Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Experimental Textiles - 4th weekend - felt, knit and weave

Rachel's torn, printed and stitched papers

I had a great weekend with my ExTex group. I had missed them. I am very much enjoying teaching an ongoing course again. To see the progression of each student is very exciting and rewarding. It reminds me why I trained to be a teacher.

The fifth weekend of the course is a mixture of weave, knit and felt. It is always great fun teaching basic processes. When you work with basic, simple processes, your brain has a chance to get involved and excited -  making it's own connections between materials and techniques. 

We started the weekend with looking at homework - the group had been asked to stitch into their torn and printed papers. There was some fabulous work.

A detail of Rachel's piece showing her beautiful stitch.

    Val's collage . . .

 . . . and a detail of some of her very sensitive stitch.

Once we had discussed the homework we got on with feltmaking. We started with basic hand rubbed and rolled felt, just small samples to start with.

The group laying up their wool tops.

The group also had a go on an embellishing machine. This machine has five needle felting needles in place of a machine foot, the barbed needles felt fibres together. It's great fun and you can achieve great results quite fast.

Val revving up on the embellishing machine.

After the group had a go with flat felt they made bowls -



Some of the flat felt samples -


 . . . and the bowls.


On Sunday we got on with looking at knitting processes, one of the techniques I showed the group was finger knitting - the girls really got on with it, Barbara in particular . . . 

Barbabra get to grips with knitting . . . 

We also had a look at basic weaving processes and what kind of yarns and fibres can be used.

Part of Barbara's stash.

The girls are finishing their woven samples as part of their homework.

Kat's . . .

Rachel's . . 

Val's . . 

Barbara's . . .

 . . and Mary's.

The group worked hard and produced some fabulous samples, the next time we meet we will be dyeing and transfer printing.


I am getting ready to leave tomorrow for Exeter and the show at Westpoint Centre - my stand no is B03 - Hot Textiles/Vilene. It will be great to see some of the ladies that I met in July in Devon and Cornwall.

if you do get to the show - make sure you come and say Hello!


Diana - See you Sunday night!!! Yeehaa!!
Jill - hope you are feeling better baby.

x x x

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Hot Textiles at Denman College 6th - 8th September

 Gorgeous late sunflowers outside the teaching studio.

 Well it's not quite Sunday!! Just three days late, There seems to be so much to do with all the autumn shows coming up. It feels a while since I was at Denman, but it was only ten days ago. Denman College is the home of the W.I. but you don't have to be member to enrol on the workshops. www.denman.org.uk

Denman has very beautiful grounds that are well kept and glorious at any time of the year.
 A rather tropical planting scheme to welcome you at the front door.

 One of the many reasons I like teaching at Denman is the food - and at morning coffee and afternoon tea we have biscuits and  . .  cakes!! yum!!!
All made in the Denman kitchens - we are always very spoilt.

 These little cheeky chaps had a glace cherry secreted inside - a lovely surprise when you bit into them - them!! I only had one - honest!

My group of lovely ladies, with naughty Hilary on the far left . .

So - the workshop was Hot Textiles and was for two and a half days. The Textile Studio is very equipped with everything you could desire for teaching.
We started with painting up all the products and then got on with a few demonstrations. The first exercise was working with painted Bondaweb.

 The group had great fun playing with all kinds of sparkle and heat transfer foil.

 This rather wonderful book cover was made by Hilary when she was on one of my newspaper based courses at Foredown Tower. It was a fabulous surprise to see her at Denman, she is great fun!!! And was almost well behaved . . .

 Then we went onto play with Tyvek . . . .


 and then soldering irons to cut Vilene Spunbond . . . . 


 And then we zapped Vilene Spunbond in all the weights - CS500, CS700 and CS800.

  . . and finally we printed onto transfer foiled Bondaweb. A simple but so effective background. . .  and washable! Makes a change for me - something functional? Surely not?


There are always three or four workshops on at a time throughout the teaching centre and at lunchtime on the last day we all have look at the other classes work. I love listening to the group as they tell there friends and anyone who will listen, what they have been doing and how they achieved the effects. It is the best form of evaluation there is - who needs paper work???

 A throng of ladies admiring the groups work and asking excited questions.

 I will be back at Denman the first week of December to teach my On the Surface workshop. It's Bondaweb based, so you know it will be one of my favourites - I think there are three places left if you fancy coming to play.


I will be off to Redditch on Friday to deliver the fifth weekend of Experimental Textiles at The Old Needle Works. It's constructed textiles this weekend.
I'm looking forward to seeing my girls.


Jill - I hope you are feeling less . .  sore. 
May have some exciting news of an Irish nature soon!!!!!

Diana - 11 days to go - make sure you find Les's tolerance tablets. x


Have linked this blog to http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.co.uk/ - what a great way to share.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Paper, Print, Stitch and Play - Art Van Go 3rd - 5th September. Part the second . . .

 A lovely sample of the tearing and layering process that has been decorated with a print using one of the colours in the work. Using a 'self' colour paint enables the print to bleed in and out of the work and not be too obvious.

 As we only had six in the group the students were able to spread out and we managed to get a lot more done. The larger the group the slower things happen. The group caught onto the 'background' and 'pretty' rotation quickly, sometimes it can take a while. It never ceases to amaze me how the simplest process can sometimes take the longest to understand. I think our brains like to make things complicated, they get bored when something is too simple.

A few of the torn and layered backgrounds - 

 Pru added frayed fabric thread to this sample -

 It add an extra texture - if you are aiming for a lot of texture - you need to keep the colours down to a low roar . . tones of one colour tend to work best.

 I always insist on the students doing at least four tearing processes so their piece looks very layered with fab torn edges. I didn't want the group to get too attached to any of their samples otherwise they wouldn't tear them up.
However - I was proved wrong at one point. (don't you love it?)
Pat had produced this beautiful sample and was dithering about tearing it up. 

This is the point that usually I swoop in and say "don't worry, tear it up, it will look fabulous". But . . it is such a beautiful piece. I agreed it shouldn't be torn up. This sample will look beautiful stitched and maybe even quilted in a few areas. It would just need to backed with a thin iron-on interfacing like Fuse n Tear to stop the paper falling apart when you stitch it.

I think this workshop is so popular because your work doesn't have to look like anything. The students can just enjoy the process and end up with stunning results. It removes the pressure to perform!!!

 Carole had great fun decorating this book cover with painted Bondaweb, glitter and little fish shapes cut from newspaper.

The aim of the workshop was to develop newspaper backgrounds that would be printed with wooden printing blocks in a colour that is already in the work.
Once the background has been printed the same block is used to print onto Solufleece to give you a guide to free machine stitch into. (The Solufleece needs to be stretched in an embroidery ring before you print onto it. Print with the minimum of paint or the Solufleece will dissolve)

The Solufleece is then dissolved, leaving the free machine embroidered shapes. These shapes are then stitched onto the printed background.




The printed and stitched backgrounds are then stuck onto a canvas that has been decorated with newspaper in a toning colour.
 Christine decided not to print onto this one and just to enjoy working with the colours.

 Carole's machine didn't want to play so she outlined her prints with a fine pen and made her focal point from newsapaper - it looks great.
 Pru free machining her shape on the stretched and printed Solufleece.

 Pru added a few strips of blue silk carrier rods to give the work more texture.

 You can just see the prints on the newspaper background and that one of them has a backstitch outline.

 We had a fabulous time at Art Van Go www.artvango.co.uk. The whole team look after you, it is a great luxury teaching there - and of course - it is always great fun. Art Van Go run workshops just about every week of the year - there is something for everyone and lots of B and B's close by if you need to travel to get there.

It won't be long til I see Viv and Kevin again - we are all doing the Knitting and Stitching shows at Ally Pally, Dublin and Harrogate -  Whoo hoo - party time!!!


I am nearly up to date on the blog now - I just have to tell you about the larks we got up to at Denman College last weekend - I will probably do that on Sunday.

Have a great weekend 

x x x x

Hello Jill and Diana.