The Big Textile Show…..

Last weekend went in a flash! I was exhibiting for the third year running at The Big Textile Show which is held over two days at Leicester Racecourse. This show has a wonderful, friendly atmosphere and is big enough to provide a great day out but isn’t too large that you feel worn out by the time you’ve visited all the stalls!

My stall at this years Show

The exhibitions, which were displayed on the first floor above the food hall, included Feltmaking, Weaving, Beading, Quilting, Lace Making, Rug Making as well as paper sculptures and so much more! There was a room full of inspiring work to fire up the imagination as well as many of the items being for sale.

The trade stalls were located in a separate building, which unfortunately I didn’t get chance to visit this year. From what I was hearing there was a terrific variety of stalls and lots of opportunity to increase the size of your stash! These are just a tiny few of this years traders…..

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello and for all the wonderful feedback given by visitors to my stall. The Big Textile Show is always held over the last weekend in October so be sure to put the date in your diary ready for 2020.

My next show will be at The Quilt & Stitch Village, Uttoxeter Racecourse from 17th – 19th April so hope to see some of you there!

Roots….

My latest work, Roots, was made in response to a challenge set by the Waltham Textile Group who meet once a month at Waltham Windmill.  This is an exhibiting group and, like many such groups, we all aim to produce a piece of work to a particular theme.  The work will be displayed together at our bi-annual exhibition at the Windmill next August.  Our current theme, leaves, couldn’t suit me better!  There are absolutely no limitations for this main piece, it can be any size, any technique, 3D or 2D.  This freedom in itself can be a headache because there are so many directions you can go in……..consequently I’ve yet to start that piece!

Roots – a Waltham Textile Group Challenge.

Running alongside our main theme we also have other, more specific, “challenges”.  One of them is to produce three A4 pieces of work using three colours, each piece to predominantly feature one of those colours plus a little of the other two.  This can be any style, any technique and any subject matter. You can see how I approached this challenge in a previous post “work in progress” and Roots is the result of that challenge.

Originally I made three wet felted backgrounds to which I was going to add lots of texture with fibre and stitch.  The felt was put to one side for a few weeks while I did other things and by the time I went back to it I had changed my mind (surprise, surprise!). Instead of using the felt I reached for my roll of Lutradur, practising what I preach and using the techniques and materials demonstrated in my Forest Floor Workshop.  

Detail from Roots showing the Lutradur leaves

It turned out to be a very mixed media piece with felted pebbles, free motion stitched ferns and weeds and Lutradur leaves and forest floor.  The only items not hand made are three small brown Beech tree pods.

With this challenge finished its back to trying out ideas and working up samples for my main exhibition piece.  I’ve no idea how that will look as yet but I’m thinking along the lines of it being “abstract”…..that thought may change several times between now and completion!

Arts & Crafts Event…..

I’m delighted to be returning to the Walled Garden Baumber on The 28th & 29th of this month to take part in their annual Arts & Crafts Event.  It’s an opportunity meet local professional artists, working in a variety of materials and styles, and maybe discover that unique Christmas gift.

The WGB is a wonderful setting for an event like this and with the craft stalls being under canvass it will be a great day out come rain or shine!

As well as the craft marquee you will find ample parking, plant sales and a tea room serving delicious home made cakes and snacks.  The event runs from 10am until 3pm each day.

Work in Progress…..

Last year I joined a group of creative ladies who meet once a month at Waltham Windmill.  As well as working on our own projects we have a number of set “challenges” requiring us to work to a certain theme. This week I began one those challenges which is to produces three A4 size pieces of work using just three colours. Each piece is to have one predominant colour, plus a small amount of the other two. The format can be landscape or portrait but all three will be displayed together. The design, techniques and materials are entirely up to the individual.

My first thought was that I wanted my 3 pieces to be joined together and initially I was thinking along the lines of a leaf motif, using the veins to span the gaps between the work. The first design was for a very simple “spear” shaped leaf.

The second idea was to simplify it even more and loose the outline of the leaf. The background would possibly be heavyweight interfacing or Lutradur and the veins would be free motion stitched, spanning the gaps by stitching onto dissolvable fabric.
In the meantime I happened to take my dog for a walk in the woods at Hubbard’s Hills in Louth when I had a lightbulb moment! There were some wonderful exposed tree roots at the top of the hill and I suddenly saw these as being the joining element of my 3 x A4’s. The design now was for a “forest floor”.
Sketchbook page showing a design for piece of textile art
I realised that I would need a sturdy backing so I’ve wet felted these using Bergschaf fibres and they will be individually mounted onto stiff card…..at least that’s the plan so far! There will be little background showing on pieces two and three but far more on piece one so I included some thick cords under that sheet of felt to indicate buried roots.
Wet felted Bergschaf fibres
The tree roots above ground have an aluminium wire as their core, wrapped with wadding and strips of medium weight Lutradur before being painted grey.
Tree roots made from aluminium wire and Lutradur fabric
I’ve started making the weeds using free motion stitch on dissolvable fabric but I will look at alternative materials, possibly Lutradur, to introduce different textures, create more bulk and not least to speed up the weed making process!
Making weeds using free motion embroidery
The fallen leaves at the base of the roots will be FM stitched on Lutradur. Once they’ve been cut out using a soldering iron and heat distressed to make them curl they will be painted in varying shades of gold.
Lutradur leaves
I’ve managed to get a couple of other group members to send me images of their work in progress…..
Jacky approached the challenge by choosing blue, green and gold as her colours and using the “stack and whack” method to cut them up. After selecting her fabrics they were cut up quite randomly and then machined together in strips. The three sets were then layed on top of each other and sliced through again. The yellow and green shapes in the resulting strips made her think of plant pots and this led to her theme of “neglected pots and plants”. In this piece Jacky has added an appliqué cactus and free motion stitched the neglected straggly plants on the left. This one isn’t far off being finished but Ive been told the other two are still piles of fabric on the workroom table!
Carole has chosen to use a combination of plain and patterned fabrics in her chosen colour scheme of red, blue and yellow. Each of her A4’s feature a different piecing technique i.e. strips, curves and crazy patchwork. Again this is a work in progress but already you can see how individual members are putting their own mark on their work and how different everyone’s finished work is going to be. I will post images of the completed challenges next time.

Tile collar

I just love it when I hear someone has been inspired to have a go at a technique themselves!  Lea’s work is wonderful and it’s well worth taking a look at her other projects.

Lea's creative moments blog

I saw a blog post by Karen Lane of a nuno felted collar workshop she ran for the Belchford Felting Group using the “tile” technique and thought I would try my hand at it.

Recyled silks and fragments of an Indian open weave cotton and tinsel scarf

Framing the fabric tiles with merino roving

I then convered the framed piece with two fine layers of merino roving. Added some commerical felt flowers in one corner for embellishment and then covered the roving with a layer of navy Margilan silk gauze. After felting, fulling and leaving to dry, here is the finished piece …

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Pebble Necklace…..

I’ve currently got a thing for pebbles so thought it would be nice to create a Pebble Necklace.  This has been wet Felted using grey and lichen superfine Merino and white Silk.  It features hand stitched Colonial knots and is finished with a bronze coloured metal chain and fastener.

Wet Felted Pebble Necklace
Wet Felted Pebble Necklace

Towards the Wolds…..

This is my latest commissioned piece entitled Towards the Wolds. It’s based on one of my favourite views looking east down Shearmans Wath, towards West Ashby and the rolling hills of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Shearman’s Wath is the site of a late Neolithic Henge. According to Historic England…..”the buried remains are situated 330m north of Thimbleby Mill on the glacial sands and gravels of the flood plain edge, some 150m east of the River Bain. The monument, which has been reduced by ploughing, can no longer be seen on the ground. It is, however, clearly visible from the air, and has been recorded on aerial photographs since 1970.”

The Wallhanging is approximately 42cm x 64 cm, created from 23 micron Merino fibres, Wet Felted, and embellished with hand and machine stitch. I’ve enjoyed working on this piece and very much looking forward to seeing it hanging in it’s new home!

Paint, Layer & Stitch…..

Today I was invited down to North Kilworth, Leicestershire to work with fourteen ladies from the textile group “Textend”. We spent the day painting fabric, layering with sheers and tulle and stitching to create our tree themed landscapes. Some ladies worked from imagination while others took inspiration from photos or cards. Although there is still work to be done, as you can see, the pieces are looking great. Many thanks to Ruth for inviting me and look forward to seeing some of you again next week.

Quilters Guild AGM…..

I slept like a baby last night having got home after three very busy, and very enjoyable, days at the Quilters Guild AGM. The event was held on the Jubilee Campus at Nottingham University and attended by approximately 450 enthusiastic quilters. Over the three days participants had the choice to be entertained, and educated, by hour long lectures, half hour mini workshops and demonstrations, half day workshops and full day workshops. There were several traders, a wonderful selection of second hand books at massively discounted prices, a raffle, tombola and exhibitions.

On the Friday morning I gave an illustrated talk entitled “My F-Plan Diet……Fabric, Fibre & Felting” all about how I was introduced to Textile Art and Feltmaking back in 2014 and how my work has progressed, up to present day. I featured a number of pieces to look at in detail, explaining the background to the design process and the materials used.

In the afternoon The Guild held what they call the “Carousel”. This involved four tutors, each in a separate part of the room, demonstrating a particular technique. I called my sessions The Half Hour Flower and at the end of each half hour period and bell was rung and the participants swapped to a different tutor…..it was like speed dating for crafters!

The Half Hour Flower

With this being a “quilters” event, and with all the other guest tutors being textile artists, I felt privileged that the organisers had invited me specifically to teach and promote Feltmaking. On Saturday I had a class of 14 students making wet felted “Landscape” themed pictures, several were trying out wet felting for the very first time. The ladies each brought an image they wanted to create and we began by looking at how they could interpret the various shapes and textures in their design using fibre. Some students incorporated prefelts and everyone had time to do a little needle felting if they chose to, to begin to add the finer detail. The variety and quality of work produced in such a short time was amazing! Being quilters I think everyone was intending to add free motion stitch or hand stitching to their work once they got it home so I’m really hoping I get sent some images of the finished work.

Fantastic work all round from Saturday’s class!

On Sunday I had a class of six ladies making Wet Felted Bowls. We began by discussing the different fibre layouts that can be used to affect the shape and structure of 3D objects as well as how we can create interesting shapes using prefelts and differential shrinkage. The ladies each chose a style they wanted to create from my examples shown below and, as you will see, the results were terrific!

It was a great weekend and I got to meet, chat and work with some lovely ladies. I would just like to thank all my students for being so enthusiastic and working so hard! Thanks also to the Region 10 Committee for inviting me to be a part of it and hope to work with you again in the future.