Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Knitting and Stitching Show Alexandra Palace 7 - 11 October Stand TG18

I will have a stand at the show - TG18. The stand will on your left as you walk into the Textile Gallery opposite the Alice Kettle exhibit. Do come and say hello and tell me what you are up to.

The preparation for the show is going well. I shall be launching 2 new Playpacks. A new transfer print pack which includes 1/2 metre Evolon, 1/2 metre white polyester organza, 4 A3 sheets of transfer print and instructions. The second pack will consist of 2 pre cut boxes, 1 heart shape, 1 square. These boxes have been cut from heavy pelmet vilene plus which has a heat fusible glue on one side so you can decorate the boxes by ironing on glitter, sequins, feathers, fabric, threads - whatever you fancy. I will be running a competition for customers who buy the box packs, details are in the packs and the 1st prize is a Hot Textiles Playpack.

 the pack contains a square and a heart shaped box

the two heart shapes decorated with a variety of threads ironed onto the glue side and machine running stitch for extra texture
 space dyed threads ironed onto the heavy pelmet Vilene plus, machined stitched and then varnished
textured threads from a variety pack ironed on with machine stitch for extra texture
square box - design 'carved' into the non glue side with a soldering iron to give burnt outline. Coloured in with felt pens and Aquarelle crayons
the background colour is spent Procion dye
 A selection of the boxes I have been playing with - there will be more on the stand

I love making up kits and Playpacks - did you ever play 'post offices' when you were a child? Weighing and sorting things? It's a bit like that, easy repetitive work that you don't have to think about; I find it very calming with the prospect of such a busy time ahead. It's also a good time for ideas nipping into your poor addled brain, I came up with the idea for the competition for the decorated boxes while packing up 150 packs of Hot Spots! Who knows what I shall think of as I start to cut all the Solufleece and Lamifix - watch this space . . . . .  x

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Hanging around . . . !

 a tandem hang glider at Devils Dyke

I took a long weekend to get to know a new friend!! He came over to Brighton and we made an effort to get out and see a few sights. We started with Devils Dyke. The views are amazing. On a clear day you can see all the way over to the Isle of Wight and over to Guildford. It's a great place to go if you need a little perspective in your life. A hang gliding school were putting students through their paces on the side of the hill. It was wonderful just spending time watching these beautiful and very graceful structures glide through the air. There is a great pub with plenty of parking (free if you are a N.T member). An open log fire, great food and fresh coffee, what more could you ask?

views over to Ditchling and learner hang glider - such a brave boy!

On Friday we went to Wakehurst Place, I haven't been for a while and being a member of Kew gardens I get free tickets to take friends to either Kew or Wakehurst Place. Wakehurst is a great place to walk, if you have a couple of hours or the whole day. There is plenty to see and do.
 There is still an abundance of plants in flower in most of the beds at this time of year, the walled garden looks particularly good. The textures all around Wakehurst are astounding, with luscious layers of greenery.
  sunlight through the leaves of a Gunnera

 Kniphofia cauiescens
I had never seen a Kniphofia cauiescens before. The way the main plant grows out of the stem with those strange triangles is fascinating and the colour combination of brown, pink and green was quite beautiful.
What I most enjoyed about the day had nothing to do with plants - we had tramped up into the Himalayan Glade and were resting in the sun on a bench when we noticed a bird feeder in nearby trees. As usual the squirrels were wreaking havoc, but on closer inspection we noticed lots of small birds fluttering about in the sun and dappled shade. I saw my first ever nuthatch. There were also a variety of tits, chaffinches and greenfinches. 

 Luckily I had a long lens on my camera and was able to get a few close shots of the birds. I thought the nuthatch looked very similar to a small kingfisher.

Taking time out just to watch birds in the sunshine was so relaxing and something I hope to do again very soon. I must be getting old - I'm turning into a twitcher!!!!!

World Community Grid
This has been a weekend of relaxing and learning new things. 
One of the new things I have learned is that if your computer is on all day and you don't use it all the time, your computer can be put to good use by the World Community Grid. There is link on the bottom left of the blog if you want to learn more or even sign up. I don't normally advocate things on this blog but this is a very worth while cause and it doesn't cost anything. We can all do our bit for humanitarian research.

Three weeks to The Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally and FOUR weeks to the photo shoot for my next book. I had better get a wriggle on - no more relaxing and bird watching for me for a while . . . . . . Have good week everyone.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Design, Interpretation and Inspiration at Art Van Go - part 2

 Kevin and Viv at the front of the shop and studios

We had a FAB 4 days at Art Van Go. It's a terrible place to teach - Coffee and tea are served regularly, lunch is arranged and chocolates are served in the afternoon just in case your blood sugar levels are falling!!! One of the great things for me is that there are always gorgeous paints and materials to play with that I haven't had a chance to discover before. The shop really is an Aladins cave. I also had a chance to see  a preview copy Gwen Hedley's new book Drawn to Stitch - it is fabulous - it will be out soon and I would recommend you get a copy as soon as you can.
I was amazed that in the short space of time since I last taught with Viv and Kevin that they have created a great garden down the side of the studio. I was thinking we could have great parties and barbeques there - Yeeha! there is plenty of room for students to sit out and enjoy the sunshine and there is excellent wheel chair access.

 prints from Jenny's blocks

 Lynne's flipped and mirrored design

After 4 days of very intense work the girls on the course produced some excellent work. I was very impressed with both the quality and amount of designs they produced. After they had taken sections from their original design sources printing blocks were made. some of the girls also tried flipping and mirroring one or two of their designs to great effect.

one of Sandy's designs flipped and mirrored

 Anne's design flipped and mirrored along with a print sample

Pam found it hard to work with curves after a life of working with straight lines, but look what she did . . . . 

Sue's positive and negative prints(left) and an over print using both blocks

On the 4th day the girls were encouraged to print and stitch into fabric. We had a good chat at the end of the course with a lovely show of the work. I can't wait to get back there to teach again. I will be adding next years workshops to my diary next week. I just need to confirm things with Viv.
Sharon's print in the process of being outlined with chain stitch

We all had such a great time. Viv and Kevin are wonderful hosts and along with all the help you get from their happy team, you cant fail to have fun there.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Design, Interpretation and Inspiration at Art Van Go

 The students on the course are - 
Sharon Osborne, Anne Rowland, Pamla Tasker, Jennifer Sandler, Sue Dunkerley, Joan Hayes, Sandy Goff, Christine Hingley, Lynne Haywood, Bette Tasker, Lana Young.

The girls hard at work in the studio

Sticking down the 'flipping out' exercises

Here I am on the second day of a 4 day summer school Art Van Goand we are alll having a great time. The students are working hard and developing some excellent designs. We are working from my book Experimental Textiles specifically pages 20 - 27. Yesterday we worked on the journey exercise and the flipping out exercise.The students then took sections of their designs and we have started to manipulate them. 

The 'journeys' spread on the floor
A few examples of the 'flipping out' exercises
Jenny 1

Jenny 2


Sandy 1

Sandy 2

Time for lunch now - on with the transferring of designs into sketchbooks and the colouring in . . . 

Will keep you up to date as we go