Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Time to catch up on some stitching!

After two months in the states I am back home catching up now with my textiles. Just returned from a week at Rydal Water in the Lake District where every year a group of twelve contemporary textile artists meet up and stitch, walk and chat all week. Whilst we all get on with our own work we gain so much from each other in the working environment.
Whilst the weather was cold with snow on the highest peaks we had some lovely sunny spells for exploring around Rydal water and hills. The Rydal beck was in full spate and will I am sure, be a source for a future piece of work

I am currently working on a couple of pieces based on coral atolls and reefs. I am using dyed cloth which I discharge through stencils and screens to create the images of the coral reefs. I then over dye and screen again to try to introduce depth into the piece. The larger piece for a challenge called 'On the Edge' is on its way, having free machined around the 'coral' I now have to machine stitch the 'ocean. I used some dilute Golden  irridescent pearl paint to highlight the coral. This will be a work in progress for some time as there is a lot of machine quilting to do

A smaller 12 inch square piece got finished during the week. This piece used similar techniques to those planned for the larger piece but I added some free machine embroidery, french knots and a little bling in the form of rhinestones to add some sparkle.

  It is  for a SAQA Benefit Auction which takes place later this year which raises money to help support the cost of travelling exhibitions. So the piece is winging its way to the USA for the Auction..


Friday, 8 January 2016

A bit of hand stitching

Over in California without  machine at the moment - so I am catching up with some hand stitching I am doing with a local stitch group for an exhibition. I am using some small pieces of rust dye fabrics that I produced years ago when 'rusting' was all the rage - never used them for anything so I am now using small pieces as backgrounds. 

Different activators were used to produce the rust from lemon juice to green tea! The unpredictable effects make the pieces ideal for hand stitching

Just started stitching on a couple of the pieces below - ideal little project to have with me whilst we are travelling around, tacked them loosely to a muslin backing first before deciding how to stitch.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

A little behind.....

Not posted for  quite a few months as  always seem to be racing towards another deadline so just posting here some work I have been doing for  an exhibiting group I belong to with the intention of taking time to find  a few minutes to record what I get up to rather than always be doing it!

The pieces below were based on the theme of 'Abstracted Nature' which all members of the Voyage Art textiles Group were working to, earlier in the year I had started work on some pieces based on Foxgloves from a Norfolk Garden- but having done a couple - I lost the will to develop any more designs from the Foxglove - hence   I eventually settled on abstracts of Norfolk Landscapes - this is an area that until recently I did not know well but the huge open skies and diversity of landscapes were the trigger and starting point for this years series. The designs developed from the colors abstracted from photographs of each  landscape.

The pieces all start as white cloth and were then dyed and screen printed in block shapes using thickened transparent dyes.

Heather and Gorse at Grimstone Warren.

Opaque screen printing inks were used to create the strong colour of heather on top of the screen printed backgrounds.

Oilseed Rape fields outside Burnham Market

The vibrant yellows and lime green colour ranges of the rape seed fields were the the backdrop for the piece. Overprinting with opaque fabric paint was used to add some depth to the piece before quilting the final piece.

The Salt Marshes at Blakeney

This has become a favourite place - the desolate salt marshes which surround the small fishing village of Blakeney, so often emerging from the mists.

After creating the backgrounds as before, I used discharge paste to  lighten some areas to create wave forms. The marsh reeds and darker waves were done by overlaying dyed silk organza, stitching and then cutting back to the shape.

Lavender at Caley's Mill

The fields surrounding the Mill are planted for miles with different varieties of lavender, and in June the sight and smells are a joy. 

The lavender flowers were again produced using dyed organza, stitched and cut back.


December 2015

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Looking at the dye samples

One of the joys of natural dyeing is the unpredictability of the results. It's about

the only ironing job I like - ironing the dyed pieces after they have been rinsed and dried.

You can see the shibori indigo piece  in more detail below, a few lines of stitches were done on the machine with a long stitch setting before I drew up the threads tightly and put the piece in the indigo vat..

Monday, 20 July 2015

Natural dye day

Perfect warm day for doing some natural dyeing - joined friend in the village who is expert both in growing dyestuff plants and in choosing suitable mordants. So after cutting up walnut leaves and stewing onions skins and other plant sources we ended up with 8 different colour pots. I used mainly silk, silk noil and cottons to put in the pots and ended up with a lovely selection of soft natural colours.

The fabric was mordanted with aluminium acetate escept for thre indigo dye which did not need mordanting.

Logwood and Madder root on the boil

Oak Gall and Onion skins stewing

Hanging out to dry

A very enjoyable day was had amongst good company - and result... lots of soft gentle colours on my fabric to use in various projects.

I do appreciate the subtlety of the colours you obtain with natural dyes but as a general rule find procion dye suits my work as I can gauge and predict the colour outcomes more reliably. However, the soft natural colours I ended up with today will I am sure, stimulate more design ideas for my work.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Screenprinting the lilies

From my sketches of the lilies I cut a silk screen using a Gocco printer, ( A small japanese craft version of a Thermofax which will cut up to A5 size screens) the screen was then used to print with discharge paste on some hand dyed backgrounds. 

Quite pleased with the results as a first attempt.  The sketches therefore became white against the dyed background - not sure how I will use this in a piece  of work yet - who knows........

 I will probably try to screen with thickened dye next.