This is my last entry for Embroiderer's Guild Travelling Books. The theme is WINDOWS and I have to confess that it left me stumped for ideas. I thought of all the wonderful stained glass that I've seen in cathedrals around Europe: of the mills that inhabit the Pennine towns where I live: of tiny mullioned windows in stone cottages and huge panoramic windows in converted barns. But then I spied a humble telephone box - there are quite a few around here, nostalgic relics of the past, lingering in gardens or converted into mini libraries. I thought about my teenage years and of all the times that I had snuck away to have a private conversation in the days when the only telephone in the house was situated in the hallway and in full ear-shot of the rest of the household. Of the times when I had dutifully called home whilst away at University, all the time looking through the windows of a telephone box at an unfamiliar landscape. As I sketched out ideas of snatched conversations I was reminded of Roy Lichtenstein's exuberant pop art with comic strip call-outs and polka-dot backgrounds. I found a linen fabric with a subtle print for the background (not spots but certainly textured) and then I reverse appliqued a telephone box, cutting back the red fabric to reveal the windows. Mottled blue fabric for the ever-changing Yorkshire sky. My speech bubbles will be made using raised embroidery techniques - work in progress but you get the idea.
Sunday, 28 June 2020
With very little to keep me rooted, anchored and calm during the Corona virus lockdown period, sewing has proved to be a valuable pastime. Over the last few months I have been working on a Travelling Book project for Skipton Embroiderers' Guild. The most recent theme was Inside my mind chosen by artist Haley Mills-Styles and this has provided a great opportunity to reflect on all of the conflicting emotions brought on by 12 weeks of social distancing and isolation.
I started, as I do with most projects, by making a map of anything that popped into my head: what made me happy or worried; what I missed and what I was happy to leave behind; how the elements connected or clashed. The page was peppered with doodles too. I remembered a previous piece of work that I'd done called 'Something on my mind' and wanted to do a smaller version. In a moment of pure serendipity, my friend Marjorie had also remembered this piece of work and sent me a couple of vintage handkerchiefs that she had acquired. What luck!
I stitched an edited version of the mind map onto one of the handkerchiefs, adding some extra colour with Inktense pencils and doodle stitching to connect the words. I like the idea of layers and conflicting emotions created as the fabric is folded which mirrors the turmoil inside my mind. Thank you Haley for a great project!
Tuesday, 12 May 2020
I have been celebrating the glorious cherry blossom that has been festooning the trees in our nearby town. Looking like a bridal procession, the graceful flowers have injected some much needed joy to the neighbourhood. During these strange times of lockdown, it has been great to take a moment and enjoy beauty of nature.
In Japan, the cherry blossom (sakura) is much anticipated and revered. They are a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life and so it seems an appropriate choice right now.
The subject of my latest Travelling Book is trees. I have stitched a Japanese style cherry tree using just Sorbello stitch. Its a really versatile stitch: by changing the weight and composition of the thread, each stitch looks very different. I've used tapestry wool, viscose perle, cotton and metallic threads.
Friday, 6 March 2020
I'm taking part in the Embroiderers' Guild Travelling book challenge again. It's a great way to boost your creativity because you have to do a piece of work each month in response to the theme chosen a member of the group. The books are swapped every month, new theme, new challenge!
This month's theme is Gwynedd, North Wales. This sparked lots of memories of family holidays to the area and after a couple of phone calls to my Dad, photos too. This is me aged 7 outside the station with the incredibly long name.
One particularly vivid memory was a trip to Beddgelert and sad tale of the prince who returned from a hunting trip to find his favourite dog, Gelert, covered in blood next to his son's cradle. The prince assumed the worst and killed the dog, only to discover a large wolf my the child's bed. The dog had killed the wolf to protect the child.
My work is inspired by the Bayeux tapestry. Of course we know it's not a tapestry but an embroidery, cleverly worked in wool using a special filling stitch - Bayeux stitch. The legend of Gelert is set in the 13th Century a couple of hundred years after the famous tapestry but I imagine that similar materials and techniques would still be in use.
Sunday, 23 February 2020
My absence has been punctuated by a holiday, mini-break, birthday weekend, oh and rather a lot of work (the paying kind). To let you know that I haven't neglected my sewing completely, here are a few photos of currently projects.
I am participating in another Travelling Book project for the Embroiderers' Guild. I chose 'The Selfie' as my theme, thinking it would be interesting to explore how we see ourselves. I did a simple outline sketch of myself on a very old hankie and then a negative space version of the same picture
The other challenge for the year is to make a small (4x4") square using 3 prompts: a colour, a technique and a theme. This has come from the Textilia 3 group with the aim of increasing our creativity. So far it only seems to have added to my stress.
The first piece was inspired by Emily Dickinson's envelope poems, using the colour grey and incorporating a piece of vintage fabric. I failed on the last part but used some lovely silk devore that I had printed a couple of years ago. It has been cut to reveal a North Star and embellished with tiny beads.
The second piece used the colour combination of black, white and ochre, with fabric manipulation. The inspiration was In my Garden but there wasn't much happening in February except a small witch hazel bush. I used traditional smocking technique with some more contemporary stitches worked in an asymmetric way to portray the shrub.
Tuesday, 24 December 2019
Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Over the last few weeks, my two stitch groups have been working on embroidered lampshades. Inspired by some of the lovely examples on Pinterest, we have all spent many hours sewing intricate patterns onto cloth. The next step is to make them up into lampshades using the brilliant kits from Dannells.
Here is my test piece - looking great in my daughter's bedroom.