Thursday, 31 August 2017

Alice Fox's Findings at The Ropewalk

Alice Fox - Altered Paper

If you can get to The Ropewalk in Barton upon Humber before the end of the weekend (3 September 2017) you can see Alice Fox's Findings exhibition.  I am drawn to Alice's work.  I love the curiousness of it, the imprints, the combination of the found and the added, the stitching, the staining, the texture.  Enough!  Here's a taster...

Alice Fox - Altered Paper

"Findings" references both the action of finding something and the information obtained as the result of an investigation.  Alice collects things on her journeys and through her interactions with those things discovers more about them.  Through gathering, weaving, stitch, and staining her offerings take shape.
Alice Fox- Burnt Wood & Thread

Alice Fox - Wood & Thread
Alice Fox - Thread & Mud

Alice Fox - Stitched Limpets
Alice Fox - Seed & Needle Weaving

Alice Fox - Rust & Tannins

Alice Fox - Plant & Plastic

Do go and visit if you can.  Alice's work is always interesting. And at the Ropewalk, there are also three other galleries, 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, 29 August 2017

The African Fabric Shop & Maggie Relph


Maggie Relph from the African Fabric Shop came to talk to the City of York Embroiderers' Guild.  She told us about the African artisans she visits and the many techniques they use to produce their fabulously coloured cloths.  Some tie and stitch the fabric before dyeing.  The threads are removed by cutting them with razor blades.  

Tied fabric ready for dyeing

Others use starch as a resist.  Parafin wax is becoming more popular and can either be stamped onto fabric, used with stencils, spattered or painted on with a variety of improvised tools. Alternatively it might be painted all over and then the fabric scrunched up before dyeing.  Stitch resist type designs can be recreated using wax stamped onto the fabric using carved foam stamps.  This is a more cost effective method. The wax is removed by putting the fabric in boiling water followed by cold water then the wax can be picked off.  This may be done several times. 

Indigo is used by some dyers although dark blue commercial dyes that look like indigo are increasingly common. Dye made from the cola nut which produces an orange colour can be used with indigo.

Some patterns may involve three different dye baths.  Some artisans dye using white fabric and others overdye commercially dyed fabric.  Most of the fabric comes from China and often has a damask weave and may incorporate African symbols in the weave.
We had the opportunity to handle many of Maggie's fabric samples as well as some fabulous decorative baskets and buttons and beads too.

Decorative baskets

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary why not check out what the African Fabric Shop has to offer.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Brilliant Birds Prepare to Migrate!

A selection of Brilliant Birds

The Brilliant Birds Yarnstorm has been enjoyed in Rowntree Park, York. Since then, the birds have flown out and had a bird bath.  They are now preparing to migrate for the winter (or the rest of the summer and autumn etc.)  The #BrilliantBirds are flying into the St Leonard's Hospice Shop at 5, Scarcroft Road, York, YO23 1ND and from Saturday 26 August 2017 will be looking for new homes.  They will be on sale and there are over 500 to choose from.  Let's have a little look at some of them...

St Leonard’s Hospice is an independent charity, providing specialist palliative care and support for local people with life limiting illnesses. Whilst their care is free of charge to patients and their families it is not free to provide.  So, the birds are being sold to raise funds for their services.  

Please go along and #buyabird to support the Hospice.  You could stock up on robins for (dare I say it?) Christmas, make a brilliant birds mobile or bunting, have one perch on a shelf or let one roost on the sofa!  You could even post a picture on social media of your brilliant bird in its new habitat using the hashtags #buyabird and #brilliantbirds

Do spread the word.  We can't do this without you - thanks so much for your support!

Monday, 14 August 2017

How to Wash a Tree in the Bath...

Extreme knitted tree with some very large brilliant birds

You may remember the extreme knitted tree from the Brilliant Birds Installation in Rowntree Park, York.  Once it came down it really needed a wash.  Unfortunately, it wouldn't fit in the washing machine.  However it did fit in the bath...

Tree in the bath

I managed to carry a very heavy, very wet but clean tree from the bathroom and with some assistance got it on the line...

Tree goes on line

It didn't manage to get dry outside and had to spend a week hanging around the house till it was finally dry.  I have to admit it was nice to pack it away when it was dry - it's amazing how much space a soggy tree takes up indoors!

Big birds on the drying rack

The big birds, leaves, finger knitting, flowers and information notices went in the washing machine and dried quite quickly indoors.  Now they have all been tidied away for another time and order at my house is at least on the way to being restored!

If you want to read more about the #BrilliantBirds project click here.  And don't forget, the small birds...

A small selction of the Brilliant Birds

go on sale on Saturday 26 August 2017 at the St Leonard's Hospice Shop, 5 Scarcroft Road, York, YO23 1ND.  Go on, #buyabird and support St Leonard's Hospice - it's a great charity.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

New in at Olive's Nest, York

Liberty print fabric necklaces

This week I have delivered some new stock to Olive's Nest on Scarcroft Road, York.  It's a fab gift shop run by the lovely Gaynor Parr-Manley.  If you haven't had a chance to take a look, you should go.

Button hairclips

Bike bags

Gaynor now stocks flowers too.  Here's some I bought this week...

Lovely flowers from Olive's Nest

And Olive's Nest also run workshops.  I did one recently with Jo Coupland.  You can read about it here.  This is what I made...


Go take a look.  And when you're exhausted from looking at all the gorgeous things you can nip round the corner to the Pig & Pastry on Bishopthorpe Road (Bishy Road) for some refreshments.  Perfect!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Brilliant Birds take a Bird Bath

Post bird bath Brilliant Birds

Once the Brilliant Birds Yarnstorm came down from it's spot in Rowntree Park, York, it seemed like a good idea for the birds to take a bird bath.  After that, they'd be ready for their flight to the St Leonard's Hospice Shop, Scarcroft Road, York for sale.

Finally, there seemed to be a good drying day - so five washloads later, they were all on the line...

Thanks go to Pie, Sue and Kate for the extra peg capacity.  Hundreds of pegs were needed!  And thanks to Lily too, for helping peg them out.

These chaps are tiddly so I kept them separate so they didn't get lost...

and these ones got the handwash treatment indoors...

Don't forget to put the sale date in your diary - Saturday 26 August 2017 and #buyabird at the St Leonard's Hospice Shop at 5, Scarcroft Road, York, YO23 1ND.  It would be great if the birds can raise lots of money for this great charity!

If you want to read more about the #BrilliantBirds project click here.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Creating Beautiful Birds with Joanna Coupland at Olive's Nest

Bird by Joanna Coupland

On Saturday I went to a workshop at Olive's Nest (great for cards and gifts) run by Joanna Coupland. Jo, inspired by nature, makes fabulous quirky sculptures out of wire and paper.  She has a whole range of beautiful birds, animals and fabulous fairy lights - all handmade, with no two the same!  We were making birds.  Julie & Kate made crows, Lily made an owl and Jeanette and I made birds of a less specific sort!   

Olive's Nest on Scarcroft Road, York

We started off making a wire structure which was the bird's body.  Jo helped us all sort out the shape and showed us how to make it 3D.  Here's mine...

Wire armature

Next we covered it in paper - no pics - I was too engrossed in getting it done.  This was the bit I found most tricky.  Although, as this part took me longer than anyone else, I think it was only me who thought that!

More birds by Joanna Coupland

Then we got down to painting.  Jo had lots of lovely inks, dyes and paints for us to use.  I went for blues and greens...

My bird

Lily favoured pinks and oranges (and rather liked the sequins)...

Lily's owl - spot those sequins!

Kate's had a very regal pose...

Kate's crow

Jeanette & Julie gave theirs proper eyes with eyelids!

Jeanette's bird - check out those eyelids

Julie's crow

It was a fab day which I really enjoyed.  Gaynor, who owns Olive's Nest, kept us topped up with tea and coffee and things to munch while we worked on our creations.  This was definitely a fun thing to do - check out the other workshops on offer at Olive's Nest here.