The Story of An Island Artist . .

The day to day life of an artist living and working on a Hebridean island


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Getting down to artwork

 

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Attic studio, overlooking the Atlantic in the Western Isles of Scotland. Final tinkerings, cottage, garden, boat; put to one side.

Painting now . . . .

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Work in progress, looking towards Mull. A recent ferry journey to the island helps understand light and atmosphere. The island is surprisingly big. Wild moorland, beautiful shores, soaring hills.

I work on several pieces, it helps keep freshness in the piece.

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The Blue Boat.  Fishing in the Western Isles, Scotland.

imageLooking west at sunset.

The visual cues are at their strongest on the shore. Eye, mind, hand is the way I work. For the most part in acrylics on stretched canvas, not exclusively. I am working on physically incorporating shapes and textures durectly from the environment just now.

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Art within a stone’s throw of Orwell’s Hebridean views.

George Orwell maybe found the stunning wild coasts around the Isle of Jura put himin a writing frame of mind. Being near the third largest whirlpool on the world may have put an edge on things. It nearly did for him by all accounts when his boat was caught in its grip.

My tiny studio is in the attic of a small Hebridean cottage. All thick stone walls and cosy stoves on the inside but chilly in ghe wind outside. You can forgive the weather anything for the stunning scenery. Skies that seem to go up and across for ever, three seasons in a day climate and seas conjureing a kaleidoscope of shapes and colours.

I work most days, sketching and painting.  The works may be seen on instagram. Click here to follow the link

Mostly land and seascapes. Generally figurative but occasionally abstract. So many inspirational scenes, everyday something new.

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Such scenery is not easily won. Shops are a 36 mile round trip crossing two islands and the Atlantic, twice! Heat only comes via a ravenous stove with trips out to sacks of fuel a ross the track behind a windy shed. If I miss the coal lorry every other week it would be a chilly mistake. The driver has got used to me chasing him early on a freezy morning whilst still on my dressing gown! And if you want anything larger than a kitchen stool delivered to the island long negotiations involving couriers and ferry must be opened.

I still remember a sofa delivered to the quay, left on the slip, the other side. The grey clouds let their wet load go. It was only by chance that a fishermen had his pick-up and trailer handy that the day was saved!

So far, all the challenges have been worth it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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To see my Hebridean artwork visit my Etsy shop.


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Some of the Roughest Weaving You May Have Seen . . . And Proud of it!

ImageAfter many months of collecting, considering and construction, a weaving first . . . . .  “Ribbons Across the Countryside”.

An expressionist abstract artwork in hand loom woven textile, found and made objects by Andrew Herridge, Approx 400mm x x400mm

Much taken for granted, this thin strip holds together the majority of English fields. The artwork celebrates the form and varied function of an English hedgerow.  The basic weave is a mixture of acrylic and natural wools, also in the warp; lichens covered wood, leather, nettle fibre, jute, and plastics. All representing materials found in the natural state.

The weave is rough and it is meant to be that way. Hedges can be rough places where battles are waged between man’s boundaries , the weather and ecology.  These elements are a feature of the work.

The artwork at . . .

Andrew Herridge Contemporary Art

Painted in the Hebrides

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Experimental Weaving Nearly Woven!

Hedgerows are the countryside’s ribbons.  They bind fields with a living net trawling for crops, without which there would be no food based powerhouse for the Nation.  Hedges with their thorns and wires provide boundaries, my place . . . your place . . . . our places.  Lastly, they are a home; protection and sustenance for countless animals upon which we all eventually rely.

Branches sectioned to show their inner structure.

Branches sectioned to show their inner structure.

My experiment in weaving celebrates and promotes the hedgerow in abstract woven art form.

The weft stratifications are the layers of a hedge.  Campion, Herb Robert and Cuckoo Pint push through from the base about now.  Blackthorn, Hazel and Elder reinforce the battlements.  Soon Whitethroat, Linnet and Thrush compete in the hedge’s larder for early seeds, worm sand caterpillars

Thus the backdrop  for my weaving experiment emerges.

Secateurs, not what you might normally need for weaving.

Secateurs, not what you might normally need for weaving.and caterpillars.

The layered colours a suggestion of successive plants growing up through the hedge. Out come  tools new to the weaver’s craft: pliers and secateurs along with sticks, needles and hooks. Further abstraction, a hint of barbed wire fencing , a hedge’s reinforcement to keep in check curious cattle. Decorated with sheeps’ wool, paper and plastic litter, the obvious signs of human presence.

Very much the new boy to weaving!

Almost complete.  Soon the coloured blossoms will be added.  The experiment to weave a hedge is very nearly done.

Just the blossoms to add.

Just the blossoms to .

 

 

 

 

Find out more about this and other artworks on Youtube

Creating the artworks . . . .


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Ashford Loom – Hedgerow Experimenal Weaving

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


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Weaving an English hedgerow on a heddle frame . . . progress.

Getting back to serious artwork after a few months’ distraction on other things . . . that’s the trouble with being a self employed artist, just sometimes other pressing things have precedence.

Experimental weaving on my heddle frame has begun again. I am trying to use the frame to produce an abstract piece based on an English hedgerow.  Rather than using the shuttle weaving straight across the warp I am using a weaving needle to construct features. The weft gives a top to bottom structure.  The flowery coloured warp to the left of the image will be the ‘top’ of the piece, the foliage.  Imagine the picture here turned clockwise through 90 degrees, that is how it will be viewed.

The white area represents hawthorn flowers growing in May or June.