When you start out on a piece of work you have to travel hopefully, believing in the idea and image you carry in your minds eye. Its often a surprise as well as a delight to find the end result is better than you imagined. This is part of the textile installation hanging in the window of the Leigh Road Baptist Church Leigh on Sea, during Leigh Art Trail. All the wonderful textile pieces that contributors made glowing like a stain glass window.
( above) PETCHA KUCHA : 3 min talk, Unit 21 November 2017
(below 4 images) Talk at S.E. Essex Embroiders Guild,
with textile contributions Oct 2017
(above 2 images ) Next Generation Day : Chalkwall Hall : METAL July 2017
Pat Liggins is the first to contribute to the Connecting Threads Project
May 2017 : Sitting in the foyer of Leigh Community Centre to see if I can gather interest, people stop and ask questions, some take information away with them and promise to make textile pieces for the project.
October 2016 : This little textile square bought at the Knitting and Stitching show was the catalyst that started an exchange between two artists, myself and Sally Chinea.
During the course of the exchange I came across an article on the Rana Plaza disaster, which gave the project a definitive direction.
Sally was not able to continue being involved with the project and in order to carry the project forward I made the decision to open it up into a community based project.
"There is a dialectical exchange between simplicity and complexity like the one between self-relation and self-concealment" Susan Sontag
'RECORD' 2015 : Yellow oil pastel and brown oil paint cover. The 4th diary in the series of small hand bound diaries of recorded events in a year. Using detritus and personal ephemera.
Shown at Leigh Art Trail June 2016.
THE FORUM SOUTHEND ON SEA 4th October 2014
When inviting the public to contribute to your project how much influence can you or should you have over what the public give you ? When they have willingly given their time to help with the project.
Wanting to use lighting in my work brings a whole different meaning to the term 'illumination' I like using lights, but it is not as straight forward as one would like to think it is.
Having an idea is one thing, making the idea come to light (excuse the pun) is another. The realisation of an idea is often a long hard slog, with many set backs and disappointments, and if your lucky a lot of learning along the way.
Trying to predict the 'unforeseen' of the eventual outcome even with a dress rehearsal, the unexpected can occur on the day.
The exhibition space for Turn The Page is a wonderful glass structure with light flooding in from all sides, this unfortunately had the effect of bleaching the light out of my book covers. This and possibly because I was placed right by the entrance most people walked past, and did not notice my book.
It was the second book 'COMMEMORATAE' and the written pages that drew people in. In answer to their questions "what is 'this' all about ?" was I then able to point out 'IMMEMORATAE COMMEMORATAE'
Exhibiting the book a few weeks later at the Norwich Playhouse, the lighting 'worked' after a fashion. The perfectionist in me wants to do some thing about those little pools of light on the lower edge of the covers.
So it is back to the drawing board ! and a bit more tweaking.
22nd May 2014
The Harriet Martineau Lecture read this year by Kate Mosse.
It was a privilege to accept the invitation from Sam Ruddock
(from the Writers' Centre Norwich) to display my books at the Norwich Playhouse, to coincide with the Harriet Martineau lecture, given this year by the author Kate Mosse, writer of 'Labyrinth'.
Some years ago when I began thinking about these books, I had no idea there would be programmes on television and radio not to mention 'talks' about this very subject. Women in history who are lost forgotten or overlooked.
I am both humbled and delighted by the willingness of people to participate in this ongoing quest to write women back into history. As Sam said "there is a zeitgeist"; something has been set in motion, a new continued energy and desire to raise the profile of women.
The public who came to the Forum Norwich, were truly amazing in their willingness and enthusiasm to write the names of women in the companion book 'COMMEMORATAE'
'Commemoratae' is the companion book to 'Immemoratae Commemoratae'
This book with it's black slate covers, is to be made up of repurposed blank pages taken from unwanted and discarded books.
I will be inviting the public who attend Turn the Page Norwich to write the name of a women from history who they believe deserves to be remembered. I intend to sew these pages onto the slate covers for the duration of the two days I am at the exhibition.
In advance of the show I have invited people and friends who have contributed and helped me get these two books realised, to write a page in advance in order that I can begin the sewing process.
100 Day Challenge
Day 100 : I will let Jeannette Winterson sum up what my 100 day challenge has been like.
“We do not remember our lives chronologically, nor do we reflect on them in neat order. We roam the labyrinths of our experiences, sometimes trying to find the way out, sometimes trying to find the centre, always a little bit lost unless some unexpected insight shows us the way.
Day 98 : The book art group I belong to responded to Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson. These are some pages from my artist made book ‘The Reverend Babel Dark’s Secret'
Day 97 : thanks to the amazing skills of surgeon using key-hole surgery I was in hospital one day and home the next. We are so lucky to have our NHS.
Day 96 : Last year a number of these letters with its SSOORY post code came through my letter box. The diagnoses was cancer of the uterus. Family, friends and the wonderful NHS staff were absolutely amazing.
Day 95 : I have been involved for some time with the ‘Connecting Threads Community Project’ which came about after reading about the 1,130 textile workers who died in
Day 94 : Like a lot of children my early religious eduction began with Sunday school, followed by R.E. in school. As I got older I was drawn to Buddhism. I have become interested in all religions and in particular how it has evolved and developed.
Day 93 : I continued to experiment with a range of plant dyes, avocado pips and skins make pink at the top, the yellow brown colours are from onion skins at the bottom. Berries and bark for the colours in-between.
Day 92 : Eco dying cloth is some thing I have experimented with over the years, this is plant and rust dye
Day 90 : Watching my grand daughter’s drawing skills develop has been so enjoyable and fascinating. I love how unselfconscious young children are.
Day 70 : I started a sketchbook where I experimented with new materials on each page every day. These are tea bags, I also experimented with coffee filters and made a book for a touring exhibition 'Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here’ a response to the bombing of the street of the book sellers in Bagdad.
Day 89 : I won the competition run by the Norwich writers centre with my ’Self Assembly Mumbia Dwelling’ using all recycled materials including fused plastic bags.
Day 88 : I become part of Artbookart we are a group of artists interested in artist made books
Day 87 : When my grand daughter was little she longed to start school, she loved the idea of wearing the uniform. So I made her a dress out of the fabric.
Day 86 : I continued to go regularly to life drawing becoming interested in making vigorous energetic marks. Most of the drawings I was disappointed with. However by cutting them up I had little abstract pieces that pleased me.
Day 85 : Looking through a book that showed hill figures I was struck by the fact there were no female hill figures. I felt this needed to be rectified and set out to design my own. Here is a sketch of my figure in the landscape. I got as far as making a small scale model in living grass but never the large scale one I had envisaged.
Day 84 : I really enjoyed filling my sketch books with observational drawings while I was on the foundation course.
Day 83 : Being a student again meant keeping a sketch book, here is one of the preliminary sketches for “Non So Blind’ sculptures, and a lino cut I did.
Redoing the a foundation year gave me the opportunity to return to the print room and make lino prints
Day 81 : I was made redundant and I took the opportunity to reconnect with my art and did another foundation year. I made these heads entitled ‘Non So Blind’
Day 80 : I wanted to learn how to use oil paints and so I took private lessons. Stretching a canvas and sizing it and then mixing a and using glazes. This painting ‘Reflections on Apartheid’
Day 79 : while staying with my new found sister I started to make a patchwork quilt for her grand daughter with her scraps of fabric
Day 78 : I discover I have a sister 4 years older than me living in America, I make the journey to visit her and we went to New York for the day.
Day 77 : Part of our training involved our own experiential art therapy, one week there was paint mixed with wallpaper paste. I had this urge to walk in it with my bare feet.
Day 76 : After 10 years of teaching adults and children I made a career change to work in the NHS and train part time at Goldsmiths’ College to be an Art Therapist.
Day 75 : I made some tight fitting pants with this fabric also known as Capri pants, I wore with a little black top and jacket
Day 74 : An etching of the view out of the back window of the house I moved into and still continue to live in. The place had been empty for 2 years and the garden had become wild and overgrown.
Day 37 : Here is another drawing of a punk. There were enough of these drawings and watercolours to have an exhibition in a local art gallery.
Day 72 : At the end of the street were I was renting a place, was a public house frequented by Punks and Gay people. It is the only time I felt safe to enter a pub on my own and sit and sketch.
Day 71 : In the Art Tent at International Youth Camps, Mersea Island one of my jobs was to screen print the tea shirts using brown paper stencils.
Day 70 : Here is another self portrait
Day 69 : When my marriage broke up I did a lot of self portraits, looking back I think this was a way of examining myself
Day 68 : I gave up being a freelance commercial artist and taught drawing and watercolour in Adult Education. Here is an etching based on a sketch I did of one of my students.
Day 67 : this a piece of fabric is from the wrap around skirt I use to wear. Now I use the material to make cushion covers and and other such things.
Day 66 : the time came to move out of London and living near the Thames Estuary felt like a good move. I liked the sea air and big open sky.
Day 65 : Some jobs paid well and illustrating over 30 Kiwiz darts was one of them. I learnt how to brush rule on this job.
Day 64 : BBC Television children's program ‘Play School' I painted an image to accompany a song
Day 63 : A commission to do a series of marine animal drawings for a visitor centre in Chesapeake Bay America. Winter Flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus)
Day 62 : I wore Laura Ashley dresses when I was pregnant and I made a blouse out of this Laura Ashley fabric
Day 61 : When I was pregnant I made a cot quilt from Liberty cotton Tana Lawn samples, which I sewed by hand and backed it with wadding and a larger piece of Liberty lawn.
Day 60 : I made the dress I got married in, Broderie anglaise, 47 inches wide sewn into a tube with the top 10 inches pulled in with rows of shirring elastic.
Day 59 : I was an extra on the film ‘Juggernaut’ I didn’t enjoy it that much, there was a lot of hanging about. So when I was asked if I would like to look after the dogs they had on board I was delighted. At the end of filming there was some controversy over what would happen to the dogs, various people offered to take the dogs and I came home with this little Pekinese.
Day 58 : On the coach trip I sat next to an American animator who said he had worked on Bambie, this is one of his sketches for Watershed Down, you can see the likeness to the ’Thumper’ caricter in Bambie.
Day 57 : I had worked on 2 animated films, backgrounds for TV commercials. I was invited to submit work for the animation of Watership Down. I thought I would be working on backgrounds and spent an interesting day on a coach trip looking at the country side in the company of the British and American artists and crew. I was asked to submit drawings of rabbits, unfortunately I didn’t get to work on this film or any other animated films. A pity as I am a great fan of animation.
Day 56 : As an illustrator getting your work into one of the colour supplements was considered an achievement. This article was about dating a hedge. I traveled out to Monks Wood in Huntingdonshire to meet with Dr Max Hooper. His theory was for every hundred years of a hedge’s age there will be one species, such as hawthorn, elm, ash, beech, holly, maple, spindle.
Day 55 : If my memory serves me correctly this is a cover for Readers Digest in Russia, who knew they did this ?
Day 54 : I got a lot of work from Marshall and Cavendish who produced part publications, I illustrated the Cookery and Gardening magazines.
Day 53 : The chance to paint historical costumes came along occasionally, here is ‘The Young Mary Queen of Scots by Jean Plaidy, for Piccolo books.
Day 52 : On leaving college I moved to a bed sit at 129 Beaufort Street Chelsea in a room next to Quentin Crisp, just as his book The Naked Civil Servant was published. He was always very sweet and courteous to me.
Day 50 : My mother did a lot of embroidery, and I loved the embroidered crinoline ladies she did, and would endlessly draw them, I remember proudly showing one of these to my father. “For goodness sake” he said “Is that all you can draw ? can’t you draw a ship or something"
Day 49 : My mother worked as a cashier at a local auctioneer I would get odd Christmas presents, some times she got it right, like a set of small art books. Salvador Dali and the Surrealists really caught my imagination and I was heavily influenced when attempting my first oil painting.
Day 48 : As my confidence grew I began to experiment with different mark making materials here I have used a black ball point pen.
Day 47 : Paintings and drawings of plants began to feature in my work towards getting a commercial portfolio together.
Day 46 : A lithograph illustrating another part of Coleridge’s poem ‘The Rime Ancient Mariner’ “The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she, Who thicks man’s blood with cold"
Day 45 : An etching of a buffalo head, (part of the massif horn shown) Done from a sketch that I did when visiting a reserve during one of my trips home.
Day 44 : At school we learnt ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ by Coleridge. I was probably the only student who loved this poem. The vivid descriptions stayed with me and I returned to the poem in print making. Here is a preliminary sketch “ All in a hot and copper sky, the bloody Sun at noon, right up above the mast did stand, no bigger than the Moon.
Day 43 : This assignment was an article on trying to avoid alcohol in a social situation. I was experimenting with cartoon style of drawing. It wasn’t something I ever did commercially.
Day 42 : African influences came through in my work, I used tribal masks for a mock advertisement
Day 41 : As my drawing skills improved I began sketching directly with pen and ink, here I have drawn a part of the Natural History Museum London.
Day 40 : A pen and ink life drawing with line and dot influences from Aubrey Beardsley
Day 39 : I feel a good a life drawing must have well drawn hands and feet, I was pretty pleased with this drawing at the time. You can see the influence of Egon Schiele
Day 38 : Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt were showing at the R.A. and we students were taken along to see the work. This exhibition made a huge impact on me in particular Schiele and the way he drew hands and faces and used colour.
Day 37 : This pen and ink drawing of the backs of houses was done from one of the places I was staying in after leaving the WYCA
Day 36 : Because the emphasis was on keeping our drawing skills grounded in the commercial world, the life model would keep her clothes on and be placed in an interesting setting.
Day 35 : A simple line drawing of the underside of an insects body, I did 2 to use as end papers in my mock up book.
Day 34 : Observational drawing was a key part of our course, along with layout and design. A black and white pen drawing of a dung beetle with Letterset. I am wondering why I never put in the other 3 legs, or why nobody pointed this out ?
Day 33 : I stayed in the YWCA near Baker Street and commuted into college each day until I found some where nearer to stay. It was quite an experience living in close proximity to so many other women, most of them where working in the local area.
Day 32 : Harrow School of Art, Station Road was a wonderful old red brick building right in the middle of town, with a pub across the road. Then in our second year in 1969 we moved to an ugly modern art school in Northwick Park.
Day 31 : The first time I saw snowdrops it was in my great grandmothers garden. So every year when they come up in my garden I am reminded of her.
Day 30 : On hearing I had been born in Africa some one asked what I missed the most. “The big open skies” I replied. In the cold North the skies were overcast and heavy feeling, as if they pressed down on your head.
Day 29 : I remember one night laying on a tarmac road, warm from the sun. Looking up into the night sky, and being amazed that the sky was dome shaped and not flat and being able to see the milky way.
Day 28 : this fabric once bed linen became curtains on a dressing table bought at an auction where my mother worked as a book keeper. It was resprayed at my fathers work shop a girly pink.
Day 27 : This my grandfathers architectural drawing dated 1914, International Correspondence School London. These drawings are for a grand house with 2 indoor toilets, and yet he lived in a two up and two down stone cottage with a long drop in the garden.
Day 26 : My father and grandfather went to Blackburn Technical College, here is a technical drawing with my fathers name on it dated 1938 age 17, he was at the time serving his mechanical engineering apprenticeship.
Day 25 : Blackburn market had a stall that sold vintage clothing and a few antiques, I enjoyed wearing the clothes I bought from there.
Day 24 : By my second year in Blackburn I was the proud owner of a black leather coat, skirt, gloves and boots. I really felt the part despite the fact the coat did not keep out the damp Northern chill.
Day 23 : My mother made clothes for my dolls and teddy, and now I am doing the same for my granddaughter
Day 22 : As well as studying Art History on foundation we looked at illustrators and so I discovered the wonderful world of Beatrix Potter, not just her animal characters but her wonderfully observed botanical studies. Being at college in the North meant I was able to go to the Lake District and visit her home Hill Top Farm.
Day 21 : My mother use to knit items of clothing for the whole family. I never got the hang of it, and trying to read a knitting pattern would scramble my brain.
Day 20 : For reasons best known to my mother she sent me to a Convent for the first 2 years of my schooling. One day the Nuns lined up a row of us children and caned us. Me because of my bad spelling and the little boy next to me for untidy handwriting. It didn’t help my spelling to improve !
Day 19 : Discovering Dylon dyes in my early student days gave me lots of creative potential, from dying my bedsheets to customising my cloths.
Day 18 : Often I saw small animals trust up and laying in the baking sun at the side of the road I would beg my father to stop the car. In this way our house had an assortment of animals that I was trying to nurse back to health. This little parrot spent its days on a large branch I had dragged in from the garden stuck in a small oil drum
Day 17 : Around the age of 12, I called round to see a friend who said she was going to the library. “What is a library” I asked “You can get books there” she replied. “Do you have to pay for them ?” I enquired. “ No you can borrow them and take them home” The long school holidays became full of reading.
Day 16 : With this African print fabric I made a fitted pencil skirt dress with boot lace straps, there was enough leftover fabric for a shawl
Day 15 : In the first term of my Foundation Year I asked a fellow student if she had varnished her painting “No it’s acrylic” she replied. “Whats acrylic ?” I asked
Day 14 : The message on todays Yogi herbal tea bag. With advancing age and many hours of personal therapy I think I am getting there.
Day 13 : Charcoal, pastels, powder paint and sugar paper were all the materials we had in the art department at school in Africa.
Day 12 : My first summer term at art college I acquired my first denim jacket.
Day 11 : Letter writing was how we stayed in touch.
Day 10 : Cats have always been a part of my life since I was born. When as a student living in digs I thought I couldn't have a cat, one turned up and moved in.
Day 9 : On the 24th October 1964 Northern Rhodesia became Zambia. I remember all of us school children singing ‘Stand and Sing of Zambia’ the new anthem, as the new Zambian flag was raised.
Day 8 : I think I was 13 when I began the patchwork quilt and in my mid twenties when I finished it. Now repurposed for the 100 day challenge.
Day 7 : My mother was a talented needle woman who made clothes for the whole family. To supplement the family income she also did dressmaking.
Day 6 : Around age fourteen I rebel, my mother wanted me to wear dresses with big full skirts and petticoats. I saved up my money and bought a dress pattern and fabric to make a shift dress. Swatch of fabric preserved from the patchwork quilt.
Day 5 : 1965 Kansenji High School, Ndola, Zambia. I am made a prefect, no one is more surprised than I am. The Prefects wore a different uniform to the rest of the school. Here is a swatch of fabric that has survived that I used in a patchwork quilt.
Day 4 : Paper dress patterns were an important part of my life, from my early teens I made most of my clothes including my school uniforms. So when my husband threw them all away at the breakup of our marriage 1985 I felt a huge chunk of my life had gone too.
Day 3 : 1966 - 1968 I attend night school trying to get some ‘O’ Levels, I read Jane Eyre for the first time, I totally identified with this spirited young woman and the descriptions of the bleak cold North.
Day 2 : 1966 I flew unaccompanied from Lusaka to Gatwick to begin my new life as an art student
Day 1 : Aubery Beardsley was a revelation and a huge influence when I begun my Art Foundation at Blackburn Technical College 1966-68
"We do not remember our lives chronologically nor do we reflect on them in neat order. We roam the labyrinths of our experiences"
Have prepared templates and paper for the 100 day challenge. The plan is this will help me think about my next project.