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Revisiting the revisited – waterloo dress

 

 

 

I made this  so long ago!  A decision to hand sew and embroider  means that I still think it owes me big time!

It began as an idea of a Regency dress (think Jane Austen),  from  a Thomas Lawrence portrait crossed with fashion plates from period publications such as Ackermann’s Repository, and  also some extant examples held in various museums , plus Janet Arnold and Nancy Bradbury.  (take a look at some of my pinterest pages!)   The making is recorded in a  blogger blog

 

 

This has been revisited once in the attempt to tie costume to histories –  giving a context beyond a personal garment.  Quotations from Lady Louisa Lennox’s letters were machined around the skirt. ( She was  the daughter of the Duchess of Richmond who gave the famous ball on the eve of the battle of Waterloo)     This still too pretty for me so it sat in full sun  and was used to wipe down the windowsill !   It has marks of wear and  subtle staining now, some of the stitching has pulled and the evil muslin has escaped in  places – perfect.

 

 

I blame the Winter Olympics – I decided to hand stitch again – the innocent opening line from Magdelene de Lancey’s account ” A Week at Waterloo”, just inside the back neck  (well worth a read – have tissues and a strong stomach).     She wasn’t the only  woman there –  one  served as a  sergeant in the Prussian army,  many more  were on the battle field during the fighting, involved in the conflict, in the care of the wounded  (one had her leg broken by a musket ball as she took her injured husband away from the action.) or in support roles.   The names I  found have I added to the sides, along with a distressing quote from Charlotte Eaton’s account,  did revert to machine stitching for reasons of sanity. Some washing out is still needed – used water soluble fabric as a stabilizer and that seems to like 2 rinses to leave completely.

Waterloo Dress

Soggy frock hanging to dry.

 

 

The additions have changed the feel of the garment for me –  it is now just as much about those women as a pretty dress.

It doesn’t matter how careful I am there are always bits!

Remember- have some workshops happening – check the website for dates and info. Also  get the York Open Studios into those diaries – 10 textiley people exhibiting this year!

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Complete.

Consider now that this part is written.  I have sandwiched it between acrylic sheets so that I can’t get to it to tweak.  It is done, dialogue is over, arguments are finished. (hope)

 

fran Brammer Writing the Wolds wix

I have deliberately left it raw – elements are untidy, thread tails left on, it is after all about histories,  they are never as tidy as we would wish and will soon include now and next so don’t ever really finish.  The layers and fragmented quality is still strongly there, but that is how I see these places –  an accumulation of influences and needs , altered and adapted,  not always coherently or aesthetically.

These pieces should go on exhibition for the Literary festival in York in March and then for the York Open Studios in April.YOS Logo Short_CMYK 2018  Framing decisions are being painful – every thing looks wrong, maybe need more marmite in my life- but it is going to happen, I need to see them out and about.

Looking at them all as a group  is quite unsettling. I have been wolding now for the best part of a year and it is still changing.  I tried to put the slideshow in order, starting with Huggate – strong colour and pattern, then through the abstracts to the last 3 written ones. There is a sense of belonging together but only if you see them all.  Spot the summer ones and the winter ones!

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I have also put a few more dates on my website for starters’ workshops and for the more adventurous, please take a look.

 

 

 

 

Still writing the wolds-

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Bit of a mad week  working on other things so this only happened on Sunday.  I was invited to have some work on display in the Merchant Taylors Hall in York for the Residents’ Festival – when locals get to play tourists around our own city .  They were happy for me to bring a machine and work in progress and be actively stitching as well as engaging with the visitors.  Great idea, shame I forgot my glasses ( needle threading courtesy of the neighbouring florist), but it was good fun, lots of chat, really well looked after and the work made a bit of a leap forward as well.  Still got lots to do but it is now showing its bone structure and only fleshing out remains. Should be done by the end of the week.

The question is how much of the writing do I want to see, how much should be legible?

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I am not sure about the long area of hatching either. Might be done by the end of the week. Now looking at some of transitions, it may be the end of next week.

I am taking the series into Blossom Street Gallery to see if the will display all/ some of them for the literary festival in March. It will be good to get some feedback.

And of course there is the Open Studios to look forward to  in April!YOS Logo Short_CMYK 2018

Progress

 

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Well the body of the piece is together, all the water soluble is washed out, leaving great water marks. As predicted some of the lettering has unravelled, decided to encourage it in the background areas to start a sense of aerial perspective. I have been plucking at the trees on the right ready to work over on machine, even did some hand stitching on the big one to give a bit more colour and texture/pattern to it.

The text is White’s (1840) in the background, Baines’s Yorkshire (1823) in the middle and a Domesday Book translation for Pocklington (1086) in the front-  thank heaven for Google books and the local library.      Now thinking that it should have been the other way round, the oldest at the back as the history the other two were built on. A bit late now, live with it decision made.

Next on the task list is to establish the landscape fully, bringing in more colour and surfaces. The lettering is to be part of the land, not separate from it or superimposed upon it. Lots to do, but I think the back of it is broken now and it should be faster and faster towards the finish now.

Having ideas is such a pain,  If this was a simple, straightforward image it would be done-ish. I’ve been at this for weeks and it is just getting to the picture stage! Pah.

Progress may be a little delayed, so I don’t recommend the holding of breath. Am having a bit of a self pity wallow post dentist visit, and have promised to paint the workroom! Double Pah.

Writing the Wolds

Happy 2018!

Some things do not change – I am still working on this series, trying to respond to the landscape in more than an oooo isn’t it pretty,  or a purely practical factual way.  These local hills are self contained, even a little out of place – chalk uplands happen across the South of the country, very few outcrops occur in the North. They are less dramatic than their more famous neighbours of the Moors and Dales, but have their own charm and character.

 

The latest effort has its own charm too. Somewhat eccentric and well hidden charm.

The premise was simple. The research I have done threw up contradictions, this landscape and  attitudes to it  are quietly dynamic. What we see are the results of time, fashion and economics , as well as the odd ogre events such as William the Conqueror’s Harrying of the North. I wanted to include some of these things into the landscapes that I create.

 

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This is the background, textured cloth backed with

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Outside, on the washing line during Storm Eleanor!

calico and covered with machined excepts from  Wm White’s 1840 History, Gazetteer and Directory of the East and North Ridings of  Yorkshire. This describes the transition to enclosures and plantations of trees, also the changes in crops and land use. He was optimistic, changes were happening for the better, the place had a future. The rayon thread was perhaps a bit too subtle – an attempt to stain and dye took the newness off the cloth but no more. It also caused wobblage and bobblage of the surface fabric making it even harder to read! I can’t press it out yet – it would fix the marker pencil I’m using.

 

 

On top of this are going to be scraps and remnants from previous landscape work. Shredded and frying edges should help to bring the layers together…..P1170725 still experimenting…

The foreground text is a translation from the Domesday Book about Pocklington, how it belonged to Earl Morcar valued at £56 but now to the King at £8. Many manors are described as “waste” – still not having recovered any  taxable value since the Harrying. This is worked out from the remnant onto a layer of water soluble fabric (prob not a good idea). P1170740Strips of colour and texture are going to be added to give more form to the landscape so some of the words may well get lost, others may unravel (will), but a few may still be there. A little like the evidence of Norman occupation of the Wolds themselves.

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More fragments and excepts  are planned – the trees to the left are earmarked for Baines’s Yorkshire , but all of this is going to be worked over with a pictorial landscape- knowing how much to do and in which sequence is giving me a head ache. I have tried ways of stitching the layers but have yet to get it work, text on the water soluble is also hit and miss, the misses offer as many  opportunities as the text does. So how much effort do I put into getting it to work? How do I wing it and just work with what happens?

And then framing this series ……. nightmare……

But new opportunity for workshops to be investigated, showing work at the Merchant Taylors for Residents Weekend v soon,  some pieces to sort for Literature week for the gallery in town, and of course Open Studios to work for! So why don’t I feel busy?

Twisting Tree demo/tutorial

This one of my favourite teaching things.  The sewing is really straight forward but the effects can be amazing.

It begins with these drawings – with and without foliage.twisted tree drawing

Drawing up is simple – trace through your fabric (lean up against a window for an instant light box)  Fancy pen required? Nope – it will all be sewn over. Lots of detail ?- nah – wriggly lollipop with a bad hair day.

 

 

First stitches set the twisting movement throughP1060987 the trunk so no worries about sewing straight – don’t even try. Layers of stitch are built up as the tree’s framework is established. A spot of stabiliser underneath if the fabric pulls may help.

 

 

 

 

P1060988The canopy starts with organised scribble in a strongly contrasting colour (purple), and extended in a glorious sludge colour.

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The stitch pattern is fairly consistent – cross hatched blocks- but varies in scale and density. Top dress with greens of mixed hues, add in sharp colour to lift if needed,  finish off the trunk with contrast tones – I used navy  and a quick twiddly bit of grass to anchor it and it is done!

A good press and…..   ta da……

machine embroidery.freehand machine embroidery sample

This is quite a simple do, yet can be so effective. It is a good learning curve  and can be adapted to all skill levels. I love that the equipment list is basically machine, foot, hoop, pencil. Materials list is also slim,  fabric (  I used a scrap of rust dyed cotton), threads – what ever you want/what ever you have got, and possibly a bit of stitch and tear.

Fun.

I have been watching craft TV again –  this is available  in four easy instalments of oodles of money,  10% discount for people I like or who have daft cats. Just quote discount code DUNKINGBISCUITS.

 

Perhaps I should offer it as a kit? Hmm. Need a new packet of biscuits to consider that one.

Self promotion spot-  Last week or so  of the Ripon Great North Art Show

Last but one week of the Knaresborough  exhibition in Art in the Mill.

First week of the Micklegate Art in the Window Trail-  You MUST go into Spelmans bookshop. I had forgotten just how fabulous it is ( think Edwardian woody splendour)

Please Ask!

Well it is done.  I rough framed it on Wednesday and so far have not wanted to tweak or alter it in any positive way, so it is declared ‘finished’.

fran BrammerWalking in the Wolds

Quite like it, more in some areas than others, but that will true of everything I do.  The leaching of the colour out of the shiny yellow is still a niggle, The  upper sections are duller (more subtle) than intended and the patterns fainter (more sophisticated and delicate). A  general ‘PAH’ is warranted.

I think is does have some of the qualities I was after, it isn’t a single image but a story of many places, a path through the dry dales, seeing the harvesting patterns curving over the hill tops, the paths carved into the hillsides.  The colours aren’t as strong as I initially wished, Pah about the yellow, the orange and blue/green are  softer and perhaps too close in tone. The purple line works wonders, it wakes up these colours and helps to bring the disparate shapes together. All carefully planned  of course. Well, nearly planned. Rather more just hoped for. The questing line wandering through

layerwolds

A quick go at layering photos from the walk, just to see which shapes and patterns dominate. Is it similar to the textile version?

the landscape is a bit of a recurring theme, it is nice to have it back, even if this time it is flat across the picture rather than seeking distance.

 

Shame in a way, it has missed going to Knaresborough, Ripon or into York.  It shall have to sit on the wall for a while and wait for its first public appearance.

I have a strange compulsion to call it Bruce.

Oh dear.