Friday, 30 April 2010

UFO no. 2

Hard at work on the unfinished pieces I keep finding in the cupboard!
This was started on a course with Christine Porter at the Bramblepatch a good few years ago, I collected a box of fabrics and then put them away - working all hours at the time! - Now I've liberated the box and completed the quilt! Based on Christine's floor tile pattern it is hand pieced (while away for week-ends) and machine quilted. The first time I have machine quilted anything this size. (45" square)
There are lots of mistakes, but I console myself knowing that I have learned a great deal by doing it!
Just 4 more big UFOs to go!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


I'm still maintaining my self denying ordinance - can't start a new work until the old ones have been finished!! Its a hard discipline but it will be lovely to think of all these ignored pieces being properly completed.
"War Torn" is now complete, started in 2007 and found recently. Its been cut up, re-joined, quilted, beaded and bound! Its full of fabrics which I have stamped,screen printed and mono-printed, Its probably a bit busy but I love the richness of the colours and the textures. Its too small for FoQ but I fond the size easy to manipulate under the machine. Perhaps a bit bigger next time. Next time, because I still have quite a stash of "African" fabrics and I think I have enough ideas to make a small series of pieces.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Inspiration 4

Last night we were entertained by a stunning talk by Yvonne Brown at Market Harborough Embroiderers. I had seen a piece of her work on display in Ely Cathedral some time ago and was intrigued by the intricacy of her stitching and the multi layered look she achieved. Seeing a range of her work from early to recent, in close-up and hearing how she had achieved these effects was fascinating. The trouble is that seeing such exquisite work makes you wonder whether its worth producing your own lesser pieces!
I have been really struck recently by the immense generosity of the textile art fraternity, so many, really well know artists are so willing to share their secrets, my friends tell me that "fine artists" are much more protective of any new idea they come up with, so glad I live in the textile world!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Inspiration 3

Seeing the Kente Cloth work sent me looking on the Internet for some more information about El Anatsui and to see more of his work.
This was how his work was described:
"Born in 1944, in the Ewe-speaking area of Ghana, El Anatsui, is today recognised as one of the foremost contemporary artists of his generation. Taking the broad spectrum of indigenous African cultures as an extended canvas, his central themes concern the erosion of these inherited traditions by powerful external forces and the manner of their survival and transmission into the present."
I was really struck by the amazing weavings using metal of all sorts including bottle tops, ring pulls etc creating such shimmering hangings. As in 1st picture above.
The other work I feel a great affinity to are his hardwood and tempura panels which are beautiful and stark and I think they will lead me to some new work. See 2nd and 3rd pictures.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Inspiration 2

Once the AGM was over I had a little time before my train and went back to The British Museum again. This time to the African gallery where I was really interested in a wooden depiction of Ghanian Kente cloth and strip woven samples which could be seen as patterns for mini quilts. The Ghanian artist is El Anatsui. In 2007 I spent alot of time looking at African imagery and did some experimental work towards a quilt. Through Brenda Boardman and her course at The Bramblepatch I entered a small quilt in their Easter Exhibition. I had internted to create a triptych but lost the inclination to finish it. Finding an unfinished section I have started work again but on a smaller scale and will be interested to see how it turns out! As I am working purly on gut reaction cutting up and restitching sections as the piece grows organically!


I spent yesterday in London, at the AGM of the Contemporary Quilt Group. It was lovely to be able to put faces to the names, whose words of wisdom I have so enjoyed reading. Very august company and a really dynamic group of textile artists. I feel inspired to keep up my work even though I feel that it is still routed in the traditions. My lack of a proper art education really shows now, I think it inhibits me sometimes and prevents serious preparation work as in the brilliant sketchbooks I see others produce.
The afternoon was the most interesting illustrated talk by Anne Smith whose quilt,"Catherine Wheel" was entered for Quilt National in 1995. Her quilts are fabric paintings and are exiting and vibrant. I love the fact that she uses "used" fabrics, reclaimed from charity shops and jumble sales. It gives her work a softer quality. She is an excellent speaker, full of anecdote and wisdom and insight into the way she works. I was so pleased to have this chance to see her work.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Region 7 Challenge (3)

Just back from celebrating an Aunt's 96th birthday and from seeing the "Breakthrough" Quilts at York.
Getting old is not easy, as a society we've not learned how to have a "good" old age - perhaps we are the generation to start to make a fuss about it as we'll be the next ones to go through it!
The Breakthrough quilts were really interesting, such a varied number of responses to the theme and so many different ways of interpreting ideas in fabric and thread. I loved the little book of samples - so interesting to feel the quilt and to see, close up, how the effects had been achieved.

Now I have to complete my challenge quilt all 6" of it!
I have had fun with some mono printing to get leaf motifs and I like the 'less than perfect' image that results. I've actually done 2 to try things out differently but I've had a raging disaster - the 'better' in my view, quilt was on the table for me to mark out the fold line when my brain when into neutral and I found I had cut all along one edge - disaster - I cant now turn a hem and the images come to the edge so I can't use a binding - have had to use a Zig-zag to edge it but it may not be acceptable, so will send both and let others make the decisions. In the end neither of them may me thought of as any good.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Region 7 Challenge (2)

Just back from celebrating my Dad's 91st birthday - a lovely family week-end but I've fewer days left to complete this!
It has been very useful to spend time trying things out! I've learned alot about what I can do and how some of the materials behave and therefore where best to use them.
I have added colour through Thermofax printing inks rollered onto the fabric, I like the rough texture this gives me, very different from using some "pink" fabric. I also like the freedom that machine embroidering through voile and burning away gives me, more spontaneous than applique.
I think I am now ready to "do" the finished piece - deadline looming!!!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Region 7 Challenge (1)

I set entry to this challenge as one of my targets for this year, making me work outside my comfort zone. This is the image all our work must be based on and only these colours may be used in the finished piece. 6" x 42" is a difficult shape to work with and added to that I have to submit my work to the group and it may not be good enough! Given the big debate that has been ranging through the CQ web site, I think I need to be in a very positive frame of mind and almost expect to be told I've not met the standard. I'm sure it will be easier the next time once I've seen what others produce and can judge whether I'm even close to their league. I think that I sometimes crave feedback, as long as it is constructive, based on how the piece could be improved rather than a catalogue of mistakes and errors. I suppose that it is the spirit in which the feedback is offered that matters to me. I was lucky to work with Brenda Boardman for 2 years of courses at The Bramblepatch and I really admired her ability to critique and feedback to us, and felt I learned so much that way. I did enter a quilt to FoQ a couple of years ago and was grateful to the judges for some very positive comments and some clear areas for improvement. It was a sobering experience to be standing near it and listen to the comments, some of which were really rude.
Several weeks of experiments have set me off in the direction I think I will work with and the deadline looms.....
I am going to roller the fabric with printing ink to give the main colour, and experiment with monoprinting, some discharge screen printing and use voilles to highlight the machine embroidery.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

April JQ

Going away is all well and good but it puts the pressure on for meeting deadlines, all 4 JQ's to be complete and the region 7 Challenge this month!!
April's JQ comes from the serendipity of finding a piece of fabric in my stash which looked just like rusty metal! My cog photos are all of rusty metal and so it was easy to go for a version of a big rusty flywheel.
Fabric cut and bondawebed to the background then machine quilted down, shading added, background quilted in parallel lines and the suggestion of cogs in machine quilted lines. I used markle stick on the curved quilted lines to bring them more into relief.

March JQ

My 1st quater JQ's are all related to a collection of photos of rusty cogs and wheels which I found on the internet. I have been experimenting with an circular sewing attachment which I have for the Bernina and have used this to suggest the cogs along with some voilles which I then used a soldering iron to cut away in places.
Now that its done I think its a bit dark and that perhaps the black ground was a little severe, but you only learn by trying things out!!
I think the tool will be useful for close lines of curved quilting.