Tuesday, 27 December 2016

A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone who reads my blog.
Here's to some great new stitching projects in 2017. xx

Monday, 21 November 2016

Running Stitch 'City' Exhibition

I belong to a local exhibiting textile group called Running Stitch and for our exhibition this year we chose City as our theme.  We normally aim for an exhibition every 2 years but had to wait another year while Solihull Arts Complex morphed into The Core Library & Theatre. I have to say though  that it has been well worth the wait as The Courtyard Gallery is a superb exhibiting space and so much better than the old gallery space on the first floor.  Here are a few shots I took on the day of install last week plus a few glimpses of our artwork.

Jacqui Thomson's My Walk to Work based on my journey from Snow Hill Station to Ikon Gallery, Brindleyplace

Our collaborative piece Found in the City based on objects found on the streets of the city  

The felted cityscapes of Anne Thumpston 

Patricia Cravos' work based on street art in Digbeth 

The Grade I listed Birmingham School of Art embroidered by Helen Wallis

Julie Hunt's stitched map of the railways and canals of Birmingham in the 1850s

Nadine Reid's abstract views of city buildings using the chenille technique

Rita Best's stitched painting of the Rotunda and St Martin's Church 

Detail of my piece Sketches of Brum showing the Bullring Bull.

A group photo (minus Anne behind the camera & Nadine) l to r, Me, Rita, Julie, Pat & Helen.  Well done girls - a superb install.  Running Stitch's City exhibition continues at the Courtyard Gallery till 28th November.

Monday, 7 November 2016

The Perils of Sewing

So the very latest in trendy footwear. Resting my foot after a day in hospital for surgery on my foot. Lesson to be learnt in health and safety while sewing. Don't drop sewing pins on the floor and if you do don't tread on them or at the very least wear steel toe caps when sewing. The perils of sewing.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Travelling Sketchbook - Scrap Buster Reverse Applique

My latest page was inspired by a quilt I saw at the Festival of Quilts this year made by textile artist Louise Baldwin using a technique called reverse applique. Unlike traditional applique where a fabric shape is sewn on top of a base fabric, reverse applique involves cutting away a layer of fabric to reveal a shape appliqued underneath.

It's also a brilliant way of using up all your scraps of fabric.  As any textile artist, sewer, maker or crafter knows, it goes against the grain to throw away any offcuts of fabric from a project, however small.  This of course results in burgeoning shelves and bags full of scraps but you never know when these itty bitty scraps will come in handy as the last thing you want to do is cut into a virginal fat quarter just for a tiny scrap of fabric.  Thus reverse applique, in fact any kind of applique is the ideal scrap buster. 

Above is a picture of Louise Baldwin's quilt shown in detail. 

For my version I kept the shapes similarly abstract and by layering many scraps of fabric onto a calico base this allowed me to cut back and expose the many various coloured fabrics underneath. I then used a teasel brush to fray the raw edges even more.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Travelling Sketchbook - The Cobalt Blues

My inspiration for this month's pages was a workshop I went to probably getting on for about five years ago now, at Unit Twelve Gallery near Stafford, led by textile artist Emily Notman.  Unit Twelve is a great gallery and exhibition space run by artist Jennifer Collier and if you have never been it's well worth a visit, as not only are there great workshops and exhibitions but it's a chance to see the participating artists making work in their own studios there. In the workshop Emily got us to dye strips of various neutral coloured fabrics with ink. These were then hung up to dry then assembled and layered ready to add stitch and embelishments. 

I have done the same here dipping strips of fabric into Cobalt Blue acrylic ink which I diluted with a little water.  It was interesting to see how each of the fabrics took on a different hue depending on their content and texture. 

I then layered them all together on a backing of calico and then free machine embroidered them together adding some beads as a bit of embellishment.

My original sampler from the Emily Notman workshop hangs on my sewing den wall.  I had combined strips of pink dyed fabrics with lace, netting, threads and sequins.  It's actually not finished as I meant to work back into it with more stitch and embellishment.  Another PhD!  Please do visit  Unit Twelve Gallery if you get chance as it's not that far up the M6 from Brum and nearby Stafford is a lovely little market town with lots of little cafes plus of course Shire Hall Gallery which has a changing programme of exhibitions often textile based.  A grand day out!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

French Vintage

So I thought I would show you some of my purchases from a great stand I found at the Festival of Quilts called Simply Vintage.  They source most of their products from antique and flea markets in France so I was really excited to come across two original wooden stamp blocks, one of which by sheer coincidence is my initial J for Jacqueline.  When I got home I printed it into my sketchbook  using acrylic paint but I aim to print it onto plain white fabric to embroider.  

It's in reverse of course so it stamps the correct way.

This is the other one which prints like this...

...and also makes great rubbings using a graphite pencil. 

From the same stand I also bought this beautiful lino-cut print which had been printed onto French vintage linen which I intend to quilt and hand stitch to make a small picture I can frame.  

On the stand was a fantastic assortment of vintage French magazines which were selling like hotcakes. I chose a lovely one which I stupidly put down while looking at some other things and then found it in the hands of someone else.  Anyway I bought this one in the end which had the most amazing fashion illustrations. 

I love the exaggerated stylish fashion drawings which are just crying out to be replicated in stitch and put me in mind of the stitched drawing I did of a vintage pattern envelope dating back to the 70s and which is also the cover of this blog. 

I did spend a huge amount of time at just this one stand so had to drag myself away in order to make sure I had time to look round the rest of the show.  Plenty of grist to the mill then for future projects. 

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Festival of Quilts 2016

Last month I paid my usual welcome visit to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC. I am always astonished at the array of quilts and textile artworks on display.  I have long admired the lifelike stitched figures of Rosie James.  Her series of canvases entitled Concealed are based on a quote by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, "Invisible threads are the strongest ties" and she explores how powerful stitch is and how it keeps the world going but the people that do it are mostly invisible.

A day is just not long enough to see everything at the Festival although by the end of it I am certainly glad to get back on the train home to give my aching feet a rest.  I snap away with my camera so I can study the works at my leisure when I get home but don't always have time to record the titles and artists so apologies if I don't credit each piece with the artist's name.  Here are some of my favourites:

Another great year of stitching. Here's to Festival of Quilts 2017!