Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Spaces on workshops further afield . . . . Jersey and Canberra!

'Flipping out' is one of the exercises we use on this design based workshop.

So - My courses at The Jersey Textile Showcase next week are almost full. Filling workshops is always a worry, no matter how long you have been teaching. There are just two places left on 'The Journey'. An afternoon workshop to indulge in the joys of basic design exercises. Saturday 8th March.
The first three images below give you an idea of what we will be up to.

Moving further away - to the other side of the world - Canberra to be specific, there are six places left on my two day design based workshop on the 5th and 6th of April. This is the most important workshop I teach as it generates completely original designs and you leave with several printing blocks that can be used to print onto fabric or paper. My course Experimental Textiles is based around this workshop. It is great fun and so very useful.
So if you fancy a weekend of music, laughter and some fabulous work - sign up. Non members can also join in.

Painting the 'journeys'.

When they are hung together they merge into one delicious work of art.

We will take sections to isolate designs, a great way to develop your composing skills.

We will use the 'Expanding' exercise . . . .

 . . .  and 'Flipping out' . . . .

Your designs can then be made into printing blocks.

On course longer than two days we get a chance to play with colour.

Here are a range of blocks that have been made on previous courses.



I recently met up with a few ex students from my original four year Experimental Textiles course. They were doing a local craft fair in Brighton.
I was delighted to see these framed pieces by Helen Fallowfield who had taken these designs from the 'journey' that she painted in the far off years of 2001/2 (I think). It just goes to show that design sources never stop being useful - you just need to take the time to work with them!!!!


I was so pleased to see that Helen was still developing design ideas generated all those years ago.

So try not to be afraid of the 'D' word - there are many tutors and several very good books that can help point you in the right direction.

If you live in the U.K and fancy having a go - I will be teaching my annual design workshop at Art Van Go, June 10th - 11th - Creating Original Designs.

That's all for now - have lots of dashing about to do and loads of orders to pick and pack to post tomorrow, but the sun is out and the birds are singing, what more could a girl ask????


x x x

Monday, 24 February 2014

ExTex 2 - The last weekend - before the end of year show!

A close detail of Barbara's pebble pool.

It is wonderful when a plan comes together - especially if you never quite know how things will end. With the benefit of experience you know things SHOULD work out how you wish - but you can never guarantee an outcome.

I can't tell you how delighted I am with the work the ExTex 2 girls have produced. Experimental Textiles is non accredited course - there is no certificate at the end of it - just an amazing body of work and more confidence in yourself and your work. Because we don't need to tick boxes to please examination boards, I am able to work individually with each student. This is very rewarding and crucial for their personal development.

I will continue to teach the course at the IDC studios at The Old Needle Works in Redditch. It is right next to the railway and bus station and has easy access to the local motorways and airports. I already have students enrolled for June that are flying from Scotland and driving from Devon. The next intake is in June - I hope to be teaching two groups this year - one on Thursday and Fridays and one on weekends - once a month ish!!! You can find the dates and more information on

The last weekend of the course was great fun and slightly sad as it would be the last time the girls would be all together at the IDC studios. They will be together at the end of year show at the NEC in a few weeks time.

It was two days of catching up, discussion and evaluation. We talked about how work might be mounted - or not. Not every one will have a 'finished piece of work'. The course can be used to spend time developing samples.

Rachel has been stitching into her paper collage again, layering even more stitch into this lovely sample. 

 Rachel had never worked with paper, fabric or stitch before she joined the course. She has produced some very beautiful work. All a student needs is a supportive atmosphere and encouragement to enable them to thrive and grow.
If they are interested in their course and their work - there are no limits to what they can go on to achieve.

Val is an experienced patchwork and quilter and is very familiar with fabric and stitch. Not so design and paper . . . . . 
I love this applique sample - the design is a section taken from one of the design exercises at the beginning of the course.

 The design . . . .

  . . .  and a close up . . . 

Val is working on a lager fabric piece for the show. The work is constructed from fabrics that Val has dyed on the course. I love the fall of colour.

 Now all Val has to do is stitch . .  and stitch . .  stitch it together.
It will be stunning when it is finished.

You may remember Val's samples from the previous ExTex weekend where she experimented with disguising Tyvek. she work further into them - I though you might like to see this one. It's not finished yet - but it is looking good.


 Mary is a very creative student both with textiles . . . and baking. These little chocolate cup cakes were delicious, to make things even better - Rachel arrived with some gorgeous date cake. We were very spoilt this weekend!!!


I showed you Mary weaving her bowl with a variety of natural fabrics in a previous post . . . . .

Here it is dyed and filled in with copper wire.

I am hoping that Mary will write up the story of how the bowl was dyed - it is hysterical, the things students have to go through - working around their families, to produce their work, can be very entertaining.

One of many details I took of the bowl.

Barbara is a very experienced felt maker and came on the course to stretch herself and her ideas. She is also a very keen machine embroiderer and had no time for hand stitch. How things have changed. Whilst I try very hard not to bend students to my will, and those of you who know me; know it's a strong will, I do try to encourage a more 'intimate' way of working. A closer and slower way of working with your materials. There is of course a place for free machine embroidery, but I find that working with hand stitch (not necessarily embroidery stitches), with threads that you have dyed yourself can be very rewarding. Barbara also discovered this - finally! To be able to make the distinction between the marks that a machine and a hand can make, is a very important one. There is a place for both.


Barbara arrived on Saturday morning with two new pieces work based on looking into rock pools. She had also created a lovely workbook of images and samples. Barbara made the felt then dyed it. To knock the colour back she then applied painted Bondaweb for a more ' murky' effect. Both pieces were then printed on with blocks that Barbara had made herself. Eight layers of print in all to achieve the effect of 'looking in' to a pool.

The layers of print on the felt are very effective and I just love the 3D 'Things'!!!

 Here second piece is the one she is stitching into - the layered prints really do give a 3D effect.

  Here are two details of the work -

 . .  and then to the stitch  . . .

 I think I am more pleased with this image than any other I have published on this blog. In a very simple way it shows the development and understanding of what I have tried to achieve with the course.

Barbara also had fun with newspaper faux chenille between this and the last weekend.

I never got the chance to take photos of Kat's work as she kept bringing pieces work in to show us, then putting it back in the car. All will be revealed at the show.


I am grateful to the girls for enrolling on the course. It is something I believe in very strongly, but I can't teach without students. It just goes to show that teaching the most basic of processes, along with encouragement and care, can create happy, well developed students who can confidently work on their own.
My ExTex 2 girls from the left - Rachel, Kat, Mary, Barbara and Val.

 The end of year show will be at Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch at the NEC on stand L24 - alongside The Vilene Workshop and opposite the catwalk. 20th - 23rd March. Do go along and say Hello to the girls.


Off to pack up some orders now and sort out packs for the workshops next week at The Jersey Textiles Showcase - aargHHHH!!! There aren't enough hours in the day.

Hello Jill and Diana, will email at some stage this week . . . . 
x x x x

Thursday, 20 February 2014

The NEW KK glue - available early March

First - find your stencil.

This is the post I wanted to publish on Valentines Day - but my old laptop died on me and I couldn't work out how to sort out the photos on here using my new MacBook Air. I am slowly mastering 'Mac speak', being a PC dinosaur it is taking some time . . . .

KK Glue is a new, very soft powdered glues that has practical as well as decorative applications. It can be used to turn up hems, for applique and for patching clothes - but I like it best for use with stencils and transfer foils. The glue can used on anything you can iron - T shirts, jeans, card, wood . . . .
I will be selling it through and Art Van Go will also be selling it.
50g will be around £5.90.

I decorated a T shirt to wear on Valentines evening. 
I chose a heart shaped stencil from the vast range at

As the design finished very close to the edge of the stencil I masked off the area that I thought a 'bodger' like me would need not throw glue powder all over the the T shirt. I'm not a very neat or dainty sprinkler!!!

I then lightly sprinkled the glue over the stencil. Lifting the stencil off the powder was another challenge for me but I rose to the challenge womanfully!

The glue powder was then ironed to 'fix' with baking parchment.
       You can tell when the glue powder is 'done', it melts and goes clear - as with Bondaweb and Hot Spots you wait for the glue to cool before you remove the baking parchment.

                                        . . .  well clearish . . .

You can then iron foil onto your gluey design. You need a hot ish iron to melt the glue - cotton - and a cooler one to heat the foil - around the wool mark. Always use the foil colour side up and protect it with baking parchment. If the foil puckers with heat it won't release the colour.

When the glue has cooled, remove the foil. It should come away smoothly, if it 'tugs', it is still warm. Notice that there is the positive shape of the design left on the stencil to use later on the Bondaweb.
Whilst powdered glue isn't ideal for use with stencils - ( you do need a steady hand) I do love the effect. I find the not quite sharp edges to the design very pleasing. When I come back from my trip down under I shall be having a range of stencils cut with the help of the lovely Claire Pain of

It doesn't have to stop there - the design that is left on the foil can be ironed off onto Bondaweb. It is important to be aware that the the clear plastic that is left once the foil has been removed from the sheet can stick to any kind of glue - and not come off - however, if there is enough colour left in the design this technique can work. 
So - sprinkle the glue through the stencil, remove stencil, fix glue and foil . . . .

Foiled glue.

Iron a sheet of Bondaweb onto your fabric - then iron the design that is left on the foil onto it - (using baking parchment). Remove the foil when it is cool. Hopefully the foil will come away cleanly. You can then iron a contrasting colour foil over the Bondaweb to fill the exposed areas.

Like so . . . .
Here is another design . . . 

And this is the heart shape that I used earlier . . . .  The plastic that was left around the design did stick a bit and pull a bit of the Bondaweb off - but it still looked good. It gave a more  . .  distressed look.

If you use Jones Tones foils with KK Glue then your foiled shape will be washable. Please note that most foils are not washable, but if you don't need to wash your design, it wont be a problem. I hope this all makes sense???? I do love having a new product to play with.
I will post more photos when I can work out how to get them onto my Mac, into Photoshop Elements and on to here . . . . . 


                                  Hello Jill - hello Diana . . .  x x x x