Tag Archive | how to

Workshop frenzy!

landscape stones a  Meet the new sanity – these are landscape stones. I don’t understand the idea yet, but …… I enjoy doing them. It is something about fitting flat to 3D and the marks and tucks from the fitting becoming a landscape of lines, well something like that, ish.  At least they are relatively quick – emphasis on relatively –  They either are very right, or very wrong,  I don’t know yet.

Thank you for your support at Open Studios. Another year of interesting and interested people.  One day soon the house will be back together but in the mean time has anyone seen my cache of acrylic paints – colourful messenger style fabric bag?    One of the great things about doing a meet your public event is that it focusses the mind quite effectively.  The work has to be finished of course, but also if somebody asks about workshops it is probably best to have some  organised.

It did take much longer than expected (sorry first weekenders) but a whole new schedule is now together.  The grand plan is a  series of classes and also one off complementary day workshops.  That was the plan…….  hopefully folk will like this flexibility,  only a fortnight to the first intro class so I guess I will soon find out!

Classes, Summer 2018.    Each is 10-1pm, £15,

Introduction  May 4  /  May 6   Setting up, the machine, basic equipmentP1070027 equipment, getting stitching. Trouble shooting

Making Lines Work  May 11 / May 13  Controlling and exploring how to make and use lines to develop character and style in your work. Start to draw with your machine.

Lines- And now to make pictures  May 18 / May 20green lane fran brammer tmb Using lines in different ways in your designs and pictures.  Work with positive and negative ideas. We will go through creating your own design from idea to completion.

Experimenting with Applique  May 27
Different ways of adding fabric shapes to your work- simplehands raw, using precut shapes, stitch patterns, edges. An effective way to add colour, motifs, pattern or textures.

and this is only May.……… deep breath because there are also day workshops,  buttons/badges, twisting tree card makes, and water soluble day, and, and, and… the complete lists are on the Me Page.

I can not recommend freehand machining enough – it tickles the inner anachist and releases a little of that risk taking rebel – all with out wearing lycra or needing a special set of underwear …. unless of course you want to.

landscape stone 3a  Do they look like crop marks, plough patterns, trackways and field boundaries yet?   Will rockeries, riverbeds or beaches in N and E Yorkshire ever be safe again…..?

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How to make a cover button badge

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Ok, not one of my most memorable titles but  it will have to do! (sub title – clearing out those scraps and demo pieces)

A simple run through of my making process.

  1. First buy your cover button. Mine are large – 39mm across with a  wire loop that makes the shank (which I remove!) .   If you have not met these before, they come in 2 parts – a domed top  and a snap in back .
  2. Prep the back.  I want a brooch back, as I have P1070035yet to find glue strong enough to withstand me, I punch or drill holes and sew the brooch back in place then add glue to make it solid.
  3. Do the fun bit – make the top embroidery.  Handy hints – thin fabric, leave no lose ends to P1070038unravel, and remember it needs to be a bit  bigger than the button top and add on a margin for assembly. I usually aim for a circle about an inch bigger than the button but only cut it out after sewing.
  4. Running stitch around the edge of the embroidery and use to gather in.
  5. Pop in the button top  ( I remove the wire loop that made the shank of the finished button) and pull tight. Get the design centred and push the fabric onto the metal teeth around the inside of the button top.

  6. Line up the button back and snap the two together.

DONE.

These are fun and quick. What is more impressive is that most of it can happen on the sofa while watching the Winter Olympics!

Sketching for stitching

This isn’t about making pretty pics but about reducing the landscape into a manageable form and language ready to take to the sewing machine. I work in pen for these- it gives an even line, more like a sewn line than pencil does.

And just for fun I’ll put the process in reverse.

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Spot the differences. OK some are sloppy draughtsmanship, but others are intentional modifications.  The foreground hedge is sharper to give more umph to the composition,  the spaces between the horizontal hedges are greater – I’ve given the Vale of York a new hill!  but I want these hedges to be seen separately so something had to give. The heavy dark of the foreground  is reduced – it shifts focus to the middle ground. The foreground shadows are omitted as clutter but some may make come back as colour. Some areas I don’t like (trees to the left) so they will be edited further when stitching. Doing the sketch highlights problem areas, lets me work out, or at least work towards, solutions. Beats taking photos.

Five minutes earlier –

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All the main areas are there but the image is unbalanced. The background is more solid and clearer than it should be, where the hatching is lighter, has fewer directional changes, it is more successful.  Will add lines last to give definition and emphasis where needed.

 

 

 

5 minutes before

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Established the middle ground. Using smaller marks to help sense of distance – just the major lines at the present, no outlines (they would  fix the shapes too soon) Mixing areas of diagonal hatching with the vertical to create shadings of tone and texture.

 

 

After the first 5 minutes.

P1060713I like strong bone structure  for my landscapes – single point perspectives,  bold masses and spaces  contrasting with lines.  Tiny detail will get lost in stitch, so I don’t bother. Let areas fade in and out, it isn’t a tracing.  The mark making is important, it is experimenting with creating the different textures and tone. Most are variations of cross hatching, tight, scribbly short blocks  on the tree in the foreground, looser and smoother in the middle distance or directional hatching, such as the vertical lines starting to describe the front face of the hedge.  These first layers set the  shape and form of the image so I  leave them incomplete. As the image builds more density and definition can be added. This is how the sewing will start, working onto a very loose frame and working lightly until the whole is established and then getting more intensive. I have already  filtered out fussy bits or annoying things. I don’t want the image to get congested,   as the image is built I will see where to simplify.

Preparation. – Clear the head. You can not go out worrying about the washing. This can be helped by the acquisition of jelly babies or fruit pastilles. I also like to walk or cycle even a little way, I guess it is part of that separation process. Take time to stand and stare, we are not cameras, it takes a time to absorb detail, understand  relationships, to get beyond mere recognition. ‘Ooo it’s a tree’ just won’t do.  Move about, see how slight shifts in angle or eye level give different emphasis. You have control, exaggerate or edit at will.

And yes, it did take 20 minutes. Didn’t even have time to open the pastilles.

 

The textile piece will happen next week. Will be interesting to see how alike they end up. Usually the same reduction and simplification process will happen again during stitching, especially in the distance,  but the basic ideas will remain true. Wonder how many trees will magically disappear?

 

 

Cornish Cliffs

I fancied seeing how far these patterned and transparent collages on top of images could go. I had this elderly left over canvas from a Cornish holiday – elderly painting -Cornwall coast dodgy paint techniques, over thinned colour, uninspired composition.  Not an ideal choice, too big, cheap thin canvas. Nevermind….  Planning involved more dithering than doing, selecting pattern and colour, fabric types and threads.   Did remember to do one important cheat – traced the big tonal areas onto the back.- more later.

Cornish Cliffs -planning  The Cliffs are 2 different patterned silks – big bold patterned stripes and a coarser faded floral for the headland. The proposals for the sea were layers of sheers – to be decided later.

Back cliffs first- vertical patterning to mimic the rock formations, working from the back the first stitching anchored the fabric and then roughly blocked in the shadow areas. I would recommend working from the back – you just roughly place/pin the fabric on the front, flip over, stitch the lines drawn on the back, flip back and trim the excess away.  No worries about placement or accuracy.

The fabrics were build up block by block – already much more vivid than the paint. The stitching from the back worked well to establish the shapes and masses. The decision to use purple as a shade colour didn’t, it was to clean and strong against the fabric, it was removed or adapted immediately.

I got too excited by the sea to manage to record the sequence. (Lie – didn’t expect it to work so didn’t bother to photograph) It is strips and pieces of 2  tone organzas, purple orange, green red, blue orange, sari strips with frayed edges . Stitching was in one colour using a less regular utility stitch ( think its for sewing elastic) A sheer was over laid and  ripped into.  Was hoping the frays and uneven edges will create a sense of depth and movement.    Did remember to record the beach/surf!

And the sky happened. All as one piece of metallic sheer  with an offcut  underneath to ease the bland flatness. The front bit off cliff was the last piece to do – purple orange organza over the dark areas and a fine metallic green yellow as a wrinkly top dressing.  I ripped the green and stitched areas open  to reveal the purple to give shading.

A

bit of top stitching and…..

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This felt like a rough and ready process. The stitching isn’t beautiful, even, or using exotic thread. The fabrics are recycled clothing, donations or synthetic, but it does seem to work. Where I had started doing more controlled stitch I have removed it. It drew attention to itself, too self conscious too fit in with the wrinkles and tears. The whole is very sketchy, but it has so much more life than the original. Perhaps the years of painting were just a way of getting over the need for technical perfection. The  patterned fabrics give so much into the mix. The way the patterns fall is  at best a happy compromise, it really makes me respond, to orchestrate rather than dictate what is happening. And as for colour theory – in practice it is best guess.Cornish Cliffs close ups

So what are the essentials for free hand machine work?  an obliging machine who doesn’t know any better, an appropriate foot that lets you see what you are doing, a seam ripper that doesn’t hide, and really sharp scissors. Only trouble is I now appear to have more scrap fabric than before!

Come and see my work , may be even see some others as well, April 22,23 & 29,30. Click on pic for link to the website.

YOS 2017 Logo bleed_CMYKLarge

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/

 

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.