Haarlem Periodical

Geoff Diego Litherland

Woven / Ground

For over 3 years Litherland has been redefining his artistic practice and creating material connections to his immediate environment through his work. The slow processes of growing flax and weaving handwoven linen to paint on have changed his approach to painting, enabling him a new way to explore variations between order and chaos, digital and analogue, macro and micro. A similar process of which he has also started to use in music.

Having been inspired by his residency with Full Grown Litherland’s current work is in collaboration with textile designer Angharad McLaren and explores the relationship between hand-made linen canvas and painting.

In a field in Derbyshire they prepared the ground, sowed and nurtured a crop of flax plants, which was then harvested and retted so the fibre could be processed into hand-spun linen yarn. This was hand woven into a patterned linen canvas, which was primed and painted on by the artist.

Weaving and painting become investigative tools that explore the value of labour, locality, materials and their relationships to concepts, both historical and contemporary of inter-connectivity between nature and us. Context and meaning are woven and painted within the surface.

Angharad McLaren — Preparing the field

Haarlem Artspace podcast no.14 is an interview between film maker Gavin Repton and Geoff Diego Litherland, and delves deeper into the ideas, motivations and obstacles in realising the work. The podcast features various tracks of music from Woven / Ground Litherland’s new album.

Every process involved has an influence on the final outcome of the paintings. The work explores the relationship between the patterned woven canvas and ‘ground’, here having parallel, interconnected meanings: the historical ground of a painting, which is the mid-tone wash of colour that an image emerges from; the ground that cultivated the flax / canvas; the pigments that come from the ground to make paint; and the visual representation of the ground the artist has trodden.

The woven canvas patterns have been designed using interlocking circular and geometric shapes, derived from honey-comb and other repetitive patterns found in nature. The patterns act as both a metaphor for inter-connectivity and through their very structure, are a material embodiment of it.

Somewhere in Between Oil on handwoven patterned linen canvas 32cm x 38cm 2019

Woven / Ground

Like his current artistic practice, the music has been made in collaboration with others and is inspired by his natural surroundings.

The music started off by transposing the weave patterns Litherland had been using in his paintings into acoustic guitar motifs and chord progressions. These formed a structural fabric for further layers of piano, guitar, synths, field recordings and loom sampled percussion to inhabit. Christopher John Thornhill added expansive atmospheric bowed acoustic guitars, violas, synths and loops to all the tracks. The album also features the vocals of Patrick Shannon Whelan, Robert Squirrell on trumpet, Angharad McLaren reading a text by Christopher John Thornhill and a sample from the film 1968 16mm film Painting, The Creative Process.

The music is indebted to and inspired to the sonic landscapes that Litherland usually listens to while painting. The generative ambient music of Eno and Budd, the process led minimalism of Reich and Reilly, the eclecticism of Chicago post-rock and a nod to Miles Davis. All these combine to create an intricate and layered sonic journey that opens out on each listen.

The album is made up of 6 tracks, each of which merge seamlessly into the next. A slow concept album that seeks to bring us closer to the subtleties of the natural world around us.

The music was made to be a soundtrack for walking in the woods or making in the studio.

Woven / Ground

Album artwork, publication & download

20-page full colour printed on recycled paper

Includes a new text by Christopher John Thornhill, images and notes about the work and processes by Geoff Diego Litherland.

+ Unique music download code

Edition of 100

£10

Available now

Woven / Ground

Special edition boxed version

Includes a handwoven linen sample of the four different weave patterns used in the music.

20-page full colour printed on recycled paper

Includes a new text by Christopher John Thornhill, images and notes about the work and processes by Geoff Diego Litherland.

+ Unique music download code

Edition of 30

£30

Release date Dec 2020

Available to pre-order