Thursday, 26 June 2008

from the wish list

I forgot to mention yesterday this fantastic post card sent to me by my very talented lottery partner Alis, the photograph really doesn't do it justice as the textures are just so scrummy, the colours white and copper are beautiful together - right up my street. Thanks Alis

These two little beauties are an early birthday pressie, naughty really because i couldn't resist opening them and already they are looking 'well thumbed'!

The new Maggie Grey book from Image to Stitch, as mentioned earlier, is just wonderful so jam packed with inspirational ideas. one of those books that makes you want to return to some old design work and re create the images.

The other is 'the art of embroidery' by Francoise Tellier- Loumagne I've coveted this one for ages and it doesn't disappoint. The illustrations taken from the natural world are a delight, the design techniques are new ways for old favourites but what strikes you is that the book oozes quality - definitely a must have.

Cretan Stitch and June Arch Swap

I haven't been doing a lot of stitch lately but continue to be involved with the groups monthly arch swaps and a little fun postcard swap.

June's arch was for my partner Annette and because she left it up to me re: colour and theme I was stumped trying to come up with something different (thinking everyone will be bored to death with the twin needling stuff!) so instead I've taken some painted up crumpled paper (recycled of course), overlaid this with sheer fabrics and free machined with a glitzy thread. The mish - mash design was something from an earlier pen and ink doodling exercise for textile challenges, great fun but i didn't do anything with it then.

It was easy to print it directly to a fine fabric via the printer then stitch following the lines on the back (see Maggie Grey's new book Image to Stitch for in depth instructions- a definite must have).

The whole thing was then blasted with the heat gun before being finished with a little surface embellishment of hand stitches and a few beads here and there.

Since I'd made a fairly decent sized 'sheet of fabric' felt i couldn't waste a scrap of it so made some post cards and a couple of atc's. One of the postcards went to my lovely graphic designer daughter, she'll love the fact it was sent through the post nude. She's watched me making oodles of these over the years but I'm yet to actually send one to her - what a rotten mum.

The second challenge was a hand stitch lottery, the stitch given to me was Cretan and i must admit to having to root through some books as it's so long since I'd tackled this one - shame on me!

There's quite a few variations with this stitch so once i got into the swing i was hooked, so much so i went back to my arch pieces and included the stitch there too. So relaxing was it that I wish now that i had joined in with the 'take a stitch Tuesday' that was so popular last year on a site which i should know but escapes me now! Anyway it has me thinking that i might do my own alphabet of stitches , take it on holiday perhaps. i-pod and hand stitching the perfect duo.

This was the finished little atc. Cretan stitch ( Jan style) on open weave hessian and as I had some lovely dried seed pods which were crying out to be recycled, i thought couching them down would just continue the natural theme. Hope you like it Carol?

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Out and about and a little creativity

On Friday I went up to Birmingham, accompanied by my long suffering husband David who trawls around with me to every gallery and textile exhibition known to man, His mantra to friends: " is that he's off to see some more fog plaiting"! actually he secretly enjoys all of this and feels he's become an accomplished critic over the years - although the jury's still out on that one.
The point of the visit, to see the highly acclaimed open exhibition, Art of the Stitch just before it toured the rest of Europe (it closed yesterday) and I wasn't disappointed - WOW.
There were 54 exhibits and obviously not every one appealed but those that did were the most provocative and innovative that i had seen in a long time.
Photographs were not allowed but David did manage a couple of sneaky one's with his mobile phone, providing me with just an essence for future drooling.
There is an exhibition programme to accompany this eye candy fest but it was sold out, however I was told it can be obtained from:

This isn't one of them, I hasten to add! it's the piece of old battered fencepost that i found when walking the dog in the local park and dragged it home------ just the job for some good old rust dying since the weather has momentarily improved. I've been banned from putting stinky, vinegar clad 'rags' in the airing cupboard --- can't think why?

These were just some experimental pieces using various types of fabric, the silk and linen gave the best results. I did do a couple more incorporating some old keys and nails but the markings weren't so good.

I love the marks left on this linen piece and as it's quite a large piece maybe could do something with it .... a bag maybe? (just scroll down for possible prototype)

Anna Nowicki, announced on her blog some time ago that she was producing a little book of recipes from her previous teaching notes and having been a long time admirer of Anna's work I eagerly sent for it it. I can honestly say for £9 (GBH) + p+p it's worth every penny. A lovely pamphlet - type book to just dip into now and again to spark off some ideas using your own management and style. Great when you're just plain stuck for something a little more innovative.
Imagine how thrilled I felt when it arrived and attached was one of her recent ATC's.
THANK YOU SO MUCH ANNA. Can't wait for recipe book 2!

This is me interfering with 'proper stitching', A pattern I had to follow!, enforced acurate measuring and cutting! Instructions! and the scariest thing - feed dogs UP!!!! Amazingly it turned out very well (if you dont look too close at the wonky stitchess) and the process wasn't as bad as i'd anticipated, actually relatively easy.
What I really wanted (needed) was a little summery bag and couldn't find anything in the shops, so while i was at the Bramble Patch, a lovely little quilters paradise sort of place, buried in the heart of Northamptonshire, I spotted ('scuse the pun) this ready prepared pack (KIT) well only prepared inasmuch as the pack contained 2 fat quarters and equal amounts of interfacing etc - the rest was down to a certain amount of skill and patience (both of which i have in short measure!)
However, the experience was a relaxing one and perhaps i gained enough confidence to tackle the pattern again but this time incorporating some creativity to the finished piece. I may even use the rusted fabric after all - now there's a challenge!

May's textilechallenge Arch.
' Deep blue Sea' all the way from beautiful New Zealand from kiwicarole

thanks Carole, it's lovely and i love the tiny sails peeking out from the horizon.

Last Month one of the tasks set for our group on textilechallenges by our multi talented Artist, Designer, Teacher, Friend and Mentor Carol Taylor was 'monoprinting and taking it further'. We were randomly allotted a partner and a colour combination to work with (mine being turquoise and mustard - believe it or not!) resulting in a postcard sent to said partner. It was great fun giving myself 'permission' that day to just play around sloshing paint and ink over glass and plastic.
Because i'm also involved in the year long Arch swap and continuing to experiment with twin needling i felt it made sense to incorporate everything from this one design brief

The colours look rather 'wishy-washy' but they were strong on the paper before i began transferring it to a polyester fabric via the ink-jet method (again)

I appliqued pieces of the original paper to the finished fabric for a little surface embellishment and to hopefully link the whole thing together. I used various sized twin needles (broken many in the process) incorporating some set decorative stitches, and a little 'Italian quilting' for a raised and padded effect. Do hope you liked it Alison, that's pressuming it did arrive?

the completed trio, Arch and atc for kiwicarole
and aformentioned postcard.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Tickled Pink

Not a lot to report on the creative front other than finishing off the beetroot dyed/recycled piece that I began a while ago. I added some little found feathers which were hellish to colour up because of their resistance to liquids (obviously!) so ended up using markal sticks and just brushed the colour on with very light strokes. I quite like the results.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

in answer

Carol, in answer to your question about the recipe for 'Fossiled evidence'; this was a real cocktail of handmade silk fibres, embedded into scrim and muslin. The stars of the show were recycled physalis leaves, my natural ephemera, and because of the natural sugar it wasn't too difficult to work them into this background. The amazing fact is; that they have survived intact for so long- no cracks or crumbling!
Can I just add, that during the making of this quilt my darling husband was diagnosed with cancer and endured a lengthy touch and go operation, fortunately all went well. Meanwhile, my wonderful artistic Father who was my greastest friend and critic had but only three more months to live. I rather suspect that it's the tears within the stitch that have held this piece together.
This is a small sample piece that was given as a postcard swap a little while ago.

Kates ATC to me

Most importantly this is what Kate sent to me, her shape being diamonds.
Thanks Kate it's wonderful.

April ATC challenge

Another one of the challenges set on textile challenge group this month was to create,make and send an ATC to a randomly selected partner, this took the form of a shape lottery when the shape to produce was also randomly selected (phew - got that?) mine was a star and my partner was the very talented Kate of katesquilting. I really hadn't any ideas that didn't involve Christmas! so just looked anywhere for a bit of inspiration, and that came from a little cutting from last weekends newspaper. I took the cutting , photocopied it a few times to A4 size then transferred the design to a fine fabric using the freezer paper method through my printer.

I then just free machined around the stars and padded them out with a little bit of interfacing (actually it was an old dishcloth).

Feeling a bit glitzy, I drew and stitched the word 'stars' into a tomato puree tube- forever mindful of my recycling genre. finishing off with some cut-out stars and little pieces of twisted wire.
The finished result reminded me of Carol's alter-ego -wonder woman!!!! - hope she reads this!
I have another 3 of these going spare so if anyone wants one just let me know.
Please Note: none of this is rocket science!

fossiled evidence

And so my aged hanging, that I thought would never see light of day again, went off to Oxford uni for the current exhibition, aptly named '.........and thereby hangs a tale'.The details of the exhibition are here for anyone interested and in the vicinity.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Size Matters

I've uploaded the piccies from the last post again, hopefully this time they will all open!

The rustic bag complete with a glue gun motif.

Card for Carol. Patination fluid to 'age' the motif.

glue gun motifs.

A close up of the finished petals with stitch.

The dried hydrangea petals

coloured glue gun strands applied to the background fabric.

the completed arch

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Pam's Arch

this is just stunning, a quilted arch sent from Pam in Wales, dyed in the most vivid colours and so beautifully executed a picture postcard makes you wish you were there. Thanks Pam x

A Textile Challenge

I realise it's ages since I last posted, no excuses but have tried to keep my fingers busy. Thought you might like to see what I've been up to of late. The above little arch was made especially for kiwicarole in New Zealand, We're both taking part in the monthly arch page challenge set by Carol T. of Textile challenges group. My task was to produce a piece of work entitled 'My Garden'. Now at the time the only blooming things in my garden were daffodils and tulips which are still going strong I might add, but not truly inspiring, however the lovely dried, aged hydrangea heads left from last year were compelling and beckoned to be recycled. One problem............

the British weather turned spring into a Christmas scene overnight, we had at least 3inches of snow, just as I was already to create. Thankfully it didn't last long and I was able to proceed.

After separating the flower heads and allowing them to dry fully on some kitchen paper I prepared a base of bandage skrim plastered thinly, so some of the skrim shows through, with tinted paper perfect (you could also use gesso with a hint of acrylic paint to colour instead) and allowed this to dry overnight.

The surface wasn't exactly right so I then placed some little pieces of 'glue gun motifs', these were left overs from a previous experiment but so easy to achieve. I highlighted these with some coloured wax before adding the flower heads with tiny spots of bondaweb and using parchment to protect the iron. The wax melts slightly so care is needed here, don't be too heavy handed with the iron! The petals need to be protected too or they would eventually disintegrate, I tried giving them a coat of acrylic wax but found that to be insufficient, the only remedy was to trap them under the lightest of white chiffon, again the wax melts and a lot of the gorgeous background fades a little.

this is what I really wanted to achieve ..... so I'm afraid it's back to the drawing board!

These are but a few of the 'glue gun' motifs, it's a fun method for further experimentation with loads of possibilities.

This post card I sent to Carol T. It was given the aging treatment with patination fluid then coloured further with wax, placed on a background of twin needled sheers, chopped up and reformed.

Remember the rustic bag I was endeavouring to make and having such a terrible time trying to fathom out just how to create the look that author/designer Isobel Hall achieved? well it's all but finished, and just a few more stitches around the top - hence the pins. I had a stroke of luck earlier this month when visiting sewing for pleasure at Birmingham, the lady herself was there exhibiting and what a lovely person she is, so giving and generous with her time and information (don't you just hate it when they are over precious and act like it's never been done before!) I mentioned the blood sweat and tears that Id gone through trying to get a backing fabric that worked and she told me that the fabric she had actually used was ages old so that was probably the reason!!!!!! Now you tell me!

Anyway, I've completed, well almost, and in true recycling tradition have used every last thread from the backing fabric which had been pulled, teased apart and re-stitched, having used metal piping for the handles I stuffed these with said paper and fibres a) to make them more robust and b) to give them a sense of belonging, I think it works.

can you guess what it is yet????? yes, a double glue gun motif which has been pressed into a rubber printing mat while the glue was still hot ( just remember to allow the glue to go cold before removing from the mat) there's so much texture in this it seemed wasteful not to use it. Afterwards it was patina'd, waxed, painted and stitched to the front.

Do hope your not all bored to tears yet?

I have to mention about the recent exhibition at Peterborough, It appears it was a great success and my little recycled clutch bag was sold.I have mixed feelings. I do hope her new owner loves her and takes care of her.

Unfortunately all was not good, Fran's beautiful little beaded pin from her shawl was stolen - how rotten is that? This is a big learning curve for all exhibitors -BEWARE.

I'm now in the process of getting my next piece ready for our forthcoming exhibition at Oxford University. This exhibition is named ' ...... and thereby hangs a tale', It's an exciting one for me as we are using hangings which we all have previously made under the guidance of Cherrilyn. Mine is my large C+G piece 'fossiled evidence' created from 'silk paper' with embedded ephemera, definitely not for sale ...much too precious. hopefully I'll have some photo's later.

Many thanks Carol for nominating me as one of you inspirational bloggers, that was way, way back in March so sorry for the delay ... you know what I'm like! as for me my list of reading is endless so I couldn't possibly begin to choose, and anyway I'm such a novice at this I can't manage anything but the simplest of posts. Still haven't worked out how to add links to people and groups by placing the word 'here'. .... all instructions gratefully received