Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Acrylic Wonderland

I spent last week at Committed to Cloth on the Acrylic Wonderland course which was led by Claire Benn and was described as  'A week of exploring the joys of acrylic mediums and paints'. It was great to spend a week away from work being creative and trying out techniques. 

We explored many things but towards the end of the week, we looked at how acrylics could be used to transform some of our previously dyed fabric 'dogs' into something more pleasing. This was my favourite ex-dog.

...and this is how it started looked before I took the acrylics to it.
This was another piece of cloth that had been dyed and then overprinted some time ago and had been left lurking at the bottom of a box and destined to stay there, it was an ideal candidate for over printing. 
 I over printed it with several shades of grey (but not as many as you're thinking!) and I hope you can see the layering effect. 
Not a master piece but it does lend itself to some brighter over printing as below or perhaps the addition of some dramatic stitching. 
Earlier in the week we had created a paper lamination and this is what I used to overprint my 'dogs' with (not the small red print) and I quite like how this left the paper lamination. I may mount the lamination on a some cloth and stitch into it.....one day.

All the time I was experimenting and watching demos, I was looking out for ideas to progress my Chilean landscape theme. One of the ideas I progressed quite far and will show you in another post. Others are still bubbling in my head. It was a good week








Monday, 9 May 2016

Desert Blue

It's over 4 months since I lasted posted about this piece. I had no idea it would take so long for me to get to this stage, which is probably just as well but I'm pleased with the way my idea has developed. When I start a piece of work I usually like to have a view of how the finished piece should look albeit this view can change as the work progresses.  With this piece, try as I might, I couldn't get a clear view of how I wanted the finished piece to look, which may partly explain why it has taken so long. So there was nothing for it but to take it one section at a time.
There is dense stitching in places which was very hard on my fingers but I'm pleased that I persevered. I'm sure I could go on and on with the stitching but I'm going to stop here.

It's not quite over yet though, I still need to finish the work and get it ready for hanging but starting a new piece seems more appealing at the moment. This is definitely the first in a series. I have a number of other ideas to persue, in fact one experiment is 'brewing' at the moment, and I can't wait to see how it develops. More of that at another time.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

EG's Capability Brown Exhibition at Ashridge

Our exhibition at Ashridge has now opened. I wasn't able to go on the hanging day, so  thanks to those members who worked hard to get the exhibition looking good. I felt very lucky to have my Surreal Landscape included on the exhibition poster. 

The exhibition also includes my 'Reeds in the Mist' piece, which has been in a nearly finished state for some time - the power of a deadline!
The fabric was hand dyed and the only stitching is on the reeds. I used wool thread and then lightly embellished it to blend the stitching into the background and to anchor the threads to the fabric, which was important as some of the stitches were pretty long.  
The exhibition is on until February 2017,and Ashridge is a lovely place to visit so do go and see the exhibition if you can. I've seen pictures of some of the other member's work and I can't wait to see them for real. 

On the subject of exhibitions....earlier in the year I submitted one of my Geo Landscapes into RA Summer Exhibition, well you've got to be in it to win it, haven't you? Unfortunately, I didn't get past the first round of selection but I'm sure I'll try again. Let's hope some other textile pieces were more successful.


Saturday, 12 March 2016

Collograph Printing on Fabric and Paper

In January, yes as long ago as that, I went on a very enjoyable collograph course tutored by Birgitta Wilson at Committed to Cloth. I have been on collograph courses before but what I learnt from Brigitta was that by using different materials on the printing plate I could influence the tone that was printed. This increases the possibilities no end.
The image above is one of the printing plates I made, after it had been used. As with most of my work at the moment it was influenced by the salt flats in Chile. I loved the effect of the crushed egg shells and the sky was made of sellotape which produced a naturally lighter print area. This was the plate printed onto paper..
We used a limited colour palette, which helped us explore the effects the different materials could have on tone. This piece was printed on fabric and although it's not a great print, I can see that it has potential and I will probably stitch it. 
it 
I layered the plate with another smaller plate before printing, it wasn't my favourite but it seemed very popular with everyone else.
I also made two smaller plates. In fact this one was the first plate I made in class and I used a number of materials to trial the effects it would achieve.
 I printed both plates on top of each to create this image on fabric. If you concentrate hard you can see the two images (one of them is turned round). It makes me think of old map.
This is something that I would like to do more of, perhaps one day I'll own a printing press. This technique has got lots of potential which I'd love to explore more. I would definitely recommend a course with Brigitta and I see she is doing another course at C2C later in the year but I see it's already full. I'm obviously not the only one that enjoys going on her courses.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Surreal Landscape

Quite often I have ideas that I want to pursue but can't for one reason or another.They sit patiently in my mind and my sketchbook waiting for the right time to come along and this was what happened with this idea.
30 X 25 cm
So what caused me to come back to this cotton reels in the landscape design? I was interested in joining in the Capability Brown Festival organised by the Embroiderers' Guild but knew little about him.  Through my research I found that his designs often incorporated undulating landscapes and there was always something along the horizon line and this design came flooding back. Now was the time to dust it off.

Detail
I had my design printed on fabric at Finger Print and I was pleased with the quality of the image although it did come out more orangey than my image. This has given it a warm glow and fortunately I like orange!

Foreground detail
I have really enjoyed stitching it but I left the cotton reels unstitched, leaving the scratched marks to suggest stitch.

As it was 3 years since I came up with this design idea, it was interesting to remind myself how I got from the original image to the finished embroidery which you can see below.



That's one piece finished and now I need to finish my other piece. More of that in a later post.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Dyeing in the Washing Machine

I like the bird motif on this T-shirt but whenever I went to wear it, the white seemed just too bright a white for my colouring and so it's hardly been worn and I vowed that one day I would over dye it with cream......and that day finally arrived at the weekend. 
I recently found myself in John Lewis, admiring fabric printed with this Lucienne Day motif but it also had a very bright white background and I had just persuaded myself not to buy it when a fellow shopper helpfully pointed out that it was only £1 per metre and as anyone else would do in these circumstances, I bought 3 metres and vowed to over dye it with cream. After all if it didn't work out, I'd hardly have lost a fortune. 
I dyed the T-shirt and fabric together in the washing machine, the method which gives the best chance of a smooth dyed finish, not a method I usually use as I'm usually hoping to bring textures into my dyeing but it worked perfectly and there weren't any blotches of dye to be seen. I'd definitely recommend the washing machine for this type of dyeing, better still buy fabric and T-shirts in colours you like! . 

PS the dyed fabrics are a much more creamy colour and less apricoty in reality but try as I might I haven't been able to capture the true colour on camera.  

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Christmas Decorations from a Stitcher's Perspective

This year, as in many other years, I have been busy making things in the run up to Christmas. Things that are far from essential but for some reason I feel I have to make before the 'big day' and here are two of the things I have been making.

This is my Christmas mannequin which was inspired by one I saw in John Lewis. I had every intention of making a simple red top to go on it but with no red fabric and little time I had to resort to something I already had and the beaded top fit the bill, after all when did I last wear it? I enjoyed decorating her and I think she could become  an annual fixture at Christmas.
And sticking with the sewing theme, here is this year's stitcher's wreath. I've used pretty much all my bright shiny threads in the wreath and I'm hoping they will remain intact and usable when it comes down in January. It may have benefited from additional reels, maybe next year I'll either paint some of the wooden reels in bright sparkly colours or perhaps wrap them with bright ribbon or fabric and use more of them. Next year? Now I'm getting ahead of myself!


I'm also trying to finish making a dress to wear over Christmas! This will be my first attempt at making a lined dress and although the main part of the dress is almost complete, I've yet to buy the lining! I'm not sure if I had a brain storm when I bought the fabric or whether they gave me too much but there was a lot left over and so I  cut out a funky top that I have been wanting to try for some time and am sewing that too. Madness! Obviously I'm sewing these without my dressmakers dummy - she's otherwise engaged. 

But before I go back to my sewing, I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and creative new year.