My sister lives on a lovely slice of countryside on the Norfolk / Suffolk border. Her husband farms pigs and arable crops. Photos I took whilst on farm walks with them proved to be the perfect subject matter for the most recent Nolitex exhibition Engineered (at The Village, Church Farm), interpretations of our industrial and agricultural heritage. Our Nolitex group is made up of mixed media and textile artists and we exhibit new work every two years approximately, the next exhibition will be next year, but more of that in months to come.
These little studies are in watercolour, and I knew I wanted to translate them into polymer clay, so I designed them with that in mind, and drew everything out to the size I wanted my finished pieces to be. I have to admit that the hills you see are extreme exaggerations of the countryside around the farm (it being Norfolk!), but the old machinery is a mix of things I saw there and at Church Farm, Skegness where they have a wonderful collection of old tractors etc.
My polymer clay technique is a mixture of inlay, mosaic and painting with clay, along with canes and Skinner blends. That lovely old tractor can be found at Church Farm.
The funny arrow thing in the middle of this one is taken from an impressively enormous and high tech bit of kit my brother in law uses, but don’t ask me what it was, I can’t remember. All I know was that it was satellite controlled and I just liked the shapes. There were lots of them on this particular machine. Screw heads are everywhere on both the old and the new machinery.
Everywhere I looked there seemed to be wheels and cogs of different sorts, so I have used one to frame a view. The trees and shadows are painted on with smears of polymer clay. The lettering seemed very appropriate as it not only refers to the word Sutton pierced into some metal work on another bit of kit I don’t know the name of (you can tell I am not a farmer!), but also to the polymer clay technique of Sutton Slice.
Characterful old tractors, badges and lamps just had to be recorded, as did the iconic tyres that are seen on every tractor. The colour for the tyre came out of a photo that captured deep purples and blues in the massive piece of rubber. Some of those tractor tyres are humongous, way taller than I am.
After piecing my pictures together, they all got the texture treatment to mitigate any unintentional shine; I didn’t think a glossy look was in keeping with my subject matter. Each one has it’s own textured background board (they are all different) in painted box frames measuring 10″ sq.
I learnt a lot about the best way to construct these pictures, and I think I will be revisiting this technique in the future.
If you fancy visiting my sister’s part of the world, she has two lovely self catering appartments in the old Victorian farmhouse at Park Farm, and you get to see all her amazing sculptures that she makes – she is very talented.