Geology maps

As I was considering what to do next, I came across a brief for Quay Arts Open submission “A Life in Nature”. Whether I’ll ever submit a piece to it is anyone’s guess but the brief is appealing. It prompted me to visit a new place on the Isle of Wight, Rew Down in Ventnor, where the views are spectacular and the landscape, ancient and of geological interest.img_20190615_094719

Using the colours of geological maps, I used my #Humeloom to develop the idea in the previous piece. I tried split weaving in the centre, but it was unstable on a bigger piece, especially the cerise ‘frame’. However, it could be used to a different advantage – I’ll have to think what that could be. I liked the centre point using the embroidery floss and the curving tassels which reflect the undulations in the landscape of that area. I stitched some pathways across the landscape and added a geological feature – a tumulus with a French knot. I wonder what other possibilities there are for adding stitch?



Final piece of the jigsaw

This piece uses the final cut out section of my Cornish landscape drawing. I cannot have imagined the journey this doodle would have taken me on over the last 6 months. If you are stuck for inspiration then doodle a picture and cut it into sections. Take a section and work with it. It has helped me to push some boundaries in a new technique.

Here I have used my #HumeLoom to weave a border and fill in the centre with a tapestry based on my doodle. This is a good loom to use to combine the techniques. My other small landscapes were worked on my homemade pin loom. The interchange of the colours on the sides gave the opportunity to leave little handles to attach the side fringes. My biggest learning point is to consider how the weave will be finished before I start! Should I create a hem or should I leave space for tassels and hanging? I think I’ve decided that creating a hem is a good idea and then I can add the tassles if I want to. What’s next? Something bigger perhaps? Something combining more embroidery? Watch this space…

tapestery and weave



So I found a way to use my sample, afterall. I attached it to some fabric and laced it on to some card. On reflection, its a bit puffy and I should have used felt to cover the card instead of wadding. It was a new technique I used to mount Tallulah Seaside which I’d already forgotten about: cut a piece of mount card, attach 2 or 3 strips of double-sided tape to the card, peel off and attach a piece of commercial felt. Trim to fit. Then wrap with your design, lace and finish with a piece of felt on the back. Just the right thickness. Happily, it has been accepted for Ventnor Secret Art.




Combining weave & stitch

I had in mind that I would work this piece for Ventnor Botanic Gardens young apprentice scheme. However, the brief – simply an A5 piece that you can post in an ordinary envelope – proved too difficult! The proportions were just wrong and when the length of my tassels and cord were constrained, I abandoned its purpose and just made it into a piece that I really like.

The journey was quite a long one. First of all, I made my stitched centre a little too big. So I’ve kept it as a sample for now.  I decided that the weave needed to be more than just a frame because why bother weaving it! I also felt it would work better as a square rather than a ‘windy day’ rectangle.

Stitch 5 + pic

So, I chose a new image and just worked part of it as the central stitch feature, which worked much better.

Weave 4 + pic

I used glass beads to finish the warp strings and made the tassels from the weaving wool with a little bit of pink sparkly thread added to balance the colour of the beads. The cord is made from the same mixture of theads as the tassels. A nice straight, dark wood twig is the perfect hanger.

Weave 4

As a little aside, the Guldusi exhibtion, Keep Your Eye on the Planet  was showing as part of the textile fair in Karlsruhe (Germany) and from May 29th, it will be in Textilmuseum Max Berk, Heidelberg-Ziegelhausen for around 2 months. The exhibition is accompanied by a program of supporting events that will be posted on the Guldusi website. So, if you happen to be on your holidays, do drop by!





Little Birdy

On a windy, rough, Sunday a few weeks ago, I crossed the sea to Portsmouth to participate in a very enjoyable workshop run by The Makers’ Table at their Hotwalls Studio. I knew I was going to make a bird and I could see from the illustration that fabric was involved, but I hadn’t really thought much beyond that. When I sat at the table with the 3 other participants, I was surprised to see goggles, wire, pliers and hammers! Oh well, I thought, lets go with the flow.

Plied with tea and homemade Victoria sandwich cake, I manipulated my wire into an armature resembling a rather plump bird, the result of not quite having enough strength to pull the wire tight! Stage 2 was to rummage through the fabrics to find small pieces to stitch over each ‘space’ within the armature. Simple overstitch soon had us filling in the spaces of our birds. Then came the stuffing and the birds came to life.

The next stage, once he was all sewn up, was to embellish him with eyes and wings. I chose vintage button eyes. The wings, we made out of tomato puree tubes. We were encouraged to rub down the printed side with some sandpaper, but running out of time, I decided simply to etch a few marks into them and stitch them on. They look fine!

Finally, we chose our plinths. Most people chose some driftwood, but mine looked perfect on a gift box. Its so lovely to see how everyone’s turned out. You may still be able to see the bird that advertised this workshop on the website.

I’ve got a couple of driftwood plinths lurking around the house and I’ve just purchased some iron wire (great for crafters) so watch this space, I may try a few more! Meanwhile, see how he flies around the garden!



Tallulah Seaside

Do you remember that strange virtual reality world, Second Life? The place where we were going to hold virtual meetings with our work colleagues without having to actually be at work? Well, I dabled with my altar ego, Tallulah Seaside. I seem to recall that there was some kind of name generator included and that’s what I chose. I rather liked it. So here is Talullah brought to (almost) real life. I purchased the embroidered coat through the Guldusi initiative, Coats. A beautiful piece of work by a lady in Afghanistan.

I wonder if she will approve of how I have incorporated it into my own work? I don’t find creating human figures easy, so I have to give credit to Lea Stansal for inspiring her head. The green gloves – I own a pair and the coloured tights – I own many pairs, are my own design. I enjoyed the process of working them in a hoop on some pink felt. Then I cut them out and stitched them on to the original embroidered surface. I was too anxious to stitch directly on to the fabric. The chiffon scarf was added at the end.  I quite like her, although perhaps she is  bit of a monster?!



Working on the handles

Doodle 5bI was going to end the weaving experiments with the ‘Windy Day’ and return to some sewing, but I’ve become addicted. I needed to work on some more handles! This experiment took me to follow some tapestry instructions for starting and edging with a hem which I could fold over. Well, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my bulky warp threads, so I need to do a bit more reading. However, this time I turned it into a miniature hanging. I decided just to knot some of the bottom threads as a fringe. A kebab skewer just about threaded through the hem. A handmade cord, made with 1 thick strand and several sewing cotton threads was just about the right thickeness to fiinish it off. My handle is good – needle weaving over and under two threads.  Looks like a little cup handle, but I’m trying to carry over the stone wall of an ancient hut. My doodles had in mind the ancient village of Chysauster. Below is the piece with its sketch.

Doodle 5a