Amanda Hislop has been teaching at Ardington School since its inception and lives nearby, so she knows the local area and beauty spots very well. This appreciation of the outdoors translates so perfectly into her mixed media work, which offers the viewer new perspectives on land, sea and treescapes. Her work is complex, and while she had a quiet moment between visitors at Ardington Artweeks this month, I managed to ask her more about how she puts her pieces together.
Talk me through the process involved in your work?
Amanda generally starts with a completely fresh piece of muslin or calico as a background; then she layers pieces of paper onto that surface and glues them with a cellulose paste. She traps fragments of found materials between the layers. These could include leaves, threads, fabrics and other plant material. This first collaged piece is then left to dry and then Amanda builds up colour through layers of acrylic paint. Thin layers are applied in a watercolour consistency, with texture added using a thicker paint and a palette knife with a delicate touch, to enhance the textures within the piece.
Once this is all dry, Amanda then works onto the piece with stitch. She says ‘stitching has a drawn quality about it – a natural look’. Amanda follows the contours of the layered objects with the stitching, using free machine stitching (see our earlier blog for a description of this technique) in the main. She is now experimenting with hand stitch however and adding bespoke, intricate details to her work in hand stitching in some of her recent explorations.