a life of fibre

New workshops December 14th, 2017

My list of workshops for 2018 is now available here. My apologies folks but due to the large number of wool shows later in the year I won’t be running any workshops in the Autumn so it’s all happening in winter and spring.

Friday 16th February – Felt pots.  We’ll be working with British wool, in natural white, with lots of silk and plant fibre embellishments to create a simple but stunning felt pot / vessel. Using a resist, your pot will be seamless, made from fluffy wool fibres yet able to stand alone. Wool is an amazing material

Friday 13th April – Nuno scarf and brooch.  Wool and silk nuno felt scarf and brooch. Nuno felt is beautiful and light for the coming summer months and is great at dressing up an outfit. We’ll be using silk chiffon with super soft Merino wool and silk embellishments.

Tuesday 15th May – Textured felt vessels.   Not only will you be making a seamless felted vessel but we’ll be loading on lots of texture with extra flaps and fabrics. Fabrics will include silk, organza, muslin, scrim and velvet

Friday 8th June – Felt pods.  Beautiful and seamless hanging pods to grace any space.indoors or out. We’ll be working with British wool, Merino wool and lots of texture including silks and plant fibres.

Tuesday 3rd July – Small felt rug.  Using British wool fibres we’ll make a small bedside rug in a day including a design using prefelts and roving

You can book online, or to pay by cheque contact me by email or on 07745 160090.

 

The finished peacock!!! December 6th, 2017

I’m so pleased to be able to show you the finished peacock at last. It’s such a shame really as 80% of the work was done in the first two weeks but life has been so terribly busy that it’s taken weeks longer to complete the last 20%.

How do I feel about it? I’m thrilled, it’s worked out very well, not perfect but I so enjoyed the making of it that I don’t mind. After all, it is going to a good home too, our daughter Charlotte’s new digs at uni.

Quite a modern interpretation. It was tempting to try and depict it accurately so I began by searching peacock images on the the internet and made my choices from there.

The simplicity of the head and body is a good contrast with the rather much busier tail. I began by fusing crystal organza shapes onto the linen background. For the body I free machined over it working down in the direction that feathers would lay and then went over the whole thing again with holographic thread for the shine. That nearly finished me off! It certainly finished my machine off which refused to sew anything afterwards and is why I chose to hand stitch the tail.

The only time previously that I’ve used shisha mirrors they came with the cotton surround already done. As I couldn’t find the sizes and colour I needed I had to learn to stitch around them myself. It’s not difficult, which was just as well as I decided to use a thread with metallic elements and they can be painful enough to use.

Using the fabric background made the tail look rather blocky but bringing the feathers off and breaking the outline worked well. I had intended to put more feather detailing around the shisha mirrors but decided to leave as is and looking at it now that was the right decision. Hand stitching the tail gave me great pleasure and I’m so pleased with it I might have to do more work without felt!

So close! November 23rd, 2017

I’m back! The shows are over for this year and I can now think about doing something other than packing wool, like using it maybe? (happy dance) Before the show madness overtook me I managed to get the peacock hanging quite a long way, so far in fact that a further 20 minutes worth of work would have seen it finished.

I’ve backed and bordered the hanging with calico. I’d literally just finished machine stitching it down when a section popped out. It’s hard to explain how deflated I felt, so close and yet so far now to finishing. There’s so much going on that it’ll probably be another two weeks before I complete it and yet the majority of the work only took 2 weeks. Wish me luck

 

 

Out of the ORDinary November 7th, 2017

It’s been a while since I last popped in but it’s manic over at Adelaide Walker as we exhibit at 4 shows in 3 consecutive weekends! I look forward to a week on Saturday and a well deserved weekend off and if I haven’t been busy enough with that, I’ve also signed up to exhibit with a new shop in Skipton.

Out of the ORDinary stocks work from Yorkshire based artists and makers and happily for me, they now have some of my felt work.

The shop is in Craven Court at Skipton and has work from over 35 artists so there’s a brilliant range of goodies on offer and definitely something for everyone.

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.