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.

Lutradur leaves…..

Busy making samples ahead of next weekends Forest Floor Workshop at Simply Stitch.  Today’s samples are Lutradur leaves…..

Lutradur is a wonderful fabric to work with as it doesn’t fray or tear but can be easily stitched, coloured (Inktense, Acrylics, watercolours, fabric paints, felt pens etc, etc) cut with scissors or a soldering iron and distressed using a heat tool.  It’s possible to create beautiful, lacy effects when making leaf skeletons.

I had intended to paint this leaf but it has a  ‘frosted’ look about it which I like.  It’s given me the idea of creating a monochrome Winter sample with frosted bark and grasses.

This Autumnal leaf (above) is my favourite so far….and this is the back of it…..

Tyvek Leaf…..

Today’s workshop was for four lovely ladies from the Nottingham area.  Freda and her friends had seen my Tyvek Leaf on Pinterest and got in touch to say they fancied having a go at making one for themselves.

Trisha and Carol

Freda and Pat

Non of them had used Tyvek previously so we looked at the various colouring mediums that can be applied, discussed the difference between the paper and fabric versions and saw how each reacted to heat.

With lots of chatting and laughter (hearing us from the hallway my other half swears I put something illegal in the homemade soup!) the day was gone before we knew it!

Work in progress

Each of the ladies produced some wonderful work which they will mount on their chosen papers and put in a box frame once they get home.

Thanks to all for being such eager students….I’m already looking forward to hosting you again on your return visit for Feltmaking!

Forest Floor…..

I’m currently working on samples for a heat manipulative mixed media workshop with the theme  “Forest Floor”.  This is the first sample in the series in which I’ve used painted and heat distressed Tyvek and Lutradur, combined with natural tree bark, a leaf and hand embroidery.

The first of the workshops will be held at Simply Stitch, East Keswick on April 7th & 8th.  On day one we will be painting on, and experimenting with, various heat manipulative materials.  Using an iron, soldering iron and heat tool we will be working with Tyvek paper and fabric, various weights of Lutradur and polyester.  There will be the opportunity to include hand and machine stitching in your work.

On day two we will use the samples we have made, or create new ones, adding stitching and found objects to build up a layered, highly textured piece of work inspired by the “Forest Floor”.  For more info or to book a place contact Nicola on 07969 578289 or email nicola@simplystitch.co.uk

This is a photograph of two autumn leaves and a leaf skeleton I made from Lutradur.

Autumn Leaf skeleton made from Lutradur

On April 25th I will be running a one day “Forest Floor” workshop at All Sewn Up by Debs in Horncastle.  For this session we will be using the iron, soldering iron and heat tool to manipulate Tyvek paper and lightweight Lutradur.  Once they’ve been distressed these materials will be combined with natural tree bark and hand stitching to create our beautiful, layered Forest Floor.  This class is suitable for all abilities and is a great introduction to working with Lutradur and Tyvek.  For more information or to book a place call Debs on 01507 524566.

 

Wet Felted Pendants…..

During a (rare) tidy up in my studio last month I came across some sample pieces of coloured acrylic paper with wonderful textures.

Acrylic Papers

The reason I had hung on to them in the first place is because they are so beautiful, but I couldn’t see the point in putting them back in the drawer if I didn’t have a use for them……so I needed to find one!  The result is this collection of wet felted, hand embroidered pendants with acrylic inserts.

Wet Felted Pendants

I’ve also been making solid necklaces and chunky bangles, again incorporating the acrylic papers.

Necklace and Bangle with acrylic paper inclusions

I’m a big fan of recycling, rather than throwing, and I’m now on a mission to find more things I can use as inclusions in my felting.

Seeing their finished work…..

When I’m teaching workshops I get a lot of satisfaction from motivating students and from seeing their finished work, but not everyone gets to finish their project in class.  So I get particularly excited when someone takes the time to photograph their finished piece and email it to me.  This week I’ve recieved images of Jane and Pams Tyvek Leaves, beautifully executed and framed, which they created at the workshop in Billinghay last week.

Also Deborah sent me this photo of her wonderful Bergschaf wall hanging which was made at the workshop in East Keswick earlier this month.

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!

 

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

Spalding Embroiderers Tyvek Leaves…..

Yesterday I spent a very enjoyable day in the company of a lovely group of ladies, the Spalding Embroiderers, who meet at Pode Hole Village Hall in the Lincolnshire Fens.  The group had booked me to do a workshop for them, giving me free reign to decide what we would be doing.

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I wanted to offer them something completely different and something I was pretty sure they wouldn’t have done before.  I settled on putting together a workshop to make my Tyvek Leaves.  Tyvek is a wonderful product to work with as it has so many possibilities when it comes to colouring, shaping and distressing.

My blue/green handmade leaf stitched with metallic thread and embellished with tiny coloured beads.

Tyvek leaf with metallic thread and beading.

It felt a bit of a risk as it would involve so many different stages and I wasn’t sure how the group would take to shaping wire frames using pliers.  I needn’t have worried, their enthusiasm and positivity was terrific and the hall was filled with conversation and laughter all through the day!  In fact, putting together this workshop has reminded me of how much fun I had designing my first leaves and it’s been great to get back to making more of them.

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The leaves worked out beautifully.  As you can see, everyone got their leaf to the stage of it having been distressed with the heat gun but unfortunately we ran out of time to get the holes embroidered so they will continue with that at home.  I hope to receive photos of some of the finished leaves as and when they get done.

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A big thank you to all the Spalding Embroidery ladies for making me feel so welcome and for being such wonderful, enthusiastic students! I shall look forward to seeing you all at our next workshop.

 

 

 

Wet Felting and Textural – The Fate of Constance

Wet felting and textural

Our latest challenge at the Cranwell contemporary textile group has been to produce a piece of work based on a poem.  We could use any poem, any style and any techniques, but the finished piece had to be 20″ x 15″, quilted, and it had to include lettering in some form or other.

With such a “loose” brief the first thing I decided on was that, whatever poem I chose, I would use wet felting and my finished piece would be very textural. I sat down with my sketch book and thought through some of the odd lines I knew from well known poems. Nothing lept out to inspire me until the words “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive” came into my head. I didn’t know who the poet was or which poem it came from but a quick search on Google told me it was from an epic written in 1808 by Sir Walter Scott entitled Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field.

I know very little about poetry but this surely has to be one of the longest poems ever written! It took me longer to read the poem than it did to make the quilt! You can read a potted version of the plot on Wiki, but basically it’s a story in which good triumphs over evil. One of the characters is a “fallen” nun called Constance who is condemned to death for her misdeeds and walled up alive on Lindisfarne. It was the fate of Constance which inspired my design.

Using Merino wool, the background colours were laid out and wet felted to prefelt stage, then cut into smaller pieces, relaid and felted thoroughly.  This technique is one I particularly like and the one I used in memories of a Greek holiday.

Carded Merino is wet felted for the background.

Constance’s head and torso were made from air dry clay and later painted with Inktense. The lettering was cut from Lutradur using a soldering iron and coloured with a permanent marker pen.  The first attempt at making a web was done with free machine embroidery on a soluable fabric and resulted in something that looked more like a fishermans net!   The second attempt was more successful using free machine stitching on Lutradur and burning it away with my heat gun. 

The finished quilt

The background has been free machine stitched and hand embroidered with Colonial Knots.

Detail from The Fate of Constance