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Textile Artist, mid dither.

20190503_150538-collageLIMBO. I am amusing myself with the big stonelandscape- now called Bob. I have worked hard on it but it still feels as if I am waiting for the some thing else to happen.  

Setting up for the sale event this coming weekend is not helping me to focus – selecting and hanging the work was the easy part, trying to publicise it on social media is frying much needed braincells.

If you would like to come it is running Sunday and Monday in Acomb, York – contact me for details.

Hopefully when that is over it will settle down and I should be able to close the door on the junk/storeroom without fear of avalanche.

I am also toying with a floral theme for workshops for the Viking Loom (most strange). Mad, crazy things full of texture and colour, or should they be serene and controlled and terribly elegant? No prizes for guessing which. Doing samples tomorrow, so bye bye clean carpet.

The head is definitely not fully engaged- probably good thing – I keep having random thoughts and distracting myself-  seeing as I work with an uncaged powertool (sewing machine) should I be wearing protective clothing – steel toecapped boots? hard hat? One of those chain mail gloves that butchers wear to protect against the unguarded blades (scissors) puncturing tools (awl, needle, pins). Can I have one of those saggy tool belts constuction workers wear? Hmm, problem with being a textiley person is that the braincell is now wondering if I could make it in some left over chintz? And which interfacing?

But as for Bob? He is blocking the hallway at present. img_20190505_161610861I did subtle paint treatments to add depth and more stitching, yet random thought this morning was it needs drama, big gestures, lines etc. String didn’t hack it, so out with the strips of waste sari silk. I can’t decide if this is a good idea or not, or how many or few, so placed it where it would cause maximum disruption and I can not ignore it. (Plan well and truely scuppered by going out to the Pocklington area Open Studios for the day. Some lovely textiles on show, but fell for  a little lino print.)

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Scratching Hare – Pete Edwards

 

 

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New Beginnings.

It feels like waking after too deep a sleep. I sat down to do a bit of stitching  and have just come to a stop  roughly 6 hours later.  My fingers hurt, I am stiff  and tired. I think I remember enjoying it, I think there was a brief lunch stop too.

The piece that caught up my attention so completely is a coming together of several ideas and processes, and is BIG.  The stone landscape ideas meet text, meet pattern and meet string.

The plan formed as I discovered a torn blank canvas when clearing out after Open Studios.  Rather than discard I decided to try  an experiment and work with the damage. I also had some reject pieces of cotton lawn with text  and stitch on from a previous good idea, and well they had to be made to work.  As you do.

 

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Glued and inked, drying in the garden . See the hole on the right?

The pieces were soaked and glued onto the canvas  letting them form mini landscapes of lumps and bumps, shapes and patterns, then a fair amount of acrylic paint and ink were sploshed (carefully) around.

 

 

 

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What do you do with a large canvas with holes and glued on wibbly bits and thin paint? Well stitch it of course.  There is no point in doing things by half. Lots of little holes….

It is still on the stretcher so all hand stitched. The scale required really chunky yarn so out came the hairy string I use in the garden-  all of the fancy wools and cords  looked too slick.  I am now using 2 strands of  unbleached cotton yarn and making denser areas of stitch, just about to begin stitching across the hole.

This is  quite intuitive in approach, letting things happen and responding to them, yet there is  direction. I intend to add more layers of paint, some monochrome to absorb some underlying colour, some layers of thin washes/glazes so that the colours float, haven’t really decided.  It may well depend on the weather – I will paint it in the garden if fine so I can be really messy and the colours used will be stronger in sunlight! There may be fabric added to extend the textures but I think I want this to be sparse. How it will look in the end I will tell you when I get there. Whether it will come off or not  is not truely important, this is a learning curve crossed with a twitchy fingers project – it is all about the doing.

And as for everything else?  I have signed up to do Staithes Festival in September, have submissions for a few other things out there and am waiting to hear back. The York Textile Artist group have a show in July, a new exhibition in November in York and  are already booking venues in 2020. My own little sale event is  getting closer –  I have found more of the older work that I would like  to move on so instead of a tasteful selection  I have 2 wall fulls to sell!   I will have to tidy up again.  Contact me if you would like an invitation. img_20190426_082332

York Open Studios Countdown

logosecret tree textiles (2)Somehow I feel aggrieved that YOS has snuck up on me.  Oh no it hasn’t, we all cry. I have been posting and distributing  brochures for weeks.  All of the major work is done, there is some stretching and framing to do, I could get more things printed and get other bits tweaked but I am not sure.  Something about 2 weeks to go gets me anxious that 3 weeks to go didn’t.

Little Things Made and To Make – –

  1. img_20190217_103939266Pot sleeves.  The prototype is growing on me.  That it is covering up an upside down lampshade I use as a brush pot may influence my response.

2.   Two bookcovers have been made out of old  sketches.  An old img_20190322_163111347piece I have fallen out of love with will be next to be chopped.  These are a very basic design,  slip covers, but  are time and material greedy. They also require straight lines and measurement, it is like being back in school.

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3.  The printed fabric – still debating about how to use it. The scarf has had mixed responses (mostly from me) but at least is a fair make even with the topstitching. I have lined it with a very soft fine calico ( bit too bright but….) I have one more full width of the double  mirrored design – scarf 2? and a strip of single mirrored which could end up as book covers – eek, or pot sleeves – ok, or be sectioned off  individually – easiest to do but then what. Would quite like to hand embroider over the central stand of trees….. Sounds like a comfy sofa and decent film kind of job. hmm –  potential.

4.  Individual stitched cards,  trees using the mini transfers I made earlier.   img_20190324_160227065b2

 

5. More Landscape Books – volume II & III at least – much more like fun.

6.  Anything else I can think of.  Maybe a scarf or two?   Must not forget  samples for the workshops in April and May…….   oops, the list is growing…..  Haven’t even got to the pricing, hanging, blurbing, admin, invites, hoovering, the annual window washing…….

Happy Christmas

middlesbhut I have definitely survived the Mid-winter Hut in the Middle of Middlesborough  experience but it has taken quite a while to organise the house back to some semblence of order.  Now most things are sorted – all now have some where to go and somewhere for me look when I can’t find them.

It was good to  see a selection of old and new work together, to see the constant and also progressive elements, and to see how a new audience respond. They were not looking for art, not looking for textiles, I was in their patch rather than them coming into mine, and the response was either blank, disbelief or real enthusiasm, one guy went and fetched his friends and then his family to have a look! (Didn’t buy anything though,  still waiting for my millionaire to roll up).  Can’t really compete with the Reindeer Parade or hot street food.

So I have put all of this year’s efforts up at home, just to see where I have got to,  and…. it doesn’t fit. I need a bigger wall, in fact 2 bigger walls. The snapshots do not include the larger pieces or the last winter walks offering.   Very surprised. Rather smug.  Bit confused. My perception of  the last months seems askew, the pictorial is as strong as the abstract.  Some of the tangents  do seem less tangenty.  Since I stopped doing the pure  process based things  the 2 extremes are working together, a bit forced in the hybrid pieces but more comfortably in the newer bits – like the Winter Walks.  And as for the basics – use of stitch, use of colour and surface , they are dotting about all over the place.  Perhaps  the separation was a good thing, it let the ideas about how I should work get tested out and now I am reverting more to how it is natural for me to work without over thinking.fBrammerWinterWalk

One thing is certain, this is a cyclic trend. I have to test, to try, to ask. And don’t always see the answers immediately.  Above is Winter Walks, I think it is finished now, even quilted it a little. It has come quite a long way from the mangled thing shown last post. Next post I think should be his life history.

Think is definitely time for Christmas. Hope you all have a thoroughly enjoyable festive season and  recover quickly from the New Year celebrations.

ps new workshops are listed on my website and the frantextiles facebook page, plus some sale items.

Texture Workshop

The next 2 weeks are  to be spent exploring textures in the workshops-  looking at raising and lifting surfaces, adding in and taking away.  Mixing techniques and combining processes to make that shift away from craft into art textiles. Workshops will run on Wednesday and  Friday  of the following week.

Contact if you are interested.

Up comong events –

York Textile Artists at the Cemetery Chapel, York,ytaexhibflyer100

Askham Bryan  event

Standing in a hut in the middle of Middlesborough in December

Also breaking-ish news – will be doing the YOS19 next April.yos19

Poppies

york textile artist logotmbBeen  dotting about and fairly busy, so the only sewing I have done this week is a distraction…is it possible to have pre-emptive brinkmanship?  Talk about organised,  actually made these for an exhibition  I am part of over Remembrance weekend in November.  We are at the Chapel in York Cemetery (beautiful Classical style building and not at all creepy) on Remembrance Sunday – which going to the hundred years since the end of the First World War.

There are 9 of us exhibiting as a textile group so it seemed appropriate to make a hundred poppies between us and hopefully sell them with the funds going to the British Legion.P1180230

These were fairly simple to make, technically a bit twitchy, but pretty effective.

The idea was to make simplified, wearable fabric  variations based on the iconic British Legion poppies. The fabric is a quite light weight fulled wool, which gives it a kind of felted , matted surface so it shouldn’t fray(!) The stitching is intended to give shape and modelling rather than aiming for  decorative thread surfaces.

The problem with free machining is that it causes distortion  as the stitches pull the fabric. This is what I am using to give the 3D shape to the flowers.  I did try with different threads but settled on a very thick top thread and a standard dressmaking thread underneath. The imbalance gave the most exaggerated distortions

P1180231but it took a bit of fiddling to get the tensions right.  The spiral pattern made cones, the petals created  lumps and bumps and it all worked best on a solid piece of fabric not individual petals. I did try, but kept falling off the edge as the fabric constricted so spent forever digging bits and tangles out of the needle race. (Pah)

The finished ones have silk velvet centres and brooch backs. They are simple, direct and hopefully effective enough to be attractive, and to take their place in the group piece.

The new season of workshops is out now – check the Want to Try tab for more details. There are fewer, different  timings and prices, but still in York , small, informal and friendly.

 

 

 

Open Studios in York

The event is here! One weekend done, one to go! Venue 23 is amazing- I am biased, but you are all invited. The colour scheme is Cotton White above, and Potting Shed below the picture rail.

It is always hard work, time consuming, and fun. People I would never usually meet but who share an enthusiasm for textiles wander through the door looking just as normal as can be, and just reveal their interests through  conversation.  Enjoyed doing a few quick demonstrations – even had a couple of people having their very first go at freehand machining……  Probably Malcolm the Bernina has behaved like a gentleman.

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Most common question so far – how long does it take?

Most difficult –  Where do you start and how do you develop it….  Thankfully have a little cycle of photos going on the TV that I can burble through.

Major points of interest – use of colour, use of text, water soluble fabric.

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Things I regret – trying to clean the windows (quality smears). Also the temperamental behaviour of my laptop/internet!  – If you are trying to contact or follow me on facebook – just email……

Still waiting for my millionaire to come through the door and insist on buying everything ,  I would resist of course, at least for a minute or two.

Most amazing thing – people are so nice about not wanting to walk in on the ex-beige carpet and get it dirty.  If only they knew……

 

A  new set of workshops are just about to be published – email for a copy if interested.