These are the two fabric pieces i saw at the Leighton Art Centre on the 11th. (We did see many more, but these are my “focus”.) While the embroidery piece is not directly attributed to the late Barbara Leighton, we still found it fascinating. It’s the batik that had my wheels spinning though!
The photo above is actually the back (glowing because the sun was behind from a window), parts of which really drew me. I don’t have a shot of the sidebar on the right though, the area that has me fired up for the work planned for the 2016 exhibit. I’ll have to rely on my “from memory” sketches, even if they weren’t “true” to the actual piece. Signed by Leighton, it’s dated 1967.
Above, the front, and though the bar (now on the left) doesn’t show well, there was something about the earthiness and crackle effect that quite inspired me. One tiny section! Below, oh those earthy warm colours and shapes.
And me, drool not visible, fortunately.
There’s no proof that Barbara did the embroidery herself, if it was a gift, or a commercial embroidery brought/bought somewhere by someone else. Because of the wide borders though it may have been “framed” at one point apparently. It’s faded in areas, and there are some mouse nibbles as well. Stephanie is going to see if she can find sketchbook notes, and pointed out by one of the Contextural members that it is possibly Russian punch needle/bunka work with some tambour work as well, will check to see if the tool is in the archives as well. What *i* determined though is that the outlines were done by machine, and then whipped from the front like my favourite whipped backstitch. The inner areas are then “coloured in”.
Below, back showing obvious machine stitching to outline:
The butterflies/moths (bugs!) are worked in a finer silk thread in a chain, but it could be tambour work rather than by hand:
The back of course is more vivid, the dyes (probably commercial chemical types):
These piece was also much more formal and conventionally styled than any of the other textiles we were shown. And sorry, no full shot of the whole piece, which was quite large, probably 4×3 feet, with a wide border on all edges.
The Leighton Art Centre is booked up for the 2015 year, so we are hoping to have an exhibit there in 2016, inspired by and “reacting” to these fabrics. That gives me much time to work on ideas, sampling and possible techniques and forms. I’ll be showing my process as i go along, but the first work will be the sketches and notes. I’ve already done a small test with local ecoprint material, and am developing colour and usage ideas from these. Stay tuned with the “Leighton inspiration” category, if you are interested.