Sunday, 24 February 2013

Wendy Dolan Workshop

I've just had a very busy and exhausting but most rewarding three days attending a  2 Day workshop with the textile artist Wendy Dolan and an Area Day for Region 10 of the Quilters' Guild.  The aim of the workshop was to explore the creation of texture with fabrics, mediums and stitch.  The theme for the workshop was architecture.  

Wendy is a very friendly and generous teacher and shared so much knowledge with us over the course of the two days and through the talk she gave to the Area Day on Saturday.   We were all kept extremely busy throughout and as I work quite slowly I did find myself falling behind a bit here and there but by the end of this afternoon my piece was well on its way for completion at home.

I can't share the whole process with you as that would be unfair to Wendy but I can show you parts of the journey.

I thought I should keep things simple so I chose this door and stonework that we came across in Knaresborough last year.  We were tasked to trace the main lines and details of our source material and then to use various fabrics of differing textures and mediums including Xpandaprint, to construct a base for stitching and painting. 

The tracing provides a guide to placing the network of fabrics.  

After securing the fabrics with stitch the next task was to make a paper colour collage and then to choose pigments and apply them to colour the surface.   Rather than apply realistic colour we were encouraged to use abstract areas of colour.  I chose to work in a monochrome and you won't be surprised that turquoise was my chosen colour.  You could use fabric paints for this part of the process but we used screen printing inks with an extender.  If I remember rightly that is what Jo Budd uses in her work too.

With the fabric painted and dry we set to with the free machining.  Initially the main lines were stitched from the reverse and once they were established we continued to work from the front.  

This is the stage up to stitching the main lines from the reverse.

At the end of the day today we all gathered to share our inspiration and the progress so far of our work.  I have a lot more work to do in free machining but I am pleased with the way it is taking shape and I have learned a lot, not least about making use of the settings on my machine to make life easier when free machining.  

On Saturday, between the two workshop days, we went back to the venue for the Area Day where Wendy was the guest speaker.  If you follow this link you will be able to see some of the commissions that Wendy has worked on.   These commissions were on a mammoth scale and I am full of admiration for her skill in bringing them to fruition.  Wendy also described her work in some detail and passed round samples of some of the stages her work goes through and which we had been working on in the workshops.

Working from a landscape source the image above shows the prepared fabric base on the left and a painted and stitched image on the right.  Wendy also employs small pieces of agricultural fleece ironed on to create a resist in lighter areas and you can see this in the clouds.

We were shown many other examples of Wendy's work and all the while I was getting inspiration for ways to use her methods to explore texture and colour in my work.  In particular I can see other ways of working the wall hanging that I made for the Festival of Quilts last year.

I havn't up to now worked in anything you could call a series but I am now asking 'what if' about the way I constructed this piece and may explore it with the skills I have learned this weekend for this year's FOQ.  For now though I need to finish off my wokshop piece with further stitching and possibly with added colourwork which could be in paint or inktense pencil etc.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Hats, Workshop, and TIF

Don't laugh!  Pauline Verrinder, who organises Textiles in Focus at Cottenham puts out a call every year for people to wear a 'silly hat' when they come to the event so this year I thought I'd make the effort.  Well, you know me, if I made a hat (or decorated one) it had to be about the sea.  I covered an old sun hat with a blue silky scarf and then embellished it to death.  I think the fish on the front came from Sharne Gregory several years ago.  If you click on the link it will take you to Sharne's blog post about her glorious peacocks.  Sadly photographs were not permitted of the exhibition by Fen Edge Textiles to which Sharne belongs.  The standard of the work by Fen Edge was outstanding so do have a look at their site.  

Textiles in Focus is held at Cottenham Village College and the Hall where the main exhibitions were held had these wonderful glass leaf blocks hanging in the roof space.  

The other group exhibiting at TIF was Anglia Textiles Works.  I was particularly impressed by the work of Kathy Colledge who used close free-machining to achieve surface texture in her work.

Detail shot above.

Yvonne Brown - Thetford Priory

I couldn't resist buying this not-really-cuddly elephant embroidered by Bibiawa to raise funds for women in Afghanistan as part of the One Earth Textiles project  Isn't his expression wonderful!  I now have to find a project of my own to include him in, maybe a bookcover.  These small embroideries will be appearing at other shows around the country over the course of the year.

The morning at TIF was spent in a very busy and inspiring workshop with Lynda Monk who I have known through blogging for several years without ever managing to get on any of her workshops.  Lynda is the most generous of teachers and the workshop was fun too.

The workshop was just two hours long but in that time we added foils to painted lutradur which we then painted again and then some fun with Expandaprint on Lutradur and zapping with a heat gun.  They may not look too inspiring at the moment but eventually will morph into bookwraps.  Lynda currently has a new book out called 'Exploring Creative Surfaces' which is well worth a look.

I suppose it's now time I owned up to the shopping I did on Sunday at the show, which was the other main attraction at TIF.

Before the show had even officially opened I succumbed to this beautiful book.  You can see some of the images from the book here.  The book has the added bonus, for me, of being written with text in both French and English.    I am completely entranced by the beautiful work inside.

I think I must be planning some serious sketchbook work! 

Another thing I couldn't resist was the lovely bobbly yarn above from Fibre Tastic.   Lesley Mackie, who is FibreTastic, is a lovely lady and we had a very nice chat at the end of the day.

I thought that fibre lace would make an interesting textured stamp.  It was only 50p!

Going back to my silly hat, I did have an ulterior motive when I made it.  As you know, whenever you go to shows it is always nice to meet up with fellow bloggers but it is not always easy to spot them in the crowds of people, even at a small show.  The combination of my hat and a name badge strung round my neck resulted in a hello from 3 bloggers and one of my followers on here.  So hello to Crafty Mugwump, otherwise known as Pam, Sharne, already mentioned above, Pat of Altering Thoughts and Maureen who follows this blog.  Thank you all for saying hello :-)  I must give a mention too to Art And Stitch who I've mentioned here before who always make me welcome at their shop in Peterborough and who had a stand at TIF.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

I've got a new baby!

I cannot tell you how much shrieking went on this morning when this lovely trolley bag arrived courtesy of Sew Divine in Reading.  Totally out of proportion to the actual object but I have been struggling with an inappropriate trolley going to and from classes and clubs for weeks and now I have a trolley case that my machine fits into safely and that I can put straight in the boot (trunk) as is.  No more standing in the rain/snow/ice prising my machine in or out of a too small artcart to collapse said artcart to get it in the boot.  Bliss!  Thank you Bob for your very prompt service.  (BTW rumour has it that Janome and possibly Benina are stopping supplying these bags.)

You may have heard of erosion bundles in your travels around the interweb and last year I placed several said bundles around our garden and left them to the mercies of the elements.  I recently brought two of the bundles in and put them in the freezer (in plastic bags) to kill any unwanted visitors.  Yesterday I undid one of the bundles  and carefully pulled the materials apart.  Some had rotted completely because the bundle had been out for a full year.  I've put together some collages to give you a general idea.

The image above in the left bottom corner is what's left of a photograph and is almost transparent when held up the light.  

 There are some beautiful layers occuring in the various pieces where I had layered bookpages, sheep music, fabric and various coloured materials together.

I can see some of these surfaces being used as layers in Photoshop.

These too will be fun to play with in Photoshop.

Some of the pieces are a bit suspect in terms of mildewy marks and I did think of rinsing them but I think I will actually use them as they are and seal them with Matt Medium as a lot of the surfaces are paper. I wonder if some could end up as a Journal Quilt?  

Last week at Stitchcraft I did a taster day for a Delft Quilt and came away with a panel that hopefully tomorrow will turn into a cushion cover.  The workshop was led by Liz Hands who I have mentioned previously.

These are the efforts of all the participants and as you can see there was a good variety of colours.

For my square I used some of my snow dyes and fussy cut to get some detail in the flower.  Tomorrow I plan to finish the embroidery and then construct the cushion cover.  I've already added the borders so once the mebroidery is finished I only have to add the back panels.  Watch this Space!

Monday, 4 February 2013

International Quilt Challenge

The latest theme for the International Quilt Challenge Group has been 'Reflection' or any variation thereof.  I last showed you it a couple of weeks ago when I was trying to decide how to quilt it.  Since then I have got to grips with said quilting and the piece is now finished, having skidded past the deadline by 6 days (oops!).

Thank you for the advice I was given in my last post, it did help with the decision making.  I decided not to add in any more 'field' boundaries in the hope that the quilting would make the brown lines less obvious.  I think I've just about got away with it.

This detail shows the area towards the top.  I made the 'field boundaries' towards the top darker to give the idea that they are in the distance.  The binding was made from the same strips as are in the quilt.  

My interpretation of 'Reflection' comes from reflecting on this area of Cornwall which is close to St Ives which is always in our thoughts when we are not there.  The wallhanging is also going to serve as my entry for the Sue Ridgwell Challenge at the AGM of the Quilters Guild of the British Isles in April under the theme 'My World is Green'.  I just need to add the sleeve and label.  The dimensions are 24" x 24".