This is post of links to interesting and or useful sites around the web.
This is post of links to interesting and or useful sites around the web.
Happy New Year!
I have my fingers, legs and toes crossed that, at some point later this year, we might actually be in the position of being able to safely congregate once more in large groups. Zoom has been, and continues to be, a great way of keeping in touch with family and friends but it’s also proving invaluable for many creative groups allowing us to carry on meeting, have our regular show and tell, exchange ideas and generally stay together.
Another creative positive from last year was online shows and exhibitions. Ok it’s certainly not the same as actually being there but it has allowed artists an outlet for their creativity and, in turn, provided inspiration for those of us who have visited, albeit virtually. In some cases it may be that, having seen a body of work online, we might be all the more likely to make the effort to travel to see it in the flesh once things return to normal. For me, the most inspiring work I saw online last year was the Hinterland collection created in 2017 by Gladys Paulus and featured in the 2020 video Hinterland by Gladys Paulus – a film by Chris Chapman. Gladys’s work is incredibly skilful in its design and execution and I’ve been in awe of this body of work since it was first made public but not had the chance to see it on display. With this film we are privileged to not only see but also hear the story behind this collection, as narrated by the artist. This takes the viewers experience to another level. Its a very personal and very moving story, if you haven’t already seen this film please take a look.
Another “positive” that some of us were able to take from last year was a “reconnect” with nature. Prior to lockdown my morning routine with Maddie was a short walk to the local park where I would throw her ball for half an hour while chatting to other dog walkers. On days when I was working this would sometimes feel rushed and I would be constantly clock watching to ensure I wasn’t making myself late.
Lockdown meant my days had no time constraints, it was also no longer socially acceptable to stand around in groups in the park chatting, and the government were encouraging us all to get fit……Maddie was about to discover doggy heaven! The lengthy weekend walks, anything from one to two hours across the fields and through the woods, now became our daily routine. When we return to work I’m going to have to set my alarm a lot earlier as this is one routine I’m not prepared to give up!
Country walks are always a great source of creative inspiration and, if you’re like me, you’ve got hundreds of photos saved “just incase”! Someday you might get around to starting that felted/textile project on weeds, lichen, frozen puddles, frozen leaves, dried leaves, tree bark, tree skeletons, fungi, seaweed, stones, bracken, insects……..the list goes on!
One thing I hadn’t particularly noticed, and hadn’t deliberately photographed, prior to last April was shadows. I’d not given them a thought in the past but with time on my hands, and what seemed like never ending sunshine, I found myself noticing them. The most interesting were on a tree lined stretch of the Viking Way. I’d walked this path hundreds of times before but only now was I seeing these wonderful lacy patterns and thinking they could be the starting point for an abstract wet felted Wallhanging.
I didn’t sketch or design my layout or colour scheme, it simply started out as a white Merino background with clouds of pale Viscose. Several layers of “shadows” were built up randomly on top, the first was green Viscose, the others Merino. After felting I added detail with free motion stitch and lots of Colonial Knots – my favourite hand stitch! The addition of texture started to move the piece away from “shadows” more towards bark/fungi but I was happy with that as it was keeping the tree connection. The finished piece is approx 42cm x 58cm.
Due to ongoing restrictions the International Feltmakers are holding a virtual AGM on 27th March and to coincide with that they will be launching their second online exhibition of members work. This years exhibition title is ReConnect and any work submitted has to be less than a year old. I’ve chosen this piece as my submission as its creation back in June was sparked at a time when a lot of us were reconnecting with the natural world, taking the time to notice things that have always been there but which we may have previously overlooked. It’s world’s away from the imagination and expertise of Gladys but we all need someone or something to aspire to…..fingers crossed it gets selected!
I wonder which feltmaker/textile artist you find particularly inspiring?
I am super busy getting ready for our last farmers market of the year. We sold so many meat pies I will be frantically trying to make as many as possible for this Saturday. I thought you might like this fingerless mitts post I did a few years ago.
I decided I want to sell some fingerless mitts this fall. Or maybe they are gauntlets or wrist warmers? Does anyone know what the difference is?
First I have to make a pair of resists. I traced my arm from knuckles to almost my elbow. then measured around my arm to see how much I had to add for depth. then I figured on 30% shrinkage.
Naturally, I picked purple wool. I used about 60 grams for the pair. mostly because that is what was in the ball of wool I grabbed.
Here they are finished
They turned out fine and they fit me and my much thinner daughter so sizing is good. I may add some stitching and beading. I think they are a little heavy or thick. I was going to put a thumb hole in but I think it would be uncomfortable with the thickness. Next time I think I will use 40 grams of wool and see how that goes. I may try making the part over the hand pointed too. I think it would look nice.
I hope you had a great time ringing in the new year and are enjoying the first day of a new decade.
Time to think back to what I have done and what I want to do.
Last year I did some experimenting with pots.
Did some more artwork
Took a few classes
And taught a few classes.
I took on organizing my guilds annual sale and exhibition with the help of an amazing group of people.
Next year, I am not really sure. I am chair of the sale and exhibition again this year. I know I am doing more teaching (LINK) and I need to update and sort out my website.
Plans early this year are to get the pictures done for an online class. Jan is going to help with this so I have to get felting to have different stages so we can film more in one day. I am sure Ruth has lost hope of me ever getting it done.
I want to do more artwork with hand stitching. I really do enjoy sitting and stitching. It looks so nice on the felt. To that end, I made a few picture blanks between Christmas and new year. Sorry Its not a great picture I just did it quick while writing this.
Beyond that, I really haven’t planned much. Do you have plans for the year, big or small we would love to hear what they are? We would also love you to share pictures and chat about what you are doing over on the Forum. (LINK)
One of the highlights of my calendar in November is always the Knitting & Stitching Show at Harrogate. I’ve never thought that the title does this show any justice as it’s so much more than knitting and stitching!
The event, held over several halls in the Harrogate Convention Centre, features a wide range of exhibitions, most of which have the artist in attendance so you get to meet and chat to them about their work. There are also a number of artists in action (literally), workshops, lectures, demonstrations and a huge variety of craft retailers as well as artists selling their handcrafted items.
I’m guessing there will be a lot of our readers who didn’t attend this event due to location so I thought I would show what to me were some of the highlights.
Marian Jazmik is a mixed media textile artist who uses a wide variety of materials, often heat distressed, to create stunning highly textural pieces of art. I was particularly drawn to her work by the wonderful neutral colour pallet. Depending on which piece you are looking at, close inspection might reveal sisal, plastic straws, packaging, cotton buds, scrim, beads and free motion stitching. She often uses heat treated Dipryl, a spun-bond fabric similar to Lutradur.
Catherine Kaufman aka the “Woolly Queen” is a Feltmaker working with locally sourced fleece which she needle felts to create life size sculptures celebrating the female form. It was the scale, and again the colour scheme, that made this exhibit stand out for me. Also hearing how the figures are worked on at home on her kitchen table! Catherine begins by making a wire armature which she then covers with fleece. I felt the most powerful figure was Rapunzel and, learning that the hair for this figure was Catherines first attempt at spinning, I’ve been inspired to have a go myself!
Daisy Collingridge explores the potential of the human body and celebrates its physicality through her textile sculptures. The human form is so unbelievably varied, despite us all being built from the same components. Daisy has a strong fascination with human endeavour and the extremes the human form can take, dictated through genetics and choice. These soft sculptures came from a desire to push the traditional craft of quilting to the extreme. The technique used is no longer recognisable as quilting in the traditional sense but the fundamental idea of sandwiching fabric is the same.
The figurative work has a grotesque element and body image and body transformation are obvious narratives through which to view her work. Each piece is a “body suit” and as part of the installation viewers can watch a film of the figures in action.
The Artists in Action area is always an interesting space with Textile artists and Feltmakers creating their work and demonstrating to the public. It was nice to meet Lizzie Houghton and watch how she creates her beautiful hats.
Angie Hughes, one of my favourite Textile Artists, was also there demonstrating surrounded by samples of her beautiful work.
In a different part of the hall I came across Vivienne Morpeth, a fellow Lincolnshire Feltmaker who specialises in fabulous Nuno felted garments.
CQ London, a subgroup of The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles, have been meeting since 2017 in Camden Town, London. It is an eclectic group, whose members possess a wide range of skills and interests. This was their debut exhibition and it consisted of two themes, London and Notan, a Japanese design technique featuring positive and negative shapes in a harmonious balance of light and dark. The following two quilts were standout pieces for me. The Southbank building was instantly recognisable and very dramatic in its simplicity. The fabric was painted with acrylics before bonding and stitching.
City Textures by Connie Gilham was another favourite. Depicting St Paul’s, Roman walls and the Thames it was created using painted and dyed silks, cottons and sheers, again a very striking image.
On a smaller scale, but equally beautiful, were these exhibits in the Embroiderers Guild area. Out on Tiles won the Beryl Dean Award for best hand stitching.
Alyssa Robinson won the Val Campbell-Harding prize for best machine stitching.
This piece by Jane Dexter titles Wood Grains was also one of my favourites.
This is just a tiny snapshot of the show, there was so much more and I came away with my head full of inspiration and my bag full of goodies! If you live in the UK and haven’t been it’s well worth a visit if you get the chance.
I’ve been taking the same two pieces of silk to the well being centre for months with the intention of using them. Last week, I took them out and started tidying them up by pulling off the loose threads. Once they were neat enough to use, I decided I’d rather use the threads! I laid out a couple of layers of Yellow Merino, then started adding the threads. They were similar shades of greeny blue, so it felt like it needed something else. Luckily, I had a bag of red silk threads with me that I bought years ago, and they really made a difference once I added them:
This week I did a few things. I put hang tags and price stickers on all the dryer balls, bags, soap and ruffle neck scarves that go to the Log Farm for sale. At shows I usually just use signs when I have groups of things that are all the same price. I delivered those and almost immediately got a call from the Museum store saying they needed more soap and dryer balls. Yesterday I made up the dryer balls and popped them into the washer today.
I would show you what they look like done but my dryer died. Thats a job for tomorrow now.
I did however get some soap felted.
The other thing I got started on Friday(I think) was some slippers for samples for a class I have on Dec 1. I didn’t have a sample of the ear template style.
I only got as far as laying out.
They will also be a sample of Finnish wool. We use Corriedale for the class. Its a good felter without being to fine like merino and it comes in lots of colours. People seem to want colour. This will show them what another kind of wool felts up like.
That was my week. I hope you managed some felting done too.
I finished the needle felted piece I showed in my last blog post, and with some nice, bright weather I managed to get a good photos of it too!
And one last needlefelted piece, I had forgotten all about this one! I was looking for a box to use and found one on top of a bookcase, it didn’t seem to have much in when I shook it, I was surprised when I opened it and saw this! I’m not sure if I’d considered it finished or just forgot all about it. I made it using scraps I’d saved, I think I got concerned about some of the threads which had got mixed up in the ‘wool for birds’ tub, after reading about how threads and long hair are responsible for pigeons losing their feet. It’s really soft and lightly needled:
Heres another throw back post. I thought if I do not remember doing this maybe you won’t either. I hope you like it.
After seeing Ruth’s jacket it reminded me I had made a small one for one of my daughter’s dolls years ago. I thought I should give it another try but life size this time. I thought about doing it seamless but decided that it would make something that is a simple design into something complicated. Although I am not a great sewer I was sure sewing 2 straight seems on my machine should not be beyond me.
There are quite a few pictures so I have put them in a gallery for ease of viewing. If I could figure out how to post pictures side by side or in groups I would but that is beyond my skill level.
First I made a large piece of nuno felt. I used silk gauze and merino wool. After it was finished I put it in a red dye bath. It came out quite nice. It’s hard to tell from the picture because my camera did not like the red at all. The one you see was the best of a bad lot.
The next thing to do was the shibori. I finger pleated the middle of the piece starting at one short end. I very carefully held it flat and tight while I tied it. The first tie is the hardest one. After that you just pleat it up tying every couple of inches. You don’t want to be too neat about it. If the pleats are to perfect you get straight lines. You want your pleats to be tight so some of the material will resist the dye in the second bath. This type of shibori is supposed to make a bark like pattern. I put the tied up piece in a purple dye bath hopping for a nice red purple to appear on my cloth. It came out black. After it was dry the gauze side had more of a purple look but still very dark.
I sewed up my jacket. I made the material far too wide so the jacket ends up long. The short sides overlapped a lot when folded up. I had to have long “lapels” to make it work. It is not a mistake it’s a design feature, just ask me :O) It is still to long for me. I think it may look good one someone who is tall and thin. Two things I am not.
All in all not a bad try. I’ve made another piece of nuno felt to try again, I made it narrower this time. Now I have to find the time to sew it up.
I recently taught a class about an hour north of where I live. I had 4 lovely ladies in the class and we had a great time making the scarves.
Here are thier layouts just before wetting.
And after much rubbing and rolling and a lunch break in the middle
They had some lovely scarves, this is the wool side.
And the silk side.
These where still wet so they will all lighten up as they dry. The difference in length is mostly do the lay out direction ( across or up and down) and some to how much fulling each person wanted to do. Everyone seemed happy with thier results so that makes me happy too.