Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace - October 8 - 12

You may remember the beginnings of this lovely stitched pieced from the last post about the Malmsbury Embroiderers Guild workshop. 
This is it stitched, finished and mounted. 

Chris Taylor and Laura Strutt on the Vilene stand. 
Boy did we have a good time.

The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace was, as usual, stunning. it was also very long - FIVE days, with a late night opening on Thursday. It was fabulous to see so many friends - new and old. We had a very busy time on the Freudenberg Vilene stand. There are still people out there in Textileland that dont know you can paint Bondaweb - so my work here is not yet done!

The exhibits at the show were fantastic. I have two series of work I would like to share with you.
The first is by Mary Flynn - The Shore Archive.

Her work celebrates the beauty of the sea and shore and communicates her feelings about our responsibility for the environment

Over a period of years Mary Flynn's work has involved regular visits to the beaches on the Isle of Wight to gather evidence from the shoreline to try to make sense of human experience. A process of collecting, photographing, archiving and selecting from found objects, results in art that speaks indirectly about the problems of the environment and also responds to an ancient and elemental engagement with the landscape.

The art is a direct response to objects found by chance and the significance they hold for the artist.

Researchers are examining pollution in our oceans and the impact on marine life, the food chain and fertility, it is one of the most pressing issues of today. Covering 72% of the Earth and supplying half its oxygen, the oceans are the planet's life support system and they are in danger. Mary Flynn communicates her concern through her work.

A cabinet of just some of the sorted rubbish Mary has collected over the years.

Coastline debris collected over five years shows a variety of objects washed ashore - as Mary says - The finds are material evidence of a dark future.

Having read through the catalogue of the show I have discovered a few horrifying facts - How long will our rubbish last at sea?
Paper towel 2 - 4 weeks
Newspaper 6 weeks
Cigarette filter - 1 - 50 years
Foamed plastic cup - 50 years
Tin can - 50 years
Aluminium can - 80 - 200 years 
and worst of all
Disposable nappies 450 years
 nylon monofilament/fishing line
600 years

The exhibition consisted of several large hangings constructed from detritus Mary has collected from the beaches around the Isle of Wight - mainly tarpaulins, plastic sheet and synthetic fabrics - these have been sorted into colours and stitched together.

Mary is looking for a permanent home for her her body of work, if you have any ideas or wish to contact this is the email address and Facebook link.

This is the Facebook link - more photos of the exhibit can be seen here.


The other body of work that caught my eye was Precious Memories by Jo Beattie. Exquisitely simple and thought provoking. The outlines of the design are free machine embroidered onto polyester organza. The shapes are then cut out with a soldering iron. 

The shadows created by the work are beautiful.

There were various ways of displaying the smaller pieces of work - but this was my favourite - just between glass - again, simplicity itself.

There was so much to see at the show and I didn't have a lot of time to escape from the stand. I will be at the Dublin and Harrogate shows and will continue to report back. 


My next trip will be to Redditch next week to teach my ExTex courses - 
it is always the highlight of my month.

Watch this space.


Monday, 6 October 2014

Hot Textiles with the Malmesbury Embrodery Guild - 4th October

 Vilene Spunbond (Lutradur) with Bondaweb on the back, cut with a soldering iron, then ironed onto a background.

I teach a lot of workshops to a lot of Guilds, both Embroiderers and Quilters. Every now and then you come across a rather special group. Don't get me wrong, all groups are welcoming and great fun - but this group was FAB!
The Malmesbury Guild are one of three Embroiderers Guilds in Wiltshire. They are a  small group and as with all small groups they could do with some more members. If you live in the North of Wiltshire, I highly recommend you consider joining them. This is their blog - with contact details.

 Painting Bondaweb.

Hot Textiles is the first workshop I wrote after my book of the same title was published. I hadn't taught it for a while, then two or three bookings come along at once. It is the basic sampling workshop, teaching how to use heat tools safely - Soldering irons, heat guns and irons.
The workshop was held in Little Somerford village hall. There is plenty of room with a great kitchen.

The group hard at work.

We started the day with painting the Bondaweb and Tyvek and while that was drying with cracked on with applique shapes cut with a soldering iron. Bondaweb was ironed onto the back of Vilene Spunbond and then shapes were cut with a soldering iron. The shapes are then lifted off of the backing paper and ironed onto a background. You can achieve some quite complicated shapes with a soldering iron.

Cutting the shapes . . .

Layers of shapes ironed down.

 . . . . and more shapes . . .

 and more.

After a busy morning we had a delicious lunch. Usually everyone brings their own lunch and the group break into smaller groups to eat their lunch. Not so with the Malmesbury Guild. They all bring food to share and sit down together for a feast. It was lovely.

The group having lunch.

After lunch we got on with layering the Tyvek with polyester organza. This was then machine stitched together and then zapped with a heat gun to reveal different layers of colour.

All sorts of scrumptious textures can be achieved.

Then we got onto decorating the painted Bondaweb. We used the usual suspects - transfer foils, sequins, glitter and gilding flake.

It was a busy day but the group managed to get a lot done. They really were great fun.

One of the students on the workshop on Saturday - got up early yesterday and started to stitch into one of her samples - I do love keen students. It was so kind of Naomi to send this image. It is always good to know . . what happens next? 

I drove back to Brighton via Portsmouth as I didn't want to chance the M25. I dropped in on a 'certain gentleman from the Portsmouth area' and I was whisked out for dinner. It was a great treat, thank you kind sir!!! I don't get a lot of chance for a social life at this time of year with all the shows coming up so off the cuff dinners are special.

x x x

This week it is The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. It's a big show with soooooo much to see. It is now on for FIVE days - it starts on Wednesday.

I am very excited to be doing the shows again -I miss all the hustle and bustle and it is a great opportunity to catch up with friends - most importantly my chum Laura Strutt who works with me on the Vilene stands.

Laura is great fun to work with, full of ideas and just a fabulous person to be around. We will both be on stand TGR3. Do come and say hello.

x x x

I have one more workshop left this year -
Reclaimed Papers at Art Van Go.

November 11th & 12th
2 day workshop
Reclaimed Papers
ART VAN GO, The Studios
1 Stevenage Road, Knebworth
Hertfordshire SG3 6AN

We will be working with all kinds of papers to create fainating surfaces that can be printed and stitched into - we could even make book covers and boxes if you fancy. Ironing the decorated, reclaimed papers onto Decovil interfacing will create fabulous firm surfaces to work with. There are 5 places left as of today. After the show - I doubt there will be any . . . .

 Decorated papers ironed onto Decovil 1 to make the paper firm enough for book covers.

Papers layered with painted Bondaweb and then stitched.

x x x

So my lovelies - I'm off to sort the last minute packing and posting of orders for and then decide what I need to demonstrate with on the stand.
It's gong to be a great show! 
Whoooo hooo!

x x x

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Experimental Textiles - 4th session Still life and collage

It used to be an apple for the teacher . . . .

So - we have had the fourth session of Experimental Textiles already - time is flying. I save the still life until the fourth session as by then as the groups are feeling more comfortable with each other and friendships are starting to form. The girls are all starting to support each other.

Drawing and painting in front of other people is always uncomfortable. Few of us are naturally talented, but the exercise of looking and recording what you see is very valuable. I find that asking the groups to draw and paint a large scale still life is a bit less scary for them than a smaller scale one.

The weekend group concentrating hard on their drawings.

We spent the whole of the first day of the two day sessions making various drawings and paintings, using a range of media. Several of the drawings/paintings will be torn up the next day to create a collage. Telling the students that their work may well be torn up makes them place less importance on their drawings and paintings, freeing them up.
If the student is particularly pleased with a piece of work, then of course they don't have to tear it up.

Jane found this pose very relaxing . . . . .

Caroline in the zone . . . .

Three of the paintings - lots of freedom and colour.

The girls tearing and stitching.

Collaging is a great way of looking at shape, spaces in between . . . .

The stitch tends to be free form, interpretive, rather than traditional stitches, though the girls are welcome to use them if they wish. We use all manner of yarns and threads from embroidery threads to knitting yarns.

The girls will be finishing off their collages for homework. I am REALLY pleased with what they are doing - we have a bumper crop!!

x x x 

It has been an interesting week so far . . . I had to cancel a lecture due to family ill health. It is not something I do lightly. I hate cancelling bookings.
However, things are slowly getting sorted so I can teach my Hot Textiles workshop for Malmesbury Embroiderers Guild on Saturday. I haven't taught in Wiltshire before, I am looking forward to meeting everyone.
So watch this space for more painted Bondaweb and Tyvek shenanigans.

I am also preparing for the Vilene stand at Ally Pally next week - it is now a five day show . . . it will be great to be working with Laura again, I have missed her - she is such fun to work with.

Have a great weekend.

x x x