Archive for December, 2008

SAGE, music and metal

Christmas is over although it won’t seem a year before it is here again! I bought myself a couple of books to add to my textile, fibre and embroidery library. My daughter managed to grab one of them to give me for Christmas – she likes to give me something she knows I want – so I didn’t get a chance to look at it until Christmas day. Really liked it and would recommend it – The Art of Stitching on Metal by Ann Parr. I have always used metals in my work – even given a workshop on its use in textile and embroidery – but this book is so full of ideas all in one book it is a very useful reference of techniques and samples.

The other book was the latest by Sherrill Kahn. It is a very thin book – only 28 pages – a bit disappointing really. I do love her fabulous use of colour and if it wasn’t for that I would have felt very disappointed indeed. However, I never tire of looking at her work so it is more of that at least.

I have been busy creating all through Christmas even on Christmas day until the family arrived and I continued after they left so I have a lot of unshown work.

One piece I made at the same time as I was creating the Rievaulx Abbey piece was a bag. It didn’t turn out as I had planned because I tried to use two metallic threads in the needle together and it wasn’t a complete success. I have done this before with other threads and it worked fine but metallics are difficult to use at the best of time so I wasn’t too surprised at the result. (Didn’t stop me trying though). It did mean that I had to cut back on what I had planned for the bag. I used a dark green velour which is another difficult material to work with. (Talk about making life difficult for myself!!) I drew the music and scanned it into my digitising software. I had planned to use an actual piece of music but it would have taken too long for a one off digitise so I simply repeated the same line three times. I also suffered the results of cutting and using velour – tiny dark green bits everywhere and on a cream carpet too. Another reason to cut back on what I had planned. One of those things you wished you hadn’t started!! I covered the lining with lots of musical notations and on the shoulders of the handle which don’t show but here is the finished bag.

Another piece I made was based on a photograph I took of some purple sage in my garden.

I put it into photoshop and played with the image creating a special effect composite image which I have added to my digital imaging file.

This was to be the basis of the design. I sized it to A3 and made a black and white pattern for it thinking I would create a painted and quilted piece. Then I changed my mind and decided to create something a bit more stylised instead. I masked off the black fabric background and left some strips to spray with Moon shadow mist – mystic malachite. It works wonderfully on dark colours and is as far as I can see is a spray form of Golden’s interference oxide green(BS). Next I sorted lots of green textured threads and pinned them onto the sprayed background. These were to be the stalks.

They were machined down with decorative machine stitching. Next I needed to create the flowers. These were made using lutrador and dry brush painting it lilac. They were free machined and cut out and then couched over the stalks. The leaves were made using black scrim brushed with the Golden interference oxide green paint – a perfect match to the sprayed background. (It is times like this which justify having such a huge stash of materials!)
A very different piece to the one I first envisaged. Now I must get on with a new piece I have planned.
The next blog will probably be in the new year 2009. Where has 2008 gone?? Can’t believe a whole year has passed so quickly.
Here’s wishing you all a happy new year and look forward to reading all your blogs next year.
Cheers everyone.


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Ruined ‘Paper’ Arches

This will probably be the last post until after Christmas. My OH and I went to visit family today to deliver cards and presents.

It was my grandson’s 9th birthday at the weekend. He was so excited about this birthday for some reason he couldn’t get to sleep. He went bounding into his parents bedroom at 1am and shouted “Well, what do you say to the birthday boy then?” They were waiting for him to go to sleep so that they could sneak his present into his playroom ready for the next morning. Then he set his alarm clock so that he would wake up early……

It reminded me of someone else who did that!! a long time ago!

Apart from all the seasonal preparations, of which I do as little as possible, I have still been able to do some creative work of the textile variety or should I say of the ‘paper’ variety.

Earlier this year we went to Rievaulx Abbey to do some photography on the abbey ruins. Two of the many photos I took were of some ruined arches with beautiful carving still very evident.

I decided to represent the carved patterns with ‘paper’ casts.

When I was in a well known DIY store I found some lengths of wood decorative mouldings with carved patterns on them. I bought several of them with an eye to using them for moulding the patterns. Now was the time to put that idea to the test. I used the same method as for the shells in the previous post. I covered about 30cm of the moulding with wet ‘loo’ paper and a stiffening agent. When there were enough layers I gave it a final coat of stiffening agent and left it to dry.

I wanted some different patterns and sizes in these casts so I made some card moulds of smaller squares and triangles and still using the ‘loo’ paper method, made more lengths of moulded patterns.

Next I had to prepare the background fabric. I chose one of my favourite fabrics – a sandy beige simulated suede. I mixed some acrylic paint and sponged the shape of the two ruined columns using a cut paper template to obtain the shape of the side of the column. After several different layers of colour and sponging, I had the background ready for the patterned moulds.

When the paper moulds were dry, they were removed from the card and wood, panted and sponged to match the background. Some were cut in order to create the curves. Then they were stitched in place with couched threads and cords and free machined stitching. I left the loose thread ends as I quite liked the effect. I always cut them off later if I change my mind.

The piece will be mounted on a frame when I find the time to make it.

So another piece completed. I have completed four others but they will have to wait until the next post.

Seasons greetings to all.


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Rescued Foxgloves

I have been busy with new pieces but some of them have not gone too well so I will not b posting them. I do have one, however, which I almost – yes almost- binned but being someone who can’t bear waste or giving up I did have a go at a rescue and it is now acceptable!!

I began with a photograph I took of some foxgloves.

I opened this image in Photoshop and played with some of the special effects to create this image.

I decided to print this image onto coated Habutai silk and then quilt it which I did. The textured background on this image didn’t show on the printed silk so when the quiting was finished I thought that I would gently catch the ridges of the quilted background with gold treasure gold. It looked terrible – as though it was dirty. I hated it. I tried something else. Sponging over it with some metallic pink paint but I didn’t like that either. Then I started to sponge some green over that to create a two tone sponging effect but didn’t like that either.

So I put it to one side not wanting to succumb to putting it the bin. I kept having a look at it until eventually I decided to use one of Val Campbell-Harding’s solutions. If you don’t like it cut it up and reuse it. I didn’t want to cut it up completely so instead I cut out the foxgloves from the background and edged it with satin stitch using green rayon thread. I tried laying it on different backgrounds until I found one which looked acceptable. It was some hand made paper which had different coloured threads embedded into it some of which complemented the green edging.

It needed something else. I decided to use text and machined out the name of the flower in a lovely cursive font stitched onto a white sheer. This was stitched onto the background as was the quilted foxglove – the finished piece

I felt much better now that I had rescued the piece. I have even kept the cut away background – you just never know!!

I also managed to get a few photographs in the garden in spite of the dreadful weather. The winter jasmine is blooming at the moment. here is one of the tiny delicate but obviously very robust flowers which survives all the snow and frost of late.

I am working on another piece now which- thank goodness- is looking good -so far!! So hopefully it will appear on the next post!!

Cheers for now everyone.

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