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Archive for the ‘Cornish Holiday Journal’ Category

Not much stitching this week as I’ve been dealing with the end of term in various ways, but the miniature garden now has some bullion knot lettuces in a very subtly variegated thread:

And I’ve started some courgettes. I think I might cut the leaves out of some fabric like I did with the pumpkin pendant…

…rather than embroider them as they are quite big. The only other way I can think of is to make them as needle lace slips and I don’t really want to go into that level of complexity. I’ve tried out an experimental courgette made from the tiniest raised stem band with a trio of lazy daisy stitches for the flower. Hopefully the head of the pin gives an idea of scale!

The wind sculpted tree has gone from this:

To this:

I needle felted a sheep for a birthday card:

And finished a doodle with some of my reticulated brass scraps and gold pearl purl on sapphire blue silk.

Must try harder!

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Just got back from a slightly different but very much needed and enjoyable week in North Cornwall. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen photos of our walks and beach excursions in my stories and I even managed to get some stitching done as well.

First, a piece of blackwork from a gorgeous design I found on Pinterest several years ago. I’m afraid I don’t know the designer, so if anyone does please can they let me know so I can credit them. This is stitched in a single strand of Gloriana silk thread on 28 count natural Cashel linen and yes, it is tiny! Most of the motifs are about 1cm square.

Stitching al fresco in Boscastle while my husband and little one went snorkelling in the harbour.

And again at Tintagel while we waited for our slot to cross the new bridge onto the headland.

Finally finished. I still love the design and I’m glad I stitched it, but I’m ready to move onto something else!

I’ve decided to stitch a Memory Journal style diary for this holiday. I’m going for images and memories from the whole week, rather than one piece to represent each day as I’ve done in the past. We went to Crackington Haven on the Sunday evening to watch the sunset.

And to have a little beachcomb – although as the tide was well in, it was only a little one. I love the slate pebbles of this beach with their scribbly quartz inclusions.

So the first piece I created was using the pebble fabric from the Anderby Creek Memory Journal and some flat slate pebbles from Crackington Haven beach over which I stitched my own quartz inclusions.

I’ve also been very taken with the way the prevailing winds sculpt the trees on the north coast. (Taken through the windscreen of the car, so not the best photo, but I love the shape of that tree.)

Start of my sculpted tree piece. I’m planning to couch the strands of cotton down to make the outline of the branches and then clothe it in leaves – possibly a few less than on the original so you can still see the framework of branches.

We visited a few beaches during the week but the beach finds were generally a bit sparse. However, I’m planning to use some of these bits I picked up at Tintagel for various stitching and jewellery projects.

Plenty of inspiration and hopefully now I’ve had a week’s recharge, I have the energy to get stuck into them.

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I was delighted to be tagged to take part in this by the very creative, talented and witty Iz, from Threadnoodle and it was lovely to welcome people who had popped over from her blog. So this week is my turn to talk in a bit more depth about myself and my creative process.

I live in North Lincolnshire in the UK although I’m originally, like Dickens’ David Copperfield, from the little village of Blundeston, in Suffolk. Among other things, I’m a writer, a jeweller and textile artist. But not necessarily in that order.

1. What am I working on?

Erm… everything? I have a second book of short stories and a novel both on the go as well as an article which has been back-burnered for various reasons. There’s a box of partly completed rings,

silver acorn ring

pendants and other odds and ends which need finishing.

Norwich stitch pendant

Journals, books and altered books,

York Minster altered book

kits, summer holiday diary fragments,

holiday diary fragment

the crazy patchwork cushion for my son,

James' cushion strip 1

felted and goldwork brooches,

Goldwork brooch

 

my hearts commission,

hearts commission

my rusted fragments art quilt…

rusted fragments art quilt

…you get the picture. I long to have a go at everything and greedily want 36 hours in each day to try, test and explore my latest passion to its full extent.

My latest obsession is upcycled jewellery, whether replacing broken/damaged elements with beads like this vintage necklace…

 

broken vintage wire necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

upcycled m.o.p and haematite necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

or adding textile elements – felting and beading…

 

Felted beads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncycled felted bead necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… embroidery or patchwork.

Bullion rose upcycled pendant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

upcycled patchwork earrings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love being able to make something from bits that someone else has discarded as worthless. Little things fascinate me too, and each of the projects is so small that I can be almost finished before I start to get bored. I really admire people with the stickability to work on large ongoing projects, but that’s not me. Whatever I do tends to be small, detailed, and precise, whether it’s stitched into fabric, wrought from metal, words on a page or even part of a show in theatre. For me, the devil (and the interest) is in the detail.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

That’s a difficult one. As regards my jewellery, with its mix of metalworking and fine embroidery, I’ve certainly never seen anything quite like it. There are other artists who create  jewellery with textile components, but it seems to fall into two categories – fairly traditional jewellery shapes such as earring drops, pendant and rings set with pieces of textile work, or textile work with metal findings to make it into earrings, pendants, brooches etc. I do both…

Turquoise spiral brooch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bullion rose upcycled pendant

…but prefer to do neither

Moss mixed media pendant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indigo book charm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I suppose that everything we do is unique, but at the same time, everything we create is the result of our experiences. I’ve often thought that if we could break down the DNA of a piece, trace its bloodline of influences and inspirations, it would be fascinating to see precisely how it was born from the tiny fragments we draw from so many things we’ve seen, done and experienced.

3. Why do I create what I do?

Every project gives me pleasure to work and it also gives me pleasure to see how it is received by other people but essentially I create because I need to. Like so many creative people, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t create, from wobbly junk models and roughly stitched dolls’ clothes to furnishings for my doll’s house and stories set in imagined worlds.

It’s my way of responding to something of the beauty in the world I see around me, my way of revelling in the power of fashioning something that is mine alone. I bend the media to my will and I say how it turns out – mostly!

4. How does my creative process work?

The first thing to fire it off is usually a single item but it can be anything: a bead, a thread, some fabric, a fragment of something, an image or artefact. The alliums piece below was the response to the challenge, ‘A flower beginning with ‘A’ for an Embroiderer’s Guild competition.

Alliums sketchbook page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alliums hanging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An idea from a curtain I saw on a course

kantha patches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and an image from a dream…

Dream kantha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It can be a very dangerous process to sort through my stuff – I get sidetracked onto new projects very easily!

In terms of how things then evolve, I let my creative subconscious do a lot of the work. Usually I have clear idea of the starting point and an image of roughly what the end point will look like (I write like this too). Then it’s a case of starting and seeing how and where things go. If I get stuck I just walk away for a while and its unusual for that break not to have straightened things out in my head.  If I’m lucky, things work out as well, or sometimes even better than I’d hoped. If not, then it’s good to learn from your mistakes and chances are, I can always turn it into something else one day…

Phew! I think that’s the wordiest post I’ve ever put up! If you’re still with me, then please go and visit my two nominated bloggers.

Firstly, Debbie at Debbidipity. I met Debbie at our Embroiderers’ Guild when I joined several years ago and we’ve been good friends ever since. In the last 5 years, as a mature student, she’s done ‘A’ levels in Art and Photography and then followed them up with a Fine Art degree at Hull. She likes to experiment with all sorts of media and her inspirations are rooted strongly in the natural world that she loves.

From the local to the other side of the pond and Penny at Art Journey. Penny creates wonderful textile artwork in areas that I don’t tend to dabble in but love to look at – punch-needle, doll-making and beading are some of her latest delights, and I consider myself very lucky to have Valentine, one of her wonderful unique dolls sitting on my shelf watching me as I type.

Penny's Valentine

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the next stage of the bloghop!

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Glad you enjoyed the first part of the tour through my journal. Here’s part two.

Journal Tour 2a

Journal Tour 2b

Journal Tour 2c

Journal Tour 2d

Journal Tour 2e

Journal Tour 2f

Journal Tour 2g

Journal Tour 2h

Journal Tour 2i

Journal Tour 2j

Journal Tour 2k

Journal Tour 2l

Journal Tour 2m

Journal Tour 2n

Journal Tour 2o

Emulous waves 1

Journal Tour 2o

Reclaimed by the sea 1b

Finally finished. I really enjoyed the random nature of this, with days all over the place and some days contributing more ideas and pieces than others. No rules – my favourite way of working.

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It’s finally finished, and as Rachel pointed out, more or less in time for this year’s holiday! Just thought it might be interesting to take a virtual tour through the pages.

Holiday journal tour 1

Holiday journal tour 2

Holiday journal tour 3

Holiday journal tour 4

Holiday journal tour 5

Holiday journal tour 6

Holiday journal tour 7

Holiday journal tour 8

Holiday journal tour 9

 

Holiday journal tour 10

Holiday journal tour 11

Holiday journal tour 12

Holiday journal tour 13

Holiday journal tour 14

Holiday journal tour 14

Part two coming soon.

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I love lemon verbena. The smell from the fresh crushed leaves never fails to lift my spirits and inhaling the aroma of fresh lemon verbena tea while you snuggle your hands around the mug is simply wonderful. Dried isn’t so good, but on holiday last year I bought a small packet of lemon verbena tea by the Cornish tea specialists Tregothnan. Somehow that also had to be incorporated into my journal!

The packet the tea bags came in was first up, and with an apt quote on the back as well as the elegant design on the front, I didn’t want to stick it in. I also love that scrap of tissue paper on the page behind, and didn’t want to cover that up either.

Lemon verbena tea 1

Yet every page in this journal is needed to carry something, so I blanket stitched the edge of the packet to the edge of the page so it’s now a flap with access to both the quote and that lusciously foresty scrap of paper.

Lemon verbena tea 2

Then the teabag. I wanted to stitch on one that I’d actually used, so I carefully dried it, slit the bottom to get the leaves out and then put a small piece of fabric inside to help stabilise it and give it a bit of weight. I found a single leaf shape cut from a piece of translucent green vintage fabric from something I did ages ago with fused fabric and that seemed perfect.

Lemon verbena tea 3

Toning silk thread in simple zigzagged double running stitch to form the toothed edge of the leaf, with whipped running stitch veins and a bullion knot stem. Stitching through all layers, I wanted the back to be as neat as possible.

Lemon verbena tea 4

The bottom was finished with a piece of silk ribbon and blanket stitch and it lives happily in the pocket created by its packet!

Lemon verbena tea 5

This was so much fun to do!

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…is nearly complete.

I think I blogged my progress part way through this piece using a long strand of wavy beachcombed rope, but it’s now finished…

Reclaimed by the sea 1a

…and stuck in place inside the back cover.

Reclaimed by the sea 1b

I didn’t like the big gold coloured three holed bead that was previously on the right; it was far too big and bright and angular when everything else was round or wavy, so I cut that off and finished the text with a swirl of french knots.

Reclaimed by the sea 1c

 

I did plan for this to be the last piece in the journal until I was turning out a drawer and found an odd piece of painted watercolour paper in the front of a long-forgotten sketchbook. Nice and thick to stitch through. I cut some wave shapes, chose some tiny scraps of silk and toning thread and started to play.

Emulous waves 1

Looking at those undulating curves, I couldn’t get the Walt Whitman quote (via Vaughan-Williams’  Sea Symphony) out of my head, so that went on too.

Emulous waves 2

Emulous waves 3

I’m very pleased with my unexpected find! Just one more job to do, but I can’t do that until I can get together everyone who went away with us.

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While on holiday in Cornwall this year I beachcombed a number of very thin round fragments of slate with the intention of using a shisha stitch to attach them to fabric. These are the results so far:

On turquoise silk with calico underneath and surrounded with kantha circles.

Slate shishas 1

In close up…

Slate shishas 2

…and in the journal.

Slate shishas 3

On shot blue/gold silk dupion embroidered with hand dyed silk thread by Chris.

Slate shishas 4

And in close up.

Slate shishas 5

On a fraying fragment of red shot green silk dupion with green perle.

Slate shishas 6

I stitched this one by artificial light and now I’m not sure about the colours, so I think I’ll redo it, probably in a vivid red.

Slate shishas 7

Trio on crinkled gold satin with a Caron thread.

Slate shishas 8

I love the concept, but I think the thicker threads don’t work quite as well and certainly I need to be a lot neater in my execution!!

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Driving down a tiny Cornish lane towards our cottage for the first time. Dog tired after 7 hours on the road but fizzing with excitement and anticipation for the week to come. Trees are encircling the lane: crowding overhead but never oppressive. Sections of dark velvety shade alternate with bright patches where sunlight streams through the leaves.

It was enchanting and I felt I had to somehow capture it as the first piece in my journal.

Shade and light 1

 

I started with watercolour on calico to mark out the road and the patches of light and shade and then used free cross stitch in variegated stranded Stef Francis silk to loosely cover the painted areas and add texture.

Shade and Light 2

After consideration I decided to keep the darker green section in the middle and the road as plain painted fabric to give contrast to the layered and overlapping texture of the stitches.

Shade and Light 3

The stitching was pretty straightforward but the words took longer.

Shade and Light 4

Still doesn’t quite express what I wanted to say. Perhaps I’ll never quite manage to capture in words the way my heart soars when I travel down these lanes but I can still feel an echo of it when I look at this tiny scrap of embroidery.

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As you’ve probably gathered, I’m a great lover of found objects. I love finding them just as much as I love using them and I was determined to source some debris pieces from the beaches we visited (Polzeath, Hawker’s Cove, Tintagel and Constantine Bay) to go into my journal. But of course, they had to fit in with the colour scheme of blues and greens!

Beach debris 1

 

I gathered a real selection of weathered and broken oddments, bits of fishing tackle and scraps of shredded rope and a selection of very funny looks as I went grubbing around in the tideline.

Beach debris 2

Back home a piece of bubble fabric in rusty gold with a scribbly pattern of green was the perfect background. I layered it on some hand dyed cheesecloth for extra strength and then began to arrange the (cleaned, scrubbed and dried) debris.

Beach debris 3

Overlapping elements, particularly the fragments of frayed rope, helped to hold other pieces in place as I was using no glue and trying to go for minimal visible stitching.

Beach debris 4

It wasn’t blue or green, but I loved the shape of the grey ring pull type thing at the bottom. The green and red rope was already bent so it fitted perfectly around the edge.

Beach debris 5

Shells, already thoughtfully holed by the dog whelk which ate the occupant, were chosen from my existing collection to be stitched on. The scraped and scoured plastic nuggets are beautifully tactile.

Beach debris 6

I’m so pleased with this piece. It came together quickly and easily and the bubble fabric works brilliantly as a background. It’s satisfyingly substantial in the hand, too.

Beach debris 7

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, they say.  🙂

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