a life of fibre

Posts Tagged ‘armley mills’

Print at Armley Mills – 1

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Last year I used print at Armley Mills as part of three of my pieces for the Wool Stories – The Felted Mill exhibition. This time around I wanted to use print again and couldn’t help but revisit the wallpaper block I used last year plus one or two which belong to the same pattern.

Here’s the original.

Now for the rest.

Here’s how they work in use

Then I found this one.

Gorgeous as all this is I’m not sure where I’m going with this currently, this is one to come back to.

Sewing machine trials

Monday, August 6th, 2018

As part of my artist in residence activities at Armley Mills I was privileged to be allowed to use one of the industrial sewing machines from the collection.

It was a bit of a trial. I started off with a quick trial using the thread already in the machine. No problem, stitch length easy, reverse fine. Then the top thread broke. It took a little while of me checking the neighbouring machine to thread it up to the needle at which point I discovered my eyesight was much worse than I thought! I couldn’t see the eye, Louise (museum staff) fetched a torch and I discovered it threaded left to right rather than front to back, phew, eyesight not that bad then. I still couldn’t thread it but at least I knew which way it went 🙂 Louise (love her) then fetched a magnifying glass for me and the needle was finally threaded – yippee!!

Full steam ahead, but not for long before the bobbin thread ran out. Hmmm, how do I fill the bobbin? Come to that how did I get at the bobbin? I did manage this faster than threading the needle but that was mainly because Andrew the technician was around and showed me how (phew). I was off again.

I wanted to use  my own thread so set to, rethreaded the machine, got out my hoop, stretched the double layer of cotton muslin into it and discovered I couldn’t fit it under the foot and the foot didn’t come off without a screwdriver which I didn’t have. Irritating but never mind, took the hoop apart, put one ring on the machine then slipped the fabric under the foot , put the second ring of the hoop under the foot and reassembed the hoop.

Yay!  Blast! The bobbin ran out again. That was fine, I took it out, filled it put it back and then discovered I couldn’t get the bobbin thread through to the top because the hoop was in the way. Took it apart, pulled the bottom thread up, reassembled the hoop, started stitching again. Top thread ran out. Nooo.

On the final day I went armed with a pre-filled bobbin, new thread and two pairs of scissors  as I forgot scissors earlier in the week and was bailed out by Linda (museum staff), what could go wrong?  Nothing it seemed, I got on quite well and was just thinking that I didn’t need to do much more when the drive band snapped. Drive band stopped play as there was no technician on site. I’d been concerned about it throughout as I’d noticed the dust accumulating under it and had pointed it out to staff. What can you expect? drive bands perish, I was privileged to use the machine and lucky that the drive band held out so long.

This is the first stage towards a pot, I’ll be doing some rust dyeing next before I nuno felt it.

Artist in residence

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018
I’m off to start my artist in residence at Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills today. I’m having to spread it over two weeks as I can’t afford a block away from the day job (Adelaide Walker). I have plans for the day, I wonder if it’ll actually work out that way? wish me luck!

The Felted Mill

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

Wool Stories – The Felted Mill, is an exhibition by region 10 of the International Feltmakers Association inspired by Leeds Industrial Museum, Armley Mills. It opened in April and will be running until October 21st, if you can find the time to visit, do as it’s well worth it with work from twenty one felt makers on display. Below is a selection of work from the exhibition but not all of it, there’s so much more to see.

From a distance I saw an owl but closer up there is so much more to see. The owl is taken from the Leeds crest outside the museum, it has wings of cogs and is standing on A and M printing blocks which stands for Armley Mills. It has elements of printed film posters and is a Visual Wowl by Tracey Gaytor, isn’t it wonderful?

Window of Inspiration or Limitation is by Anthea Green, it incorporates a number of British wools and was influenced by the similarities between women working at the mill in it’s heyday and the work of women in Laos now.

Cogs in the water by Jane Gatenby is particularly apt as the mill is bounded on one side by the canal and on the other by the river as well as being formerly driven by water power.

Also inspired by the machinery is this beautiful work by Margaret Jackson containing nuno felting and stitch. The colours are so interesting on this piece.

Anne Corder was inspired by rust and rivets to make this jacket. The rivets are what really drew my attention, they have a pleasing rhythm to them that works well with the line of the jacket.

I love a bit of texture so this cog pot by Iris Brunton ticked my boxes. I love how the cuts both reveal the inner layers of wool and the inner pot to form the cog, really well done.

It was nice to see my own work mounted there too even though I couldn’t get a picture of these without my shadow and the lights reflecting off the glass.

My thanks to the hanging committee for their inspired choice of hanging this piece of mine in front of a light source. It really helps to show up the embroidered words.

Inspired by all the books of fabric samples at Armley Mills, Jill Lauriston made a felt book and very ingeniously used an old shuttle for the spine.

I failed spectacularly to get a shot of the full 3 foot of  Linda Hume’s mill chimney but I’m pleased to show you the pictures of mill workers she incorporated which added such poignancy. The text was also printed at the mill using one of the printing exhibits.

This depiction of machinery by Helen Riddle is created using free hand motion sewing. It’s fascinating to watch Helen ‘draw’ with a sewing machine and I love this black and white pitcure, the only item in the show, besides mine, which is monochrome.

This is a page from Helen Riddle’s sketchbook and it stole my heart.

This nuno felted, dyed and printed jacket from Chloe Greenwood is fantastic. It’s called Hard Times and contains quotes from some of the former mill workers. Check out the buttons.

I hope this has whetted your appetite to go see the whole show. A perfect time to go would be on Saturday 2nd June when the Leeds Wool Festival is on.

Armley Mills – Part 10

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

I thought you might be interested in a few photos from my work book for the project  it will go on display at the mill.

The front is cut from a sheet of paper that I printed at the same time as the silk for the main piece.

Samples and more of the paper printing. The fabrics were left over from the nuno felting, silk on the left, silk chiffon on the right.

Images being off the straight really appealed to me and then I went completely the opposite way with the spun samples below where I ruled a line across first to make sure they’d be straight.

The samples are my favourite pages. The yarns don’t hang straight as I ran out of time to wash and dry them and had to use many straight off the spindle, hey ho.  It’s the end of my Armley Mills series, I hope you’ve enjoyed it and if you haven’t then it’ll be a change of topic tomorrow to look forward to!

 

Armley Mills – Part 9

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

The wallpaper block was printed onto silk chiffon which I then nuno felted. This piece wasn’t about the process but the pattern and I decided there was sufficient felt to make three pieces.

Originally I planned to hand stitch the first piece, machine stitch the second and use couching on the third.  This is my first piece and probably has the most printed pattern on it.

Stem stitch in embroidery cottons until Rosie (thank you) pointed out that I needed to vary the threads more and gave me some light reflecting, twisted thread.

I also added some beads in pearl white and grey.

This is the piece I intended to machine stitch but after the third broken needle I gave up and decided to hand stitch. I’d tried putting it in a hoop and backing it but my machine just wasn’t coping.

A greater variety of threads was used including perle threads and ones I constructed from various fine threads.

In my stash was a very shiny synthetic thread which fell apart as soon as you cut a length off but it looked lovely so I used it where I could.

I’ve used the couching mixed with stem stitch but added to my work load by spinning a number of threads including, Shetland, Milk Protein and various mixed fibre ones.

It’s hard to remember the last time I used couching, it’s so easy and a great way to use threads that would be difficult to hand stitch with if you tried to pass them through the fabric.

They’re each different and yet so obviously part of a family. All the hand stitching took me a lot more time than I’d banked on but I have throughly enjoyed it and I think they were well worth the effort. They’ve been mounted in box frames and I’ve rather sadly called them ‘Wallpaper 1, 2 and 3’  I know, not very imaginative but the stitching wore me out!

You can see them at Armley Mills  from 14/4 to 22/10. The exhibition is called “Wool Stories – The Felted Mill” and will feature work from more than twenty felt makers.

 

Armley Mills – Part 8

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

The final reveal. Do I like it? Yes and no. I’m very pleased with the number of processes that it incorporates and the learning journey I experienced to create it. The design is unsophisticated but given this was all about the process  that shouldn’t be a surprise.

To sum up:

Wool used – Blue Faced Leicester, Dorset Horn, Jacob, Whitefaced Woodland.

Processes used – spinning, weaving, felt making, printing and stitching.

Unsurprisingly my title for this piece is ‘Wool’ and you’ll be able to see it on display at Armley Mills  from 14/4 to 22/10. The exhibition is called “Wool Stories – The Felted Mill” and will feature work from more than twenty felt makers.  Remember the printed wallpaper block? I’ll tell you next what happened to that.

 

 

Armley Mills – Part 7

Monday, February 19th, 2018

Finally a finished piece of felt but I didn’t leave it there, I went on to stitch the words of the processes e.g. spun, woven onto the felt with the handspun yarn.

You can see how much the weaving has closed up during the felting process even though I’d been careful not to overwork it. I didn’t want the weaving to lose all definition but I did completely full some sections to use on the top as hanging mechanisms.

At the bottom is my washed Blue Faced Leicester fleece. It starts with fleece at the bottom up to woven and fulled wool at the top. It’s 100% British wool.

Armley Mills – Part 6

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

I have the spun yarn, the weaving and the printing so it’s time for felting.

Silk down first then two layers of wool over the top. I sandwiched the edge of the weaving between the layers of wool to hold it in place and make it part of the final picece.

My chosen shape for the wallhanging was triangular with the fringed weaving on one side.

You can see the printing worked out well on the silk paj. Paj is a smooth, closely woven silk, ideal for printing. Next … the finished piece.

Armley Mills – Part 5

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Words weren’t the only items I wanted to print. On our visit to the archives I’d spotted some wallpaper blocks and with agreement from the museum we rummaged through to find one that might be used for printing.

Many of them weren’t suitable because they had felt on the wood which would have been stained by the oil based ink I was using. Eventually we found a felt free candidate.

Those of you who know me well know I can’t resist a curve.

The plan was to print this onto silk chiffon to create a new piece of felt,  this was for a second piece I intended to create.

The floor was the only flat space large enough to work on. Paper down first and then the silk, all taped into position.

It was quite nerve racking inking it up for the first time, I wonder how many years since it was last used? Of course, when this was in use it would have been one of a set, with each block printing a different section of the pattern.

Each time I printed with the block I tried to change the orientation so that there would be areas of overlap in the print. It was such fun to do, one day I intend to do more printing in this manner, one day. More of what happened to this later.

Photography by Charlie Battersby