After over six months work preparing my textile art impression of ‘Penjerrick Walk in thirty years time’, I am so pleased to say that my work is finally in National Trust Bodnant Garden’s hands!!
My picture represents an avenue of white Rhododendrons called ‘Penjerrick’ in Furnace Wood, Bodnant and how it will hopefully look in maturity in thirty years time. The original rhododendrons were planted by the garden’ owner Henry McLaren, the second Lord Aberconwy in the 1920’s, but sadly this area died back over the years and only slightly now remains. Furnace Wood is the most recent part of Bodnant Garden to be opened to the general public in Spring 2017 and already there is evidence of restoration of the walkway, with young plants growing that have been cloned from the existing rhododendrons still growing elsewhere in the garden.
I felt honoured to have the chance to make a piece of textile art that will be on show in the Garden for a number of years. An artist impression had already been produced, but this was felt to be unsuitable for exhibiting being too small. After showing Bodnant my drawing (see below), my textile started out from my usual method of painting on a cotton sheet using thickened dyes. I could have carried on adding extra areas of painted flowers to the sheet, but as one of the criterion of the Commission Brief was to have a 3d effect, I decided to add natural felt which I discovered could be dyed!
Felt also had the advantage of being able to be cut out without the fabric fraying, which would be particularly good for cutting detail on the ‘3d’ areas.
I then set about painting the natural felt shapes with the idea of applying them to the individual areas on my design..this did not turn out quite how I expected as when washing and drying the felt they stretched out of shape and I ended up applying them by cutting them up and moving bits around like a strange shaped jigsaw to get the right effects!! Talk about a learning curve!! After finally adding each piece, I also applied free machine and hand embroidery for extra details.
My plan for the overall finished piece of work was to have plenty of perspective and depth, like you were actually walking into the image, so the final piece of felt to be added needed to have more detailed larger and closer flowers.
I painted this area onto a single piece of natural felt hoping to apply this to the background, but like the other pieces, I ended up cutting it up to fit right stitching pieces on top of each other!
As said before, it was an honour to do this piece of work and I feel my legacy to the Garden…it was also a very big learning curve for me too, which I hope will help me with future pieces of work!