Updated: Nov 14, 2021
Firstly a big welcome to our new blog on our re-designed website which was desperately needed to reflect new directions within our creative practice. To explain these new directions it would be prudent first to ask who is Wylde Oake Artistry? As stated on our 'About' page I am Jane M Murdock and am the creative half of the practice and I guess the 'face' of the business - the artist/textile practitioner. The other half of Wylde Oake is my partner in life/fiance who runs the administrative side. Wylde Oake has its origins in my own childhood - a 7 year old with a dream to become an artist but who learnt to sew at her mother's knee and before I can clearly remember. My late mother was a master of all trades in terms of differing sewing techniques from embroidery to needlepoint to home furnishings, dressmaking and knitting with the one exception being crochet - her preference was for knitting which resulted in many pretty jumpers for me. These varied skills instilled a deep love of all things stitch related and taking my lead from Mum I wanted to take dressmaking and sewing to O level but sadly my school only had 2 of us with the same desire - not knowing what else I wanted to do lead me to secretarial work but with always having stitch in some form ongoing in my spare time. Fast forward 30+ years and Wylde Oake's origins began, albeit with a differing name and with a focus in its earliest stages on quilting - a deep seated need to turn my passion into my life was eventually satisfied with the support of my fiance who became my business partner. The name changed from its originating form simply due to finding a beautiful ancient wild oak who reminded me of the oak that my 7 year old childhood bedroom once looked upon. In addition the same year I started to study, for a BA Honours degree in textiles, we manage to sprout an acorn which is now a healthy sapling. It just seemed right time to make the change particularly as my evolving stitch journey was being so heavily informed by nature with a primary focus on natural decay that has been a pervading influence.
So that is who we are and the origins of Wylde Oake but what about the redesign? It has come about due primarily to having recently completed the aforementioned distant learning part time BA Honours in Textiles - at the time of writing my final mark is nervously awaited. I am also now embarking on a distant learning MA in Fine Art as I wanted to develop my professional practice on a more in-depth level enabling further exploration into techniques, materials, new influences etc created by within an academic framework albeit one which works directly alongside Wylde Oake. The undergraduate degree also pushed me in terms of presentation skills forcing to me consider a more simplified and elegant format - my much laughed at 'thrown everything including the kitchen sink' sampling, working and presentation days were reigned in courtesy of my studies and some very patient tutors!
And now what do we actually do?
As stated in the 'About' section, and I quote myself directly, current themes explore issues surrounding body dysmorphia in the human figure, with a concentration on the female form, due to the pressures of
social media and modern life - socio-cultural influences again pervade through my work. These themes have meshed together influences as varied as historic undergarments and research, the concept of the idealisation of the figure and the beauty of decay encompassing the ageing body, nature or dilapidated architecture. The resulting collaboration of the themes, techniques and influences enables me to produce work that is delicate, fragile, bold or strong with a concentration on form, colour and the play of light creating emotional responses and conversation.
This figurative work is however being more directly aimed at exhibiting opportunities including British Quilt and Stitch Village in April 2022.
The Covid pandemic and lockdown has also lead to the exploration and development of art textile wall art pieces for marketable purposes - again a focus on decay in nature through the observation of faded flowers and curling leaves within my own garden. Our lives are often so busy we forget to look at what is within sight of our own household windows or simply what is beneath our feet as we walk in nearby woods. I am very much interested in these almost hidden worlds - the fungi on decaying logs that our eye casts a cursory glaze at but not really taking in the delicacy of tone or form or the beauty of skeleton leaves and petals that create abstracted forms with muted tones that are often more beautiful than when in full bloom. These simple influences of what is not just within my locality but on my door step are supplemented too by a love of dilapidated architecture and ruins - the type that are being reclaimed by nature with moss, lichen, fungi or any number of plants growing through and over them. Show me an ancient wooden door or room with peeling faded paint and my mind wanders to wonder about the lives that once lived within that room or who passed through that door as my eyes see the faded beauty of the colours or grain of the wood. Throughout my work I often use this natural decay as metaphors and narratives to portray contemporary issues - such as the aforesaid body dysmorphia through the incorporation too of historic undergarments and bodily concepts. I also though use the decaying forms in a more literal manner to create mixed media wall art that speaks of the beauty in decay.
So this is who we are, our origins and what we do. From hereon in this blog will be a mixture of diary inserts, observations on the day, general thoughts seeking to detail investigations, what we are up to including updates on my MA studies and often images taken on field trips and also a developing art journal - the latter is something I have been trying to get going as I am wanting a 'warm up' exercise to the day that allows for free exploration of art media and materials. I don't necessarily want there to be a set format or subject but rather a blog that speaks of the evolution of Wylde Oake particular in this strange time we live in with ongoing pandemic and new world into which we will emerge.