Posts Tagged ‘rusting’

My inspiration for my page in Janet’s Travelling Book came from finding the rusted fragments I was working on for an art quilt a while ago, including a fragment of very old soft sheeting scattered with rusted marks. I added a scrap of rust coloured silk, variegated thread, silk ribbon and some rusty washers and sat down to stitch.

I started by attaching the silk with a line of back stitch and the largest washer was couched down with metallic Madeira thread.


Then I added parallel lines of kantha stitching with the variegated thread, weaving around blobs of rust and paint, (I think the fabric was part of an old paint cloth I ‘borrowed’ from my dad’s workshop when I brought home a load of rusted bits a few years ago!) the washer and the silk scrap.


French knots on the silk strip in a variegated turquoise and rust coloured silk ribbon were joined by metallic thread straight stitches and then I couched some brass watch cogs into some of the spaces.



I added an explanatory paragraph with little photos of some of my rusted fragments…


…and attached the finished rusty piece to the next page.


Janet’s spattered page backgrounds work really well with the colours of the fabric and threads.

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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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It’s finally finished, and as Rachel pointed out, more or less in time for this year’s holiday! Just thought it might be interesting to take a virtual tour through the pages.

Holiday journal tour 1

Holiday journal tour 2

Holiday journal tour 3

Holiday journal tour 4

Holiday journal tour 5

Holiday journal tour 6

Holiday journal tour 7

Holiday journal tour 8

Holiday journal tour 9


Holiday journal tour 10

Holiday journal tour 11

Holiday journal tour 12

Holiday journal tour 13

Holiday journal tour 14

Holiday journal tour 14

Part two coming soon.

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I rusted this fandango block some time ago.

Rusted fandango block 1

Work on it progressed very slowly with everything else I had on.

Rusted fandango block 2

And also the fact that I really didn’t quite know what I wanted to do with it. I think I was hoping that as the simple stitching down of the flaps went along, something would occur to me.

And it sort of did.  Mm, liking that.

Rusted fandango block 3

Yes, definitely happy with that.

Rusted fandango block 4

I like the way it shows the un-rusted underbelly of the fabric folds and frames the rusted needle marks in the centre.

Rusted fandango block 5

Rusted fandango block 6

The variegated muted shades of the Caron thread  worked well with it too. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to add more stitching and if so, what?

Rusted fandango block 7

After living with it like this for a few weeks, I actually think I’m finished with it.

I’m going to let the colours and patterns of the rusting speak for themselves on this one, unenhanced by any fancy needlework.

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We spent a wonderful day at The Eden Project during our holiday. I’ve been before but it was all as fresh and new and even more awe-inspiring this time round. So as a textile response, did I soar to the heights of the tree canopy in the rain forest biome?

Eden Project rainforest biome

Quite the reverse, but very much in keeping with the Eden ethos, I feel. 

Eden rusty washer 1

Near the den building area, one of the friends we went with found a chunky, heavily rusted washer on the grass. Knowing how much I love things like this, and the rustier the better, he picked it up for me.

Eden rusty washer 2

I had some rusted soft cotton with me and a scrap of fine, floaty silk in a pale rust colour. They went together beautifully and the washer was attached with long straight stitches in hand dyed turquoise stranded silk thread.

Eden rusty washer 3

I did needle weaving around some of the bars and buttonhole stitched others to vary the density of thread to washer.

Eden rusty washer 5

Then fly stiches around the outside, lining them up with the straight stitch spokes of the washer…Eden rusty washer 4

…and meandering lines of running stitch in a rusty coloured stranded cotton radiating out from the point of the fly stitches to the edge of the fabric.

Eden rusty washer 7

A thing of beauty from a used and discarded object.  A tiny, tiny echo of the ethos of the Eden Project.


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I had an oddment of calico from somewhere which had been folded a la Jennie Rayment and it occurred to me that this would be another interesting block for my rusting quilt.

It was already pinned, so I just added some more to give a rusted pattern.
Rusted folded block 1

Then I placed some washers and nuts on the surface

Rusted folded block 2

And put it into a plastic veg tray with some vinegar and water.

Rusted folded block 3

I’m not sure whether it was the unfortunate accident it had, being knocked over, or whether I put it in too deep a layer of acidulated water or what, but the results weren’t quite as crisp as I was hoping.

Rusted folded block 4

Apart from the pins.

Rusted folded block 5

And they’re actually clearer on the back.

Rusted folded block 6

I like the effect of the folding but I’m not quite sure where to take this next, so it’s on hold while I work on another piece of encrusted embroidery and reticulated brass jewellery.

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I had a fragment of wide rusted sheet seam about 1″ by 3″  which I wanted to use and finding two small pieces of brown sea glass, another idea came together. The layers of fabric within the seam made it strong enough to be able to take the weight of the glass and neither element was large enough to make the other look small and lost.

I stitched concentric circles of running stitch in two strands of stranded cotton, deliberately letting them overlap.

Rust and sea glass block 1

And going right to the edge of the fabric top and bottom.

Rust and sea glass block 2

I love the texture of sea glass, that gently frosted, pitted surface.

Rust and sea glass block 3

A vicious shard of glass wave-tumbled and tamed into a gentle jewel.

Rust and sea glass block 4

Then the beading.

Rust and sea glass block 5

I have a little tin of oddments of seed beads and it was lovely to dip into it for this, finding beads in the right colour way: browns, oranges, golds and a touch of turquoise.

Rust and sea glass block 6

Rust and sea glass block 7

I was amazed to find that putting this one away, I’ve completed ten blocks for my rusting art quilt so far, with one using copper goldwork threads partly planned and another one being rusted with pins and washers at the moment.

Following on from the big thread clearout I blogged about a few days ago, I’ve been badly bitten by the spring cleaning bug. So badly, even more lovely-but-I-really-will-never-use-them threads have surfaced (you can find them here) and I plan to muck out my big bookcase cum desk later today. I can see the piles of books and papers on it already quivering in terror at the threat…

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