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Archive for the ‘Experimenting’ Category

I’ve had flu for the first time in years and it’s been a bugger to shift, so my involvement at last Saturday’s Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild meeting was limited to sneaking in half way through the afternoon to hand over Val’s Travelling Book and pick up Sandra’s, staying by the door and keeping my germs well out of the way. Everyone looked like they were happily stitching though, so I hope a good time was had by all.

For Val’s book page I worked a piece inspired by the work of Sue Spargo. I bought some gorgeous heavyweight pure wool felt before Christmas and cut simple leaf shapes in a soft green to go on a cream ground. I wanted to use the uncluttered shapes to showcase the embroidery, particularly new stitches.

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Then I got out a whole pile of books on embroidery stitches and started to stitch! The blanket stitch round the outside of the first leaf is actually called Berwick Stitch in the book I used and is a blanket stitch with a sort of added french knot where the needle enters the background fabric. Very nice to work and the knot gives a lovely finish. Then a row of running stitch and the dark green is twisted chain.

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After I’d worked the line of twisted chain I felt the gap was too big between it and the running stitch, so I added a row of split stitch in variegated perle. Inside the twisted chain I stitched a row of whipped running stitch before finishing it off with a row of closed fly stitch.

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Leaf two was held down with Knotted Buttonhole Stitch. It’s a lovely looking stitch but working the knots at the start took a bit of practise. Then a neat row of chain inside that.

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I wasn’t happy with the lone line of running stitch on the first leaf so at this point I went back and whipped it. Much better.

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Back to leaf two and courtesy of Mary Thomas, Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch. Another new stitch to me and a gorgeous one (once I’d got the hang of the tension). I really like the way this sits on the fabric.

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The inside was finished with stem stitch, back stitch and Pekinese stitch.

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I mounted it up into the book and added my inspiration page which included a printout of a photo of the leaves labelled with the different stitches.

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This was a complete joy to stitch and a lot of fun finding new and interesting stitches to add to the old favourites.

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This was the intriguing title of our full day workshop with Josie Storey at Embroiderers’ Guild last Saturday, so armed with some very lush velvet and the usual sewing stuff I headed off without any real idea of what I was going to be doing!

The technique we were going to be playing with involved ironing prepainted bondaweb onto velvet and then using the stickiness to embellish with anything and everything to create a rich textured surface.

I started with some gorgeous Oliver Twists hand dyed velvet called ‘Stormy Seas’ and so I had to go for wave shapes,

Lush plush and crush 1

with silk waste, carrier rod strippings

Lush plush and crush 2

and scraps of painted melted plastic.

Lush plush and crush 3

Lush plush and crush 4

By this point I’d decided this was going to be the next piece in my travelling book, so when I got home I layered it up with wadding and calico and quilted round the wave shapes with my sewing machine. From this:

Lush plush and crush 5

to this:

Lush plush and crush 6

No hand embroidery – yet…

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The starting point for this holiday’s journal was my middle one, who is doing ‘A’ level Art and is creating some very interesting and effective work stitching into photos and paper. I’ve been really inspired by this and to go along with the paper theme, I decided to alter a book as the journal. Here is the first spread,

Frosty lake tree 1

I used the top of the image on the left which I transferred to a piece of indigo dyed cotton with gel medium. The medium dried quite opaque, giving the image a very evocative, misty feel.

Frosty lake tree 2

Then I used a single strand of Caron Waterlilies variegated silk thread in a very loose stem stitch to pick out some of the detail.

Frosty lake tree 3

Really enjoyed my experimenting.

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I’ve been playing with small things over the Christmas period, like this single earring drop and a section of a felt sample I made for a lesson at school. Combined and embroidered a bit more, they became the front of a brooch.

Lavender brooch 1

Whipped back stitch to hold down the drop with a scrap of thick silk thread couched down underneath it.

Lavender brooch 2

 

The plain lilac felt back was secured with a beaded blanket stitch using some greyish purple delicas…

Lavender brooch 3

…and then the natural (deliberately wobbly) bottom edge was finished with a fringe of delicas, seed and pearl beads.

Lavender brooch 4

A nice quick little project and a good way of using up odds and ends of beads, threads and felt.

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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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There is no textile holiday journal this year. Unlike other years I had no plan and rather than make a chore out of something I love doing, I decided to just take things as they came. If I embroidered, then great. If I didn’t then that was fine as well.

So I played – occasionally. The base for this fragment was the paper case from a chocolate. Even after I’d eaten the chocolate I found I was still turning the flattened case round in my fingers, not ready to screw it up and throw it away. So…why not play?

Chocolate fragment 1

Chocolate fragment 2

Base fabric of a scrap of African cotton print with organza over the top. Silk throwsters waste inside the paper case, running stitch and couching in stranded silk.

Chocolate fragment 3

I had fun.

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I bought this from eBay a few weeks ago, but thanks to the reports, followed by updating the children’s target files, inputting the data online, filling in their pupil progress reports and number crunching percentages to show how many are on target, not on target, on target compared to this or that target group…oh yes, and teaching, of course, that thing I actually trained to do…

Sorry, rant over. Where was I? Oh yes. I bought this from eBay a few weeks ago:

New toy

But, due to reasons listed above, I’ve only just got round to playing with it. Melting fabric onto other fabric to create little experimental samples; just up my street.

Melted fabric experiments 1

Melted fabric experiments 2

Two layers on this one, over a sun print of a washer.

Melted fabric experiments 3

Melted fabric experiments 4

Melted fabric experiments 5

Bored with patterns now. What about using the tool to cut some shapes out?

Melted fabric experiments 6

This ended up as sort of a spider. I love the way the tool sliced through this synthetic satin.

Melted fabric experiments 7

 

Back to patterns.

Melted fabric experiments 8

Then I started to stitch into them. Just playing, echoing the spots on this abstract pattern with french knots.

Melted fabric experiments 9

The scrap of black silk matka behind shows through as a strong black line around the blocks of colour.

Melted fabric experiments 10

Layered waves with some couching.

Melted fabric experiments 11

I saw a lovely and unusual book of quilting samples on Pinterest and I really want to have a go at doing something similar with these little trial pieces.

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