Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Experimental Textiles - session 5 - Constructed Textiles.

A slice of Mary's particularly delicious lemon cake.

Alison arriving with a box of lemon drizzle cake and banana and toffee muffins.

Rachael arrived with a box of Rice Krispie cakes and Mellisa brought in a box of dairy free chocolates.

Session 5 of Experimental Textiles looks at Constructed Textiles. Knit, weave and felt. We also look at working in 3D. But first we look at the homework . . . 

I am currently teaching two groups of Experimental Textiles. One on Thursday and Friday. The other on Saturday and Sunday. The course is taught over nine months, from June to March, one two day session per month. This post shows a mixture of images from both groups.

This was just a small part of Kate's homework - she created several fabulous pieces. A ripped up painted still life, reassembled and decorated with hand stitch.

 . . . Another from Jane . . . 

 . .  a detail . . .

Marlilyn missed the 4th session but created her own still life
and executed some very sensitive drawings and paintings. Which she then tore up and stitched.

Alison's weaving.

After looking at and discussing the homework - we got on with the weaving. We used very simple looms - just a piece of heavy card with 'teeth' cut out either end. It is great fun, mucking about with all kinds of yarns and textures.

Caroline's weaving . .

Marys weaving.

Then it was on to knitting - with all kinds kinds of yarn - 4 or 5 at a time.

We tried what I call 'spider' stitch. I'm not sure it's a proper stitch but that is what I have always known it - you pass the yarn(s) around the needles, 2, 3, or 4 times then make the stitch. You get a fabulous open piece of knitting with looped 'holes'.
Trisha's rather sea life looking piece.

Rachael's soft and fluffy gorgeousness . . .

 . .  and a detail . .

Mary wove wool tops into her knitting to felt the next day.

Once the girls have knitted a sample, they will be stitching or weaving into it for homework. it is so hard choosing images for the posts about the girl's work. They all produce such brilliant work. 

 Susie and Jane laying up the wool tops to make their bowls.

The second day of the session was felt making. We make a flat piece first so the girls get an idea of how much the wool shrinks and how thick it becomes and how the weight changes.

Marilyn, Kate and Caroline laying up for their bowls.

We also looked at needlefelting - Jane wasn't too impressed with one of her flat pieces so she chopped up and needle felted it back together.

The we got onto 'bowls'. I put inverted commas around the bowls as they are more like little vessels. The way I teach this method is probably not the correct way, but it works for me.

All the little vessels, ranging from 3" across to 7 ".

Shall we finish as we started? With cake - We had so much, enough for the entire session. I really do have a very tough job!

 The next session is only three weeks away as I have to fit in the Harrogate show at the end of November.


I am writing this in Dublin. Laura and I are here to run the Vilene stand at The Knitting and Stitching Show. We are sharing a house with Viv and Kevin from Art Van Go - so we wont be having a very good time - MUCH!!

I will do a quick post while we are over here, no doubt including some of our exploits . . . . . 

x x x x

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace - October 8 - 12

You may remember the beginnings of this lovely stitched pieced from the last post about the Malmsbury Embroiderers Guild workshop. 
This is it stitched, finished and mounted. 

Chris Taylor and Laura Strutt on the Vilene stand. 
Boy did we have a good time.

The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace was, as usual, stunning. it was also very long - FIVE days, with a late night opening on Thursday. It was fabulous to see so many friends - new and old. We had a very busy time on the Freudenberg Vilene stand. There are still people out there in Textileland that dont know you can paint Bondaweb - so my work here is not yet done!

The exhibits at the show were fantastic. I have two series of work I would like to share with you.
The first is by Mary Flynn - The Shore Archive.

Her work celebrates the beauty of the sea and shore and communicates her feelings about our responsibility for the environment

Over a period of years Mary Flynn's work has involved regular visits to the beaches on the Isle of Wight to gather evidence from the shoreline to try to make sense of human experience. A process of collecting, photographing, archiving and selecting from found objects, results in art that speaks indirectly about the problems of the environment and also responds to an ancient and elemental engagement with the landscape.

The art is a direct response to objects found by chance and the significance they hold for the artist.

Researchers are examining pollution in our oceans and the impact on marine life, the food chain and fertility, it is one of the most pressing issues of today. Covering 72% of the Earth and supplying half its oxygen, the oceans are the planet's life support system and they are in danger. Mary Flynn communicates her concern through her work.

A cabinet of just some of the sorted rubbish Mary has collected over the years.

Coastline debris collected over five years shows a variety of objects washed ashore - as Mary says - The finds are material evidence of a dark future.

Having read through the catalogue of the show I have discovered a few horrifying facts - How long will our rubbish last at sea?
Paper towel 2 - 4 weeks
Newspaper 6 weeks
Cigarette filter - 1 - 50 years
Foamed plastic cup - 50 years
Tin can - 50 years
Aluminium can - 80 - 200 years 
and worst of all
Disposable nappies 450 years
 nylon monofilament/fishing line
600 years

The exhibition consisted of several large hangings constructed from detritus Mary has collected from the beaches around the Isle of Wight - mainly tarpaulins, plastic sheet and synthetic fabrics - these have been sorted into colours and stitched together.

Mary is looking for a permanent home for her her body of work, if you have any ideas or wish to contact this is the email address and Facebook link.

This is the Facebook link - more photos of the exhibit can be seen here. https://www.facebook.com/ShoreArchive?fref=ts


The other body of work that caught my eye was Precious Memories by Jo Beattie. Exquisitely simple and thought provoking. The outlines of the design are free machine embroidered onto polyester organza. The shapes are then cut out with a soldering iron. 

The shadows created by the work are beautiful.

There were various ways of displaying the smaller pieces of work - but this was my favourite - just between glass - again, simplicity itself.

There was so much to see at the show and I didn't have a lot of time to escape from the stand. I will be at the Dublin and Harrogate shows and will continue to report back. 


My next trip will be to Redditch next week to teach my ExTex courses - 
it is always the highlight of my month.

Watch this space.


Monday, 6 October 2014

Hot Textiles with the Malmesbury Embrodery Guild - 4th October

 Vilene Spunbond (Lutradur) with Bondaweb on the back, cut with a soldering iron, then ironed onto a background.

I teach a lot of workshops to a lot of Guilds, both Embroiderers and Quilters. Every now and then you come across a rather special group. Don't get me wrong, all groups are welcoming and great fun - but this group was FAB!
The Malmesbury Guild are one of three Embroiderers Guilds in Wiltshire. They are a  small group and as with all small groups they could do with some more members. If you live in the North of Wiltshire, I highly recommend you consider joining them. This is their blog - malmesburyembroiderers.blogspot.co.uk with contact details.

 Painting Bondaweb.

Hot Textiles is the first workshop I wrote after my book of the same title was published. I hadn't taught it for a while, then two or three bookings come along at once. It is the basic sampling workshop, teaching how to use heat tools safely - Soldering irons, heat guns and irons.
The workshop was held in Little Somerford village hall. There is plenty of room with a great kitchen.

The group hard at work.

We started the day with painting the Bondaweb and Tyvek and while that was drying with cracked on with applique shapes cut with a soldering iron. Bondaweb was ironed onto the back of Vilene Spunbond and then shapes were cut with a soldering iron. The shapes are then lifted off of the backing paper and ironed onto a background. You can achieve some quite complicated shapes with a soldering iron.

Cutting the shapes . . .

Layers of shapes ironed down.

 . . . . and more shapes . . .

 and more.

After a busy morning we had a delicious lunch. Usually everyone brings their own lunch and the group break into smaller groups to eat their lunch. Not so with the Malmesbury Guild. They all bring food to share and sit down together for a feast. It was lovely.

The group having lunch.

After lunch we got on with layering the Tyvek with polyester organza. This was then machine stitched together and then zapped with a heat gun to reveal different layers of colour.

All sorts of scrumptious textures can be achieved.

Then we got onto decorating the painted Bondaweb. We used the usual suspects - transfer foils, sequins, glitter and gilding flake.

It was a busy day but the group managed to get a lot done. They really were great fun.

One of the students on the workshop on Saturday - got up early yesterday and started to stitch into one of her samples - I do love keen students. It was so kind of Naomi to send this image. It is always good to know . . what happens next? 

I drove back to Brighton via Portsmouth as I didn't want to chance the M25. I dropped in on a 'certain gentleman from the Portsmouth area' and I was whisked out for dinner. It was a great treat, thank you kind sir!!! I don't get a lot of chance for a social life at this time of year with all the shows coming up so off the cuff dinners are special.

x x x

This week it is The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. It's a big show with soooooo much to see. It is now on for FIVE days - it starts on Wednesday. www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com

I am very excited to be doing the shows again -I miss all the hustle and bustle and it is a great opportunity to catch up with friends - most importantly my chum Laura Strutt who works with me on the Vilene stands.

Laura is great fun to work with, full of ideas and just a fabulous person to be around. We will both be on stand TGR3. Do come and say hello.

x x x

I have one more workshop left this year -
Reclaimed Papers at Art Van Go.

November 11th & 12th
2 day workshop
Reclaimed Papers
ART VAN GO, The Studios
1 Stevenage Road, Knebworth
Hertfordshire SG3 6AN

We will be working with all kinds of papers to create fainating surfaces that can be printed and stitched into - we could even make book covers and boxes if you fancy. Ironing the decorated, reclaimed papers onto Decovil interfacing will create fabulous firm surfaces to work with. There are 5 places left as of today. After the show - I doubt there will be any . . . .

 Decorated papers ironed onto Decovil 1 to make the paper firm enough for book covers.

Papers layered with painted Bondaweb and then stitched.

x x x

So my lovelies - I'm off to sort the last minute packing and posting of orders for nid-noi.com and then decide what I need to demonstrate with on the stand.
It's gong to be a great show! 
Whoooo hooo!

x x x