Saturday, 28 January 2012

Seed pod?


During my textile printing course at Morley College, I have been amazed at the sorts of images I can generate, using simple techniques, because I believe I cannot draw or paint. This spiky seed pod / flower / creature was generated using a stick dragged through a blob of paint and the subsequent mark monoprinted on to fabric. The fabric was then photocopied on to tracing paper, multiple times, cut out and reassembled in to this image. The image was then used to make a silkscreen.

Old cotton sheet, silkscreen printed, then background printed with Inktense inks. Machine quilted with polyester wadding. Binding was machine embroidered before placing on to the quilt. Good effect, but I need to be more careful with placement of the stitching.

Additional photos show: the quilting better lit to show the loft; the back, first attempt with Inktense, too harsh and jarring;

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

My local area challenge

My local quilt group has an exhibition in early October 2012. One of our challenges is to make an A3 piece, on the theme "My Local Area". I've ummed an aahed over this for months and finally settled on piece based on my photos of the Great River Race, held on the Thames in September. My personal challenge for this year is to use more of my printed textiles from Morley in finished items. So here it is.

The colours are a bit faded in this photo, it is brighter than this in reality. Details:

Machine quilted with holographic thread for the water effects, which went through the machine more readily than I had anticipated.

I blogged about creating this fabric here.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Celebrating Diversity

A challenge from the Contemporary Quilt Group to make a 20cm square piece celebrating the diversity of Britain.


This piece has turned out to be more interesting than I thought it would, mostly due to my inability to cope with the “back-to frontness” of using Bondaweb.

Biscuit cutter silhouette of the British Isles, with scraps of different fabrics that are, or were, made in Britain: tartan, wool, linen, cotton, silk, lace and hand embroidery. Arashi-shibori dyed cotton background, indicating an increasingly stormy sea and the ropes that lash ships to the shore. Machine quilting of the names of textiles of importance to Britain. Backed with a fabric showing old suitcase labels.

The white cliffs at the bottom, looking rather tattered, indicating erosion and change. Fortuitously, as it turned out, Britain has ended up facing in the “wrong” direction, leading to wondering if we will maintain our diversity by facing away from our neighbours in Europe, or if we will start to become more homogenous due to continued influence from the USA.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Chihuly in London

If you see nothing else in London in the first quarter of the year, try to get to the Halcyon Gallery in Bond Street to see the Chihuly glass. This is the first major Chihuly exhibition in London since the incredible display at Kew Gardens in 2005- 2006. I visited that exhibition about 5 times, in daylight and at night, and it was an astonishing experience.

I did not have a great camera then, and was usually accompanied by 2 very lively boys, who did not mix well with an exhibition of glass, so my photos from that time are limited.

Chihuly Kew day 5Chihuly Kew day 4Chihuly Kew day 2005 1Chihuly Kew 2005 2Chihuly Kew 2005 3Chihuly Kew 2005 6

It will be a real pleasure to see his work again. Thanks to Kim for blogging about this and alerting me to the exhibition.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

From thought to research to sketch to research to stitch

I really enjoy reading about the process textile artists go through to get from the initial idea through to a finished piece. I am becoming more disciplined in recording my source of inspiration, process and how this leads to the final piece.

Reading recently about the new stained glass in Sagrada Familia has coincided with a request for a fabric postcard on the theme of windows.
Asset 1032Stained glass 2

This led to more reading about the designer, Joan Vila-Grau and the maker, J M Bonet .

From there to a very simplified sketch, also trying out some of the shading techniques from "Drawing and Design for Embroidery, a course for the fearful"

Using some of the screen printed fabric from last term ( Manutex with Procion P painted directly on the screen) led to this


I'm happy with the final card, but the colours of the fabric appeared more vivid before outlining with the black stitch, perhaps this would have been better in a dark grey, or indeed not done at all.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Back to Morley

New term, and some new members of our class, one rather dauntingly with an MA in Textiles and her own textile studio.

I spent today revisiting some printing techniques and adapting one of my screens to make the imagery less regular and more interesting.

Photo screen, image 1, with overlaid paper stencil of differing sized circles


Photoscreen, image 2, randomly overprinted multiple times

Also a quick few dips of pieces of the sheeting in the newly mixed indigo vat, so the colour is strong and vibrant. I love the immediacy of indigo, it goes with my lack of patience and love of the accidental ( in textiles anyway).

Resist with masking tape


Fabric tied on itself in large knots

Then an experiment of dipping a screen printed image in the indigo vat, to see what happens to the pigment paste if it exposed to moisture before curing.

It looks as if has faded, but this will only be clear once it is heat set.

If you are near Morley in the next two weeks, the jewellery and textile tutors have an exhibition in the Morley Gallery. Free admission, and a marvellous range of work to see.

Sunday, 8 January 2012


I have been attempting to keep a sketchbook for a few months. I'm partly daunted by the word "sketchbook" as to me it implies that one has to be able to draw. I've been more reassured by other bloggers who think of their sketchbooks, as more of a notebook, scrapbook, jotter or aide-memoir. In that spirit, I'm therefore less daunted. These pages are sparking stitching ideas at present.


Several media used here: Inktense blocks, Inktense pencils, off cuts from Morley transfer dyed pages, permanent markers, and drawing instructions from Cart Before the Horse. Some of my birds look more like fish, but that could be interesting in itself.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Sun arise, bring in the morning…….

On the first day back at work, such a sunrise that I had to dash back in to the house to get my camera, and start singing that Rolf Harris favourite…..

Monday, 2 January 2012

Long shadows, bright light


Beautiful sunny morning,continuing all day. What a pleasure. No sewing, just clearing away the decorations and pondering on the year just past.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

First stitching of 2012 - and it was difficult

Our quilt group's first meeting of 2012 is several demonstrations of different methods of curved piecing. As one of the demonstrators, I though I had better try out a few methods before doing my demonstration. Some of these were much more successful than others.

First, using the Creative Curves Ruler. While the cutting of the pieces using this ruler was super fast, easy and accurate, my machine sewing just didn't do them justice, and the sorry lot that follows were the result.

I think this ruler could be going to a swap near you sometime soon.

Next using the "drawing pin/ thumbtack" method for sewing circles. Good results and worth exploring for appliqué, but fiddly.

Losing heart a bit, next on to Dale Fleming " Pinless Piecing", adapted a bit here. Really smooth curves on a circle only 7.5 cm / 3 inches in diameter.

Back to trying traditional marking and pinning techniques on a long curve, too many wrinkles for my liking

Back again to the Dale Fleming method, using only one piece of freezer paper this time, beautiful, smooth, sinuous curves.

I'll be taking all samples along to the demonstration, in order that everyone can see the options and find their favourite method.