Sunday 30 June 2013

Since I was last here...

  • I have spent a couple of days with my Mum who is recovering from vascular surgery. She is doing really well. Luckily her surgeon was one of the more successful ones in the recent public reporting about the performance of surgeons.
  • I've taught another afternoon of Creative Sketchbooks and we played with masks and resists. Lots of fun.
  • Spectrum had an outing to the Henry Moore foundation. It was wonderful. The weather was fine and there was much to see, made all the better for being there with friends. I liked the sheep.
  • We celebrated a wedding anniversary. Nine years... where did they go so quickly?
  • I've started a tapestry. It was a rash decision against my better judgement. But I've done it. And I've told you so now I'll have to finish it. (But secretly I rather like it)
  • I've taught a class on making braids at Art and Stitch and each of the ladies completed some beautiful work. I think they had a good time too.
  • Last night Gill and I completed another Starlight Walk. We agreed it was good fun and we will do it again. But this morning I'm struggling to remember a time when the simple act of putting one foot in front of another didn't make so many bits of me ache.
Funnily enough there hasn't been much time for cleaning bathrooms, ironing or even blogging but I will be back again soon (perhaps after I've cleaned the bathroom). And if you follow this blog with Google Reader please find another way of following me after tomorrow... because I would hate for you to go away.

Sunday 23 June 2013

Kaffe's Cap

It all started with a handful of white plastic buttons from my vast collection...
plus a teaspoon of transfer dye in a small pan of water in which to simmer the buttons for 5 minutes. Tempting though it might be do not attempt to poach your eggs at the same time if you try this at home. Fuchsia eggs are not appetising...

However, fuchsia buttons are very pretty.

Armed with this collection of pretty buttons I made myself a Kaffe Fassett inspired buttoned cap.

I love it, but it really did take forever... I crocheted the cap in a couple of evenings but have spent the entire weekend sewing on buttons.

One hundred and forty three buttons since you ask... plus eighteen beads.

And I hate sewing on buttons... so I think my plans for further buttoned hats might be put aside for a while.

I'm wondering whether Kaffe Fassett hates sewing on buttons too. Maybe that is why his hats cost £480 at the Fashion and Textile museum.

Not sure I would get away with charging that much!

Thursday 20 June 2013

Glorious Colour

I can't really remember a time when I didn't enjoy working with textiles. Knitting, crochet, sewing and embroidery feel like something I have always done. Yet it was when I first became aware of the work of Kaffe Fassett in the 1980s that I really started to feel passionate about textiles. I bought his first book, Glorious Knits and immersed myself in his love of colour and pattern.
I even started to knit that amazing jacket on the cover, but I am ashamed to say that it never got finished. A couple of years ago when I was sorting through bags of old projects I came across this half finished jacket and had a mind to finish it off but much of the remaining yarn had been eaten away by moths. Probably just as well as I never could wear yellow!

I did finish two little "Circus Star" sweaters for my two eldest boys though.

So as you can imagine I was excited to hear about the exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum "Kaffe Fassett, A Life in Colour" and yesterday Gill and I got to have a day out to see the exhibition. I had heard mixed reports about it, but we were not disappointed. There were fabulous knits...

Amazing patchworks...

Wonderful room sets filled with paintings, tapestries and quilts...

Lots of these brilliant beaded and buttoned caps (now on my "to do" list)

And some fascinating orginal paintings for textile designs.

It was a lovely day out, that we both enjoyed and my passion for Kaffe Fassett's work along with my own passion for colour and pattern has not diminished in the least. It was a really inspirational exhibition and I think the fact that not everything was finished perfectly made it all the more accessible. Which ties in quite nicely with what I've been teaching this week. I'm in the middle of a six week creative sketchbook class and this week we were looking at colour. After a little bit of colour theory we got to cutting and sticking.

And this was the result of my playing with colour... I'm thinking this would make a fun design for a tapestry cushion!

Friday 14 June 2013

Twenty Four Years Ago

I thought it was about time that I made another spongy sponge...
and what better excuse than a birthday.
Twenty four years ago I was in Watford General hospital, having given birth to son no. three.
The last time Joe was home (in this country) for his birthday was when he was twenty... except he wasn't really home today either. He got up after I'd gone out (after I'd made his cake) and then he went out... and it's unlikely that he'll be home this evening so we've had a slice of cake without him. It was a very good spongy sponge!

And if he's not here he can't complain that I'm posting embarassing photos of him again.
Happy Birthday Joe!

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Seven Prints

Well eight prints really but I'll come to that in a minute... The seven of us involved in the print exchange organised by Lesley have now all finished and posted our prints and I can share with you the complete set.
John's print (John doesn't have a blog) is "Anoher Place" based on the Anthony Gormley sculptures on Crosby Beach. I'm not sure how he has achieved it but I know I like it very much!

Anna made a beautiful delicate screen print called "Cow Parsley"

Fiona's striking graphic print is called "Imagine Peace". It is a lino print that Fiona has handcoloured with watercolour and ink.

Jane made a wonderful digital print from vintage postcards called "Eight Views of Pisa". It was the first to arrive and immediately transported me to Italy!

Jac's print is an etching of copper sulphate on aluminium using a mixture of traditional and mixed media resists. I don't even begin to understand what that means or how it is achieved but I love the results.

Lesley sent this beautiful collagraph print overlaid with a thermofax screen with the addition of a hand cut bee. I know she had one or two problems with her original idea but I think it is charming.

And true to her ever generous spirit Lesley made me this special extra print when I was in the midst of my bake off... which is why I have ended up with eight prints. I think it is brilliant and this one will be framed for my kitchen wall.

And of course finally is my own collagraph. This swap has been a joy - it was a pleasure to make and send the prints and also such a pleasure to receive them all, each one so unique and special in its own way. I think I will bind my set of seven prints together into a book so that I can keep them all together to remind me of this delightful exchange. Thank you Lesley for organising it.
And before I go I should mention the winner of one of my spare prints... I got my random number generator (i.e. Stewart) to pick a number, which happened to be seven and then counted down the comments to the seventh one... which happened to be Heather. Your print is on it's way Heather and I hope it feels like a suitable thank you as you have long been a follower of my blog.

Sunday 9 June 2013

Tear Lay Cut

I've just had a wonderful, inspiring yet exhausting in-service weekend with The Textile Study Group. It hasn't been the best weekend to be away... tough family times again... and I almost didn't go, but I'm glad I did. It was a "Working Together" weekend called "Tear Cut Lay"with Ruth Issett and Bobby Britnell.
We were split into two groups and I started the weekend with Ruth, painting papers. We were limited to two colours and despite what it looks like in the photo abaove I was working with magenta and turquoise.

We then monoprinted more paper and working within a scale of four inch squares we tore, cut and layered the papers.

All the time limiting ourselves to horizontal and vertical lines.

Some pieces evolved into three dimensions.

Then after tea on Saturday the two groups swapped tutors and I spent the rest of the weekend with Bobby. We went from working with colour to drawing and mark making in black and white.

Before combining all the techniques and arranging the resulting squares in different ways to tell different stories.

Finally we put together a resolved piece and I combined a selection of my squares onto a background drawing... unfortnately the photo is somewhat wonky and out of focus... but it is too late in the day to take another. I'm hoping now I'll be able to take this forward into textiles.

Tonight is the last chance to win a copy of my limited edition print... Just leave a comment on this post... and next time I'm here I'll announce a winner.

Thursday 6 June 2013

I've Got My Eye On You.

You may remember this piece of work that was passed on to me from Gill at our last Spectrum meeting. One of our "round robin" pieces.
I thought about adding eyelashes... or lips... but in the end I made a box... one of those "middle of the night" flashes of inspiration. Although I'm not so sure that Jenny, who has to work on it next would descibe it as inspired!

Each of us started a small piece of work on the theme of back and white, using any method we liked. These have now been passed on to two other people, each having a month to add their contribution. When we met up yesterday, it was amazing to see how different they all look and we decided that this would be the final month. As well as adding (or taking away/cutting up etc) the final recipient this month would have to finish the piece ready for display.

I wish I had photographed them all at each stage... but I didn't! I'll be sure to photograph all the finished results next month though.

Catriona had done wonderful things with these leaves.

This shirt started as a tiny piece of printed fabric, which Angela changed into a pieced patchwork and then Ann cut it up and appliqued it to a shirt.

I started this piece which was a long strip of felted fabric. Jenny altered the shape, adding surface decoration and then Thelma added embroidered seed heads on net.

This piece has been worked on by Gill, me and Jenny...

And this piece was started by Ann, has been worked on by Margaret and Gill... and I now have to finish it. Watch this space!

The other exciting thing at yesterday's meeting were these wonderful Macarons that Jenny brought for us all to sample. I tried the salted caramel... and the lemon which were both equally wonderful!

Jenny's daughter has just started a new business making these macarons which are sure to be a huge success!