Friday, 24 May 2013

Contemporary Expressions invited to exhibit at Patchwork Europe in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines

I can now tell you that Contemporary Expressions will be exhibiting at La Mine D'Artgens gallery in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines during Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork in September this year! Very exciting!
We have all been working very hard and have almost completed all the work which will be on show in September.
The title of our exhibition is "Hidden Treasures" and we have drawn our inspiration from Kew Gardens and from Elizabethan Britain.
I am very much looking forward to seeing some of the other exhibitors in between stewarding our venue.
More later as further information is released.

Friday, 17 May 2013

"Transported 2"

With the basic ideas sorted I have spent quite some time just playing with ideas, but as fabric samples not drawings!
The first piece used a second sari, a brighter one and used voille "sachets". A huge departure for me and interesting to stitch into it with Kantha like hand stitches.

I loved the colours but quickly realised that the "sachets" did not show up at all. I also realised that with this hand stitching it would take me months to quilt, months I don't actually have!

I went back to the darker sari fabric and the silks I had brought home. I tried making square or rectangular "sachets" but they created too regular a pattern. Next I tried stitch and flip rectangles onto the sides of squares.

This gave me a more fluid pattern but the "sachets" were too plain so I tried block printing onto each section.

I was happy with this, the block has movement in it and echoes the tiny block I used to print onto the background.
Now I just have to solve the issue of the lettering!

Sunday, 12 May 2013


I have never before even considered entering a quilt into the challenge category at Festival of Quilts (FoQ) but a happy set of coincidences has persuaded me this year!
The theme, "Transported" at first seemed to be unappealing until I realised that I has transported fabric and printing blocks back from my holiday in Sri Lanka and that I had an image in my mind that I would like  to explore! So I am busy putting it all together!
The idea - In every small community along the main roads we travelled in Sri Lanka there were really small "shops" in huts,shacks and buildings serving poor communities - here to enable people to access commodities they were sold in brightly coloured blister packs and sachets, hung across the shop. The other piece of the jigsaw in my mind was the fabulously curly Sri Lankan script . Our guide sent me home with Sri Lanka printed in Sinhala so that I could incorporate it. This was the seed of a design.
Not the greatest photo but taken from inside a vehicle while it was moving!
 This is an example of Sinhala script.
The materials - I bought a sari, woven from two coloured threads in an orange and brown - I think we call it an Oxford weave, the effect shimmers. This would be the background. I also bought some pieces of silk and three wooden printing blocks, I would work with these transported items!
This shows one of the printing blocks bought too.
 Armed with the raw materials I then set out to map out a detailed design, of which, more later!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Lutrador Experiments

After all the recent interruptions to normal life I returned to my embroidery class this week to find that we were looking at machine embroidery and Lutrador.
I have only had one experience of using Lutrador before, very unsuccessfully! So it was very good to  get to "play" when there was no burning need to include it within a piece of work. I now realise that I had tried to incorporate too large a piece of Lutrador onto a soft, quilty base.
Today we set out experiments onto pelmet vilene which provided a much more stable ground layer.
Lutrador took acrylic paints very easily and I loved the effects using metallic acrylic paint, sadly I forgot to photograph it at this stage!
Layering the Lutrador over cotton fabric we the stitched into the three layers and then used a blow torch to burn away areas of the Lutrador.
My main error was in choosing a busy background fabric, this made the whole thing far too bitty.
next we tried using two layers of Lutrador, both painted, over cotton and pelmet vilene and in addition to the machine stitching, used scissors to cut into the top layer so that the heat would expose the layer beneath.
This created a much more interesting set of effects and I could envisage using this again.
I so enjoy having the space and time to try out things, its surprising the effects that can come about and the "pings" that the brain then has about how one might use them!
I still have to get down to a piece for Festival of Quilts.......

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Gizella Warburton

My  Embroiderer's Guild branch recently hosted an evening with Gizella Warburton a textile artist who lives locally. I love her considered, pared back and abstract work. Its is all about the fabric and about stitch. The fabric, natural and often linen in different weights, makes full use of the raw edges and slub texture. The stitching, mostly by hand, echoes the marks made by brushes on canvas.
I was fascinated by her admission that work "grows", spending time on her design wall while she considers what next needs to be done, rather than in detailed drawings.
Gizella also shared with us her love of photography and her pictures from Snibston - her eye for detail and pattern became clear as did the inspiration behind many of her textile pieces. I really love the bare, stitchy nature of her work and was , in part, reminded of soem of Mathew Harris' work too,
I have to keep reminding myself when working that LESS can be MORE!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

"Into the Wildwood" part 3

I still had materials left and I had come into the course with a second idea that I was interested in exploring. I particularly wanted to use the painted and waxed anaglypta (sp?) and the painted fabric.
The design was simple.
I wanted to use a dark background so that the " trees"would stand out.

Here the "trees" are too big and clumsy so I reduced some in  width.
I introduced some voile as a horizontal element.
Added mushrooms from the painted, distressed and waxed paper and by then it was time to pack up and come away. So this composition is sitting on the design wall waiting for me to find a day with time to make it work in reality!
My fellow students were much more focussed and their pieces were more in keeping with Stephanie's style of working.
I have their permission to show some of the other completed work.

I think that I shall now feel able to create papers and fabrics in small quantities to include in pieces of work and will consider a wider range of hand stitches to apply these to my work after these two concentrated days.
Now I need to settle down to get a piece for Festival made........