Friday, 31 May 2013

If I Had Wings

The inspiration for this Three Dimensional embroidery was from the Preface to Cromwell by Victor Hugo

On the day when Christianity said to man: “Thou art twofold, thou art made up of two beings, one perishable, the other immortal, one carnal, the other ethereal, one enslaved by appetites, cravings and passions, the other borne aloft on the wings of enthusiasm and reverie—in a word, the one always stooping toward the earth, its mother, the other always darting up toward heaven, its fatherland”—on that day the drama was created. Is it, in truth, anything other than that contrast of every day, that struggle of every moment, between two opposing principles which are ever face to face in life, and which dispute possession of man from the cradle to the tomb?

Therefore "If I Had Wings" was born with birds breaking free form the earth and soaring above.

These are a few pages from my sketchbook

These are ideas which didn't make it in the final piece but that is the fun of starting a new project. 
The shape also developed organically as I cut the sections and re-pieced them.
It is another piece which is in need of some TLC. I sent it to an exhibition and it came back in a slightly different shape to the one sent. 
However it has made me take another look at my sketchbook and I am falling in love again with the torn paper shapes on the second image.  I can see the dissolvable fabrics coming out and some machine stitching.


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Bit Bags

One of the great things about being an embroiderer is finding a use for all those little pieces which would usually be thrown away. I have a plastic bag taped to the table for all the off cuts and bits produced, fabric and threads.

I bonded the bits to a background and then free stitched them in place to produce a unique fabric

I cut the fabric into smaller pieces and applied them to various backgrounds to explore fabric distortion.

On a felt background
felt background
felt background and using circles
handmade felt
corded velvet
spiral on felt
the spiral cut out from the one above on velvet
I have also used the fabric for the bodice and shoes of my snooty doll. I call her my snooty doll as I accidentally put her head on upside down, and she has an upturned nose.

She really could do with a better name and I am open to suggestions.


Sunday, 26 May 2013

Thinking Time

This week I have been thinking, preparing, designing, more thinking, and a bit of sampling. 
I have mentioned the working title of the piece I am thinking about in earlier posts.

Bluebells and Blossoms

Will it be a quilt, or an embroidery? I still don't know. 
This planning stage is always what takes me the longest time. 

I have tray dyed some fabric which I think will make the background to the piece. I think I will dye some darker browns and greens this week. 

I love how unpredictable this way of dyeing is. The results can be very dramatic.

I am starting to think about the background and how I will piece the sections. 

When I have a few more blocks constructed I will have a play on my design wall to create the background for the appliqué and embroidery.

Happy Bank Holiday


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

An Early Start.

It is Chelsea Flower Show this week and maybe watching it last night put the thought of a small embroidery into my mind.
I woke early and made a start on what will be a 'Hot Border' 
 I want to overlap the flowers and build depth into it. 
So far I have used bullion knots, detached chain (lazy daisy) and straight stitches. 
The fabric is an old skirt which has been space dyed.


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Bluebells, Blossom and Christmas

After a lovely afternoon at the Embroiderers' Guild today the sun arrived,  giving me the opportunity to photograph the bluebells which have appeared in the garden. I am working on a quilt design which has the working title of Bluebells and Blossom, so their appearance is wonderful. There are only two stems this year but I hope they will spread in coming years.

The blossom is from the apple trees. Slightly late to get photos but they have been covered unlike the pear which has had no blossom at all this year. 

We had a lovely cream tea of scones, cream and strawberry jam and strawberries which made me think of my strawberry planters.  Again there are lots of flowers which are starting to set.

A little while ago, Gillian Barnett of Chiltern beads came to the branch, where she led a wonderful workshop for us making bead necklaces. 
This is one of her kits that I won in the raffle this afternoon.

 Full of everything needed to make this Christmas tree decoration, Needle, thread and beads.

As Christmas is galloping towards us I thought it was a good project for this evening. 

My finished Christmas Tree decoration. A lovely way to spend the evening.


Friday, 17 May 2013

Fun with Ironing

A photo blog today.
Ironing is not my favourite past time but I've just had a great hour with disperse dyed papers creating some fabrics for a workshop idea that is currently in my head.

Have a good weekend

I have been asked how I did them so for those who are interested.
Papers were painted with the disperse dyes.
Poly cotton fabric scrunched and folded ( use baking parchment or greaseproof paper sandwich  to prevent dye transferring to your iron or board)
painted paper, when dry placed painted side down onto the fabric. Greaseproof on top and dry iron to transfer the dye.
Unscrunch, rescrunch and repeat with another coloured paper until you get the effect you want.

Have fun


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

More Log Cabin

This is such a great block for experimenting with different centre shapes and strip widths.

A irregular trapezium set in the centre with strips of different widths.

An irregular trapezium off set from the centre with strips of different widths  and strips made from strips.

Using a hexagon in the centre was challenging.  Even though I had drawn out on isometric paper what pattern I wanted, I became lost when stitching. This is the importance of sampling for me. 

Partial seams helped to even the pattern up but there is still rotation going on.

Adding strips to alternate sides meant that I started to loose the hexagon shape and needed to trim and adjust to get it back

There is no rotation and I don't need to partial seam any side. 
There is much more to explore and I feel that I have only just scratched the surface of this block.


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Dawn Fisherman in need of TLC

 When you send things off to exhibition or use them as demonstration pieces it is difficult to know what will happen to them. Over the years I have had embroideries hung inside out ( a lamp shade)  and upside-down. 

I try to be not too precious about my work but would still like them to last a few years!. 
I have recently looked at a piece I have taken to talks - Dawn Fisherman. If it is to last a little longer it is time for a bit of TLC and a makeover.

It is made from white silk dupion and so frays like mad. It is also badly creased and some of the pleating needs attention. Luckily there is no staining of marks on it so no cleaning is required.

This is a version in a biscuit coloured silk dupion which hangs on my staircase. It is behind glass - sorry for the glare.
There is smocking, pleating, tucking scrunching and quilting. Lots of texture 

Although there is a window on the staircase it is out of direct light and so has fared much better.

Now to get started on it's twin. 

Happy stitching


Sunday, 12 May 2013

A Mixed Bag of a Day

First thing this morning the weather was lovely and we took the opportunity of digging out an area of the garden for some fruit trees. Happily Scrappy put in an appearance, I had been getting worried as he has been noticeable by his absence the  last few days. I had thought that he had been pushed off his patch by a rather handsome alpha male blackbird who has been hanging around. 
He came to help us clear the area of unwanted worms and even dived into the rubbish bin in search of grubs.
After a morning of extreme digging where my husband broke his garden fork, the weather broke and it was time to head indoors.

I took the opportunity of a wet afternoon,  to finish a couple of texture projects for my sketchbooks. On Thursday the hand embroidery group had a fun morning using lots of different texture making materials. 

Using this small stamping block I decided to make some fish shaped buttons from paperclay.
I made two holes whilst the paperclay was still soft and tried to cut the shape out, some more successfully than others. 
The moulding detail is also variable, although it is only evident after painting.

I painted them with acrylics and used metallic rub-on's to highlight the design.

This one is my favourite. I used a very dark blue acrylic and a silver metallic rub to highlight.

I have also done some more experimenting with Tyvek. Painting the sheet with Berol meltdown in copper before ironing from different sides. 

From the top left going clockwise.
1. Painted side upwards towards the iron created these lovely hollows.
2. Painted side down away from the iron and there is a pebble effect.
3 & 4. These pieces have been exposed to heat from the iron on both sides giving a more crumpled texture.

Happy stitching