Sunday, 29 December 2013

Number 50!

This year I set out to do 50 artful new things - roughly one per week. It's not always been easy but it has pushed me out of my comfort zone and given me a huge incentive to be more creative.

Whilst this week's offering is not strictly new, I have tried to be more adventurous.  I've been teaching my friends how to make devore scarves but never found time to make one myself.  In a last minute panic to find a special present (think 21st December) I borrowed a design of chilli peppers from my eldest daughter's A-level art project and got printing.

Working on silk-viscose velvet, I wanted the chilli peppers to appear in relief which meant burning away most of the viscose pile.  It dramatically altered the drape and handle of the fabric, changing it to a light and gauzy cloth.  I used an acid dye to colour the silk background whilst leaving the viscose relatively pale, giving a shimmer to the chilli peppers. 

I finished in the nick of time (final iron on Christmas Eve!) but it was much admired and I know it will be treasured.  I have vowed to me more dramatic  with my use of  devore paste in the future but hopefully not quite as last minute.

50:50 project complete :) 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Are you sitting comfortably?

Are you sitting comfortably?.......then I'll begin......

Here is the story of a tired old chair made in about 1950.  It was covered in a beige moquette fabric patterned with red stars. Some time in the early 80's it was rescued from a junk shop and given a new cover of Sanderson William Morris print fabric by my mother. It came to University with me, comforted my friends and supported me as I revised for exams. It has survived 6 house moves but for the last few years it has languished in a corner of my daughter's bedroom looking very sorry for itself.

Over the last six weeks I have stripped off some rather unattractive varnish and restored the lovely beech wood frame with oil.  I've repaired the springs and reupholstered the seat back.  A new cushion pad was needed to replace the crumbling foam and with it a new cover, complete with piped seams.  

I have dyed and printed the fabric and embellished it with some favourite pieces from my stash.  Without being too dramatic, this is my family tree to pass on to my children.  Just sit quietly in it and listen to the stories it has to tell.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Christmas Cheer

My favourite memories of childhood Christmas is making decorations for the house. It's still the nicest way to get in the mood for the festive season -  much more so than the angst of buying presents or the chore of writing cards.

A group of friends have been meeting in early December to share a meal and make something new for Christmas. We have been overly ambitious of late and there are several UFOs lying around our work baskets!  This time we wanted a less complicated task and so I came up with these wire tree decorations. Simple but effective and made fabulous with a selection of trinkets from Yum Yum Beads in Leeds. 

Monday, 2 December 2013

Stitching memories

With only two more sessions of my vintage upholstery course left, I am channeling all my energy into finishing my chair. I learned how to make piped seams, practising on some kitchen chair pads because the plain fabric I have chosen will not forgive any mistakes!

I've made a start on embellishing the back cover.  I'm adding small scraps using a machine appliqué technique.  The fabrics each have their own story to tell:  a piece of lace rescued from my Grand-mother's stash, silk brought back from a holiday in Thailand, some of the William Morris print that had been used to cover the chair by my Mother, wool tweed woven in Yorkshire.  

The wood has been brought to life with several coats of Danish oil and has now taken on a sensuous quality.  Again this is a slow process as each coat takes 24 hours to dry.  

I will look forward to sitting on my newly covered chair very soon!