Tag Archives: Helen Birmingham

Textile Tuesday: Kunin Felt

Kunin Felt, the Stitchbook CollectiveThe Stitchbook Collective, organised by Helen Birmingham of Untangled Threads couldn’t have happened at a better time. Each month a box of delights pops through my letterbox and new little textile project is born, full of learning, peaceful stitching and an opportuity to share it with the others in the Collective.

If you are looking for a small slow stitching project, I can highly recommend Helen’s kits, which come with full tutorials and all the materials needed to produce a piece of textile art.

May’s box of goodies was all about Kunin Felt and playing around with candles and heating the felt to form flowers or other shapes that took your fancy.

I was a bit stumped to start with and could not work out a design I wanted to create, so I turned to Pinterest and found this post which inspired my design.pinterest, felt, B Zwickler

I laid out some pieces of shiny cord included in the kit an added my own Sari waste cord which I got from YarnYarn, and couched them onto the black backing felt.Yarn Yarn, felt

and gradually built up the design.

felt design

A fun month with bright colours and playing with fire, fabulous!

Have you been playing with textiles this month, or maybe you have some archive posts about textiles you would like to share. Just pop a link in the comments, I would love to see them.

Textile Tuesday happens on the first Tuesday of each month.

Textile Tuesday: Chindi

slow stitching on chindi rags

This is one of my samples to go on April’s page of the Stitchbook I am making, as I follow Helen Birmingham’s wonderful guidelines.

This month’s kit is a particular delight.The Stitchbook Collective, April

And includes a small piece of Chindi rugchindi rug, rags

Pulling out the fabric pieces and ironing them is like finding treasure

rags

all those disparate patterns, all harmonising together

tacking

The serendipity of finding the patterns within the rug intrigued me so much I bought another by mail order

chindi rug

and found these patterns inside

chindi rug scraps

Very different but no less exciting. I am going to have fun stitching on these.

I am loving this 12 month course, each month offers new techniques and ideas. Each kit is still available in Helen’s shop.

Do you have any textile adventures to share with us this month?

Please leave a link in the comments to your Textile posts – current posts or archive are all welcome.

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.”

 

The Stitchbook Collective: Texture 2

The Stitchbook Collective

As you might remember, I have joined The Stitchbook Collective: a year long adventure in stitch with monthly Workshops created by Helen Birmingham.

In September’s Texture Pack we were sent a small pack of factory waste threads to play with. Helen provides some very helpful video tutorials and explained the process of glueing these threads together to make them into a piece of fabric that can be used in a fabric and stitch collage..

I separated the threads out into colour groups and used mainly purples for this piece

embroidery

Although it works as an example of the technique, I’m not thrilled with the design and prefer the more abstract look of the backreverse embroidery

especially when I flip the photo

the back

I can see this in paint on canvas ……..  each excercise sparks new ideas.

With the next groups of threads I kept the threads in a rectangular shape, hoping to be able to create a better design.

gluing threads together

I cut the lower piece into 4 and laid it on some waste sari silk which I got from the company YarnYarn.

textile

textures

At Helen’s suggestion (in her video tutorial) I added some netting provided in the pack

embroidery

and then stitched into it with Rice Stitch, Running Stitch and Cross Stitch.

I am happier with this one.

Here are the two pieces as they will appear on the page of the Stitchbook.page of samples, embroidery, Stitchbook Collective

I am really enjoying the workshops and the stitching, but I don’t feel I am in the creative flow of it yet. I am waiting for that magic ah-ha moment, when the creative penny drops and, well  ……. hmmm ……..  I’ll know it when I feel it.

The best bit is to be part of a like-minded supportive group, sharing what we are making and talking all things textiles – I’m really loving the sense of community that is building up.

The packs and tutorials are so well put together. It is very soothing to sit sewing whilst listening to Helen describing the process and her joy of stitching. There are a limited number of packs still for sale in Helen’s online shop, one pound from the sale of each pack goes to the mental health charity MIND.

To date £749 has been raised.

Stitchbook Collective: Texture

The Stitchbook Collective is off and running! Our first pack arrived a day early – wow! I was jumping up and down with excitement. Little packages of delight.

The Stitchbook Collective, texture pack

A present I have given myself, each month for a whole year – it feels so good.

Then the joy of opening them all up and seeing what is inside …. all there waiting to be played with….

Helen Birmingham's Tecture pack

The Texture and Starter Packs are available to buy individually, with unlimited access to the video tutorials.

As a child, I used to go and stay with my step-grandmother, I called her Dabbity, and she would have little embroidery projects ready for me to make – it reminds me of that – Helen and Dabbity have merged together in my mind, it is warmly comforting to have those memories revived.

Once again (like in the Starter Pack) there are 9 tiny samples to create – this is the first one I did

calico squares, texture sample

It inspired me to think about making a larger one, with just the large cross-stitches to hold the fabric pieces to the back ground – so I’m off to get some more calico.

The next was a loopy one – I love these loops

calico loops, embroidery sample, Stitchbook Collective

and then a spider’s web inspired piece, weaving the textured thread through the spokes

surface embroidery, woven web

I am having fun with these.

One of the best things about this ongoing project is the Facebook Group that nearly all of the 150 in the Stitchbook Collective are members off. We share pictures of our work and aspects of the processes we go through. It amazes me to see the rich variety created from much the same materials and what gems are created on tiny areas of calico.

Do you have any embroidery on the go at the moment?

Leave a link in the comments, I’d love to see what you are up to.

Stitchbook Collective

Last year I joined with  Cathy in entering a Heart in the Sawdust Heart collective exhibition. Helen Birmingham, of Untangled Threads, who organised that amazingly moving event, is now hosting another collective venture and I am delighted to be taking part.

The Stitchbook Collective of 150 people are each making a 12 page textile book that will culminate in an exhibition in November next year.

There is a Starter Pack.

Everything arrives beautifully packaged and presentedstitchbook collective

Presents arriving in the post!

Helen has made some very easy-to-follow videos which are suitable for complete beginners and experienced embroiderers alike. Anyone can buy the kits and make a textile book following her excellent tutorials – I can highly recommend them.

The whole experience is a complete and utter treat!

The Starter Pack includes instructions for some stitching samplers and a collage pack.IMG_4651

The first task is to divide a piece of calico into 9 and work the suggested stitches with different thicknesses of stranded cotton. Helen’s videos give very clear instructions, but she is also happy for us to make our samples unique to us – the main emphasis is on relaxation and enjoyment.

Whilst stitching I kept thinking of my travel doodles and how they might look in stitch

travel sketchbook doodles

It has got me wondering how I might combine the two together

Included in the Starter Pack are materials to make a collage to be sewn on one of the pages.collage kit

fabric collage

Helen even provides a drawstring bag in which to keep the work.

starter pack materials

Although the 150 places in the Collective have been filled, the packs are available to all, with access to the teaching videos. I can highly recommend them.

 

 

I’m really looking forward to the September Pack pinging its way through my letterbox.

Sawdust Hearts

Sawdust Heart

Sawdust Heart

The Dorsetshire Regiment, commemorated in this vintage heart, on loan to the exhibition.

Dorset Regt

So moving, the unsold hearts representing the unaccounted for casualties of war.

missing in action

sawdust heart, WW1, art project

Sawdust Heart, art project

So much creativity – so much emotion – so beautifully created – so beautifully curated.

I am glad to have been part of this amazing project. sawdusthrt

And still I find it hard to write about.

I only knew about the project through Cathy’s blog. Cathy has written a brilliant post about the exhibition – you can read it by clicking on this link.cathy

You can also go to the Sawdust Hearts Website to find out more

and can see a video about the exhibition here with Helen Birmingham talking you through a virtual tour of the Hearts.

Thank you to Cathy for the picture of Helen below, signing my book for me.Helen Birmingham

This is the heart Helen decorated

Sawdust Heart

Which was part of a previous exhibiton of 100 hearts, the inspiration for the 1,568 Hearts.

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I was intrigued by number 1000, I’d love to know the thinking behind this one

Sawdust Heart

Sawdust Heart

But the one with barbed wire at the top of the post is my favourite for the way it simply sums up so much.

The Exhibition ended on 30th November.

We have had an email from Helen to say that the hearts have been packed away and she is taking a much needed break until the New Year. Helen hints at the possibility of another event that will include the hearts. I do hope that happens as even though there were over 4,000 visitors in Scarborough, the project deserves a wider audience.