Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Applique with Janet

In yesterday's workshop Janet suggested needle turning onto a stabiliser backing. This way I can make several items and decide on placing later on, which is a good way of working for me.
It's also the first time I've experimented with needle writing, which I found very difficult but rewarding. Earlier this year I saw Rosalind Wyatt demonstrating at Art in Action and, as I watched her stitching old letters onto cloth, I was struck by how she managed to retain the character of the original handwriting...I think I'm going to be stuck at the printing stage for a while!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Finding Inspiration in "Pleasing Decay"*

*A term John Piper Used to describe ancient crumbling buildings.
I like the patched ghost arches in these walls... 
And the way the last of the delicate tracery on this church door is valiantly clinging on...
But I don't think Piper would have approved of the bright plastic alarm warning sign nailed to it:
Is it ok to compromise the aesthetic integrity of something in order to help preserve it?

More Experiments with Free-Machine Embroidery

This was an experiment in directly translating elements of my moodboard. The top portion is from a Kurt Schwitters collage, the left greens and yellows are from a Judy Buxton seascape and the white outline of the arches are inspired by John Piper. I quite like the effect of the fancy stitches  in free-motion mode - they add energy.
With this one I had fun playing with colour and density.
A fantasy archscape...or a row of tombstones?

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Lacey Arches

I'm having fun playing with different materials and techniques just to see what happens.
I free machine stitched onto transparent soluble stabiliser, trapping some bits of old silk scarf.
After dissolving the backing I sandwiched the 'lace' between two layers of sheer polyester and machine stitched the flower design over that.
 A seam ripper was a great tool for cutting through the polyester layer and tearing the lace apart, as scissors created too neat an edge.
The result was a bit flat and insipid, so the next stage was to add some hand stitching to all three layers:
Mmmm... More needed...a splash of colour, maybe some burning...

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Regular Pattern vs Random Marks

We experimented with different printing methods in the last class with Janet. One of my more effective efforts was the potato print above, using ordinary printing ink onto an onion-skin-dyed hanky. But... It hasn't inspired me to add any stitching.
I used another piece of onion-dyed calico to clean the potato block between colours and mop up any mess with the result that it inspired lots of machine stitching: 
I added a couple of squares of potato printed linen on the bottom right to add texture, used a piece of old blouse for stability and really enjoyed letting my machine wander at will. I then applied it to the old table cloth, with a further layer of very fine tea-dyed hanky, fusing it all down kantha style. I like the contrast between the rough feel of the machine stitching and the softer, more flowing hand stitching.
I had another go at printing in a regular pattern with better stitching success:
Shop bought stamp on the last remnant of an old linen skirt, free-machine stitched. I still prefer the more chaotic effect though...

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Holiday Makes

We stayed with my parents during the holidays and in amongst all the cycling and eating that we get up to when we're there, I did some 'proper' sewing too. My Mum wanted a cushion to finish off her newly re-decorated study, so, using Janet's tutorial, I made this one out of the left over curtain material. 
My daughter was inspired by Mum's old peg pinny that she always wears there... make a lovely new one:
And I used a software program to design this embroidery. I stitched it out on a sheer net so my Dad can see to position it on his work:
And now I'm ready to get back to experimenting with cloth and fibre. While I've enjoyed making these things, I've confirmed to myself that what I most relish is creating the surface design in the first place...

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Embroidering on Porcelain

Porcelain tea light made by my Father. 
An experiment using a computer generated embroidery that I stitched onto a sheer net curtain. Dad pressed it into a soft porcelian slab and then rolled the slab around a tube before firing. The bright eye is where the stitching pierced the clay. I like this combination of modern and traditional techniques - the precise and the obviously hand-made.

Saturday, 24 July 2010


Earlier this year I found myself without wrapping paper for a friend's birthday. Being in the middle of studying for exams at the time, and needing a creative break, I gave myself 3 hours to make a basic wrapping cloth.
We decided to turn it into a friendship cloth, each of us adding bits over time. Debra recently returned it with washers sewn on to secure the ties...
...and this beautifully stitched quote on the back.
Much more enriching than disposable wrapping paper!