Another good day teaching last week, with everyone getting into Glazig embroidery, the latest in my ‘Stitches with Stories’ series, and its interesting stitches. Somehow working a stitch with a name like Point Kamm, or Point Laouig, seems much more exciting than one with an English name (though I’m not sure a Breton would have recognised my pronounciation of Laouig!). I first came across this decoration of traditional Breton dress in the museum in Quimper and it seems my students enjoy it as much as I do. We looked at the history of the regional costumes and how the stitches and motifs have been adapted to contemporary styles, particularly by Pascal Jaouen. We also looked at using non-traditional colour schemes and decided that they worked delightfully.
At the weekend I went to our local art gallery, the Sentinel, to see the work of some friends in an exhibition entitled ‘Text’. Such a fascinating grouping of textile artists and ceramicists in whose pieces lettering and words play a key part and who all approach it differently. The wonderful Sara Impey was there, with familiar and new pieces using her beautiful, controlled machine embroidered text, in contrast to Eliza Kentridge whose hand stitched lettering had a sense of playfulness underlying sometimes serious concepts. Kate Lammin used the repeated and scattered letters of words to create images of a murmuration of starlings in flight. The exhibition is on until the end of the month and I thoroughly recommend it.
How many projects do you have on the go at once?
I am trying to limit mine. But if I add in a myriad of small pieces I am clearly failing. So I have decided on two types of project. Works in Progress: fairly substantial pieces that have been (almost) fully planned and require hefty numbers of hours or days work and that will be completed. And then – the rest: teaching samples, pieces started at workshops, tryouts and so on, genuine UFOs which may well stay that way and which I won’t feel guilty about.So. Current WIPs are:
A table runner in a reversible quilt technique from Lynne Edwards. Blue and white for everyday, red and green for Christmas.
A bed quilt, my first ever sizeable patchwork with half square triangles in batiks.
And a wall hanging inspired by trees – still at the design stage so no pics yet.
Each one needs different techniques and approaches and it means I have one for each of three textile groups that I enjoy going to. I love the variety this gives me. A fourth one, I admit, is lurking and hatching in the back of my mind as well but so far nothing has resolved itself. I think I can handle 3 WIPs, another would be too much so I’m keeping it in the background pending finishing something.
On Saturday I went to my local Embroiderers’ Guild annual lecture with the wonderful Amanda Clayton. A very engaging and inspiring speaker – so much so that I almost abandoned all 3 WIPs to devote my time to an ethereal embroidery. Her work has a delicacy and a sense of preciousness and significance that she manages to embody in these transparent fragments. Lovely.