Vicki Clough Curates

Musings on art and life.

Looking West..

Sometimes, when I look over the top of my laptop screen and out the window, I get the most inspiring view.

Where I live is pretty rural, so the immediate landscape is somewhat dull, with the occasional pheasant in the field behind my house, or horse trotting down the lane in the middle distance. If I turn my gaze upwards however,  the entire context of the view before me changes. I’m in a unique position to be able to see the flight paths of planes coming and going from both Leeds and Manchester airports. Now, I know that this is not something that a lot of people would consider “lucky”, but for someone who loves romantic notions as much as I do, this view has provided me with hours of dream time.

The contrails of the planes sometimes create these incredible patterns and “ribbons” in the sky, they linger for long after the jet has disappeared in the distance, they stretch and distort, move, and eventually dissipate into nothingness. Very occasionally, the setting sun will paint the sky a lovely orange, and the ribbons of contrail will turn beautifully bright, becoming a highlight of light across the horizon. These are my favourite times, and sometimes, I imagine that I am on that plane, speeding off into the distant sunset, with all those wonderful strangers in our pressurised, human sized sardine can.

One day last winter, I was so inspired that I decided to photograph the sky from my window. They’re not the most interesting of images, most of the time, and I find that photographs I take can never do the sunsets I can see the justice they deserve, but I can never help musing to myself about those planes. Where are they going? Where have they been? What are the chances that I know someone on one of them?

 I am working on developing these images into a series of photo transfer embroideries. I want to use pearlised white, gold, copper and bronze thread and lace to highlight the wispy, fine  nature of these stunning, man made ribbons across the sky. I’m just waiting on a shipment of transfer paper…

Ribbons across the sky, Winter 2011/12

These two were obviously taken around the same time.. I actually got about 4 or 5 good pictures on this particular day.

Ribbons across the sky #4, Winter 2011/12

Orange and gold thread for this one, definitely.

Ribbons across the sky #6, Winter 2011/12

I love the grey in this one. If I remember correctly, it had been freakishly warm that day.

Ribbons across the sky #7, Winter 2011/12

I think I might like to rename this one. Something including silver linings..

Ribbons across the sky #10, Winter 2011/12

And this one was actually taken this morning…

Ribbons across the sky #13, Autumn 2012


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This entry was posted on November 18, 2012 by in Art, My Own work, Photography and tagged , , , , .
Vicki Clough

Vicki Clough

Vicki is an independent curator and craftsperson with a focus on socially engaged and participatory art and events. In January 2016 she helped launch Reconstructing Resilience, a research and curatorial project that explored various forms of sustainable practice. As a freelance curator she has worked with the Riverdale Hub, Myseum of Totonto/Art Spin and was the Curatorial Director of Figment Toronto from 2014 to 2017. She has also co-curated exhibitions including JAYU's iAM photography project (2016 & 2017), Move to Stillness, for the Harbourfront Centre's Kick Up Your Heels Festival (2015), The Duel, AGO First Thursdays (2014), and What Are You Made Of? OCAD U Graduate Gallery (2013). She initiated the Toronto based workshop model and website Polymers in Action: Socially Engaged Art and the Environment as part of her studies at OCAD University, where she obtained her Master of Fine Arts degree in Criticism and Curatorial Practice. She publishes on anything that interests her deeply and moves her to the point of lengthy verbal expression.

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