Over the summer, I enjoyed 4 days of a sewing bee, led by Hannah Woodford here on the Isle of Wight; me another lady and some school girls, a diverse group which Hannah accommodated beautifully! The first day was spent tearing up magazines to create a book of ideas for our designs. I knew before I started that I wanted to make a skirt, but I was delighted to be encouraged to incorporate my stitching skills into the design. Appliqué and inlay appliqué gave my skirt a unique character and with Hannah’s help the skirt fits beautifully. Not bad for a first attempt! I also won the sewing bee and was presented with a beautiful heart pin-cushion, much to the annoyance of the school girls I think. They’d spent the time transforming old denim jackets and skirts into really up-market pieces.
Yesterday, I decided I was going to test what I had learnt and attempt another. I found a great YouTube video on how to make a pattern for an a-line skirt. It’s all cut out and ready to go. Next step is to purchase the special hidden zipper foot for my sewing machine. I found a good video about how to sew an invisible zipper too. Watch this space perhaps to see another skirt or maybe some more how to videos!
I’ve been looking for a rag rug workshop for some time and finally found one at The Spring in Havant. Led by Penelope Davis, we had a gentle introduction to the technique of proddy rag rugging. I came away with a dauntingly large piece of rug canvas with just a small, central circle of tufted rags. Will I ever finish it? Well, I’ve decided to take inspiration from Terry Frost for TRAC’s September exhibition and I am aiming to work the rug with that in mind. I’ve also promised Izi at the People’s Gallery in Ryde, that I will run a proddy rug workshop there on September 24th. I’m looking forward to it – a new venture, and it will make me finish this rug!
I recently enjoyed a day of felt making at Ventnor Botanic Gardens. The day was led by Gillian Chapman who was as inspiring as ever. She brought along her collection of real seed pods and felt creations to help us consider our projects. I decided to work on two small seed pods which were felted around a small circular template in the same way as you would make a small bowl. The red pod opening was made by cutting a circle in order to remove the template. Scrunching and pulling it resulted in the final pod. There is a nice little ‘nipple’ for want of a better word on the bottom too! The opening of the orange pod was the result of a happy accident. I had incorporated bubble wrap circles in the hope of creating cut-away layers, however, I hadn’t thought through the placing very well and the bubble wrap ended up being just where I wanted to cut. I think the result is really good, even though it wasn’t as I expected! At the end of the day, some friends and I enjoyed the tranquillity of the gardens while taking photographs of more seed pods for another day.
First of the workshops for TRAC members was a day of felt making with Gillian Chapman. Other members focused on felting a piece of art, but I decided to use the time to make some flat felt to turn into a cabbage. You can see some of the art works on the TRAC Facebook page. I thought about whether to make the piece in 3D or whether to make cabbage leaves and join them together, but this is for a piece of embroidery so I decided to use fabric manipulation techniques to achieve what I wanted. Here you can see my inspiration and the result. There is more work to do, so watch this space.
Greatly enjoyed two of the series of Christmas Crafts Workshops at Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth. The first was Lino Prints and Stamps with Julia De Klerk. This was brilliant fun, and quite outside of my comfort zone. Below is the stamp I made in just 2 hours. We had time for practice, making and stamping! I used the stamp to decorate recycled brown paper bags to put Christmas gifts in. Rushed to the shop to invest in some printing inks, and more lino and then spent a few evenings making a much smaller stamp to print gift tags. Mustn’t let it be a one hit wonder. Need to try printing on to fabric in the new year. Second of the two workshops was Bookbinding with Catherine McGinniss. We spent just under an hour decorating our notebooks. I decided to use collage. Then we learnt how to make the binding with the Japanese stab technique, basically sewing the binding using linen thread. Very satisfying and a useful technique for binding together loose doodles into a sketchbook. Can’t wait to try it out with fabric too. For an interesting twist on the technique, visit this page by Abigail Bainbridge at West Dean.
Lino print stamp