Sunday, 5 November 2017

A touch of glamour

Well the shops have been pushing Christmas stuff since September, but it just doesn't feel right to be thinking about the festive season until after Bonfire Night so here goes......

Christmas stockings don't have to be trendy Scandi-style lumps, let's bring a little glamour into our lives with these fabulous, and might I say, well-heeled versions!

My December workshop will show you how to make a beautiful, fully lined stocking with fancy trims and embellishments.  Try a little hand-stitched doodle, some ribbon roses or machine embroidered flowers.  They are just big enough  to take a bottle of something fizzy or perhaps some tasty chocolates.  Make them for yourself or give away to friends, you decide!

The workshop will take place on Saturday 2nd December 10am- 4pm and costs £45 including all materials.  You will go home with a finished stocking and a copy of the pattern if you want to make a few more.  Places are limited so book early.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Where have all the leaves gone?

Well we have survived the worst of tropical storm Ophelia but where have all the leaves gone?  Thankfully some of them made it onto my stitch sampler for this month.  Like the cherry blossom one earlier this year, this is a one-stitch challenge worked in that knottiest of stitches:  sorbello.

It's a great stitch for texture and working with lots of threads that have different weights and finishes gives real depth to the work.  I've been using up tapestry wools, thick cotton yarns, variegated threads and of course a little bit of sparkle!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Dissolving Margins

This post has been a long time coming!  The title refers to this year's theme for Textilia 3 and all of us in the group have been wrestling with it for many months.  

I decided to base my work around my dear Auntie Jean, who sadly passed away last year.  I wanted to explore how dementia effected her in the last few years.  She was a fiercely independent lady who managed the family farm along with her brothers.  In clearing her house, I found plenty of old linens and some, like this tray cloth, that she might have embroidered herself.  I loved the rather rough and ready repairs on the drawn thread work border.

I plan to base the main body of work on the dahlias that she grew every year for as long as I can remember.  They are bright and bold and cheerful, but just recently she couldn't remember their name, referring to them as "those yellow flowers". 

As a way of getting out of my creative rut, I started to stitch a portrait of her.  I've tried to capture the hint of a smile and the mischievous twinkle in her eye.  I'm not sure if I've succeeded, but it has got me working again.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

What's in a name?

A summer diversion for my stitch story.  This week I took part in the Sew Near, Sew Far project at the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth, led by Lyn Setterington.

It was unfamiliar territory for me as I used knitting yarn to stitch my name onto coarse plastic netting, but the effect was bold and pleasing.  Lyn is hoping to collect signatures from local people and visitors alike on continuous pieces of plastic net.  The net will then be laid out on the Pennine landscape, forming the pen names of the Bronte sisters: Acton, Currer and Ellis Bell.

The new art work will go on display during the first half of October!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

A cloud dress for a princess

My final piece for the Travelling Book project!  Inspired by the story of Princess su su, as told by Suzanne Langston-Jones and fellow artists (see previous post), I have created a cloud dress from silk paper.

The shape of the dress is long and thin and would easily fit into the cracks in the castle walls.  The silk paper is semi-transparent and a lovely blue/grey colour - just the same as the sky.  I have stitched small circles in fine white cotton perle yarn to represent clouds.  Large blueish sequins have been attached in the style of shisha mirrors, a new skill for me and one that I think Princess su su would have approved of.  The story describes her dresses as reflecting the skies and the changing seasons and I think that mirrors would help this.  They are also a common feature of fairy stories, offering a means of seeing the past or future.

I have loved every book that I've worked on over the last 6 months.  It's been a joy to see how others have interpreted the same theme and a huge challenge to produce something new.  Now it's time to kick back and enjoy the summer.  Happy holidays!

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Looking for inspiration

The final leg of the Travelling Book journey and the theme is Fairy Tales.  As you might expect with 5 very talented embroiderers' going before me, the task of finding some fresh inspiration is becoming more difficult.

Instead of looking at traditional fairy tales I have chosen to study something in the more recent past:   Artist, Suzanne Langston-Jones collaborated with Clare Phillips to create the story of Princess su su which was told through the work of Suzanne and ten invited artists.  The exhibition toured the country in 2002 and was covered by Embroidery Magazine that year (Volume 53).

Princess su su did not look like a 'real' princess - she did not have long blonde hair and blushing cheeks, a golden crown or a velvet gown.  Her hair was short and brown with bits of grey.  Although she lived in a castle quite hapily, it was not her castle.  The family who lived in the castle did not notice Princess su su because she lived in the wallpapers covering its tall rooms.

My friend Claire Hignett, first told me about Princess su su when I was researching stories for my HNC final show at Bradford College in 2009.  Claire came to my rescue again and has sent me copies of the show catalogue which took the form of a beautiful fan.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

All work and no play

Ok, so I've done lots of lovely embroidery but now is the time to kick back and enjoy myself with these slightly bonkers cacti!

Each year, my friend Chrissie and I have a little stall at our local Sue Ryder Hospice Garden Party. We make all sorts of things like aprons, cushions, lavender bags.... but this year Chrissie wanted to make cacti.  Very fashionable, very hipster, very good.  I got a bit carried away and rather than dinky little cacti with flowers, mine turned into a Mexican cartel with bushy eyebrows and moustaches! 

They make me smile and I hope they have the same effect on others.  Come and visit our stall at Manorlands Garden Party on Sunday 8th July.