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  • Writer's pictureDionne Swift

50@50 in depth

Over the coming weeks I shall be creating a series of blog posts to reflect upon and examine my thinking process/development of my 50@50 collection of stitched artworks. It's useful reflection as I consider 'what's next' for me in the studio.

The '50@50' collection was produced to celebrate my 50th year in 2019 - first exhibited at Timeless Textiles [Newcastle, Australia] and then at Helmsley Arts Centre [Yorkshire, UK] The latter solo show sadly cut short by the global Covid 19 pandemic.

I worked directly from drawings of a scene, an occasion/happening. A moment in time, a moment in light that caught my attention, captured through drawing and creating a compulsion to sew. Each piece was created using free machine embroidery on heavy wool.

I've started my making small groups, acknowledging visual references and inspirational/locational connections. This first grouping recalls Italian locations, yet they are grouped also via their boldness of compositional structure. Each holds a colour palette most unusual for me. I've included some detail images of each piece to illustrate the richness of colour and texture in the surface - the tones visually mix and colours are never as they first appear, it always pays to look closer!

Venetian Wanderings No 39 50@50 plays with the interlocking structures of the Venetian canals and bridges. Light bounces from the rippling water to the marbled edges of the negative spaces. There's a frame within a frame, a series of tunnels that step the viewer into the composition. The colour palette is seemingly limited, yet closer observation highlights the breadth of chromatic qualities.

The day I captured this scene, we were wandering through the back streets of Venice - happily lost and content to find cool shade. It was mid July and in the high 30's. Of all the magnificent vista in Venice, this is the one that spoke to me. It was a dark space, yet light, it offered a cool, quiet moment in the melee of the city. More Information...


San Giovanni in Venere No. 20 50@50 - this is a monastery in Fossacesia, Abruzzo, Italy. The cool cloisters, again, provided another wonderful escape from the high summer heat, their regular architectural spacing offers a reassuring rhythm. This is a great location to appreciate perspective within drawing and you can see how I use perspective in the construction of my composition. The tree is a powerful motif in the foreground - occupying all its space. The light and life in the stone work glows with pinks and peaches: it has a warming radiance. More information...


Fabriano, paper sky No. 47 50@50 The day I visited the central Italian city of Fabriano, the sky was so strong in the sky, so blue, so rich...at first glance my representation of graphic sky is flat and stark, however closer inspection illustrates the movement in the surface of stitches, resulting in a delicate distortions. This is possibly the boldness and most minimal of the 50@50 compositions. It has clarity and purpose - the negative space through the skyline dominates and presents 3 distinct areas through the piece. The complimentary colours between buildings and sky, hold the attention and offer a POP More Information...


You can see more of the 50@50 Collection HERE. 2 pieces will be exhibited at Art of Embroidery Bankside Gallery, London 22-27th February 2022 Exhibition details

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