Since my last post (which only seems like 10 days ago) I have not stopped. Over a hot drink I decided to evaluate the supporting evidence of said busy-ness. Firstly, and with a smile on my face, I have to admit that I have been to France for a week. Why? I have been on Grammie duties with our 13 month grandson (our youngest – by 2 weeks!). He was a delight but then I’m a proud grandparent. On arrival back home I then had one week to prepare for our group’s annual textile exhibition (held 26 Aug). This means not only finding the resulting artefacts from the group’s various workshops but also actually completing them.
I know I’m not alone with having UFOs. In my case I manage to carve out special time for workshops then with the day finished I set my incomplete project aside promising myself to finish it but life just gets in the way! So still weighing up the evidence of my busy-ness I realised that in the last 6 weeks I had attended two workshops. Decisions, decisions….which to complete for the exhibition? Oh I nearly forgot each year the group has a challenge, this year it was butons….so I was also busy creating those.
Here is the evidence (you’ll have to imagine my very cute, happy, smiley, cuddly grandson though)….
My first workshop with Ailish Henderson (ailishhenderson.com) was titled ‘Stitched collage portraits’, with instructions to bring a photo of ourselves. I have never enjoyed being in front of the camera so that was the last thing I intended doing but instead took photos of our lovely 2.5yr old Raffles – a Cockerpoo, or as I like to say a Cockerpoopoo because his mum was a Cockerpoo and his dad a Poodle! But I digress.
It was suggested that we create a painting first then play with paper, fabric and other media to create a collage that we would then stitch to add the ‘character’.
Collage completed and stitching just commenced but sadly Raffles’ portrait remains a UFO.
Collectively there were some amazing pictures from our group.
My stitching buddy decided the portrait of Raffles was a good escape and decided to do her dog Izzy too. It is a great likeness….I’m sure Raffles recognised Izzy – his girlfriend!
I submitted both portraits anonymously as ‘Work in Progress’ to the exhibition….A visitor who knows our family later approached me and asked if that was Raffles in the exhibition….woohoo!
My second and latest workshop was with Justine Warner (Pearllovespaisley.co.uk). We were to create moorland layered landscapes, for which I had bought a card of a favourite local view just a few miles from home.
Justine clearly explained and demonstrated the process which was to use layers of recycled fabrics, yarns, scraps, threads etc to create our chosen landscape.
Justine is actually known as the ‘tie lady’ because she uses old ties in her pictures combined with many other fabrics (look closely and you can see the ties in her work above). Starting with a calico/cotton square approx 40 x 40 cm, strips (about 3cm) of torn or cut fabric are laid from the top down to replicate the furthest away layer – in most cases the sky.
Once the farthest layer is complete the idea is to continue forward tackling each layer in turn until the forground is reached. Each layer has multiples of fabrics and stitching, stitching and yet more stitching.
Rummaging through Justine’s huge stash of fabrics that were piled on the floor was certainly great fun.
With all the stitching and constant changing of threads I had only reached the base layer of the foreground by the end of the workshop. However having finally got the hang of the method I made a promise to myself to finish this piece.
But before then….sorting, packing, travelling and much cuddling was next on the agenda!
Home and back to my project (with only days to go) I continued stitching the sky and hills adding layer upon layer of different coloured lines.
I remembered that Justine had suggested every piece should have some ‘bling’, so using some glittery netting and sparkling fabric, that is just what I did to highlight the areas bathed in sunshine (not easy to photograph). I then used some felting wools to create the variegation in tree colours and machine embroidered over the top.
With the trees complete the barn was the next, but to make sure I got the perspective right I scanned the original card and increased the size to match my picture then traced the barn and overlayed it.
But this threw up a dilemma – it seemed too dominant….so do I ignore the literal and use artistic license? After a lot of humming and harring……YES. Following this decision I simply concentrated on creating the small stone barn by staining some grey/white textured fabric with tea (Yorkshire Tea of course!) and appliqueing it with glue (stitching would be too much) to the scene.
Then it was on to the foreground to try and create a sense of depth using colour (different fabrics are trapped under netting), machine stitching and finally hand stitching.
My interpretation of the Swaledale picture – I am pleased with the finished result but it took maaaannnny hours to complete. I think Justine might argue that I had been too literal and could afford to make it less precise, but that is the perfectionist in me!
Yes, it made it to the exhibition (just) complete with temporary hanging device….Pheu!….but our dining room had fabric scraps, threads, wools, yarns etc absolutely everywhere!!!! EPH (Ever Patient Husband) was definitely that, fortunately he’s artistic too, so understands!
My picture in it’s raw cut state 40x40cm awaiting framing. On the left photographed during a bright day indoors with artificial light, on the right actually outside in the daylight (on the same background! Can anyone guide me to a better colour rendition solution?), similarly below. Although the mount is totally the wrong size it shows how it enhances the picture.
So I have evidenced my ‘busy-ness’ to you all – what have you achieved recently?