Monday, June 29, 2009

Fabric salvage now . . .

. . . bits and pieces not much use for anything else, sometimes rescued from other people's bins at workshops (how sad is that?).
This is one of the first set of postcards I ever made, discovered tucked away somewhere when having a workroom clearout recently.
I think it is the colour grouping that makes these interesting.

The compulsion to make these strip things seems to go on for ever, but at last I am moving on a bit . . .
. . . though not for long. Back to strips, but thinner, even more likely to be in the bin, and running stitch all over them . . .

These bags also use up all sorts of offcuts - strips, trimmings and tiny scraps any normal person would just throw away. Lay them out on a piece of fabric cut to the size required for what you want to make. Cover with organza (stripy bag) or net (blue/red bag), pin everywhere then machine stitch all over, handling carefully so bits don't escape. Of course you could use fusible web but I hate the stuff. This bag is done with straight stitch, to show that you don't have to be able to do free machining to use this method of creating fabric.

And this one used up a lot of tiny scraps and bits of thread, and has been free machined with scribbles and zigzaggy lines.

Not just me . . .

. . . doing creative things . . . e.g. making racks for our patio pots.Since we moved back here to Dorset Derek has been salvaging pallets from houses locally where some building work is being done (with permission of all concerned of course). He was horrified to discover that pallets on which various building materials were delivered just got taken to the local landfill, not returned to anyone for reuse. People seem very happy for him to take them, it saves them a job dumping them.
Small garden tables/stands, large table, benches, a picnic table we haven't got a photo of, doors, fences, duckboards, garden gates, a woodstore shed . . .
And when they do a roof conversion round here in a very bungalow-rich neighbourhood, all the old roof timbers seem to be discarded too. So guess what is filling up our back yard!
I'm glad we are having the benefit of this, but, oh what a waste!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Colour sequence in the garden . . .

WCE June Exhibition

On the transfer paints day an exhibition was set up of work from the Poole branch of WCE at Upton House, a local council owned manor house plus grounds which is a great place for a day out. Years ago Prince Carel of Rumania was living there, and got behind with his rent I believe. The most upmarket council house in the country we used to joke among ourselves. There is a small gallery above the cofee shop which has regular exhibitions of various kinds. This was the first time the group had exhibited, and there was a lot of impressive work to look at. The pix can be clicked on for a larger version, where the separate elements of the collages can be seen more clearly. There were framed pictures, cushions, bags, boxes, pin cushions, book covers, small hangings, postcards, journal quilts. To hang things on the walls you have to knock nails in, then fill in the holes afterwards and restore it to its previous condition. We didn't want to cope with that so we had mostly smaller items, the sort of things embroiderers tend to make compared with quilters.
Readers of Stitch magazine may spot a few things made from articles in that. And a surprising number of items from our monthly workshops turned up, finished and looking smart. We all made items for the sales tables, top pic bottom left, to raise a bit of money. General consensus seems to be that it was a very successful event, and it has given us confidence for another one in the future.

Exciting stuff at WCE . . .

. . . in June. Eileen Pugh, one of our members, gave us a great workshop on using fabric transfer paints. She showed us 2 lovely pieces her sister had done in the past, colouring her fabric and then adding stitching.
With this to inspire us we painted away, on paper, using drawings Eileen provided of flowers and butterflies. The iris one was popular. The idea is then, when the paint is dry (a hairdryer helps speed things up. I seldom use mine for drying hair!), you lay the painted paper down on fabric and iron it carefully. The heat releases the colour. Polyester absorbs it very efficiently, so we tried out pure polyester and polycottons. Colour does come off on natural fibres alone but needs special treatment to fix it.
As we loosened up we tried other effects, splodgy backgrounds, tearing strips, sponging.
And you can also print one image over another.There was so much to show at the end I've had to make 2 collages to display it all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Two UFO's done, 999+ to go . . .

A few months back we did this Banjara-style stitching with Tiggy Rawling at West Country Embroiderers. I've now finished my bit and have made it into this bag, with dangling elephants and cords made of twisted sari threads. And these are my folder covers, not given pages yet (I'm still figuring out how to organise the holes), done with Wendy Jackson.
The outer fabric is a piece of batik done at a workshop at Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire several years ago. The inside fabric was done one day dyeing with a friend. It is a bog standard Dylon dye, bronze rose, and has separated out into interesting bits of colour, adding nicely and unexpectedly to the intended splodgy effect of crumpling into a jar.

The embroidery is a slip that was added on. It has knotted cretan stitch, wrapped to make more textural.

Studies in red and green . . .

. . . our first efforts at growing chard. Is it meant to shoot up like this? There never seemed to be enough pickable leaves on it to make a decent helping. But it is very sculptural! Flowers are simpler ... last year's birthday present survives. This year's geraniums . . .
. . . and the poppies have x3 more flowers this year.
Chard detail - looks like something from the jungle.
I shall enjoy studying these . . .
. . . and these . . .
. . . not to mention these . . .

Sunday, June 07, 2009

creative stuff at church . .

. . . just over life-size figures, the Rhythm of Life band, made by weaving strips of fabric, plastic, paper in and out of chicken wire moulded over a wooden armature. The instruments are constructed out of card covered with paper, painted gold. This was a project lots of people had a go with, anyone who was in the church building for whatever purpose was encouraged to put some strips in, and they did. There's a guitarist, drummer . . . . . trumpeter, saxophone player (well, nearest we could get to a saxophone!) . . and a violinist. Interesting mixture. I wonder what that would sound like if they all came alive one time and started to play?
The figures were constructed and the work facilitated by Jacqi Lea, a community artist from Southampton.
Then this is done by a group of us who've been involved in making altar covers. See same link as the band (above). We made a strip each,using a drawing of an idea one of us had, relating to the Hard Rain exhibition we have at the church till October. There is a lot of detail in the embroidery, worth a click to see a bigger picture.
This was on the lable that went with it.
The Hard Rain pictures are mostly pretty bleak and that is how our ‘story’ begins. But stubborn little green shoots eventually penetrate the dark landscape and expand into green places where the rhythm of growth takes over , producing fruit that continues the cycle of new life. And the tree spreads out across all of it.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

West Country Embroiderers in May

We made folder covers with Wendy Jackson, the 'proper' sort where you cover mount board with fabric, lace it on the back, and then handstitch a lighter weight, similarly covered card to it as a 'lining'. The folders have side pieces, through which holes are punched and cords threaded to hold pages in place. Soft hinges attach the side pieces to the main piece.

It is the same method for covering board with fabric that is used for boxes. I have only ever made 'soft' boxes, with pelmet vilene, and have avoided this lacing method, thinking it was too difficult. Well, it is fiddly, and awkward stitching the pieces together. I tried a curved needle, recommended as helpful, but it kept twisting round in my fingers and I couldn't hold it. In the end I found a long milliner's needle (straw) worked well as I could then get it into the fabric at the awkward angle needed and still have some of it to hold on to!

I know a lot of people are completely addicted to making boxes by this method, and Wendy had a lot of folders, some really big, for City & Guilds stuff, and my hat goes off to them all! They are much to be admired for their skill in this! As for me, I finished my cover, probably won't make another, but as usual, was glad of the opportunity to try it out. That's the interesting thing about groups like WCE where there is a day's workshop every month, topics chosen to give something for a wide range of interest, might not suit you every time, but it makes you have a try at techniques you wouldn't choose yourself to do. I find that enriching, in spite of myself!

Pic of my effort next time, not photographed yet, I keep forgetting.
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