Applique Day

Had a wonderful day yesterday  hosting a workshop at the loom. I only took medium course chaosshopping bag of stuff and within minutes reduced the massive work table to my usual chaos!!  The purpose of the day was to explore the less ‘conventional’ styles of plonking one piece of fabric on top of another – sorry, positioning with exquisite skill and aesthetic regard.  My main problem is the understanding that my ‘conventional’ and ‘normal’ can be quite extreme for some well brought up souls.

 

 

Samples of the ‘neat’ – a safe start point-

And then it got hairier and more aggressive as I shared the  ‘other’

processes.. the ones that use sharp, pointy things, ripping open, stitch and snipping. It is always a bit of a shock to see what a complex of  messy looking  stages go into creating a controlled outcome…  My kind of normal.

I still have places on the next Stitchy Day on April 5th.  Please contact if interested.

Also will be doing a  Sketch to Stitch Day on  a Wednesday  and then the following Sunday in May.  This is a new venture, I can show people techniques but you never really understand a process until you try to bend and stretch  it to your own purposes. The day will start with an optional sketching adventure, then back to my work room and we will work at translating  this into a textile piece. I will be developing my own piece, using wet media as well as fabric and stitch to create a landscape

 

YOS 2017 Logo bleed_CMYKLarge.jpg

https://www.yorkopenstudios.co.uk/

 

Silk Mill Dress

Or …..And this was Sunday… or A story of a miniature Georgian dress.

Want to work from this ,

An account of John Lombe’s silk-mill at Derby, 1791, from Wm Hutton’s History of Derby.

“….The raw silk is brought in hanks, or skaines, called slips, and would take five or sixdays in winding off, though kept moving ten hours a day…... The workman’s care is chiefly to unite,by a knot, a thread that breaks; to take out the burs and uneven parts, ……. The threads are continually breaking; and to tye them ‘is principally the business of children whose fingers are nimble. The machine continually turns a round bobbin, or small block of wood, whichdraws the thread from the slip, while expanded upon a swift suspended upon a centre. The moment the thread breaks, the swift stops. One person commands from twenty to sixty threads. If many cease, at the same time, to turn, it amounts to a fault, and is succeeded by punishment. From the fineness of the materials, the ravelled state of the slips and bobbins, and the imprudence of children, much waste is made, which is another motive of correction; and when correction is often inflicted, it steels the breast of the inflictor.”

Wanted to base  it on an extant silk garment from the era, or a contemporary portrait. Settled on this – drawn up by Janet Arnold, so I had shapes to work from, the dress is in the Manchester collection.

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That  was 9am, it is now late afternoon. It is not quite finished, but my hands hurt so a rest is required. Did the text on the new machine (yet to be named)- a bit ambitious but well…. but all the rest is hand sewn. Haven’t managed to include all the text, but the gist is there, in various degrees of control and legibility.  The shoulder band will define the dress more clearly but I think the collar will change to something more like the LACMA redingote below ( really wanted to do this one all along, bigger scale required though, it is all in the buttons).ma-8195-WEBThis one might be love. “Midsomer Murders” has just come on,  time to vegetate until I get over it!

Update – went back to sewing to get over Midsomer.  Put in the shoulders and finished the bodice front off. Just the collar and then all the usual  dithering about getting the feel right –  ephemeral, used,, ghosting – a bit like an incomplete memory  or an echo. Certainly not squeaky new and toothpaste white!

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Don’t forget York Open Studios is on next month. The next Stitchy Day is April 5th – if you fancy having a go at the freehand thing- check the frantextiles  facebook page for details or email.

Inspector’s coat

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Focus this week has been words and dress again. Thinking and presenting is happening on the landscape side as well as workshops, but that is creative background noise. In the foreground is a mini short frock coat and waistcoat.

I was reading around the early  Factory Acts but found the texts dry and eye watering in just about every respect, so went back to writing on clothing.

 

 

The combining of primary sources with items of dress seems right. Both seem to become more, that little bit of context adds a bit life to the understanding of both. I like the idea of using simple fabric, of ‘ghosting’ the garments rather than finishing them. This isn’t about making replicas or fancy dress. That they are only part there, that what is seen and read is incomplete and only part of the whole narrative feels appropriate.  This of course leads to many mini crises, how much HAS to be done, how much is choice, how much can be undone?

I have hand sewn these, there is no seam or hem finishing or linings, but why not? I could print these documents onto fabric and cut the garments out of that and make them up like good little article of clothing. Why not machine sew?  The text is machined…. and does it matter that the words can be very hard to read? Nope, try reading any hand written document!P1060491

Some of the reasoning I think I understand, it is a touch Romanticism, a touch pragmatic, and very contradictory, of course. I want to take time, to have to sit and think, I want to share not preach or shout, I want it to be as unfinished as I am, and as the original people were in these documents. I have seen a tiny part of them, their world continued without me.  I don’t want this to be subtext driven or a historical crusade.

 

 

In part, this is trying to get below the headlines only approach, behind the obsession with dates and facts which was  my own education. I like history but not museums, nor increasingly, history books, so this is my response. This is personal, it is not meant to be deeply meaningful or massively insightful.

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Glad I have that out of my head, it can live on ‘paper’ and not clutter me up. In celebration I have just wandered up to the local shop for treats, and managed to do that with one leg of my jeans peppered with needles and pins…..not much changes.

 

 

Glum Sunday and rust.

I got rained on. Most impolite.

On the other hand had quite a productive week,  a bit bitty but things are moving forward.

p1060459 Completed 2 small painted and stitched pattern landscapes.p1060458

Still haven’t decided whether I like them or not.

Are they a little pretty?p1060470

Found a transcript from the 1832 inquiry into  factory  conditions  so am constructing a mini waistcoat with this embroidered on. Uncertain about how far to go – the garment is a part not the whole of the idea – so how proper dressmakey do I get?

Inclination says NEVER!

 

Also set up a piece of rust staining, which is close to my idea of ideal hard work.

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As a way of making unpredictable patterns on backgrounds I love it -some days a flat plain piece of fabric is a horrible thing.  For those unfamiliar with it rust ‘dyeing’ is very simple.- prewash the fabric, wrap it around anything that will rust – dunk and leave. Then rinse and fix in a salt solution.

Mine was wrapped in a wire cage I made when I wanted to hang pebbles on the wall(!). It was abandoned on the backdoor step for 3 days (see what I mean about the hard work?),  rinsed out this morning  and left soaking in a salt bath.

Have several options for how to use it but will decide when it is dry, and then change my mind,       probably.

May try staining the  waistcoat?  Ummmmm.

 

 

At Last!!!!

p1060412Inspiration Has Struck!

I stripped an old painting from its stretcher ages ago and stored it on the wall for lack of anything else to do with it..

Favourite Indian silk  skirt was no longer viable as a garment – the fabric was so thin it was unkind to take it out in public. So that had been stripped out and also hung on the other wall.

Ohhh, I wonder if……, what would happen when……. So, shut up and did it. Not really such an impossible mix – the painting was of Wharfedale  which had a long history of cotton and silk manufacturing,  even though most of the mills are demolished now, marrying the two  feels right.

p1060411There are no second chances stitching  on a painted canvas – those holes are permanent, get too many and they act as perforations and the whole thing  comes apart ( quite fun finding the point when then that happens). It also has the handling characteristics of adolescent cardboard. You bend it by thumping and never fold it completely. I feel I may now have biceps.

 

It is one way of clearing  the whole table ( cup of coffee, open box  of 500 business cards,  any passing small furry animals…..)

 

Process. Short version.

Layering  sheer and fine fabrics, stitching down, and then cutting away and shredding.

Process.  Long version.

p1060420The sky has non woven fibrous dark layer, stitched in horizontal bands to hold it and the areas of colour in the painting were sewn around. I am still working out how much to pull away, but I like the irregular mottled pattern that is emerging.

The patterned silk covered most of the middle ground with rather large blowsy red roses. Its  background matches the light on the hills  so somehow the roses work? Infallible logic!  The dark sky layer extended down across this. The stitching followed the rose pattern then areas were ripped or cut away, either the dark or both.  Some areas were just thinned out, tweezering  individual threads away to leave suggestions of colour and shapes .p1060417

 

The secondary patch of pattern is bright orange paisley ( ouch, but why not?) The  colour contrast was a bit much so out with the 2 tone organza as overlays. And the hideous ones – crimson/green,  purple/ orange…. This time stitching followed the paint shapes and colour shifts. Snip, snip, rip, and…. didn’t like it.  Lost the coherent structure, the story was compromised.   Back to the drawing and reinstate the idea of linear perspective with the tapering lines.  This is  randomly couched knitting ribbon with a wriggly approach to life,and of course, could use no pins. Quite a good game playing chase the  yarn  across the piece of work just spent far too many  hours on, but the end result is  fluid enough without looking staged.  Now I quite like it.p1060416

“Oh, how traditionally English…”

umm…     Asian  fabric with patterns of a  probably Chinese flower  and Indian symbols placed over a brutal post Industrial landscape….. ummm   romantic view of Englishness.

Like the colour shifts  due to light and viewing angle. Some of the stitching is fairly crude where I was fighting with  physically get the thing through the machine. The canvas has creased – normally this is ‘damage’ and devalues – I see it as a record of its history and as  such far more  relevant to the subject matter than happy perfection.

bsgfExhibition is still on – until the 15th March. I am there next Sunday doing a demo and trying to talk sense. (should be worth watching – but you must promise not to point and laugh)

Machine Embroidery Big Beast 2

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This is the life cycle of a large piece of machine embroidery. It began early last year. But only got going in the autumn, therefore has no oilseed rape. And the hills have grown, and the farm buildings were taken down by the developers, and……

Sketched in situ – should have taken a rubber. Under painting  with dye and ink, trying it wrapped around the stretcher (120 x 40 cm! ),then happy sloshing time in the garden – dilute ink/dye and coffee/tea stain and lots of water. Left it out for a day or two.  Lastly, drying on the hall floor, so completely in the way.

 

Can’t find the early textile photos. Layers of gauze and stitched lines suggest the landscape. The trees are more complex –  ( last week’s slideshow!)

At this point it is nearly finished, but not quite p1060369near enough. There is balancing to do, adding, and taking away. Hard to stop this becoming fiddling.

Tweaking is fine, but no one likes a fiddler.

Spot the new (deliberate) holes!  Might even see the extra orange by the trees, and the deeper tones in the landscape.  I do like this section the best, but it does make the rest look out of focus. Might be a good thing! The two on the right are the back. Again really like the tree section.

And the finished article – not yet stretched onto the frame but at least it is pressed.

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Haven’t settled on a title yet, so is known to its friends as The Big Beast 2.

Updating my mailing list – if you would like notices about my own workshops and exhibitions please send me a line – franbramm@gmail.com

Upcoming events-

Exhibition at Blossom Street Gallery, York. Til 15th March 2017.

Stitchy Day. 8th March. A day workshop exploring and experimenting with freehand machining,  held in my workroom, York.

York Open Studios 2017- last 2 weekends in April.

 

 

 

 

video traumas and stitch techniques.

Camp Hands!   Camp Hands!       Aargh…… what happened to Mrs I Like Power Tools and Ohhh, Always Wanted To Do More Welding?  It seems that when I am not watching them, they have a worrying personality of their own!

I found a video editing download that I wanted to try, so  set up my dinky camera and filmed myself working. I find it very funny but at least the software seems fairly straightforward at this very basic level.

TECHNICAL HITCH ALERT – can only upload if I pay more money…….so please use imagination……or on my textiles page on facebook     What a palaver .-https://www.facebook.com/Frantextiles/

These are the end result – part of a season series.

But is it better than a slideshow?  This of a the on going large piece  which nearing completion at last!

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Answers on a postcard please.

Either way it takes longer to record then to do the actual work.

Hopefully the Stitchy Day  workshop on Wednesday will be easier  –  no cameras or admin involved – just me, and the pupils of course.