Tag Archive | sewing

York Open Studios – nearly ready.

3 days and counting!  Time is galloping.

logosecret tree textiles (2)

April 6th & 7th, and 13th & 14th,  10-5pm. 

All are welcome to come and visit artists and makers of all descriptions in their own spaces. Come and see what is happening and where, it is amazing what secrets can  lie behind the most ordinary front doors.  Grab a free brochure/guide from  a  local library, shop, pub , cafe, or go on line to yorkopenstudios.co.uk to get a list, pretty pics and maps and just roll up! We would love to meet you.

My  venue is no.96 and my workroom is still just that – a room for working in. I have been clearing out all the things that have crept in  from the storeroom and have firmly taken them back upstairs. The workroom door is off again – this is the point of no return.

This year the work is in a series of series, all inter related but also distinct. It will make displaying them all quite a challenge in what is a modestly sized room.  There is a lot more small things, more 3D things and then the ginormous painted scarves.  It will be an interesting week. And don’t forget the eternal tidying up.

This is the current state  I was going to leave the hang until Thursday, so began it on Tuesday. So of course it went ‘hammer hammer hammer,  mutter  mutter mutter, oops’ as I had to keep stopping to move things, complete some framing, trip over some bits that are awaiting relocation, fill in holes in the wall and find the matching paint.  But as you can see most of the chaos is being resolved, the work is up apart from one or two pieces -one is currently hiding, at over a metre tall it can’t hide for long, and the other hasn’t been released from exhibition yet.

I have barely scratched my to do lists –  I think I need a new approach to list making, but have bought cable ties to put up the signage and a supply of biscuits.  This blog was on Sunday’s list, the draft was done but only remembered it today – and rewrote most of it anyway! There is still much to do, the scarves need to find a home, labels etc, setting up the standing landscapes, reorganising the furniture and so on. But it will be ready on Saturday to welcome people into and hopefully share my enthusiasm for textiles and making.    Must remember to remove that post-it note. But on a happier note, every time I think about mowing the lawn or cleaning the windows, it rains. Must have been good in a previous life.

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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…….

Life after sprout continues…. experimenting with the CS800 –

“SPUNBOND WITH UNLIMITED POSSIBLE USES

CS 800

For experimental surface designs, for home decor and interior designs as well as painting.”

 

Well that is the marketing blurb. It is a firm white synthetic, designed to take colour and stitch. Think pelmet vilene/stiffener but with out the thickness and weight.

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 Applying colour – the surface is reasonably firm but has furred up a bit with the Inkintense pencils I tried above. Thin paint sat on the surface below and soaked in unevenly but with out the  furriness.  P1180353 I washed the piece to knock out any surplus paint before stitching and the structure of the fabric is obvious but not unattractive – reminds me of chip board or wax resist crackle.

Theme-wise I am on one of those cyclic tangents again – this one from years ago – and more years ago before that.

I have been back  up in the landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales and Moors  that I know well, and that has raised the old quandaries about trying to draw them. What am I drawing? is it that one view? or is it more about what I know of the landscape, where the paths go, what is round the corner just out of sight? Are my memories and understanding of walking through that space as important as that photographic image?  Well, I like stories more than photos – I have more books than pictures – narratives are histories – and experiences are personal, tying place and time.  An awful lot of concept and theorising for a very simple visual outcome.

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b

Meet the portable landscapes a, b  and c.

The piece of  CS800 was sliced and diced – just in straight blocks. The pieces are reattached edge to edge by zig zag stitch. so that they can flex without bending.  The image is stitched  on directly .  The gaps were made by inserting a piece of solufleece and washing it out after stitching. They are small, soft sculpture, and can be arranged however the mood takes.

a

I like the play on scale and perspective, the ideas of front and back being not important, and also that each time these are put out the angles and emphasis changes. The simplicity is fun – it is about leaving out not embellishing.  It is making me focus on stitch patterns, markmaking with a sewing machine. I am keeping the colours minimal – deep olive, beige and gold, and adding on the odd splash and wash of ink. The monochrome ish-ness is just so lovely and stark.

As for the CS800 – it takes stitch without  quibbling, distortion or complaint. Though it does blunt needles quite quickly,  the machine stitches fairly cleanly and consistently. Problem is the lack of ‘healing’ the holes made by the needle. Also its strength is that it doesn’t fray or tear and cuts like cardboard, but is it happy to stand on its edge without wilting?

Scale is going to increase since I have grabbed some more supplies from work, but this size is pretty cute and easy to manage.  The next batch is going to play with ideas of frame and layers – fun.

a3

My severest critic? Photo crashed by a ladybird.

Colour works

Busy-ish week – now have the brochures for York Open Studios!, Sent in several entries, booked to do a workshop in the extended Hornsea Arts Festival in October, murdered my giant gate that came apart in a gale and even  did a bit of weeding! Remember the workroom is open Wednesday evening and Friday morning if you want to come and sew or for a bit of advice and tutoring. Email for details….

Colour theories meets practice.  I have tried detaching the “Monet” colours from the image and use them  to construct a new landscape. The step by step is below.

It is a competent little piece but…. sneakily I like the first with the bold gold.  All of this thread work makes me long for spaces and room within the picture. I also struggle with the contrasts – I still draw, and draw a lot so tone is as important as hue, and also mark making- with this concentration on colour these have tended to get left behind. The mid tone colours have blended more than intended ( the pinky-yellowness makes me think of fruit salad chews), I ended adding some small touches of red as focus points in the foreground to pull the distance out a little more but still think it needs more recession. this is already using more colour than usual. While it is bright it isn’t me.  And as for the amount of stitching?  I guess that is why they call it embroidery. img_20190217_104102823

As an antidote I went back to a very limited palette and my normal style – blue, ochre yellow and beige seems to manage very well.  This is a prototype for a ‘pot’ or vase sleeve. I am trialing some of the Vilene CS800 – a thin but tough non woven – it is supposed to be an adequate paintable surface, stitchable and nearly everything able. I liked the notion of a stiffener that works well as a stabiliser while sewing. This at first glance works well- doesn’t tear however much I sew it, doesn’t pucker and the machine doesn’t seem to notice it any more than Stitch and Tear. Shame about the rest of it!

The March of the Sprout

I have promised to stop calling this Sprout,  the same way that the Big Beastie is supposed to known as Middle Moor. Yeh, that worked.

I have sprouted away this week to good purpose. The tipping point is past, and it is now that manic downhill race to completion, exhilarating  and getting faster and faster but so easy to lose concentration and end up flat on your face.

From bones and structure this week has been about clothing and fleshing, some so subtle that it barely shows, other parts have made dramatic impact. It is now about detail, balancing formal elements and making sure the image reads in the way I want.  Spot the difference a week can make? (8) I think you have to be here to see them.


Main areas done would be the sky – inked as promised and fairly gloomy – it is Yorkshire in a soggy January.  And the road way.  This isn’t yet complete – but it reads better with the texture  and the sudden flashes of colour,  but both will be damped down to get that contrast in surface  quality to the undergrowth that I want.  I did try straighter lines of couching but it felt false , and gradually added more and more fluff and contrast. So it may look ambiguous – one friend saw it as a river – but ….. And the pink? Rather like the pink  ( a piece of sari silk)  it does make me question the state of my eyesight – the reds and saturated colours are all so close to the front.  I think more contrast in the verge. Navy or purple?

And the sky? Not impressed.  I like the cloudiness and the subdued tones but the physical surface is so flat and matt. I may feel the need to stitch, possibly quilt just to give it some life.  Quilting is likely anyway – I have not used stablisers so there is a fair amount of  ripple.  The calico has done well coping with the uneven weight and drag of the stitching but if it is going to hang it could do with a bit of support. This did begin as a good rectangle, cut on the grain, but that is distant memory.

And so the saga of Sprout continues. I do intend to have the imagery finished by the end of the week – I think about another 3 or 4 hours of concentrated stitching, with lots of pressing and pondering (coffee breaks).  Achievable? The to do list is nearly in single figures- the time of sprout is passing….  and I have a series of other deadlines to meet.

 

Don’t forget workshops/tutorial times available  on Wed evening and Friday mornings – check the Want to try  tab.

The Most Difficult bit…. and workshop call

I am an experienced and  effective tutor of art and textiles as well as exhibiting artist. I am.  I have spaces in  Wednesday evening and  Friday morning  classes –  all levels and stages of experience and aspiration are welcome to come to play and enjoy creative textiles. Please contact either through email (on right) or the comments if interested. There will be coffee and tea, but I have already eaten the biscuit stash, (marketing not a strong point).   I thought I would get this out of the way before anyone reads the rest of it……

 

Well the Fairly Large Beastie with Sprouts  is steaming along,  nearly all of the base sewing is done and some places have multiple layers of work on them. This is where it gets difficult – there is a huge investment of time and effort in there and it is going from the experimental building phase to the consolidation phase.  Now I have to weld it all together, make those early decisions good and work upon the thing as a whole.

The stitching on the hills is the point of no return – so far a light varigated and a dull mid blue on the far left slopes. Still don’t like it – too flat and contrived. The treeline has  more stitch in it, working in blocks of hatching like the original sketch – might leave the trees behind as they are – very crude and sketchy.

The right is better – closer to the experimental rough work – but I still have to be brave and commit to working on the road way.  There are just too many niggly decisions attached to all the areas.  What I want is to  take alot of that green paint out – it flattens and homogenises now that I’m trying for subtle.

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I may be drastic, it may be bold, or it may be stupid: tell you afterwards.  The inking option is about to be realised. This is a bit derring do – sink or swim- in my best tradition.

 

Always was going to play with wet colour  in the top half – blooms and runs of  ink/stain washed and scrubbed into the fabric. Its time has come – the stark flatness of the calico is distracting  and killing the subtle stitching done in the tree line.     Will this be tightly controlled and considered? Of course not, what a daft question. It is going to be -do it and pray, then do some more, have a coffee, start thinking about bleach, rinse off in the shower and worry about the how and where of drying later.   It is a cold, dank and damp day so not happening outside – this will be attacked  flat on the biggest table and apologise to the carpet afterwards ( I think of the splashes and drips as honourable  battle scars).    I just hope I  have some inky stuff hiding upstairs. Should press it and de-whisker it first. Why is everything so complicated?

Probably not my brightest  idea.  Definitely not, but I can not bear working on something that is going flat and predictable on me. Deciding not to use big, blank spaces in the composition – which twit advised that?  Umm, me.

Please do not call round today – it may be dangerous.

Oops.

cOLOUR bACKWARDS

I know it is a bit of an obsession, but….  and it is giving me a head ache just trying to be coherent and wonderfully together over that old bugbear – COLOUR, and structured working practice.

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So which approach is the most effective?  Is what I am currently doing working –  umm….

are past approaches better? umm…..   Define ‘better’.

OK, harmonies are meant to work well together, but without contrast become bland or flat.   Using low saturation complex colours reads as beige.  Beige has a tendency to read as grey or to disappear. Multiple broken colours tend to eat each other.   Rayon threads rely on light levels and quality of light to read as true colours.  What works small does not work big.  And that is just the start.

So start with a ground. Let this show through a little and it can make subtle differences lifting or squashing colours, make shading, and all  without multiple  thread changes. It can also help with transitions between colour areas.  Saturated base colours throw everything else off kilter, pale yellow is easy to overpower, but it does make it more exciting.

So create a base of  either coloured fabric or applied  fabric pieces. Or how about tapestry wool which can give a more complex, finer areas of colour to work over.  Does this make it sound easy? Yes.  Can’t be that easy in my little world.

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And this is the idea at present, big bit of work to be the next making.  Looks just like the sketch! At the moment it is merely one lump of old patterned silk to be the base for the forground scrub and some rough stitched tapestry wool as the base for a stand of conifers.  The fabric is to argue with the following colours and to give a coherence, the yarn is to work  with, providing  harmonies and depths of colour and texture. The next layers will be machined – but what?  mid tone hues to get the colour established?  Shadow colours to start creating depth in the foreground? Should it be more neutral colours to work out tonal ranges and contrasts?  Or will it be the usual erratic and dabbling approach, as in ‘all of the above, and then some’?  It is so big that I may have time and space to try all of them, repeatedly.

I think I need to find a fancy name for my working method that will it make it seem more deliberate and artistically worthy.  An ‘ism’ perhaps.

If the witterings haven’t put you off- remember I have several  come and try opportunities  very soon. Take a look at the workshops page on the website or on the other pages on this site….