Saturday, 10 November 2012

A bit of this and that.

I am slowly catching up on things and thought I would share some. I have been doing quite a bit of dyeing for commissions and my own work. I love this fabric below which was wrapped in madder root and then steamed. It is much more red in the flesh!
Six weeks ago several ladies started a beginner sampler quilt course at the studio. The quilt below is Claire's first one and she also machine quilted it. The photo really doesn't do this Amy Butler fabric justice. There was also more contrast in the actual quilt than shows here.
These two pieces, both using naturally dyed fabrics have been in an exhibition at a local gallery.
For what ever reason (probably the photographer!) my camera doesn't seem to be giving clear images. This Blue "woad" Bells wall hanging was hand and machine stitched using woad dyed fabrics. It doesn't matter how many times I have made up a woad vat it is still smelly. No wonder Queen Elizabeth 1st passed a law requiring any woad factory to not be near a royal palace.
Today was spent at the studio making up kits for The Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate in two weeks. DS joined me to revise for some GCSE's that start soon. I had to be very quiet but I did get lots done.
By the end of the day I had 64 completed kits and just 32 to finish.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Stitching onwards

You know how things happen, a phone call, someone telling you something and them life just seems to fall apart. Well that was five weeks ago and I'm back. I still have some appointments with DS2 at the local hospital to see a consultant and then decisions to be made.

I have been doing lots of teaching over the past weeks both at the studio and around the country. I had a fantastic time at The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. Both stitched origami book workshops were full and it was good to see some stitched up in the hour. If you are going to The Knitting and Stitching show at Harrogate in a few weeks I think there are a few spaces left for this workshop. I am teaching six workshops across three days so lots of kits to make up.

There has been a sampler quilt class at the studio for the past six weeks. I just love seeing how the same block looks in different fabrics. Karen's quilt is at the top and Claire's below.
 My very talented group who meet at a Children's Centre have been playing with Shibori techniques. I'm sure that I took some of the dyed fabrics but can't find them at the moment!
I have also completed some stitched landscapes using woad and other bits left over from my larger landscape that went to Festival. I am off to see the exhibition tomorrow so will hope to take some photos. If you are fairly local to Lincolnshire it is at The Carre Gallery in Sleaford.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Spurn Point

There was a lot of creativity in the studio last week. I will share this in a later post though as yesterday I went somewhere magical to primarily see an exhibition by Alice Fox.

We travelled north over the Humber Bridge,
 turned east and kept driving until we reached the sea. Spurn Point is a coastal reserve, 3 1/2 metres long and very very narrow in parts. It stretches out into the mouth of the river Humber and is now a Nature Reserve. The sea defences are eroding rapidly and you can see just how much they are breaking down and crumbling. The image below came from google.
 The exhibition was in the old lighthouse. This was built in 1895 and closed in 1985. It is normally not open to the public.
 I lost count of how many curving steps there were up to the top of the lighthouse but the views were stunning. This is looking out to the end of the Point.
 Looking the other way, you can just see the skinny strip of land between the sea that (on a good day) you can drive on.
 The lighthouse provided an amazing backdrop to Alice's work. She kept a blog about her time as artist in residence here. There are lots of photos of her work and the lighthouse.
 I had permission to share some images of her work. This piece was 10 metres long and hand dyed using rusty metal found on the beach and wrapped round groynes. Some of it had been submerged by the tide.
Alice dyed silks and cottons. All the colours of her framed work, handmade books and larger Spurn Cloth just seemed to compliment the colours found within the lighthouse. I know from my own rust dyed fabrics that you just do not know the colours that will finally come out. Alice has published a short book detailing her time as artist in residence at Spurn Point. It has wonderful images of her work, Spurn Point and extracts from her diary. If you didn't get to her exhibition and are interested I think that you could contact her to buy this.
Just to prove just how fragile the beach is, these show just how close the tankers are as they travel in to port.
After visiting the exhibition we walked from the lighthouse right round the point which is when I took the two photos above, It was such a magical place, and you could really sense the power of nature especially when you turned onto the side facing the North Sea. The gentle waves on the estuary side became more wild, crashing into the already crumbling sea defences from the North Sea.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Indigo Blues

Yesterday the sun shone on the Indigo workshop. As I arrived at the studio the grapes looked so enticing, real vibrant shades of green against the blue sky.
The Indigo workshop teaches you how to make up your own synthetic Indigo vat which can be used for both animal and plant fibres. You make up a bucket vat and a smaller jar vat. This is one of my favourite workshops to teach as I demystify the magical process of making up an indigo vat. If you have never seen fibres change from yellow/green to blue as they oxidise then come and do a workshop with me to join in with the magic.
This is Jackie with the bucket Vat.
As the day progressed the washing lines filled up.
I love the texture that Lis has got on this fabric with vertical and horizontal grids.
As well as fibres, the vat will also dye buttons, shells and other treasures. This collection belonged to Lis.
 Pat and Kate did several pieces using a range of shibori techniques.
In the image above there is a subtle difference between the two dyed fabrics. The one on the lower right hasn't fully oxidised.

This is always a popular workshop and there are just four places available. The next Indigo workshop is on Saturday 20th April 2013. Contact me if you would like more information or book a place.  

Saturday, 8 September 2012


It has been a very busy Summer holidays which started with my Summer School.

A few weeks later was Festival of Quilts and below is DS's prize winning quilt.

I really enjoy teaching at Festival and  having the opportunity to meet up with many friends. I took lots of photos of quilts but do not have any permission to share any on this blog. The bird house's below is one of the children's workshops designed by Karen.

After being back a day we travelled down to Devon for a week at the cottage. At this point the weather changed a little but we still managed some beach days.
 DS took lots of photos in preparation for his GCSE photography course,
 I did still have time for a little dyeing with some weld.
Yesterday there was a very successful landscape workshop using transfer dyes at the studio. Today the sun shone as we played with indigo vats. I will post more on that tomorrow.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Festival of Quilts 2012

  I have been in Birmingham at Festival of Quilts since Thursday. I have just one more Quick and Easy session to teach then a little shopping.

Hopefully  a photo of my quilt is attached which has hung relatively ok. The best news that DS won third prize for his quilt. More to post once I am home.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Concours d'elegance

Well I didn't want to keep you guessing for long! I was making a concours d'elegance costume for a friends daughter. I would be the first to say that I do not really work in 3D nor dress make but I was really happy with how it turned out.

This is Archie who was going to be ridden for the first time in this competition. Archie is a bit of a pro though as he has won lots of rosettes when ridden by Jake (Bryony's brother)
The pink fabric became a skirt, the table became a "pretend horse" when I checked for measurements.
Nothing like the real thing though. Archie was very patient as we tried on the skirt as it had to fit under Bryony's feet and over his tail. On this picture I hadn't sewn on the grey trim. The grey and pink were chosen to match a riding hat.
This is the completed costume. There is grey trim along the edge of the skirt and some lead curtain weights just to make sure that it didn't blow up and spook a pony.
She is wearing a grey military style jacket which was "doctored" I added grey trim along the collar and at the cuffs and neck a blouse was cut up for extra ruffs. To top it off she had a pink cravat made from the skirt fabric and wore my cream leather driving gloves . She  looked very elegant.
I even managed to teach her mum, and my friend Fliss how to make a corsage. I made one for Bryony's hair and Fliss is making one to be attached to Archie's bridle.

This is Bryony at the show today. She came 5th in her first ridden show.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

An idea

You know how an idea starts? That first thought, the what if? Could it be achieved? Well I started something new which involved -

 Six metres of pink fabric, pink and grey trims, seven metres of  lead curtain weights and a pony!
Can you guess? Just off to complete this project and then I will share.

And Finally...

After a full week of putting colour into fabric on the last day we looked at discharging colour. these three products were used, Finish dishwasher detergent (5% bleaching agent), Jacquard discharge paste and deColourant paste. All three looked identical in the pots (thick white paste) so on the initial samples some very clever ladies wrote F, J, D (why had I never thought of that?)
Discharging colour from fabrics is never an exact science and as predicted some fabrics discharged at quite a fast pace whilst others remained dark.
You can discharge colour from any fabric, it doesn't have to be black or navy. This dark burgundy below was printed on with a shell stamp to remove the colour.
After playing with the pastes and a magnificent faith lunch organised by the students we moved upstairs to make a quick sketchbook cover.
They were all fantastic and this one made by Wendy shows off some of her shibori painted fabrics. Blogger has just turned this sideways so just tilt your head!
If you want to join me next year for a week of dyEing, painting and creating your own unique and individual fabrics then just contact me for more information.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Summer School - Day Three & Four

Day three and the sun continued to shine. We explored a relatively new product called cold water batik wax.  This looks a little bit like PVA glue and was able to be brushed and stamped onto cotton
Once dry, which was very quick today we painted over the top with procion dyes.

These pieces were steam fixed to both set the colour and melt the wax.
Wednesday afternoon saw everyone painting their own threads to be used in future projects with fabric paints.
Thursday was painted shibori. We used a pole wrapped technique and then applied fabric paints for some stunning results.
Everyone created so many fabulous pieces of work that a longer washing line was needed. This just doesn't show the colours achieved.
In the afternoon we explored the effects of adding fabric paint to a stitched and quilted surface.