Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Uttoxeter Pt.2

Where does the time go, a familiar refrain but I am no nearer finding a means of either holding time back or cramming more in!
I've been buying fabric again! Maggie Relph's fabulous one of a kind pieces have come home with me again. Two pieces which are destined to be made into clothing and the basis of a quilt for after Festival.

This fabulous length of cotton will make a really "stand-out" wraparound skirt for the summer. It is full of vibrant colour, my colours and a range of T shirts will go with it. This isn't a cheap source of fabric for clothes but I really love the conexion with an ethnic artist on another continent.

This is a another length from Esther, a textile dyer and printer, whose work I have enjoyed working with for a few years now. This too will be clothing, but a handkerchief hem top. Esther always manages to work with subtle colours and they bleed beautifully into one another. This fabric washes really well and the initial stiffness soon goes.

My final purchase I chose to become a base for a quilt I've had in mind for a while on a Rain Forest theme. Luckily Oakshotts were there too and I bought some stunning plain fabrics which I'll be able to use with this, later in the year.

I have been absent from here, trying to complete two major pieces of work for Festival of Quilts, I find I get so sucked in that almost everything else gets lost. It's also true that when pieces are destined for a show like Festival or an exhibition I am reluctant to put too much detail here until they are shown!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Frosted Landscapes with Janet Humphrey

I had a lovely day on Saturday. I had the chance to spend the day looking at creating a machine and hand stitched landscape with Janet Humphrey who is a very patient and generous tutor.
Working from a photo of a winter landscape, I made the mistake of trying to work too big for an initial experiment. Not that I realised this until late in the day!

I'm using the middle picture of a ploughed field.

First task was to assemble the right collection of fabrics.

Quickly realising that these were in fact far too dark. So now I scoured round to see what I had with me and that Janet had brought for us and began to layer these up to create the horizontal layers of colour that make up the image.

Just placing the fabrics in the right area to get an idea of how they will work.

I machine stitched randomly over the scrunched up organza and then machine embroidered the skeletal trees branches over the organza.

I added in a frayed silk strip and a coarse organza like net to stand for the snow field.

I took space dyed scrim and layered it with some organza and stitched folds in it to create a ploughed field texture and tacked that in place.

Adding grey organza for the tree outline seemed like the right thing, but it was too dominantly dark.

So I tried some of the dyed scrim overplayed with silver curtail fabric, the colour was better.

I added in more slightly scrunched heavy organza to break up the starkness of the grey line.

Now I used a multi dyed thread to machine stitch the tree branches in place.

Now I stitched row upon row of horizontal straight stitch lines across the heavy organza to flatten it right down.

I added white teased out wool yarns in between the furrows of the ploughed field, hand stitching the. In place.

I machine stitched up and down the furrows to further flatten them and unravelled some ornate braid to give me a bundle of black threads which I fanned out over the tree on the right.

This was as far as I got in the day, so now I need to squeeze out some time to complete the piece. 
I have learned that I did not need to include as much scrunched fabric initially, basic shapes would have done because of the amount of surface stitching I was then going to add. Some bits of this are now so stiff with the layers that hand stitch through it will now be quite difficult. I would also have benefited from taking a smaller sliver of the photo and concentrating on the textures and the detail as I failed to give myself the opportunity to create detailed textures. 
I could have done with doing this day before I made my first four JQs this year!