Thursday, 30 September 2010

Travels with some stitchers!

I have just returned from 4 wonderful days in the company of six other stitchers from Market Harborough Embroiderers' Guild on a trip to Cumbria, and points between. A brilliantly conceived mix of interesting events, tutorials, visits, shopping opportunities and excellent food with lots of laughs!
The long journey north was punctuated with a visit to the "Wool& Textile Craft Fair" in Walkley near Sheffield. Here we found exhibits of local crafts, exhibits of exquisite machine embroidery by Sue Lancaster and sales tables with everything you could ever have wanted to indulge spinning, weaving, knitting enthusiasts! We also found a great stop off at Mainsgill Farm Shop between Scotch Corner and Penrith for coffee and cakes! ( a regular theme of the holiday!) Our "home" while away was "The Fat Lamb" near Kirby Stephen - so friendly and welcoming, delicious food and the noisiest creaking floorboards ever! Our fellow guests were a little taken aback to find us stitching away in the bar of an evening!
We visited "The Quaker Tapestry" in Kendal, a stunning set of 70 panels of crewel embroidery telling the story of the Quaker movement, stitched by folk around the world, a moving testament. Blackwell Arts and Crafts House on Winmdermere - finished in 1900 and recently restored to its former glory, making a house one would love to live in.
We spent a whole day at Farfield Mill just outside Sedburgh. A stunning old woollen mill now forming an artists' cluster of workshops and exhibition spaces. We had 2 tutorials from Mary Taylor, and exquisite embroiderer, firstly on her methods for jewellery construction and later in the day on her landscape embroideries. Such a generous teacher, sharing her work and providing a lovely insight into her design processes - Also had a chance to see Alice Kettle's "Allegory" exhibition - a really lovely day!
Our final day took us down to Bradford, to Texere Yarns and a chance to buy yarns, beads, threads of every conceivable shade and weight in their Aladdin's cave and a workshop in Sheffield with Sue Lancaster on Dorset Buttons, a strangely addictive craft which I think we will all be using in some way another time.
It has been lovely to share all this with kindred spirits, how lucky to have found such a brilliant group to be a member of.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Mark making workshop

My day a month course this time looked at mark making and at ways of creating design ideas for the terrified drawer - which I am!
It was a very liberating day - and taught me a methodology that I think I can use to stimulate ideas for my quilts. I really want to move away from the more traditional but need the underpinning of good basic designs. It has come at a really good time for me as I have signed up for the "Independent Study Group" tutored by Brenda Boardman as day a month programme for 2011. I am delighted to be doing this, I need the rigor and the stimulation one gets from other artists and the creative criticism. At least now I feel I have a methodology for creating initial design ideas and who knows where I can then go with them!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Time Management

I was sent a link to an ebook which discussed methods of organising ones time. My behaviour on receiving it betrays the issues I have with time management and finding time for creative work!
The document, by Mark McGuiness, sets out the blocks and strategies for overcoming them. Well worth a read.
What I did was not only to open and download the document, but to read it, then and there! Interrupting what I was really doing and so disrupting that morning's activity! The very thing the article warns one against.
So...... I realise that if I am to really make something of my creativity I have to address the "magpie" behaviour ( ooh that looks interesting, I'll have a go at that, tell me how you did that, brilliant I'll have a go tonight!! etc.) The article recommends "To do" lists, which I have always used - but I realise that I am not systematic about using them. I'm going to start now to be more focused, and when the next person suggests I try something new - its going to have to be a NO unless it actually pushes what I am really doing forward! Very brave, if I can do it.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Linda Miller Workshop

I was really lucky to take part in a whole day Linda Miller workshop run by Market Harborough Embroiderers on Saturday. She is an excellent teacher, precise and clear a sense of humour and prepared to push you to create something worthwhile!
We all did a simple introductory exercise to learn the technique. We all stitch a small badge sized heart with background and details and then had 1:1 tutorial to decide on our own piece.I was surprised by how well I was able to cope with in intricacies of the style and it led me to bite off a bit more than could chew as a 1st attempt!!
I had found a picture of a boat in a harbour, lots of horizontal detail and reflections in the water. I've learned alot doing it, I did finish the piece and I now know what I will need to do if I try the technique again, which I think I will for cards especially.