I’ve just taken part in my first show after two years of Covid restrictions and it felt great to be back to normal! The event was the British Quilt & Stitch Village, an annual 3 day textile show held at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire.
It was my first time exhibiting at Uttoxeter and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would visitor numbers be low? Most ladies attending shows like this are of a certain age (me included!) and I know some still have concerns about mixing in large groups. This is predominantly a quilt show, would there be enough interest in feltmaking or would the majority walk straight passed? I was manning my stall alone…. would the neighbouring stall holders be too busy to relieve me when I needed a loo break? I needn’t have worried, when the doors opened at 10am the visitors flooded in and it turned out to be three very “full on” days! These are a few of the items I had on show……
My pitch was next to Project Linus, a charitable organisation that provides quilts and blankets for children in need. Their aims are to “Provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.” And to “provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children.”
Project Linus always attracts a lot of interest and the two lovely ladies on that stand were swamped with visitors for the three days! Somehow they still managed to cover for me when I needed a comfort break which was really appreciated!
I didn’t get much chance to visit other stands but when Jane (Wylde Oak Artistry) came over to say hello and told me she was working with Spun-bond fabrics I had to go see her work. I loved her masks and corsets, made on the theme of body dysmorphia, and came away feeling that there is so much more I could be doing with Lutradur!
Another stand I particularly enjoyed was “Traverse”, a group of exhibiting textile and mixed media artists. Apologies for not getting close ups of their work…….it’s worth following the link and taking a look at their website.
It’s a great show, spread over three large halls as well as various other smaller buildings. Most of the photos I took were prior to opening but as you will see from the last three, we really did get visitors! Roll on Quilt & Stitch Village 2023!
I declare throwback Tuesday. I seem to have run out of time this week so I thought you might like to see this post from 2017. Jan posted some pictures in our guild group and it reminded me and I thought it was worth another look. I hope it and the links to the other 2 posts about it will give you lots of inspiration for your own work.
Line Dufour has been a practicing textile artist and tapestry weaver for the last 35 years. She is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art in Toronto Ontario and has always had her own studio. She taught weaving to adults for about twenty years, while at the same time doing art/craft shows and exhibitions. She is currently retired from teaching but continues her studio practice. At the moment, Line does not have a gallery that represents her, and if someone wants to purchase one of her pieces they contact her through her website or social media or other channels. Line’s website www.linedufour.com. You can find her cv on there as well. She is currently enrolled at the University of Gloucestershire in the UK and working on obtaining her Master’s in Creative Writing and Critical Thinking.
And now the project
Fundacion Pablo Achtugarry, Punta del Este, Uruguay 2017
Fate, Destiny and Self Determination  Le Sort, Destin, et l’auto-determination  Suerte, Destino y Auto-determinación  Los, Przeznaczenie i Wola  Das Schicksal, das Geschick und das Selbstbestimmungsrecht
 운명, 숙명 그리고 자기가 결정한 팔자. 팔자  Usud, sudbina i samoodređenje  Sorte,Destino,Auto Determinação  Öde, mål och självbestämmande  Fato, Destino e Autodeterminazione
Written by Line Dufour.
Fate is defined as a force, energy, principle, element or power that prescribes to each person a set of limits, boundaries and confines. In Islam it is called Kismet. The Greeks called Fate, Moira. Greek Mythology speaks of the three Fates: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos who supposedly controlled each person’s fate. The youngest, Clotho, is a spinner and she determines the time of birth and spins the thread of life on her distaff. Lachesis measures the length of the thread to determine the length of one’s life; the time of death is decided by Atropos, who cuts the thread. Inherent in the idea of Fate, is that one has no influence over events and outcomes. Mythology and psychology distinguish between Fate and Destiny. Destiny is considered an expanding field of possibilities alluding to our potential to influence our Fate. This makes Destiny kinetic. “The lives we construct are an inextricably woven fabric of influences, possibilities and accumulated consequences of choices made.” (James Hollis)
The development of the COVID-19 has made all of us more aware of the impact of isolation on our well being. This sense of isolation forms the underpinnings of this installation launched in 2016. Fate, Destiny and Self Determination was created as social media driven initiative to reduce the isolation artists experienced in their artistic process through co-creating the installation, providing planned hands-on events and gathering them together to exhibit their collective efforts. Inclusiveness is the weft that weaves the installation together.
Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination is composed of three sections. The main tapestry woven panel (on the left) was created by Line Dufour, referencing the contemporary practice of tapestry where artist and weaver are one. The second panel on the right, was woven by visiting participants ranging from the inexperienced and amateur to the professional. This referenced traditional tapestry conventions in that many weavers work(ed) on the tapestry at the same time or at various stages and did not contribute to creating the tapestry designs.
The final section is composed of irregular shapes positioned at varying heights, between the 2 main panels, floating freely in space, as though the tapestry is pulling apart or coming together. As each shape arrives, Dufour photographs/documents it, posts it to the Facebook page for the project https://www.facebook.com/Fate-Destiny-and-Self-Determination-An-international-tapestry-project-194385150700425 as well as on Instagram@tapestryline and Twitter@tapestry_line. She also includes information about the participants such as their website if they have one, and other comments they have made about the project or about their work and/or life. Thus far, 864 shapes have been received from 43 countries, and a total of about 519 people have participated. The installation continues to expand as it accepts shapes on an ongoing basis. Part of the exhibition includes a list of all participant names. If a label cannot be displayed in the gallery, a QR code label is available so that the gallery viewer can access the web page with the names of all participants.
Each time Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination is installed the shapes are never placed in the same positions, making it interactive and spontaneous, and permits the curator(s) to be part of its creation. Conversely, the curator could also invite the gallery guest to position shapes on the wall between the two panels, having them re-create the installation.
The installation welcomes invitations to be exhibited around the world, and to that effect has been exhibited in the following venues:
Craft Ontario in Toronto, Canada
The Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The Doyle and Margaret Hartman Gallery, Regis University, Denver, Colorado USA
Craft Council of British Columbia, Canada
The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles as part of the American Tapestry Alliance Biennial 11
Guan Shan Yue Art Museum, Shenzen, China. 9th From Lausanne To Beijing
The Centre D’Action Culturelle de la MLC de Papineau in Québec
World Textile Art Biennial at the Fundacion Pablo Achtugarry in Punta del Este Uruguay
World of Threads, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Rosccommon County Council, Roscommon Ireland
Tuchmacher Museum, Bramsche, Germany
Tuch & Technik Textilmuseum, Neumunster, Germany
Anyone who wishes to do so, can create a shape using a textile/fibre related technique (tapestry, rug, weaving, felt, basketry, etc) or create a piece that references textiles with whatever materials they like. Any hue from the colour wheel is suggested. You can use more than one colour. There is no minimum or maximum size, but the average size is 10cm (4”) . There is no maximum on the number of pieces you can submit. A person can also weave (create) a shape of their country, state or province or any shape except not a square or rectangle. You can look at the Instagram @tapestryline page for the project to see how other people have created their shapes.
I’ve just taken down my work from a Made in Whitstable group exhibition at a local arts centre gallery so thought I’d tell you about the felt pieces I had in the exhibition.
Made in Whitstable is a loose affiliation of artists and makers who have a close connection to the town, on the coast in SE England.
With a diverse artistic group it’s not always easy to find a title that everyone is comfortable with. ‘Connections’ seemed to offer enough room for people to work with in their various styles and mediums.
This exhibition was postponed from Easter 2020 so it was great finally to get some work out there, and to catch up (albeit at a distance and in a mask) with people I haven’t seen for a long time.
As I’ve described in previous blogs, this year I’ve been learning from online workshops. I’ve long been interested in both seed heads and shells and these have both continued to feature in my recent work. Reflecting on this, I realise they are all forms of natural protective cases and although it’s not a snappy title, I decided it was a good ‘connections’ theme for me.
This is a picture I made specifically for the exhibition.
These photos show the oyster shells laid out, prefelt shells in a single sheet, then cut up and laid onto a background of white Norwegian batt (lower half) and tan Perendale batt (top half). There’s a recycled silk scarf laid over the tan batt layers to give the impression of a pebbled beach in the distance.
Layout for the turnstone, using a combination of merino wool and prefelt; fully felted turnstone and a trial with two birds. I decided to go for just one. I needle felted the turnstone into place then added the eye, beak, legs and a few feather details
I also made some smaller pictures along the shell & seed pod theme
Top left: mussel shell with recycled silk sea, cotton scrim wave foam and prefelt pebbles
Top right: Oyster shell with mixed wool and yarns and fabric barnacles on a recycled silk background
Bottom left: pink shell on a recycled silk beach with cotton scrim wave foam and mixed wool and silk fibre sea
Bottom centre: paper felt shell on recycled silk background
Bottom right: Corriedale, silk and yarn background with multiple-resist circles, hand stitching and a sycamore key
I also had various 3D shapes in the exhibition.
Left – based on a eucalyptus seed pod. I made this in a wonderful workshop by Gladys Paulus in November 2019. I covered that workshop in my first blog for the Felting and Fiber Forum. Various wool batts and mohair locks.
Top right – conker made in two parts (using the stem technique I learned from Gladys). Outer made from Perendale and Norwegian batts, inner is merino wool tops
Bottom right – based on a hazelnut, also made soon after Gladys’s workshop.
Here’s a poppy seed head I made this year after Fiona Duthie’s Fibre + Paper workshop. Mulberry paper is felted into the felt surface. The paper adds structure, folds and pleats well and can be drawn on / painted. I painted this with watercolours. I had to make the top separately so stitched it on. A local craftsman made the base; the pod is held on a piece of dowel attached to the base.
This nigella seed pod is also paper felt but made side-on with pre-felted ropes and thicker wool sections (not prefelted) to allow variable shrinkage (learned from Soosie Jobson). I had a reclaimed jarrah wood and dowel stand made for this.
And finally, I included a few plant holders and some earrings.
Here’s my display area – I did put the cards (bottom right) on a small table!
There were lots of good exhibitors. Here’s a small selection: top left fused glass by Irene Southon; middle left acrylics by Josephine Harvatt; bottom left watercolours by Sarah Louise Dunn showing local sites commissioned by Whitstable Museum to illustrate a map of the town; right, prints by Linda Karlsen. Work by Irene, Josephine, Sarah and Linda (Wearartworks) can all be found on social media like Instagram and Facebook. They and other exhibitors can also be found on Made in Whitstable’s Facebook and Instagram.
The footfall was rather disappointing and I would guess that sales were down on previous years, but it was really good to get some work out on show and to see what other people had been creating.
This is a guest post from Ann B. Thanks for the post, Ann!
After reading Karen’s post on how she found her inspiration for her entry for the International Feltmakers Association proposed online Exhibition, I was encouraged to have a crack at it.
I had found it extremely difficult to find inspiration from the theme of their previous exhibition, which was “Kaleidoscope”. I have a very literal mind and could not think of how to portray that idea – I don’t/can’t do non-representational, but I must try to think “outside the box”.
At first I found it impossible to think what to do. First I looked up “reconnect” in a good dictionary – the Cambridge dictionary said:
1. “to join or be joined with something else again after becoming separated”
2. “to improve a relationship that has become less good or less close”
3. “to make you feel or understand something that you had stopped feeling or understanding”
4. “to create a relationship with someone again after a period of time”
as well as the obvious of reconnecting a disconnected phone call or internet link.
How on earth was I going to depict any of that? Initial thoughts ran along the lines of the connecting stitches in garment construction, and the more obvious stitches connecting inserted lace and tapes and how to use this in a felted piece. All this was going round in my head, when I happened to notice one of my husband’s photographs of the Scissor Arch holding up the tower in Wells Cathedral pop up on my laptop screen saver and this brought my attention to connections with the past and the future.
I started to mull over the idea of a piece of felt with the scissor arch as cut open channels on a piece of felt, which were then sewn together again, i.e. reconnected.
I cropped the image and printed a grey scale picture so that I could more easily gauge the colour values, and I subsequently decided to stick with the grey scale as it seemed to add to the drama of the image.
I then made a tracing of the main features, leaving out a lot of the detailed glimpses of the crucifix, the Jesse Window, the organ and the vaulted ceilings behind the arches. I used this to plan the piece: what prefelts I would need; what resists I would use; the order of placing resists and layers of prefelts. I wanted to start dark and come forward into the light, so that the arch itself would be white. I decided originally that there would be a minor variation from the greyscale palette – I would use the fact that the vaulting of the ceilings was picked out in gold paint and I added pale yellow to the list of prefelts.
This picture shows the prefelts I made, but in the end I did not use the mid grey, nor the yellow.
I made a couple of photocopies of the tracing so that I could cut out templates for the resists and the prefelts, and then I cut them out. I made a “crib sheet” setting out the order in which I needed to work – I have been known to forget what I was supposed to be doing halfway through a project, and I didn’t want to do that this time. I have not attached a copy of this as you probably wouldn’t be able to read my scrawl.
This picture shows the resists and templates after use. In fact there should be a resist in the shape of the little curly topped bit shown centre bottom. Unfortunately it’s still in the piece somewhere I couldn’t find it so left well alone. It was supposed to reveal the white base of the picture being lit from the Jesse Window shining through above the organ.
Once I had finished the initial fulling, I cut out the resists, (those that I could find) the resist for the scissors was cut at the cross so that I could pull it all the way out, as I did not want to cut the channel just above the cross. The top of the arch and the lower “legs” section I did cut all the way so that the darkest grey would show behind the white. I then inserted a piece of metallic grey fibre inside the top channel so that when the stitching reconnected the cut edges it would resemble the slashed and pinked work in Tudor costumes. I then finished the fulling, sealing the cut edges. I then set it to dry, but unfortunately I did not pay sufficient attention to where I laid it to dry as it has a distinct lean to one side at the top, and I didn’t notice this until I came to photograph the finished piece.
Although I had abandoned the idea of adding the pale yellow prefelt inside the top of the scissors arch to try to echo the gold paint on the arches there, I decided to pick out the nearer arches in gold thread and used a back stitch. I decided to stick with gold as the only colour in the picture and reconnected the cut channels with two goldwork yarns using sorbello stitch, which is an embroidery stitch used for insertion work. Using some silk yarn which I had hand dyed variegated grey many moons ago, I emphasized the edges of the scissor legs and the circles connecting them to the walls of the cathedral.
Having abandoned the yellow prefelt, I wondered what I should do with the blank space that left me with. I’m not sure why I decided to add the masked face instead. It just seemed the thing to do as we have to wear the things so often at the moment.
By this time, I was heartily sick of the piece anyway, so I took the required photographs, filled in the application form and sent it all off; and lo and behold I eventually received an email confirming that it had been accepted for the Exhibition.
This is the finished piece and the close-up of the Sorbello stitched lower arch.
This is the link to the Exhibition on the IFA’s website . If you click on an image it takes you first to the part of the submission form with a description of inspiration etc, and then to more photos of the work. If you click on those images you can see the complete photograph – in some cases they had to be cropped to thumbnails for the general exhibition page.
The second piece is a fallen tree branch with fungus and lichen. My ideas is that as one thing dies (the branch) it gives life to others (fungi etc). This will tie in with the sprouting seed pod (a new tree) and maybe I’ll add a couple of other things too, yet to be decided.
Wondering where to start with the texture I take myself off to the local park to look at different types of bark.
I am particularly taken with these very ridged examples and wonder how I’d go about creating that texture in wet felt. I happen to have some off-cuts from the seed pod on my work table – a piece of fabric, probably linen, I found in a charity shop and felted – so I decide to see what it looks like if I lay those under some new felt. Keen to do things properly (and not waste time) I make a sample.
I am still experimenting with using wool batts from different breeds of sheep (rather than merino tops) so put together natural brown and grey Shetland and Finnish wools plus a little dyed green Perendale including a couple of bits of prefelt. You can just see the ridges when felted but I want more so try cutting into the surface. I really like that effect.
I try out some pieces of a (charity shop) hand dyed silk scarf for lichen and like those too so decide to get on with making the log.
I make a sheet of nuno felt using the recycled fabric which I cut into uneven strips.
Using a large rectangular resist I lay out 3 layers of wool on each side, wet it down, and add the felted linen strips on one side in what I hope is a bark-ish pattern.
I cover these with two more layers of mixed brown and grey wool then add the surface decoration including prefelted discs for fungus and some marbles under the largest green section.
I would normally lay out the whole thing before starting to felt but there is a lot going on by now that I don’t want to disturb by flipping it over so I start working the first side to try to get it stable before finishing the second side layout.
On the second side I add yarn, locks, nepps, slubs, silk noil, nuno prefelt, pieces from a striped charity shop silk scarf….I am really starting to enjoy this. It’s a good job there isn’t a kitchen sink nearby as I might throw that in too. I’m thinking that as the log will be lying down, this will be the under side so it doesn’t matter if I don’t like everything. I could even cut bits out.
It takes quite a long time to rub and full this woolly smorgasbord, working hard into all the grooves. As I finish working it I decide it looks better standing up and so the log becomes a tree stump.
In the end I decide not to cut into the surface as there is plenty of texture and I also leave the marbles in as I like the green knobbly bits (visible in top picture).
What next? I’ve been mulling over how the pieces will be displayed together and decide to make a flat piece of ‘woodland floor’ felt for them to stand on. I start with a piece of mixed leafy-coloured prefelt.
I cut the prefelt into rough leaf shapes and lay them on some layers of brown wool. I can’t resist adding a little bit of 3D so felt some thick green rope to look like new shoots emerging from the ground.
Finally I make an autumn leaf to highlight the annual cycle of a tree’s dying and renewal.
Here’s the final piece. Have I captured the idea of life cycles?
And yes, Lifecycles has now been accepted into the exhibition so will be on display at Beach Creative in Herne Bay from 20 March to 2 April as part of the 3 gallery exhibition ‘Map’. If you’re in the Whitstable, Faversham, Herne Bay area do pop along to the Fishslab, Creek Creative and/or Beach Creative Galleries and check out how other people have responded to the Map challenge (dates vary slightly). I know some of my friends have fabulous work in the exhibitions so I think they will be hugely varied and interesting shows
This may seem like a rather philosophical title for a textile blog but please bear with me, I wanted to share a new direction and body of work with you.
These thoughts and ideas have been slowly percolating through the recesses of my mind for about 20 years, since a fairly heated debate with a psychology teacher on whether humans are the only animals who possess cognitive abilities (perception, attention, memory, motor skills, language/communication and visual/spatial processing). She quite vehemently argued that only humans possess all of these skills, I was a veterinary nurse at the time and forcefully argued the opposite, taking it further and arguing that animals also feel emotions too.
This debate was recalled during a trip to India in January 2018 and a visit to a Jain temple. The Jains have an intriguing philosophy and what struck me most about the monks was the extreme lengths they go to in order to preserve and protect all life, they believe every animal is sentient and as such, must not be harmed by their actions (either directly or indirectly). Their vows of non-violence make them the ultimate pacifists, a stance which I thoroughly admire but have to admit, have no hope of ever attaining. They are strict vegetarians and do not eat after sunset for fear of accidentally eating an insect on their food, and the monks pluck out all their head hair rather than shaving it so as not to harm any lice that might be residing there.
While sentience is essentially another word for consciousness and it is relatively easy to argue that most animals, even the smallest, are “conscious” on at least some level, even if it is just awareness of food sources and potential mates. The idea that all creatures are sentient rekindled my thoughts about the cognitive processes and expression of emotions in animals.
I knew I wanted to explore this idea from a creative perspective but was unsure where to start. Researching colour theory revealed a wealth of information about our emotional responses to different colours and this led me to play a game of “abstract word-association”; starting with a one or two words that described an emotion I worked on small squares of water colour paper, trying to express that emotion with just colour and mark making, these are some of the results:
These little sketches were surprisingly cathartic to make, if you or someone you know is going through a challenging time and finding it difficult to talk about how they are feeling, asking them to illustrate, in an abstract way, a series of emotions (both positive and negative) from a list of words may be helpful.
Taking Gladys Paulus’ mask workshop earlier this year has given this topic, and my approach to it, a whole new lease of life, no longer confined to 2D work I have been having a ball making various animal sculptures, each expressing their own emotion. As each new personality takes shape on my work bench I am finding myself creating whole backstories for them.
I am thrilled to introduce you to 2 new, very special friends:
While the king of the beasts has a fearsome reputation, Lionel is really a very gentle, affable soul who likes nothing more than a good chortle at the ridiculous things humans do.
She isn’t quite finished, but will be a wall-mounted sculpture like Lionel when she is.
Margo is an old soul in a young body, she takes offence at almost everything and wears a permanent look of indignation on her face. She believes her purple spots are a sign that she is descended from aristocracy and therefore everyone is beneath her; if anyone is going to look down their nose at you, it should be the tallest of the beasts!
These two sculptures (and hopefully one or two more if can finish them in time) will be on display at the Art Box exhibition, at Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking RH5 6AA, UK, between September 23rd and 29th. If you are in the area please pop in and say hello, it is a beautiful place to visit and entry to the exhibition (with artworks in a range of media from 8 independent artists) is free.
Which animal and emotion would you like to see paired together?
Do you think I am anthropomorphising (applying human characteristics) the animal kingdom, or do you agree, animals do feel and express emotions, and perhaps some humans are too ignorant to understand when the animals around us try to communicate these emotions?
I completed my course of Level 3 Studies in Art & Design at the Gail Harker Center for Creative Arts in March. Our class had an exhibit and I wanted to show you a portion of the exhibit. These photos included my work as well as work of my classmates with their permission. Hopefully, all of the photos are in the right orientation, sorry to my classmates if I made any errors.
Here we are after receiving our diplomas. From left to right, Ellen, Ruth, JP, Tesi and Gail.
Here is the new center in downtown La Conner, Washington. Our class had the first exhibit in this space.
Here is the set up of the entire space. We were just finishing up hanging all the artwork and getting everything cleaned up.
These are shots of one of the walls in the back where we had a variety of work hung and includes work from Ellen, Tesi and myself. It was a really interesting process in figuring out what worked together and how to hang pieces as a group.
And if you’d like, you can watch this video of my work as it hung in the show. There is no commentary and shows most of the same artwork that you have already seen in the slideshow. But it does give an all around view of the carved books. The last part of the video shows that back wall where there is a mix of work by Ellen, Tesi and me.
I hope you enjoyed a look into our exhibit. It was two and half years of hard work but I thoroughly enjoyed the class. I have no connection to Gail Harker other than having taken her classes but I would highly recommend any of her courses. They are well worth the investment and I have seen my artwork improve immensely since taking her courses. So if you’re anywhere close to Washington state in the US, check out her link at the top of this post for classes beginning soon.