lighting.

For colour and dalliance, I enjoyed the work of Kashif Nadim Chaudry.  I saw his work displayed in the Manchester Craft Centre last year and found it intriguing then, it was great to get up close to his work to explore the detail. It is a cacophony of colours and textiles.  I love the use of materials, collected items, mixed techniques, a coming together to form these decorative homages to his craftsmanship instilled in him at an early age.

One of my favourite rooms was the without doubt the library, where I browsed, without touching the many books.  In this room I found what looked like at first glance to be a row of three paper dresses, which in fact where printed cotton, displayed in one of the wooden glass cabinets. The three dresses from the piece, No Escape: Reclaimed dresses from the children's home Cincinnati.  These dresses had been donated to the home but were deemed too old fashioned. Goldsmith had been acquired them from her sister who had worked in the home. The artist had printed images of flash flooding onto them to emphasis their vulnerability.  I found this piece to be very thought provoking almost taking me back to my time at boarding school at such a tender age.

Detail of work by Kashif Nadim Chaudry
Other artists work on display included Debbie Lawson who shared her Persian Stag and Persian tiger, Claire's coming out dress by Grayson Perry, Lacy Days by Radford Care Group; where Annabel Elliott let residents handle and talk about the Nottingham lace industry. 

It was documented and a series of stereoscopic portraits were created to view using a stereoscopic camera. Emily Bates with her Falls of Peace, Lucy Brown - Squeeze and Petti- fur-coat, Michiko Kawarabayashi - Germination, Judy Liebert - Dreaming a House, Sally Morfill - Enough and Jeanette Appleton/Naoko Yoshimoto Souvenir Line: Nomadic Memory which I appeared to have missed.

Germination by Michiko Kawarabayashi
In Charles II room on display were Japanese prints which didn't seem to fit in the overall exhibition collection, but I felt it was supposed to connect with the styling in Henry VII lodgings. I very much enjoyed the prints as I enjoy the majority of japanese crafts; the colouring, the detail and patterning and the very shallow perspective. Moving into Henry  VII lodgings the work of Michiko Kawarabayashi was positioned on the floor, it appeared very sterile against the colours and textures of the surround Japanese panelling.  However, referring to the catalogue renounced my original thoughts as she connects to her sadness and reflection of the erosion of Japanese traditions.

Overall, I felt the exhibition was of great value as you were able to view both contemporary and historical items sitting side by side.  My favourite piece would have to be Anonymous, date unknown, which was a white on white tablecloth which was a tribute to all the unknown needlewomen who sewed and embroidered at Newstead Abbey and other great houses over the centuries.


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Our third Creative Session at Boston Library for A Small Library of Big Ideas

So after a week off, The Eloquent Fold, aka artists Carole Miles and Phiona Richards return to Boston Library with what was to be our third creative session supported by volunteers and staff from Transported.

The first session involved making books and starting to create pages, the second creative session involved using a portable printing press to create fun and colourful pages with Carole expertise and making a second book with me for our Small Library of Big Ideas.

For our third session we decided to concentrate on using the pages that the group been started in previous weeks or printing at last week's session to start to illustrate their ideas.

The session started with an engaging and inspiring introduction by Carole about Big Ideas and how we can make them happen.

Carole brought along a lovely selection of vintage pens for people to hand write their ideas.  This was a lovely idea and was received with both curiosity and intrigue.  Not many people use a good old fashioned fountain pen these days.  I brought along a step by step hand-out to act as an aide for people to formulate their ideas.  I had noticed in the previous weeks that decorating the pages wasn't an issue and something that the group enjoyed doing, but coming up with ideas then breaking them into manageable bite sized parts was met with a little confusion.

Using this hand-out both Carole and myself were able to steer people in the right creative direction allowing them to move forward for the completion of their book.

To ensure the prints were the right size, Carole made template frames for people to place over their prints from last week.

As the workshop progressed, the group seemed to get quieter and quieter as they concentrated on the matter in hand, which ended up being some fantastically creative pages which presented their Big Ideas for the Small Library which will be left behind for the visitors to the library to explore and take up ideas or sit and be creative amongst the bookshelves.

Thank you for reading


If you would like to continue following our adventures, The Eloquent Fold now have a Facebook page, just click the link!!

You can also read Carole's blog here

A Small Library of Big Ideas is part of Transported (Creative People and Places) project Open Book.

Transported is a strategic, community focused programme which aims to get more people in Boston Borough and South Holland enjoying and participating in arts activities.  It is overseen by a Management Group, a sub committee of Leisure in the Community, with arts NK as its lead organisation.  It is funded by the Creative People and Places fund from the Arts Council, England

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The Eloquent Fold at Boston Library for the Small Library of Big Ideas - 2nd session

.....and so after a very successful and popular first session at Boston, Carole and I return to Boston Library.

In the second session Carole brought along her portable printing press to allow participants to the workshop to have a go at printing their own pages.  People really enjoyed the process of printing and many pages were created.
It was lovely to see a few returners from week one and some new people join us, both adults and children.

Due to the space needed for the printing press, we split into two areas of the library.  Carole having the main section of the library so people could see what was going on as soon as they entered the library.  I was in the reference library using an old wooded table.  I took people through the step by step process of how to make a folded book.
All morning long we were kept busy with turnabout, as people who had completed their books went out into the main area of the library to print pages and visa versa.

It was certainly a full on day and having the two areas to work in made all the difference.

Photographs by Carole Miles

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

First Day of a New Project - A Small Library of Big Ideas at Boston Library

This will be the third time The Eloquent Fold, aka Carole Miles and I have been working with Transported providing them with a variety of creative engagement opportunities for the lovely people of Lincolnshire.

A completed book with blanks pages ready to fill with ideas aplenty
Transported is a strategic, community-focused programme which aims to get more people in the area of Boston and South Holland Borough to enjoy and participate in arts activities.  It is overseen by a Management Group, a sub committee of Leisure in the Community, along with artsNK as its lead organisation.  It is funded by the Creative People and Places fund from Arts Council England.

In the first year we were involved with the consultancy offering short bites sizes making sessions, engaging with locals, trying to find out what they would like to do.

Last year we were part of the Open Book project in a variety of libraries around the borough, our spin was a Flock of Words and Crumbs from the Word Table.  Being in a library it is always permissible to play with words and we certainly did.  We listened to stories from the locals of Lincolnshire the why and how they came to be there.

This book called "BangTap" is a joint venture with George and his Mum
And this year we are back with our Small Library of Big Ideas to do some more creative workshops.  We started with Boston Library and were delighted to be greeted with a many eager faces.  We arrived a little late due to Sat Nav says, "No" routine, as it was desperately tried to navigate us to Mablethorpe.

Some of the Transported team
The lovely team from Transported were on standby to help us get unpacked as I quickly took the group on a guided tour of the glass cabinet and showed them what they would be making and what we were hoping to achieve with our small library of big ideas.

The process of making the book has many folds
We split the tables and divided the group up to enable some to make the book structures and some to start creating pages to fill their complete books.

...and the ideas flowed
We want the small library to be filled with handmade books crammed with lots of ideas, information and projects; the hows and where's of starting a group or a mini project, a tutorial, or who can teach you something you'd like to learn.

My group of book folding initiates this week looked on with trepidation at the book structure I presented them, but once each of them had completed their book there were looks of pure pride.

On the other table Carole glided and swooped around the table stirring up the energy and enthusiastically talking about the project, the noise of chatter gradually rose and people started sharing their thoughts, their hopes and dreams.  Some of these were captured on their pages ready to be included in the books.  I think the hardest thing for people was to leave their books behind.
...and a good selection of stamps to express those ideas
We wanted people to make one for the Small Library and Take one home to fill.

A finished book ready to receive pages of ideas
Next week we'll be returning to Boston Library and Carole will be bringing her portable printing press so people can explore their own print adventure.

Photographs: Carole Miles

Monday, 20 July 2015

Penny Sessions

After a slight delay, my most current project, Penny Sessions has finally started.

Boseda Olawoye the Learning Manager has been working full on to ensure these sessions have had a take up.  Quite often with free opportunities people just don't see the value in what is being offered and then miss out on a great experience.

Over the next few months I will be working with a variety of groups that will access creative workshops that have been inspired by little known philanthropist, Samuel Morley.

So a little about the project.  

The Backlit Gallery in Nottingham is running a creative project inspired by the the life of Victorian textile manufacturer, Samuel Morley.  This man was truly ahead of this time - he supported women's rights, the anti slavery movement, he gave money to charity and gave rights to local employees who worked in his factories in Nottingham. Some of which we take for granted in the 21st century.

In 1889, he set up one of the first Adult Education Centres in the United Kingdom which was named, Morley College which offered 1d (old penny) talks for the working people in London.

The project is a series of 18 creative sessions that will be run in Sneinton and St Annes; sessions may includes activities such as pattern cutting bookmaking, poetry, embroidery etc.

If you are interested and would like to take part, please contact Bo Olawoye, Learning Manager by email

The first session will be Wednesday 22nd July, 10am to 12pm at Backlit Gallery, Sneinton which will include bookmaking and poetry.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Sewing the Seeds of Creativity

For the past few years I have been working with artist Carole Miles on a variety of projects, including those with Transported Art.  We are now at the stage where we are going to set up our collaboration more officially as The Eloquent Fold as we feel there are many more adventures, places and people to engage with.

At the Green Patch, in Kettering, Carole has offered her creativity to the many visitors, young and old, to this delightful community allotment.  Walking around this wonderful space you can see evidence of her interventions with this growing space.  Our current project, "A View From Here" is set here, and at Kettering Buccleuch Academy where we engage both adults and children.  At the moment I am running, "Threads and Chatter" sessions, where participants can make and create and have a good natter.

Last night I worked with a group of eager and enthusiastic youngsters, keen to be outdoors, running, jumping and exploring their community space.  I brought to them some pencils, their previously made hand stitched books, needles, scissors and a box of colourful threads.

It was all about encouraging them to sketch their favourite parts of the allotment.  Some did quick sketches whilst others disappeared for 20 minutes before returning to the group.  As the was a reasonable evening we chose to work outside until it got cooler.

Despite a few, "oh I'm rubbish at drawing".  Every youngster produced a sketch.  Every youngster made a start on stitching their picture. Every youngster was fully absorbed until about 5 minutes before the end of the session when some had concentrated so hard were ready to go home.  Age range was about 6 - 12 years old.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Japanese Stab Binding Workshop

Three different styles of books were on offer to explore by the participants.

The first one was a Chinese Accounts book.  I like this structure as it gives an introduction into a few bookbinding techniques.

-   exploring the grain of the paper
-   how to fold paper the correct way
-   making folios
-   how to make a template for 
    stitching positions
-   what makes up a signature
-   how to stitch together the pages 
    of a signature
-   trimming up the edges
-   stitching the spine and finishing

Each person finished their first book and as you can see the result of each was very different styling depending on how much thread they used in stitching the covers on.

One thing I found very strange was that six needles broke.  That is something I have never experienced as a needlewoman or during binding books.  I don't know whether people hadn't made their holes big enough for sewing or it was a bad batch of needles.  However, when I contacted the company I bought them from were very apologetic and sent me a replacement pack which has now been received.

Book number one complete and it was time for lunch.  It had been a heady morning with plenty of concentration; choosing paper patterns, cutting by hand, piercing paper and sewing.

After lunch, we moved on to larger books. The group were given a choice of books either the basic or hemp stitch.  I went very much by the pace things had gone in the morning and felt that there was a good chance that only one book would be completed by each person in the afternoon.

Most were keen to start on the hemp book, but a few wanted to do the basic binding first.  Each person  had a handout, but despite the practical morning sessions without handouts, some of the group found it difficult to follow the written instructions.  It was a bit disappointing since I had looked high and low for a hand-out that made sense and was easy to follow.

There are not many books about on the subject and certainly not many links online.  The book I like to refer to is Japanese Bookbinding:  Instructions form a Master Craftsman by Kojiro Ikegami

Note to self: Developing my own set of binding instructions. 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

View From Here Project: Threads and Chatter presents sewing a bookmark

I even managed to get Carole involved!

It looks like we are back on track with regards numbers.  It was a worry as it is always better to have a healthy group to bounce ideas amongst rather than a small number.

The power of twitter allowed Carole and I connect to a couple of the parents at Kettering Buccleuch School who had attended previous sessions with their children.

Feedback from them
had been very positive and both parents and children always seemed to leave happy.  They kindly spread the word and we had a full and lively group, just the way we like it.

I decided to give the group the challenge of sewing a bookmark.  Which is no mean feat when you think that I have a few 6 year olds in attendance.

Never the less they all rose to my challenge and within the one and a half hours we are afforded at the school, they all finished their projects.

Feedback for the session as always was very positive.

And a big thank you to artist Carole Miles for taking photos during the session.

If you would like to read more about the View From Here Project please click on the following links:-

View From Here Project starts here
View From Here Project : Taking Threads and Chatter to the Green Patch
View From Here Project: Threads and Chatter wrapping threads at the Green Patch
View From Here Project:  Threads and Chatter wrapping threads at KBA
View From Here Project:  Threads and Chatter threaded Mandalas at KBA
View From Here Project:  Threads and Chatter gathering papers stitching handmade books
View From Here Project:  Preparing for World Book Night at KBA and The Green Patch

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Just a box of old bricks

I love this time of year when all the car boots start up again.  I'm at my best when I am treasure hunting, looking for the mundane, bartering or hoping that the tin or box of random stuff will be a reasonable price.

Yesterday's finds reaped it's own rewards; an old button tin and a box of old bricks.  I spotted a few vintage

bricks at the top of the pile which I thought would be perfect on my stand alongside a few old books serving as display but also complimenting my work.  I am amazed at the variety of wooden bricks from different eras that I found in this box when I got it home.

These are the very vintage brick I spotted first.  I love the illustrations and the typeface that is used for the alphabet.

Wooden Bobbins what a nice find.  You don't find too many of these to the pound now.

BSA Bicycles, gosh that's going back some.

These are cute, possible 50's or 60's I'm thinking.

No idea of the date of these but love how they are embossed.  I wonder whether you could use them for printing or embossing onto surfaces.

Now these bricks have me really puzzled.  Austrian infantry, British Hussar, doesn't that relate to the Crimean War?

And finally a collection of bricks I used to play with as a child.

All in all this was a good find and I hope to find lots of ways of using some of these in my work.