Part 4 – Contextual studies – Project 2 – Stage two – Analyse three pieces of work.

Stage two involves analysing three pieces of work from any of the six artists or designers that I chose to research for stage one, using the format as in project 1.

My first chosen piece is ‘He is so like you’ by Emily Jo Gibbs

It was originally made (and I first saw it) at the 62 group’s  exhibition ‘Small Talk’ in 2013. It is the only one but is similar to other family portraits currently being produced by the artist. It has been sold according to the artist’s website so I am not sure where it can be seen now.

It is relatively small in size measuring 50cm x 40.5cm and is two-dimensional. The materials used are cotton and silk organza and the techniques used are a simple form of shadow quilting and hand embroidery.

The piece is figurative but also reflective. it deals with the sometimes difficult relationship between father and son. Inspired by her own husband’s relationship with their son, it has a very soft tactile quality and is typical of the artists current work.

The colours are very subtle almost ethereal. The shapes and lines are simple and clean-cut leading to a beautifully soft piece that entrances the viewer. She also uses simple stitched words in the stripes of the father’s hat to great effect helping to convey the story to her audience. I think this with the small stitching and the rectangle of chiffon focusing the viewers eye to the centre of the piece add together to make an intimate and loving message from a mother to the father of her child.

My second chosen piece is ‘Navajo Story’ by Dawn Thorne.

Navajo story  is quite large at 640mm x 1120mm and is very much a three-dimensional piece. The materials used include: Perspex, acetate film and metal threads. The techniques include photography and free machine embroidery and it is abstract in nature. It is a reflective piece dealing with the fencing in of the Navajo people into reservations and the destruction of the Navajo culture by european settlers.

I feel it  is a very strong piece and the eye focuses on the acetate panels showing images of the Navajo people encased or trapped in the blue netting and fencing surrounding them.

It is typical of the artist’s style in that it uses free machine embroidery combined with perspex and other mixed media. Something that Dawn has gone on to develop further. It is wall hung and originally made for exhibition. Dawns pieces are mainly aimed at the interiors market and this is no exception.

My third and final chosen piece is ‘Observed incident’ by Audrey Walker 2002

This piece currently is held in the Crafts Council’s collection. It was made for and exhibition at the V&A Museum by the 62 Group called ‘In Context’ 2002. The works in the exhibition were displayed with the pieces that inspired them after each artist was asked to choose one of the museum’s collection to work from.

Made up of two panels each 1320mm long by 675mm wide and 25mm deep it is two-dimensional and is made from cotton canvas, silk threads and man-made threads. It is embroidery in technique with some Acrylic painting in the background. It is figurative as most of the artists work is, and was inspired by a small fragment of an orphrey from c. 1380 – 1410 held in the V&A that depicted the murder of Thomas Becket. ‘Observed incident’ retells this narrative in modern times with an onlooker watching policemen in riot gear deal with a riot.

I find the image quite disturbing,  the riot police look almost robotic and determined, as if they are pre programmed to deal with their prey by whatever methods; battons raised. The on looker looks haunted and scared, pale and almost insignificant watching the organised state.

It is presented as a wall hung piece made up of two panels joined together with screws and is quite robust.

Sources and further reading:
Transparency in Textiles by Dawn Thorne Anova books (3 Aug 2009)


About Julie Hooker

Having recently returned to my roots in Surrey, I am currently studying a BA Hons degree with the OCA. My work is often inspired by the local countryside in the beautiful Surrey Hills area and the wild rugged nature of the North Cornish coast. Steam engines and abandoned industrial history are also recent themes. A free machine embroiderer and felt maker; I like to explore the use of natural, found materials to create my art, whether that be as raw materials to stitch or weave with or as a material with which to produce dye or print with. Previously, I completed City and Guilds parts 1 & 2 Creative Embroidery at the East Berkshire College in Windsor in 2007. I was also awarded first place in the wearable art section of the National Quilt Championships 2008 and 2009 held annually at Sandown Park.
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