Tag Archive | sewing

Observations from the House of Brammer.

Truths about my textile art:

You will be inspired by a view from the most inaccessible plaHorsedale,Huggatece or at the top of the highest hill. There will always be a sheep there. Or nosey cows.

 

What looks good in paint or pencil doesn’t work in the same way in thread. Guessing how it will work is pointless, it will tell you it its own time.

 

When ever you find the perfect base fabric at a fabulous price, the supplier goes bust, emigrates, goes on a Buddhist retreat.

You will never have exactly the right colour,P1170407

weight or type of thread. Doesn’t matter what you buy, the one you put back was the right one.

 

You will always run out of the perfect thread just moments before completing. Usually just as the local supplier has closed for the day.

It is your needle’s mission in life to break.

Being the last viable needle in your possession is too much pressure. It will break, again just as the shop closes.

Mess with the bobbin tension gods at your peril. They will always seek retribution.

If using a hoop the bit you want to sew next will be under the frame.P1060885

If using an air pen to mark the fabric it will fade away before you finish stitching.

 

If it all goes well, it will look awful. Every piece needs an argument.

 

If the room is tidy when you finished, the work wasn’t worth it.

Count the coffee breaks rather than the hours.

The tighter the deadline the more intriguing whatever is happening outside the window.

 

The gallery/exhibition always wants the piece you have just sold.

The framing is always wrong. Or the fittings, or the label.

P1170426The photos you have are always the wrong size or resolution.

If rushing to get an on line submission together, that is when the auto updates kidnap your computer and it configures for ever, and then scrambles up the internet connection.

Facebook is a black hole for time and sanity.

If accepted for 2 exhibitions that overlap, they will want exactly the same pieces to show.

Only the pieces you never want to see again are praised, only the ones you secretly want back are sold.

And, of course, the back will look better than the front!big beastie crop

Middleton Wolds

 

The Wolds.

Chalk upland. Mix of arable and pasture, characterised by steep, dry valleys, scattered with small, isolated villages.

Never told me about the nosey cows.  The wind.  Wild flowers and small, high speed, unidentified squeaky things.

What was a little walk became 8 miles and took forever! Loved it.

I have been struggling with a piece over the last few weeks  based on this landscape, still trying to redefine how I work and use colour  for these very different hills.

Trouble is I have got so used to the Moors and Dales, the sparse often gnarly hills, the subdued colour, the spaces.  I saw these hills in bright flat sunshine, there was no depth in the shadows,  I was half way up one side of a tight dry valley, couldn’t see the bottom and even the tops were rolling away from me.  I sat for ages just soaking it up until I stopped looking analytically and just absorbed. It became patterns,  the linear qualities dissolved. The movement of the wind through the barley on the hill tops became more important than the shape of the trees. It waved and rippled and then broke into squares and diamonds and back again.  The light was so unforgiving that the barley shone as brightly as the sky and the whole sparkled with reflected colour.

In this piece I set up a flat perspective, tried creating definition and depth with blocks of fabric before stitching. The grand stitching plan was little  down to lots, again trying to push the tops away and bring out the foreground with denser stitch patterns . And again with the colour – lighter and subtle  down to brighter,  mixed and contrasting. Having made friends with purple, now it may be time to work on orange.

It all made sense but it was the result was flat and as unexciting as an elderly Jaffa cake ( found some in the cupboard – very disappointing). Too safe and too considered, where was the personal narrative, the fun, the unexpected elements?

Since finishing (1st time) the piece has been attacked with the demon tweezers, the horizon has been broken up, sections of land turned into sky and the land pattern quilted up into the sky  trying to blur that boundary.  The diagonal of the path up the face of the hill was too strong,  a lot of fabric has been pulled out  and re coloured to soften that. The trees are upside down, colour stitched onto roughly dyed green fabric, spot the orange. Rather than tone the stitch patterns show the differences in the hedgerow. The darkest tone was a deep blue/green put on the second bank of trees and worked as a single colour.   The foreground is stitched vertically with small inclusions to break it up.middleton wolds nearly done

Since finishing (2nd time)  This has been festering, on the wall, under the table, at work, in a bag. Working in perspective lines would have been so easy, but so predictable, so safe.  So…. demon tweezers – the rematch,  soften the horizon even more. Draw the attention away – bright yellow stalks crossing foreground/middle ground boundary, contrast detail colour shouting  about that same boundary – red on green was the loudest option.  P1170439

Has it worked? Does the  piece have more life? Does the simplistic composition give rather than take? Has the colour and pattern compensated  for the narrower tonal range? Do I want to make the trees to the right more distinct- or is that old thinking?

middleton wolds machine embroidery

And this is now finish 3. This has been difficult, but happier now. Not entirely convinced still…..   time to move on.

Okay may be give it a day before the really official declaration of Finishedness.

Don’t forget – Summer Salon exhibition in Knaresborough from next weekend and there opportunities still available this month to come and join a Stitchy Day  workshop.

Lustre Saga Concludes.

Short version –  not sure.

Longer version – umm

Not even sure I got that the right way round.freehnd machine work

Test piece –  not complete but enough done to show –  The shadows are polyester and cotton threads. There is a depth and richness to The canopy I under sewed in yellow to lift the finer thread but this  area and grass are mostly  40wt rayons over silk fabrics. . Do  you notice the difference?  Annoyed at the grass – but will show on a close up.

 

 

sunlight garden test detaill 1

Spot the bright green to the left of the tree trunk? That colour is all the way through the grass area. In the horizontal it just does not show!  This could a major pain – I rely on directional stitching to give definition and form. These horizontal rows  I did with the normal machine settings – and it did not like it. The top tension ended up looser than when I drop the feed dogs, actually had to re-tighten for scribbling in the grass at the base of the trunk. You can see tiny pinpricks of dark across all the grass, that is the bobbinfil pulled up from below. Nice visual texture – would have preferred to plan it.detail from test piece

The canopy to the shadow is a better contrast, although the shiniest bits are the fibres from the  silk  scraps underneath!  Does work well against the 30wt variegated cotton used on the trunk.

General conclusion – not life changing but nice enough.  Will I buy more?  As a treat, and use as a top dressing over other threads/textures. Still haven’t forgiven them for the incredible vanishing colour trick.   “Why don’t you just turn it round?” said an ex-friend –  if  my lawn was vertical there would be even less chance of me mowing it!

Life beyond The Lustre Saga has continued –  These are happy few about to be launched upon the unsuspecting world next week in Knaresborough. All just about this year’s vintage-  the dancing trees is a revision with violence , but I see a shift towards colour and  now pattern is happening.  Not exactly subtle.  I blame purple.P1170426

Also check out the website  if you fancy owning a piece of this insanity – I have just put a load  ( 5 or 6!) of samples and small  test bits on the sales page.

Lustres

Well I have used the Wonderfil, and I have not used Wonderfil. Was there a real difference? Did the work suddenly shine seductively in the afternoon sunlight? Was the work enhanced?

 

June BarleyI took a selection to an art event at Sledmere House on Sunday, set it all out and waited. And waited. And waited. Lots of very flattering  comments, ego definitely swelled, lots of interest, some very knowledgeable visitors and plenty of enthusiasm.  But no one  rushed impetuously across the room crying ” ooooh what a lovely lustre! ”

Folk wanted to  understand how the images were  built, and insisted on telling me how long they must have taken, but most common was are they really stitched? Not actually asked  why? but…..

So  either they were so well used and integrated that they looked so right that comment was not necessary, or, they had sunk without trace.  I am finding this difficult to judge. I am still finding the degree of lustre stops me seeing the colours with clarity. See what I mean? thread painting lustreThis should be zinging with acidy greens, yellows, pale purple.  Spot the difference between this and the mostly cotton threads on this one-Moor Path thread painting I think I will have to find a different approach to using these threads.  Umm.

At the moment I am thinking of them as an indulgence, and a greedy one . I need them to be in the spool box, potential and limitations understood, waiting to be used.

So thought shift – how about this as a start point?  As part of the sunlight in the garden series? Use them for the light, contrast against the deeper colours of the matt threads working the shadows. Probably need a warm, strong ground colour to lift them. Oh er, that could be this week sorted then!

ouch

Yorkshire Wolds-

After all the intense woodland work I felt the need for horizons, to be in amongst landforms and feel the effort and stretch of moving through it. At the root of this is the simple fact that I like lumpy and bumpy country.

 

The Wolds are chalkland rather than limestone country like the Dales, so they have their own character. The flat land seems to be the hill top not the valley bottom,  smooth, steep hillsides and oddly, more Highland cattle than sheep along the route I took.  After a morning of wandering and looking an idea was formulating. This is ‘smaller’ then the Dales, and I kept seeing pattern in the arable crops, the movement of wind through the crops, the networks of field margins, paths, stands of trees. I tried my best to ignore the infestations of the Greater Lycra Cyclist in full summer garb.

Huggate, Yorkshire Wolds.

Huggate. Collages of plucked and stitched fabrics – mostly silks. The exposed oil painting seems to blend in well.

This has emerged initially as a patterned landscape over an oil painting –  still not sure about that dark red. I think it is a bit on the busy side but has a sunlit quality that I like – the contrasts are in brightness and colour rather than just tonal value. I will get it famed up this week then it is ready to go.

It has spawned a little gaggle of mini  ones  as I played with pattern and  shapes. Still want to be bolder and less fussy with this but keep losing sight of what I am aiming for and get side tracked by the fun details.  Just to keep things interesting I am trying two versions of the same view side by side to see if I can separate the safer responses on to one and the dodgier responses onto the other. I fear insanity.

I have added July workshops and dates for exhibitions over the Summer to the Me page- or just check the frantextiles  facebook page.

 

“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.

 

P1170288

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.

P1170284

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.

markterry_170509_8814crop

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.

markterry_170509_8660

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