Tag Archive | trees

Back to the Woods

Weellll…..    the new creative burst began with an encounter with curious bullocks, dragonflies, two hares and a crazed cyclist ( his lycra must have been too tight).

At this time of year I like being up and doing early. I think my neighbour would object to sewing machines  before 6 am so I am going out sketching instead- just collecting ideas and options, (this did lead to the bullock encounter). P1060814

This morning was in the local woods and it was the little places, the ordinary ones that caught my imagination.  This was a simple view at the edge of the wood, the sun catching the birch tree on the fringe and it was glowing with light seen through the trunks and delicate foliage of the wood proper. A very quiet beauty. No great drama of composition or texture, or even colour, but…..  The sketch is crude and under developed but that view and idea was the one I thought about on the way home.

It is now beginning in stitch. To be honest it is at the questioning phase, so looks like nothing. Hopefully the questions will lead to answers and the whole may be resolved but it will take time.

P1060806Layer 1 the birch – worked on water soluble fabric.  When washed away the black lines  should also go leaving a lacy  web.  I quite fancy manipulating this to create differing densities and concentrations of colour and textures, so the overall shape may change. And it may need some blue for shadows. And….

 

 

 

 

Layer 2 – mid ground – tree trunks. The purple pen is air erasable so should have faded by morning. Used a heavier thread, and for the top set of branches worked over crewel wool to give it more body.

And then decided to add on foliage. This was delicate and almost silhouetted, so the first pass was a dark teal stitched in a stop start pattern. Added in purple for more density, then dark red for dark contrast, bright jade for light and a mid blue to fill in the holes. So the planned 3hrs sewing turned into 5. (Sorry hedge, may be we will get together with the trimmers tomorrow) And this is how is staying for the moment. At least until  tomorrow morning.P1060812

Questions –  What will happen when the fabric is washed out.   I am imagining adding a stitched layer to each of the floating layers as they are fixed down, or perhaps not. It will depend on how they wash out.   Also may need to add more colour  in each layer – again won’t know until the soluble is washed out.  Is there enough for the idea to work?  It may get washed out and then put straight back on another piece for more content to be added.

Do I put it on  a neutral background? or a colour or a worked ground? Or none at all?

And the foreground – how much/ how little? Inclination is to go very dark for strong contrast, but……   I don’t even know if the composition is going to work – will it have that little bit of magic that I saw?

Oh well. I will find out tomorrow, you may have to wait until next week.

“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.

 

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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.

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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……

Machine Embroidery Big Beast 2

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This is the life cycle of a large piece of machine embroidery. It began early last year. But only got going in the autumn, therefore has no oilseed rape. And the hills have grown, and the farm buildings were taken down by the developers, and……

Sketched in situ – should have taken a rubber. Under painting  with dye and ink, trying it wrapped around the stretcher (120 x 40 cm! ),then happy sloshing time in the garden – dilute ink/dye and coffee/tea stain and lots of water. Left it out for a day or two.  Lastly, drying on the hall floor, so completely in the way.

 

Can’t find the early textile photos. Layers of gauze and stitched lines suggest the landscape. The trees are more complex –  ( last week’s slideshow!)

At this point it is nearly finished, but not quite p1060369near enough. There is balancing to do, adding, and taking away. Hard to stop this becoming fiddling.

Tweaking is fine, but no one likes a fiddler.

Spot the new (deliberate) holes!  Might even see the extra orange by the trees, and the deeper tones in the landscape.  I do like this section the best, but it does make the rest look out of focus. Might be a good thing! The two on the right are the back. Again really like the tree section.

And the finished article – not yet stretched onto the frame but at least it is pressed.

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Haven’t settled on a title yet, so is known to its friends as The Big Beast 2.

Updating my mailing list – if you would like notices about my own workshops and exhibitions please send me a line – franbramm@gmail.com

Upcoming events-

Exhibition at Blossom Street Gallery, York. Til 15th March 2017.

Stitchy Day. 8th March. A day workshop exploring and experimenting with freehand machining,  held in my workroom, York.

York Open Studios 2017- last 2 weekends in April.

 

 

 

 

video traumas and stitch techniques.

Camp Hands!   Camp Hands!       Aargh…… what happened to Mrs I Like Power Tools and Ohhh, Always Wanted To Do More Welding?  It seems that when I am not watching them, they have a worrying personality of their own!

I found a video editing download that I wanted to try, so  set up my dinky camera and filmed myself working. I find it very funny but at least the software seems fairly straightforward at this very basic level.

TECHNICAL HITCH ALERT – can only upload if I pay more money…….so please use imagination……or on my textiles page on facebook     What a palaver .-https://www.facebook.com/Frantextiles/

These are the end result – part of a season series.

But is it better than a slideshow?  This of a the on going large piece  which nearing completion at last!

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Answers on a postcard please.

Either way it takes longer to record then to do the actual work.

Hopefully the Stitchy Day  workshop on Wednesday will be easier  –  no cameras or admin involved – just me, and the pupils of course.

Thinking time

 

 

Still pondering about the layered landscape on muslin. Have added more stitching but  can’t get it to be the thing I want it to be – if that makes sense.  It is with in range but the way forward is  a tad fraught, along the lines of no going back.

Spent the morning wrestling with hanging layouts. It is in a heap on the floor so I guess it did not go well.

Options  – straight parallel panels-  classic but safe

 

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3 out 5?

Parallelish panels but pulled together on a centre line – ummm but complex for the sake of it?

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Should like this but still 3/5

In a square or circle or cruciform.– looked like a demented nappy hanger, jumbled, incoherent. 1/5 or less. I like the idea of seeing this the round but……

 

Problem – too much separation between the layers and they become more opaque and lose any connection between the imagery.  The scale feels wrong. The fabric doesn’t really work at 3 layers, unless I really do go into attack mode and deconstruct it.

As you can tell I haven’t started pulling threads to thin the fabric out yet, until I decide how to hang it I don’t know how much more stitching is required. It is enough of a pain to sew on even now, it has a desire to gather or distort and when that is thwarted  it tries to  disappear down through the needle plate. At least the machine is cleaned out regularly .

Solution – Stop dithering. Have found the frame from an old stunt kite is  ideal lightweight frame material- much better than broom handle and old shower curtain pole anyway.  So must do what feels right at that moment and suffer later if need be. The stitching can always be recycled onro the big landscape piece that is still draped over the bannister rail!

Major plus is time spent on distractions – day on the coast fossiling  proto Salt Aire submission piece, even hoovered.

 

 

 

Words’ End.

And this is the mini jacket – all dry and  quite solid now. The cotton lawn has worked extremely well – it is fine  but came with quite a firm finish so it sewed well, but this washed out to leave a soft more fluid fabric ( before I glued it into rigidity of course). The only problem is finding where I got it from and getting more of the same quality! The jacket is  almost too nice, it is impersonal – the complete opposite to the initial concept. Hmmm….. pondering required.

 

 

As a sort of spin off from this  project  the landscapes  are going all dangly  and flimsy.

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I am working on muslin  in  2m x 50cm lengths. These will be hung  horizontal with one or two banner trees hanging vertically. This is a vague plan. I have toyed with this for a long time, but now it seems to be happening.  I have one main panel with a  skeleton of a landscape in grey  quickly mapped out, and a second in half tones with  a scatter of  bare elder trees.   These are propped across a pair of builder’s trestles at present,  taking up half the work room  so access is entertaining ( under the table route was favourite yesterday).

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This is very much the start, there are many elements to play with – fabric density, stitch style, colour and density, content and composition, and then hanging.

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I like the muted effects when  this  is back lit.  In the sun this morning, the darker back layer is casting  delicate shadows on the front panel.  The straight stitch areas are much harder and more defined than the zigzag lines.  The shadows are an unexpected bonus. It is like a misty/foggy morning when everything is in soft silhouette and fades a way to nothingness. The layers reversed are far too harsh.  If this degree of subtlety  can be achieved  with 2 sketched and incomplete layers  just think what could be achieved with some careful thought and planning.  At the moment I am intending to work some more dtails on the front panel and block in more on the main panel in the half tone thread.  There are the vertical hanging pieces to be  attempted as well. Should they be dominant foreground features, between the panels or behind?  The muslin is up for attack as well. By taking out weft threads  it should become more cobwebby and reveal more of the layers behind.

 

I have no idea if this will work. It may be a grower, taking time and many nibblings before it takes on its mature form, or end up in the bin.

Just tone

Over the last few weeks time and location have not been mine. Sewing machines are not known for their discretion and portability, so I have indulged in a hand stitched study of a tree.  I did not want to lug collections of threads around so it is done entirely in charcoal grey.  The aim was to try to mirror the  sketching  style.

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5 minute biro sketch of fir tree, postcard size.

The current sketches  are very quick pen work, layers of rough crosshatching with the odd descriptive line twitching away.   I find this satisfactorily  active  and informal, allowing for variation and  modification, but tidy it isn’t. The sewing machine is too definite and organised, the lines are even and without  gaps and sudden aberrations, would the  hand stitching be any different?

The whole is worked in a small running stitch, quite uneven and even rather wobbly in places. The trunk has a layer of a diagonal stitch over the top to give greater density but this is not an exercise in perfection or is intended to excite  admiration for the technical expertise. This is about making the very simple work very hard.

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And the over all effect?

There are one or areas are asking for another layer but in essence it is done.  Successful?p1050961