I thought it might be interesting to share my thoughts behind the John Clare pieces that I am working on.
It started with me drawing and painting the hedgerow plants that surround this village into which he was born. I had very little idea of where I was going with these drawings until I realised that the plants I was gathering contained lots of strewing herbs which had been used in medieval times to sweeten the air and to walk upon in homes that often had dirt floors. Certain plants would keep vermin away, others had antiseptic properties, some were purely for their perfume. My link to J.Clare would be the poetry that yearned for that ancient past and his pleasure at the simple plants and wildlife of his native village. I can see the medieval past in the grassland around here, the seeds that lie dormant for generations and when conditions are right provide us with a tapestry of historical plants, self heal, scabious,violas, thyme's, lady's mantle, meadow sweet to name but a few. So among my herbs will be little 'cameos' of Elizabethan crewelwork or 'slips' as they were called, they were often based on plants or animals. I will take a line of relevant verse and make a stencil of it to weave into the scene. At the moment I see it on cotton organza but I'm not sure if the weight of the crewel work will be too heavy for the fabric, but that is what sampling is all about and as you can see I have started.
I have finished my final drawing/painting, the only one I feel precious enough about not to scribble notes all over it as I have the others. It has taken me from marker pens, to working with paint, mainly down to cost. These images are large and I was going through Promarkers and various other pens at a rate I couldn't sustain. I have a lot to learn about painting but a start has been made.