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Posts Tagged ‘calico’

Firstly, a quick update on the french knot marathon. It’s still trailing around with me and has gone from this:DSCN0222 to this:

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I’m focussing on finishing the shaped bits at the top first, while also adding gradually all the way round.

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Our last Embroiderers’ Guild meeting before Christmas was a lovely quiet laid back affair in the midst of the rush with wonderful food, courtesy of our Chair, Mary, and some steady stitching for name badges. We had some stamped calico to work from and I chose the rabbit/hare.

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I used some slubby thread in dark grey for his outline, couched down with a variegated stranded cotton, and a thick stranded silk for his coat, couched down in spirals with my favourite variegated metallic Madeira thread. Where there is an area too small to be included in the spirals I’m going to add something like eyelets or perhaps a woven spider’s web.

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Another piece on the go is an aside from our ‘Lush, Plush and Crush’ workshop with Josie Storey in the autumn. I cut a spiral from Bondaweb and stuck it to the velvet, added some gold markal stick and then some french knots for texture.

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This is destined to provide the upcycled centre for an vintage brooch.

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And there’s my “inspired by poetry” piece for the Travelling Book this month. Plenty to be going on with.

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Last weekend at our branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild, we had a whole day screen-printing workshop with Dionne Swift, working on images with the theme of ‘Waterways’. I chose a ten year old photograph of one of my favourite places,  Snape Maltings in Suffolk, to work from.

Apologies for a photo of a photo, taken in failing light and light drizzle but it does give some idea of the silvery blue East Coast light that I love, with the reed beds of the River Alde in the foreground and the Maltings, turned into a world renowned concert hall by the composer Benjamin Britten, behind.

Snape Maltings

Dionne’s method involved painting the Procion dyes directly onto the screen, letting it dry and then using Manutex (a seaweed based gel medium) squeegeed across the screen to transfer the print to calico. There was enough oomph in the dyes to give one dark and one fainter impression.

Snape screen print 1

It’s not a bad simple representation of the Maltings but I just can’t get my head around the bright tropical colours. Even the paler impression looks garish against the subtle tones of the source photo.

Snape screen print 2

It was fun to try something new, but not everything suits everyone and this definitely isn’t for me. I had more fun with the second masking method we tried in the afternoon. For this we cut or tore paper to make masks which we laid between the calico and the screen. Then I used a mix of Manutex and procion dyes to create a print with the paper mask.

I’d been doing some art at school based on Japanese ukiyo-e prints, particularly those showing water in various forms and a picture of waves by Hokusai was my inspiration for this:

 

Hokusai inspired screen print 1

I was so delighted with the result of the first pull I went for a second but one of the spiral pieces (top right) moved.

Hokusai inspired screen print 2

Then I just went delving in my bag and printed on other bits of cotton I had! This one I washed out when I got home to take out the stiffness from the Manutex. The dye has faded to a wonderful indigo.

Hokusai inspired screen print 3

And finally the very last of the ink on the piece of cheesecloth I was using to mop up with. I cut part of the design out to do some experimental stitching and you can see the difference in the washed and unwashed fabric.

Hokusai inspired screen print 4

With the whole Japanese inspiration and the indigo colour of the ink, I couldn’t resist some sashiko inspired stitching on a section of the print in a cream silk thread.

Hokusai inspired screen print 5

And french knots for the foam.

Hokusai inspired screen print 6

Closer to the comfort zone. A good day, all in all, and Dionne was an excellent tutor. Looking forward to our next day to play.

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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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Early in our holiday we walked the Camel Trail from Wadebridge to Padstow and while in Padstow visited the National Lobster Hatchery as my youngest wanted desperately to adopt a lobster. I bought a gorgeous retro-styled tea-towel in the shop which came with a hand stamped tag depicting the two lobsters of the Hatchery logo that I had to incorporate into my journal.

Lobsters hiding in seaweed was my first thought.

I started with a base of light-weight hand dyed calico with splodges of deep green and then added some strips of dark green hand dyed scrim, which was all bunched up and curled up on itself. I stitched the scrim strips loosely to the background with blanket stitch and then cut round the fronds I’d created with a pair of sharp scissors, also adding some fronds of the base fabric to fill in any spaces.

Lobster Hatchery tag 1

I had some of the pale green silk organza ribbon I’d used to edge the cover left, so I cut it into shapes and used it to back some of the fronds by couching a line of green chenille thread down the middle of the whole frond.

Lobster Hatchery tag 2

I pierced holes in the edge of the tag and stitched through them with a simple running stitch in turquoise which I then whipped twice with a slubby thread.

Lobster Hatchery tag 2a

With the tag in place on top. The stamp hadn’t quite printed the whole image so I completed it in pencil and added black ink later.

Lobster Hatchery tag 3

Next, I cut a lobster claw shape from vilene and coloured it with water-soluble oil pastels. Reaching cautiously out from under the seaweed…

Lobster Hatchery tag 4

Stuck in place in the journal.

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And the full spread.

Lobster Hatchery tag 6

Just need to add some text, possibly using one of the tags I made when I created the journal.

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I’ve mentioned before about how I love the herringbone effect Cornish slate walls. These are in Tintagel, bordering one of the car parks.

Slate wall, Tintagel 1

Great pattern and texture and something I wanted to explore again.

Slate wall, Tintagel 2

 

The day I took this picture, my husband walked from Boscastle to Tintagel to meet us and also photographed a similar wall on the coastal path, his one thick with leafy blue-grey lichen which gave me the the final image for my next journal piece.

Cornish slate wall 1

I decided to create the texture of the wall by using gesso on calico, dabbed on in three or four layers, building up the depth of the stones.  This was then coloured with watercolours which ran nicely into the cracks and crevices and gave it light and shade.

Cornish slate wall 2

Emboldened by the success of the stone effect, I decided to add a background, painting directly onto the calico with the watercolours.

Cornish slate wall 3

Variegated green thread in random straight stitches for the vegetation at the base of the wall…

Cornish slate wall 4

And short strands of blue-grey slubby thread, un-plyed (if you get what I mean) and couched down in little bows to mimic the lichen. It was interesting, stitching through the gesso-slathered calico!

Cornish slate wall 5

 

Stuck into place in the journal.

Cornish slate wall 6

This was so far out of what I normally do with the mixed media of gesso, paint and stitch, but I really love it – it all just worked exactly as I’d envisioned it.

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