Archive | 21:55

Constrained, A Victorian Tapestri

22 Sep


I’ve finally finished the piece I’ve been working on for the exhibition ‘A Victorian Tapestri’  at the end of this week. It’s constructed of the 12 pieces that make up a Victorian corset, cut from a heavyweight Somerset paper. I coated each with cyanotype chemicals and printed them with some of my sketchbook drawings. I’ve called it ‘Constrained’ because it reflects the physical and social constraints endured by Victorian women. The cyanotype process was invented in Victorian times by Sir John Herschel, one of the earliest of photographic processes. I’ve tied the pieces together with mauve ribbon. The aniline dye Mauve was invented by the Victorian chemist William Perkin in 1856.

I decided on a corset when I saw the brief for the show, “all kinds of archaeological, historical, metaphorical, and allegorical excavations of Swansea’s Victorian heritage.” I have vivid memories of my Mam taking me to a corsetry shop called Madam Foner’s in Swansea’s High Street to be fitted for brassieres when I was in my early teens. She believed in ‘proper’ underwear and wouldn’t let me have those flimsy, pretty department store bras that my schoolfriends wore. So I had to endure an adolescence of engineered constructions that looked like they’d been built in a shipyard. The Victorian connection? Madam Foner’s was in a beautiful Victorian shop, now housing the rather lovely Galerie Simpson. Click here to see a photo of this gorgeous building.


The exhibition opens this Friday at Tapestri on Alexandra Road, Swansea at 7pm and runs until October the 9th.

One From The Archives 11: Rinascere #6 and The Flower

22 Sep

01 Mari orchid

Variations on the themes of tattoos and flowers.  I love working with this model.  Older women are often invisible in our society.  She is an elder and voluptuous and larger-than-life and covered with tattoos. Some of them are carnivorous plants engulfing insects across her body. She is confident in her own skin and first featured in my blog in August 2012 and again in April 2013, when I produced an etching from the drawing.

The first drawing is in Indian ink using a traditional dip pen is on handmade paper, prepared with black and sepia ink washes. For that drawing I focussed in on an orchid tattoo, lifting it off her body to place it on the drapery underneath her and the wall behind her.

21 mari tattoo

In this second drawing I wanted to feature both her and the pitcher plant tattoo on her arm.  I like to recycle materials, especially papers and mounting boards and I prepared this piece with an ink wash, sponged randomly across it before I began to draw. I used Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens, ink wash, black and white conté crayon onto mounting (matte) board.

I was able to use the wash to further develop the theme of the flower in the background.  Here it is more integral to the background and seems to emerge, organically; as if from the shadows. Her face, deep in thought, is part of the same broad area of wash which make the pitcher plant look like the product of a dream, reminiscent of the Goya etching ‘The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters’.

If you want to find out more technical details about techniques I use please clickhere to go through to the technical section on my website. The drawings, Rinascere #6 and The Flower are available for sale on Artfinder and if you’d like to find out more, please click on the links here and here to go directly to them or click on the link below to see other works for sale.  AF logo


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