tiles at Alcazar real, Seville

A Taste of Seville – Part 2

The Tiles of the Alcazar Real

The Alcázar Real of Seville encapsulates the historical evolution of the city during the last millennium, amalgamating influences starting from the Arabic period, late Middle Ages Mudéjar right through to the Renaissance, Baroque and the XIX century.

The tiles at the Alcazar Real are incredible and they are everywhere floors, walls, ceilings,and also outside in the gardens!. Here is just a flavour of what we saw. Truly inspirational.

Read more about this incredible Palace here 

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Tiles Alcazar real Seville

Tiles Alcazar Real, Seville

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tiles seville

A Taste of Seville • Part 1

If I was looking for some inspiration on my recent  travels I certainly found it in Seville. It has everything I love and in the Spring the weather is perfect for me. It ‘s a friendly city with great food (it’s where Tapas originally came from) and is of a modest size compared to some Spanish cities but it has has culture in abundance. There’s still so much I didn’t see I’ll have to go there again.

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First we visited the cathedral which breathtaking and I even managed to climb to the top of the tower to take in the magnificent views.

Details of the Cathedral, Seville, Spain

Details of the Cathedral, Seville, Spain

View from the Tower

One of the views from the top of the tower. Just to prove I made it up there!

It has a beautiful palace, the Alcazar Real with its moorish architecture, decorative and sometimes quirky tiles  and wonderful gardens. The tiles have to be a post all of their own but here’s some images of the architecture, the gardens and the underground pool which was used during the summer months to keep cool.

Details of the Alcazar Real

Details of the Alcazar Real

Details of the Alcazar Real

Details of the Alcazar Real

Alcazar Real gardens

Alcazar Real Gardens

Alcazar Real gardens

Alcazar real gardens

Underground Pool Alcazar real

Underground pool Alcazar Real

You’ll be pleased to know I did spot some graffiti amongst all this culture in Seville. I love the cat!

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Cat Graffiti Seville, Spain

and here are some unusual window displays

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masks

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and finally some dazzling flowers and it wouldn’t be Seville if I didn’t include and orange or two……….

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Fred Harry and Madge Stone

Inspiration for Stitch – Part 4 – The Innocent Victims of War

The inspiration for my work can come from anywhere and everywhere and it sometimes takes on a more serious note. I turned on the radio and heard her voice and the words I will never forget “This is not my War”. They were the words spoken by a Syrian mother whose children aged 5,10 and 12 had just been killed by mortar fire in a war she did not understand. The sound of her voice will stay with me forever.

Some Things Never Change commemorates those children and the many others like them that have lost their lives, or have been mentally or physically scarred by war. The lives of those who have survived war and atrocity are changed for all time.
My Dad and his siblings Harry and Madge were children of the First World War, born just before and during so called ‘war to end war’. I have used their images to represent the universal child. The concrete pillar in the background is inspired by the concrete architecture of the skate park on the South Bank of the Thames and the graffiti of street artist Stik and is covered with cross stitches representing the kisses those Syrian children will never receive.

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Some Things Never Change 2012

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I listen to the Radio and hear his Voice again recalls something I heard on Radio 4. A 10 year old boy was talking to the reporter “You can’t imagine what I’ve seen, what my country has seen”. The Universal Child uses an image of my Dad to represent children affected by war worldwide.

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The Universal Child

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I Listen to the Radio and Hear his Voice.

The Unknown Statistic comes from my research into the First World War during the run up to the centenary in 2014 of the start of the war. A photograph is of some children, unknown to me, but in my husband’s family album was my starting point. I have had this image waiting to be used for many years but it was only when I saw the graffiti in the East End of London I knew how I was going to use it. The children have a poignancy to them. They look as though they are watching someone walking away. I decided to use their images as a way of commemorating all the children left fatherless by the First World War. The exact number of children is unknown as it was not recorded accurately either locally or nationally. I imagined their father was one of the brave Grimsby fishermen whose trawlers went minesweeping the coast with very little protection and little recognition. He walked away and never looked back. It was bad luck for a fisherman to turn around and look back as they walked away to sea. They never saw him again. My own Great Grandfather, Harry Conder died during the first few weeks of World War One when the trawler Fittonia, of which he was skipper, was blown up by a mine in the River Humber. He was survived by a widow and several children. His eldest son Charles Conder died during the last weeks of the war of Spanish Flu, the virus that would be responsible for more than five times as many deaths as the war itself.

image of kids from the family album

Kids from the Family album

east end graffiti

east end graffiti

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The Unknown Statistic

Japanese Restaurant , Barcelona

Inspiration for Stitch – Part 3 – My Travels

My 5 Favourite Locations to find inspiration for stitch.

My travels at home and abroad provide me with inspiration for my stitched work. I am an avid photographer and I collect hundreds of images on my travels. They are collected as an aide-mémoire for future work and I have built up a library of images including interiors, exteriors, tiles, the usual, the unusual, the smallest of details that can so easily be overlooked.

Here are my current top 5 favourite locations but no doubt they will change as I discover new places on my travels. My next stop is Seville where I hope to find inspiration in its beautiful Moorish architecture.

1. Amsterdam – unusual shop windows, bicycles and graphics.

Shop window, Amsterdam

Shop window, Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Shop window, Amsterdam

Shop window, Amsterdam

2. Newcastle – some glass blocks caught my eye.

Glass Blocks, Newcastle

Glass Blocks, Newcastle

Glass Blocks, Newcastle

Glass Blocks, Newcastle

3. Barcelona – Gaudi Mosaics, Parc Guell & Dali Museum Barcelona

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Gaudi Mosaics, Parc Guell

Gaudi Mosaics, Parc Guell

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Cardboard cutout of Salvador Dali, Dali Museum, Barcelona

4. Southwold, Suffolk – In and around Southwold Suffolk, UK

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Graveyard, Southwold,Suffolk

Rope, Netting, Southwold, Suffolk

Rope, Netting, Southwold, Suffolk

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Door, Southwold, Suffolk

5.London – In and around E1, E2, EC1

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Cobbles, London

Cobbles, London

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Graffiti,London

Inspiration for Stitch – Part 2 – The East End of London

In this second post about my inspiration I take a look at the East End of London, and my love affair with the Grimsby Street area. The street is situated in E2 and shares its name with my hometown. In the early 2000s both my sons lived in London so I was a regular visitor. My younger son, Sam lived in Hackney at that time and had come across Grimsby Street E2 when visiting a friend nearby. The next time I visited he took me there and it was love at first sight.

Here are some of the images I fell in love with. They may seem strange. It’s quite rundown, but an art school education taught me to look and to see beauty in the smallest detail and to enjoy the ‘out of place’. When I look at these vistas I see my next piece of work.

The images above inspired pieces that depict the then, the now and the journey in-between. The first pieces I made were East End Chair and Closed pictured below.

East End Chair is a portrait of my Grandmother Annie Jane Smith sat in an abandoned armchair nursing a fish. My hometown of Grimsby is best known for its connection with the fishing industry and the fish represents the prosperity the fishing industry brought to the town.

Closed depicts the demise of the Grimsby fishing industry. The closed shop sign represents the end of the town’s prosperity after the Cod Wars in the 1950s and 60s.

This series made in 2012 combine 2 or more images to represent the passing of time and the transience of life. A Girls Day Out, East End Girls and RIP Grimsby St E2 version 1 & 2.

East End Girls combines an image of my grandmother, Alice Ann Stone, her daughter Madge and my Mum Muriel May Sone with an image of 2 abandoned east end sofas. It’s 128 cms wide x 104 cms high.

A Girl’s Day Out for Hilda, Nellie and Ida combines an image of 3 Grimsby sisters Hilda, Nellie and Ida with an image of Grimsby Street E2 graffiti by graffiti artist Stik.

RIP Grimsby Street E2 versions 1 & 2 chronicle the knocking down of part of Grimsby Street E2 in the run up to the 2012 London Olympics. An analogy between 2 different eras and 2 different environments .1930s Grimsby girls meet London 2012

The ever changing images of street art are fascinating. I have now been documenting the area for more than 10 years. Part 3 of the inspiration for Stitch posts will look at my documentation of the South Bank and more recent pieces inspired by the East End.

Inspiration for Stitch – Part 1 – The Family Album

Inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere • the usual • the unusual • the intimate • the familiar • the obscure • the unexpected • the exotic • the bizarre • the world within or the world without. Inspiration for Stitch has proved to be a popular choice as a subject for groups booking my talks so I thought I would let you take a look at where I find my inspiration in a series of blog posts.

I will start with the obvious – The Family Album. These are typical of the photos I use for inspiration for my work. Click on any image to see my recent work inspired by the Family Album or go to the image galleries at my website.

family album 2               image of chilren

fred harry and madge stone                    image of Muriel May Smith

girls in berets ( ida spencer)Working with the family album is a way of remembering who I am and where I came from. The inspiration for a new piece of work can come from any aspect of these photographs, these snapshots of a moment in time, from the composition of the snap itself to the character of its subject whether I know them well or they are unfamiliar to me. My mum, my dad, my grandparents, my sister, my husband and my children have all been featured in my work.

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The photos I like best are the small, faded sepia or black and white photos with very little information in them. That gives me the scope to use my own knowledge and imagination to bring in my own detail, colour and texture and to create partial narratives that leave to viewer to complete. My interest in an unknown subject goes beyond the purely visual, I inquire into who they were, their relationships and how they lived.

 Much of my work alludes to the passing of time, merging disparate images from the past with those from the present. The family album provides me with me a rich resource. It enables the use of people as a device to portray the past and allows me to combine their images with my own photos of the present.

I hope you have enjoyed this look at my family album. The next in this series will look at my love affair with the East End of London, graffiti and street art.