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Archive for the ‘Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild Meetings’ Category

It was a real success.

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The weather was lovely and we had a steady stream of interested people through the doors to admire a room full of beautiful textile art including both people’s own projects…

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…and work from the last couple of years, such as the goldwork initials on the left.

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Bovver birds. (Wearing bovver boots…)

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Outcomes from Mary’s Sea Workshop:

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Chris Gray’s amulets:

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My Stitch Play:

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Competition Pieces:

Sandra’s beautiful heliotrope fan won the Regional Award for the Competition – ‘A flower beginning with…H’.

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And I believe this William Morris inspired competition entry on the left is Lynda’s. Each one of those sunflower petals is an individual free standing woven picot. Stunning!

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Some of our Alice Fox work:

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As well as more projects, new…

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…and old.

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And in one corner, my jewellery stall (complete with my budding archaeologist on the left). Upcycled jewellery on the left, original jewellery in the middle and beachcombed jewellery on the right among the driftwood.

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I half hoped I might sell a couple of bits, but in fact I sold nine items and had so many lovely compliments and conversations that it’s a wonder my head got through the door at the end of the day!  I am so grateful to the committee for suggesting I have a stall and I am definitely ready to do something like this again – I just have to find the right type of fair/market.

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For me, this blog is a place to express and explore my creativity and so I rarely talk about the other parts of my life, but those of you who have been around for a while will have probably worked out that I am, or was, a primary school teacher by trade. That was until just over three years ago when I was moved into the school’s Nurture Room to work one to one with a child who was unable to access classroom teaching due to some very complex needs. At the same time, the school’s Learning Mentor went off sick (and never returned) and I found myself covering her role.

I loved it. I managed a small team and for the first time found myself outside the toxic culture of the primary classroom, where nothing you do is ever good enough. I liaised with outside agencies and support services on behalf of our vulnerable children and families and designed and ran programmes to support children with a whole range of behavioural, emotional, social and mental health problems. It was the most interesting, creative and rewarding period of my entire working life.

Then last year the academy provider decided that the school would be better served by me returning to the classroom. When the current Y6 cohort, which contained some of our most challenging children, left there would (apparently) be no need for my role and the work I was doing three days a week would be covered by other members of staff (it hasn’t…). Bullshit. It was really just about saving money.

It broke my heart. I never even made it as far as the first day of term and spent eight months off work with stress and depression until I took redundancy in April. It was the biggest finish of my life, shutting the door on a nearly thirty year career.

I’m nowhere near retirement, so I need to turn my finish into some new beginnings and now I find myself like a child in a sweet shop, not knowing what to choose as there are so many things I love doing that could become potential careers.

I want to get back to writing. I have a second book of short stories ready to go, a novel I’m about a quarter of the way through, a panto script on the boil and an idea for a book about effective behaviour management techniques.

I also desperately want to carry on doing the sort of nurture/behaviour management stuff I was doing when I was working, perhaps as a consultancy. My behaviour management methods really work and I would love to be able to train and advise teachers, schools and teacher training courses.

And then there are all my creative things. I’m working on a couple of pieces of upcycled furniture at the moment which I am really excited about, as well as all my embroidery and my upcycled and original jewellery. I still love the mechanics of teaching and I’ve really enjoyed the workshops I’ve run at Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild.

It’s like trying to choose off an amazing menu. Each time I think I’ve settled on one path, I think about the others and get really excited about them and change my mind. So I’m not choosing. I’m going to try and work on all of them and see how and where that goes.

I’ve started working as a Primary Behaviour and Social-Emotional Support Specialist with some initial pro bono work for a friend to get my name out there and have updated my LinkedIn profile accordingly. It’s reminded me how much I relish the problem solving and enabling children in crisis to find strategies to help them.

I’ve also started offering textile/embroidery workshops and have already had a few enquiries, which is encouraging. I even designed a flyer to help with publicity so if you’re interested then please get in contact. I can do full days, half days and evenings and am happy to travel (in the UK).

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And then there is always Etsy, eBay, car boot sales and I’m hoping to find some markets and fairs to attend. I’m dipping my toe this Saturday when Scunthorpe branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild have our 21st birthday exhibition. Some very long time readers might recognise the embroidery on the poster – my North Cornwall Wallhanging!

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I’m having a stall with a range of beachcombed and original jewellery and also a selection of my upcycled jewellery which has been embroidered or is textile-based in some way. I’ve read reams of stuff on how to have a successful hand made stall and have everything crossed. It will be fun!

 

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Some of the near finishes I blogged about recently in ‘Brooches etc‘ have become actual finishes!

First the Chris Gray amulet from summer 2016. It’s gone from this:

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To this:

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I sandwiched the felt backed front and a piece of black felt for the back on either side of a piece of very firm stiffener than Chris provided us with to give the amulet body. Then I blanket stitched the three pieces together with the same variegated thread I used for the seeding stitches.

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I added a ribbon loop at the top and a cluster of beads, chains, sea glass, shell etc at the bottom from an assortment of broken jewellery.  The long blue tyvek or similar bead was one of two we were all given as part of the original workshop.

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The Knot Gardens pendant is also finished. I coloured the pelmet vilene around the knots to look like soil/paths and sandwiched both knots together with another circle of vilene inside to make it thick enough to sit in the swivel part of the fob properly.

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It’s in my Etsy shop here.

I also completed the second of my autumn leaves embroidered and beaded brooches. The first had a green and copper bead surround:

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The second has a fiery gold and orange sunburst surround. I love doing these beaded edgings – they work up quickly and look really effective. I’ve got my fish name badge to do next.

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And lastly, an empty watch face pendant and a piece of embroidered felt came together to create another upcycled pendant which is on Etsy here.

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It’s really good to get so many quick finishes sorted, or may be it’s displacement activity because I have some mending that needs doing…!

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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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Embroidery as promised. I not only finished off the faux driftwood piece I stitched at our sea-themed Embroiderers’ Guild March workshop…

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…but also found a framed ceramic plaque for £1 in a charity shop which after a bit of sanding and dry brushing with some pale blue emulsion paint yielded the perfect frame.

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The beaded fish is now nearly a name badge. I just need to add a brooch back, ladder stitch the two sections together and bead it round the edge.

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On Saturday it was our April Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild meeting and an opportunity to revisit the embroidery we produced in March after Mary’s workshop. It was lovely to see such a variety of outcomes.

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This was followed by a fascinating talk by Alice Fox, learning about her creative journey and focusing on her ‘Findings’ body of work. Anyone who beach and pavement combs and turns the oddments she finds into works of art is a woman after my own heart. We had a workshop booked with her on the Sunday but I’m going to blog about that separately.

I’ve also been embroidering more pieces of silk carrier rod to inlay into upcycled jewellery – two lockets and a pendant. The pendant was first: vibrant green carrier rod with a crimson ribbon embroidery rose circled by five little leaf stitch leaves.

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This went beautifully with a stamped filigree brass frame to become June Rose.

Then I moved onto the smaller of two gold tone lockets. I used a wintry blue carrier rod and embroidered it with tiny snowflakes in two weights of silk thread. 20180426_114304_HDR.jpg

It really is very small – the central oval is about 2cm by 1.5cm and the finest thread is thinner than normal sewing cotton. The snowflakes aren’t quite well stitched as I wanted, but embroidering something that intricate freehand was quite a challenge.

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Snowflakes is available here.

For the second locket I returned to a familiar design, an undersea landscape of waving feather stitch fronds of coral or seaweed and tiny nuggets of sea glass.

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I chose a variegated pink and turquoise thread as a starting point and teamed it with turquoise/blue carrier rod, three nuggets of multi-coloured Seaham sea glass and a couple of darker pink threads.

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The Coral Garden locket is quite a bit bigger than the Snowflakes locket at about 4 by 4.5cm. I really like the colour combination. I wouldn’t have necessarily put the two colours together but they worked so well in the variegated thread.

I really love stitching these little vignettes and using them to make bits of junk jewellery into things of beauty again.

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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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That was the name of our talk by Quilt Artist Greta Fitchett, ably abetted by her husband Mike, also an artist, at our Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild meeting on Saturday and it certainly was colourful!

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The wobbly geometric quilt second from the left was inspired by the distorted reflection of skyscrapers in the  mirrored windows of a building in front of them, which is an idea I love and the Chinese temple with reflections next to it was a collaboration between her and her husband.

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Sari silk strip applique features as vegetation at the bottom of the long landscape quilt on the left, and the colour palette of the one on the right really evokes its Venetian inspiration.

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I love that temple reflection and the rich colours of the right hand quilt with motifs from Roman mosaics.

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More Venetian inspiration on the left (millefiori from a Venetian bead) and in the centre, and Roman mosaic birds feature on the purple one.

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The quilts are stunning from a distance but the photos really don’t do justice to the amount of surface decoration and embroidery. Buttons, beads, spangles, painted bondaweb, paint, hand and machine stitching with featured long wispy ends… Just love the detail!!

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I’ve finished my second bunting letter – an R – from January’s meeting, but I was convinced that I’d photographed it on the main camera. I hadn’t, of course and now it’s been handed over, so none of my own stitching to show this week!

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