As a textile artist known for bright jolly artworks filled with quirky detail, this project took me on a different direction entirely and one I enjoyed immensely. A change is as good as a rest and all that!
I am so fortunate to live near Dartmoor and for many years I lived in a village on the moor. My memories of this time, as well as my love of this wild open space, influenced this piece.
'Tor De Moor' is a stitched blend of Dartmoor textures and colours. Semi-abstract in style, it's purpose was to capture the wild terrain, the natural shapes and seasonal colour of this amazing landscape. The colours lend themselves to an autumnal piece but in truth the colours don't vary too much on the moors.
I've added subtle additions of beautiful golden gorse. This wild flowering shrub can be seen all over the moors throughout the year as there are different varieties. You'll also see heather around new and early summer brings us stunning foxgloves.
I have used so many different textured fabrics to interpret this landscape. The granite rocks, the misty tors in the distance, a clapper bridge with a trickling stress, and of course, the crispy curly ferns and bracken. All quintessential Dartmoor.
Of course, there are the myths and legends which give the Moors mystery and a dramatic atmosphere. Tales of pixies, headless horseman and special hounds, to name a few. During the Great Thunderstorm of 1638, the moorland village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor was even said to have been visited by the Devil. I used to love telling my kids these stories during our many moorland walks (minus the Devil one!).
My other great memory of living on the Moors was the fun of Letterboxing!! This activity originated on Dartmoor – in fact it started in 1854! Hikers on the moors began to leave a letter or postcard inside a box along the trail, hence the name "letterboxing". The next person to discover the site would collect the postcards and post them. The excitement of discovering those little tins!
Letterboxing combines orienteering with treasure hunting and puzzle solving and is a great way to introduce children and young people to the joys of exploring Dartmoor and improve navigation skills.
There is copper and gold leaf dotted around this piece and this refers to the little tins of treasures and notes and this great Dartmoor tradition.
The finished piece in it's contemporary frame. In fact, it's a contemporary presentation of a place steeped in history. I liked this contrast particularly as Dartmoor art can often be quite traditional.
This one off original piece is on display at Wildwood Arts Gallery on Dartmoor. Well it had to go to Dartmoor, of course! It is currently on display in their Autumn/Winter exhibition and is available to buy. Please get in touch with the gallery or myself if you'd like more information. Here's the link to Wildwood's website - www.wildwoodartsdartmoor.co.uk
It really is one of those pieces that has to be seen for the textures to be fully appreciated. The non reflective glass really gives it an unglazed appearance, which I think is essential with work like this. No matter how hard I try, textiles are difficult to really see properly on a screen!