Sunday, September 6, 2009


For those colours which you wish to be beautiful,
always first prepare a pure white ground.

Leonardo Da Vinci

I always find that when I put something against white I can see it more clearly. Not only the object's colour but also it's form. I have been looking at a number of different things to help me prepare for a new body of work. At the moment I am mostly looking at objects. This looking invariably leads me to looking also at colour, and then material. In my work I find that I work a lot with white and black, colour is mostly introduced as small details. Sometimes I find different colours say too much too quickly and leaves little space for further discovery, hence the use of a reduced palette.

Here is a selection of whites, or even non whites!, but the materials somehow lead to an understanding of white all the same.

Cotton, embroidered with silk and edged with cotton bobbin lace
Russia 1800s

Pair of pockets
Silk, hand-sewn with silk thread, and silk ribbon
England ca. 1760

Gold, enamelled in black and white
Toutin, Jean
France c.1620

Gilt wood with moulded white lead pastiglia decoration
Venice ca. 1510

natural octahedron green diamond crystal
Europe 1800-1869

Muslin with decorative stitching made of gold thread
Great Britain, 1816-1821

Ivory or shell carving under rock crystal
Europe 1750-1800

Mother of pearl, pierced, carved and gilded
France, mid 18th century

Cotton, embroidered with cotton and muga silk thread
Lucknow, India, late 19th century

Jug, rock crystal
Egypt 1080-1100

if you click on images you can see more detail
all images from the Victoria and Albert Museum