Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Small Stitched Collage


Shown above is another mixed media textile piece I started at the Knitting and Stitching Show at the NEC earlier this month during a workshop with Claire Martin. I like its rich colours and touches of glitz, and I enjoyed mixing running stitch with oversewing and feather stitch.
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Rags Repurposed


Once, I bought a pair of linen trousers on eBay. They were a lovely, washed-out navy colour and they proved a useful and favourite addition to my wardrobe. Sadly, in time, they went the way of all trousers...


Worn out they might be, but I was loth to throw away this lovely cloth, and I decided to make myself a studio coverall,or craft apron out of the good cloth in my trousers.


Yesterday was the day, and my new-from-old garment took about three hours of gentle activity from start to finish. The remaining cloth is tiny scraps, so not even much waste came from this refashion.
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Thursday, 18 September 2008

Developing a Mixed Media Piece

A week ago, I spent the day at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. It was the Knitting and Stitching Show and, having missed it altogether last year, I had booked this plus two days at Alexandra Palace next month. The NEC version is a smaller, more intimate affair while Ally Pally has more to see and do but is more of a scrum.

I also booked to attend some workshops there. Sadly, the person leading the first one I'd booked had broken her leg and wasn't there, but I rebooked on another with Claire Martin. She's a good tutor who runs an enjoyable session, so I took a second one with her as well. This was on mixed media work, and the pictures below are of the piece I began.

As you can see, I started collaging and patching different fabrics and papers, using glue and stitch to grow the piece, and layering up various items as I went. I have worked with paper before but this felt very different from my usual way of working, in an enjoyable way. It was interesting to make marks with stitches in a very carefree manner and to juxtapose the different textures available among the materials provided.

I worked a bit bigger than I might have done. The next stage was to apply gesso to integrate the surface elements, but I decided to do this at home once I had completed the stitching.

The gesso makes a considerable difference so that the individual elements are relatively subdued, and I am now thinking what to add next. It's one thing to follow a prescribed process and another to choose one's own direction. I'm contemplating moonshadow mist and either gilding with leaf or judicious and careful rubbing with treasure gold to emphasize areas of texture, but other possibilities, like Quink and bleach or reactive iron paint and rusting medium are also worth thinking about.

Unfortunately this day trip was very tiring and I've still not fully recovered from this excursion. However, there's no harm in taking time to think before progressing the work, and the day was so worth it.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Fibre Play

I've been borrowing my friend Gill's embellisher again (as I didn't get one for my birthday) and I have been enjoying playing and experimenting with some of the things one can do with this machine.


This is a needlefelted crazy patchwork piece comprising may pieces of denim, some painted and printed, pieced, overlapped, cut and repieced again. There are interesting things happening with the texture of the fabric and I've learned a lot from doing this one.


This little rondel is made of scraps of natural wool pencil rovings and wensleydale locks, using the embellisher to forge joints and interconnections. The scraps are from my Doormat piece, which had a haircut after working, and I wanted to try to use the prunings. There will be more experimentation with these materials but I'm sure Gill will need her machine back very soon. She really is a most generous friend.


Meanwhile, I took the opportunity to do some Extreme Knitting yesterday, when
Cornish Organic Wool had a stand at the Soil Association's Organic Food Festival in Bristol. It was jolly hard work, more akin to rowing than knitting! However, I was determined and managed to complete a row. I woke with very painful shoulder joints this morning and wondered why - it was only when composing this post that I realised the cause!