Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Drawing to Stitch

Drawing is a learned skill for me which is definitely ongoing.  I thought I would talk about one of my ways of drawing for stitching.  I like to immerse myself in my subject for as long as it takes. I seem to know when enough immersion has taken place - in this case many hours wandering beaches in Wester Ross ( Scotland). I then let all the visuals percolate in my mind; sometimes it takes a few days, then using a fine point pen I just doodle. The imagery just appears without any thought or pre - knowledge or even choosing a subject. The only condition I have for this kind of drawing is that I must have some sort of empathy for the subject. ( Wouldn't work if it was steam engines).

I'm sure I didn't see any imagery like this on my beach walks but that is what comes out of drawing spontaneously.
I had walked on miles of shingle, seen tons of seaweed,  seen thousands of shells and many animal skeletons. This kind of stylised drawing  translates to stitch much  more easily for me than an observational one would.
Having said that  - nothing beats real drawing, but you don't always have the time or energy to draw in a life-like kind of way unless you are one of the gifted few and I'm certainly not one of those. Every little bit of progress I make in drawing is akin to getting blood out of a stone but I'm programmed to keep plugging away.

A sample piece from these drawings.

I traced the shell- like imagery from my drawing on to tissue paper and free-motion machine stitched over the tissue following my lines. After I removed the tissue I dinked about a bit with some fibre tipped pens to highlight some areas.
This resulted in a  useful sample which may inform some later work or be cut up and used in some other piece of work. 

Following the same drawings I spread some paint over my sketchbook page with my trusty credit card and drew into it in the same kind of non thinking way and the imagery appeared just like magic. I can see the sea and the mountains and the birds flying across  and maybe the start of an old boat. I won't do any more to this sketch because now I've named what I can see I will lose that spontaneity.
 All this is making me homesick for Ullapool and I'm not due there until September.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Last Embellisher Samples

This is a piece from Pauline's class that I cut up and refelted. Although it worked well in it's uncut state a technique Pauline demonstrated suggested we cut the piece in very small parts and put them back together with the felting machine. You need to hone in to see the hundreds of tiny stitches I embroidered it with - some on the surface and many between the layers. It's a very contemplative sample with lots of delicious mark making stitches.

Two further samples to consign to my Little  Bits of  Stitch book.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Colour Sunday

I had intended to photograph the garden today but the sun is so intense it is bleaching out the colours.  I thought I would seek out some colour in the work room instead. This is a colour wheel I made for my Creative Sketchbooks course that I did with the Kemshall Ladies last year. It made use of some of my stash of handpainted and printed papers, I often work for several weeks just producing reams of papers that later appear in my work and journals.

I love the movement in this piece - isn't it amazing the dynamic that simple running stitch can produce? The woven centre was produced on a whim one day when I wanted to take up weaving. I simply warped up with a few drawing pins pressed into my worktable and wove away, further investigation into the price of looms etc. (think big) soon  put paid to that whim, but I'm sure  I would enjoy weaving; all that colour and texture to play with.

A few beads to finish with in my favourite palettes.

Friday, 24 June 2011

'Moving On' at Artvango with Pauline Verrinder.

Such a relaxing two days in the company of like minded people  for Pauline's embellishing machine course.  What a laid back style she has, I never felt rushed at any stage (which I often do on many courses) , yet the outcome belied the gentle pace, I seem to have created many,  many more samples than usual. These are just a few of them. I shall work on the others over the next two days and post the best of them on Monday.

Layers of organza embellished and stitched.

This is crying out for stitching. Threads and yarns, merino and silk tops and dyed muslin.

Folded, stitched and crocheted into, Thus giving the piece form and structure.
Off to do some more stitching - will post again when finished,

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Default Colour Schemes

Two days at Artvango with Pauline Verinder starting tomorrow. I have just put my fabric requirements together and surprise - surprise  my default colour palette has appeared - yet again.

Mustards, purples, turquoise, oranges and blues.
A reccuring  theme in my work.

Part of a Wedding Box that I made four years ago - it had a silver plaque inserted in the empty area  - but look - I was rolling out that same colour palette.

I did this piece about five years ago -  Probably the start of  my love affair with this palette. Interesting how stark and hard the colours seem compared to my use of them now. The same - but different if you know what I mean.
I will post some piccies of the course on Friday.


Saturday, 18 June 2011

Waiting for inspiration

Not every day is filled with ideas and inspiration, for me it's a bit like buses - too many or none at all.  I have found that if I  walk away from the workroom it sometimes takes a long while to get started again, days or even weeks. The way for me to get round this is to have something undemanding on the go at all times. The act of stitching and the hit of colour are very important to my well being so I invented what I call my 'raggy'. In the way that a child has a comfort blanket or toy I have a very soft piece of fabric that is  easy to stitch into - my current piece is a roughly made 'cathedral window' pattern that I used to wipe up dyes. I daubed it with oil sticks and then I start to stitch without any thought except maybe colour.

Stitching is such a soothing process and the mind can relax  and  just enjoy the colour flow without having to think of design or choices. I will stitch until it can't take anymore and maybe turn it over start again. It doesn't have to be anything or say anything just be my 'raggy'.

A much smaller 'raggy' that might have others joined to it.

Small pieces of 'slashing' are relaxing to do, I often  do these whilst working on something more demanding - a kind of  'brain rest'. I like the fact that the outer layers of this are just paper towels that have been used to wipe dye or paint up and the inside are floor sweeping scraps of fabrics.

Have a good Fathers Day. I hope the weather is kind.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Vintage French linen.

 I collect vintage textiles, nothing too precious or pristine in fact the tattier the better. Embroidered traycloths, doilies, scraps of lace, old handmade tablecloths and worn sheets to name but a few things I keep my eyes open for.
These wallhangings (22" x 16") are part of a series of six that I have made. I find them pleasing because they combine several crafts: applique, hand painted fabrics, embroidery and crochet mixed with a few commercial scraps of batik. The backgrounds are all vintage French linen.

This is beaded and sequined version using my handprinted linens that I think I produced at a Ruth Isset class.

These pieces are quite contemporary in their colours and design, but without a doubt they also hark back to historical crewel work. I'm quite fond of these three pieces and might visit the series again to see if  I can bring anything else to them.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Just finished.

 I'm really not a quilter  and this is not a quilt that would stand up to any close scrutiny, but I made it in less than four days and it's two of six that I'm making for a certain garden party at the end of July. As I have around 60 guests expected I thought they would make something to sit on for the younger elements. It's full of nips and tucks and eases and not every point is perfect but the overall effect  is very colourful  and fresh. Even better these quilts are being made from my dyeing and printing experiments and a huge bag of scraps. Anything that eats into my fabric stash  can only be a good thing.

You may have noticed my last post was an error - expect many of these.

Happiness is a bottomless button box: Preparing for a challenge!

Happiness is a bottomless button box: Preparing for a challenge!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Chaos Sunday

A day in the work room. Raining torrents outside ( thank goodness).
A 'cut and come again ' quilt on the table ready to baste ( Edwina McKinnon Tutorial).
I have made quite a few large quilts lately  even though I prefer to work on a smaller scale.
Heaps of ongoing work all round the workroom - Bliss!

Sample quilt 18"x 18"

Hand dyed fine poplin, free motion quilting, freeform quilting.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Derivative but pleasing.

This was the first piece of resolved work using  the Pfaff embellisher that I acquired last year - I had seen so many pieces like this that I just had to get my version out of my system before I could start on anything original. It measures 18" x 30" and made of  squares of merino tops, scraps of hand dyed fabrics, commercial threads, all lightly felted using the embellishing machine.

I then hand embroidered  and blanket stitched round each square. This gave me a foundation to crochet all the squares together using some wonderful space dyed Japanese Noro wool. the whole thing was the sewn onto a canvas backing  and by cutting into the canvas I was able to stuff each square  thus giving the hanging more form and depth which is not obvious from a photo.

Sadly that was the first and last finished piece of work that I did using the machine that I had lusted after for so long. However in two weeks time I am going on a course at Artvango with Pauline Verrinder entitled  'Embellisher - Moving On'.
I'm sure this will deal with the mental block I have with this machine. 

My wonderful family who are very adept at keeping me grounded have christened this piece 'Is It Cold' I will leave the explanation to your imaginations.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

An ongoing project

 I embroider these beads in between bigger projects. Over the past four years I have made over one hundred of them in many different colour combinations. If pushed I can make three in a day .

An ideal project for keeping in your handbag for long journeys  (as long  as you are not driving).
I will show more colour combinations over the next few weeks.

Some days I crave colour.

Sketchbook page - texture plates - dye paints  - oil sticks - stamped shapes on a black painted background.
 Welcome to my first followers, my next lesson is to learn how to make individual replies - watch this space.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Saturday, 4 June 2011