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.

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

Jeudis at Manchester…..

Yesterday I travelled over to Manchester’s EventCity with fellow Jeudis member Christine Plummer for a day of stewarding at the Creative Craft Show.

We were there as members of the mixed media textile group Jeudis, to promote our group and our most recent body of work on the theme of Abstraction.  The work is very varied and include 2D and 3D pieces, wet felting, quilting, collage, hand stitching, machine stitching, etc, etc.  My main piece was inspired by rockpools and made with wet felted Bergschaf fibres,  found shells and pebbles, hand and machine embellished.

Rockpool on display at EventCity, Manchester

I took this theme further, making several items of felted jewellery for the sales table, and was delighted with the response these brought.  The rock pool bracelets were particularly popular and the grey necklet found a new home with a lady who looked absolutely stunning in it!

Rockpool Brooches

Rockpool brooches made from Bergschaf fibres

Rockpool inspired Necklet

The following photos show more of the groups work…..

…..by Gill Green

Close up detail of Gill Greens bowl

…..by Jean Baker

…..by Sue Lewis

…..by Cathy Ball

…..by Linda Settle

…..by Elaine Winterton & Sue Lewis

…..by Christine Plummer

…..by Hazel Brewer

Our next Exhibition will be at Birmingham NEC and I will confirm dates nearer the time.

Abstract Wall Hanging…..

Inspired by rock pools this Wet felted Abstract Wall Hanging, made from natural shades of Bergschaf fibres punctuated with orange, is very textural and tactile. It’s a mixed media piece combining pebbles, shells and paper with free motion stitching and hand stitched colonial knots. Size approx 54cm diameter x 10cm deep.

Wet Felted Abstract Wall Hanging
Close up detail of 3 dimensional abstract wall hanging
Abstract Wall Hanging detail

I will been exhibiting this piece with textile group Jeudis at the Creative Craft Show in Manchester from January 31st to the 2nd February.

Tyvek Seed Pod…..

I developed a ganglion on my right hand as a result of making the bird mask last week.  It’s giving me some gip so I’m resting the hand for a while and doing a few pieces that don’t require a strong grip.  Yesterday it was a Tyvek Seed Pod incorporating sari silks and acrylic paint…..

Today I made a start on a mixed Media piece with the theme “Abstraction” which was set by the textile group  Jeudis which I became a member of a couple of months ago.   I’m combining free motion stitch with painted Lutradur and wet Felted Merino, for now it’s work in progress…..

Abstraction

 

Bird Mask Workshop…..

Bird Mask Workshop with Gladys Paulus

Last week I attended a wonderful four-day Bird Mask Workshop with Internally renowned feltmaker Gladys Paulus at Big Cat Textiles in Newburgh near Perth.

Gladys has been high on my list of tutors I’ve wanted to work ever since I started felting.  Her three-dimensional work is exceptional and she is such a warm and generous tutor.

The first layer of fibres are laid down around a resist in the shape of a birds head.

Layer one of my bird mask

I chose to make my mask using Bergschaf fibres and originally he was going to be a red kite……I soon realised I wasn’t going to achieve that aim in the time we had so he morphed into a generic bird of prey!  Apologies for the fuzzy images but with a four-day schedule time was always going to be tight so photography wasn’t high on my list of priorities!

Sandra making her Blue Jay

Diana working on her Cockatoo

Caroline shaping her mask

Liz was always one step ahead of the group!

Sharnie working on her Lapwing

We all learnt such a lot in the four days and everyone came away excited and very pleased with their finished piece of work…..

A gaggle of bird masks!

My bird of prey mask

Thanks to Gladys for an inspirational workshop and many thanks to Alison and Netty at Big Cat Textiles for looking after us and being such wonderful hosts!

Forest Floor Workshop…..

Last Saturday I travelled back up to one of my favourite workshop venues, the Simply Stitch studio in East Keswick.  It was for the first of a new class I’ve put together which I’m calling my Forest Floor Workshop.

12 ladies took part in the two day workshop exploring the use of heat manipulative materials including Tyvek fabric, Tyvek paper, Lutradur and polyester fabrics which we painted, stitched, cut and distressed using heat tools and soldering irons.  For the majority it would be the first time they have worked with any of these materials and tools.

Our theme for the weekend was the forest floor and it was great to see that some of the ladies, like Juliet and Julie, had been out foraging for inspiration!

The samples that were created included a variety of leaves, bark, twigs, lichen, etc…..anything you might see on a walk through the woods, and a few things you might never see too!!

Carolyn arrived with her hand heavily bandaged and the intention of just watching the others.  That idea lasted all of a few minutes and she turned out to be one of the most prolific sample makers of the group!

Janet and Jackie were looking very proud of their hessian and Lutradur “twigs” and rightly so!!

The ladies threw themselves whole heartedly into experimenting with the various materials and created some wonderful pieces of work with fabulous textures.

Once again a big thank you to Nicola for being such a great host and to all of the ladies who took part.   I’m looking forward to seeing some of you again when I return to East Keswick in June.