“When light returns from the dark of night”
“Dawn” Tapestry Woven Spring 2020 96 x 58.5cms
Read More About "Dawn"
Being witness at the first light of a new day returning in the sky has enthralled me for many decades. It has been a pleasure and a real privilege to experience at first hand in some of the most remote and wild places of the planet. From viewing the high peaks of mountains and especially the Himalayas, the jungles of Nepal and India, the Namibian deserts and living and working in the High Pennines of County Durham. This daily phenomenon has enriched and stimulated my thinking and ultimately my role as a textile artist. I always read prose and poetry, research how others have been attracted to this subject. I draw and paint, record colour, texture and form and based on my design processes and philosophy over a period of time create an image I can take to my loom.
I am reminded of the quotation from Jean Giono
“That the days are round”.
This regular occurrence is always different, it is unique and diverse and the more I observe and encounter with all my senses, I feel I am part of this dramatic theatrical happening. From the long dark prologue of nocturnal night through the ongoing scenes whose back drop changes minute by minute until the glorious denouement of the sunlight bursting into the amphitheatre.
A.E. Houseman’s poem “Spring Morning” epitomises much of my thinking when he writes:
“It is the balance between the sense of promise and new hope which is brought
by the dawning of a new day.”
It has stimulated artists, writers, poets and musicians over the centuries. My creativity abounds at this time of day. To the receptive person it bombards all senses. From the purity of the air at altitude to the fragrance of the jungle, the visual impact of changing colours and hues, to the awakening sounds and the taste on the lips of the aromatic undergrowth. It is a time of renewal. A time of change and a time to be savoured slowly, thoughtfully and absorbed with enjoyment and enlightenment.
The American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850 – 1919) created visual imagery in her poem entitled “Dawn”
“Day’s sweetest moments are at dawn.
Refreshed by his long sleep, the light
Kisses the languid lips of night,
Ere she can rise and hasten on
All glowing from his dreamless rest
He holds her closely to his breast,
And sees her dusky eyes grow dim
Until she dies for love of him
Day kisses night,
Keeping her to him,
He glows brightly
Spreading daylight through the world.
In other words
Night fades and gives way to day.”
In this tapestry I have sought to create the essence of this time. It is not a portrait of a single dawn but an amalgam of witnessing multiple dawns in many locations. It includes elements of the earth’s rotation, of the Moon’s finale before disappearing with the arrival of shafts of sunlight. The biosphere that is Earth is visible, shrouded in mists yet accompanied by the verdant greens, the ochres of strata, the reds and magentas on the multiple horizons. The curving sinuous intersecting lines achieve and expand the concept of movement. Slow and positive, controlled and measured they draw the viewer in and conducts their eyes around my entire design. Colours which are contained within the eroded rounded shapes are evocative of past time and outlined in the darks of night. At a time of change energy is palpable, movement exists, contrasting colours all combine to create a calmness, a quietness amid the momentum of a new day. Not every dawn is dramatic and intense, the quiet misty foggy steamy dawn and the monochrome with indistinct unclear shapes offer a more tranquil, more quiet performance.
It is in keeping that the composer, Dario Marinelli in his instrumental piece “Dawn” has captured the sense and subtle impression of this time of day. This composition for piano was used in the drama production of “Pride and Prejudice”. Comparable is the creation by Ola Gjeilo of his interpretation of dawn in “Winter Song”. To my mind they both capture much of the elements of the arrival of hope and a new day.
I have often been a witness to this phenomenon along with others and have noticed the spoken word is quietly whispered almost in a reverential cathedral-like manner. When alone the experience is more profound, more intense and powerful. It is hardly surprising that I return to elements of the theme of man observing and witnessing the natural cyclical occurrences of our time.
This tapestry has dimensions according to the formulae of the “Golden Ratio”. This ratio aids the creation of well-being, it has a harmony and is most acceptable on the eye. The curving, flowing lines created shapes which have given me much scope and a direction to explore and identify the wide range of colour, both contrasting and harmonising and to create a balanced textile. Over a period of time my thinking develops, writing occurs and paintings result, all help to achieve a clear understanding of my objective. The ideas and concepts grow and enlarge until on reviewing a decision as to which design to take further is made. From a total of nine paintings, I chose one which will be the structural linear design but not necessarily the exact colour palette I will use. From collecting and selecting colours, through wrappings and swatches, I respond to the colour combinations. I am by now clear in my mind precisely what I want to achieve. As the weaving progresses, I respond to colour schemes, adding lighter or darker elements, using more or less of a colour. I do not follow implicitly the chosen design painting for I aspire to use this a stepping stone towards my ultimate goal.
Tapestry Woven 2020. 96 x 58.5cms