Category Archives: textiles

Joomchi

Our deliciously delectable December box of goodies from The Stitchbook Collective is all about experimenting with mulberry paper – a technique known as Joomchi.

Helen has sent us some sheets of paper in a variety of colours and has devised a cunningly clever way of felting them together in various ways to produce a fabulous textured surface that can then be stitched.

These are the pieces I have created – before adding any stitchingjoomchi

the one top left is much more see-through held against the light

paper felting

I haven’t been able to completely wrench myself away from rust dyeing

rust dyeing, keys

and found some more goodies in the hardware shop to play with.

nails, washers

This piece of felted paper seemed to go really well with the rust and red wine dyed cotton curtain lining

joomchi and rust dyed fabric

I discovered that the wet paper can be moulded over textured objects to add surface interest.

This one was moulded over the top of the radiator moulding joomchiand looks at home on this piece rust dyed calico

rust dyed fabric and joomchi, textile art

I added some simulated rust staining to the green paper by painting with Koh-i-noor inks.

Just a few stitches to hold it all together and I have this month’s page of the Stitchbook done.

There is more to explore with this technique so I have just ordered some more mulberry paper from Calder Art Supplies in Huddersfield.

I might try rust dyeing the paper when it comes ……..

Rust Dyeing

dyeing rust with red wine

rust and red wine

I’m in deep!

rust and red wine

rust and red wine

I have been thinking about writing a blog post about my adventures in rust dyeing, but I’m so into it, I can’t stop to put cohesive thoughts together

rust and black coffee

rust and black coffee

So here are a few photos to give you and idea of what is going on around here

black coffee

dyed with black coffee, before washing

dyeing

after washing

rust, nails, vinegar, calico

calico, nails and white vinegar

rust dyeing

white vinegar, copper panel pins, rusty nails

I found some craft stranded threads for 40p a skein, made by Trimits, ideal for rust experiments

craft threads

I have made a start on stitching

rust textile art

copper panel pins, white vinegar and stitching

Must go and check on the pieces I left overnight…….

Scrap Happy Stitchbook

This month’s Goody Pack from The Stitchbook Collective, is all about dyeing and staining.

beach finds

It probably comes as no surprise that I have a Rust Collection. These are all pieces I have gathered over the last 5 or 6 years whilst beachcombing.

I have been waiting to use them for dyeing fabric, but every time I looked online for instructions, I came across confusing information, so didn’t have a go …. until now!

Helen Birmingham’s written instructions are clear and run alongside a helpful video tutorial. This gave me the perfect kickstart. You can still buy the kit in her online shop.

I relished getting each rusty piece out and arranging them.

flat lay

enjoying the texture and colours.rusty nails

Then the happy task of wrapping them in white-vinegar-soaked fabric.

fabric dyeing with rust

Leaving them overnight was a challenge – I’m SO impatient

Some were stacked on a trivet above my cooling wood-burning stove to speed up the process

rust dyeing stack

I also stained a few bits of paper for collage at the same time.

oven rust

The larger pieces were put on top of vinegar-soaked fabric and put it in the oven.dyeing with rust

I put the oven on the lowest temperature for just five minutes and left for a while, repeating this several times, sprinkling with white vinegar to keep it moist.

rust stain

The grid effect came from a disposable barbeque mesh, that had been left on the beach.

rust dyeing

Fun!nails in calico and curtain lining

Nails wrapped in strips of an old calico curtain and the lining were my favourite little experiments

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My intention was to dye strips of fabric and embroidery thread to use in textile artIMG_6874

– but I loved the look of the wrapped nails so much I have kept some of them wrapped

wrapped and rusted

and will use them as they are.

To preserve them, I have painted them with some old acrylic varnish found in the garage, left by the previous owner – it must be at least 15 years old, but it did the trick.

varnish

So exciting.

This is a little stitched sampler that will go in my Stitchbook.

textile art for The Stitchbook Collective

I am enjoying this so much!

Joining Kate for her monthly Scrap Happy get together.

There are lots more Happy Scrappers to check out as well.

Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
MoiraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

Have you been creative with things destined for the scrap heap? If so, leave a link in the comments of Kate’s post and join in the fun.

Tapestry Weaving Exhibition

Back in August I wrote a post entitled Interactive Art, in which I mentioned that I was hoping to go to an exhibition to see the wonderful work of Alastair Duncan.

I went!

Here is a photo he sent me of his piece for me to share with youAlastair Duncan interactive weaving

The pale leaf shapes are wire and when they are touched they play a sound.

On Sunday 20th, I went to the Exhibition in London, at the Espacio Gallery, Bethnal Green Road, curated by Margaret JonesIMG_6376

who had taken over 500 hours to weave her beautiful diptych, ‘The Fallen’

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It was wonderful to chat to Margaret and hear about her passion for weaving and how she had invited exhibitors from all over the world to be part of this exhibition.

Joanne Soroka‘s richly textured piece, ‘Another Country’,  reminded me of Australia

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The dreamy ‘Strandsong’ by Joan Baxter, (if you click on her name the link will take you to a rather beautiful video of her) reminded me of blissful hours spent wandering along the strandline, beachcombing

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I did not take the details of this striking piece – wish I had now

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And this one was more needle-weaving than tapestry but intriguing all the same

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casting delicate shadows on the walls.

If you would like to see more of the tapestries, go to the Heallreaf Instagram Page.

My favourite was Alastair’s, and I loved the interactivity of it

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As you touched the leaves it activated sounds, which you could listen to individually or if you touched two at once or several in quick succession you could layer or weave the sounds together and create a soundscape. There were a couple of sounds of people laughing which was a surprise and made me laugh too. It would have been great to have had the sounds playing out into the room so that several people could play at once.

One of the most thrilling aspects of the day for me was to meet up with two fellow textile artitsts from the Stitchbook Collective. That’s Tracey in the photo above. We all enjoyed the exhibition and meeting and chatting to Margaret and afterwards we went to a nearby cafe to chat some more about the Stitchbook Collective, and share our own textile stories.

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We discovered that we had all made a Sawdust Heart, and this created another rather special, bond. Tracey (in the middle) runs textile classes and if you are in the Cambridge area (UK) and are interested in taking a class, send me a message via the CONTACT ME page and I will pass on her email address to you.

It was such a joy to meet with two more of Helen Birmingham’s happy band of stitchers. (Cathy is another)

The link (Helen’s) takes you to an article written in the Scarborough News (annoying ads alert)

A quote from Helen from the article:

I like this quotation ascribed to the Greek philosopher, Aristotle (384-322 BC): “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”

 

39

Sometimes you don’t know what you are doing or why you are doing it until later….

In memory of 39 migrants who lost their lives in a sealed container

lift the flap of old blanket and there hidden beneath is the number 39

in memory of the 39 migrants who lost their lives in a sealed container

I was on an Art Course last week and on Wednesday I created this piece – today, as I realised its connections and significance, I added the number 39, painted on with my finger, hidden beneath the piece of old blanket.

The process:

Our tutor, Helen Turner, did a demonstration using this red acrylic paint. It is not a colour I usually use, so to push myself out of my comfort zone I used the paint in various experiments.

At the end of the day whilst clearing up I cleaned my brush by wiping it backwards and forwards across a piece of A2 cartridge paper

I wasn’t sure how to use the piece of canvas, so I placed it on the paper whilst clearing up and left it there overnight. It had the look of a blood-soaked piece of cloth.

The next day, I put these three elements together. The weave of the blanket going with the criss-cross of the paint on the paper. The red blanket stitch, chiming with the colour of the paint. (The blanket is one that I had collected to send to Syrian refugees a few years ago – it was so old and threadbare, I had kept it back, wondering if I could use it in some creative way.)

I did not make the connection until today, but that morning at 1am, 39 dead migrants were found in a container in Purfleet, Essex, 50 miles away from where I was staying. The container was being driven by a red and white truck.

The aesthetic we were trying to embrace is Wabi Sabi, an Eastern concept, the migrants, so we have heard, were either from China or Vietnam.

Today I was going through the artwork I had done on my course and suddenly made the connection – I added the number 39.

It is now a piece in memory of those particular 39 migrants and all the other thousands who have died fleeing from war and poverty, searching for a better life.

An Arty Week

You might know that I am drawn to all things Japanese (here are some links to my posts about my trip to Japan in 2015) and have been most of my adult life. So when I saw a course at a highly respected art school entitled Abstract Painting and Wabi Sabi I just had to book a place.line, mark, charcoal, explore

You can Google ‘Wabi Sabi’ to find a definition and will get a few different results, I fear it might lose something in translation but in the context of abstract works of art this is my own best shot: the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi, briefly/loosely translated as the celebration of materials and imperfection, leaving things unfinished for the viewer to complete it in their own experience of the piece. 

I learnt by doing, that it is also about immersing oneself in the materials, the properties of the materials and about how ones body and inner senses respond to the materials.

After booking this course, I heard about an exhibition in which a blogging friend, Alastair Duncan was exhibiting his interactive weaving, which I talked about in this post.

Alastair Duncan interactive weaving

AND THEN!

ANTONY GORMLEY at the Royal Academy – I just had to go and see that!Antony Gormley

To fit all this in I stayed in an Air BnB in Horsham in West Sussex, which had free parking and was just a 10 minute walk to the train station. In just over an hour I could be in Central London.

I drove the 3 hours to  Horsham last Saturday.

Visited the Espacio Gallery on Sunday – which I will tell you about in a future post. London gallery

There I met with 2 other members of the Stitchbook Collective – Oh SO lovely to make these creative connections!!

On Monday I travelled up to the Royal Academy for the Antony Gormley exhibition, Gormley at the RAwhich was absolutely amazing of course, but not quite so impactful as his exhibition in 2007 at the Hayward Gallery which I often think of and stays with me on some deep inner level.

And then on Tuesday I started my Wabi Sabi voyage of discovery with Helen Turner in Partridge Green, just a 20 minute drive each day from my cosy self-catering pad.

Wabi Sabi

I loved every minute! I got home yesterday.

So much to tell you about. So many photos to sift through!

Wordless Wednesday: Wabi Sabi

wabi sabi, art course

wabi sabi art course

wabi sabi art course with Helen Turner

charcoal, wabi sabi, art course

On a fabulous art course with Helen Turner this week.