Latest tapestry weaving

Using a hand dyed cotton warp, I have been mixing material as weft, including paper, hemp, silk noil, mercerised cotton, BFL (blue faced leicester) and worsted wool. 3epc

I like the juxtaposition of the curved lines and eccentric weaving in the base area with the straight lines of the cream/natural yarns. Still working on a title!

Artel Exhibition 2023

What Lies Beneath

Sehila’s paintings are constructed layer by layer, often including her own collaged Gelli prints. By using transparent and translucent paints and glazes, earlier layers remain visible whilst being altered by the new colour.  This invites the viewer to consider which layer came first.

Sadly,  Sehila’s dog Treacle died during the making of three of the paintings and these paintings are dedicated to Treacle.  Sehila has included imagery referring to her eyes and tears within these paintings, as she often struggled to see through her own tears whilst painting.

Pattern, was completed earlier

See more of Sehila’s work on Instagram #Sehilac

Still on the loom!

This tapestry is called Stromness and is an interpretation of a gel-print that I made after my visit to Orkney. It was woven sideways, mainly because of the number of otherwise vertical lines, which are not helpful in tapestry weaving. There is plenty of warp left on the loom for another tapestry so it will remain on the loom for a little longer. There is a high level of blending of colours, achieved by combining several different, but related colours in the weft bundle (the yarn that goes side to side). I used my Schacht loom for this piece

Seawhite Residency

4 September

I’m getting excited about my upcoming 5 day residency at Emily Ball at Seawhites, in Partridge Green. I am planning to revisit places on Star Road Industrial Estate, looking for shapes and spaces to focus on. I’ve packed my small Gelli plate, as I will inevitably be making some Gelli prints as part of my preparation for some painted studies. I want to look for possibilities rather than focus on getting finished paintings. Pattern and colour will feature, as always. I can’t wait!

12 September

The residency was no disappointment and was a worthwhile way to develop my wok further. I shared the space not only with Emily Ball but with Karen Stamper, Geoff Parham, Jax Arnold, JoJo Perkins and Alison Carlier. Having the dedicated space and dedicated time leaves no hiding place – you have to get on with the work with no distraction.

Gelli printing workstation

I started my week with a walk to the village of Partridge Green, where I used to live and made sketches of shapes that interested me. These were mostly architectural and in the event – narrowed down to rooflines and windows.

Shapes drawn in the village

A notan study was my first move back at the studio and this was a powerful reference during the week and is on my wall in my studio back at home.

Notan study based on architectural features

Cutting stencils to work from is time consuming and for me, difficult as I find that the blade slips on the acetate sheet.

Early prints – not many layers

I decided to restrict the number of papers that I worked with to see what multiple layers would achieve. This worked well for me mostly.

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I started the week saying that I was not looking for any finished work and that gelli prints would be for collage purposes, I listened to the other artists (and the prints themselves) and realised that the printed papers had their own qualities and that a series of motifs were enough to work with.

Why does the Gelli plate look better than the print?!
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The residency was also an opportunity to experiment and learn more about Gelli printing. I tried writing with Posca pens onto the plate and transferring written and drawn images onto the plate using oil pastels. I also learned a lot about temperature and keeping the ink on the plate active – or how to exploit inks that had dried onto the plate. The biggest learning point for me was to keep the roller(s) and stencils clean. I tend to do this in my own studio – using a bowl of water to put the used stencils in. However, I didn’t do this and ultimately I found that dried on paint on the rollers would absorb the fresh paint I was trying to put onto the plate. I soaked the rollers when I got home and was able to peel off the paint like cylindrical overcoats, leaving a clean roller underneath.

Dropping the rollers into water after each use is keeping them clean and workable, but is a pain to get them dry after each use – lots of wet towels needed to achieve it. Ditto the stencils especially if I am creating a series of repeated patterns.

Chichester Ship Canal 200 year celebration

Poyntz Bridge/What Lies Beneath

As a member of Artel Contemporary Art, I and other members of the group, am researching and preparing work, which celebrates the canal’s 200 years, for our exhibition in June 2022 at the Oxmarket Chichester.

Finding the right ‘angle’ for any themed exhibition takes me quite a while and often several false starts before I find something that I can work with. Two things have emerged from my research, which has included a boat trip on the canal, walks on the towpath, drawing sessions alongside the canal and special access to the Canal Heritage archives (for which we are very grateful).

Circus elephants passing through Chichester in 1903, taking a bath in the canal basin

I was fascinated by finding in the archives, a photo from 1903, of circus elephants (and a cow!) bathing in the canal as they passed through Chichester. I couldn’t resist creating my own versions in tapestry weaving, of what these (poor) elephants might have looked like in the ring. The canal must have been a welcome reminder for them of what life should be for an elephant.

Nellie the Elephant
Balancing Elephant

A second elephant performing a trick is being ‘finished’ to go alongside Nelly.

I thought about what the bottom of the canal might look like and how it ultimately meets the sea beyond Saltern’s Lock. I made some studies of how water behaves on paper, using black and yellow inks. Using these as a guide, I made tapestry weaving samples

Canal studies – samplers

The final tapestry in this series shows red diagonals to reference the structure of Poyntz Bridge

In addition to tapestries, I have made three hand embroideries in which I make a stitched response to the walks, the photographs and the drawings which have made up my research into the canal as it is today., including yellow diggers lined up alongside the canal. Two of the three embroideries in this series are now complete. The embroideries are 10cm deep and 70cm wide, reflecting the feel of travelling along the canal on the towpath or by boat where it is navigable. I have taken imagery and shapes within the canal environment without being too literal. In the embroidery (not yet shown) which represents the canal basin, I have included a small pink elephant (well you wouldn’t expect to see an elephant in the canal would you? I must be drunk! Hence a pink elephant*) I have shrouded the elephant and my representation of the watching boys behind a thin gauze to represent looking through the mists of time rather than what can be seen today.

The work on this topic continues.

Canal Journey (2) work in progress
Canal Journey (2) detail
Hidden Gem Dusk
Hidden Gem Dusk

*This is also a timely reference as the first recorded mention of pink (and green) elephants was in 1896 in Fables of our time by Henry Wallace Phillips.

 Phillips, Henry Wallace (April 30, 1896). “The Man and the Serpent”. Life27 (696): 343.