Friday, 29 July 2016

Romantic Blouses


I haven't posted for a while. Life has been busy, and I've been going with the flow a lot more. I've still been making work and been involved in arts projects, but in this age of Instagram I find it easier tp share my goings-on over there - I'm @poesiegrenadine if you fancy a follow. I imagine I will be posting here little and (slightly more) often going forward; I'm really enjoying the visual at the moment and working on lots of different things.

My current big personal project has already been a work of many months; a series of Romantic-with-a-capital-R-inspired embroidered blouses. They are inspired by the Cottingley fairies, botanical illustration, English forests and woodlands, and, as you might have guessed, the Romantic poets. I'd wanted to make them for a long time and wanted to have them finished by the summer, but I am only halfway through the second! I think this may become a project that is ready for next summer. I'm eager to get started on some smaller embroideries once blouse #2 is out of the way.

Below are the blouses so far. I am available for commissions: please email me at katerolison@googlemail.com














Thursday, 9 June 2016

Drawing

My new year's resolution for 2015 was to get over my fear of drawing. Despite going to art school, as of January 2015 I had seldom drawn since my A Levels save to sketch an outline on to fabric to be embroidered over.

Life drawings from my A Level days

The resolution got off to a slow start, with just the few sketches below completed in a very amateurish way, even with my Mum booking us both on to a four week life drawing class recently.









Below are the sketches completed solo and in collaboration with others on the four week "Mark Your Mark" life drawing class, which I heartily recommend to artists of all abilities.







These sketches are designs for screen prints, which I will share here soon.





Myself and artists Katrina Bautista and Cheri Smith have started something of an artist's salon to exchange ideas, collaborate, and draw together. The most recent session resulted in the drawing below, the first drawing I am truly proud of since my A Level days. I sometimes find being with such talented artists intimidating, but these two inspire me, and I'm really excited to share the zine we are working on together.






Tuesday, 17 May 2016

You Didn't Cry Pin

I've finally done what I've been meaning to do for a very long time and had "You Didn't Cry" tiniest soft enamel brass based label pins made. You can buy one (or several) from here.


Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Letting In The Light

I very much wanted to write a post for International Women's Day, but was at a bit of a loss until I was mentioned in a lovely tweet by my friends over at Daily Life Ltd.
This decided it for me; my International Women's Day blog post will be dedicated to the women I share the stage with at Daily Life Ltd's light box installation in the square outside Stratford Library, Letting In The Light, which is on until the end of the month if you fancy taking it in (it's worth it; these photographs don't do the scale or the luminance anywhere near justice).

I have to start with Bobby Baker, of course. Several of her diary drawings, completed between 1997 - 2008 and began while she was a day patient at a mental health centre.

This illuminated illustration particularly spoke to me. It's called The Daily Stream of Life, and features Bobby's mind as a river through which life flows, and she in life, sometimes in a rowing boat, sometimes in a canoe, sometimes in a fancier vessel altogether.

After a brief blip in my mental health due to an unfortunate series of circumstances, I feel I am bouncing back to a place where I can leisurely row along on the river of life, enjoying taking in the scenery and getting fresh air as I go.

Liz Atkin is an artist, advocate and speaker who raises awareness of, and promotes recovery from, compulsive skin picking through her art. The work featured in Letting In The Light, Lavish, transforms an illness which dominated Liz's life for more than twenty years into something really quite beautiful.


My favourite piece in the exhibition involved one of my very favourite things; word play.

By Jane McCormick, the piece has a back story that is well worth reading.
Bats in the belfry

An honorary mention goes to male artist (gasp!) Anthony Woods who created a joyous ode to fashion icon Iris Apfel:

My piece is in great company:


I couldn't resist a quick selfie with my work. It was rather wind and rain swept as you may be able to tell; apologies for the quality of all the photos.


Letting In The Light is well worth the trip to a slightly unassuming corner of East London; brighten up your evening, and discover the truth behind Groucho Marx's quip, "Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light".


Sunday, 6 March 2016

Abnormal Feeling of Wellbeing

I have a huge backlog of blog posts to get through, and so I thought I would begin with a new project I am undertaking. Abnormal Feeling of Wellbeing is a lighthearted body of work about serious mental illness. Consisting of lists and mantras, illustrated infamous quotations on and historical allusions to the mind and observations on the absurdity of everyday life, it takes its title from a listed possible side effect of the antipsychotic drug Olanzapine. Reading this, it struck me that an abnormal feeling of wellbeing was precisely what I was aiming for, giving that I had been feeling abnormally unwell for half my life by that point.
The resulting works expand the notion of side effects and are hand embroidered on to vintage linens, overbearingly florid, so lovely as to be abject, naive and intricate. They are comprised of skewed self portraits and acrobatic word play, always looking at the power implicit in language; how language signifies sickness without spelling it out and can at other times imprison, but ultimately, when put into the hands of the marginalised rather than decreed to them, liberates.  

The piece below is a playful allusion to the phrase "she wouldn't say boo to a goose". 


This piece, List of Possible Side Effects, explores the other, less discussed, unusual side effects of Olanzapine; the sensation of "Walking through treacle", "Reduced dreaming" and "Unexpectedly finding oneself near cake", rounded off with the very bizarre side effect I read on that Olanzapine pamphlet. I "cheated" somewhat with this piece, as a very talented embroiderer of yesteryear has worked some incredible stem and satin stitch on to the cotton. All that was left for me to do was embroider the text in variegated blue thread, and bullet point each side effect with red gems anchored with pink beads, to pick up the tones in the roses.





Freudian Slipstitch is the third in the series, and is currently under construction, ready for its protagonist to be placed in the scene. After that, perhaps a series of handkerchiefs. Onwards and upwards!


I still believe in happy endings

About this time last month I went to the Polyester Magazine Issue Four launch. There was a soundtrack of No Scrubs and My Neck, My Back, and, amusingly, being the only person there in a suit, Pip said he felt like he was "taking his thirteen year old daughter to a Green Day concert", but those weren't the only reasons we were there; I have some work featured in the magazine this issue.

You may remember this blog post about the commission I took on for stylist Alice Whiting. Well, the pieces I embroidered for Alice were part of a stunning editorial she put together for Issue Four. You can buy the magazine here to see the excellent company I'm in.

Photographer Sacha Burrows kindly sent me all her favourite shots from the photoshoot of the dress and blouse. I think she did an absolutely stunning job, as did Alice with the styling, and the models Poppy Hanam and Ellen Jasper. The softness and timelessness of the images really captures the skewed fairytale feel I aim for in my work.

I am available for embroidery commissions for fashion, fine art, or a melding of the two, just like here. Please email katerolison@googlemail.com with your requirements and for a quote, and I will be happy to help.