Thursday, 26 May 2016

A Stitch in Time

With more workshops coming up and, as a member of EAST, a new exhibition coming up next year, I have been pressing on with the altered book on Emily Dickinson and putting a few finishing stitches to a landscape that I have been working on over the last few months.  Today we have had really good light for taking photographs so have taken the opportunity to do three posts in one day!!

Although this is a page I have photographed before I couldn't resist sprinkling some of the flowers that have dropped from the wisteria that covers the back of our house. 

These two pages continue the theme of Emily's herbarium/domestic duties but form a nice link to the fact that Emily often referred to herself as Daisy especially when writing to Samuel Bowles.  Again I have painted the pages with white acrylic, applied a layer of dress tissue and again applied another thin wash of white acrylic.  The tissue, as you can see, has provided an opportunity to write a description of an ox-eyed daisy.  I have then printed some writing from a print block onto calico and added a scrap of organza that has part of a landscape printed on it.  Over all of this I have placed a layer of organza onto which I have drawn and painted (with a waterproof pen and water colour paints) a daisy.  On the righthand side, I have prepared the page in a similar way but underneath the organza is a handwritten recipe for marmalade I found written on a scrap of paper inside an old recipe book I found in a junk shop.

On this page I have made another fabric envelope which is made from silk organza so that you can see the collaged contents and on the opposite page a chance find of some words referring to a hedge - could it be the hedge between Emily and Susan!

This is a close up of the envelope and contents - the house is printed on paper and applied to a piece of torn postcard behind which is a poem printed on fabric, a scrap of dotty fabric, some words torn from a book referring to dress and a tiny scrap from a hand written letter sent to me by my friend Rene.  It was very fiddly making the envelope with organza but one of its good qualities is that it holds a fold pressed with the heat of your fingers.

This is the landscape I have been working on - the last time I photographed it it didn't have the layer of organza overlaid from the left hand side up to the tree - I have also added a small piece on the far right.  I felt that besides adding depth to the picture it has clearly shifted the focal point to the right to that of the little house, rather than the tree.  There will be an additional layer of paper laid under the bottom edge of some printed black lines and then the whole thing will be mounted onto a canvas backing before being framed.

Finally I have been meaning to finish this little book cover that I made months ago - I was thinking that it would make a nice little sketch book/note book/herbarium on the plants I have growing in my garden and I suppose this would be a good time of year to start!!

Wicken Fen

Another wonderful place to visit for walking and taking photographs of landscape for inspiration is Wicken Fen Nature Reserve which we visited last Saturday.  The weather was not too warm which sometimes I find better for walking.  The colours and textures are just so lovely and for a short time we sat in a hide which, as we looked out, formed a frame for a beautiful view.

Kantha Quilting

During May I gave two half day workshops on Kantha quilting at Chevington to a group called 4S.  It was thought that as this form of hand quilting is very time consuming, it would be better to split the workshop into two half days so that participants could experiment with the concept of creating quilted borders, motifs and background patterns using running stitch.  No other stitch is used in this form of quilting, it is all about where you place the stitch, whether the stitch is placed directly under the stitch in the previous row or it is offset to give a stagger effect, the distance between the rows, whether close or far apart depending, whether you are quilting a background or a motif.  

I have been working on various samples and panels on and off for the last sixteen years and many of the patterns and motifs appear in my work alongside other techniques.  A few samples are below.

These two samples are very traditional, the main motif in the top picture is a tree of life. For both samples I have dyed the fabric and the thread, for the top sample I have used Procyon fibre reactive dyes and for the bottom sample I have used natural dyes.  As you can see the colour is much softer.

This cushion panel has been stitched onto plain calico using silk threads from Mulberry Silks.

I find it quite fascinating how you can transform a plane piece of calico fabric purely with hand stitching.

Here I have incorporated a small amount of appliqué with the Kantha stitching.  I have created the effect of a glass vase by using very watered down dye onto habotai silk and transferring text from an old newspaper using a PVA medium.