Tag Archive | stitching

Finalising the Ronald Tree.

So Ronald is done. He has spent most of the week just hanging around, getting pressed, and re-pressed. An occasional stitch or two just to tweak, but I have bought the curtain interlining which will give a bit of body, and the calico  to back it all with.  Since plucking most of the stitch-n-tear off it it hanging more naturally but my finger ends are still numb.

 

I am still suprised at how little was needed to make him. It was all immediate, decide and do. He is one of the quickest large scale pieces and the friendliest. This post is largely a pictorial record of him.

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  1. Ronald context – the sketch, record photos and also past birching efforts in a variety of media. I think that Ronald  is a child of the painted scarves, all about direct markmaking and limited colour palette.

 

 

 

 

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2. Early Ronald. Splash and dribble background, and stitch patterns. Can I convince you that the drawn plans happened before the stitching on the actual piece?

 

 

 

 

franbrammer-collage3. Mid Ronalds – the red is dressmaker’s chalk – on big pieces I find it easier to navigate my way around the image when it is folded or rolled to go through the machine. It will fade over time but I don’t mind Ronald’s history making showing. Again can you believe that the compositional sketch happened before starting.

 

 

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Ronald – before final finishing. This still leaves me with a massive problem – what should he be called officially?  Do I want to have everyone on first name terms ? or to have to explain repeatedly why he is a Ronald – besides which he is pretty feminine –  should there be gender reassignment before his first public appearance?

My usual practice is to name after locations or just be very factual – ‘Birch, Skipwith Common’- lacks a certain charm or warmth.  ‘Squeaky Tree’?  ‘Summer Birch’,  ‘Sitting In The Woods Getting Rained On’?  or  ‘Oh Look! It’s A Tree!’ I just can not decide…… Any ideas?

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New Garden

20190702_083204-collageAnd this what happened…..  P1180545

after those more exploratory photos, after deciding just to use line and layer  and layer. I want the complexity of the plants growing in and through each other, the idea that it changes, it is emphemeral, and makes its own rules….   then there is the sheen on the velvet – as you can see at times the stitching just disappears. Usually when I am trying to sew it!img_20190703_171509739

At the next stage – some how the pink helps a little- it is the hottest, boldest pink I have over the top of flame red! The background isn‘t really this dark,  more of a golden greeny darkish sort of colour – but mostly all you notice is the velvet’s plush surface quality.

All this is how it is now. It is in a plain frame testing whether it looks finished – I think it might be. The temptation is to add more, and more, and then some fabric bits, some texture, but I am still trying to keep it pared down in the lumpy bumpy department.  Still not sure it looks like mine, some of the shapes…. ? and that emerald green… far too close to veridian…more adventurous with detail or less?… variety of scale?  I guess more to do.

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And don’t forget the York Textile Artists’ exhibition in Knaresborough – on until 19th July and totally amazing. See our social media or sign up for the group’s newsletter for the preview’s photos. I also heard this morning that I have been selected for the Great North Art Show so see you in Ripon!

 

garden II: ii

Not much mileage yet, but ideas and prep are in train. I shall claim to have been distracted by a visit to Croome Court, Worcestershire , and Grayson Perry’s Battle of Britain and Landscape tapestries.  His work is always worth a look, these were impressive, detailed and full of quirky character.

I am still not entirely sure that these are finished, they are loosely placed in raw frames, just to get an impression.  They are not as I had thought initially or planned initially, mostly because of the quality of the velvet, as a colour, and as a surface.

In garden III  there will be less velvet, more spaces, and a more simplistic approach.

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The hold up is waiting for the velvet to dry after last minute dyeing. It has a denser and longer pile than before and was originally a plush golden beigey browny non colour, and is now a lustrous beigey olivey green with a bit of a bed-head nap.

It will be based on this sketch from the parents’ garden. And to be awkward I might img_20190605_162822617try this old sample of embroidery. Current plan – loosely applique the velvet to the base-  underlying the hedge and flower areas. Probably patched to get different directions of nap. Dense cross hatching on the hedge. Then lines describing the foliage and flowers will be in a dark neutral and  colour and details will follow.

How much will be as expected? Hmm…

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Don’t forget the upcoming York Textile Artists exhibition, “Wild About Textiles” , in Knaresborough. Preview on 28th and then it runs until the 19th of July. Should be great fun, it is a very friendly gallery and a beautiful historic space.

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!

anything other than the Sprout!

img_20190106_095710824This was last week, rough and scruffy paint to give me some idea of where and what when I roll it up to sew, ( also handy when upside down and stitching!)  It is very sparse and undeveloped with the two blobs waiting for attention on the right- they will become thorn trees.

I worked on this on and off during the week and then took it as my work in progress/demo piece for the open day at Viking Loom yesterday. It has progressed in many ways. This is it now –  the blobs are very sprout- like,  day old boiled sprouts. I do love this colour but at this time of the year the associations are somewhat unfortunate….

IMG_20190113_103426461 The bottom left is just about done – some areas will be plucked to break up the colour and surface, and a top dressing  required on the conifer belt and the major bushes, but they will happen later as part of the ‘balancing’ stage. It is a case of where has all the brown and orange silk gone? Waste putting it in? Never – it peeps through in places and lends an intensity to the colours above.  and most of all it makes the thin spots in the stitch work as a positive rather than look like holes! Really pleased with the mad green varigated section of tufty chenille wool and the scrunched  and shredded bleached sari lengths at the bottom.

Pics below show some of the evolution – working in layers front to back, the type and density of stitch and the fabrics used.

I don’t like working one section up like this but I kept losing sight of the whole and started to get worried by the scale of the thing.  It really does show how dense to work is – the plain calico looks blank and bland, the paint looks flat, the sprouts and tree line look like a bit of nonsense. The other problem is the distortion caused by the stitching. This badly needs stretching before I do more. I had meant to leave the distortions as part of the nature of the beast but the piece is already very out of true.-

Next tasks – fore and middle ground to the right- sort out hillsides, get some flatter stitching in , maybe partially  happen to a sprout or two as well.

I am trying out Instagram (oops), so see daily-ish updates if your life is lacking sproutiness, and of course don’t forget about the upcoming opportunities – every fortnight Wed eve and Friday am  from 23rd Jan – introductions, techniques or project work, as you please.

Machine embroidery workshops and progress!

I have a series of dates avialable upto mid March  for learners and enthusiasts to come and play in my workroom, a chance to get started or to develop  your own ideas.  There is a basic programme but it  is there to be cherry picked or ignored as desired!  I am offering 2 hour sessions  on a Wednesday evening and Friday morning once a fortnight.  Details are on the website.

As for the new Biggish Beastie – Well, did you really expect me to pay any attention to myself? To follow my own guidelines and expectations?  Silliness.

Could not get my head together so sidestepped the problem to find fresh anxieties and questions to avoid.

This was where we left  it – rough patches of fabric, woll stitching, just beginning to map out the major areas and hint at textures. So found the blankness too big, and processes too slow.  Bring out to paint! Lay down some background, make it so I can see what is to happen rather than having to image it all the time.

This was thin acrylic with textile medium and worked in layers to build a bit of surface –  all so high tech –  printing off  scraps of cellophane and combing. It can not be thick because of the stitching to follow and is only the supporting act, not the main attraction.

The first layer of crosshatch stitching has started to weld the conifers together and wandering lines have begun to describe the scale and nature of the belts of vegetation and hedge lines.   There is still far more work ahead than behind but the structure is established . How much of this will be evident at the end? Very little, I expect, but I have more confidence in it now, it is less fluffy ideas and more directed intentions. Does this mean I know how it will look? Of course not? As ideas come together they will have to adapt and compromise untill they fit together, but this is the start of the real dialogue.

img_20190106_095710824Next steps? – Probably map out the treeline and foreground. Start on the empty space in the right bottom corner, but keep the interplay of spaces and concentrations of colour and texture going and build on them.

It needs ironing again. Already.

Poppies

york textile artist logotmbBeen  dotting about and fairly busy, so the only sewing I have done this week is a distraction…is it possible to have pre-emptive brinkmanship?  Talk about organised,  actually made these for an exhibition  I am part of over Remembrance weekend in November.  We are at the Chapel in York Cemetery (beautiful Classical style building and not at all creepy) on Remembrance Sunday – which going to the hundred years since the end of the First World War.

There are 9 of us exhibiting as a textile group so it seemed appropriate to make a hundred poppies between us and hopefully sell them with the funds going to the British Legion.P1180230

These were fairly simple to make, technically a bit twitchy, but pretty effective.

The idea was to make simplified, wearable fabric  variations based on the iconic British Legion poppies. The fabric is a quite light weight fulled wool, which gives it a kind of felted , matted surface so it shouldn’t fray(!) The stitching is intended to give shape and modelling rather than aiming for  decorative thread surfaces.

The problem with free machining is that it causes distortion  as the stitches pull the fabric. This is what I am using to give the 3D shape to the flowers.  I did try with different threads but settled on a very thick top thread and a standard dressmaking thread underneath. The imbalance gave the most exaggerated distortions

P1180231but it took a bit of fiddling to get the tensions right.  The spiral pattern made cones, the petals created  lumps and bumps and it all worked best on a solid piece of fabric not individual petals. I did try, but kept falling off the edge as the fabric constricted so spent forever digging bits and tangles out of the needle race. (Pah)

The finished ones have silk velvet centres and brooch backs. They are simple, direct and hopefully effective enough to be attractive, and to take their place in the group piece.

The new season of workshops is out now – check the Want to Try tab for more details. There are fewer, different  timings and prices, but still in York , small, informal and friendly.