Archives

Grate!

P1170725

The mission over the last week has been to tattify and break up an existing piece and re use it.

I can now say with some authority that a cheese grater (Particularly the bit for zesting) works on fabric.  The edges are fluffier than intended  but the general effect is worn and shredded, as desired.  I feel this has improved this fragment of the despised piece of work no end so it is nearly ready for its reincarnation into the next ‘words and Wolds’ effort.   I have a background of text to do and images to decide on, and then into construction again! Hurrah.

The grater also works very well on skin and nails.

There is a lack of foresight – a well trained and focussed hamster could have achieved much the same without the pain.

I am sure the wounds will heal soon.

Advertisements

Words and Wolds. Fact or fiction?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

P1170707What has happened to November?  Who’s nicked it?  I started the big mission piece and have just resurfaced to find that  a month has gone!  Admittedly not every spare moment has gone into the piece but  it has gobbled up time and so much thought and energy. It has been on the wall  having fester time for  about 4 days –  since when I have constructed a toile for a new  jacket  pattern,  started little embroideries for the Tree Project, made stockings for the local foodbank appeal,  been to the Knit and Stitch Show in Harrogate, taught a whole day workshop at the Viking Loom, and have sorted out a day of sewing to do today (silk velvet!!!!).

The fester time was supposed to allow detachment, a separation between making mode and  hard eyed assessment.  It may be working too well., I was  expecting a dialogue about the legibility, the weight of the image, the relationship of past and present, but as  yet have no traumas, arguments or quibbles.  I even have new angles and  proposals to take the core idea forward, and instead of slog,  the future  making looks exciting again.

….. I am     content   with it,  at the moment.

 

A Stitchery Interview.

I made a pact a few years ago not to say ‘no’ to new  opportunities just on auto pilot.  Self made ruts can be very deep and then become destructive. Being ‘safe’ isn’t always safe. When things go wrong there is always comfort eating (indulgence), hillwalking (exertion) or attacking the garden with sharp implements (aggression).

This is why I said yes, cautiously at first,  to the approach made by Susan Weeks to ‘appear ‘ on her stitchery stories podcast.stitchery stories

I hadn’t come across Susan’s work or site before, well worth a look/listen, the interviews are fascinating ( go very well with a coffee and bourbon creams).

I hate the sound of my own voice,  cringe at the pompous vocab left over from the formality of the education world, and generally like to change my mind and opinions every time the wind blows from the west. So, yes, an obvious thing not to do. The last interview I did was for local TV news when doing costumes for the York Mystery Plays – seriously embarrassing – even my specialist doctor saw it and commented on it several months later!

 

So said yes and did it – over the internet, so not even properly face to face! Feel the terror at giving up control! Susan was very good, easy to talk to and completely professional in her approach and preparation – unlike me.   Thank you  to her for the opportunity and outcome!  It was broadcast last week.

Fran-Brammer-Stitchery-Stories-Textile-Art-Podcast-Wide-Art

http://www.stitcherystories.com/franbrammer/               podcast interview

Not yet decided if this was a masterstroke or not , so I am  viciously cutting back several huge buddleia bushes ( with a bow saw!) and indulging in pre-emptive comfort eating, again.

In the mean time –  don’t forget – I will be selling bits and pieces at Askham Bryam  next Sunday, have only  the Twisting Tree stitchy workshop day  left before Christmas, still have work up in Art in the Mill, Knaresborough,  work is for sale  on the website ( nowhere near  all is listed so just ask for availability/ price etc) and don’t forget the offer of  gift vouchers to use against workshops, purchases or commissions, and the new ‘stitchiness’ group on facebook ……

For some reason I don’t feel busy!

 

Plodding onward.

 

There is no sane explanation but I reckon we all do it. Launch headfirst into monster tasks that we know are difficult, hideously demanding, time gobbling and not always enjoyable.  Well this one is  proving a menace.

 

The initial layer went on easy enough but then bright idea – script but done by hand to get a less flat and uniform line. Certainly got the lack of uniformity,  I have achieved awkward.  Extended periods of hand work is difficult, often painful, and  it is so slow, so slow, so slow……  not even at the halfway point yet, but it is beginning to suggest what I want.

So this week has been full of distraction. The sun shone so out I went and found a new tree to make friends with! P1170654 I have been out sketching and photographing,   it is a huge broken willow. The main trunk has split and the major branches have fallen to the sides and taken root. This one tree is now a thicket with arches, gnarls and splinters.

And for some unknown reason there was the urge to make a daft rabbit. ?.  Nameless, P1170682faceless and tailless at present, but it already has a cousin who looks more like a giant disc with ears………

Don’t forget there are still a few workshops and stitchy days left this year, check the website for dates and details. I have also just started a facebook page for creative sew-y types “stitchiness”, very much in its infancy but looking for new members.

And for the locals – I have taken a table at a very local craft fair – Askham Bryan- to clear out some of my samples at silly prices, second week in November.

 

rules not to follow.

Rule one : don’t have rules, don’t follow them

– Difficult to do, by following the no rule rule I am following a rule  so can’t be following the rule of having no rules, umm. Welcome to my idea of logical and sense.

Rules  make my responses predictable and formulaic. As soon as I make rules the fun goes out it. Yes, there are ways of doing, approaches that work, but they must not become a rut.  The techniques must serve my purposes, not dictate what I can do.

Rule two

Stitching must be neat, lines parallel, corners precise.  Thread must match the fabric and always use the ‘right’ needle. 

Use what you have,  use what you need, use what works. Make not having the ‘right’ colour an asset.  This is a tree with only one green, the variations give it life.

 

P1170639

Your tension must be perfect. Either the threads should cross within the fabric or ideally just below for freehand machining. Looping is very very naughty.

P1170644

 

Nah . You sew with 2 threads so why not use both of them?  It can be fun to let the bobbin thread show to give little picks of added colour or tone.,  pull loops through to the surface – get more texture and volume out of that row of stitching..  I am not making seams, there is not going to be that sudden draught  as you sit down too quickly.

Rule three

Keep arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.  Edges must be neat and all ends sewn in.

P1170647

Nope. Surfaces are fun. Okay, sewing through a dense jungle can pose problems but there are always ways and means, from the excellent kebab stick to tissue paper.

Rule four.

Never give up.

Do. Don’t be precious. Let go.

Scissors can be a creative tool. Sometimes the premise is wrong  so putting more and more time into a piece will never work.  Chop it, cannibalise it, use it in another way. Don’t let it hang like a millstone.     This was  one – never happy with it, with the soggy blob of a focal point, now it is in two,   much, much better. machine-emroidery-fran-brammerWill look even better with proper framing

 

landscape with coats

This is it.

Spot the handstitching, echoing the  original crewel work. Spot the pink and  high lustre green/gold. I am still not sure that this is right yet, some days it reads as a landscape, others it is a mish mash, others it is enigmatic and intriguing.  Not all of the ideas have worked as planned, or even worked as not planned, but do they have mileage? Even the photography has improved a bit!P1170626

The writing  has lost it’s sense of purpose, along with most of its legibility – merging into the other lines and patterns , only fragments come into focus. Inclination is to do more, tried whipping with slight contrast colour, but would rather get it right first time.

The long stitch towards the horizon is done with machine thread, 30 or 40 wt,  so is too thin  to cover the fabric. It is much more delicate looking than the areas machine stitched. The differences are fun and add to the vocabulary.  As for using the crewel patterns – maybe they read as too random but in places they do mimic the field and ridge patterns

I have another about to begin-…… hmm……… may be less colour, may be tighter …..

Landscape.

I decided it was time. All the elements were coming together, at least in the head.  The vision was nearly there.  Time to get to grips with more than the visual again.

England is a very lived in landscape. It wears the past up front, it has been altered, adapted,  scarred, as needs and fashion dictated.  This isn’t the romantic wilderness but a  work place.WHERN K WELL

I have spoken before of  tenuous thoughts of how to combine the different strands of my work, the flat work and the historical costume, of how they should entwine,  and this may be the most successful  attempt so far.

I want this to be made of parts, remnants and fragments of things,  a landscape of layers and ghosts, of things half seen, half understood.

P1170577It is worked over a found piece of crewel work, a chair back. The style has roots in the Jacobean designs, even the idea of a chair back or antimacassar is an old one ( They were to protect the furniture from the late Georgian’s hair oil!) Some will be unpicked leaving  holes to mark the pattern. Some will be exposed, some painted into the background.

On top of this are the usual lines and divisions of a landscape, but these are muted in colour and are worked across with text from an 1840 publication. I had thought of using text from the Domesday book, but it seemed contrived, this will take more plotting.

The text is also worked across the next layer-  a miniature lawn frock coat split in 2 and laid out along the lines of the landscape. Did make a pig’s ear of doing this – it began with experimenting with writing the text in pen and then washing it out. Fairly safe? It wasn’t . Across the collar and on to the front I had written ‘moors’ but when the coat was washed  the collar  was opened out. It  left me with a collar that quite clearly says ‘moo’. The ‘rs’ on the front had been erased.

The coats are stitched in place and now I am building up more, vintage lace and more strips of lawn.  This is only the beginning.  The coats dominate too much at the moment but the plan is to work the crewel design back on top, maybe  even do some hand work. The cotton lawn is easy to pull and fray or dye, so is open to creative vandalism. I think is definitely going to be made to suffer, it is too ‘nice’ and clean and pretty and delicate and even prissy.

What this will be like next week…. who knows?

General reminders – work is still on show at Art in the Mill, Knaresborough, and in shop windows in York as part of the Micklegate Art Trail.

If you fancy having a go at any these techniques ( not writing ‘moo’ but freehand/motion stitching, etc)  have a look on the workshops tab on the website, or just email me for the latest newsletter.