Monday, 22 August 2016

Rendering With Needle and Thread - Guest Post by Richard McVetis [UK]



Richard_McVetis
Title - 29:59
Materials & technique - Hand stitch on wool / Straight stitch / insertion stitch
Dimensions - 6cm x 6cm x 6cm
2016


As an introvert and a perfectionist, embroidery is more than just about mark making but about taking control and slowing down parts of my day. It’s become a recharge point where I can collect my thoughts and take time out. It also allows for an intimate relationship with the work.  

Richard_McVetis
Title - Units of Time (detail)
Materials & technique - Hand stitch on wool / Seed stitch / Straight stitch / Insertion stitch
Dimensions - 6cm x 6cm x 6cm each cube / Total – 18cm x 20cm x 12cm
2015

















The introduction to embroidery was an accident. It was a visit to the open day of an Embroidery degree at Manchester Metropolitan University that really opened my mind to the broad sense of embroidery as medium for expression. What attracted me to this place was the chance to learn one of world’s oldest crafts whilst exploiting the contemporary possibilities of this medium at the same time. The diversity and exploration of the medium was liberating. 


Richard_McVetis
Title – Light Abstraction Mid-East
Materials & technique - Hand stitch on wool / Seed stitch
Dimensions - 47cm x 47cm
2015


My need to explore I think stems from my childhood and the things I was able to experience and see. In 1982 my parents immigrated to South Africa, and the following year I was born. As a white child in apartheid South Africa everything was normal and I knew no other way of life, in reflection it’s hard to believe that we were part of that system. Since leaving in 1992 I have always tried to ask questions, to not except the normal and through art understand my purpose. This has given rise to many opportunities to live in different countries, Iceland, Norway and Spain to name a few. All of which have contributed to my outlook, inclusivity and aesthetic.  
 

Richard_McVetis
Title – Proportions of a Male Figure (detail )
Materials & technique - Hand stitch on wool
Dimensions – 53cm x 70cm
2011


My artistic practice centres on my training as an embroiderer through the use of traditional hand stitch techniques and mark making. Laboured and meticulously worked wools, multiples of embroidered dots and crosses explore the similarities between pen on paper and thread on fabric. I use a limited vocabulary of mark making and deliberately subdue the colour to create a binary simplicity.

After Manchester I then headed to The Royal College of Art to do an MA in Textiles. My tutor was artist Freddie Robins. She was supportive and allowed us to discover our own paths; challenging me to think about my own practice. I was fortunate to have great tutors at the RCA and Manchester. All of who still provide me with inspiration and motivation to pursue a life in art. My time at the RCA was a challenge but so valuable and enjoyable, I was able to explore the scale of my work and think more about my use materials.  
  

Richard_McVetis
Title - Light Abstraction NYC
Materials &technique - Hand stitch on wool / Seed stitch
Dimensions – 47cm x 47cm
2015
 






















As a child the medium I had most access to, was pen and paper. I would create entire worlds on the back pages of my school exercise book, building and destroying futuristic cities with a black ballpoint pen. The miniature scale of these worlds I created is a key element in the understanding and organising of space that I have now. I found this method of drawing with black ink to be very satisfying and my interest in this continued right through to high school and college. One inspiring book I remember particularly well and one to which I refer to on many occasions is Van Nostrands ‘Manual of Rendering With Pen and Ink’. I loved the idea that with pen and ink you were able to explore and create different subtleties in texture and materials. 
 

Richard_McVetis
Title - 29:59
Materials & technique - Hand stitch on wool / Straight stitch / insertion stitch
Dimensions - 6cm x 6cm x 6cm
2016
 






















Embroidery for me has become an extension of this exploration of surface through rendering.  Substituting the ink for thread and the paper for fabric.  The subtle dimension of stitch continues to fascinate me. When I’m stitching I’m endeavoring to recreate the flatness of pen on paper. 
 

Richard_McVetis
Title - Units of Time
Materials & technique - Hand stitch on wool / Seed stitch / Straight stitch / Insertion stitch
Dimensions – 6cm x 6cm x 6cm each cube / Total – 18cm x 20cm x 12cm
2015
 

















Today, my work reflects a preoccupation with process and its ritualistic, repetitive nature exploring the subtle differences that emerge within the repetition process. In addition, mapping out space, marking time and form are central themes. My most recent series of work ‘Units of Time’ is an enquiry into the way time and place are felt, experienced and constructed. Ideas are often developed in response to, or created specific to a moment, visualising and making time a tactile and tangible object. The pieces created explore how objects, materials and places through the action of hands bear witness to the passing of time.
 

Richard_McVetis
Title – My Grey Pencil Case
Materials & technique - Hand stitch on canvas
Dimensions – 22cm x 39cm
2008




















This dimension of time within textiles is also evident in earlier works ‘My Grey Pencil Case’ traces the movement of my body over a period of a few years, unpicking the seams of the pencil case to reveal a drawing on the inner surface, pens and pencils secretly recording the rhythms of daily life. ‘Five o’clock Shadow’ is a more obvious record of a specific moment, capturing the shadow of my partner on a sunny parquet floor in Madrid. The title also references the invisibility of time, revealed only through the processes of our bodies.
 

Richard_McVetis
Title – Five o’clock shadow
Materials & technique - Hand stitch on wool / Straight stitch
Dimensions – 19cm x 19cm
2013






















Many of the patterns that inspire me happen to be the ones that are very rarely noticed. These patterns are part of your everyday, a place you pass routinely, the metal tread of a station entrance or the shadow created by the morning sun light. Taking notice of these, removing them from their context, elevating the mundane to a higher status. London, the city I now live in, is full of these moments, beautiful and unnoticed. These moments are punctuations of time; slowing me down in what it quite a fast paced way of life. Through embroidery I try to capture these moments. The embroidered cubes, the compositions, constellations and arrangements that I create, directly reference the urban grid and my transient relationship to the built-up environment. 
 

Richard_McVetis
Title - Units of Time - Formation II
Materials & technique - Hand stitch on wool
Dimensions - 6cm x 6cm x 6cm each cube
2015

This year sees further exploration of my embroidered cubes. I’m excited by their architectural characteristics and the possibilities they have to affect a large space. When grouped and arranged in constellations the cubes take on a whole new dimension.  To explore this further I have begun work on my most ambitious piece of work that I will present next year at Collect 2017: The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects as part of the Collect Open in partnership with the Crafts Council. This piece draws inspiration from the work of artist Sol Lewitt and the systems we employ to measure time. My aim for this new work is to show time and form as both logical and playful, as an ever-present invisible force. This work also demonstrates my continuing obsessive drive to make.



Richard McVetis is a British artist-maker, known for his meticulously embroidered drawings and objects. Since his training in the traditional process of embroidery at The Royal College of Art, he has been exploring his pre-occupation with process and its ritualistic and repetitive nature for over ten years.

Richard is based at Kingsgate Workshops, West Hampstead, London. His work has been exhibited across the UK, North America, France, Ukraine and Korea.

More of his work can be seen on his website: http://www.richardmcvetis.co.uk/
 

 




3 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for this never-heard-of wonder ! warmest regards

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  2. Thanks so much for this never-heard-of wonder ! warmest regards

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    Replies
    1. Hi Guillaume, am so glad you enjoyed reading through Richard's post. Apologies for the delayed response. best wishes Gopika

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