Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A Fourth Textile Postcard.

Once again I'm really pleased with myself. This is my fourth textile postcard with close ups.

This time I've used just backstitch, with  a tiny bit of running stitch. The reason I'm particularly pleased with it is because I developed the design from an object I saw in Vienna museum. I often take photos with the plan of using them for inspiration for textile work but never manage to achieve it. This was quite simple as I basically copied the design but I did adapt the birds and arrange the different elements in the way I wanted so all in all it's a small step forward for me.

This was the original object. He's quite small (about four inches high) and difficult to photograph because he was behind glass.

He is about 4000 years old and from Egypt. He's now in the Kunthistorisches Museum in Vienna and you  can read about him here if your German is better than mine.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Two More Textile Postcards

I'm really enjoying experimenting with postcard size pieces. I've completed two more and am working on another. Each one explores one particular technique or idea.

Number two is all about random stitches.

It took ages even though it's only postcard size.

The next one is made entirely from couching. I'm really pleased with this one as it's my own design and it came out well.

It might be upside down - not sure! I'm working on a fourth postcard now based on something I saw in the museum in Vienna - more later.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Textile Postcard - Black and White

I started a textile piece last week and although it went quite well to begin with it gradually got worse and worse until I abandoned it. I decided I needed a bit more time playing with techniques again before trying to create something whole so I'm going to work on some small 6" x 4" postcard size pieces with each one focusing on particular techniques.

The first one is a simple embroidery in black and white in the style of work by Penny Berens over at Tanglewood Threads.

I'm pleased with this even though there is nothing original about it. The idea is to practise techniques then start trying to find my own style again.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Rust Samples

I often read the website TextileArtist.Org and they recently published a post about making samples to explore textile art. Since I'm often dissatisfied with what I produce I thought I'd follow their advice and I must say it did help me find some new patterns I like and might use in the future. I chose to use some scraps of rust dyed cloth I had left over.

And some close ups.

The idea is that you limit yourself to a few materials and techniques and then play with them to try to achieve different outcomes. It's a really good way of experimenting and I should do more of it but I always have grand ideas so I probably won't!

A Cuckoo - spirit cloth

I often have an idea in mind and then somehow it doesn't end up looking anything like I planned. I imagine it's a bit like those birds who think they're sitting on their own eggs but then hatch a cuckoo. I've been looking at the work made by Jude Hill on her website and wanted to do something similar. This is what  I came up with.

I quite like it but it isn't at all how I imagined it. There are a few things that annoyed me right from the beginning. I love the patchwork effect inside the large circle, but I wish it had been upright and not on a slope. I also like a lot of the textures and patterns around the edge but they look a bit 'bitty' and I wish I'd linked them all together in some way. I do like the gold embroidery though so that's good.

A couple of close ups.

I guess I'll just have to keep practising.

Distant Stitch Embroidery Course - finish

I've finished the Distant Stitch online course that I referred to here. There's a separate blog about it here but I thought I'd just show the two final pieces.

I really enjoyed the course and learnt a lot about design. It's a pity I haven't got time to do a full City and Guilds course. Maybe one day,

If you want to look at the course you'll find it at Distant Stitch.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Shibori Dyeing Again

I wanted to do some Shibori style dyeing with the young people I work with so I had a quick practise at home. I'll have to give some thought to what I do with them. The ones we made at work were good too but I don't have photos.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Distant Stitch Textile Course

Last year I enrolled through my local adult education college on a textile course and was really disappointed when it was cancelled. Since then I've been looking at online courses and last week I started a short foundation module with Distant Stitch. It's in the style of a City and Guilds course but short, the idea being that you can use it as a taster to see how you get on with that kind of approach. I am really loving it because it explores the design aspect of textiles which I'm not very good at, being more of a 'grab a needle and go' girl.

I'm creating a 'proper' sketch book with experiments in and everything. The work is then uploaded to a blog for the tutor to see. I've already had some really helpful feedback from the tutor, Sian Martin. Here's a link to my blog, The Concrete Path.

And here's a page of my proper, grown-up textile sketch book.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Layers of Rust art quilt

I've been working on a small art quilt which is almost totally hand made with no machine stitching except for adding the binding. I'm really pleased with it.

I seem to be drawn to the idea of windows with different colours and textures peeping through. This piece was inspired by a wonderful photo I saw by photographer Janet Little Jeffers.

I'm not exactly sure what the picture is but I think it may be some kind of rust. As you can see, I've followed the pattern pretty closely. The original is here.

Now I look at the photo again, I'm wishing I'd built up the textures on my quilt a little more. I was impatient as usual and couldn't wait until I had exactly the material I wanted. I dyed an old tea towel to get the rust orange colour which worked well.  I used some pale blue printed cotton for the fabric on the right when really I wanted something a bit more grainy. Then I dyed some cotton for the dark blue when  I should have used something dark and shiny. You'd think I'd learn but once I decide to start I can't wait to buy material and have to use whatever's to hand.

The material I was most pleased with was the lighter orange on the top layer. I dyed a piece of cotton then used some acrylic paint and my new gelli plate to pattern it. I'm definitely going to experiment more with using the gelli plate to print on fabric.

The final piece measures 13" x 9.5" Here's a close up of the orange bit and the nice curly blue embroidery. I really like the gold thread I used too.

The blue swirls are actually just french knots but they're made round a little wooden knitting needle to make it them huge.

All in all I'm really pleased with this and it's made me want to do more hand quilting.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Mandala wall hanging

Finally finished my wall hanging mandala. Unfortunately it's proving very difficult to photograph. This is the best I can do.

It looks creased here but it isn't. The close ups look better. The close ups below start with the tree in the centre which is supposed to be some sort of tree of life. Then the five arches represent various elements of out world. From left to right they are the sea, the sky, the sun, the rain and the earth.

And the figures at the bottom represent the different types of life on earth; animals of the air, the water and the land.

The centre of the whole thing is based on traditional Buddhist mandalas. It looks a bit better in this picture.

I really enjoyed designing this but one thing I've learnt is how important the feel of a piece is. I normally work on a quilted background but this is flatter. To help it keep its shape I backed it with some fairly stiff interfacing and I have to say I really didn't enjoy the stiff feel as I worked. I think in future I will just back things with cotton. I don't like using an embroidery frame for the same reason; I like to feel the material.

I've recently put a few of the things I've made on etsy but I'm not really expecting to sell anything. I've noticed that unframed textiles don't tend to sell and I'm not that fussed so it's not worth framing them. It would be quite nice to sell one or two just to lighten the pile a bit and provide some funds for more materials!

Friday, 31 March 2017

Guest Zentangle Post

I recently introduced a friend to Zentangling and it was soon obvious that she had an amazing talent for it. Her name's Jenny. Here's a piece of Zentangle art which she produced after only a little bit of practice.

And here are a couple of closeups just to show you how good she is.

Jenny is thinking about writing a blog to show some more of her art. When she does I'll post a link.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Gillian Travis kit - Indian woman Carrying Pot

Just one picture today.

I bought a kit from Gillian Travis at the Knitting and Stitching show in London earlier in the month and I spent yesterday evening making it. I don't normally enjoy doing kits but this one was nice because you choose some of the material yourself and Gillian encourages people to personalise them. Also, it used the applique technique where you stick the pieces to paper and then iron them on which I've read about and wanted to have a go at. 

I was pleased with my choice of fabrics and with the overall effect although I wish I'd added some sequins and beads for the jewellery as the gold paint I used doesn't show up enough. I'm also quite pleased with my free motion quilting as it's not something I'm very good at but it looks OK here. Plus my corners aren't at all bad (but don't look at the back). 

Gillian's stall at the show was fantastic. There are pictures on her blog here

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Gelli plate fabric printing

One of the things I did at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show last week was take a workshop in Gelli printing on fabric. I can't work out who ran it as it wasn't the woman who was named on the programme but I'll try to find out.  The hour went really quickly and I could have stayed longer but it was nice to be able to have a play and see what other people were doing too.

I started experimenting on paper and then made four fabric prints. Here they are,

I like the way these have turned out and today I quilted one of them. It's only about five inches by seven but it's come out quite nicely. Here it is with some close ups of the quilting.

I've now bought my own gelli plate so I'll be doing some playing soon.