Gelli plates, Tyvek and embroidery

A very mixed bag of activities since the last entry. That’s one of the (many) aspects of textiles that I love – you certainly don’t need to be doing the same thing all the time!  In my textile group we played with Gelli plates. Two adventurous members made their own; I have a 6 inch square commercial one. We all brought stencils, mark makers and paints and shared them, thoroughly enjoying ourselves. We all produced very different looking prints as it is a very versatile and personal technique.

 

I have been re-acquainting myself with Tyvek’s potential, both the film and the fabric. I worked on both with several types of media and decided that I prefer the effects on the fabric. This is also easier to stitch into so that’s what I will stay with. Now to actually use some of them with fabric and embroidery. As you can see from the two examples the fabric Tyvek contracts much more interestingly when subjected to heat.

And for something completely different – I hand-embroidered a wild daffodil. It is a contribution to another travelling book, one with the theme of wildflowers. I sat in the garden over our sunny weekend and immersed myself in woven picots and knotting.

Quilt progress

Late again with my blog but a long, sunny bank holiday weekend spent with children and grandchildren is an excellent reason.

Long – time visitors to Threadlines will know I have been, very slowly, working on a bed quilt. I recently finished piecing and adding borders and was then faced with layering the backing, wadding and top and tacking them together. I have a lower back problem which I treat with the utmost respect; neither stretching across a large table, nor working on my knees on the floor would be sufficiently respectful, I felt. The solution? I took it to Bramble Patch on a visit to my daughter and she returned it to me last weekend, efficiently tacked by a long arm quilter. I’m thrilled. Now it feels like a quilt and looks like a quilt!

Next step is wrangling the thing through my standard Bernina to quilt it. Another learning event for me – any tips gratefully received.

Some progress on another project; nine log cabin blocks are now a pieced square that will (probably) form the front of a bag with the two orphaned squares functioning as pockets inside.

 

 

 

In my workshop this week I demonstrated use of Thermofax screens, particularly for layering and altering commercial fabrics. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this process and feel the urge to have a day creating more fabrics. I also unearthed some pieces as examples and have an idea to develop some of them.

Textile artist

Flower Head – Narcissistic Butterfly

This year our local branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild is excited to be welcoming Michael Brennand-Wood as the speaker for our annual lecture. I have long been fascinated by his work; sometimes really liking it and others – not so much. It always makes me think though, which is a Good Thing!

Stars underfoot radiate

 

Brennand-Wood is, and has been for decades, an internationally acclaimed visual artist, working in the textile sphere but integrating other media. One of the aspects I most admire is his combination of solid historic research and technical skill with an adventurous conceptual approach. This may sound a bit dull but his work dances with colour and form and often seems purely joyful.

I know you – I wish you’d tell

I am very much looking forward to the lecture, which is on Saturday, 28 April at 11.00am in the Auditorium at Firstsite, Colchester. Tickets (£10.00) are available on the day or you can email e.g.colchester@gmail.com. Do come, if you live nearby, it’s a rare opportunity to listen to the artist talk about his work.

All pictures are from Michael’s website.

More snow – and quilting

After my last post I thought Spring would gradually creep up on us and longer and warmer days were ahead. Hmm.  The Quilters’ Guild had its ‘Spring’ Regional Day for our area on the Saturday the snow returned.  The start of the day was not promising (unless you wanted a snow-filled day!) but most braved the early morning elements and, despite what looked like a blizzard outside most of the time, the roads were clear for our homeward journeys. We were amply rewarded with meeting many friends, patronising the traders and being treated to two excellent talks.

Heather Hasthorpe showed many of her stunning quilts whilst debating what constituted a Modern Quilt or a Contemporary Quilt.  Generously she showcases many on her website here so do go and enjoy! I think my favourite was Red Dragons but there were several contenders.

In the afternoon, with the snow still swirling outside, we were transported to a hot and dry Ghana by Pat Archibald’s account of her visit there, encountering many craftworkers. Weavers, dyers, basketmakers, bead makers – all working with the meagre resources available to them, recycling, repurposing and investing huge amounts of time and labour. One walked two or three hours to gather wood to fire his small kiln which he balanced on springs taken from dismembered car seats.  Her lively and humorous talk gave much food for thought as I surveyed the abundance of ‘stuff’ in my workroom later.  Pat has produced some stunning work based on her African experiences; you can see it on her website here.

The blocks at the top of this post are waiting for me to decide what to do with them.  Our textile group’s most recent challenge involved each of us being given a piece of a beautiful Nancy Crow fabric, to do whatever we wanted.  It graded from light to dark, with a subtle range of greys and misty purples, and I immediately was seized with a desire to make small log cabin blocks (I have no idea where that came from!). In a way it’s wasteful of a precious fabric as so much is hidden in seam allowances, but I do just love the colour movement you can get with this technique.  So I have eleven 3 1/2″ blocks to play with.  Watch this space!

Snow to dye for!

We had some weather here last week, the sort you can’t ignore. Here in the south easterly, relatively sheltered, area of the UK we are used to comfortably watching others cope with seriously disruptive snow in more northerly parts or overseas. And we were again spared the worst.

I did, however, spend a couple of days not venturing out from fear of falling on icy paths and hearing from others of impassible snowdrifts. I had one magical early morning walk in deep fresh snow. And I did some snow-dyeing!

I was inspired by seeing online what others were creating and very fortunately I had everything to hand that I needed. Such fun scooping up cold whiteness and then scattering powdered colours that stood out against its brilliance. And the delight of seeing the unpredictable patterning emerge as I rinsed away surplus dye.

I am determined to use some pieces, not just fold them away in a drawer. I feel the urge to free motion quilt, or maybe hand stitch? I will let you know.