Tag Archive | textiles

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.

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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.

Do not ask and gallery page.

do not askThis is the do not ask.  The posh term is responding intuitively and instinctively  to a walk  along Horse and Holmdale and then along some of the tops.  It feels more like fishing at the moment. There are elements I want to include- the warmth, the light, the textures, the stillness, but not  any specific picture of one place.  It is more a response to the fabrics chosen  at present, I will have to be more brutal to bend it to my will!  Need to be braver, or dafter.

So far I have made apple and blackberry crumble, dismembered various buddleia, etc, etc. Also experimented with adding an informal gallery page to the blog site….. please take a look. Good idea or not worth it?

This is in a state of undone and pending. How it will end up I do not know, so please don’t ask.

 

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