Last weekend a friend and I drove down to Knebworth to see the “Artists in Residence” at Artvango. It was my first visit and turned out to be a really worthwhile day. The three textile artists demonstrating their skills were Clare Bullock (Feltmaker), Sharon Osbourne (Mixed Media) and Lynda Monk (Thermofax). Not only was it interesting to watch these artists at work but it was wonderful how they were so enthusiastic to share their advice and tips so freely.
While I was there I had my grey/lemon vessel in mind and within the first two minutes of arriving Clare had given me the answer to a problem I was having using synthetic organza with Merino tops. I wanted to include the organza as a another texture but I’d found that my fibres were not migrating through the fabric enough to bond the two together. Clare explained that using a very thin layer of fibres and rubbing, not rolling, was the best way to approach it, and it worked. Thanks for that Clare.
In another part of the studio Lynda Monk was demonstrating her use of Thermofax screens and expanding foam on leaf and hexagon shapes cut from Lutradur. What I found interesting was the fact that the wire she was using to give the leaves their shape wasn’t silver or copper coloured like I had in my workroom, Lynda’s wire was covered with white cotton. She explained that she uses this so it can be died to match whatever she is making. Call me sad but I hadn’t seen this stuff before and I was so excited I had to buy some! That was vessel problem two sorted. How to hide the wire? Colour it grey and lemon.
Opposite Lynda was Sharon Osbourne with the most wonderful collection of mixed media work on dispay. Sharon was demonstrating the use of wax crayons with rubbing plates to create patterns on fabric, the crayon is then sealed with a medium. I was standing next to another lady who, like me, works with LD students and we both agreed that having spoken to Sharon we were coming away with several ideas that we could use in future workshops. A couple of days later I tried the wax crayon technique at one of the care homes where I do craft sessions with LD adults and they loved it!
Anyway, back to the 3d piece. It’s now finished, compete with coloured wire, organza and felting. I decided that using all 3 panels would result in a vessel too large for the space I wanted to put it so I only used two of them. Once the machine stitching was finished the holes were burnt out using a soldering iron and hand stitching was added across the larger openings. The cotton covered wire was coloured to match the panels and sewn in place using zigzag stitching. I’m really happy with how this has turned out and it’s something I would definitely like to do more of, particularly incorporating felting into my work and continuing with a more abstract theme.