Thursday, 31 March 2016

The Art of Slow Stitching

I think it was as a Christmas present that I was bought a book called "Slow Stitching: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art" by Claire Wellesby-Smith which is a gorgeous book just to hold before you even open it.  For me it is what stitching is all about, enjoying the whole experience of hand stitching - the holding in the hand, taking your time to make simple stitches, the thoughts that go through your mind and the feeling of calm, forgetting your worries.  So with the Norwich EG workshop coming up in April on Rolling Landscapes I have collaged lots of scraps of fabric that I have by the box full left over from other embroideries and dying days and now I am in the process of "slow stitching" - letting the fabric tell me where I need to place the stitches.

I work the simple stitches across the collage of fabrics and papers left to right making adjustments as I go.  The stitches are either running stitch, seed stitches or French knots, the fabrics mainly silk - organza, habotai, chiffon, sari ribbon and a strip of calico - all of which I have dyed myself and then added some print detail.  

There is an Indian spotted block print fabric running under the bottom edge that slowly changes into another spotted fabric - detail below - which was given to me by my friend Gill and which will always remind me of her.  

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Altered Books Update

I have been doing some more work on altered books, in particular I decorated two new pages in my Emily Dickinson altered book and started a new book on "A walk through allotment, garden and farming landscapes" ready for my next workshop in Romford.

After Emily finished her education she was expected to help with the household chores, the chores she appeared to prefer were the bread making and the gardening.  She would rise early in the morning to write her poetry but as time went on she was allowed to write in the afternoon, preferring to do this than to receive visitors. 

Below is the beginnings of my new altered book that I started a couple of weeks ago which is on allotment, garden and farming landscapes.  My next workshop is with the Romford Embroiderers' Guild in couple of weeks time but, in the meantime, this weekend I am giving a talk at a branch of the Embroiderers' Guild in Daventry. 

Over the last few weeks I have run two "Altered Books" workshops, one in Tollesbury and one in Dover.  It was great to see the variety of subjects chosen and below are some of the results.  First of all we worked on the covers which gave people time to think about what they would like to do inside the book, what pages they wanted to remove and how they were going to decorate the pages.  As you can see some people also tackled the paper dolls.  




Last but not least I have been having a play with Photoshop and am thrilled with the result below.  It is a photograph of my maternal grandmother - it is 1919 and her husband has died of meningitis leaving her with four children.  This was a black and white photograph taken at the time - I am thrilled that I have brought warmth and colour to it and inset at the bottom is my mother, my grandmothers last and fifth child by her second husband.  I am going to integrate my mother into the picture - my Uncle Terry is sitting on a cushion on a table and I thought I might try and have my mother on a stool on the floor.  This picture will go into the altered book on my mother that I started last year.