I’ve just started packing ahead of tomorrows drive to Leicester Racecourse for the set up of the Big Textile Show. It’s always a fabulous weekend with wonderful exhibits including textile art, beading, felting, lace making, spinning, wire work, etc, etc. For those wanting a bit of retail therapy there will be more than thirty different traders as well as a variety of workshops offering everything from learning to Crochet to Intricate Metal Weaving and everything in between. Add to all this a well stocked, reasonably priced food hall and free parking, what’s not to like!
The show opens at 9.30am on Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th Oct.
I’ve done it again…..it’s over six months since my last post and I’m now sitting here wondering how it happened and whether it’s possible to “seamlessly” slip in half a dozen catch ups without it looking clunky!
As this blog originated as an online journal to keep track of the things I’m doing, seeing and experiencing creative wise, I really do want to fill in the yawning gap that was Spring & Summer 2022 but I’d be kidding myself to think I can make it look seamless. Some of what I’m going to post has already appeared on the Felting and Fibre Studio. I would normally write it for myself first and then copy it across but, for whatever reason, it didn’t happen! Anyway, here goes with my Uttoxeter catch up which takes us back to April and the 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……
Just prior to the show I’d felted myself a couple of sculptural, roll edge collars which I wore over that weekend. They attracted a lot of interest which has led to me making them as commissions as well as running one day workshops for ladies wanting to make their own.
The cockerel and hen also proved popular with visitors. I had originally read a free tutorial on how to make a wet felted parrot in an issue of the Australian “Felt” magazine. It had been written by a wonderful Feltmaker called Sue Smorthwaite who creates fabulous birds native to her home in Australia. Keen to try the technique, but not wanting to use Sue’s design, I had the idea to make a pair of chickens. By making two I could kill two birds with one stone (sorry!) as I also needed to create a pair of “something” for a Noah’s Ark Project…..but that’s for another post!
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 was a good 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!
Back in 2019 I signed up to take part, for the first time, in the 2020 British Quilt & Stitch Village Show which is held annually at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. Needless to say it got postponed due to Covid and was rescheduled for 2021. With Covid delaying it yet again it was rescheduled for 2022 and will finally be launching in three weeks time on the 22nd of April.
It’s been such a long time coming I am so excited at the thought of getting back to exhibiting again after all this time! It’s also going to be great to see the other exhibits…..online exhibitions are better than none but you can’t beat being up close and personal to really appreciate other people’s work.
The show will be on from 10am each day on the 22nd , 23rd & 24th of April with lots of fantastic exhibitors and traders eager to help us replenish our stash! There is lots of free parking and the site is wheelchair accessible. The show offers a warm, friendly atmosphere, displaying plenty of embroidery/quilt exhibits (group & competition), and work from textile artists and Feltmakers plus a variety of traders and fabulous workshops.
If you are planning to visit please stop by my stall and say hello. Unless there is a last minute shuffle you will find me in the Premier Bar, these are just a few of the pieces I will have on show.
I can’t decide whether to call my latest pieces, made from World of Wool Superfine Merino and Viscose fibres, a collar or a necklace? Weighing less than 1oz they are my lightest yet, and I really don’t know I’m wearing them, but they are perfect for dressing up a plain outfit.
The grey/pink version is held in place with a hand painted, embroidered and beaded Tyvek brooch while the grey/yellow has a matching felted flower (with a nod to Pam de Groot’s “splash”)
Where did January go? With the lifting of Covid restrictions and things starting to get back to normal the time is passing in a blur. It’s terrific to be takings bookings for classes once again and I’m looking forward to working with new groups this year. It’s also going to be great, after two years of cancelled exhibitions, to be showing my work at the Quilt & Stitch Village at Uttoxeter in April and the Big Textile Show at Leicester in October.
At the Waltham Textile group we normally have a biannual exhibition of our work but, due to Covid, it was cancelled in 2020 rescheduled for 2021 and then had to be cancelled again. It’s now been confirmed for August but in the meantime I’ve sold my main “Leaf” themed piece made for that show so recently made this mixed media “Monstera” to replace it.
I bought a 40cm x 80cm canvas with the intention of painting Monstera leaves on it and then adding a 3D Felted leaf. After drawing a template onto paper and offering it up to plan the layout I changed my mind about painting onto the canvas. It’s not something I’ve done before and the surface appeared to be a bit too textured for the look I wanted to create. Instead I sketched the leaves onto a piece of white cotton fabric, outlined them with an Inktense pencil and added a little shading. The aim was for very simple, very smooth, perfectly formed leaves looking more like curved metal than the foliage on my cheese plant. I think this was influenced by the very smooth metallic looking Tyvek seed pods I’ve been making lately.
The Monstera in our lounge looks a bit neglected, to the point that I couldn’t bring myself to photograph it for this post! Its been with me for more years than I can remember, moving from house to house, and I thought it would be nice to make a piece of work inspired by this plant….or should I say the plant it used to be!!
I don’t consider myself a painter but I do like painting on to fabric. If you need to paint precise lines a good tip is to use aloe vera (by far the cheapest) or acrylic medium instead of water when applying acrylics on fabric. This keeps the paint where you want it to be and avoids it bleeding into other areas. I managed to get a tiny bit of black paint on the lower section of the fabric but stopped short of starting all over again when I realised the felted leaf would cover it up!
My paper template for the painted leaves was 13” x 18” so to make the felted leaf I multiplied by 1.4 enlarging it to 18.5” x 24” to allow for shrinkage. Layer one was a very yellowish green Merino (might have been lichen but not certain). Layer two was a combination of various shades of grey with the yellowish green running down the centre. This was topped with a layer of dark green Merino and Ireland Viscose all around the edge and snippets of gold Viscose down the centre. These images don’t give a true representation of colours but you get the gist.
After wetting out I measured the fibres and found they had spread to approx 20” x 27”. At the fulling stage, every now and then, I put the original template on top to check for size and ensure I was keeping to the right shape.
Once it had shrunk to the correct size it was left to dry. The next stage was to add wires to the back of the leaf so it could be shaped. This could possibly have been done with directional laying of the fibres and lots of fulling but I wanted the option of posing the leaf once it was attached to the canvas and wires are a good way of doing this.
The wires were spaced out and attached on the reverse using a zigzag stitch which also formed the veins on the front side. You can see that bright yellowish green colour on the reverse of the leaf. Once that was done it was just a matter of cutting into the felt to form the individual leaves and the characteristic little holes of the cheese plant before attaching to the canvas.
My recent Forest Floor workshop for the ladies of Snape Textiles up in Bedale has reignited my interest in working with Tyvek fabric. It’s a material I hadn’t used for a little while but making a tiny seed pod a few weeks ago, as a sample for their class, has led to more, and larger, pieces and an idea for a new workshop I’m calling Inspired by Nature…..3D Textiles.
These pieces all start with a wire armature wrapped in hand painted Tyvek fabric which is then distressed with a heat gun.
What I particularly like about this technique is the metallic look that can be achieved…..although they are strong, and look as if they are heavy, these pieces actually have the weight and feel of paper.
The first Inspired by Nature – 3D Textile class will be held at Belchford Village Hall LN96LJ on the 22nd January 2022 so if you are interested in learning this technique, or want to know more about the workshop please get in touch via the contact form.
I recently had the pleasure of running two consecutive one-day workshops for members of the Snape Textile Group up in the beautiful village of Bedale, North Yorkshire.
The group had booked my Forest Floor workshop which covers lots of different techniques for working with heat manipulative materials and creating the kind of stuff you find littering the forest floor such as leaves, twigs, bark and seed pods. With 30 ladies interested it was decided to split this fast paced class into two days to ensure all of them had the best learning experience and no one got left behind!
After each demonstration the students set to painting, stitching, wrapping and distressing (using heat guns and soldering irons) their Tyvek and Lutradur to create the various elements.
This is a sample based workshop and students are not necessarily expected to produce a finished piece of work by the end of it when it’s booked as a one day class. We do discuss how to pull everything together and create a suitable background but this is something that can be done afterwards at your own pace. If a group particularly want to see it through to the end it can either be booked as a two day class or we simply limit the amount of leaves made on the day to get a finished piece done. Yes, it’s those leaves that tend to hook folk in and then the time just disappears!
It was a full on weekend with the ladies producing an array of wonderful work and, hopefully, having a lot of fun in the process. This was the first time some had used a heat gun or a soldering iron but going by the response it won’t be the last!
Thanks to all for your enthusiasm, hard work and good company and a special thanks to Sarah Lowe for hosting me for the weekend. I’m looking forward to working with you all again at some point in the future.
Do you recycle your coffee capsules? I’ve recently started doing this, on a very small scale I admit, by getting creative and adding them as inclusions to my felt. It got me wondering what other folk might be creating with theirs. This is a guest blog I’ve just written for the Felting and Fibre Studio on that subject…..
Yesterday I visited the Sam Scorer Gallery on Drury Lane in Lincoln to see their latest exhibition, The Art of Transformation, by Horncastle printmaker Sinclair Ashman.
Sinclair says “I am an experimental fine art printmaker, but prints are not the only things I make’.
“The Art of Transformation will be a review of my latest work in burnt reliefs, metallics and traditional collograph printmaking over the last two years. It will also be an overview of selected prints from 2013 to the present. “
This exhibition provides a fascinating insight into the methods and materials that Sinclair uses as a printmaker and mixed media artist. What I found particularly interesting was seeing many of his beautiful, textural collograph plates, or lamina, which could themselves be hung as a work of art.
More recently he has been experimenting with applying intense heat to print paper and metal leaf to create the “Treasure” series. Heat from a paint stripper gun reacts with the composition of the leaf, resulting in vibrant, iridescent colours and singes the edges of the paper. “To date, ‘Treasure’ pieces have taken two different forms: images printed from multiple, segmented plates and non-printed pieces made with burnt copper, silver and gold metal leaf.”
Its an inspiring exhibition and it was great to get to speak with Sinclair about the different aspects of his work.
The Art of Transformation runs until the 7th November.
Once again I find myself playing catch-up as the time has flown by and I realised I’ve not posted for three months!
August 16th was the preview evening for the newly opened Alford Arts, a beautiful gallery next door but one to the Craft Market Shop in Alford, Lincolnshire. I had dithered as to whether or not to put my work in here as I didn’t want to pull out of the shop and it didn’t seem to make financial sense having work in the two spaces that were so close together. At the last minute I decided to give it a go and it was really encouraging to have my favourite Rockpool Bag sell on the opening night!
Staffed by volunteers Alford Arts is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10am – 4pm and showcases a good mix of styles, techniques and mediums created entirely by Lincolnshire Artists. I am one of only two textile artists currently exhibiting and selling in there, the other is my friend Evelyn Jennings who creates the most wonderful embroidery’s on hand painted silk fabric such as these two, On The Steps and Hedgerow.
The following photos were taken back in August and I’m pleased to say that several of my pieces have since sold including the Monstera.
These are just a few of the other works including ceramics, glass, wood carvings, paintings and prints. If you’re in the area it’s well worth a visit. You never know, you might just see something that takes your fancy and, if you do, you will be supporting a local artist!
Alford Arts also offers a range of art workshops which are held in the gallery on a Sunday and Monday. Visit the Alford Craft Market Website for more info or to make a booking.