Saturday, 25 February 2012

Effie Galletly

Today was the Area day for Region 10 of the Quilters Guild which covers Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland and after an enjoyable morning of catching up with friends, quilters' bingo and a very tasty lunch we were treated to a talk and slideshow by Effie Galletly.

I had seen Effie's work a couple of years ago at Quiltfest in Llangollen so it was good to see her inspirational sources and to hear a little of how she constructs her quilts.  (For my sins, I didn't realise that Effie had been instrumental in setting up the Contemporary Quilt Group of the Quilters Guild).

It was very interesting to see the types of photographs that Effie uses when she is looking to make her quilts and after a short while I began to see the shapes that could be translated into fabric. 

Interestingly some of the skies were formed by long running stitch rather than actual piecing of fabrics but equally some were pieced to express the changes in light and the movement across the sky.  While Effie uses some of her own dyed and painted fabrics she also makes full use of commercial fabrics and batiks if they give her the tones and textures that she wants.

The quilts in this presentation reflected the scenery of the Outer Hebrides and other islands off the west coast of Scotland and as we are going to Arran and Mull later in the year I enjoyed seeing her photos and seeing it through her eyes, especially with the idea of making interpretations in cloth.  I shall be reviewing my photos of landscapes with new eyes.

I have been a fan of Effie's and of Susan Denton who Effie had learnt from previously for some time and just need to find the time, yet again, to explore the avenues their work opens up.  Sadly Susan Denton does not have a strong internet presence so I have not been able to include a link.  I can, however, include a photo or two from the 2010 Festival Of Quilts.

 Susan uses a lot of recycled material in her work and also makes use of surface stitching to add to the texture.  If the chance arose I would love to take a workshop with her.  Talking of workshops, the Festival of Quilts workshop programme is now available if you haven't already heard.  Nip over to the Twisted Thread site and see if you can be tempted.  Bookings for members open at midday on 1 March and for non-members at midday on 8 March.  Decisions, decisions!

Friday, 24 February 2012


Today is reveal day for our third challenge over at the International Quilt Challenge Blog and for the first time I am actually at home for the reveal.  The title of the challenge was 'Archi-texture' and I reproduce here the post I put up on the blog this morning.

 I'll start from the end which is the piece I've reached by today's reveal date.  At the moment it's  called Archi-texture I as I've forgotten the name of the building that inspired it but it is all about decaying surfaces and is only one of the directions this challenge took my thoughts.

After enjoying the process of the Pojagi in the last challenge I was keen to carry on exploring layers and the idea of looking through. On a train journey from Cornwall I had plenty of time to let my mind wander and notes I made at the time include suggestions of monoprinting on cotton; building up layers of print on top; sponging; painting over stitched, quilted fabric, discharging, painting again; scribbled stitching.  As the train slowly approached London we passed a Macdonalds' with its iconic arched logo and that turned a light on.  Having recently seen Karen Turner's work I thought about layering fabrics over a textured basecloth and cutting the arches through to reveal the texture below.  I think that would have been a fun way to go but when I got home and started looking at my photos of texture and architecture I found an image I had taken in Leicester near the New Walk Museum of a very decaying building.

As you can now see the image at the top caught my imagination and I decided to explore that with surface design on fabric.

Using my own printed , dyed and discharged fabrics I cut and bonded the pieces to batting layering one or two sheers with text on them below the dyed net curtaining that forms the 3 neutral columns.  My free machining/quilting skills are distinctly lacking but I used a variety of stitching to describe the cracks that you might see as a building deteriorates.  The 'quilt' is A3 size and there is no binding, the backing was turned through and the edge closed with top stitching all round.

I have to admit to several influences while I was working on this piece including the work of Shelley Rhodes that I saw at Alexandra Palace last year and work by Mary Hettmansberger that had featured in Quilting Arts magazine.  Having linked to Mary's work here I wonder now whether that is what drew me to my photograph although I took the photo about 5 years ago.  Subconsciously the colours may have been a strong factor in remembering that image of the building.  Another piece of work that got me very interested was a piece hanging at the Beetroot Gallery in their open exhibiton.

This is 'Traces' by Lesley Bohanna and I love the texture she has brought to the surface with mediums and printing.  The piece is very tactile with layers produced by added mediums, fabrics, printing and stitch. As far as I can tell from Google Lesley is a member of Dewbury Art Club. While preparing the fabrics for my own piece I applied some acrylic texture medium to the fabric before printing but I want to go back and play more along these lines. 

The beauty of this challenge, as with the preceding ones, is that it has opened my mind up to so many possibilities and so many ways to interpret the texture in architecture and I could, and hopefully will, carry on exploring for many months to come.  I am hoping that the next challenge will lead naturally into related areas of work and I still have to come back to thinking about how pojagi and archi-texture can come together.

PS if you can't enlarge the images by clicking on them go and have a look at them on the International Quilt Challenge blog.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Textiles in Focus

I've had a lovely day out today with Wendy and Tina at Textiles in Focus in Cottenham near Cambridge.  Wendy very kindly drove us down there and we were soon enjoying this very friendly show.  

The Show consisted of two main exhibitions by Out of The Fold textile group from Bury St Edmunds and Running With Scissors (for whom I cannot find any internet reference).  Sadly no photography was allowed but you can read about the artists involved in Out of the Fold if you click on the link.  I was particularly impressed by the work of Jane Rowland and Caroline Brown who had a magnificent stitched sculpture.  

The bulk of the show consisted of two halls of traders stands with the emphasis more on stitch and surface design than on quilting which made a refreshing change. 

It was lovely to see my friends from Art and Stitch from Peterborough (in the photo above).

We decided on the spur of the moment to do a workshop to make a twisted bead necklace and earrings.  The workshop was very relaxed and I learnt enough to be able to continue at home and also to adapt the technique for decoration and embellishment.  

By the time we came out of the workshop there was just time to find Lynda Monk's stand and enjoy a chat with her.  She had a  lot of work on display including work from her book Fabulous Surfaces

If you purchase Lynda's book you can download extra free lessons from the d4daisy site.  Lynda is not only a very talented artist but a very generous lady.  I'm looking forward to seeing her again at the Fashion Embroidery and Stitch Show at the NEC in March.

I have to admit to a very little shopping which consists of a few threads and some evolon so not worth the photograph.  If you live within reach of Cambridge the Textiles in Focus show is on over the weekend and is well worth the journey.  The Show is small enough to get round easily but large enough to be worth the effort, especially if you are into textile art, embroidery, knitting or fibre work and there is quilting fabric from Art and Stitch and The African Shop on offer among others.  Refreshments are available throughout the day so you don't need to go hungry or thirsty.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Nottingham Light Night

My DH and I have just had a very cold but very enjoyable weekend with some friends over at Nottingham.  We met up with DH's fellow photo blogging friend Gailsman for Friday nights' Light Night celebrations and also to see DH's son performing with his Indie Band Red Shoe Diaries at their single launch party.

After a bit of a false start the front of the Council House was illuminated with changing patterns of light which were great inspiration but a little tricky to capture with the camera.  

These lovely clockwork images were all moving and were projected on the curtain wall of Nottingham Castle accompanied by a couple of daleks and a TARDIS.  We didn't get close enough to the daleks to be in any danger ;-)  It was very slippery under foot around the castle as there had been recent snow fall and it was freezing hard.  You can find some more images on my DH's blog here.

While we were in the castle grounds we were witness to a very romantic occasion,

 This very large heart was displaying messages throughout the evening and as we were looking at this one a young gentleman standing next to us went down on one knee! Sadly no pic of that.  The very surprised and delighted Sylvia said, Yes!

Aaaaaaaah!  I hope they are always as happy.  

Not to be outdone my DH had his say

Bless! xx
As did our friend Gailsman

 Who said romance is dead?

These illuminated figures were a lifesize family made from recycled plastic by Sarah Turner.  

To wind up the evening we went to the Cafe bar at the Nottingham Contemporary where my DH's son was performing with his Indie band Red Shoe Diaries .  It is not easy to get photographs indoors while everyone's moving but I managed one

 My stepson is partially hidden behind Leanne, the female vocalist.  The evening was a great success and launched their new single Ice and Snow.

You can listen to their music if you wish on Youtube

And here in Paris in 2010.

And finally

Since Dilly was asking me where my hat was the other day here's another hat photo taken in the lift at Nottingham Castle on Friday night.  Not a clue who the strange people in the background are ;-)

Monday, 6 February 2012

Snow Dyeing Results

There's nothing like a bit of snow to get you blogging every day ;-)  So, withiut further ado, here are the results after the fabrics were rinsed with cold, warm, hot with Metapex, lukewarm and lukewarm water (cos I can't stand the cold) and then spun and ironed dry.  The Metapex, or Synthrapol, is a detergent that holds the loose colour in the water and stops it going back into the fabric thus shortening rinsing time and saving sore hands.  (Many thanks to Annabel who gave me this tip a long time ago).

This (above) is what the silk noil and silk scrim from yesterday actually look like.  The colours from the scanner were well off the mark.

These colours are not totally accurate but they do show the exciting marks that the snow has given.  They remind me of storms brewing or of gas clouds in space.

The next images are from the tray dyeing,

Above is a piece of 80/20 batting, cotton velvet and a scrap of vintage cotton doily.

And finally the pieces that were in the pot

I can't remember what the fabrics on the left above were but I think one is a bamboo cloth.  On the right is the overdyed onion dyed cotton and the light fabric is Evolon.

This piece above is a very old piece of cotton sheet that is very thin and worn but which has taken the colour at the bottom of the pot beautifully.  All of the colours are a bit more turquoise than the computer is showing.

I am quite pleased that I did get some nice greys in a couple of the pieces and the rest are all leaning towards turquoise with deeper tones, all of which will make an appearance in some future project.  As ever I used a range of fabrics to see what happened but sadly I didn't note anything up so I can't be sure what I was using if I wanted to repeat the exercise.  Will I never learn? lol

My erosion bundles enjoyed sitting under their coating of snow for a couple of days and some of them disappeared completely from sight.  There are two bundles sitting under the snow on top of this old watering can.  What mysteries await?

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Snow Dyeing

You would think with the first snowfall of the year in this part of the country it would have been a good excuse to snuggle up with a good book and not move all day.  Did I do that? No!  I ran myself ragged playing with snow and dye and in between did some fabric printing (more of that another day).

First off our friend came round and took DH off for a walk in the snow for some photography and a lunch in town,

Bless!  Anyway that left me free to play! :-) (Poor Mum has missed out on her usual Sunday with us because of the snow.)

I have done snow dyeing before but this time I took a leaf out of Gillian Cooper's book (from her article in the March issue of Popular Patchwork) and mixed the dyes in water bottles.  I always have trouble deciding what colours to use  and not surprisingly I used a range of blues (teal, turquoise, medium blue, and navy) and an orange.  I'm hoping that I will get some nice sequences of blues and some soft greys (that's what blues and oranges in paint would give assuming you use a 'cold' blue with a warm red/orange).  I soda soaked the fabric before I started and put a tiny spot of washing up liquid in each bottle as I think that's supposed to help the dye powder mix, especially the reds. (about 200mls water to teaspoon dye powder, lid on and shake) . I then put upturned foil dishes in my tubs and scrunched up the fabrics and put them on top.

I piled the snow all over the fabric and then squirted the colour from the bottles, moving the snow here and there to squirt into the middle of it.  I left the tubs outside for a couple of hours and when the top snow began to look pale I took that off so that the mix wouldn't become too dilute (sorry, didn't photograph that).

In addition to the snow dyeing I did a tray dye too with some small pieces of fabric,

I pleated the fabric into the tray and then squirted the dye over and into the creases but didn't worry about leaving white areas for the dye to move into.

I decided I had got some dye left over so I quickly soda soaked some more fabric and filled a small tub and squirted dye onto each layer, starting with the lightest first.

I just hope that the snow dyeing did have enough dye in it or I shall wish I had put more into that.

The snow was removed form the tubs after about 5 hours and I've put the fabric in a plastic bag along with the fabrics from the tray and small tub and brought them indoors to batch.  I haven't done this before but I was so tired by now that I couldn't face rinsing it all out till tomorrow.  I did however rescue some pieces of silk noil and silk scrim that had been snow dyed and rinsed them out.

I have scanned these and they are nothing like the actual colours so I'll photograph them tomorrow and see if I can do any better.  They are much more turquoisey and subtle than this shows them to be.  I do love the marks though.

You may have noticed I havn't mentioned salt solution, that's because I forgot to use it again and ended up pouring it over the snow after a few hours.  One of these days I'll remember to mix it in with the dye!  

There are lots of different ways to dye with snow and if you have a look in Google I'm sure you'll find other methods.

PS I did use a face mask to protect myself from the dye powder until it was safely locked in the water and remembered to wear rubber gloves throughout.