Tuesday, 28 February 2017

My Pillowcase for Susan Aldworth's The Dark Self Exhibition

My pillowcase

Artist, Susan Aldworth, is putting on an exhibition about sleep at York St Mary's from June to September 2017 called The Dark Self.  One of the artworks will be an installation of embroidered pillowcases hung from the church ceiling.  These pillowcases will be embroidered by local people, community groups and schools in York and across the country to express to the world what sleep or dreams mean to them.  

The materials

A pillowcase and embroidery threads in dark blue, light blue and gold are provided to those who wish to take part. (In York you can get your pillowcase from the Lotte Inch Gallery.) The work has to be portrait in orientation with the pillowcase opening at the bottom and stitching in the colours of blues and gold, only on one side.  Otherwise you have free rein to do whatever design you like.  Every pillowcase has a number so your work can be identified.  Mine was no. 24.

My number

Here's how mine emerged.  First I wrote a haiku that describes how my dreams seem when I wake up:

A vivid dreamscape,
Remembered for a minute,
And then forgotten.

(Haikus are a form of traditional Japanese poetry that typically have 3 lines with the first and third line having 5 syllables and the second, having 7.) 

Original blurry pictures

Next, I wanted to find some imagery which suggested that dream vividness which disappears when you wake, leaving only a blurry memory, soon forgotten.  This I found from an unusual set of circumstances. It goes like this... after my Dad died, my Mum gave my daughter all his camera equipment.  One camera still had a film in and after much struggling we took it out and had it developed.  Whether it was the struggle to get the film out or the length of time the film had been in the camera, I don't know, but all the images were indistinct (see above)
Blurry blue image of original above

and you couldn't really tell what they were.  The above picture is of me but I don't know when or where it was taken.  They were slides too so it was even more difficult to see what they were.  They have been lying around in an envelope for years.  Anyway, this Christmas, I was given a slide scanner so for the first time was able to look at them properly and download the images to my computer.  I choose some that related to me, edited them and added some effects to emphasise their blurry nature and made them blue to fit in with the colour scheme.  This gave me the basis for my design:

Design on paper

Rather than hand stitch the text onto the pillowcase I decided I would machine embroider it.  So I matched the embroidery threads I had with machine threads,

Embroidery thread and machine thread

took my pillowcase apart and to one side ironed on some lightweight vilene to stabilise it ready for machine stitching.

Images ironed onto pillowcase

Next, I printed out the images onto Lesley Riley's Transfer Artist Paper which I got from Art Van Go and ironed the images onto my pillowcase.  (Note: this TAP paper has a shelf life, so my advice is only buy it when you need it!  Also you would normally reverse the images but I didn't because it didn't really matter for this purpose.)

Design with text on dissolvable fabric pinned in position.

Next I traced my text onto disolvable fabric and pinned it into position on my pillowcase and began sewing.  I started with a dark blue.  Everytime I came to an image I changed to gold and the second time I stitched the haiku I changed to the lighter blue thread.

Stitching in progress

Once finished, I ripped off as much of the dissolvable fabric as I could and soaked my pillowcase in water to get rid of the rest.  I had used a Sharpie for the text and it was still visible in parts so I put the pillowcase in the washing machine to more thoroughly get rid of the dissolvable fabric.  That did the trick although in future I won't use a Sharpie.  Once dry, I machine stitched the pillowcase back together again.  All complete - now I just have to deliver it!

You have until the end of March to complete a pillowcase, so if you want to join in, there's still time.  You don't have to do anything complicated and it can be hand stitched.  Why not have a go!

Monday, 20 February 2017

New Stock in at The Ropewalk, Barton-upon-Humber

People & Places Brooches & Map Pouches

I have recently made a delivery of new stock to the lovely Ropewalk Craft Gallery in Barton-upon-Humber.  So here's a little taster of what you might find...

Liberty Print Fabric Necklaces

Ceramic Button Brooches

Felt Earrings with Silver Posts

Magical Mermaid Brooches

Wooden Brooches

Domino Brooches
All Sorts of Button Brooches

Bike Bags

You'll also find knitted wire bird brooches, coin brooches and more too.  Why not pop along in half term and take a look.  There are more galleries which until 5 March 2017, are showing:

Malcolm Race - Found while in the Act of Finding
Malcolm Race - Ascension Day

I loved these pictures and...

Gillian Ross Kelsey - The Celebration of a Life
Gillian Ross Kelsey - Into the Light

There's also the Ropewalk Museum which tells you all about rope making on the site, car parking and a cafe and it's close to the Humber Bridge.  If you want to spend some time outdoors the Waters' Edge Visitors Centre and Country Park and the Humber Bridge Country Park are close by too.  Go visit!


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Bridget Bernadette Karn at the Embroiderers Guild

Glorious in Defeat - Bridget Bernadette Karn

Bridget Bernadette Karn came to the City of York Embroiderers' Guild to talk about her work recently.  Bridget uses wet, dry and needle felting techniques to create pictures in wool.  She builds up her pictures in layers, starting with the background and finishing with the needle felted fine detail.  Working from her own photographs, Bridget's work is amazingly detailed, realistic and fantastic!

Sunflowers - Bridget Bernadette Karn

Although, Bridget has had many different roles she has always considered herself an artist and before taking up felting as a technique, was a potter.

Waterlilies - Bridget Bernadette Karn

Last year Bridget was thrilled that one of her pictures was accepted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and this year is submitting her work "Glorious in Defeat", pictured above.

Geese - Bridget Bernadette Karn

Bridget also talked about the need to price her work at a realistic and sustainable level and the importance of social media and a web presence in promoting her work.

Until 15 March 2017 you can see more of Bridget's work at Blossom Street Gallery in York along with Carol Coleman, Fran Brammer and others in the exhibition "A Celebration of Textile Art".  Do go and take a look!

Monday, 6 February 2017

Lancashire's Smallest Loom - the Speed Weve


I'm very excited because I have acquired one of Lancashire's smallest looms - otherwise known as the Speed Weve.  I found it on Ebay.  In its box it fits in one hand so that gives you an idea of how small it is.

When out of it's box it looks like this...

Speed weve components

This is what I've made so far....

Speed weve results

and I'm loving it.  I have to thank Tom of Holland for drawing my attention to this little gem in one of his blogposts which I stumbled across recently (which was lucky as it was posted five and a half years ago!)  

And now I have to go so I can try it out some more .....

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Wirral Embroiderers at the Williamson, Birkenhead

On a recent trip across the Pennines I called in at the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Birkenhead to see the Wirral Embroiderers' Guild 20th Birthday Exhibition.  It was lovely to see the variety of work.  Here are some of my highlights.  I loved the boro pieces...

Diane Anderson - Ragtime

Janet Janis - Boro Cloth

and the landscapes & flowers...
Bridget Newbold - Lake District Scene

Jill Renwick - Dog Walk through the Seasons

Kathy Hoolahan - Sand Dunes

Janet Vance - Red Flowers

Then there were the creatures...

Judith Fabby - Fly away Peter, Fly away Paul

Patricia Jane King - Swallowtail Butterfly

Jenny Dewhurst - Spaniel

Linda Herbert - Hare
not to mention the abstract...

Gill Abraham - Little Boxes

and the fabulous...

Heather Kimpton - Shoes for Ariel

and the mixed media...

Sue Sercombe - Cheers!

and the amazing group piece...

Wirral EG's Work - The Embrace (based on Klimt's The Kiss)

The exhibition is on until 5 March 2017 so you've still time to pop along.

The Williamson is a little gem of a place.  The Young Artists in Tuscany exhibition by local school children is well worth a look (more on that another time).  There's a whole room of model ships...


and another of Della Robbia pottery (Arts and Crafts pottery made in Birkenhead at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries)...

Della Robbia tiles

Della Robbia pottery

and there's a cafe, a bookshop, art supplies and other goodies.  If you're in the area, it's worth a visit!