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New Toys!

More like tools than toys really.  The choices of thread colour, thickness and quality are a major part of the vocabulary I use to build an image.

In the last creative spurt I have cleaned out a lot of thread, especially the nice, useful, basic colours and some of the fancies. I decided it was splurge time so went for a coordinated set to try out with….  I have not dealt with this brand before, nor have I seen it in my usual suppliers but was feeling brave, so,  thanks to the magic of the internet, these new babies came knocking, courtesy of Wonderfil ( and Mr Paypal).

First impressions – ooooh.  Shiny. Thin. Pretty. Want to stroke them……P1170407

The main local competition is Sulky/Gutermann Rayon ( can buy from local shops((big tick)) or Madeira Rayon, outlet in Ripon (20 odd miles away, boo) or online.  All claim to be 40wt and Rayon, and all want me to use them for machine embroidery.

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The blue/green is Sulky, the green across it is W’fil. Spot the difference.

 

Visually the Wonderfil looks finer and with a less noticeable twist. The colours and lustre are soft, less strident than the remnants of Sulky and Madeira that I have left. Worked out to about £1.40 per 100m, but the really big question is how would the machine take to it? How would it sew? becomes expensive if it is not used.

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The white is Madeira, the others are cotton or polyester. The pale olive is W’fil.

 

The new-ish machine (Probably Malcolm) has been getting a crash course in don’t be fussy and shut up and get on with it approaches to stitching and is bearing up very well under the onslaught. Swapped the new stuff in, threaded it and stitched, no adjustments, no frills or favour. Sewed brilliantly. Considering it was Moon thread on the bobbin it took to the machine very well. I have had trouble with the Madeira 30wt  fraying on the needle in the past ( should really buy specialist needles but….)  but while this looked and felt just as soft, it has behaved with perfect manners. Even switched to bobbinfil without any hassles. This is my kind of sewing. Plug it in and go, no temperament, no fiddle.  The piece was a reworking of the Dancing Trees, so multiple rough, uneven layers of fabric, enough to test the stitch consistency of any set up.

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See how the delicate lines merge in?

 

Concerns – It does sew very fine – I guess the 150ms won’t cover a huge amount of ground.  The sheen can be a distraction, the colour doesn’t work in the same way as a matt thread would and tends to show up  much lighter and not as rich in tone when in a rugby scrum of a mix. I do like it though and will certainly make use of the set. May be I should take a look at the rest of the threads Wonderfil do –  something a little thicker for the bigger pieces perhaps.

Does any one else use these?  Or any thing else?

My upcoming dates – 23rd July at Art@HomeFarm, Sledmere House, Yorkshire.

Summer Salon – August,  Feva Festival, Knaresborough.

Great North Art Show- September, Ripon Cathedral.

The new Silver Birch

hThis is sat stillish at the moment – sorting out the nature of the background. Will prob go with the washed blue uneven dyed with texture.  The sample piece was the scrap used to wipe the surfaces clean after post-microwave ( oh it’s hot!!!!) minor spillage.  So currently diluting and re-dying with a touch more sky blue in the mix. And remembering that PING means hot. This has been quick to come together and simple to do, but of course I didn’t really enjoy it. It became mechanical, and the physical separation of the layers meant less experimentation and arguing with colours. A little tweaking and balancing was possible after washing out and more will happen as it is compiled but if too much is added then what was the point of the separate layers?

In the interim this has been happening – imaginatively known as The New Silver Birch for the moment.    Early progress was quick, now working harder but  progress is only at breakneck tortoise pace. At the really slow and annoyingly intense stage – will be at this for a few more days yet.

Quick sketches- just to get started with – intend to keep returning to refresh the ideas each time gathering more and specific info. Unless it rains.

First layers – rich blue base colour and first stitch and fray to establish the central tree. Then building up the trees to the left, patterned silk for the lower and then mix of sheer and tufty silk pieces for the foliage. The pics show it as the fabric layers are built on.

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When I woke this morning the stitchy fairies had not arrived, so had to stitch again today. Below is today’s effort – working on the left section, fraying and stitching, and then beginning the foreground.

A good idea, looks good, but so time consuming. There is a coloured base then  thin silk which is loosely stitched, and then the bulk of the silk is pulled away.( Repeat. Sore fingers from some serious tweezering.)  Love the ghost patterns and textures but the surface is very soft so a lot of sewing to moan about is required.  At least now I can get a feel for the whole composition, it will continue to change as stronger colours are added and shapes and textures defined – maybe another week? Month. Lifetime?

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Close ups of the stitching,  just because,- crude, long, mostly straight. Just getting the fabrics and composition sorted ready for the finer top working.

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Will be putting July and August Workshops on the Me page here and on the facebook page in the next week. Only planning a few over the Summer, so…..

 

Back to the Woods

Weellll…..    the new creative burst began with an encounter with curious bullocks, dragonflies, two hares and a crazed cyclist ( his lycra must have been too tight).

At this time of year I like being up and doing early. I think my neighbour would object to sewing machines  before 6 am so I am going out sketching instead- just collecting ideas and options, (this did lead to the bullock encounter). P1060814

This morning was in the local woods and it was the little places, the ordinary ones that caught my imagination.  This was a simple view at the edge of the wood, the sun catching the birch tree on the fringe and it was glowing with light seen through the trunks and delicate foliage of the wood proper. A very quiet beauty. No great drama of composition or texture, or even colour, but…..  The sketch is crude and under developed but that view and idea was the one I thought about on the way home.

It is now beginning in stitch. To be honest it is at the questioning phase, so looks like nothing. Hopefully the questions will lead to answers and the whole may be resolved but it will take time.

P1060806Layer 1 the birch – worked on water soluble fabric.  When washed away the black lines  should also go leaving a lacy  web.  I quite fancy manipulating this to create differing densities and concentrations of colour and textures, so the overall shape may change. And it may need some blue for shadows. And….

 

 

 

 

Layer 2 – mid ground – tree trunks. The purple pen is air erasable so should have faded by morning. Used a heavier thread, and for the top set of branches worked over crewel wool to give it more body.

And then decided to add on foliage. This was delicate and almost silhouetted, so the first pass was a dark teal stitched in a stop start pattern. Added in purple for more density, then dark red for dark contrast, bright jade for light and a mid blue to fill in the holes. So the planned 3hrs sewing turned into 5. (Sorry hedge, may be we will get together with the trimmers tomorrow) And this is how is staying for the moment. At least until  tomorrow morning.P1060812

Questions –  What will happen when the fabric is washed out.   I am imagining adding a stitched layer to each of the floating layers as they are fixed down, or perhaps not. It will depend on how they wash out.   Also may need to add more colour  in each layer – again won’t know until the soluble is washed out.  Is there enough for the idea to work?  It may get washed out and then put straight back on another piece for more content to be added.

Do I put it on  a neutral background? or a colour or a worked ground? Or none at all?

And the foreground – how much/ how little? Inclination is to go very dark for strong contrast, but……   I don’t even know if the composition is going to work – will it have that little bit of magic that I saw?

Oh well. I will find out tomorrow, you may have to wait until next week.

“I Want to be a Tree!”

I have started doing classes on Sundays –  and with working and doing courses at the Viking Loom on Saturdays, this means  my weekends are now harder work than my week!  Have survived and had a good day today doing trees.

I quite like trees, you might have noticed. Todays venture was titled “I  Want to be a Tree”.  They are a fabulous vehicle for teaching this form of freehand sewing. Lots of potential for experimentation with technique, style, texture and colour.  I totally enjoyed myself.  I have polished off the afternoon watching the men’s final  tennis from Paris, and writing the blog, slowly, is the next way of avoiding going out to mow the lawn.

 

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A matter of moments to gather examples, samples and original artwork!

 

With a wall full of tree-ness we spent the day sketching from sources,  refining approaches and exploring processes.

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This one is just short of being finished – a bit more working into the foliage and the trunk filled in and it should be done.

And as for this one…P1170285

June and July I have set aside and making and doing time. Lots of getting out and thinking so approaches and expectations.

But first must mow the lawn……

Northern College of Costume Exhibition

ncc flyerThink you are not interested? markterry_170509_8660cropThe latest group are putting their efforts on display this weekend and it is worth taking a look.

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This is good old fashioned history based theatrical costume making.

Never wondered how many component parts go into making one Tudor “dress”?  Well, now is the time to start wondering and also have the opportunity to find out.  At the same time you could take a peek inside  a Teddy Boy’s pockets, or ask the ladies about their 1940/50s evening wear.

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I went along as a dresser for the Tudor photoshoot in our local Tudor Barley Hall. Those big skirts over farthingales and the stays can take quite a lot  effort to get on and then to manage. It was so atmospheric in there – I can’t wait to see the photos.

The Teddy Boys stayed in the city centre down one of the seediest side lanes. No romantic Tudor beams for them. The final shoot of the day was at a Neo Classical chapel. A rather busy day.

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Take a look at the complexities of the makes, see what can be achieved with some  ingenuity, hard work  and a lot of know-how and guidance. And then think – this was all achieved in 15 weeks!

I did the course a few years ago, and survived with battered, stitched fingerends and a lot more skills than I started with.

If you are in York, do drop in.

markterry_170509_9194cropallPhotos : Mark Terry

Silver Birch is Cloned!

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Last chance to come to the Open Studios this weekend!

I have been busy with the event but still managed to create big mess inbetween. Am quite proud of this, it proves that no matter what the stress level, scattering debris  is a natural part of my creative process.

I have spent this morning making up a tote bag with  the fabric I had digitally printed.  I have reservations about it but as I have already sold a couple of panels  I guess it looks alright.  What do you think? It is a little reflective so the colours seem a bit muted in the photo- the birch tree stands out well, and the fabric is nice quality cotton.

I really am not good at this marketing  photography!P1060684

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

 

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