Thursday, 27 February 2014

Our favourite books

Quite a few of us have now finished our piece in response to the theme of "Favourite Book", and yet again it been amazing to see the huge range of techniques that have been used - and very different types of books that we all love!

Thanks for reading,
Best wishes, Chris

More...Architectural Structures challenge

Two more of the group have finished their piece in response to the theme "Architectural structures", and they brought them to the group this week.

Its always so interesting to see how different members respond to the same topic - not only the different techniques people use but also the different ideas that have inspired them.  It's going to be great now that the group has grown larger, as there should be an even bigger range of personal responses to inspire us all.

Thanks for looking at out work

Best wishes, Chris

Monday, 24 February 2014

Favourite Book...

For me it has to be The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher. I was introduced to this book many years ago by Auntie Rosa, so as soon as this challenge was selected I knew I had to re-read this engaging story set in a changing Cornwall, much as today.
I know the character Penelope Keeling is fictional, but throughout the book you become friends with her and I always miss her when I've finished it. Being a Cornish Maid I can lose myself in the old Cornwall, the days of bohemian artists, ramshackle studios, I imagine St. Ives with it's narrow streets and the beach close at hand.

Working through my sketch book two passages came to mind, the first I thought was very apt with her father saying...
One day they will come, to paint the warmth of the sun
and the colours of the wind.........and they did.

The second is just how it is when you stand by the seashore and listen...
She filled her eyes with the blue of the sea and  sky;
then felt the salty wind; smelt the seaweed and damp sand;
heard the scream of the gulls, the drumming of the breeze in her ears.

Here are a few pages from my sketch book..

mixed media - Auntie Rosa's sheet music, shells, organza and scrim
I like to transfer sheet music into my work and I felt this was an ideal opportunity, the sound of the sea is music to me.

mixed media samples using crushed shells and Kunin felt
hand appliqué and trapunto samples 
detail of trapunto in finished piece
Here is my finished piece...

'Sounds of the Sea'
Hope you enjoyed seeing this challenge and if you've never read The Shell Seekers give it a whirl, I'm sure you'll love it as much as I do.

Bye for now

Thursday, 13 February 2014

My homage to Paul Klee...

Dear Maids,

As you might spot,  I'm in full flow at the moment getting my backlog of projects finished!

This is my piece in response to the Favourite Book theme. Just after this topic was drawn, I was up in London for a few days and went to a wonderful exhibition of Paul Klee's work at the Tate Modern. I don't always fork out and buy an exhibition catalogue but this was such a fantastic exhibition I had to treat myself - and it definitely became my favourite book of the moment!

I found so much to inspire me at this exhibition that it was hard to decide what textile work to develop. Klee's repeatedly worked with what his critics called "magic squares"  although they were rarely square but usually hand drawn shapes. He was also very interested in colour sequences and what he called 'gradations', and this was the subject of much of his colour theory teaching at the Bauhaus.  Another aspect of his work that I thought would translate to textile work was his interest in repeating doodled shapes that he often scratched into the painted surface.

In the end I decided to try to dye some fabrics and try to create my own 'gradations'. For the first time I tried the dyeing technique that I was taught at a recent workshop by Di Wells. Despite carefully following the notes she had given us that day, I wasn't quite sure what I was doing! I think using Dylon hand dyes meant my colours were softer than the colours we created at Di's workshop using Procion dyes. But you live and learn...and I decided to use the fabrics that I had I dyed.

I combined these hand dyed fabrics in a format similar to a piece of Klee's work that he called "Rhythmic landscape with trees" and I added some strips to the edges to allow me to incorporate some textured doodles in the borders.

So here is my "Homage to Paul Klee"!

Hope you enjoy, Chris

Every house I ever lived in….

Dear Maids,

Here at last is my response to the theme of architectural structure…its not exactly every house I ever lived in: starting top left,  the top row are the houses I lived in as child, then in reality there was a big gap when I was a student and living in shared houses in London, but from London 1976 around in a clockwise direction are all the houses I have owned (or part owned) as an adult!

The final image is the house in Falmouth that Robin and I bought two years ago on our return to Cornwall. That's why it has pride of place in the composition - and why I have left it less embroidered than the rest… I'm expecting there are still plenty of colourful experiences to have in this house!

I worked on quite coarse canvas. After drawing the outline images by machine from the back, I then added some flat colour with acrylic paints, before adding final details with free machine embroidery. The idea to fray the edges came to me as I was working - I think using the canvas stirred up memories of some table mats we made at school that were block printed and then frayed like this, so it seemed quite appropriate to use a childhood technique! I was rather disappointed in the clumsy effect of my machine embroidered writing of the towns and dates but decided to keep them and use this as a learning experience. (Coarse textured canvas doesn't hold fine details very well - and don't forget to use your hoop!)

Yours, Chris

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Bit of a gallivant...

Today the Textile Maids went on a little outing to the Lander Gallery, Truro to visit the Stuck and Stitched Exhibition. Needless to say we started with coffee, which lead to booking a table and pre-ordering lunch to be ready at a specified time, all very well organized and efficient and a very delicious lunch arrived at stated time after a look around the exhibition.

Enough about feeding the body, time to feed the are some photos with kind permission from the gallery owner...

Lenonard Santolamazza - left Red Vase - right Float - Acrylic on Cardboard
Linda Styles - Ceramic Tiles - always love this ladies work
Lenonard Santolamazza - Night Shift - Acrylic on Cardboard 
Sans Robinson 1954 - Gently Falling - Collage
Melody Ryder - Lampshades - Machine Embroidery on Felt
Linda Styles - Ceramics
Sans Robinson 1954 - Steamy Windows - Collage
Hannah Minson - Faraway Tree - Collage
Sans Robinson 1954 - Lollypops and Signals - Collage
I found this an inspiring exhibition, not much 'stitch' to be found but I loved the collages using paper, newsprint and cardboard, it's definitely worth a visit.

Hope you enjoyed this little taster, there is much more on display in the gallery such as jewellery, pottery, paintings etc.

Bye for now

Saturday, 1 February 2014

A trip to the past

In more than one sense.
 At last my museum challenge is completed and only four months late!
I am catching up with the back log slowly and am pleased to show you, dear reader my latest effort. I really loved my two days out at the County Museum - the second visit because I was so impressed by the first one. I had not been to the museum for quite a while and was most impressed by the way items are displayed to their best advantage. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful facility in Cornwall.
 Okay. My challenge.
I wanted to show the diversity of the exhibits and also to make it personal to me. I started with a terracotta coloured muslin over some lightweight wadding background. Using the ink jet printer and my scanner I printed some pictures onto calico along with my membership card (yes, I joined), entrance ticket and bus ticket used on the day.
I attached these prints onto the muslin with Bondaweb and sewed them down with a buttonhole stitch. Over the top of everything I machined a Celtic cross. I think I am pleased with the result, I certainly enjoyed putting it together.
Thanks for looking