Tag Archives: art

Artist’s profile: Elisabeth Couloigner

Boredom inspires all sorts of creativity, and so it was that I came across this French artist while idly browsing pinterest boards. I saw a number of images which were heavy in calligraphic forms and gestural lines, so looked into her a little more. She describes her practice as an exploration of the material and composition of the space offered by the medium – as an emotional and suggestive language.

“Above all, and always, there is the look at the world around, the precise listening to perceptions that question physical reality and sensuous reality. Playing with ladders, identifying analogies, making matches. 

Observe the outside world, and learn about its inner world. Confront the two in the formal game of composition. Coexist. Separate and bind, establish passages, breaches, ascensional movements, lines of communication, areas of interaction. Gather reassemble fragments and unify them into a harmonious whole. Use imbalances to create new balances. Transpose, extract, sublimate. Then, give a concrete existence to perceptions, transpose them. Shaping optical relief, giving sensoriality to matter.”

Many of her works are pure explorations of composition through material textures, line and colours. These are a selection of pages from ongoing work in sketchbooks, “I’m Searching”.

As well as the rich painted backgrounds, she also has a few more open, more heavily calligraphic works, which I very much liked, and reminded me a little of mine…




Playing with asemics

I have been slowly working on another piece of map weaving, based on experiments I did last February. 12 months ago already! I started in the new year, and have been struggling to get motivated to get it finished – it is a meticulous and laborious process of cutting, twisting and twining. Right now I am not enjoying the process as much as I did last summer – it’s just not speaking to where I am right now. What I keep coming back to instead are two older drawing themes: 1) working with stream of consciousness poetry and asemic text and 2) the ideas of anachronism (feeling out of place). I start drawing to warm up the creative juices and don’t ever get around to doing the weaving.

One of the key things my MA study showed me is that I believe art must come from your self, not your head. I’m not going to spend time developing something ‘just because it might sell’. I don’t need to get money from my art (I am going back to work in an office). Instead, I want to freedom to express the things I want to in the way that I want to. At the moment, this is through pen and ink.



My current fixation is back on playing with layering of fragments of poetry, using a range of different media to experiment with the textures and quality of the pigment.

I would like to turn these experiments into a series of different textures expressing different aspects of my poetry. Should I use of specific poem, or just the fragments which resonate at the time? I’ve never worked on properly resolving a drawing project before, so this will be an interesting adventure.

I’m also working on a sketchbook writings project – looking at creating a stream of consciousness piece every day (or at least most days….), playing with the expression of mood through the calligraphic form. Yesterday’s poem was a bit like the weather:


It’s nice to be back at the drawing table.

“Time is the longest distance between two places”

I have a very exciting reason to resurrect this lonely unloved blog out of cyber-obscurity!  In re-reading what has come before, I am amazed at how fast time has past – 2 years – since I last updated these pages.  So much has changed, and so much has happened.  The world feels a very different place then when I was last here.

Since my last post in June 2012 I did indeed finish my 10 week course at City Lit, having a fun and sometimes frustrating time getting to grips with the basics of textile colouring and mark making.  Louise Baldwin was a great teacher – I’m not sure how good a student I was!  On completing that course, I went on to sign up for City & Guilds Level 3 certificate (patchwork & quilting), which I am now, 2 years later, on the final assignments already.  Wow!  I would have liked to share that journey, as the C&G course has been great, and my tutor Janice Gunner is such a good teacher.  However, life gets in the way, and the pressure of doing the course alongside what turned out to be a unbelievably stressful job just became too much.

With my experiences over the last two years I have vowed to take better care of myself, my health and sanity above all else.  How can you take care of your family, if you can’t look after yourself first?  I am simply seeking happiness and fulfillment, and I have finally accepted that I ain’t going to find that in a corporate 8 – 6 job greasing whatever greasy poles need to be greased.  So!  The big new then, is that I quit – walked away, moved on and up and am doing something for MYSELF.  I have no idea where I will end up, but I know where I am today – and as Heisenburg’s uncertainty principle dictates: that’s all you can ever know with certainty.

This week I enrolled at one of London’s finest Art Colleges: Camberwell College of Art, part of UAL.  Full time study on the MA Visual Arts: Designer Maker.  I could not have dreamed when I started this blog that I would end up here!  This blog will become my reflective journal as I go through the course.  I hope any readers find some interest in sharing my journey.  It will undoubtedly be an adventure!

Happy stitching xx


Design basics 1 – exploring a theme

A few weeks ago, I started a textiles courses at City Lit focused on colour and pattern.  It has been a great eye-opener!  Through that and the directed study I’ve been doing as ‘homework’ I’ve been learning a lot about the basics of design.  It’s bit of a pandora’s box, as I’ve now got a list of things to look into and learn which never seems to stop.  I’ll be creating a series of posts on design basics to share as I learn more. So we have to start somewhere – and that somewhere is an idea, or a seed of an idea for you to develop.

Exploring a theme

The first technique we were shown at City Lit was mind-mapping.  As a former management consultant, this sits very well in my brain, as I’ve used this endlessly in workshops as a brainstorming technique. The idea is pretty simple – you start with a central idea (this could just be a word or a few words). From this idea, you identify a number of main ideas which branch out from the centre. These can be whatever comes to mind that is connected with your central idea. Each new word can spawn new connections and idea which can branch out in an infinite number of ways.  Connections and themes will very soon start to emerge from your map.

Angelique's mind map

Central idea for my trees mind map

If you’re a very visual person you’ll get on well with mind-mapping, some people love them and others just never quite get them! If you want to see some great mind maps, which are almost an art form in themselves, check out this site which I came across: http://www.mindmapinspiration.com/

We were given our course theme for this term as Tree, Root & Branch

There are so many ways to interpret this!!  I tried following two things – one capturing how trees appear in nature throughout the seasons and two – picking up on the mythology and symbology of trees in English folklore.  Just starting very simply with the obvious things (roots, branches, seeds…) the map turned out pretty interesting and not at all how I expected!

My trees mind-map

Once you start to see patterns in what you’ve come up with, some themes to explore may start to jump out at you.  I found two things which I started to colour in on my mind-map. First one was leaves and canopies – the idea of the dappled light which you see on a sunny day in the woods. The second was the Wicker Man – fire, fire burning bright!  Great inspiration!

In my next ‘design basics’ post, I’ll show you the technique of thematic postcards, as a great way of expanding your ideas with colours, textures and patterns.

Happy stitching,