Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Chapter 12. Study 3 artists

Cas Holmes

Cas Holmes is one of UK's most renowned textiles artists who works as a paper-maker and stitcher. She uses embroidery and textiles to create visually rich narrative artworks and personal stories which are sourced from her everyday encounters and the world around her.

She is interested in links between land, place and the environment.

During Cas' upbringing her Romany grandmother encouraged an interest in reclaimed objects which would then be put to good use rather than being overlooked and her father taught her how 'to look', observe and ask questions during their walks together. A love of storytelling was also inherited from her Grandmother.

She graduated as a painter and fine artist but soon became drawn into the world of stitching. She works without defined boundaries using cutting, tearing, painting and stitching to produce a personal reaction to the historical, environmental and social heritage of a place.

I'm lucky enough to own a couple of her books Stitch stories and The found Object in Textile Art which look closely at how the everyday and familiar can be a starting point for developing ideas. She uses drawing to inform her ideas and uses journals and sketchbooks to research and record her experiences.

In Stitch Stories she describes her use of Stitch Sketching to record daily observations which may then be developed into textile pieces

A self confessed 'magpie' Cas is renowned for her use of found objects in her work. She encourages the reader to view the everyday object with an artist's eye. Found objects may range from the humble to the opulent and may be small, natural or man-made. These can be used to convey meaning or add decoration.

She states that with making comes meaning and that our exploration of everyday events and objects can bring meaning as we reflect upon the world we live in.

Cas trained as a painter and fine artist at Maidstone College of Art and continued her studies during fellowships to Japan.

She teaches at Middlesex University, exhibits widely and runs courses hibits widely and runs courses at West Dean college, West Dean college, Sussex.

cas holmesfound objectscas holmes stitch stories

In relation to Module 4:

Cas is renowned for her paper making which as demonstrated above she uses to construct beautiful book structures in which to record her observations and Stitch Stories.

Information from:

Stitch Stories. Cas Holmes published by Bashford 2015

The Found Object in Textile Art. Cas Holmes published by Batsford 2010

Lois Walpole

Lois Walpole was born in London of Anglo Scottish heritage. She graduated from Saint Martins School of Art, London with a B.A.(Hons.) in Sculpture in 1975 and obtained City and Guilds qualifications in Basket Making from the London College of Furniture in 1982. In 2003 she completed a Doctorate in the Design department at the Royal College of Art in London.

Since 1982 she has worked full time as an artist/ basket maker taking part in and curating national and international exhibitions, working to commission, designing for production, teaching and writing.

From 1972 to 2005 she lived in London. Now she divides her time between the Shetland Islands and the Charente, in south west France, where her studio is based.


Lois is one of Britain's most influential basket makers known for her creation of innovative designs from hand painted recycled cardboard and recycled packaging. She enjoys making use of everyday objects such as ring pulls, mine corks and wire as well as using the repeat of a graphic design to make her eye catching objects.

She uses traditional methods to produce unconventional items in that they are not created with a purpose in mind.

In relation to module 4: 

I can see the use of grids through weaving in Lois' work which relates to work in this module as well as the more delicate pieces where I can see patterns discovered in my Drawn Threadwork. In her woven items I can see the patterning I achieved when experimenting with different ways of lettering.

Information taken from

I'd like to include Alice Fox as my third artist for this exercise.

Her fascination with the natural world and all things organic are recorded and embodied into her textile pieces. Although I have worked to brief  for this module and included aspects relating to the media, grids, letter pattering and drawn thread work I feel there is a further element involving the natural world where I have represented my observations of the Fall in New York and the forest floor

I'm particularly drawn to her work with leaves and the handmade book both shown in photographs below. Whilst her work embodies rather than directly represents the natural world and mine offers a more stylised look I feel a connection with her work.

Alice graduated in Contemporary Surface Design and Textiles at the School of Arts and Media, Bradford and has been a finalist in the Craft and Design Selected Maker Award 2015.

Alice is a member of The Textile study Group and The Society of Master Craftsmen

Alice fox Artist statement - taken from The Textile study Group website:

My practice brings together recording, collecting and interaction with the landscape.  I have always been fascinated by the detail of organic things and the work that I produce celebrates and carries an essence of what I experience in the natural world. I aim to draw the viewer in, invite them to look closer and notice things they might otherwise have overlooked.

Much of my work is based on experiences of coastal landscapes. The beach and its hinterland can be the richest source of experience and discovery. Through the cycle of tides and weather it collects daily treasures and detritus by turn, providing a visual and tactile adventure. My starting point is usually walking, recording my experience through words, sketches, photographs and collected items. I notice lines, patterns, shapes and textures. I try to capture small changes: the way material is moved about by the elements. Wherever I am I take a beach-comber's approach, found objects providing a tangible link to the places I've walked.

I work with natural fibres (paper, cloth and thread) and use natural dye techniques, print, stitch and weave in different combinations. My work develops through layering up marks and textures, building up subtle surfaces and structures that combine the textural qualities of textile and printmaking processes. Found items, their identity often a mystery because of the action of the elements, form the focus of my response to a landscape.

I am concerned with embodiment of the landscape rather than direct representation. Each piece can be seen as a small record of a walk: a journey or moment from a journey. The works I produce are contemplative and quiet, but look closely and you'll discover there is complex activity; patterns can appear both random and organized. Look again and there is something new to discover.

alice fox  leaf quilt


alice fox

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Presentation board or composite sheet for final piece Module 4 plus authentication of work, costings, timings, storage of equipment and health / safety measures

We are required to make up a presentation board  to show the supporting work for the final piece  including research, design and embroidery

pres board

Authentication of work:

authentificationauth pic


evaluation mod 4


Costings 4



Health and safety:

health and safetyhealth and safety2

Storage of equipment:


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Chapter 11. To make a special book structure related to media - continued.

I’ve decided to keep the finish simple and have not included the added leaf ideas for this final piece. I’d considered playing with the idea of using the ‘pockets’ between the forest floor and lettered pages but I felt this detail would detract from the overall effect achieved and I could see the handmade paper becoming more brittle. Instead I have continued where I left off in the previous post with this title.

Stitching the patterned lettering pages:

I set about experimenting with threads and lower bobbin tension for cable stitched pattering:

experiments with cable stitch

The cable stitch is worked ‘blind’ with the work upside down in the sewing machine. The lower bobbin thread will show the finished result. I’ve used stranded cotton on the lower bobbin with tension loosened and a Polyneon polyester thread on the top. Interesting effects result from altering tensions and stitch width.

Stitching the lettered patterning:

I drew the designs on some Stitch n’ Tear [ in reverse] and worked straight stitch first of all to mark the lettering.

New York in the Fall:

stitched letter pattern 1

Cable stitch using a wide zigzag stitch width to highlight the larger text. Matching colours in both top and bottom bobbins. This gave a bold text with a rhythmic feel.

New York in the Fall 2:

stitched letter pattern 2 (2)

Vermicelli worked in free straight stitch on the  background for added texture. This sample needed a smaller text as the whole phrase was fitted into one line and then written again in ‘reflection’. I used a narrower zigzag stitch width and a joined up writing style with yellow stranded cotton on the lower bobbin and purple on the top. Creates fabulous patterning.

American Oak and Maple:stitched letter pattern 3

A background of  American oak and maple leaves worked in free style straight stitch. A larger text and wider zigzag stitch width using purple on the lower bobbin and yellow below on top half of sample and yellow throughout below.


stitched letter patterning 4

Narrower zigzag stitch width to maintain clear pattering as text written across the page and then turned to write again. I like the interesting spaces and patterning achieved here.

Finishing the edges of the pages:

My pages featuring the forest floor measure 22 x 17cms and so my letter patterning pages were worked to fit. I used my bone folder carefully to score all  the side paper edges to create a sharp fold and then finished these edges of both sets of pages with the bow stitch on my sewing machine. This echoed the curved lines of the leaves and lettering.

I ‘framed’ the upper edges of my lettered pages with a line of straight stitch and the lower edges with more of the bow stitch whilst leaving those of the forest floor and Manhattan with a rustic frayed edge.

Trying out wrapped cords and threads for lacing the Insertion stitch:

trying out wrapped cords and threads

I decided to go with cord samples 4 & 5  these provided the strength of colour and texture I needed along with the fine thickness of cord to ensure easy weaving of the insertion stitch through the blanket stitch.

I decided to weave the insertion stitch through twice along the spines of my concertina book for added intensity of colour and texture.

I then took the cord through all the Blanket stitched edgings, this looks beautifully rich when the book is closed.

To complete I decided upon a cord made up of 3 wrapped cords which are then twisted [see Module 3 ch. 5]. I chose this as it reflects the weave pattering of of the Insertion stitch.

For the acorn finish I cut two maple leaves from my home made paper and added 3 layers of Acrylic Wax to strengthen it. I drilled a hole [carefully] on the acorn shell and threaded the twisted cord through it followed by a gorgeous bead which was threaded and stitched to the cord to represent the acorn.

The cord and leaves are then wrapped around the finished book.

My completed concertina book structure showing embroidered panels and a variety of folding or ways of presenting:

Front cover with twisted cord, leaves and acorns:

front cover3

Concertina opened out showing the forest floor pages:

flat open leaves

And the patterned letter pages:

flat open letters

The Manhattan pages:

flat open manhattan 2

New York in the Fall concertina:

ny in fall concertina

American Oak and Manhattan square books:

squ american oaksqu manhattan

New York in the Fall square book

squ NY fall

Triangular option:

triangle american oak

Insertion stitch:

insertion stitch

Insertion stitch detail:

insertion stitch detail

Insertion stitch and cover:

insertion stitch and cover

Leaves and cord:

leaves and cord

I’m really thrilled with this final piece and really enjoyed designing and making it up. It holds special memories of  a special holiday in New York in the Fall of 2014.