Posted: 08 Jan 2019 04:56 AM PST
Our series of photographic portraits by Neill Menneer shows Bath people at work.
Philip Raby, FilmBath Festival organiser
I was born in the same town as Keith Richards (Dartford), and grew up in Kent, before being shipped off to boarding school for 10 years; an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone else. I recovered slowly in my twenties, and worked as – among other things – a roadie, an au pair, a driver and a sewage farm employee.
PORTRAIT: Neill Menneer at Spirit Photographic.
Posted: 08 Jan 2019 01:31 AM PST
Creating an artwork on location while being filmed is no mean feat. Add in a sewing machine, disperse dyes and an iron and the pressure's on – Andrea Cryer tells Emma Clegg about taking part in Landscape Artist of the Year
Landscape Artist of the Year and its partner series Portrait Artist of the Year are hit shows on Sky Arts, with more than 600,000 people on average watching each episode. Hosted by Joan Bakewell and Stephen Mangan, it's a fascinating format for artists and non-artists alike. The landscape version of the programme takes eight weatherproof pods, finds a location with a dramatic landscape, and puts an artist in a pod. Each one has four hours to produce a piece of work representing the landscape around them. A stop-motion camera runs behind each artist capturing their every move. They work in conditions ranging from sizzling sunshine to gusty grey storms, with only their respective pods protecting them from the elements. There are also a valiant band of 'wild cards', 50 artists who come along to paint the landscape armed with easels, chairs, umbrellas, packed lunches and family cohorts, with the chance of one of them being put through to the next stage.
There were also the logistical challenges of the filming. "I had my sewing machine and my iron in a big suitcase. I put it all on to my table and then the camera crew came up and said 'can you put it all back in the suitcase because we haven't filmed you doing it.' They also wanted to show me threading the machine, but I could not get that thread through the eye of the needle. And normally I do it straight away at home. But I've never worked outside – I am used to working in private."
The work Andrea produces includes people portraits and urban landscapes. The sewn thread, with its characteristic trembling lines, is so effective a drawing tool that the lines look as expressive as any marks made with standard artists' media. Up close you can see the threads – and the random trailing thread ends that are left give a looseness and movement that animate the whole piece.
Andrea's submission piece of Topping & Co. ended up being bought by a collector. She wasn't selected to go through to the next round of the competition, but she says it was fascinating taking part: "I knew it was a competition, but I went into it because I thought it would be a good thing to do and it would challenge me, and take me out of my comfort zone. It's also good to bring textile art into focus."
Featured image: Topping & Co., Bath, freehand machine-stitched drawing, hand-coloured using disperse dyes. Photography by Darren Strange
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