Thursday, 31 January 2013

Paper Lamination - Tree Bark

In May, the North Herts and Beds branch of the Embroiderers' Guild will be holding an exhibition in Letchworth Arts Centre. The branch members have been asked to each create an A5 piece of work based on the theme of trees and this is my piece: 
The piece is based on a tree bark I saw in Namibia and this holiday has provided me with so much inspiration. I have layered two pieces of paper lamination and hand stitched it to background fabric. All the member's work will be mounted onto artists canvas. I think there will be lots of entries, who can fail to be inspired by trees? I can't wait to see them.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Cotton reels in the landscape - TTF

Another challenge from the Taking Textiles Further (TTF) weekend was to think how I could link the cotton reels to my personal theme of landscapes. I admit that I was quite baffled by this thought initially and after a moment of inspiration/desperation (take your pick!) I googled 'cotton reels in the landscape' and all I needed was a reference to hay stacks and cotton reels to get my imagination going.  I then had a lot of fun digitally placing cotton reels in some of my landscape pictures. Here's what I came up with:

I couldn't leave it there, so I then drew, scratched and painted onto the photographs, which I think generated some interesting results.

I'm looking forward to the next TTF challenge in February. I think that my 'homework' has generated some ideas which I could take forward and I'm always pleased by that.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Drawing with Stitch - TTF

Another thing we did on the Taking Textiles Further (TTF) weekend was to stitch onto fabric, in the same way that you might draw onto paper.

The top and bottom rows were stitched directly from looking at a sections of my drawings and the middle row stitching from looking directly at the cotton reels themselves. I'm not sure where it takes me but I enjoyed doing it and I used yet another piece of unloved fabric. At this rate I could be up for a 'Recycler of  the Year' award!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Taking Textiles Further - December 2012

It's been a few weeks since I went to the Taking Textiles Further workshop with Janet Edmonds but I have only just got things in any shape to show you. This year Janet's theme is 'collections'. I chose to use a collection of cotton reels as my theme. A couple of other students in the class had also chosen cotton reels but I guess it shouldn't be too much of a surprise in a group of textile artists. It will be interesting to see how the work of the 'cotton reel girls' develop. Here is one of my starting points:

When I started to draw the cotton reels, I realised that it was going to be harder than I had bargained for. All those varying ellipses would require some studying and practising! This would take some time and so a plan B was required....tracing. I quickly traced the outlines of the cotton reels in such a manner that may be fooled (if you weren't familiar with my drawing skills!) into thinking that I had drawn them.  I then tried out a number of compositions. Here's a few from my sketch book.

We were asked to place our collections on a patterned background and to draw from the image and I used one of my gridy pieces of cloth as the background. I soon realised that a more simple approach was required and I reduced the number of cotton reels.

I have quite a large (yes you've guessed it!) gridy piece of cloth which is graduated in colour. It was suggested that I could consider incorporating a cotton reel design on top of the grids. I was very sceptical that this would work but some of the reasons I go to the class is to challenge my thinking, stop me getting in a rut and to try out ideas that I wouldn't otherwise try. So with the help of my computer here are some mock-up on paper.

It's been worthwhile trying out the idea/s as I am now far less sceptical and think it could possibly work. 

If you have any thoughts on the start of my design work for my cotton reel collection then I would love to hear from you. There's a few more ideas that I would like to try out prior to our next class in February and I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Hemmed in Exhibition

Yesterday I visited the 'Hemmed in' exhibition. The exhibition was organised by the Milton Keynes branch of the Embroiderers' guild and Jamie Chalmers, otherwise known as Mr X Stitch I really liked the mix of items in the exhibition. There were pieces on loan from the Embroiderers Guild, work by branch members, work by textile artists who had inspired the branch members and work selected by Mr X Stitch. Here are just some of the photographs I took. I have included some detail photographs too so you can get a better feel for the work and the techniques used.

These photographs are of work by textile artists selected by the branch members:

Jan Beaney: Skala Eressos: A Celebration

Jan Beaney: Detail

Janet Edmonds: Excursions in my mind and Circles in my mind

Janet Edmonds: Detail

Sandra Meech: Polar Meltdown  

This piece was made by a member of the Milton Keynes branch and unfortunately I did not make a note of the artist. I really liked the 3D dandelion which my photograph doesn't do justice to.

These were some of the pieces selected by Jamie Chalmers:

Bridgeen Gillespie: Rock n Roll Outlaws
Bridgeen Gillespie - Detail

Some of the work selected by Mr X Stitch was at the Knitting & Stitch Show last year but at this exhibition you could get closer to the work and have an uninterrupted view. There were 3 pieces in this selection which included images of guns and knives and regardless of the skill in the pieces I just couldn't enjoy them. And although I didn't photograph them, I have remembered them and even written about them (here). Maybe that's their aim to challenge our view of 'acceptable' themes for textiles?

These pieces were from the EG's Collection:

Elizabeth Grace Thompson: My Mother

Richard Box: Geraniums

Richard Box: Detail

Beryl Dean: Firebird

Beryl Dean: Detail

There were three pieces that have stuck in mind and filled me with particular admiration for the artists. Richard Box and Jan Beaney use so many different colours and textures and they all work so well together. When they are working on the piece how to they know where to place all the colours so that they contribute to the design and read as a whole from a distance? Some time ago I bought a small kit from Richard Box so that I could try his technique under his (written) instruction but I have never started it. Maybe this will be the encouragement I need? Having tried a little goldwork on my City & Guilds course and I in awe of how Beryl Dean has created such a detailed and beautiful piece as the one above. This is one technique I won't be trying - I know when I am beat!

I would like to congratulate the organisers of the exhibition. Including work from well known textile artists and pieces from the Guild's Collection is an excellent way to attract more people and to show branch member's work to a wider audience.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Christmas Tags

I really enjoy Christmas and the build up to it but from the 28th December I'm usually itching to get the Christmas decorations down. I do leave them up until 1st January and usually take them down whilst watching, well more listening, to the New Year's Day concert on the television.

This year I was particularly looking forward to taking the decorations down as I was inspired by Gina's post to make Christmas tags out of old Christmas cards. I am now a proud owner of a tag punch and enjoyed making tags earlier today.The more tags I was able to make from a single card the happier I was. I now have more tags than I could possibly need in a year, let's hope I remember I have them in 11 months time.

I wish you all a happy, healthy and creative new year.