Saturday, 23 November 2013

Curves and Leaves

It's been an eventful couple of weeks since I last posted although I have been trying to slow down a bit after our trip to Cornwall.  I had a bit of a reaction to the hectic time away and thought I'd better heed the warning and put the brakes on a bit.  Consequently I decided that I wouldn't go up to Harrogate for the Knitting and Stitching Show this weekend.  I'm hoping there will be some blog posts around so that I can enjoy it vicariously.  Don't worry, I'm back to my usual state of health so there's no problem just need to pace myself and not take on the world!

Happily after my blip I was able to take a Friday Fun workshop at Stitchcraft yesterday.  'Take' as in 'Teach'.  The workshop was concerned with free form curved piecing using a flat seam.  I had 7 ladies which was just enough and not too many to get round in the time.  After a bit of a chat and demo from me they set to and produced some great pieces.

Christine made this beautiful panel above which will become the centrepiece of a cushion.  Christine was fairly new to quilting and stitching so she did really well.

Elaine had some beautiful fabrics that she incorporated into this lovely piece above.  She got a good variety in her curves.

I discovered that I already 'knew' Jackie, who used these gorgeous African fabrics , through a mutual friend who I have been having playdays with.  It's a small world!  Jackie intends to take her cutter to this piece and insert some cross sections.  Give it some attitude!

Joan, who comes to the Sit and Stitch days at Stitchcraft usually makes very traditional quilts and wanted to free herself up.  She's certainly done that with this fabulous little landscape.  Joan, you're a natural! Look at the variety of curves and the movement she's achieved.

Maureen is a member of Wing Quilters and worked so quickly she was able to layer and quilt her piece ready for binding.  She used some beautiful batiks and has got some lovely movement through this scene.  Maureen said as she left it was the best fun she'd had in two hours in a long time.  I was delighted and also blushing.

Nichola, above, was not familiar with this way of working but produced a lovely seascape with a good use of fussy cutting some of the fabrics.

Last but not least Sue made this lively landscape with a mountain range.  I thought she was quite brave to include the fairly deep peaks and between us we decided one or two judicious clips would help the fabrics come together.  

I was so nervous at the start of this workshop and my mouth got so dry that I could hardly speak at one point but I think it went well. Everyone seemed pleased with what they had achieved in the time and there may be a chance to take this technique further in a future workshop.  

As I had decided not to go to Harrogate today I have been pottering around tidying up a little in my sewing room and finishing off a Linus quilt. (No picture yet).  I also took the weights (books) off a pressing of leaves I had set up a few days ago.

The paper is still very wet as it has been sandwiched between waxed paper to stop the books getting wet.  As you can see there were some subtle marks showing through which made me think it hadn't been particularly successful.

How wrong could I be?  The beech leaves didn't work very well but that may be because they need longer to break down but the (?)sycamore leaves have made some lovely marks.   I've still got some more leaves that I've managed to keep moist so I think I will set this up again with some fabric.  I may try some leaf hammering too! Oh and some Gelli Plate printing.  Watch this space!

(Just so you know, I soaked the Khadi paper in the bath for about an hour before I drained it off and set the leaves on it.) 

Have a good week and keep warm if winter is catching up with you.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Three go on an adventure!

Just over a week ago two friends and I set off on an adventure to Cornwall to take a workshop with Anne Griffiths who teaches embroidery, amongst other things.  I had booked the course way back in March and thought the months would never pass but finally the day arrived and Wendy, Tina and I set off. 

The terrible duo enjoying a free day in St Ives :-) (I was there too).

The venue was a beautiful farm complex on the hills above Mevagissey.

The studio was on the top floor and accommodation on the ground floor, with further accommodation in cottages on site.

This was our working (and living) space, with a lounge area at the far end and the kitchen behind me.  If nothing else I got plenty of exercise over the course of the week going backwards and forwards between the various areas.  

Unfortunately the week didn't go quite as planned as bad weather stopped us getting onto the beach as planned on the first day, so we had to resort to existing experiences of the beach and finds we had brought with us.

Our first task was indigo dyeing, which I hadn't tried before and I've got some interesting results.

 A previously procion dyed orange and blue piece from Wendy overdyed in indigo using rubber bands for resists.
 A dip-dyed doilly that I was going to cut up but now I'm having second thoughts.

I was delighted with this silk velvet piece above that I used bottle tops and rubber bands on to create resists.

I intend to use the piece above in a vertical orientation to suggest waves or movemnet underwater.  Horizontal lines were stitched across it and the threads pulled up firmly to make the resists.
 It's difficult to show you the fabric above.  It's silk organza that was first dyed in onion skins, again with rubber band resist, and then unrolled and re-rolled, rubber banded and dyed in the indigo.  The marks I have got are very subtle and fade out across the fabric.

The marks above were made with Fast Black K (a type of potassium) which leaves a reddish tint when washed through.  Anne has made extensive use of this in her work.   I havn't yet washed my piece at all.  

 If you are wondering what the marks are underneath the fabrics above they are drawings from an online workshop I have been trying to keep up with with Dionne Swift.  More of that later.

Sketchbook work followed spurred on by Anne's own work and ideas garnered from being in a group situation.

 Collage fishes with a dorset button sea creature,

Wing needle stitching on silko fabric using some pre-programmed stitches,

 My favourite, suffolk puff-style pebbles in pre-dyed fabrics.

 Self explanatory, scallop shells used as stencils,

Spirally sea-creaturish stitching which merits more work,

My very own sea monster made with a wing needle in scrim and trapped sequins.

 A hessian weaving above which I loved doing and will work with further, given time enough to play.  I pulled out threads on the warp and weft to make room for my threads and fabrics.  

This weaving was made before I went, on a peg loom, and is just a very small sample.  Lots more potential here too.

This piece is about 12" tall and incorporates a piece that I started with Shelley Rhodes (how long ago was that!).  It still needs a little tweaking, maybe at the bottom to balance the bulk at the top but I really like it.  It feels a bit American Indian in a dream-catcher kind of way. (Or should that be Native American?).

If you know anything about me you'll know that my heart is in a certain town in Cornwall and the wonderful Wendy whisked us off for a day of fun and frolic and not a little laughter on our day off.  It was a wonderful sunny day in St Ives and yes, we did manage to get in a little beachcombing (and a pub lunch).

You may be wondering how much stuff three textile artists can cram into a Honda car and above is part of the answer, not to mention 3 suitcases, coats, cardigans, wellies and shopping!  Not forgetting us! lol

The week was challenging, informing, educational, fun and sometimes frantic and we all made new friends and renewed old ones. The venue was Bodrugan Barton and the studio is available to hire for workshops or retreats (or even for family holidays).