A Sea of Stitches…..

I’ve done it again….too engrossed in “doing stuff”to remember to log my recent activities so here we go with a catch up of my creative adventures in the Scottish Highlands, early June.

I had booked a place on Jan Kilpatrick’s textile workshop, A Sea of Stitches, which would take place in her studio in Elphin.  I took a leisurely drive up, stopping the first night near Loch Lomond and the second in Drumnadrochit on the banks of Loch Ness.

On the third day I reached my base for the five day workshop, the Eileen Donan guest house in Ullapool.  The B&B was lovely and the town itself turned out to be very unspoilt, quiet and peaceful.  For the first two days I was there it was also very grey, wet and chilly but that did nothing to dampen our spirits.

The following day at 10am I met Jan and the 6 other participants in a park down by the beach.  After introductions and a brief overview of the workshop Jan sent us off to make personal records of the images, colours, textures and patterns from Ullapool’s beach and harbour and from the open and sweeping pebble beach at neighbouring Ardmair.

After about an hour of beach combing in torrential rain we moved up to Ardmair Beach, still pouring with rain, where Jan greeted us dispensing much appreciated flasks of hot drinks and home-made cake from the boot of her car.  I had to stick to using my camera as, by this time, my hands were so cold I couldn’t grip to use my pencil!

This image will become a textile piece when I get the time!

I just love the varying shades of grey…..

The rest of the week just flew by.  Each day we began a new piece of work, inspired by our research on day one, using a different method of mark making on fabric.    This included painting, dyeing, burning, hand and machine stitching.

The outdoor “messy” area

Some of Jan’s work on display

By the end of the five days we had all amassed 100’s of photographs, a stack of small coloured fabrics and a head full of ideas for future projects.

Show & Tell…..Jess

Show & Tell…..Anne

Show & Tell…..Carola

Show & Tell…..Margaret

Show & Tell…..Sarah

Show & Tell…..Jane

Some of my samples

All in all it was a very inspiring week with spectacular scenery and excellent company.

 

Inspired by Sir Isaac Newton…..

LINQS (Lincolnshire Quilters) will be exhibiting their latest body of work, 22 art quilts inspired by Sir Isaac Newton, at the end of this month.  Our first venue will be the beautiful Alford Manor House.  Built in 1611 it is thought to be the largest thatched manor house in the country.

I’ve finally finished my Newton quilt.  It’s 30″ x 40″ and the design is based on the fact that Newton spent a lot of his time studying and practising alchemy.  It consists of appliqué commercial fabric, Tyvek and painted vilene applied to a background of tea stained cotton fabric.  Other materials used include oil pastels, Inktense, permanent marker pen and metallic foil.

Inspired by the life and works of Sir Isaac Newton

These are just a few of the other fantastic quilts that will be on show……

Gravitree by Jean Proud (30″ x 40″)

Gravitree detail

The Mind of a Genius by Mary Jackson (30″ x 40″)

Snapshots of Isaac by Joan Plummer (30cm x 40cm)

This next quilt Is called “Wordsearch” and there are thirty words to find, all relating to life of Isaac Newton.  An ingenious way of stopping visitors in their tracks and making them really scrutinise your work!

 

Louth Panorama Update…..

All the Louth Panorama quilts, being made by textile group Meridian, have now been handed over ready to be sewn onto a black background.

The individual quilts laid out prior to being sewn onto the black background.

Sheila had photographs of the two original canvases, painted by William Brown in the 1840’s, reduced in size and printed onto cotton fabric which she then quilted using free machine stitching.  These two panels will form the centre of our collaborative quilt with the rest of them being grouped as shown above.

 

Centre two panels free machined by Sheila

Click on each of the images to see the detail that has been put into the quilts, they really are beautiful pieces of work.

Quilt created by Pat Cave

Quilt created by Sue Jackson

Quilt created by Gill Lewis

Quilt created by Eileen MacKenzie

Quilt created by Gwen Harlow

Quilt created by Sandra Goldsborough

Quilt created by Margaret Fulwood

Quilt created by Karen Lane

 

 

 

The Louth Panorama…..

 

Art quilt based on a small section of the Louth Panorama

I’ve just finished working on my little section of a collaborative quilt with ‘Meridian’ a textile group who are based in the market town of Louth.   The overall quilt will be a tribute to the Louth Panorama, painted by William Brown, which is an all-round view of the town and district as seen from the top of the spire of St James’s parish church in Louth as on a summer’s day in the 1840s.  It depicts local life, the pattern of streets and the market place, with a roofscape little changed today. The painting consists of two canvases which have an interesting history and more information can be found on the Louth Museum website.

We each chose our favourite section of the painting to reproduce as a mini art quilt, either A4 or A3.  My choice was the graveyard which I’ve made in A3.  We were given free rein to use whatever techniques we wanted to use,  I’ve created mine as a whole cloth, painted with Inktense and then hand and machine embroidered.  I’ve used a bit of artistic licence to square up the layout and omitted the tiny figures.  You can see the original section below.

My chosen section of the Louth Panorama

I will add an update once we get all of the quilts joined together.

Sir Isaac Newton…..

The handover date for the latest LINQS challenge, to produce an art quilt inspired by any aspect of the life or works of Sir Isaac Newton, is fast approaching and I’ve still got a lot to do!  When I began my research I was surprised to learn that Newton had been an Alchemist (obvious really given the age he lived in) and spent a lot of his time and effort in pursuit of the Philosophers Stone.  I used this fact as my starting point and designed my quilt along the lines of an Alchemy illustration using a limited colour palette.  Materials used so far include oil pastels and transfer foils on cotton fabrics and pelmet vilene.  As I said, still a lot to do so back to the sewing machine!

My Sir Isaac Newton inspired art quilt is still work in progress

Lincolnshire Wolds Quilt…..

I’ve just finished my latest art quilt “Lincolnshire Wolds“.  This one has an entirely painted background, using Inktense on vilene.  I don’t normally use Bondaweb in my art quilts, I usually lay the fabric down and sew it straight onto the background but this time I made an exception.  After giving it some thought it seemed the easiest way to create the foliage on the foreground tree and a good way to make the shadow from that same tree on the field.

The stitching is a combination of straight stitch and free machine embroidery with a little hand stitching along the base of the hedgerow.

Art quilt depicting the Lincolnshire Wolds landscape

Lincolnshire Wolds

The one drawback to using pelmet vilene for textile art is that it is easily creased so it really needs mounting on a canvas or a board when I get around to it.

A Tribute to Three Worlds…..

Between Christmas and New Year I began work on a new art quilt which I have called A Tribute to Three Worlds.  This 44″ x 27″ quilt is my textile interpretation of a lithograph by one of my favourite artists, Maurits Cornelis Escher (1892-1972)

Black and white etching titled Three Worlds by artist Maurits Cornelis Escher

The original lithograph version of Three Worlds by Maurits Cornelis Escher.

I have been an admirer of Escher’s work since my art school days.  During a recent visit to Barter Books in Alnwick I bought “The Life and Works of Escher” by Miranda Fellows and felt inspired by this particular design to create my on take on it.

The first stage of the art quilt A Tribute to Three Worlds....trees and fish are painted and in position.

Background work in progress…..the trees are done and the Tyvek fish are painted and roughly placed in position.

I wanted to recreate the three different perspectives i.e. the trees above the water seen as a reflection, the Autumn leaves floating on the water and the fish swimming below the water, all of which make up Escher’s “three worlds”.   It took a lot longer to complete than I had imagined it would but I’m very happy with the result.

Three Worlds Art Quilt

A Tribute to Three Worlds

A Walk in the Forest…..

The latest quilt challenge for members of the Cranwell group is A Walk in the Forest and this is my interpretation.

A Walk in the Forest

A Walk in the Forest

With each challenge we are also given a particular technique to use somewhere within our work, for this particular piece we were asked to include painted Bondaweb.  This could be used over a large area or just included as a tiny piece, it was entirely at our discretion.  Those of you with a keen eye might be wondering where my Bondaweb is…….it’s so insignificant it’s not even worth me pointing it out!

When the subject was given out I immediately had this image in my mind of the trees and forest floor cut out of several pieces of Lutradur and stitched to create the illusion of depth.  I also knew that I wanted a shimmering backdrop to represent the daylight glistening at the edge of the woods.  After auditioning several fabrics, and not being happy with any of them, I decided to go with wallpaper for my background.  I had a sample of paper that was just large enough and created exactly the effect I was seeing in my mind.

The Lutradur trees were coloured from dark to light to suggest that the viewer is walking from inside the forest towards the light at the edge of the woods.  I figured the Bondaweb would be used fairly discretely to create shadow on the forest floor.  Unfortunately, as I had coloured the Lutradur with wax crayons, there was no way that the Bondaweb was going to bond!  Having said that, a tiny piece is clinging on, allowing me to say I have included Bondaweb in my work……..just not a lot of it!

Faraway Places…..

This morning I visited “Faraway Places”, an exhibition celebrating the work of the Waltham Textile Group, led by Jacky Hopkin.  The venue, adjacent to Waltham Windmill, makes it an ideal spot for families to visit with cafes, picnic area, miniature railway, etc.

There was a very varied and interesting selection of work on display featuring a whole range of techniques including hand stitching, free machine stitching, crazy patchwork, applique, burning, fabric painting and machine embellishing to name just a few!  The work really was inspiring as you will see from the following selection of quilts…….

Blue Mountain & Horizon by Ann Kitching

Blue Mountain & Horizon by Ann Kitching

Holiday Dreams by Ann Kitching

Holiday Dreams by Ann Kitching

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Snowdrops by Margaret Beadham

Snowdrops by Margaret Beadham

Desert by Carole Parkinson

Desert by Carole Parkinson

Gecko by Carole Parkinson

Gecko by Carole Parkinson

image

The Water Carriers of India by Jacky Hopkins

The Water Carriers of India by Jacky Hopkin

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Heavenly Sky by Kath Greenfield

Heavenly Sky by Kath Greenfield

India by Venessa Drewery

India by Venessa Drewery

Riverside Trees II…..

Last year I made a little 20 x 30 cm riverside quilt as part of the Hockney Challenge.

Original Riverside Trees

Original Riverside Trees

Overall I was happy with it but, 18 months on and feeling more confident, I thought it would be a good exercise to revisit the design and make a larger version…….. Riverside Trees II.  This quilt is 68 x 108 cm and I’ve aimed to give the scene more depth by placing forests in the background and a near side bank with dried grasses in the foreground.

The main tree line is applied with forests behind

The main tree line is applied with forests behind

The colour of the sky was too dominant first time round so I’ve made it subtle and gone for texture rather than colour this time.  The trees are pretty much the same as previously but I felt the original version was too fussy so I’ve reduced their number from 7 to five and left off the smaller branches.  I think this has created a stronger overall image.

Auditioning fabric for the fields and river bank

Auditioning fabric for the fields and river bank

The lighter hand died fabric was chosen for the field and a chiffon scarf for the riverbank

The lighter hand dyed fabric was chosen for the field and a chiffon scarf was distressed and used for the riverbank

The river is applied

The river is applied

Finished Riverside Trees II

Finished Riverside Trees II

With this one finished I’m going to concentrate on my sketch book over the next couple of weeks and work on some new designs.  The latest quilt challenge to be drawn out of the hat at Cranwell is to produce a piece with the theme “a walk in the Black Forest” so that will be right up my street!