Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Evaluation and verification


Verification - me and module 5!

Costing and timing


Sheets of black paper x 4            16p

Acrylic paint                                37p

Glue                                             50p

Mounting and box frame             estimated cost £40 [ being made by my husband]

Silk fabric for mounting / backing  £5

Fabrics                                            £15.08

Threads                                           £9

Beads                                               50p

Polyester wadding                           50p

Ribbons                                           £1.20

Hollyhock seeds                             Free natural resource!


Design 3 hours
Making up and stitching 70 + hours

Health and Safety Rules Observed

Health and safety rules observed

First and foremost I’d like to mention the working environment ensuring the that I have enough space in which to work and sit comfortably, taking regular breaks from a sedentary position to stretch my back, neck and shoulders.

In addition it is important to ensure:

  • safety of electrical flexes ensuring that those trailing from to plug/ extension lead to appliance are safely positioned and not likely to cause trips or falls or injuries incurred by a
    shifting sewing machine, iron or soldering iron. This includes not only myself but any visitors, elderly or young children
  • the safe positioning of heat tools such as an iron, soldering iron whilst in use, making use of appropriate stands in between their application. Ensure that these are turned off after use and safely stored.
  • adequate ventilation in the work space with an open window whilst heat / melting tools are used to melt fabrics / threads to avoid inhalation of toxic fumes.
  • careful positioning of candles used for melting fabrics / threads to prevent papers / fabrics in the surround from catching light. Be prepared for a possible flare up of fabric or thread especially synthetics and work on a flame proof surface with a damp cloth within reach. Ensure that they are extinguished fully when finished with.
  • Safe storage of bleach and any other corrosive fluids whilst in use and safe disposal when finished with. Work in a ventilated room to avoid inhalation and guard against spillage onto skin to avoid burning and have a damp cloth nearby for wiping any spillage, wash skin in cold water if necessary. Storage in a safe place when finished with out of the reach of children.
  • careful storage of sharp implements such as scissors, craft knives and scalpel blades especially if there are young children around in which case keep them out of reach.
  • careful storage of beads and buttons and other small objects especially if there are young children around.
  • Awareness of and careful storage of any seeds / leaves /petals / berries and their potential harm especially in the presence of children

Study Three Artists


We have been given 2 artists to research into as relevant to this module and then have to select one of our own choice.

1. Jennie Rayment
Jennie Rayment is internationally known for her quick, simple, innovative and original techniques with manipulated fabric

Jennie teaches a wide variety of classes for all levels and abilities of those working in patchwork, quilting and embroidery to fashion, soft furnishing and home décor enthusiasts.
Much of her work is created in simple calico and her elegant ideas may be adapted for any type of fabric and used to make quilts, wall hangings, boxes, baskets, cushions, table linen and of course fashion garments and accessories.

She has written many books and articles on fabric manipulation techniques and many of these titles are still in print material hence the magic goes on and on.

Nowadays, her work is exhibited in various galleries, at shows and exhibitions around the world.

Jennie saw her first piece of patchwork and made her first quilt in 1989. Having never sewn other than family mending and household repairs, it was a steep learning curve!
Over the next few years, Jennie explored and experimented and by 1994, she was firmly hooked on all forms of patchwork and quilting. In this period she completed a teaching diploma and became involved with the City & Guilds.

She taught the Creative Studies course in Patchwork, Quilting and Appliqué to several groups in the South of England. Within the syllabus one of the required subjects was texture. As there was very little information available on this topic, Jennie created her own designs and techniques thus developing her own ideas and techniques.

Information from: 

2. Michael Brennand Wood

He is described as a visual artist, curator, lecturer, arts consultant and is internationally regarded as one of the most innovative and inspiring artists working in textiles. He has occupied a central position in the research, origination and advocacy of Contemporary International Art Textiles.

He believes that the most innovative contemporary textiles emanate from an assured understanding of both textile technique and history and his work has been defined by a sustained commitment to the conceptual synthesis of contemporary and historical sources, in particular the exploration of three dimensional line, structure and pattern. He has persistently worked within contested areas of textile practice, embroidery, pattern, lace and recently floral imagery.
Michael has explored and developed his own techniques inventing many new and imaginative ways of integrating textiles with other media.

Examples of Michael's work can be seen in major public, corporate and private collections worldwide including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa and National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. He won The Creative Concept Award in 1987 and The Fine Art Award in 1989 at the International Textile Competition in Kyoto, followed by the first RSA Art for Architecture Award 1990.
In 1982 he curated the controversial exhibition ‘Fabric and Form’ and co-curated the ‘Makers Eye’ both for the Crafts Council, followed in 1992 with ‘Restless Shadows’ a major Goldsmiths College touring exhibition of contemporary Japanese Textiles. Until 1989 he was a senior lecturer in the department of visual art at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He has taught extensively in colleges and universities in the UK and overseas, and has undertaken residencies in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Belgium. He was appointed Visiting Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2005 and is Research Fellow at the University of Ulster.

Recent work inspired by traditions of floral imagery have utilised computerised machine embroidery, acrylic paint, wood, glass and collage. Exploring the illusionary space between two and three dimensions, these works are colourful, dramatic, rhythmic and holographic in feel with intense detail that merges at a distance into strongly optical configurations.

Adapted from brennand-wood.com/michael html

3. Colette Wolff

My own selection of artist for this module is Colette Wolff, a textile artist living in New York City, whose book entitled The Art of Manipulating Fabric, has been a joy to use and take inspiration from thus enabling me to study techniques and then adapt them for my own purposes.

Colette describes her work as one which changes the look and feel of cloth with the assistance of a threaded needle thus adding texture, embellishment, inflation and support. Such techniques create puckers, folds, waves, puffs, projections and openings. Stitching by hand or machine they resurface, reshape, restructure and reconstruct a flat piece of cloth into one with a completely different look and feel.

Colette states that most of the techniques materialised during the long history of cloth with those handling the cloth and modifying and altering the original into something innovative and different! just as I have. I find this fascinating.

Colette’s research and curiosity led her to look at tucks and pleats and from there into smocking, shirring, gathering etc. and how they relate. Her book resulted from a desire to have a comprehensive and orderly reference for such techniques allowing her to pick and chose and make her own decisions regarding their application.
Using plain 100% unbleached calico she found the bland colour an ideal medium with which to showcase the manipulation techniques whilst utilising it’s receptive qualities to light and in turn, shadows cast.

Personally I found the chapter on smocking, namely North American smocking an absolute joy which brought back memories of my own mother making beautiful cushions in the 1960s and 70s.
Now I was able to turn the technique on its head by working from the wrong side and then alternating rows to create new patterns and textures suited to my needs.

Historically Colette was introduced to embroidery by her grandmother at an early age and then her mother taught her how to use a sewing machine cementing fabric, needle and thread as constants in her life. She went on to make her own clothes as a teenager.

In the late 1960s a craft shop owner persuaded Colette to teach a quilting workshop. Her local library had 2 quilting books from which she designed a quilt block project and devised a lesson plan. This was one of her first experiential learning sessions
She later owned a mail order catalogue called Platypus which published her toy and doll designs and sold supplies. The quality of her work was noticed by an editor named Robbie Fanning and resulted in publication of The Art of Fabric Manipulation.

Colette states that she could write an autobiography around the garments, needlework, quilts, toys and textile art associated with memorable events in her past.
Colette has contributed articles and designs to many craft and textile publications
and has taught/lectured the art of fabric manipulating since the 1970s.

Information from:
The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff. Published in 1996. Krause publications.


Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Chapter 12 continued. Stitch trial samples - using extreme contrasts.

Following on from my last entry in August and my beginning of chapter 12 several decision have  since  been made.

Firstly I've decided to work in all white / cream fabrics and threads to enable me to achieve the translucency, frothiness and some of the magic I feel when I come across cow parsley in the hedgerows.
Secondly I've made a slight change to the samples chosen for this piece and have decided upon samples 2a, 3a and 3c [photos of these are posted in my previous entry for ch 12].
Thirdly we are asked to consider whether areas of the design would be worked on the same level or  raised from the surface. I found that as I worked each piece took on a life of it's own and I'll explain this as I go.

I'm reposting an image of my paper design to start with, we are to work from this and not from our original photos.

As you can see the different parts are numbered
1 = sample 3c
2= sample 3a
3= sample 2a
4= the surrounding areas

I'll talk about each sample in turn and use photos to demonstrate the inspiration from paper to stitching.
I have used a background of quilted fabric as a base and this is revealed between each sample. [see sample 10 in chapter 5]. This is worked on Chinese silk over wool backing with free machine embroidered Vermicelli stitching, the sample was then washed at 60 degrees to shrink the wool and produce a quilted effect.

Sample 3c paper design detail

Sample 3c stitched sample
I have used white Stranded Cotton, Cotton Perle and worked  Detached Chain and Fly Stitches in a directional fashion plus French Knots in a linen thread topped by more Detached Chain in ivory and white ribbons. Painted Hollyhock seeds have been threaded through tunnels of white Chiffon and arranged to represent the 'florets' on the paper design and couch stitched into place. I've used a polyester wadding to raise the surface of the 'florets' and then secured it with slip stitches to the background fabric.

Sample 3a paper design detail:

Sample 3a stitched.
 Several bundles of florets using Hollyhock seeds [painted white]  have been trapped between 2 layers of white chiffon with white thread wrapped around the necks of the seed pockets. As I worked I was delighted to discover that they developed into  little puffballs which settled into a naturally shaped soft round ball which just needed stitching into place!

Sample 2a Paper detail:

2a Stitched sample. 
I worked on an ivory silk fabric and stitched free machine embroidered discs worked in an embroidery hoop for support. After which I used polyester machine thread to gather the fabric around the necks of the discs which in turn created beautifully formed pleats which reflected the shapes within the American Smocking and the Fly Stitching in the surround

Sample 4 top left corner paper design detail

Stitched sample using the American smocking technique on Chinese silk with 2 strands of white Stranded Cotton. The smocking is distorted by working one row on the right side and alternates on the wrong side and then manipulated to fit the space. I was also aware of working in a directional fashion to compliment the design. I feel the ripples of the monoprinting is reflected in the smocking effectively although sometimes the needle and thread lead the way! 

Sample 4 bottom left paper design detail:

Stitched sample on shot silk with a polyester sewing thread using a larger scaled American  smocking  again distorted and manipulated. This took on a beautiful curved effect giving this corner a wonderful feeling of movement which really reflected the shapes of the monoprinted design. There is a Fly stitch edge which I'll deal with separately

Sample 4 top right and corner paper design detail:

Stitched sample worked on Chinese silk with Polyester thread with a Fly stitched edging worked in a thick silk yarn

Sample 4 bottom right paper design detail

Stitched sample a finer American Smocking worked on Chinese silk with fine polyester thread. [the quilted background is visible here too.

Throughout the work on this piece Fly and Feather Stitches are represented on the monoprinted papers and in this example which is a detail of the right hand side of the paper design I've used both American Smocking and Fly / Feather stitches

Fly and feather stitches worked in layers and in between using a combination of silk, stranded cotton and linen threads. I am delighted with the textures achieved here especially as they merge with the American Smocking.

Fly stitch left edge paper design detail:

Lots of wonderful opportunities for creating texture with Fly Stitch here using a thick and finer silk yarns in layers and in a directional fashion to reflect the shape of the design:

Bottom section of paper design showing monoprinted marks:

Lots of exciting opportunities to work a flowing Fly Stitch in linen threads, sweeping between the samples

Paper design detail top of design:

Fly stitch at top of resolved sample.

And last but not least! My resolved sample.
I've been thinking about the edges and have decided that whilst some will be softly turned under where it seems fit the others will be left to spread where the stitching has created beautiful undulating folds and ripples to add to the sense of rhythm and movement of the finished piece.
 To finish this resolved sample will be placed on a length of fabric stretched over a support and placed  in a box frame with space around to compliment the beauty of the edges

I'm delighted with the outcome of this piece of work. 
Many hours of stitching involved but I love the translucency, the rhythm and the delicacy of the floret samples. I can remember American Smocking being in fashion in the 1960s and 70s when I was a teenager so it was a thrill to put my own take on them!!

Monday, 20 August 2018

Summer School 2018

Our tutor at the distant Stitch Summer School this year was Sheila Mortlock [ Calicostitch] and member of the The Textile Study Group. Thank you Sheila!

Our workshop was entitled Edges and looked the potential of edges of paper, card or fabric. Sheila had asked us to chose a colour scheme and bring some photos of our choice. I decided on red and green as I'd recently returned from a fabulous holiday in Costa Rica rain forests which I felt represented the vegetation and the tropical flowers there.

In the work shop we started by choosing a word with which to work and use for our edges. I chose 'fold' and was intrigued by the effects once I got the hang of it!

We took 9 squares of papers / card and worked on them using our chosen word
We cut, tore, ripped, stitched, made rubbings of the surfaces with various mediums etc and then drew around them, stacked them and drew the resulting shapes again!

Charcoal rubbing:

We then experimented with larger sheets of paper to create interesting surfaces with Gesso, white emulsion, candle wax, bubble wrap, stamps, paint, oil pastels, text, photos, screen printing, stencils. All great fun!

These provided great ways of covering the papers before we folded them into beautiful and exciting concertina books.

This last was my favourite as this sheet :

was transformed into this beautiful book full of pages like this

We had to choose one page to take forward as an inspiration for a design on fabric:

I got this far before Summer School came to an end. 
Calico with white emulsion and Koh-i-dor paints, screen printing, printing with bubble wrap and natural sponges, tissue paper colograph using sprigs of leaves and stems from outside applied with acrylic wax plus chiffon fabric laid in strips across. Some beginnings of stitching!

When I got home I decided to make some edges more based on my holiday to Costa Rica. These magnificent Emperadora flowers were growing just by our cabin balcony in La Fortuna, Costa Rica and were frequently visited by Hummingbirds coming to feed on the nectar. I felt it was so humbling to see such beauty and this image has stayed with me ever since. Sadly it wasn't possible to photograph the Hummingbirds feeding as they were so swift!

My Emperadora 'edges'

I moved the papers to repeat. Interesting shapes resulted.

I used these shapes as inspiration in completion of my final piece.
I'd been experimenting and playing with how to take this work forward using a Emporadora stencil shape as a view finder and loved the patterns which were showing through so I used a sheet of Inkjetprinting with silk to reproduce an image of my work to use for making more shapes for applique and reverse applique.


I'm very pleased with this as I feel it sums up my excitement and sense of wonder at seeing these amazing sights in Costa Rica. 

Before finishing I decided to experiment more with surfaces on paper so that I have some ideas to return to a later stage. Very pleased with these too:

 I love that this technique produces such serendipitous and evocative images, I'm very happy to have resolved my Summer School project and look forward to coming back to these in the future.

Now back to coursework and my resolved piece for Mod 5 ch 12.