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Archive for the ‘Found objects’ Category

After Saturday’s talk, a whole Sunday workshop with Alice Fox. We had just been asked to bring our normal sewing kits plus threads, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, making it even more exciting. There was a tempting array of papers, threads and ephemera laid out…

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…along with some examples of Alice’s own work for inspiration. To start, we were each given a selection of different papers…

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…and a prompt sheet asking us to explore how it felt to stitch into them. I used a template from my silversmithing course five years ago to do some feather stitch in various weights of thread..

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I really liked the rough texture I got from putting stitching holes into the heavy tracing paper, so once I’d stitched through it, I used a metalworking scribe to mark wavy lines into the paper without piercing it before punching varying sized holes from either the front (smooth) or the back (rough).

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I really like the differences of line and texture on this. And it reminds me of the sea.

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The next prompt was cutting and patching.

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So a piece of old map cut along the grid lines became the fragment on the right.

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As you can see, by this time I had succumbed and made a little book for my fragments. It started off as an origami book, folded from a single piece of paper with one cut, but I wanted a bit more stability and to have access to all the sides of the pages, so I pamphlet stitched it in two places and tore the double pages into singles. Winging it, but it works.

Next was couching.  I followed the road and river lines on this scrap of map.

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By this time we were all engrossed in our own thing, and although there were two more prompts about deconstructing marked papers and accentuating printed marks, everyone was well away with their cutting, stitching, tearing, patching and experimenting.

At the end of the day we ended up with with a fascinating range of responses.

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Alice uses rusting quite a lot in her work and so when I got home to my rusty washers, I couldn’t resist some mark making on tea soaked paper.

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My little book was over half full by the time the workshop ended.

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With my rust and tea stained papers and these that I didn’t get round to exploring…

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…I have every intention of playing with some more of Alice’s prompts and completing my little book!

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At the end of March I went up to Seaham beach in County Durham to refresh my collection of sea glass, especially the special multis that Seaham is famous for. The beach is certainly a lot more picked over than the last time I went in 2013 and although I did find a few nice bits, there was an awful lot of hard hunting to get them.

Having spent a full day on the beach and driven home aching all over, I thought I was all beachcombed out for a while, and didn’t mind the (very) short spell I was allowed on Southwold beach at Easter, but then, it was a pretty good haul for ten minutes:

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A couple of weeks later we went to visit my middle one in Bangor, North Wales and happened to find ourselves mooching in Beaumaris on Anglesey with an hour to spare before our restaurant booking. Mooching on the seafront, specifically. I glanced idly at the beach and realised I had no real urge to go down and hunt. I was just telling my incredulous family this when my little one looked over the railing and announced that she could see a piece of beach pottery. Instantly refreshed, I positively scuttled down onto the beach to the accompaniment of much hilarity from my husband and daughters.

After they had finished teasing, they did at least come down and help me hunt and the hour passed happily and productively.

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The sea glass was more craft grade (I am spoilt by Seaham nuggets) but the pottery was fabulous.

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And my middle one even found me a rusty ‘thing’ which was very exciting.

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Time to turn my treasures into jewellery. First, I worked with two of my favourite pieces of the Beaumaris pottery. Beaumaris Blue:

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And Pretty Purple:

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This one has a lovely reverse side too.

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The final and very different pendant began with a piece of random organically shaped metal from somewhere which I had textured with a hammer to make a feature of the fact that the underlying copper was starting to show through. I played with arrangements of my beach treasures; pieces of wave-worn metal, pottery and glass until I found something which worked.

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‘Treasures!’ can be found here.

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Hopefully embroidery next time!

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Etc. first. I’ve finally completed all the seed stitch background for an embroidered print I started with Chris Gray in July 2016 and last blogged about eighteen months ago, where it looked like this:

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It currently looks like this:

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Not sure whether to seed stitch the inner circle as well…

I don’t think I’ve shown this piece of upcycling before. One of my mixed lots of junk/vintage jewellery contained a gorgeous brass spinning fob, to which I decided to add some embroidery based on knot gardens.

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It’s now got as far as this:

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French knot hedges and eyelet stitch flowers in variegated silk.

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Near enough to get on and finish now!

Brooches next. I loved the closed fly stitch falling leaves design I stitched for my friend Debbie’s necklace catch a few months ago and decided to do it again on two odd vintage stud earrings which were the same shape and size, but different colours. The initial plan was to make a pair of earrings by covering them with embroidered fabric.

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I stitched one and covered it and started on the second.

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But the second wasn’t close enough in design  – the leaves were further spaced out. Added to that, the gathered fabric and more crucially, the covered pelmet vilene backs, really made them too bulky to be successful as earrings.

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So the posts came off, were replaced with brooch backs and Plan B went into action.  I worked a beaded edging in pearlescent green and metallic copper beads to frame the design and am very pleased with the result which can be found here.

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The second one is still in production! Most of this stitching was done over the Easter weekend at my parents’ in Suffolk which had to include some beachcombing. I was only allowed a short spell under the pier at Southwold, but still managed to find three nice nuggets of sea glass, a piece of carnelian, a big chunk of tile which has weathered to a lovely faux Medieval feel…

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…and some small pieces of driftwood, including one which had a gently shaped front and a flat back perfect for turning into a brooch. I auditioned a fair few piece of broken jewellery to put with it, but when I found this single broken vintage clip on earring of a swallow, it was a perfect match. The plate of the clip was still attached and I used it to mount the swallow onto the driftwood so it stands slightly away from the base, which I like.

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I’ve called it One Swallow (in hope of some more to make a summer!) and put it into my Etsy shop here.

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On Saturday our Guild meeting was an all day workshop led by Mary, one of our members. It was themed as ‘The Sea’ and Mary provided not only inspiration in the form of some lovely examples of her own work on the subject…

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…assorted books, magazines etc. but also masses of fabric, shells, stones, beads, paints, printing blocks, silk waste; you name it… basically a complete treasure trove of stuff.

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And we all know how much more deliciously tempting other people’s stuff is than our own!

As a topic, the sea is completely in my comfort zone, so much so that my initial problem was where to start. There was so much I wanted to do! But as Mary talked us through her goodies, inspiration was initially triggered by a cloud of bright orange silk throwster’s waste and then confirmed by some foam core board. With a very definite idea in my head, I nipped in, grabbed a few bits and bore my loot off to my table.

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The lovely pale marbled fabric was a perfect base for my wrapped and back stitched  foam core board driftwood. I just cut it roughly to the right shape and then back stitched through the boards and several layers of dyed muslin, pulling and pleating the fullness of the fabric to give the impression of wood grain. It was easy to stitch invisibly to the background, where I used Inktense pencils to enhance the pattern of the fabric.

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The orange silk said rust to me, so I created a rusty square-headed bolt from a sandwich of silk carrier rods, the throwster’s waste and a street-scavenged washer I just happened to have in my bag, wrapped in an off-cut of the brown muslin I’d used for the  driftwood and stitched down with my favourite semi-metallic thread.

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The last element was some lovely aqua sea glass nuggets I also had in my bag. I nestled them in the curves of the marbled fabric pattern…

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…and after gluing them in place, stitched them down with a toning machine rayon thread.

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I couldn’t believe I’d actually finished a project within the workshop and still had time to start another one. There was a leaping fish stamp that I liked the look of, so I used metallic blue acrylic paint to stamp some images of it onto more of the grey marbled fabric.

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Then I stitched beads in the spots and some short bugle beads for his underbelly to make him sparkle. I’m adding my name underneath to turn him into a name badge. We are supposed to have one and wear it at meetings, but to my eternal shame it’s something I’ve never quite got round to – until now.

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A good day’s work.

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I know that some members prefer to have a bit of a project set out, but this free for all rummage through Mary’s treasures was perfect for me, and thanks to her skilful facilitation, gave me a wonderful day’s stitching.

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If we have had a workshop of some sort at our Embroiderers’ Guild group, then at the next meeting there is a space available for people to bring their workshop pieces, whether finished or just continued, to show. It was fantastic to see what had happened to the stitch play pieces from my workshop in December.

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Many thanks to everyone who brought along their work – glad you enjoyed it!

I’ve also been doing some more upcycling. First, I turned a single 1980s enamelled earring which looked like orange sherbet into a beaded brooch. I removed the post and then beaded it onto some hand dyed vintage cotton fabric with some matching pearlised opaque orange seed beads using peyote stitch.

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Then I gathered the spare fabric over the back and ladder stitched it to the covered vilene circle onto which I’d already stitched the brooch back.

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Then I could add the edging in a mixture of clear orange, opaque pale yellow and very pale lilac beads, to echo the colours in the swirl.

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It’s not a terribly quick thing to stitch, but a lot of fun to do!

Among the oddments I scored from my Dad’s workshop last year were some bits of veneer that he had hand cut. This little piece is apple wood.

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I wondered what would happen if I doodled on it in black pen…

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…and then cut it into sections to fit in this vintage bracelet.

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Measure twice, cut once…

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Hold your breath and hope…

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…and be pleasantly surprised at the result.

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I’ve also added nuggets of sea glass and sea washed china to a selection of vintage pendants, brooches and rings.

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They are all sitting in my Etsy shop now, waiting for loving homes!

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I’ve had the idea of turning an old pocket watch case into a pendant for a while now, but it wasn’t until yesterday, when after a challenging morning helping my 11 yr old to muck out her bedroom, I felt in need of something simple and soothing to stitch. The watch case itself was ready to go, I just needed to find the fabric…

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…then track down the Dinky Dyes variegated silk I knew I had that would go with it, select three tiny nuggets from my sea glass collection…

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…and I was good to go. Seed beads first.

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And then the embroidery – feather stitch using one strand of the silk and scattered trios of french knots.

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To finish I layered a piece of wadding over a circle of card and snipping the edge of the fabric, I wrapped each tab round the card and lightly glued them to the back before setting the whole thing in the watch case.

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It’s been a long time in development, but I’m absolutely delighted with the result.

If you’re interested, you can find it here.

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It really is time I started getting some of my lovely beachcombed finds out of boxes and into the light of day and with the discovery of some findings I spent a lovely day the other week sorting through all my sea glass and pottery and choosing pieces not only that would make pretty earrings and pendants but that I could bear to part with!

First the pendants:

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I love blue and white pottery anyway, but even more so when it’s been faded by the sea.

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And this piece is just fun!

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Love the depth and richness of this blue glass.

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This piece of old bottle has the letter K embossed on the tip.

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And this is my biggest piece of Victorian Seaham glass.

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Then earrings, all in frosted white glass:

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The nuno felt made a very appropriate background!

I’ve made another section in my Etsy shop for this beachcombed jewellery. The big willow pattern pendant sold the same day as I listed it and is heading for Switzerland!

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