One of our studio artists at Magdalen Road Artist Studios, Sonia Boue was recently awarded arts council funding to explore and respond to the work of Felicia Browne. Part of the funding application included 5 hours a week for me to work as an admin assistant as well as to produce a knitted piece of work for the project.
Felicia Browne was an artist who fought and died during the Spanish Civil War and an archive of her work is held at Tate Britain.
I have been asked by Sonia Boue to knit a child’s jumper similar to one in a photo of Felicia holding a child. I have researched knitted garments and as a start I have begun knitting a simple raglan jumper with a placket opening.
Sonia Boue’s work uses assemblage with paintings to convey her subject matter. For her exploration of Felicia Bowne she is painting a series of works and using found items alongside these. The jumper will be part of the final exhibition and will be used to convey Felicia Browne’s early life in Thames Ditton. We wanted to not only produce the jumper but to somehow convey more about her life within one object so I have suggested either the use of rust dying as a way of ageing and incorporating a sadness to the piece or alternatively growing salt crystals on the piece. The salt would reference sadness, loss but will also give a statuesque and sculptural essence. Frozen / captured in time.
I knitted two small samples to experiment with these two ideas…
I usually love rust dying but wool doesn’t seem to be particularly good for it.
Epsom salt crystals grow well on wool and stiffen the rest of the fabric where there are no crystals.
After some experimentation and the completion of the knitted garment I set about growing salt crystals over the piece and stiffening it into a sculptural form with epsom salts. I wanted to recreate the shape of the child in Felicia’s arms in the photo.
The shape conveys a sadness and sense of loss, something that has gone.
The exhibition catalogues have arrived!