Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Denise Lach - Designing with Letters - part 1

I recently spent a very enjoyable and inspiring 4 days on a Denise Lach course. Not a calligraphy course but more a course learning about designing with letters. I bought this book about three years ago and I have been hoping to go on one of Denise's courses ever since. I can thoroughly recommend the book. 

The course was based on 'foreign' scripts and as the idea was to use the letter shapes to design, it didn't matter at all that you couldn't read it or understand what you had written. I chose Runes as my script and this was one of my first attempts at using it. 

I also wrote the script a lot smaller and I preferred this....

....and then I mixed the two sizes...well I did enough to get the idea of what it would look like and I liked the variation this provided.

Then I took just one of the letters and the added a little variation to it.

....and then used it to create a border pattern.

But border patterns are not really my thing and as I was thinking about my preferences, I realised that I would prefer to work with some more familiar letters and words. So I started to use words that had some meaning to me even if the were illegible to everyone else. Not that this was particularly illegible, I'm sure that the eagle eyed amongst you can read some of the words below.

Then I varied the shape of the size of the individual letters and this made it more interesting.
So lots of paper filled and the design board in this picture pretty much summarises of the first half of my course.

But in the second part of the course I got freer and started linking the designs to landscapes and I'll show some of these in my next post.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Festival of Quilts 2014

On Thursday I spent a nice day with family and friends at the Festival of Quilts.  It was first time that I have been to the first day of the show and I was amazed at the length of the queue to get in. The queue was so long that we had coffee until it had died down. Is the first day always like that?

As usual there were some amazing and inspiring quilts. How do the judges pick the winners? It must be very difficult.  Here is small selection of the photographs that I took....

I wasn't familiar with the work of Ann Johnston but really enjoyed seeing her gallery.

I was particularly impressed with this piece of fabric which was painted to resemble wood, unfortunately my photograph doesn't do it justice.

I recently joined this the Contemporary Quilt Group so I was particularly interested to see their exhibition. This piece was made by Judy Fairless and I love the colours in this one.

This piece was by Liz Smithbone, I really like the design of this piece and the limited colour palette.

This colourful quilt, in the Traditional Quilt category, caught my eye and was made by Tracy Aplin. I liked the design and of course cotton reels are close to my heart. Wouldn't it look great on the wall of a sewing room?

Gillian Theokritoff's 'David' was made up of lots of individual squares of fabric and was amazing. I can't imagine being able to design a piece like this.

This is a detail from a piece by Mags Ramsay and I particularly like how the hand stitching links the piece vertical elements of the piece together.

Dyeing and printing fabric is the foundation of my work but do I love work which is made of a single colour or has minimal changes of colour. This piece was made by Alicia Merrett

This year, as last year. I was very impressed with the miniature quilt section. How do they work so small? This exquisite piece was made by Andrea Stracke.

There was lots of young talent on show too and I loved this piece by Millie Ayers and I could relate to the title of the piece 'An unwelcome guest'. Cute though they are.

I've got loads more photographs of lovely quilts but by now you've probably seen enough and I'm running out of steam, so I'll end with a picture of me next to my quilt at the exhibition....

...and a picture of some of the fabric I bought. Spot a theme? I fancied making a simple top in some novelty fabric but it looks like I'll be making three!

So whilst I'm still feeling fresh and motivated by this year's show, I'd better start thinking about what I can do for 2015! Any ideas?

Sunday, 3 August 2014

New Talent

I love this doll! Especially her eyes. This doll was made by Ella Oliver, aged 11. How talented is she? I have never met Ella but I work with her Mum and I enjoy hearing about Ella's enthusiasm for textile art. I hear Ella's thinking of starting her own textile blog - I look forward to reading that. I have shown this picture to lots of my textile friends and everyone has loved it, keep it up Ella.


To mark the National Day of Stitch and to try to attract new talent to our branch of the Embroiderers Guild, Anne, GinaGill and I sat and stitched in David's book shop, Letchworth and very enjoyable it was too. We laughed, we enjoyed lovely cake from the cafe, bought books from the shop and met some very nice people. We had much more interest than we dared hope and our thanks go The Comet  for featuring us in the paper. So many people came in saying they had seen us in the paper. Thanks too the staff at David's bookshop for allowing us to use their venue and making us feel  so welcome. 
Us just settling in at David's book shop - minus Gina who took the photograph.
We gave out free broach kits to all interested stitchers, the only catch was that there were no instructions in the kits! We will be showing how to make the broaches at our next meeting on 6th September and hope that many new people will come to our meeting and see what a friendly group we are. You can see that we are each wearing one of the broaches we have made. It would have been nice show some photographs with our visitors but of course when we enjoying chatting to visitors about stitching, taking photographs was not on our mind.

This may seem like a simple idea but it took a lot of organisation and took a lot of time to make up the kits and I did none of it. All I had to do was turn up, stitch, chat and talk enthusiastically about our group which was easy to do. Thanks Gina, Anne and Gill for all your work.

I'm sure Ella will soon be inspiring others to pick up a needle and thread too.