As an artist the areas I am comfortable with are those concerning paint, especially watercolour and acrylic (see http://www.andrewherridge.co.uk). I feel it is important to work outside that zone, maybe discover expression through other media. What better than that of weaving.
The idea was to produce a woven piece to represent the hedgerows, that ubiquitous part of the British countryside to be seen everywhere from the Borders southwards. I want to draw attention in this artwork to a vital part of the countryside so often taken for granted. A home to hundreds of animals and plants, friend to farmer, crops, livestock and every food consumer. One of the unsung inventions upon which we rely but often take for granted.
First attempts at weaving on an Ashford loom were ambitious . . . too much so! My intention was to vary the warp using natural and manmade threads. It proved to be unworkable. The different characteristics of the warp were too much for the weft threads. They snagged on hemp. broke nettle, jammed on heavy wool . . . . Then I tried weaving across some of the warps, changing weft partway across. Just was not going to work.
In my last blog I showed how I had restrung the warp, all in acrylic threads but with colours to represent the greens and earthy ochres of leaves, buds and branches. Blues, whites, and reds of hedgerow flowers. All fine but what of the realities, the windblown waste and litter seen clinging the thorny hedges. The waste wire and metal dumped amoung the grasses and toadstools.
So I have opted for colours of weft threads to represent the natural elements of a hedge. Here I can experimnent with rough hemp, untidily drop spindle spun crimson wool, nettle thread, acrylic. All pass fairly smoothly through the acrylic warps. Creams to represent May Blossom, hemp evocative of knarled branches a key element of an old established hedge. Then there is plastic netting, twigs, metal foil, barbed wire. The weaving is unruly . . . just how I want it, what hedge is not a little overenthusiastic in its growth! All will find a home in the piece, help tell the story.
Come back again and see more of the experiment in a while. If I can find time, the work will be exhibited in the Northern Parishes Arts’ Week, East Berkshire, UK, at the beginning of November.
Andrew Herridge Contemporary Art