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!
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.
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!
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…..
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.
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…..
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
December went by in a bit of blur, as I’m sure it did for lots of folk, but with the festivities now over and life back to normal I’ve time to catch up and record whats been happening creatively over the past month.
December got off to a festive start with seven ladies taking part in my Felted Fairy Workshop at the Alford Craft Studio. We began by wet felting the head, arms and body.
Once these were dry Boucle yarn was added for hair and this was dressed with a seed bead tiara.
Finally the fairies were given a needle felted bouquet to hold. They all worked out beautifully and one of the ladies has since been in touch to say she went on to make another six for friends to put on their Christmas Trees!
The second week in December saw me holding a textile workshop in Langton by Spilsby for members of The Spirit of Sutterby group. The group consists of approx 70 Members (if I remember right!) and has formed with the goal to explore the village of Sutterby, research its past, record its present and help with its future.
This was a great opportunity for me to get involved in a local collaborative project and hopefully my workshop provided some inspiration and guidance to help move the textile side of their project forward.
The group was keen to try out techniques they hadn’t used before and had fun with the heat tool and soldering iron, distressing polyester fabrics, Lutradur and Tyvek as well as painting and layering their fabrics.
It was a busy day and although no one got their piece finished I was assured they had a great time and were taking away lots of new ideas. I’m looking forward to seeing how these translate to the Textile Landscape they will produce for the Sutterby project.
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
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!
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