I had some great fun this afternoon using up scraps of fabric to make an all new piece of fabric. The idea is to turn them into cards for the next TRAC exhibition. The first was made using water-soluable fleece to hold the scraps in place and for the second, I used some organza to hold them in place and then stitched, then cut-away, stitched and cut-away a few times. It gives a nice effect. Very satisfying and I used up all of those annoying thread ends on my bobbins!
You can really make a rectangle of patching and piecing go a long way. This little box revisits some work I did for my City & Guilds. I was very proud of my first box, construction is not my strong point, but I felt that I never quite managed to get the lid right. This time I’ve simplified it, keeping it flat and held closed by some lovely beads. It is good to remake things sometimes, you can see how far you’ve come!
Finding it impossible to take it easy over the summer. I was so inspired by the theme of the September TRAC exhibition that I decided to take part after all. The exhibition is going to take place in Gallery Art Space Portsmouth, which is situated in a beautiful old building filled with artists studios. It is not going to be a sales opportunity, which suits me. The theme to move away from what you usually do gives me the perfect opportunity to really try out something I’ve been inspired to do for a long time. I love the work of weaver, Sheila Hicks, and some years ago my husband made me a pin weaving frame just like hers. It has sat in the corner of my room with its nails catching on my leg every now and again, reminding me of its presence. So using some sketches and photographs taken in Portsmouth on a TRAC painting day out, I started to weave.
My line of flight was to attempt to work with the man made, architectural forms. I thought about working without colour too, but that was just a flutter too far. The piece here is inspired by some flats across the water in Gosport. I see them everyday on my way to work and watch the ever-changing sky surrounding them. The handmade felt used to frame the piece is also woven and is reminiscent of the sky on a stormy day, that kind of light you get at the seaside when the sun is bright but the clouds are dark. If you look closely, you will see the sun filling the room behind one of the windows.
Originally, I planned to take it easy over the summer, a time to catch up with things I’d promised to do around the house. Then I was introduced to the postcard art submission for Fareham Arts Festival, so I thought that won’t take me too long and it is in aid of a good cause…. So I had an idea to make a postcard of ‘The Needles’, but to use sewing needles as my design – a little bit of fun. I had enough of the patched and pieced fabric left over from the previous projects to set the piece within a frame. For the central design I went back to a technique I had used for my Abandoned Pier, just one stitch, picture which won the runner’s up prize in a Stitch Magazine competition some years ago. I painted the calico, using a picture of the real Needles as a guide, then used some bonding powder to fix some translucent organza over the sky. It was quite hard to get the powder to bond without melting the organza – it took a couple of attempts! Best done by ironing the back of the calico and not the organza! Hand-stitching the design took longer than I anticipated, but then it usually does. To keep true to the postcard idea I decided to transform the vilene backing into the card by machine stitching some lines and ‘The Needles’. The lovely person who buys the card in the auction, may want to send it and transform it into mail art! I’m sure it will survive. I hope it finds a happy home.
Love is Bright and Beautiful
Two days left at the Garlic Farm. We’ve had lots of people and some peacocks through the door, some just to read about garlic but others to enjoy the art work. This piece is a small wall hanging which brings together a range of techniques used in the series. It was almost discarded; the blue denim background seemed just to dark to ever achieve bright and beautiful, but the vibrant green leaves seemed to lift the piece and saved it! I enjoyed melting the voile for the flower in the top left corner, although managed to drip wax all over the unused fabric.
You could use this technique to make nice brooches. Cut circles of voile or other man made fabrics, hold with a pair of tweezers and carefully and quickly move the edges over a tea light. The fabric will melt or crinkle with the heat. The layers are then stitched together. Beads could be added to the centre too.
I decided to use my unplanned trip to an exhibition of work by William Morris and Andy Warhol as a starting point for these 2 small pieces of embroidery. The exhibition, Love is Enough, at Modern Art Oxford seemed at first an odd mix, but on looking more deeply there are similarities between the working methods of Warhol and Morris, e.g. in producing work via a factory system. You can read more about this on Modern Art Oxford‘s website or you can go and see the exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery over the summer. I used a similar process to the previous two pieces, using a patched and pieced frame, appliqué, machine and hand embroidery techniques. Instead of the free hand stitching, I decided to incorporate some weaving over the flowers. It’s a satisfying process and adds texture in a different way.
Love is Enough: Shades of Morris
Love is Enough: Shades of Warhol
This is the first of a set of 4, maybe 5, pieces for TRAC at the Garlic Farm next month. I’ve used the technique of patching and piecing to make the frame. You lay out strips of fabric, sew them to a backing and sew into them, then cut them and reassemble them a couple of times over. The result is almost guaranteed to be lovely. I took a flower image from one of the fabrics to work as the central feature. It was a piece designed by Kaffe Fassett – one of the pieces I purchased at his exhibition last summer. The centre uses more cut up pieces of fabric machined onto the background. Other pieces of fabric were bonded and stitched on to it and then the hand stitched flower was applied by hand. I hadn’t allowed for the thickness of the fabric and my poor fingers were sore at the end. Finally, more machined swirls were added. It is a good start on the set, although there are one or two things I’ll do differently next time.
50 Shades of K[affe Fassett]