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!

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.

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.

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.

Lutradur Forest Workshop…..

Day two of the Lutradur Forest Workshop saw the ladies layering and stitching their Forest designs to their base fabric.

As often happens in a workshop, although all of the ladies worked constantly over the two day’s and the quilts are looking terrific, everyone has some finishing off to do at home.

Clare is adding clumps of bluebells to her Forest floor, hand embroidering them with Colonial knots

Janet’s design featured trees in leaf as well as these wonderful old gnarly tree stumps

Sue created lots of depth with her shading

Clair based her design on a photo she took while visiting a Canadian lake in the Fall

Janice is making lots of individual leaves which will be added to the foreground on the right of her design

Patricia has created a very strong contrast with her dark foreground tree and the lighter grey trunks in the background

Lyn will add stitched detail the her ferns to create interest in the foreground

Thanks to Nicola at the Simply Stitch Studio for being a wonderful host and to all the ladies for their enthusiasm and hard work.  I will look forward to receiving photos of your finished quilts.

Lutradur Forest Workshop….

A Walk in the Forest art quilt by Karen Lane

Walk in the Forest

Today was day one of a two-day Lutradur Forest Workshop at the Simply Stitch Studio, Wetherby.  Using my “Walk in the Forest” design as a starting point, eight ladies have begun the day designing their own “Forest” art quilt which will consist of several layers of Lutradur fabric.  Today the Lutradur has been cut out and painted and tomorrow we will begin layering and stitching the fabric in place.  As you can see from the photos not only is each design unique but also each student is displaying a distinct style of their own.

The ladies start by drawing out their design ideas on paper

The Lutradur is cut out and painted

Cutting out foliage using a soldering iron

This is where we are at the end of day one…..

Tomorrow we will bring all the main elements together and stitch them in place before adding any foreground detail and hand stitching.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how these pieces develop!

 

Abstraction…..

Abstraction – 27cm x 14.5cm Mixed Media

This is Abstraction, the finished Mixed Media piece I’ve been working on for the past week.  The theme was set by the textile group Jeudis and my interpretation is purely non-representational.

The shapes, formed by laying out and felting the Merino fibres, fabrics and silks, have been traced with free motion stitching which in turn has produced ridges and valleys, adding to the overall textural effect.

For now it’s got pride of place hanging in the lounge in a simple, flat profile black frame…..

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

 

Escape…..

My latest art quilt has been made in response to the Cranwell Contemporary Group challenge titled Escape.  When the theme was announced my first thought was of “escaping” to the Scottish Highlands……this area has to be my absolute favourite away from it all destination in the UK.

Art Quilt with the theme “Escape”

Escape

I worked from memory, rather than looking back at photographs, as I wanted this piece to suggest a mood and a feeling of being in this area and not a specific, identifiable place.   The colours are very neutral and muted, built up using Inktense paint, layered fabrics, Mulberry bark and silk cocoon strippings to create a textural surface.  The finished quilt is 28” wide x 40” high.

Painted Mulberry Bark…..

I had intended to make some Tyvek bark today but decided to do painted Mulberry bark instead.  The Tyvek will have wait until later.  The first piece is lined with paper and left to dry so that it’s “rounded”.

Painted Mulberry bark

This is what will be used as the base for my Winter sample when I get around to pulling it all together.

Winter themed bark and leaves

Finally a layered piece with Tyvek lichen…..

Layered Mulberry bark with Tyvek lichen

These will all be given Forest Floor backgrounds and have stitching added before being mounted onto board or canvas so will post updates as and when they’re finished.