Sunday, 27 April 2014

Journal Quilts January to April

I am undertaking this challenge again this year after a year off. I have decided to concentrate on "Abstraction" and will choose three different images to try and abstract.
My first four are based on a photograph of Dunstanborough beach. Previous posts have shown the experiments I have done. I have now worked them as the requisite 8" squares .

This has been very interesting and I've already learned a lot about how to identify the key features of an image.
The next four will be abstractions of Bluebell  Woods.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Wendy James of Mace and Nairn

Last night Wendy James of Mace and Nairn, the fine embroidery supplier, was our speaker at the Harborough Embroiderers' Guild. She is also an accomplished embroiderer. She spent a year as a student at The Royal School of Needlework and brought her year's work to talk about and for us to goggle over. The workmanship was stunning and the range of techniques and materials covered mind blowing to a novice like me. Her engaging personality and ready wit made her an excellent speaker.

The costs of the equipment and materials for the course were expensive, but the experience and the setting at Hampton Court, second to none.
Wendy also brought her shop.... This proved very attractive to members and included all the essentials for Goldwork, Blackwork and Broderie Anglaise and more. I succumbed to the temptation of a collection of white threads that I plan to dye next week and some thicker sparkly thread that I can run through the bobbin on the machine or couch down.

Now I just need the time to actually do some work!
This was our second Travelling Book swap night, there was much interest to see what everyone had done and thee may even be enough interest to start a third group ! So..... now I have a new book to add to and it's time to think about what I might do this month.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Travelling Book pt 2

I have now worked on my second travelling book piece. I've been working with images of geological forms for a while and decided to explore the geode.

Working with Lutrador, felt and stitch , I pained the Lutrador, and heat treated it to create holes through which I could then stitch.

Lots of French Knots, Detatched Chain and beading to try and give the impression of the hollow inside of a geode.

Now this second book gets passed on to the next person in the group and I look forward to receiving my next book on Thursday.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Abstracting Design ideas (2)

Continuing to be inspired by Christine Chester's course I have spent today working on her Intercutting technique. It's complicated and there were a number of points today when I would normally have thrown in the towel and given up, but persevering has taught me a lot!
The technique involves cutting strips from pairs of fabrics which are then alternated to create a new piece of fabric.

I created my fabric in the photograph colours

My fabrics were too tonally different and I spent some time considering what I could do to tome it down. My lovely embroidery teacher came up with some suggestions!

Cutting it diagonally and interleaving with two further colours  was definitely an improvement!

Adding brown organza and cutting it away in sections helped too and then I added a second layer of organza.

Quilted it and I'm now adding a few beads.
I now have a number of small 'tiles' of this multi cut fabric and I'll look at what can be done with these and explore a Log Cabin version too.


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Abstracting design ideas.

I spent Friday on a course with Christine Restall in Portsmouth looking at quilt ideas as abstractions of images. Christine was an excellent teacher, especially given the number in the group and the limitations  of the teaching space.
For me it was a bit of a "lightbulb" moment and I am filled with enthusiasm to explore my new found knowledge !
I had chosen to work with a stunning image from a greetings card of a beach at Dunstanborough on the Northumberland coast by David Tarn.

To enable us to make a number of studies in the day Christine got us to use iron-on Vilene and stick our fabrics down rather than try to stitch them. Task one was to try to identify all the colours in the picture and put fabrics down in proportion to their presence in the picture. Very good way of really seeing a picture, but hampered by the the size and quality of the stash taken with one! Next we had to identify the three strongest colours in the image and create a visual piece with them.

A little Rothkoesque !
By using some sheers I was able to vary some of the shades to get them a bit more subtle. 
Christine than talked us through some of the techniques of interpretation used in her own quilts and suggested we try some of these in relation to our own images.

I could have done with a far wider selection of fabrics to the image justice! The exercise taught me how much I would have benefited from creating my own dyed stash based on the picture before I started. Always easy to be wise after the event!

One technique discussed was the use of simple block construction to create an abstract piece. Log cabin and square in a square were two looked at . I tried the log cabin idea but felt that the overall feel of the block was not right for this photo.

Now that I am home again I am trying to do each of the these ideas as small sample quilts to aid my understanding and because I was so struct with the initial work that I want to complete it.
I'll post these and the intercutting ideas Christine showed us and which I had no time to explore on the day.
I had so much fun and am so charged up to get working, it's a great feeling.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Millifiore Madness

Stitch Magazine published an article showing decorative additions based on buttons and simple embroidery stitches. I missed the workshop we ran for this, but decided to try it out for myself. I make far too many samples so decided that I could use the idea to decorate a bodice on a child's dress. The internet provided a source of downloadable paper patterns for clothes and chose a plain fabric to embroider on an d a patterned fabric for the dress skirt.

A collection of smaller buttons and detached chain stitch, pistol stitch, French knots in different formations.

The light printed cotton fabric for the skirt echoes the same patterns as my stitched bodice.

It's fun making for children, small enough to make quickly and a chance to do things I wouldn't try in an adult garment.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Contemporary Expressions at London ExCel

Our Kew inspired quilts from the Alsace exhibition were on show at the ICHF show at ExCel this week. Harder to get to for us from the Midlands but as an exhibitor the parking was brilliant for getting work to and from vehicles.

We had a lovely open space in which to show our work and the show attracted a lot of young people.
The retail was more crafty than at NEC but there were still some stunning textiles exhibits to marvel at!

I was particularly interested in the painterly work by Dionne Swift, full of colour and movement, all achieved with stitch. I would love to afford to own one of her larger pieces. But her flyer gives you a flavour of the style.

The other exhibit which grabbed my attention was a series of four 3D structures from Elaine Winterson on the theme of words. 

Each structure representing phrases used to shut people up, from top left: Belt up; Stitch it; zip it and Button it,  I thought they were exquisitely made and that the concept was brilliant. So bowled over was I by these that I neglected to note the group she was exhibiting with, sorry!
It is so inspiring to see work of this calibre. 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

ICE exhibit at The Bramblepatch

We spent yesterday setting up our exhibition "Taking the Rough with the Smooth". ICE are a group of textile artists from London and the Midlands who meet to support each other's work and enjoy sharing our creative journey. 
This is a flavour of the show:

We have each worked a twelve inch canvas on our Rough with the Smooth theme using a blue batik and rough scrim on each piece. 

The main feature of the show at the Bramblepatch is Gillian Travis' Indian textiles - a collection of stunning, exquisite pieces.

If you have a chance do go and see her work, it will captivate you!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Travelling Books

A brilliant idea from the Embroiderers' Guild, our branch has set up two groups and we have completed our first exchange of work.
The idea is that all participants create a sketchbook and start it off with a piece of embroidery and it's starting point or inspiration. At each subsequent meeting the book is passed to the next person in the group who then adds their own piece of embroidery and inspiration. A great excuse to keep the creative juices flowing and try out techniques in a small way. A little bit like the CQ Journal Quilts but with sharing work at its heart.
I decided to try to create a layered piece of work and completed the Rust inspired piece I blogged about earlier.

I created a piece of coloured and distressed lutrador for my cover, all done on the machine.

Here is my completed starter piece.

I now have a lovely small book for this month and I'm beginning to think about what I might try this month. More of this later.