Thursday, 26 January 2017

Roses are green?

Roses are red, violets are blue, but who says we need to stick to these conventions?  I've been indulging in my new guilty pleasure, ribbon work embroidery.

I bought this gorgeous selection of ribbons from Patricia at Mulberry Silks.  They are the most lovely colours and perfect for this style of work.  I'd chosen green for leaves (obviously!) but found that it made beautiful roses, working well with the dusky purple and lilac.

I'll be teaching ribbon work embroidery at my studio on Saturday 4th March.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Flights of fantasy

Happy New Year!  A time of new beginnings and resolutions.  I find myself busy making lists and jotting down ideas for future projects, looking at my calendar and wondering if I can fit everything into the year. 

When I went back to college to study textile design the method of using sketchbooks to explore and develop ideas and designs was completely alien to me.  I had a picture in my head of what I wanted to create and then I made it - simple!  At first I paid lip-service to the sketchbook, leaving blank pages and then filling them in to suit the design I wanted.  I'm not confident with pencils, pens and paints and visual research was a chore but I found ways around this and gradually found my feet.  I realised that the process of studying shape and form made me think about how I could achieve the same in stitch and before I knew it I was designing for real. 

This method has made me more perceptive and taken my work in some unexpected directions.  The first piece I made for Skipton Embroiderers' Guild in October 2011 is a good example. 

From a Victorian collar found in the Rachel B Kay-Shuttleworth collection at Gawthorpe Hall, my doodlings took me to a key motif and made me think of a chatelaine.  Further research lead me to some of the great women reformers of the Victorian era:  Josephine Butler, Octavia Hill and Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon.

The 'keys' in my piece were coloured with inlaid fabrics of blues and reds to represent the blood, sweat and tears associated with reforming women's rights. The collar is constructed from silk organdie, a fabric that pops up time and again in my work.

I was starting to find my own voice!

Having said all of that the photo at the top of this post is a doodle, plain and simple.  Something to make me happy without any real thought or consideration towards design. It's needlefelt applique with fine DMC crewel wools (possibly out of production) which were a joy to stitch with!

Wishing you a happy and creative 2017!