The new course I’m delivering starts next week and it’s very different to anything I’ve done before. Usually I’m presenting techniques with elements of design included. This time, from the start, the students will be embarking on designing their own pieces, with me offering support on stitches and techniques as they go along.
“Creating Textile Journal Maps” combines my fascination with all things cartographic and a desire to explore elements of my life in embroidery. So, for example, a memorable holiday in the Loire Valley is being recorded with a map containing images and text. I was enjoying this new approach so much that I suggested it to my students as the next course and they seemed equally enthusiastic. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.
The map at the top is Britain, from Mappa Mundi in Hereford Cathedral, and it’s hard to recognise!
I now need to resist the urge to research yet more about maps and map-making though. I find so many, particularly older ones, so intrinsically beautiful and fascinating that I spend far too much time on this; the internet can draw me in for hours.
It’s absorbing, too, working on different ways of representing things in stitch – so many ways to depict roads or paths, for example.
Now I will have to wait and see what the group comes up with; I know they will all be different and personal. Exciting.
The crewel work course I have been teaching came to an end last week. It’s a mix of sadness – the last time I’ll be with that particular group – and admiring what each has done and learned. None of the projects was actually finished but all were well on their way and some only needed a few more stitches before blocking and mounting. I’m still, after all these years teaching, impressed and delighted by the wide range of designs and different projects produced when all have had the same input from me!
The Embroiderers’ Guild branch I belong to has been running a ‘Travelling Books’ amongst its members. The idea is that a group (of six or eight) is set up and each chooses a theme for their own small sketch book. They outline the theme on the first page and do an embroidery to be mounted on the next. The book then travels to another in the group who interprets the theme in their own way and passes it to the next and so on. When the book reaches its ‘owner’ again that person has a book of lovely small embroideries done by friends. A great idea. I have just done a page for a young member of our group whose theme was classic novels. Others had represented The Secret Garden, A Christmas Carol, Robinson Crusoe, Little Women, Canterbury Tales and Jane Eyre. The young embroiderer herself had chosen Pride and Prejudice. I chose The Hobbit (which, I argue, was written long enough ago to count as ‘classic’ now!) and worked a piece based on the illustration of Smaug the dragon curled round his treasure hoard. I had a thoroughly enjoyable time machine embroidering a huge hoard and then set it with sparkly, french knot jewels.