Thursday, April 03, 2008

Uncovering the New Age - Virtual Tour

OK, so finally here is your virtual tour of my show at the Dissenters Gallery. We've parked in Sainsburys, and walked across the bridge over the canal. There's no sign of the swans this morning, but there geese are out in force. You can tell right away the gallery is open, the sandwich board up. Just as well given this side of the cemetery, on Ladbrook Grove, has a very tall brick wall so there is little chance of seeing either the chapel or the gallery.

Now watch your step the stone stairs tend to be slippery, but on a nice sunny morning they should be OK. At night we put tea lights in glasses all the way down the stairs, it makes them look a lot more friendly.

As you come down the stairs you get a great view of the Dissenters end of the cemetery. Dissenters were all those not part of the Church of England, so there are very few religious monuments in this area. I find it a little odd, I expect to see crosses and angels. Still there are some lovely memorials here. Especially the newer ones made by artists rather than the more normal monumental masons.

It's a lovely day, I wish you could go and take a look around the cemetery, but you're here for the show, so lets head into the gallery.

The gallery is fitted in between the Dissenters Chapel and the stairs. You have to turn back on yourself at the foot of the stairs to see it. On the bright side, it has been erected very carefully so if in the future people decide it is detracting from the chapel it can easily be removed. Still it isn't the sort of place most people find by accident. Aren't you glad you have a guide.

Before we go in take a better look at the quilt in the window. It was a very hard decision to put the display boards in the window, as they block your view of the work inside. Then we realised how many reflections there are on the window (as you can see) and in fact during daylight hours you can't see in at all!

So rather than risk damaging one of my art quilts I decided to display Dusk and Dawn. This is the first quilt pattern I have produced that I have printed and sold for myself. You'll find it on the merchandise stand at the end of the tour. Other than being a beautiful reversible quilt, it also has a very funky machine sewn binding.

So here we are. Take a moment to have a first look around. If you were here I would now be able to make you a cup of tea or coffee, I suggest you see if someone there will do it for you now. It's a fairly long tour and the drink will make it a more authentic experience. Ideally the tea bringer will also provide you with either cake or nice biscuits. I think that cheap biscuits would be the wrong feel for an art gallery.

As you look around the main space you can see one of my helpers. Robin is reading up on the history of the cemetery. As the oldest cemetery in London it has a lot of history. Apparently the book is written in very flowery language which adds a great feel to it.

Unfortunately the curvature of the wall isn't really showing up very well. I knew as soon as I saw this wall I wanted to put one very large piece on it. This isn't the ideal solution as the curvature of the wall requires several short rods to hold the piece. Still as you can see I managed it. I would have liked to have put a Banksy inspired piece here, but it didn't work out, and the cows really did want to be there.

To the right of this picture you can see the print display, and the small quilt of Prague. We will see more of them later. Hopefully you now have some idea of the space.

The first piece we come to is Lilly. You may have seen this quilt at the Festival of Quilts last year. I've been very surprised by peoples reaction to this quilt. It seems to be very popular. Personally I am not a fan of it. I don't feel it worked as well in real life as it did in my head, but maybe it is unrealistic for me expect it to.

"Inspired by the many fractured images we see around us. Do we see more in the partial images?" This piece is for sale, it is approximately 1.7m x 1.7m.

Following the wall around past the kitchen we get to 'Decadence'. I'm sorry you're too late to buy this one, but you can still enjoy it now. It is approximately 32"x42". Yes I know I should use one set of units, but I have written them down as required by what ever show they first went too. At some point I will go through and fill in both versions, but until them I will quote them as they are written.

"I just know the wine and chocolates are hiding just out of shot here. This lady is having a great day. Another nude inspired by the photography of Alex Treacher"

If you click on any of the images you will get to see a larger version. In this case you will be able to see my swirls, and they are now named after this quilt.

You are really lucky to be seeing this one. It has now gone off to a new home so you are the last to see it. I've found it fascinating which quilts have called to people. One we will come to later I had predicted being popular, but so was 'Golden Storm'. Maybe it is because it is so real, people often expect the leaves to be leaves not fabric. Also if you visit it often you get to appreciate that they flex and curl as the humidity varies.

"This quilt was made for the theme 'Autumn Splendour' for display at Hever Castle. For me autumn is a time of dry leaves being blown about by the wind."

If you really want to own a quilt like this it is one of the workshops I offer. There is a link to my business site to the right.

Ah now this has to be one of my favourites. After all what else would an astrophysicist come up with then given the theme, monochromatic and based on a song with a color in the title. Are you singing yet? Blue Moon, is for sale and is 24"x24". Unfortunately I haven't got this one as a postcard yet, but if you wold like it as a card or a print, let me know and I will get in touch when they are ready.

This is one of the quilts that was lost by DHL last year. Strangely it was the one I was most upset about even though it was the smallest, simplest and theoretically least valuable. Isn't it funny what seems important when it comes down to it.

Not what I would call the greatest work of art, but essential. I've had people being amazed by how spacious the loo is. So if you need a break, go now and I will wait for you. Blame the tea.

OK ready to move on. I have to admit to have in bit of a joke when I put 'See Sound' right outside the toilet door. Though as it turns out it doesn't pick up the flush, which I thought it would. It does however quite like the hand drier.

This was made for the Festival of Quilts two years ago. I have noticed that men tend to come along with their wives to this show. They stride in, obviously proud to be supporting their partners, but a few hours later have obviously wilted. This quilt perked a lot of them up. They suddenly had something that they understood better than their partner. Yes that is very sexist, but I'm sorry, observation bears it out.
The other thing I wanted to achieve with it was to give quilts back a dimension. One of the things I love about fabric as a medium is it's tactile qualities. Of course at shows you can't touch, so they have lost a dimension. This quilt can interact with you if you will talk to it. When it hears sounds it flashes lights at you. Hence enjoying the hand drier.

Next to 'See Sound' is 'In Full Bloom. This is hung to take advantage of the longest sight line in the gallery. It really does need to be seen from a distance to appreciate it then seen from up close to find all it's details. The photograph doesn't entirely do it justice, but you should be able to see some of the quilting.

"Monet's paintings of his gardens inspired me to make this quilt. I could imagine his bridge in spring surrounded by blossom. His painting style also influences the pieces of fabric used. I decided to limit myself to square and rectangular pieces to mimic the strokes seen in impressionist paintings." This quilt is still for sale, it is 47"x44", and would just love to live in a long sunny room or hallway.

Here is another of the built in features. This is the original outer wall of the chapel. The door leads onto a hallway and then to the chapel itself. I keep the door shut because it is very cold the other side of the door. The window looks down onto the crypt stairs from which we get a very strong draft. I know that is good for the building but it doesn't help me stay warm while I am manning the gallery.

On the wall you can see various awards that the Friends of Kensal Green have received for their work restoring various parts of the cemetery. The box above the window contains two very ornate truncheons used by the original gatekeepers to deter grave robbers.

Now we have made it to the far end of the gallery lets take a moment to look at the rest of the room from this angle. Maybe it will help you get your bearings.

To the right are the quilts we have just looked at, and now we will start working down the left hand side. You can probably see how narrow this end of the gallery is, the white wall really does curve a lot, it looks great in person, and has the effect of hiding some areas from the door. I like the way you then have to go and actively look for some of the work.

Onwards, we still have quite a few more to look at, maybe another drink?

'Wait' "Another nude from an original photograph by Alex Treacher. I love the peace and calm of this image. She waits with her hands on her knees, but for that" I've been amazed by the number of different things people see in this image. It seems to be my most talkative piece and probably the most popular work in the show. I've certainly had enough people trying to buy it, but unfortunately only one could be successful, and after the show it will be off to a new home. This piece is about 14"x34".

I really am going to need to make some more pieces if I am going to keep selling them aren't I.

This is a new one, that I don't think you will have seen before. My first male, is only topless, but I would love to persuade him to pose nude with his cello.

Perttu Kivilaakso is a member of the band Apocalyptica, who play a mixture of classical and heavy metal music on four cellos. It's very unusual and I just love it. I've had a few plans for naked males with musical instruments, so seeing this at a concert, was just too good to be true.

When he isn't playing with the band he also plays with Finish orchestras.

These ladies you have probably seen before. They have traveled a lot and also have appeared here more than once.

"Nude Triptych, this piece is an exploration of the effects of colour and techniques on an image. It starts with the grey pixellated image made of quarter inch squares, progressing through the red image made of shards of fabric, giving a texture similar to an oil painting, culminating in the smooth lines of the blue image. The source photograph was provided by Alex Treacher."

I thought you might like to take a closer look at these three. Thanks to Sally they are now lit better than I have ever seen them before so it should be a good oportunity to see the details. Of course there is no guarentee that I am going to manage to photograph them.

The grey nude was probably the most time consuming quilt inthe gallery. It took me a month to complete because it was so tiring and frustrating to work on. I found that a lot of the time the quarther inch squares frayed away before I could place them. They are also so small that they sow up every little error with the cutting. Still it was eventually finished and a lot of people seem to really like her.

I am very pleased that the grey finally found some fans as in the past the red and blue have taken all the glory.

The red quilt and it's techniques gets a lot of attention. This is the simplest and quickest of my ways of making art quilts and so is the first one I teach people. It is very much like painting by numbers once you have the pattern you want to work with.

If you would like to learn the technique you will want to catch my workshop, 'Art quilt by Numbers'.

The blue nude is the techniques I most often use wuth nudes. I like the feel of it, to me it is the most fitting to the female form, as it emphasises the curves. It does relly far more on getting the smooth transitions of colour though. Thsi si a challenge I relish, searching quilt shops for potential naked lady fabrics. Whenever I can I use commercially available quilting fabrics, but I have to admit that the greys I use are often mand dyes. There simply aren't enough greys fabrics to do things like metal or buildings.

Another piece you have probably seen before. 'Nude with Rope' has only recently made it back from Californial. Al lot of people have been surprised by the size of thie one. She is 2.1mx 0.7m, yup at least life size.

"Sometimes seen as sinister, the rope here provides some modesty while enhancing the models form. The source photograph was provided by Alex Treacher"

Something else that surprises people, especially those who have seen it before, is how little there actually is. The human brain is truly amazing and will hapily fill in details of objects it knows well. I take the view that the less I put in the less chance there is of getting it wrong, and the brain is far beter at drawing than I am. It seems that once you've seen it your brain fills in the details and stores it's version of my work, not a true rendition of it.

This quilt looks great hanging above a sofa or a bed, and is for sale.

Finally we have 'Herd Mentality'. This quilt only came off teh frame the day before it needed to be hung, and hasn't been blocked. Fortunately I have a friend who will be lending me a floor to stretch it after the show. I am actually quite pleased this one hasn't sold yet. I am looking forward to entering it into lots of shows that aren't too keen on my nudes.

"Docile and calm individually, yet bold and intimidating en masse.'

Once I have it properly flat I will have to try and get it photographed. This won't be easy as it is huge, but I desperately want to make a print of it asn have it as a postcard. I also have plans for some smaller pieces from this image. So watch this space.

Here are the print's I've had made so far. They are a limited edition and are only of the quilts that have photographed well. I want them to look like you should be able to feel the tecture of the quilt in the print. So far only two have made the grade, but I am hoping the a few others will join them . Obviously these are a lot cheaper than the originals and in some case are smaller too. So how about the original for the house and a print for the caravan (or hunting lodge).

You might remember this little quilt. It is my 'sketch' of Prague. I am giving this away to someone who has written in my guest book. If you want a chance to win it I am afraid you will have to come to the gallery in person. I suppose though I aught to offer something to my online visitors, after all I want you to have as much of the gallery experience as possible. So if you leave a comment on this post I will make a little quilt and give that away to one of you at random, sound fair.

Finally here is the Guest book and merchandise. From the center top of the table going clockwise we have...
  • white A4 pieces of paper are the guides to the work. You've had most of that information in this post.
  • Nude with Rope postcards, 50p each
  • Longarm information leaflets
  • Pack of general postcards two pounds fifty per pack.
  • Guest Book
  • Nudes postcard pack, same price as teh general ones
  • My Portfolio
  • Free pencils
  • Press book
  • Chocolates, we have got through a whole large tin over the course of the show
  • Workshop leaflets
In the center of the table are my patterns for the quilt in the window. If having visited online you would like to buy anything I will hapily post it out to you and I will be sure to include your free pencil.

Hope you've enjoyed the show, have a safe journey home.


Sequana said...

What a lovely tour! Thx so much.
I really like the gray, red and blue hanging together like that.

I might do something with my postcards with them in a group.

I love the postcards, btw....

And, yes, if you keep selling you need to keep creating.....*S*

Anne Wigfull said...

What fun! Thanks, Ferret, a really interesting tour. To pick a favourite is difficult, though the cows are definitely winners. So lovely, and without the usual pong, too :¬}

Guzzisue said...

Thanks for the interesting tour and I must admit that idea of naked musicians sounds very interesting :)

Also I had been wondering about the gallery name and apprecaited the explanation

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the tour. I really enjoyed seeing some of your earlier pieces again and the newer one - well, what can I say, wonderful.

Caz said...

What a great idea this tour, for those of us unable to visit. Hope you had a lots of actual visitors though as well as the virtual ones.

Wendy said...

Sorry the last comment was from the wrong email address

Sherryl said...

What a great idea to have a virtual tour. I didn't have to push anyone aside to have a better look :-).
Thanks. I love Lily.

Dale Anne Potter said...

GREAT JOB on giving us further away a virtual tour of your exhibition!
And, I like the idea of limited edition photographs of your work.

Beverly said...

Thank you so much for posting this tour, I thoroughly enjoyed it! Your work looks fabulous hung together, and the setting enhances the experience. Congrats on all the sales, too!

Robin Koehler said...

Great way to bring your show to the overseas masses:)
The nudes were wonderful since I had never really thought of doing that in fabric before.
Much continued success.
Robin Koehler

Lisa Walton said...

Congratulations on a wonderful exhibition. You should be realy proud of it and also the number of sales. Thanks for goig to the trouble of the tour - it is appreciated.

Sally said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sally said...

Ferret---What a wonderful show! I have always enjoyed seeing your quilts when you've announced them on QuiltArt--but all together they make a grand statement. And--I think that statement is "I've definitely arrived!"

Wil Opio Oguta said...

Great show! Wish I could come and see the show in reality. I love the cows!

Anonymous said...

Dear Ferret,
The tour was terrific! It was like the long, detailed descriptions I give people when showing my travel photos--I felt like I was there.

I saw "Nude w/ Rope at Road to California, and I was glad to see more of your work. How do I buy a postcard? and, When do you sleep?!

Keep up the good work,

Linda Laird

Penny said...

That was a very good description of the show: the space itself is very interesting with the white curved wall and the straight wall opposite it.

Linda Teddlie Minton said...

Wow, Ferret, I don't know when I've ever spent so much time doing a virtual tour before! It was fun and fascinating to see your wonderful work in its "natural environment". Your informative and humorous "tour guide talk" made it even more inviting. Thanks!

Kingfisher Cove Creations said...

thank you so much for the tour.
For those of us who live in canada
and too far away from centers to
see many quilt exhibitions it is a
really inspiring experience.
thank heaven for the internet.
your work is wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, it was a brilliant idea of yours to give us a virtual tour of your amazing show. I am still hoping to get to see it for real!

Brenda Cupryna said...

Ferret , Thanks you so much for your tour - I wish I lived nearer and could have seen the exhibition in person BUT this is the nest best thing. I really love the cows.
Best wishes
Brenda in the Boro

Anonymous said...

Ferret, Thanks for the tour. I just wish I lived nearer but this is the next best thing to being there in person. Love the cows.
Brenda in the Boro

marion said...

Congratulations, Ferret. This is wonderful.

CatFang said...

Wow. That is one brilliant online tour. What a good idea.

Even though I have been to the show I found myself reading through the whole thing again.

It was almost like being there - but with less cake :)

kek said...


I'd love to walk a mile in your mind.

I feel privileged to have taken your tour.


Deirdre said...

This was the most enjoyable way to spend the morning.

Congratulations on the show - I wish I could be there in person!
:-D eirdre

Martha Ginn said...

Thanks for the wonderful pictures and descriptions in the virtual tour! How amazing it would have been to see your work in person, but you have treated us to the next-best-thing.
I've been your admirer on QA for quite some time; your nudes are beautiful, and the cows spectacular. Congratulations on a successful show; thanks for making it available to us.
Martha in Mississippi

Dormouse said...

What a fantastic tour. I was so sad not to be able to make it to the actual show. This made me feel as though I had.

You did a wonderful job with it all. Well done!

Judi S said...

Thank you so much for posting pictures of not only your quilts but of the venue. I felt like I was there (almost) You are a gifted artist. I loved all of it, but especially your nudes and your use of negative space.