Chaos has ensued over this last month or so. I have moved house, started a new freelance job and moved studio. The last one is where complications arise: I thought I’d give it a lick of paint and be in there within the week. Chipping away at a damp patch of paint revealed crumbling plaster, which in turn revealed whole chunks of brick falling out of the wall. Less than ideal!
So alongside balancing new work commitments and evening DIY, the piece of embroidery I had underway had been forced to take somewhat of a back seat. However, I was determined to meet the deadline despite the chaos and submit my entry for the ‘Brighton Gin Art Prize’. After all, the potential of winning prize gin was at stake. Who am I to refuse such a chance?
The competition, arranged by the official manufacturers of Brighton GIn, invited artists working in any medium to customize an empty bottle. Of course, embroidery was an obvious choice – see my earlier embroidered bottles here – and thus I set about painstakingly couching down a label of my own design featuring a pin-up girl alongside the slogan ‘Gin – It’s a Glorious Thing’. The historical goldwork technique of ‘or nue’ requires each block of colour to be achieved by working many tiny couching stitches side-by-side over the top of the background green metallic thread, which is laid out in parallel horizontal lines. Time-consuming and tedious!
Even my newly adopted cat couldn’t resist the chance to curiously investigate what I was making, awkwardly tucked into the spare box-room with the corner of my slate frame wedged in the side of the desk whilst lamenting the inaccessibility of my trestle tables and stitching supplies.
Last night marked the opening of the show and the private view in Brighton gallery ‘Brush’, where I had the pleasure of seeing how other artists had interpreted their own entries. I was fortunate to win a runners-up award (in the shape of a bottle of gin) which shall be sitting on my shelf awaiting the celebration for the opening of my studio.
And it would be simply sacrilegious to end this post without noting what fine cocktails Brighton Gin make – the ‘Rocktini’ in particular, featuring a pink stick of Brighton candy rock which imparts a refreshing minty flavour while turning the cocktail bright pink. Embroidery asks perfect teetotal concentration for the most part but I think I’d earned a night off!