Tag Archive | textiles

Words and Wolds. Fact or fiction?

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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.

 

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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!

 

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.

Stone in My Shoe

Yup. Annoying, painful, niggling, just has to be dealt with before moving on.

Meet Wold and Vale – the latest offering from House of Brammer ( or at least – Cluttered Workroom of ‘Er on the Corner).

 

Fran Brammer_Wolds and Vale _freehand machine embroidery

This caused some real heart ache. I completely lost the vision and faith in that vision. It became a mess – bitty, dirty, un-everything,  in fact the total focus of a major grump.

Now I nearly like it, some days.    It has been  cut about, dyed, abandoned, rained on, bullied, brutalised,  and now  it is plucked, preened and pressed. It hasn’t the clarity  I wanted initially but has something else that I haven’t defined yet.  The all over composition doesn’t have the theatrical space that I usually build in – something I have been experimenting with this year. Some  look askance when I say that linear perspective is an easy composition device, but working without those zooming lines and focal points, or even a defined picture, is  still a struggle.  I look back to those happy days of abstract painting and collage, I wish I had kept that brain and not swapped it for one that now sees pictures.

The stages of making are in the slide show- click on them for brief captions, play spot the sequins.

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The surface on this one is delicate due to the extreme plucking , see detail  pics, so it will have to be under glass ( didn’t stop me hoovering it to pick of the stray fibres though….)Wolds Vale plucking detail.

Usual questions – do I take it further? Make it more pictorial?  Too obvious-  Is this piece really only a background?  I think  frame it as is but have a rework as an option – so leave on the surplus fabric and plonk it in a frame (sorry- carefully stabilise and place carefully in an entirely enchanting mount and frame).

 

 

Just  another day in textiles land –

 

Twisting Tree demo/tutorial

This one of my favourite teaching things.  The sewing is really straight forward but the effects can be amazing.

It begins with these drawings – with and without foliage.twisted tree drawing

Drawing up is simple – trace through your fabric (lean up against a window for an instant light box)  Fancy pen required? Nope – it will all be sewn over. Lots of detail ?- nah – wriggly lollipop with a bad hair day.

 

 

First stitches set the twisting movement throughP1060987 the trunk so no worries about sewing straight – don’t even try. Layers of stitch are built up as the tree’s framework is established. A spot of stabiliser underneath if the fabric pulls may help.

 

 

 

 

P1060988The canopy starts with organised scribble in a strongly contrasting colour (purple), and extended in a glorious sludge colour.

P1060990

The stitch pattern is fairly consistent – cross hatched blocks- but varies in scale and density. Top dress with greens of mixed hues, add in sharp colour to lift if needed,  finish off the trunk with contrast tones – I used navy  and a quick twiddly bit of grass to anchor it and it is done!

A good press and…..   ta da……

machine embroidery.freehand machine embroidery sample

This is quite a simple do, yet can be so effective. It is a good learning curve  and can be adapted to all skill levels. I love that the equipment list is basically machine, foot, hoop, pencil. Materials list is also slim,  fabric (  I used a scrap of rust dyed cotton), threads – what ever you want/what ever you have got, and possibly a bit of stitch and tear.

Fun.

I have been watching craft TV again –  this is available  in four easy instalments of oodles of money,  10% discount for people I like or who have daft cats. Just quote discount code DUNKINGBISCUITS.

 

Perhaps I should offer it as a kit? Hmm. Need a new packet of biscuits to consider that one.

Self promotion spot-  Last week or so  of the Ripon Great North Art Show

Last but one week of the Knaresborough  exhibition in Art in the Mill.

First week of the Micklegate Art in the Window Trail-  You MUST go into Spelmans bookshop. I had forgotten just how fabulous it is ( think Edwardian woody splendour)

Christmas strikes early.

 

Some of the tribe at the show in Ripon Cathedral this week-  but meanwhile back at home…..

“No problem. Need samples for the December class. Shall I take one of the pre printed forest animal panels and see what I can do with it. Must showcase the fabric and engage people to come to try freehand/motion working. Not a problem.”

I do wish that when at work  I would shut up at these strategic moments.

 

2 garland ideas for a visiting group to try, a metre and a half of decorative panels strung together ( reminds me of  a pelmet crossed with a hockey skirt), quilted pictures, quilt block proposals, and a  small “quilt” later…..even did a little hand sewing…… ( I do work in a quilt/embroidery shop)….

 

VLxmasclassq

Moda, who produced the animal images, are usually a bit tight, so why did they decide to populate whole forests with just one panel!!!!

Never mind. Working with found images can be fun, and although this isn’t really my preferred style of work it should provide a bit of entertainment, technical practice, be a ‘safe’ start point and act as a confidence builder. Just got the backing and binding on the ‘quilt’ to do then it is back to my own stuff!

Will admit, cutting the hedge is starting to look like an attractive option.

I gave in. Used about half the panel – the rest has been divided up and is on sale in the shop as smaller blocks.

 

Please Ask!

Well it is done.  I rough framed it on Wednesday and so far have not wanted to tweak or alter it in any positive way, so it is declared ‘finished’.

fran BrammerWalking in the Wolds

Quite like it, more in some areas than others, but that will true of everything I do.  The leaching of the colour out of the shiny yellow is still a niggle, The  upper sections are duller (more subtle) than intended and the patterns fainter (more sophisticated and delicate). A  general ‘PAH’ is warranted.

I think is does have some of the qualities I was after, it isn’t a single image but a story of many places, a path through the dry dales, seeing the harvesting patterns curving over the hill tops, the paths carved into the hillsides.  The colours aren’t as strong as I initially wished, Pah about the yellow, the orange and blue/green are  softer and perhaps too close in tone. The purple line works wonders, it wakes up these colours and helps to bring the disparate shapes together. All carefully planned  of course. Well, nearly planned. Rather more just hoped for. The questing line wandering through

layerwolds

A quick go at layering photos from the walk, just to see which shapes and patterns dominate. Is it similar to the textile version?

the landscape is a bit of a recurring theme, it is nice to have it back, even if this time it is flat across the picture rather than seeking distance.

 

Shame in a way, it has missed going to Knaresborough, Ripon or into York.  It shall have to sit on the wall for a while and wait for its first public appearance.

I have a strange compulsion to call it Bruce.

Oh dear.