Saturday, 25 October 2014

Soft and raw

So Autumn is setting in here, the days are shorter the early mornings darker, leaves are dropping, unpicked fruit on the plum tree is shrivelling. There is evidence of dying and decay appearing all around us as we begin the move towards winter, a sense of hunkering down, hibernating, seeing out the dark days of winter, waiting for the first signs of spring and the return of light and growth.

As part of that hibernating my crafting tends to change towards fabric and yarn rather than paper.  I currently have a patchwork and quilting lap quilt to finish and two crochet projects on the go, one at home and and one at work (I call this one my art therapy at lunchtime, the rhythmic task of twisting and looping yarn and seeing something grow, achieving something instead of constantly battling questions, deadlines and emails). the plan is to use the stash of yarn in the cupboard, but I could resist purchasing some massive 200g balls of chunky yarn in rich jewel autumn colours to make another blanket!

But I did make this largish canvas last month.

Whilst on holiday in the Isle of Man in late August, John and I escaped and went for a wander round the ruined Peel Castle.  It was a really blustery windy afternoon, grey, cloudy and rainy. Very Gothic.

In one of the guard rooms I found this pigeon wing, which animal had ripped it apart, fox of bird of prey was unknown, but it was beautiful, the softness of the feathers against the rawness of the snapped bones and flesh.

I've manipulated the photo in Pixlr adding filters to change the colour slightly and scratches. Mounted on stiff card, the edges distressed further and sanding on the actual photo to exaggerate the decay.

I wanted the picture to sit in the middle of the canvas with a lot of texture behind it to suggest crumbling decay and fluidity of dripping to suggest "ooze" Lots of texture paste, embossing powders, mica flakes, paint drips and metallic sprays, layer upon layer to build depth and structure.

Really pleased with it and I can see me exploring this theme more with darker backgrounds.



  1. Really thought-provoking and powerful image and you've explored it through texture in a remarkable way, Jo. Incredible! xx

  2. This is an extremely poignant piece of art, not just a memoir of your day, but an exploration of the dichotomy between life and death. Jo your art always inspires me and this piece is no exception. It is so interesting and as Julie Ann says thought provoking. I love it xx

  3. Not sure my comment can compare to the two lovely ladies above, but I too love how you've used this wing, and look forward to more!

  4. I agree with Julie Ann and Debs, a very thought provoking piece! The subject definitely makes me feel sad at the destruction of something so beautiful and delicate and you've really captured the feeling of decay not only on the subject but also of the probable surroundings.

    Lesley Xx

  5. Wow. That looks almost hauntingly spooky. Love the colours and the hint of pink contrast, subtle stencilling on the BG. You have created a great piece. So when's your first exhibition opening??


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