Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The first few days in Dublin.

 Finnegan's of Dalkey.

 I had a brilliant time staying with my cousin Emer in Blackrock, Dublin. She was a very generous hostess and we had great fun together. 
My first evening was spent in Finnegan's in Dalkey. A very beautiful pub - VERY high Victoriana. It was a fabulous evening, just watching everyone enjoying themselves.

We visited several of the local sights - my favourite being Powerscourt House and Gardens.

I couldn't walk all that far as my knee is rather uncomfortable after my twisting incident at the Rugby club in Redditch a couple of weekends ago. I saw enough to know I want to go back - what a remarkable place.

Powerscourt House.

The statues, pots and stairs on the main terrace are very beautiful . . . .


There are several stunning water features, along with all manner of Japanese gardens, walled gardens, woodland walks and all the usual attractions you would expect from a top visitors centre.

I must say that everywhere I have been so far in Ireland the service and help I have received is second to none.

This has been my favourite view so far - taken from the road to Powerscourt.

The most exciting and exquisite place I have been to so far is the Cafe en Seine - on Dawson Street in Dublin's shopping area. It is straight out of the Belle Epoque period in France. The lights are quite quite remarkable. Various types and styles - absolutely gorgeous.

x x x

We set up the stands for The Knitting and Stitching Show today, I am staying in a house with Laura my other half on the stand and Viv and Kevin from Art Van Go. We are all sitting around after dinner in a local pub wanting to get to bed - but not having the energy . . . . . 

I will take loads of photos of the show over the next few days and let you know what is happening.

Night, night. x

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Some rather splendid homework!

The is 'Bet Noire' by Mary - just fabulous.

This post is about the homework from the constructed textiles weekend of my Experimental Textiles course. The idea was to use either, knit, weave or felt to construct a three dimensional sample. I was so pleased with what they produced I thought the work deserved it's own post.

Lovely felt bowls made in the washing machine around balls.

Mary really enjoyed stitching into the felt . . .

 . . .  and more of Mary's beautiful stitch . . . 

Kat had fun working into her paper collage from the previous weekend.

Barbara made the fabulous vessel - she has part felted it, then she will be stitching into it and felting it again.

Val created some exquisite textures with stitch on this divine little bowl . . 

   . . . and more on this faerie like sample . . 

This is one of Babara's woven samples . . 

 . . and some of her stunning felted knitting . . 

Just gorgeous.

The group have been working hard and are producing some beautiful samples. 

 x x x

I am now in Dublin enjoying a few days of R and R with my cousin Emer who lives over here before The Knitting and Stitching Show at the RDS. It is going to be great fun. Laura, Kevin and Viv are arriving on Tuesday and we will all be moving into a house together for the rest of the week. I am so looking forward to seeing them. I think a party will be in order . . . . 

Will post a bit more about what I am up to over here on Monday.

Hello Jill and Diana, not long till Harrogate. 
x x x

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

ExTex 2 - Weekend 6 - Dyeing and transfer printing

Transfer printed polyester satin.

The weekend saw me teaching the 6th weekend of Experimental Textiles at The Old Needleworks in Redditch. The weekend was a colour fest. On the Saturday we used procion dyes to colour natural fabrics and on Sunday we used disperse dyes (transfer paints) to colour synthetic fabric. The whole point of the course is to develop the students confidence in themselves and all the basic skills so they can work independently. 

As a textile artist it is very important to know how to colour your own fabrics, be they natural or synthetic. This is one very important way to help your work look different to everyone elses. The group already know how to create original designs and make printing blocks of their own designs.

The girls dying natural fabrics in plastic bags.
 Bags of colourful opportunity.

 I will be able to show you what the girls produced from their fabrics after the next session in mid November. The fabrics needed to be rinsed well, dried and ironed.

Disperse dyes colour synthetic fabric permanently once the dyes have been ironed or heat pressed onto the synthetic fabric. They are also called 'transfer paints' as the dyes are painted onto paper, and once the designs are dry, they are transfered to the fabric by heat. We used a heat press but you can transfer the colour very easily with a hot iron, it just takes a bit longer. Always use baking parchment between your iron and the transfer print!!

The group painted up their paper with the dyes first thing on Sunday as they take time to dry. We used copy paper to paint onto. Any paper that isnt porous will do, you want the dye to come off the paper, not sink into it.

 The girls painting their designs.

Here are some of the designs ironed/heat pressed off.


 Painting through a stencil.

  . . . and using resists . . .


The resists can also be printed with as they collect dye when being used as a resist.
This was doiley cut an placed by Mary.

 Disperse dyes are translucent and you can usually get at least 2 if not 3 prints off the same piece of paper. This is great for over lapped and shadow prints.

Various layers of print and resist.

So you can see we had a great time playing with colour. I will post about the homework from the previous months weekend before I leave for Dublin on Friday. There is a lot to show you. . . .

There is lots of dashing about to do before I leave and a lecture to deliver in Basingstoke on Thursday so I must get organised - well I can try!!!!

Happy Tuesday! 

x x x

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The Knitting and Stitching Show - Alexandra Palace - October 10th - 13th

 The lovely Laura Strutt polishing off 2 puddings - no not really - we shared. 
I have found a fellow dessert lover!!! Whoopppee!

The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace was amazing, very busy indeed. I have a new job - promoting Vilene products at various shows around the country. As you can imagine, it is a great hardship - not!!! I have been working with these fabulous products for many years as many of you will know.
Laura Strutt and I will be doing all the Twisted Thread shows for the next few years and one or two others .Laura is a very clever girl and is into all manner of crafts as well as working on magazines and is the author of the Haynes Sewing Manual. We get on SOOOOO well together. Whilst the shows are hard work - great fun can also be had.

 Laura showing how to use the Quickscreen Triangle by Vilene.

The whole point of us having a stand at the shows is to help you all identify which Vilene products you may need for your area of crafting, embroidery or quilting. We won't be selling anything - just giving information. We are a surgery for you to come and tell your troubles to . . . . So come and say Hello! We will be at the Dublin show on stand A40 and at Harrogate on stand TG540.

I will be reporting back on all the shows - this is just a taster as I couldn't get off the stand much as we were VERY busy everyday - I guess that shows we are doing the right thing.

The exhibitions at the show were stunning, along with some rather divine work by this years graduates. Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn had a fabulous exhibition which I will write about after Harrogate.

 Ruth and Bobby on their stand - 'Equal on all 4 sides'

I wanted to mention some people who are very important to me - firstly Ruth Issett and Bobby Brtinell. These two great artists are my guru's - we all have them. I go on courses with them as often as I can - they are remarkable tutors. If you can ever get on one of their courses I would highly recommend them.  Both Ruth and Bobby have new books out - both are brilliant.

 Bobby working on the stand during setting up.

 I didn't get much chance to photograph any of Bobby's work as there were always visitors in the way - I will do better in Dublin! Her work in the exhibition used a lot of bark cloth with reverse applique and some fabulous stitch.


I managed to get a few more of Ruth's - beautiful hand dyed muslins layered together and stitched very simply.

 The colour combinations are quite stunning - the work just vibrates on the wall. Gorgeous.

 No show would be complete without the Art Van Go stand. . . .

 Viv and Kevin setting up their HUGE stand.

Laura and I will be staying with Viv and Kevin in Dublin and Harrogate, boy are we all going to have a good time. Susan Chapman will also be with us so I need say no more - Party Time!!!

The most exciting part of the show for me was seeing Dorothy Caldwell again. Dorothy and I have taught together twice in Australia and it was wonderful to be able to catch up with her.
Dorothy is a very intuitive, sensitive and prolific artist. I love her work - this exhibition is entitled 'In Place'. The work investigates how people mark the land and how we come to know 'place' through personal landmarks and conventional mapping.

Dorothy Caldwell

 Working with on site rubbings and drawings and collected ochres from the areas she was working in, Dorothy has created some breathtaking work. 
Textile traditions such as stitching, darning, mending and patching inform the marks that she makes in both her huge quilts and her smaller - more intimate pieces.

I am very much looking forward to seeing Dorothy again in Dublin and Harrogate.

  I would like to point out that I asked permission of all the artists to take photos and to publish them here on the blog and Facebook.


I am dashing about trying to catch up with paperwork and emails this week and then it is off to The Old Needleworks in Redditch on Friday to get ready to teach my ExTex girls. We are colouring fabrics this weekend - using procion dye to dye natural fabrics and disperse dyes to colour synthetics - Yeehaa!! A whole weekend of colour.


 Hello Jill, Diana and Swansea . . .  x x x