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Posts Tagged ‘fused fabric’

When I went to visit my parents at Easter I spent some time with my dad in his workshop. He turned me a couple of pairs of knitting needles from yew last year…

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…and I used one pair to knit him a hat but the knobs on the end were a bit too small and they were a little on the short side so he turned me a version 2:

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in lilac wood

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with laburnum collars over the ends to make the knobs a better size.

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Laburnum is a fabulous wood. Who could have guessed that the small slender trees which rain down their clusters of golden flowers in suburban gardens at this time of the year have such rich dark wood. I’m not sure where my dad has managed to get so much laburnum from, but you can really see the deep colour of the wood and the dark, spiralling grain in a mouse and egg he made years ago.

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Anyway, whilst in the workshop, to my dad’s bemusement,  I managed to score an assortment of scraps and offcuts of various woods. This is apple, which he has used to make some gorgeous chopping blocks.

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I added some kantha style rusty doodling. (That rusted sheet came from the workshop too, as I remember…)

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With some pieces of watch mechanism added…

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I think this will probably become a brooch.

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Also time I was thinking about upcycling a random notebook – the sort of thing that comes full of gorgeous pictures and inspiring ideas inside glossy lifestyle magazines – into a holiday journal. Usually I just fuse fabric to the inside, but there was more writing on the front than I wanted, so I made a cover sandwich, with fabric inside…

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…and outside.

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I’ve just started to blanket stitch the edge for decoration, to keep the edges of the fused fabric from flapping up and also for adding strength to the cover.

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I’m using a slightly lighter weight perle that I have done before with these journals and so have put the stitches closer together which means I need to concentrate on keeping the spacing neat!

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This was my last piece for someone else’s travelling book before we started a new journey and Debbie’s brief was to create something to do with letters.

I already had a piece of embellished sheet music left over from a workshop we did last year with Fran Holmes. The bigger piece had gone to cover the steampunk journal I made for a friend’s wedding…

 

Fused paper fabric 1

…and I had the smaller piece left, which I had started to cover in seed stitch.

Fused paper fabric 2

I finished the seed stitch, which was a bit of a marathon to say the least,

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and as the finished piece was nicely sturdy, with layers of fusible vilene, thick paper, chiffon and heavy stitching, I decided to turn it into the cover of a journal which could be sent as a letter. I took the idea from a book I’d recently bought and for card and paper substituted fused fabric and kimono silk.

I fused a piece of chiffon to the back to stabilise the stitching when I cut it and also to neaten it off a bit.

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Then I cut three sets of pages from vintage Japanese kimono silk…

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…and pamphlet stitched them into the cover, which I had already cut to shape.

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The left flap folds under and the tapered section on the right slots into the slit on the left.

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I copied the instructions to go with the journal and made an envelope for it to go into using a photocopied piece of the instructions which hadn’t printed properly.

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Next was the bag. Debbie had made a bag for her travelling book to go in at the beginning of the project, when we all had nice slim books. Three rounds later there was no way her book was going back into the bag, so she asked me to alter the bag as if it was an envelope that had been to and fro through the postal system.

I used some postal themed rubber stamps and found some slightly shiny fabric which looks a bit like parcel tape, slit the bag up the sides and started to add sections of the parcel tape fabric to enlarge the bag. Then I stamped all over the front and back and stitched it all together.

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Now I need to put another piece into my own journal before it wanders off on another round of travels.

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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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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

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and scraps of painted melted plastic.

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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:

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to this:

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No hand embroidery – yet…

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This started with another full day workshop at our Embroiderers’ Guild branch: Brown Paper Embellishment with Fran Holmes. I didn’t have any brown paper but reasoned that an odd piece of vintage sheet music would work as well. So we had a lovely session scrunching and adding crayon, more scrunching, more crayon, then layering our paper with flowers etc. (I used simple leaf shapes cut from silk) Mistyfuse, chiffon and interfacing on the back. Then we ironed transfoil onto the front which caught in random places depending on how much Mistyfuse was still sticky through the chiffon.

Fused paper fabric transfoil

After all that, I ended up with this:

Fused paper fabric 1

Fran showed us how to further embellish the pieces with machine stitch, but I went for hand stitching and some seed stitches on the bottom piece with my favourite variegated Madeira thread.

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This was the starting point for a steampunk journal I’ve been planning to make ever since we were invited to a friend’s steampunk themed wedding. As the wedding was yesterday (and FABULOUS!) I can now reveal the rest of it.

The top piece of paper with die-cut cogs and a distressed watch face stitched onto it, became the basis for the front cover over a chipboard base:

Steampunk journal 1

Some flat-backed gems and an old earring cabochon added texture and sparkle.

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Put together with rings to bind.

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I had great fun going through my stash of papers and ephemera to make the pages of the book.

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The scraps of vintage fabric on the right hand page were hand dyed with walnuts from Oxburgh Hall a couple of summers ago.

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On the right hand page, which is the inside of the back cover, those layers are a multi-part pocket into which I’ve slipped some more bits and pieces for use elsewhere in the journal.

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And the back cover. Steampunk journal 18 I hope the bride gets as much pleasure out of using it as I did making it.

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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

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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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The lazy daisy cuff book is coming along steadily. It’s the perfect project for working on when I’m out and about, and even a few more stitches while I wait for the children or at the dentist’s, all help to move it towards completion.

Lazy daisy cuff book a

Lazy daisy cuff book b

I’ve also made a start on appliqueing down the largest fused fabric heart on my commission piece.  Gorgeous thick shaggy chenille-type thread hand dyed in the perfect range of turquoises and burgundy and couched down with slanting lines of my favourite matte aurora borealis delicas.

Bead couched heart 1

Bead couched heart 2

A nice steady job for a warm summer evening.

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