Colours of Flotsam and Jetsam

Well, I’m very pleased to say that my latest embroidery, Colours of Flotsam and Jetsam, has been accepted for the Guldusi project, Keeping an Eye on the Planet. 45 pieces were accepted out of 113 submitted. I wonder if I will make it over to France to see it exhibited at the European Patchwork Meeting? If not, its great to know that there will be a publication to accompany the exhibition – guess what you’ll be getting for Christmas! The big reveal:

Colours of Flotsam & Jetsam

The centre is all handstitched, apart from the cords which were made on the machine and couched to the surface. The border is made from patched and pieced fabric – several cuts were made into the ‘fabric’. You can see where I started, on the left, and where I ended up, on the right. I was fortunate enough to find a bargain embellishing machine a little while back and added to the piece by using the embellisher to incorporate additional fabric snips and to give it an all over texture. I cut the strips, and machined the edges. The piece is backed with cotton and incorporates a hanging sleeve. An excellent sleeve hanging tutorial is available from the AQS website. Its lovely to learn how to do this properly!


West Sands, Ryde

The driftwood for these two pieces was found on the peaceful “working” beach near West Sands, beside the small boatyard. Here the driftwood is of a more industrial nature. I love the contrast of the burnt wood and the vibrant colours of the beach string on the piece on the left hand side. On the right, the plastic edging adds interest to the design. Presented in oiled pine box frames, these pieces (4 in total) will be for sale at the next TRAC Show, entitled Ryde, at the People’s Gallery from September 4th – 16th. It will be my final show with the group.

Ryde Sands

The following pieces were constructed from beach string and driftwood found on Ryde Sands before the dog ban marked the beginning of summer. Now each day a tractor combs the beach from one end to the other, burying the traces of flotsam and jetsam, pizza boxes and lollipop wrappers to make a perfect surface for new footprints to mark.

The driftwood in the piece on the left is perhaps from a packing crate washed by the sea and rusted in places from the nail that remains embedded. The beach string is unraveled plastic cord (pale blue), orange fishing twine and the white is elasticated, curling nylon, I think from an old shoelace. Crochet thread was used for the warp on both pieces.

On the right, the wood is possibly marine ply leaving interesting patterns as layers have separated. Unraveled plastic cord in several shades of blue and a piece of orange are layered with orange fishing twine and the nylon shoelace again.

Both pieces are mounted on card and framed in 8″x 8″ oiled pine box-frames.

On the theme of Ryde

I have been working on my Ryde themed pieces for the September TRAC exhibtition and as you will see, I’ve decided to work in the abstract rather than to try and reinterpret popular landmarks.  There has been a lot in the news about the impact of   ‘Ghost gear’ from the fishing industry and a stroll along Ryde Sands revealed that even the beautiful beaches here are not free from such detritus. The pieces of ‘beach string’ seem to be shorter here than what is often found on Cornish beaches, for example, but still just as harmful to marine life. How could I incorporate them into my work?

I collected some multicoloured string and a couple of pieces of driftwood for good measure. After some trial and error, I decided that I would deconstruct the string and work on some small woven pieces. I found my trusty Spear’s weaving loom, a childhood toy that was rarely used, was perfect for working in this way. Tune in next time to see how I turned this into a piece of work: