I can’t decide whether to call my latest pieces, made from World of Wool Superfine Merino and Viscose fibres, a collar or a necklace? Weighing less than 1oz they are my lightest yet, and I really don’t know I’m wearing them, but they are perfect for dressing up a plain outfit.
The grey/pink version is held in place with a hand painted, embroidered and beaded Tyvek brooch while the grey/yellow has a matching felted flower (with a nod to Pam de Groot’s “splash”)
Where did January go? With the lifting of Covid restrictions and things starting to get back to normal the time is passing in a blur. It’s terrific to be takings bookings for classes once again and I’m looking forward to working with new groups this year. It’s also going to be great, after two years of cancelled exhibitions, to be showing my work at the Quilt & Stitch Village at Uttoxeter in April and the Big Textile Show at Leicester in October.
At the Waltham Textile group we normally have a biannual exhibition of our work but, due to Covid, it was cancelled in 2020 rescheduled for 2021 and then had to be cancelled again. It’s now been confirmed for August but in the meantime I’ve sold my main “Leaf” themed piece made for that show so recently made this mixed media “Monstera” to replace it.
I bought a 40cm x 80cm canvas with the intention of painting Monstera leaves on it and then adding a 3D Felted leaf. After drawing a template onto paper and offering it up to plan the layout I changed my mind about painting onto the canvas. It’s not something I’ve done before and the surface appeared to be a bit too textured for the look I wanted to create. Instead I sketched the leaves onto a piece of white cotton fabric, outlined them with an Inktense pencil and added a little shading. The aim was for very simple, very smooth, perfectly formed leaves looking more like curved metal than the foliage on my cheese plant. I think this was influenced by the very smooth metallic looking Tyvek seed pods I’ve been making lately.
The Monstera in our lounge looks a bit neglected, to the point that I couldn’t bring myself to photograph it for this post! Its been with me for more years than I can remember, moving from house to house, and I thought it would be nice to make a piece of work inspired by this plant….or should I say the plant it used to be!!
I don’t consider myself a painter but I do like painting on to fabric. If you need to paint precise lines a good tip is to use aloe vera (by far the cheapest) or acrylic medium instead of water when applying acrylics on fabric. This keeps the paint where you want it to be and avoids it bleeding into other areas. I managed to get a tiny bit of black paint on the lower section of the fabric but stopped short of starting all over again when I realised the felted leaf would cover it up!
My paper template for the painted leaves was 13” x 18” so to make the felted leaf I multiplied by 1.4 enlarging it to 18.5” x 24” to allow for shrinkage. Layer one was a very yellowish green Merino (might have been lichen but not certain). Layer two was a combination of various shades of grey with the yellowish green running down the centre. This was topped with a layer of dark green Merino and Ireland Viscose all around the edge and snippets of gold Viscose down the centre. These images don’t give a true representation of colours but you get the gist.
After wetting out I measured the fibres and found they had spread to approx 20” x 27”. At the fulling stage, every now and then, I put the original template on top to check for size and ensure I was keeping to the right shape.
Once it had shrunk to the correct size it was left to dry. The next stage was to add wires to the back of the leaf so it could be shaped. This could possibly have been done with directional laying of the fibres and lots of fulling but I wanted the option of posing the leaf once it was attached to the canvas and wires are a good way of doing this.
The wires were spaced out and attached on the reverse using a zigzag stitch which also formed the veins on the front side. You can see that bright yellowish green colour on the reverse of the leaf. Once that was done it was just a matter of cutting into the felt to form the individual leaves and the characteristic little holes of the cheese plant before attaching to the canvas.
Once again I find myself playing catch-up as the time has flown by and I realised I’ve not posted for three months!
August 16th was the preview evening for the newly opened Alford Arts, a beautiful gallery next door but one to the Craft Market Shop in Alford, Lincolnshire. I had dithered as to whether or not to put my work in here as I didn’t want to pull out of the shop and it didn’t seem to make financial sense having work in the two spaces that were so close together. At the last minute I decided to give it a go and it was really encouraging to have my favourite Rockpool Bag sell on the opening night!
Staffed by volunteers Alford Arts is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10am – 4pm and showcases a good mix of styles, techniques and mediums created entirely by Lincolnshire Artists. I am one of only two textile artists currently exhibiting and selling in there, the other is my friend Evelyn Jennings who creates the most wonderful embroidery’s on hand painted silk fabric such as these two, On The Steps and Hedgerow.
The following photos were taken back in August and I’m pleased to say that several of my pieces have since sold including the Monstera.
These are just a few of the other works including ceramics, glass, wood carvings, paintings and prints. If you’re in the area it’s well worth a visit. You never know, you might just see something that takes your fancy and, if you do, you will be supporting a local artist!
Alford Arts also offers a range of art workshops which are held in the gallery on a Sunday and Monday. Visit the Alford Craft Market Website for more info or to make a booking.
No, not my final show! This is the final show from members of the now defunct (CCN) Contemporary Craft Network. The group disbanded in 2019 but five of us have got together for one last time to exhibit at the beautiful Sam Scorer Gallery on Drury Lane in Lincoln’s Cathedral Quarter. The exhibition is free admission, open 10am – 4pm and runs from today until the 20th June. (There is a sixth person mentioned on the poster but unfortunately Andrew had to pull out at the last minute)
We set up yesterday and it’s looking great! There are two feltmakers, myself and fellow IFA member Moira West. There are two glass makers, Kevin Wallhead and Kate Sell, and two mixed media artists, myself and Christine Plummer. The nice thing is that although some of us share a passion for the same medium/craft, everyone of us has a totally different approach and a different style. When combined this has resulted in an interesting mix and what we are hoping will be a very successful show.
If you are reading this and you are local, or even further afield and fancy a day out in Lincoln, it would be great to have you visit. There are lots of other attractions in the area including a wealth of independent shops and bars, our fabulous Cathedral and Castle, the Little Red Gallery, St Martins Gallery and Harding House….all within walking distance of the Sam Scorer Gallery. With the exception of today and the 18th there will be a different artist on duty all day every day so why not come along, see their work and learn all about their craft.
The 2021 first quarter challenge from the Felting and Fibre Studio going out to all felters, spinners, weavers, stitchers, knitters, crocheters and mixed media fibre artists is to make something inspired by the decade 1900 – 1909.
Normally, with so many possibilities, I would spend quite some time looking at the different options but this time I knew instantly where I would be taking my inspiration from. It would be the book Art Forms in Nature which consists of stunning illustrations by the German biologist and professor of zoology, Ernst Haeckel. These illustrations were first published in 1904 and so fit the brief perfectly!
Haeckles illustrations have provided a source of inspiration for many designers and artists over the years starting with the Art Nouveau movement and continuing today.
A recurring shape seen throughout this book is the hexagon, hardly surprising as it’s everywhere we look in nature……from the basalt pillars of the Giants Causeway to honeycomb, it’s also found in the eyes of insects, tortoise shells, algae, fish scales and microscopic Protozoa…..the list goes on and on!
The first was a very simple form which can be open or closed.
The second was created using exactly the same template and resist but what was negative space on the top layer in the first sample became positive space in the second, creating a totally different look.
If you are interested in joining in this particular challenge, or any future challenges, or if you simply want to see what others have created you can find details on the Felt and Fibre Studio website
With the temperature dropping dramatically over the past week it’s no surprise that my last make of 2020 and my first of 2021 have been scarves. The beauty of both of these is that they are reversible so you have one scarf…..several possibilities.
2020’s last project was a fringed, reversible cobweb scarf made from a fabulous Superfine Merino blend called Champs Elyse from the Italian company DHG. The reverse side is a patchwork of hand dyed Margilan silk. I particularly love this and have been living in it for the past week as its incredibly soft and lightweight and goes with almost everything I wear.
As with so many of my projects, the colour scheme for my new year scarf changed and developed as I worked. Originally it was going to be a combination of colours inspired by the Champs Elyse.
Having laid out the central fibres in blue and green I ditched the multicoloured idea and I’m so pleased I did as I prefer the simplicity of this final scheme with this particular shape. It’s difficult to get a true representation of the colours in a photo but on the blue side I’ve overlaid with a very deep purple Viscose. This has created an extra depth of colour that I’m really pleased with. Apologies for the mismatched brooches…..I grabbed what I had for the sake of getting photos and posting this evening! I will be making a couple this week which will be more appropriate for the ruffle scarf.
The past couple of weeks have been very grey, damp and overcast but, unlike a lot of folk I know, I love being outdoors when it’s like this and have even found myself volunteering for extra long dog walks!! Don’t get me wrong, I love the Summer but there’s something very atmospheric about a grey damp day and the smell of the soil and vegetation underfoot.
I think I’ve been subconsciously channelling the grey into my latest work because I hadn’t really thought about changing from a gold/rust palette to a grey scheme….it just seemed to happen.
Again, although I’ve not been dwelling on it, I also think that lockdown, and the resulting lack of opportunity for nights out and seasonal parties, has maybe left me pining for a bit of glamour.
The first grey collar was one of my mystery (unlabelled) fibre blends. It’s a little hairy but extremely soft. It’s the longest of the three which gives it scope for being worn in different ways.
The second is a blend of Superfine Merino with white Bamboo fibre which creates a fabulous sheen.
The third is Superfine Merino with white Bamboo and a dusky pink Viscose fibre. I love the silky effect that’s created by the Viscose and find I’m using this more and more.
I’m now working on shoulder bags to coordinate with the collars.
Nights out are on hold for the time being but we may as well be ready for when we can get that little black number on again!
These scarves celebrate my favourite time of year, the Autumn. All around us the leaves are now turning beautiful shades of red, orange and gold, there’s the crunch of leaves underfoot and the earthy smell of damp soil. It’s time for wearing warm scarves and mittens and what better excuse for making some Autumn inspired pieces. I couldn’t resist adding a few falling leaves to a couple of them!
I was thrilled to get a phone call this afternoon to say that my “Shadows” wet felted wallhanging has been accepted by the National Centre for Craft & Design as part of their Art Club open exhibition. It will be on display in the Activity Zone from this Thursday until the 6th September.