Sunday, 29 September 2013

Two Weeks Off

A long-awaited holiday… a lot to cram in! You'd best grab a cuppa if you're going to stay the distance...

It started with a week in one of our favourite places – the Isle of Skye. A relaxing week in a cottage right on the shore.

Amazingly, Emma of  A Little Bit of Everything had an exhibition in Plockton the very same week, so that was a must. Great to meet her and see her work in person, and we had a lovely long chat. She had a wonderful display of mixed media art and cuffs, brooches, purses etc. Really impressed with how she's developed her own unique style and created so much exhibition-quality work, without easy access to all the galleries, shows and suppliers those of us on the mainland can visit. And when I finally dragged myself away she gave me a pack of inspiring treasures – fabrics, threads and papers plus Skye “coral”, bark, a beautiful feather (owl?), sea glass and even vintage geological book pages (very me). Look!

Thank you Emma, hope to meet up again sometime!

Plenty more to see and do once we got home…

A trip to RHS Harlow Carr to stock up on plant images for future work:

Still plenty of flowers, plus gorgeous seed heads – especially loved the grasses, cardoons, alliums and eryngiums. Lots of butterflies and dragonflies still on the wing too.

Then there was Cloth and Memory 2 at Salt’s Mill - absolutely stunning. It’s not often you see such a vast, intriguing space filled with textile art on a scale to match.
I especially liked Reece Clement’s diptych of Saltaire architectural images very finely laser etched onto grey suiting fabric and then blurred by needle felting creamy wool through from the back. And Jeanette Appleton’s lengths of felt made to resemble books on shelves, fitted into the bobbin niches in the walls.

Peta Jacob’s huge, highly detailed panel developed from a 1950s photo of Bradford Wool Exhange members. It made brilliant use of devore on a fine silk/cotton fabric (rather than the usual velvet), leaving transparent areas with just the cotton warp remaining.

Many of the pieces showed extraordinary ambition and tenacity. Yoriko Yoneyama stuck thousands of individual rice grains onto fine threads, draped and reflected in mirrors. Astonishing, delicate work, but ultimately a bit disappointing – maybe it was the random collection of old mirrors, or that you couldn’t walk right round it. Karina Thompson ran the 168m length of the room and recorded her heart ECG and footprints in a 100m (!) digital embroidery.

I haven’t time to describe all 23 artists’ work, but do have a look at the Cloth and Memory website (plenty of good images), or better still go and see the exhibition – it’s on until 3 November. The accompanying book is a beautiful thing too.  

And there's more...

I’ve also had a first taste of a new craft – glass fusing. Oooh… could be addictive! In just 2 hours with Genevieve Thompson of Wicked Gen Crafts I made a little dish, a window hanger and a pendant, trying out all the different ways of decorating the glass. Great fun! Can’t wait to see how they turn out after firing. This is a “before” pic of my dish:

And then, in Skipton, there was the first Yarndale –“ a festival of creativity celebrating traditional and contemporary crafts using wool, cotton, linen and silk in an area which is still the home of many yarn based businesses.” The first, but so busy and successful it can’t be the last… I’m not much of a knitter or felter but it was great to see so many thriving craft businesses and enthusiastic crafters.

I thought there was plenty of yarn at the Knitting and Stitching Shows, but if that’s your thing Yarndale has far more to offer - stall after stall of delicious hand dyed wools, and everything else you could wish for. I succumbed to  some fun bits to play with on  the embellisher machine, and some bright cotton to crochet.

But what about my weekly samples for September? Um… there will be a slight delay!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Sample Project 2013 - August

A five sample month! And three of them geological.

Week 31: Puffin beak
(Photo of puffin with beak full of sand eels)
Based on close up of the banded beak.
Free machined on calico. Shaded orange thread used instead of accurate colour bands.

 Week 32: Granite under microscope
(Photo of Dartmoor granite tors)
Inspired by a thin section under a microscope, showing the different minerals.
Scraps of fabric and metal flake bonded under sheer fabric using Misty Fuse.
Doesn't photograph very well!

 Week 33: Rocks on a beach
(Photo of rocky beach at Diabaig, Torridon Mountains)
Acrylic paint on black Craft Vilene. Stones outlined in black free machining.
The paint didn't go on easily, as I hadn't bothered to mix it with fabric medium - but in the end I liked the effect it gave, with some of the black showing through.

Week 34: Pattern inside foxglove flower
(Photo of foxglove plant)
Commercial wool felt, embellished. Tiny bits of felt break up well when needle felted with the machine, giving a suitable fuzzy effect.
 Week 35: Ammonite suture patterns
(Photo of Jurassic coast, Dorset)
Jurassic = ammonites, but let's not be too obvious... The suture patterns are the intricate boundaries separating the chambers of the ammonite shell. They became more complex as the creatures evolved.
Free machine embroidery on Kunin felt using a light gold rayon thread reminiscent of the iron pyrites often found in ammonite imprints.    


Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Work in progress

Two works in progress actually, the avocets and butterflies wouldn't really work together:
Hmm, which would be better - avocets the size of butterflies or butterflies the size of avocets?!