Sunday, 20 May 2018

A Royal Weekend

Oh what a lovely weekend!  I've spent 3 days at Grassington on their annual Stitching in the Dales course with the super-talented Nicola Jarvis.  Although not a novice to crewel work, I have learned so much in the last few days and I've had a wonderfully sociable and creative time with good friends.  If that was not enough, the royal wedding was the icing on the cake!

My green woodpecker is not quite finished but blog deadlines dictate that I must post before the end of the day.  I have some more seed stitches, sequins and a couched outline to add before he is finally complete.  I'm really pleased with my shading technique and satin stitch (always a bete noir) has improved enormously.

Thank you to Nicola for her supportive teaching and to the Grassington Embroiderers' Guild for arranging such a great week.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Testing, testing, 1,2,3

I've been working on my technique for making Dorset buttons, practising for a demonstration and workshop at Craven Museum, Museum at Night - From Sheep to Cloth which will take place on Saturday 19th May 2-5pm.

These little buttons were commonplace on waistcoats and jackets and I'm hoping that the museum will have some of their wonderful textiles on display to show how they were used on garments.  As you can see, working from top to bottom, my buttons have gradually improved.  Would I make a good tailor's apprentice?  Who knows!

Monday, 7 May 2018

An impatient gardener

The sunny bank holiday weather has seen me tending to my garden rather than my stitching but I have managed to complete a strawberry for my William Morris bird.

This has been made with needle lace (a stitched form of fabric) around a stuffed shape.  It seemed like a good idea when I started but it has taken hours of stitching to complete, hence the tardiness of this post.

I found this little strawberry plant clinging to the side of an old soft fruit bed.  I will nurture it and hopefully I will have some real strawberries later in the month. Unless the birds get them of course.....!

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Ready to fly

Inspired by William Morris' iconic print, The Strawberry Thief, here is my version of the naughty song thrush.

Stitched onto vintage linen, red woven picots form basis of the design creating the spotty breast.  Following Morris' colour way, I've embroidered wings using satin, seed and buttonhole stitch in dark blue on a pale blue linen background. 

Now for the strawberries......

Monday, 23 April 2018

Flights of fancy

In my quest to stay one step ahead of my stitch groups (and also to try to make multi-use pieces), I have started making a sculptured bird using raised embroidery. 

I've long been an admirer of Abigail Brown's beautiful birds with their subtle evocation of feathers made in scraps of fabric.  I've also been ruminating on this year's Embroiderers' Guild Regional competition title Inspired by William Morris.  In one of those light-bulb moments, the two ideas fused:  a 3D bird based on Morris' iconic print, The Strawberry Thief.

Using stranded cotton in brick red, I have worked small woven picots to give the illusion of feathers.  These are interspersed with French knots to create the wonderful speckled breast of the song thrush.

This is all work in progress, to which I had better return if I am to finish it by Thursday!

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Almost done

I promised a big reveal and this is almost it! My new work for Textila 3 exhibition, Dissolving Margins, 4th - 8th July 2018, The Manor House, Ilkley.

As many of you will know, its actually very difficult to take good pictures of large pieces of work - far better to take close-ups.  So here they are.

The work was inspired by my Auntie Jean, her love of gardening and in particular, growing dahlias.  As dementia took hold of her brain she forgot the names for so many familiar objects and her lovely dahlias became 'those yellow flowers'.  The first piece is a richly three-dimensional work with raised embroidery and devore; the second reduces to one-dimension whilst the third just carries a shadowy image, obliterated by seed stitch.  Both the images and the fabrics on which they are printed are dissolving, representing the ravages of dementia.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Sewing the seeds of love

A deadline looms.....I am frantically stitching.....will I finish in time?

I am working on a triptych for a forthcoming Textila 3 exhibition (The Manor House, Ilkley 4-7th July 2018).  My work is coming together slowly but something was missing.  Luckily my friend Claire popped over for a play day and we had our own group crit.  With the benefit of distance, Claire instantly identified what was missing from my third piece:  a little bit of grey was needed to harmonise the work. 

With a flower theme, the only possible stitch to use was seed stitch and so I have spent many hours over the last week trying to create perfectly random stitches.  It has left me a little crazy, but I think it will be worth it!

The big reveal will be next week........