Natural and Man-Made Thorns

Bramble thorns and barbed wire – both are effective means of protection!

Barbed wire has been both a feature and a theme in my work as an artist for many years now. The idea to try including barbs within the weave of my tapestries came from my need to represent something of the tension I felt whilst listening to the peace talks in Northern Ireland back in the late 1990s. Having grown up in Belfast during the 60s and 70s, it seemed to me to be the perfect material to represent conflict as my memory is of there being so much of it around at the time.

The first people to see the first tapestries I wove that incorporated barbed wire, did not think of it as representing conflict except in terms of texture – the soft wool of the weft and the hard sharpness of the barbs. They were living in the local rural community of SE Wales and only thought of barbed wire as a material for use in farming.

Metaphor or not, for me the barbs still represent conflict and although that theme in my work has broadened over the years, it is still a fact that the hard, sharp material of spikes, either man-made or natural, are there to protect one thing against another where there is a conflict of interests.

I have included a photo of one of my earlier tapestries from this thematic period – if you would like to see more examples of my work, please visit Design Fibre ICT at www.acmd.co.uk

Bramble Thorns

barbed wire

Tapestry Weaving and barbed wire

Tenses 4 – photograph by David Wibberly

More examples of my tapestry weaving can be seen at www.acmd.co.uk

Art and Architecture in Belfast

You will have to watch this weeks featured video to see more of the architecture of Belfast than is shown in the image below.

And the art? Some is intentional and some coincidental. Either way, how you look at something will affect how you see it. How you see something will affect how you understand it – and its possibilities!

Belfast Architecture

Art on a Belfast wall

Belfast Sculpture

River Lagan, Belfast

 

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “City Walk” which features Belfast, Northern Ireland on Boxing Day. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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Bridging the Gap – Reflections on Time

It is a few years now since I was last in Belfast but the images I am posting this week from my StillWalks video “City Walk” still stand as a fair representation of Belfast on Boxing Day in Northern Ireland.

Over the years the city has changed as any city does with new architectural developments. There are, however, aspects of all cities that remain for longer and in doing so help to set the character of the place. One such spot in Belfast for me is the Albert Bridge. Being next to Central Station, it was the starting point for visiting the city on foot and in my case, walking to college.

Albert Bridge, Belfast

Albert Bridge, Belfast

River Lagan, Belfast

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “City Walk” which features Belfast, Northern Ireland on Boxing Day. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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Peace in the City

There are not many places these days that take a break at any time of the year. Belfast, however, is one city where you can find it relatively quiet on Boxing Day. Unless things have changed in the last few years, the shops would not have opened and the sales would not have started.

That does not mean there is no activity but as you can see from the first photo below, the streets are not crammed with traffic jams and crowds of people rushing all over the place. There’s nothing like taking a little time out once in a while!

Happy New Year everyone 🙂

Belfast Street, Boxing Day

City Hall, Belfast

City Hall, Belfast

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “City Walk” which features Belfast, Northern Ireland on Boxing Day. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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City Walk – Belfast Boxing Day

Heading for the 2014, I have picked out one of my earliest StillWalks videos to feature this week and will post some of the stills from it as well. These images are not currently available and are in fact screen shots from the HD video.

“City Walk” features Belfast, Northern Ireland on Boxing Day a few years ago. Belfast being the place I grew up, I have always loved it. Unfortunately I don’t get to visit very often these days.

These two shots are of the River Lagan and the scene is in walking distance of the City Centre!

City Walk - River Lagan

City Walk - River Lagan

You can use the Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “City Walk” which features Belfast, Northern Ireland on Boxing Day. Click the image below to watch the video. DVD Collections are available to order in the StillWalks Shop.

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Looking for Christmas Presents?

Order StillWalks DVD Collection 1 or 2 for a beautiful set of relaxing StillWalks videos or order your own choice of StillWalks videos on DVD with your own message.

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Collection 1 features seven walks in South Wales. Collection 2 features eight walks from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Existing DVDs – £11.99 each.

Order a bespoke collection of your choice of 4 or 8 StillWalks videos. These can be authored in PAL or NTSC standards (see below). Bespoke DVD collections are produced with a unique disc label and cover which can include a special message if required.

Four StillWalks videos of your choice on DVD – £45.00, eight videos – £75.00.

Prices do not include p&p.

NB – Existing DVDs are available in the PAL standard. These DVDs may be watched on any computer but they will not play on a TV in certain countries where the NTSC standard is used, such as the USA. Click here for a list of countries using PAL and NTSC standards.

Dragonfly Environments

Following on from my weekend posts on the Countryside Connections dragonfly and damselfly hunt at Three Crosses community woodland, these photos are about the environment in which we found the creatures.

The pictures say almost everything about the kind of environment you are likely to find dragonflies but every time I see these wonderful creatures, I am reminded of another environment.

During my childhood in Northern Ireland we had regular visits to a cottage in the Annalong Valley of the Mourne Mountains. The riverbed of the Annalong River was pretty dry a lot of the time because the water was diverted to the Silent Valley reservoir, but it was a perfect place for dragonflies and my memories of those days, playing among the rocks and boulders of the river, are marked by the fantastic colours of the numerous dragonflies that also enjoyed that environment.

Visit the StillWalks website for videos and more

Images are available for sale on the StillWalks Photography website.

When is a video not a video?

When it’s a DVD! It seems some people have been confused as to what they will get if they click the buy now button to get a StillWalks video. The lesson to me – never make assumptions!

If you buy a video or videos on StillWalks, you will be sent a link to allow you to download and play those videos on your computer or mobile device.

You will only receive a DVD (containing eight StillWalk videos) if you click to buy one of the DVD collections.

The sample video below is “City Walk” and takes place on Boxing Day in Belfast in Northern Ireland. Click the Buy Now button to go direct to the list of StillWalks in Winter and select it and/or any others you would like. Don’t forget to also select the size you would like for each StillWalks video.

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A frosty walk through Belfast, Northern Ireland on Boxing Day. This is a low resolution 2:30 minute sample of this StillWalks video. The full video is 5:38 minutes and is best viewed in high definition (HD).

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Buy now to download and enjoy full length and high quality. Please complete the form on the Buy Now page to buy this video and other Winter StillWalks. Please also read the Purchases notice below the form.

Honesty – Seed of Memory

I tried taking photos of our Honesty plants some weeks ago but was not happy with the results – the evening light gave a colour cast that, when seen in the images, did not look natural. Now the plants have been moved to a more suitable spot in the garden and the dry seed heads were laid out on a table.

Why Seed of Memory? Because Honesty is a plant that always brings back memories for me of our garden in Northern Ireland when I was young. My mother must have talked about it and the name, being an easy one to remember, has stuck in my mind and is now associated with a time in my life when it was not only in the garden, but also in the house as decorative dry seed heads.

Thinking of this association with memory, I immediately think of one of my all time favourite albums – Seed of Memory by Terry Reid. This too, brings back some strong memories of people and places for me. I’m not sure what the copyright restrictions are for the file below but it is on YouTube and available to buy on that web page.

Seed of Memory by Terry Reid

Honesty seeds 1

Honesty seeds 2

Conflicting Arguments

The theme of “Conflict” in my work began to broaden over the years. My two previous posts (Dialogue and The Conflict of Working with Metal) illustrated my work as it related to a specific situation, that of the troubles and peace talks in Northern Ireland at the turn of the  century.

The conflict in this piece is more personal and more general. The barbs still represent conflict but relate more now to the world stage rather than just Northern Ireland.

By now I have also become more interested in the physically contrasting  textures of the two materials, metal and wool, and how they interact. The pattern in the weave relates to the paper prints you sometimes see of DNA and it is this that relates to the personal element of conflict.

People often ask whether the barbs were inserted during the process of weaving or pushed through afterwards . . . it was the former. The barbs would significantly have damaged the weave if they had been inserted afterwards and, yes, there is blood as well as “sweat and tears” in this as well as other tapestries I have made. Don’t be concerned though, they were only minor scratches (for the most part) and a few rips in clothing!

This work is available for sale – anyone interested should contact me.

Conflicting Arguments

“Conflicting Arguments” 85 x 120 x 10 cms

Conflicting Arguments

“Conflicting Arguments” 85 x 120 x 10 cms

Conflicting Arguments

“Conflicting Arguments” – detail