Through my initial research I have been seeing layers run through all aspects of my work. Layers can be identified within the landscape through the strata, particularly the layering of colour and rock type along the Norfolk coastline. Similarly, the view of the horizon line along the coast is made up of layers; cliff, sand, sea, sky, which appear to the human eye as bands of changing colour, tones and texture.
When considering place and what forms a sense of placeness, we are drawn to the history of a specific location, its past, present and future use. The people that have been and will be in the specific location, the stories that people can tell and have experienced, the conversations, feelings and emotions of the people that have 'lived' in the specific location. All of which shape the layering and sense of the place.
As my practice aims to imbue a sense of place through textile, it is these layers which I want to attempt to translate, whether physical or imaginary.
The notion of layers is also prevalent within the home, where we physically decorate by layering materials and fill our surroundings with sentimental objects. Our bodies are layered by clothes and blankets to provide protection and warmth as are our floors which we cover with rugs for protection, warmth and comfort.
Whilst on site in Norfolk, I began to observe the landscape with a gaze-like expression, noticing the changing textures and patterns within the cliff formations and the sand. Using charcoal, I attempted to capture what my eye could see; whilst charcoal restricts the ability to draw in great detail, this allowed me to focus on the various shapes, lines and patterns within the cliff face.
Fig 1. David, A. (2018) The Norfolk Coast [charcoal drawing] Hunstanton, Norfolk
Upon return to the studio, using photographs I had taken from the site location, I decided to continue my study of the lines and shapes that I could see. I chose to use an ink pen this time since I had it on hand and it has been a tool that I have become most comfortable using during my time working as a landscape architect. Blank ink pens are widely encouraged in the architectural profession.
In doing this task, I noticed how much more detailed my drawings became, focusing on the minute detail that my eye could not naturally pick up on site. The photographic lens are so developed that it is able to capture immense detail which my eye could not. Not only this but being in the quiet studio with intense focus on the task at hand, I was away from the sea breeze, the waves lapping and the chill in the air that was experienced at the coast. These site conditions encouraged me to work quickly so that I could put my tools away and my gloves back on!
Fig 2. David, A. (2018) The Norfolk Coast 2 [ink drawing] Bath
Once noticing this, I decided to try to return to using charcoal and draw the views of the cliff in the photographs in the same graphical style of my initial charcoal study. In doing this, I was able to mentally 'zoom out' of the photo and pick up the shapes and lines in a more abstract fashion.
Fig 3. David, A. (2018) The Norfolk Coast 3 [charcoal drawing] Bath
Through this process I have realised the benefit of on site practice in order to capture the experience of a place. These line drawings have become very interesting to me and I have begun to look at ways these drawings could be translated into textile.
My interest in layering has led me to research textile techniques which are based on a layered approach. Quilting, tapestry weaving and embroidery for example. Each of which are made up using a layering of materials and are processes which are steeped in history - layering!
Whilst I have a love for using rope and natural fibres, I have been drawn to tapestry weaving which involves a layering of wefts. Tapestry is a slow repetitive process with a somewhat meditative rhythm, evoking similar feelings that I often experience on walks in the landscape.
I have started to use my photoshop skills to look at how these drawings could be translated into tapestry works for use in the home, particularly as rugs and wall hangings.
Fig 4. David, A. (2018) The Norfolk Coast Rug Sample [digital artwork] Bath