From this sketch come lines of the abstraction. From observation, the colours.
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 is available to purchase through
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.
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.
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.
Almost complete. Soon the coloured blossoms will be added. The experiment to weave a hedge is very nearly done.
Completed artwork planned for release via http://www.andrewherridge.co.uk next month.
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
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.