a life of fibre

Another quick peacock update October 20th, 2017

The peacock hanging is going well, I’m definitely making progress.

Definitely progress. I had intended to do more work around the shisha mirrors but I looked at it last night and decided that actually the tail is done.

Still not completed by the way and still loving it.

 

Trawden Artists and Makers Open Studios October 19th, 2017

Trawden Artists and Makers (TAM) art trail and open studios is taking place in and around Trawden this coming weekend Saturday and Sunday 21st – 22nd October.

There’s lots to see including textiles, jewellery paintings, photohgraphy, ceramics and felt because I’ll be there in the Summerhouse Studio. Or to be more precise, my work will be there as I unfortunately am needed in Cornwall and I’ve not yet learnt to clone myself.

Above is an example of some of my work that will be on display and don’t worry it won’t all be white, I just thought they made a nice grouping. That I’m exhibiting at all is with grateful thanks to Kate Sutcliffe whose studio space I’ll be sharing. Kate is a talented artist and general all round creative type who produces beautiful things wherever she brings her talents to bear.

I do hope you can find the time to take a trip round Trawden this weekend, it’ll definitely be worth your time.

Just popping by October 18th, 2017

Just popping by with a quick update on the peacock hanging and I thought you might like to see the box of threads I’m using for the tail.

So sparkly. The body of the peacock is turquoise and I’ve chosen turquoise, green, purple and copper for the tail in as many shades as I’ve got, including a wool thread I’ve just dyed for it, many have sparkle but not all.

All thirteen shisha mirrors are now on and you can see I’ve begun to bring the stitching off the fabric tail. Progress is being made although now I look at this picture I can see how much I’ve still got left to do. Still loving it.

 

No felt involved October 13th, 2017

Last year at uni our daughter Charlotte had a window in the door to her room and as the hall light switched on and off with various comings and goings the light distrubed her. My solution was to make her a small hanging made of felt with prints of elephants and shisha mirrors to catch the light and we attached it by means of double sided sticky tape. It was appreciated and did the job. (I cannot find a picture of this but I’ll ask her to take one)

This year she’s sharing digs and the landlord won’t allow anything to be attached to the wall, not even with blue tack. We found a solution for her pictures, a piece of 6′ x 3′ grid garden trellis onto which she can stick whatever she likes. On the wall at the top of the stairs there’s the head of a screw sticking out and they’ve decided they’d like to hang something there,. As they all like Charlotte’s hanging from last year I’ve been requested to make sonething for this space, the only stipulation being shisha mirrors.

Within two minutes the idea of a peacock had popped into my head and also the idea that I should use some of that lovely linen gifted to me by Rosie (thanks Rosie), no felt involved! Perhaps I’m not feeling well?

Work began immediately with me researching styles of peacock designs on the internet and I soon had an idea.

As you can see I’ve already got the body of the peacock on and I’m trying to work out the tail. I envisaged lots of machine stitching with this project which would be quick and lots of sparkle to enliven a gloomy hallway.

After attaching the body I decided the next step was to free machine stitch all over to keep it secured and add texture and sparkle. It was such hard work but I did eventually manage to get the body done then I switched to holographic thread to go over it again for the shine. I didn’t need to cover every inch as the fabric (crystal organza) provides the shape. The holographic thread was a nightmare and with some bad language, quite a bit actually, I did finish the task.

Next up was to do some stitching down the tail along the line of where feathers would lay. My machine had other ideas, it had absolutely had enough and wouldn’t sew anything. I cleaned the machine, I changed tension, threads and needles, it wasn’t having it. So I’m hand sewing the tail which means this project is now a longer job than I’d intended but it will mean lots of variation and texture in the tail.

The fabric for the tail makes it a bit blocky at this stage but the intention is to break the outline with stitch on all sides which will have the effect of softening it. The fabric background also means I don’t need to sticth every inch of it.

The first three shisha mirrors are completed and backgrounds sewn for ten more, thank goodness for the internet as I couldn’t buy any mirrors locally. I’d originally hoped to have this completed by the 14th of October (such niavety!) but that’s definitely not going to happen, not least because I’ve had to learn how to stitch shisha mirrors on from scratch which I’ve never done before. All this hand stitching takes time but I am loving doing it even though there’s no felt involved.

Whitework book October 11th, 2017

I’ve really been enjoying the whitework I’ve been creating and it’s all thanks to being a member of Metaphor Textile Group. Whilst teaching a felt making session I started this book cover as an example. People often get stuck for ideas or fazed by being asked to design and so this was partly to show how to make the cover and partly to show how focussing on one thing can be liberating and yet work very well as a design.

Working on a white base I added circles (always my go to shape for simplification) of fabric in different shades of white. There is cotton scrim, silk and crystal organza.

After felting I’ve continued with the circlular theme by stitching mainly spirals into the felt. They overlap and again are in shades of white and cream with a metallic silver thread added in for a little extra interest. The photos don’t show the fabrics very well but if you look to the left in the photo below you’ll see the scrim in white and cream.

Adding fabric to your felt adds texture (yum) and adding stitch adds even more texture. In this case more is definitely more with the stitching and feels pleasingly textured to the hand.

This is just one of my items which will be on sale at Trawden Artist and Makers exhibition and open studio event on 21/22 October.

Burnley October 10th, 2017

In August we had a day trip out to the Burnley area beginning with a visit to the singing ringing tree panopticon at Crown Point.

The blurb states “Constructed from pipes of galvanised steel stacked in layers, this Panopticon takes the form of a tree bending to the winds and harnesses the energy of those winds to produce a low, tuneful song.”

It was very breezy and very cool up there but you do get a wonderful view. I’d have to say it sounded quite mournful to me but we were refreshed by the breeze.

Following on from this we visited Gawthorpe Hall.  Quite a small NT property but one of the main reasons I wanted to visit was the textiles.

 

The Gawthorpe Textile Collection showcases  intricate needlework, lace and costume amassed by Rachel Kay Shuttleworth as well as contemporary pieces from talented artists across the region.The exhibition isn’t large enough to travel a vast distance for but was good to take in whilst we were in the area.

Felt covered vase 2 October 7th, 2017

It’s only a couple of weeks since I showed you a felt covered vase which I was stitching into. I wasn’t feeling it, the white stitch just seemed too stark and it needed more.

I’ve added some french knots in an off white silk thread, courtesy of Rosie (thanks Rosie) and some crystal beads and am really liking it now.

This is just one of my pieces that will be for sale at Trawden Artist and Makers art trail and open studio on Saturday and Sunday 21st / 22nd October.

Leeds Light Night October 6th, 2017

One of the benefits of darker evenings is the opportunity to go to events like Light Night in Leeds. It’s a completely free event with stuff happening all over the city and lots of people joining in too. We saw cyclists bedecked in lights and lot and lots of joggers in neon and carrying lights as they toured the events.

Images were projected onto three public buildings, the Queens Hotel, the Town Hall and the Civic Hall. My favourite was the Queens Hotel wich is an art deco style building and all the images projected were competely appropriate to the building and it’s age. Cocktails, pianos, luggage, food and even trains running across! but my favourite image is the one below.

Where there were art installations, like the giant angle poise lamps on Briggate, street lights had been switched off so there’d be more impact. My favourite part of the entertainment was the drumming band in the Leeds West Indian Carnival. Superb.

Their makeup was great, their lights changed through red, white and green, they moved in unison and even had dry ice.

It was great fun and if you fancy seeing it for yourself it’s on again tonight, Friday 6th October and it’s all completely free. If you’d like to see more of my photos you can see them here.

 

 

Wherever I go October 3rd, 2017

Wherever I go if I spot rust I have to take a photo, just have to. If the rust is portable it often comes home with me to my garden (ask Hubby, he does most of the carrying). We managed a few trips late this summer and here’s a roundup of my rusty haul.

When I move on from my white work perhaps I should move to rust.

Midsummer Night’s Dream – Skirt September 29th, 2017

I started this skirt…oh so long ago! I finished some months ago as it was a piece I created for my Midsummer Night’s Dream work with Metaphor Textile Group. The problem I was having was in photographing it.

Not great is it. The skirt is long so I had to extend the top of the mannequin up which meant it kept toppling over in the breeze. Not that I got outside to photograph it very often as it was usually too wet, grey, windy or all three. I asked my daughter Charlotte if she would do a photo shoot over the summer, she agreed and even convinced a friend to be the model.

The shoot couldn’t begin until they were both home at the same time and the day dawned brightish but grey. Our model, and Charlotte’s friend, Rio Hindle is a lovely girl, very happy to sit, stand, pose as directed and not minding damp, dirty feet. Best of all, I couldn’t believe my luck, the skirt fitted perfectly as though it had been made for her with not even one tiny adjustment required.

The skirt is Merino wool which was hand carded in shades of greens and plum, dyed tussah silk noil added and the inside lined with green mulberry silk which is what you can see on the waistband and ‘bustle’.

The hemline is covered with Teeswater curls which I hand dyed and then I hand beaded with a green glass bead which matched the mulberry silk embellishment.

Rio’s top is fashioned from one of my scarves, another item which fitted remarkably well.

I thought I should also share with you a few of the ‘poses’ the photographer, Charlie Battersby, adopted 🙂



I’m not sure pale blue denims were the most suitable attire for the shoot but I’m sure you’ll agree she did a brilliant job. Was I there? yes, of course, I was responsible for aiding the model climb onto and off various structures, tweaking the outfit, carrying the shoes and getting in the way. Here’s me photo bombing.

My grateful thanks to our model Rio Hindle and my talented photographer duaghter Charlie Battersby. I hope you’ll see some pictures of the shoot on her site soon.