Whilst Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on our lives in so many ways, one of the unexpected consequences of having us all confined has been the huge increase in the use of the internet to allow us to communicate and share our work. Previously classes, meetings, lectures were seldom available unless you physically attended. Now, if I want to listen to a lecture hosted by someone in say, Pennsylvania (as I did the other day) all I had to do was figure out the time difference. The lecture in question was given by the superb fibre artist Sue Hotchkis (https://www.suehotchkis.com/) to the Fibre Arts Guild of Pittsburgh and was excellent. Hearing Sue talk and seeing her exquisite work was just fantastic.
This week I am going to be part of an event called 'Conversations with the artists' about an exhibition that is currently waiting to go on show in Australia (it should already have started, but for obvious reasons that is now delayed). The exhibition in called 'Opposites Attract' and has been organised by Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA).
View a video of all the art quilts selected for this exhibition on Vimeo https://vimeo.com/405918936.
4 artists have been invited to talk about their work in this exhibition:
Maria Shell, Maggie Vanderweit, and Libby Williamson and myself
We will be talking about our artwork, inspiration, and process. We will be sharing our recent artwork, sharing a peek into our studios and will also be answering any questions asked during the talk.
This talk is part of the 'Textile Talks' series, this one presented by SAQA. As with all the other Textile Talks, it is free to everyone, all you need to do is register to receive the link to join. Here is the link
My piece in the exhibition is called 'Round Hole +Square Peg = Space to Grow' and is from my 'Fold:Unfold' series. See more on my website https://www.clairepassmore.com/fold--unfold.html
If you are free on September 2nd at 7pm Uk time please do join us for another great Textile Talk. Recording will be available after the event on the SAQA you tube channel:
Textile Talks features weekly presentations and panel discussions from the International Quilt Museum, the Modern Quilt Guild, Quilt Alliance, San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, Studio Art Quilt Associates, and Surface Design Association. The programs are held online at 2 pm Eastern (11 am Pacific, 7pm UK and Portugal, 8pm Europe) each Wednesday and last approximately one hour. Preregistration is required and recordings are available.
Thanks for reading
As is seems pop-up lock-downs and self isolation are going to be with us for a while yet I thought it was about time I did something positive, rather than just sitting back and waiting for the 'new normal' to arrive. So, after a lot of thinking and trialling different things I am about to start online classes.
To begin with I am going to start with my tried and tested Sunflower Bowl class.
This class is one of my favourites and will definitely be suitable for online teaching. I have tried a few online classes myself lately and unfortunately not all of them have been terribly satisfactory, ok maybe, but not the best. So I wanted to make sure that the classes I teach online are ones which will work and give everyone who participates an enjoyable time and leave them feeling it was worthwhile.
After the success of the 12 Days of Christmas Block-a-Month class I taught last year I am once again teaming up with the lovely people at Midsomer Quilting to offer this class to individuals. It will be a live one-day class with demos by me along with friendly chat, lots of questions and answers and a few laughs along the way. There are two dates on offer next month - Wednesday 9th September and Sunday 13th September - so not too long to wait either! I'm limiting it to 10 participants per class to make sure that everyone has a chance to talk and ask questions and we can keep it as friendly as possible.
The classes will work like this:
It is important to note that this is not a sew-along class. I will be demonstrating the step-by-step process of creating the sunflower bowl from fabric and stiff interfacing. You will then make the bowl in your own time, either the same day or at some time in the future.
The class will be taught using the Zoom platform and will be recorded. All participants will receive a copy of the recordings as soon as possible after the demos, (hopefully there will only be a 20 minute or so delay to allow for uploading) which you can watch as many times as you wish. (But please note, after two weeks the recordings will expire on the server.)
The class will be broken into 3 sessions, all on the same day, so nobody gets square eyes. There will be 2 sessions in the morning (with a built in tea break) and 1 at the end of the day, to give everyone a chance to review what they have done. It will also be an opportunity to share (if you wish) and to ask any more questions, swap ideas and maybe even set up a closed Facebook /Whatsapp group.
On the date you choose you will join the Zoom class (starting at 10am) and watch me demonstrating live. You will be able to interact with me and other participants, asking questions as I work. It will be a fun and relaxed class, not quite like being in the same room as everyone else, but the next best virus-free thing!
The only thing I ask of you is that you know how to join the Zoom class (you click on a link in an email I send you) and to be able to mute and un-mute yourself. Its pretty straightforward.
More details of how the day will run can be found in a booklet I have drawn up which you can view by clicking on the black button below.
If this sounds like something that you would like to try then please visit the Midsomer Quilting website and book you place. (Link to booking page below). De from Midsomer has also very kindly put together a kit for us that has the fabric, freezer paper and interfacing that you need to make the set of sunflower bowls which can be bought online for £12 (inc p&p) from their website. De will post it out to you in time for your class. However, the kit is not a requirement, so if you already have what you need you can use that instead (Requirements list is in the booklet).
A link to the class booking page on the Midsomer Quilting website is below. You can also order your kit here too if you decide to purchase one:
If this is a success, and I don't see why it wont be, then I will look at converting some of my other classes into online events, so watch this space!
If your Guild or group would be interested in this as a full day class then please do get in touch and we can plan together how to get back to enjoying ourselves again.
Thanks for reading.
Where does the time go? Even though I've been sitting at home like everyone else for months, I still can't believe it is August and the summer is almost over. I've been busy with all sorts of things, mostly not related to fabric and thread, but this past week I have finally got going again.
I 've been thinking more about working with 3D shapes - specifically the little pyramid shapes called tetrahedra. I find them very pleasing to make and when stitched together they transform themselves into such interesting forms. Below is one of the early pieces made from 18 joined tetrahedra called 'Connectivity II'. By changing the way the tetrahedra are posed the whole piece changes shape quite dramatically.
Below is Connectivity III, also made from 18 tetrahedrons. I started it during a demonstration at The West Country Quilt Show last year, so it is about time I finished it!
The fabric was printed with carved lino print blocks and later embellished with embroidery stitches. By joining the tips of the second layer of tetrahedra another new pattern has formed. It looks really nice when suspended from a thread.
The next piece is Connectivity V, this time from 15 tetrahedra. They are stitched together in a similar way to the piece above, but having 1 fewer pyramid in the centre has changed the angles, which has changed the forms it becomes when posed in different ways.
And this is Connectivity IV, an 18 piece work in progress!
Now these tetrahedra have been dyed and printed I am going to enjoy adding some hand stitch before I begin to join them together. I'll post an update as they progress.
Thanks for reading.
I haven't been able to share much of what I have been making lately as it has been for several calls for entry that require the work not to have been shown beforehand. So I thought I would share some more of the wonderful work made by the members of the' Six Dames' online group to which I belong.
One of the great things about having a virtual group is that, despite the Covid-19 outbreak, it is 'business as usual' for us. Every 3 months we work on a new piece based on a stimulus one of the group chooses. The work I am sharing below is that which we all made in response to the intriguing photo Ana chose for us at the end of last year. It shows one of the many large-scale sculptures created by Portugese artist, Joana Vasconcelos and is entitled 'Marilyn'.
More information and images of this scultpure in different venues can be seen by clicking on the link http://www.joanavasconcelos.com/video_en.aspx?oid=933. There is also a video where you can hear Joana discussing the piece in French.
You can also visit her website: http://www.joanavasconcelos.com/index.aspx
A closer look reveals what it is made from and the meaning of the piece becomes clearer.
Further information: http://www.joanavasconcelos.com/info_en.aspx?oid=623
Using this photo as our starting point we each drew our own conclusions and made a small textile piece. As you can see, even with the same starting point we each had our own very different interpretations.
Click on each of the images below and a new window will open showing the blog post each of us wrote about our piece, explaining our thoughts and our process.
The intention was that these and other pieces based on our earlier work would be exhibited at the Biennale Internationale d'Art Textile (also known as BIAT and Quilt Expo en Beaujolais) just after Easter 2020. Of course that sadly did not happen, but the exhibition is now scheduled to be held 28th - 30th October 2020. As yet nobody knows if this will be possible, but time will tell. It will be fantastic if the expo can be safely held and I am keeping my fingers crossed as I am really looking forward to the possibility of the 'Six Dames' being able to physically meet together for the first time.
The BIAT website has the most up to date information about the exhibition: https://biat-quiltexpo.com/
Thanks for reading.
I have made several traditional New York Beauty quilts in my time, but none quite like this! As my work has evolved away from traditional quilting I acknowledge that there are still elements that influence what I enjoy making now. Over the past few months I have had several different projects on the go and several of them have recently been finished. I haven't been able to share them for various reasons, but I am very happy that the time has come that I can at least share this one.
I have called it 'A New Dawn'. It is a double sided piece created from many layers of heavyweight interfacing and thread. It measures 16" by 20" overall and can either be suspended from a cord or positioned on a stand as in the photos above and below.
It has come to life as the latest piece made for the group '12 by the Dozen'. This challenge was based on the theme of New York Art Deco Architecture which was a fabulous stimulus to work from. There are so many beautiful shapes to use that it was rather like being a child in a sweetshop.
Eventually I settled on one of the most iconic buildings of them all, the Chrysler Building.
It was built for Walter Chrysler, the the head of the Chrysler Corporation, and served as the corporation's headquarters from 1930 until the mid 1950s. Built between 1928 and 1930, an era characterised by profound social and technological changes. Times were good and the economic boom of the 1920s led to a surge in the building of new skyscraper projects in New York City and for 11 brief months it was the tallest building in the world. Interestingly, although the Chrysler Building was built and designed specifically for the car manufacturer, the corporation did not pay for its construction and never owned it; rather, Walter Chrysler paid for it himself so that his children could inherit it. Read more about it on Wikipedia:
When the Chrysler Building opened in 1930 there were mixed reviews of the building's design, ranging from comments that it was inane and unoriginal to the idea that it was modernist and iconic. Personally, I love it.
Unsurprisingly I chose the triangular window forms to base my designs on. During my research I discovered that the entire top section (floors 65 to 77) of the building was fabricated from steel, brick and cement in situ. It must have been quite hairaising as it is over 760 feet up in the air.
The website https://chryslerbuilding.com/ has a fun slider that allows you to whiz up and down the tower (take a closer look at the gargoyles on floors 29 - 32 and 58 - 61 . They are incredible).
Using my own interpretive drawings of the tower section of the building I carved two lino blocks and printed onto a variety of substrates.
I scanned a few of the images and played about with different artistic effects using GIMP software (similar to Photoshop but free shareware). This is such fun and can easily consume hours of your time! I can imagine that having the manipulated images printed onto fabric could yield an endless supply of beautiful fabric but personally I prefer to print my own using more traditional methods, but for a fast way to explore possibilities it is superb.
Here are just two examples of the many I created.
If I ever get stuck for an idea again this surely is a go-to project as it has thrown up more ideas I have than time for.
After much exploration I eventually made 3 different print collections on fabric and added colour with paint, ink, dye and Derwent products. (unfortunately I only have photos of 2.)
Adding the dense stitch stitch to all these printed elements has taken a long time, especially as it is double sided so all the pieces needed to be carefully matched up. As a result only the piece on the left has so far been completed, the others are in the 'pending' department! I used Aurifil 12 cotton threads for the embroidery and the heavier weight thread has been perfect, giving a very interesting visual texture and enhancing the vibrant colour in the sections between the triangles.
The photo below also shows the striking classic New York Beauty design many quilters know and love. (Visit the Wnokyworld blog here http://willywonkyquilts.blogspot.com/2013/02/new-york-beauty-why-that-name.html if you would like to know more about the origins of the traditional New York Beauty quilt pattern.)
Once all ten sections were stitched they were then positioned into a sunburst arrangement and stitched together.
I am very pleased that this piece has been selected for the SAQA 'On The Edge' exhibition by Juror Petra Fallaux
Thanks for reading.
Sometimes a change is as good as a rest (apparently).
As I have finished all my outstanding quilt projects I thought it was time to use some fabric I bought several months ago on my last trip 'out' before being locked in at home. I was teaching at Midsomer Quilting and during the lunch break I spent my time browsing the shop with Birgitta. In the very back corner of the shop 4 rolls of beige fabric were propped which, had Birgitta not pointed them out, I would have walked straight past. They were not the usual quilting fabrics that De stocks, but instead some rather nice medium-weight linen. Birgitta explained that they were a 'one-off' purchase by De and lots of people were buying it for cushions. But I didn't see cushions - I saw a dress!
Three of the rolls were prints - one with beautiful bumble bees, one with goldfish and the third with very pale gulls. The fourth roll was plain - a perfect compliment for the prints. Not being able to choose my favourite I did the obvious thing and had 1.5 metres of each!
I bought a pattern and made a toile using some old fabric that I had bought for another project that never got made. I'm glad I did because it was a disaster! Despite checking and rechecking the sizes indicated on the pattern it ended up large enough to fit both me and my sister (admittedly she is slim) in together. It is a problem I have had before- I just don't 'get' how to make commercial patterns fit no matter what I try. Apparently it is partly due to this thing called 'ease' - but why I can't get it right I don't know.
So instead of battling with the pattern I dumped it (Would anyone like it ? It is uncut as I traced the pieces I needed) and went to my wardrobe instead and got out an old dress that still fits. It was made of a fabric with 1 way stretch so I wasn't sure if it would work, but I was fed up by now and so I just went for it.
I laid out the dress, traced off the pieces to make my own paper pattern. It was as easy as that. I decided on the bumble bee fabric for the first attempt, crossed my fingers and started.
To try to accommodate the lack of stretch in my linen fabric decided to cut all the pieces on the bias. It was a bit more of a fuss, but I eventually managed to juggle it so I had enough fabric for all but 4 of the panels. I had to a bit of patchwork on 3 of the side panels to get it all out of the 1.5 metres - but what's the point of being a quilter if you can't use your patchwork skills in a pinch? For the remaining 4 panels I used the plain linen, which I hoped would make a nice contrast. This is all I had left - which makes me feel very pleased, as I it is shocking how wasteful making clothing is.
With all the pieces cut I quickly sewed them up with the scary overlocker - it's a brilliant machine which thunders through fabric (and any stray finger or other stuff that accidentally gets sucked into its teeth) and gives the most neat and beautiful results. With the help of my new dress making form (the best birthday present ever) I made the dress from start to finish in just under 2 days.
I am very pleased to say that at the first try on most of the dress fitted perfectly which I thought was a great result. A small tweak to reduce the amount of fabric in the zip panels by 2cm was all it took. I did wonder about adding sleeves - but as I didn't have enough fabric I decided to just make some bias strips and line the arm holes with that. It worked beautifully. The dress is now on the dummy hanging for a week so the hem will be nice and even when I stitch it.
I think cutting on the bias ended up making the dress drape so nicely - so I will definitely go that way again on the next one. I have ordered 5 more metres of plain fabric from De (the end of the roll :-( ) and will have a go at sleeves for the next one!
Thanks for reading.
This past week I was due to be in France at the Biennale Internationale d'Art Textile, but of course, that was cancelled ages ago. It is now due to happen at the end of October and I am really hoping we will all be able to safely travel again so I can attend. I was going to exhibit a selection of my quilts and those of the group I belong to called 'Six Dames'. We have a website (click here to visit) where we show the work but the exhibition was something I was really looking forward to. Meeting old friends and seeing all our work hang together was going to be really special. I made a catalogue to accompany the exhibition, which may now not get printed, so here it is should you feel like browsing through it. Click the button below to view it.
It feels a little weird saying this, but during this enforced 'pause' of the day-to-day activities I took for granted I have actually been grateful for the opportunity to just stop. Without thinking about it I it filled every hour I had (and more) with appointments, deadlines, activities, jobs, hobbies, schedules, challenges, housework and more. To make sure I didn't forget to do all those things I used calendars, schedules, to-do lists and scribbled reminders on notepads. My phone pinged several times a day to keep me on track, dashing from one thing to the next. Does that scenario sound familiar? I was running to keep up with the speed of my little hamster wheel, and I was running so fast it couldn't stop; but it was all of my own making. I put most of those things on my to-do list and set the timeframe, nobody else.
Waking up each morning now, the first thing I do is listen to the birds. I can't remember the last time I woke up without at least 5 or more things I wanted to cross of my daily 'to do' list. After a bit of daydreaming I stop and think.......... what day is it today? (Not that it really matters, except if the nice guy from Sainsbury's is coming then I need to get the Dettox out to wipe down the incoming groceries, which feels very weird.) It sort of reminds me of when I was a kid and didn't really even think about about what was coming next - I just took things in my stride.
I have lots of friends and colleagues that are busy with their families, juggling working from home, home schooling, spending hours online to hopefully get a delivery slot or even spend hours in line at the supermarket and I appreciate that I am so lucky not to have those pressures - so I am taking advantage of the fact that most of my work and forward planning have completely stopped. Teaching and exhibitions are off for now, and probably for the rest of the year, but instead of being sad about it I feel strangely relaxed. I'm not setting myself deadlines, or stressing myself thinking I should be 'making the most' of this 'free time'. I'm just enjoying doing whatever I feel like, and I can't remember the last time I felt like that! I've made scrubs, laundry bags, clothes, cut a few lino blocks and done some stitching, but it hasn't felt like I've had to do it, and like the feeling. I've also had lots of new ideas for things to do which makes me wonder if maybe I freed up some space in my mind to let that happen.
Whilst I look forward to things reopening and doing some of the things I miss I am presently loving taking things in my stride once again, and strongly resisting the suggestions to set myself a challenge to get xyz done.
Am I weird or do others feel the same?
Thanks for reading.
I am very pleased to have finished two new quilts from a new series I have been working on for over a year. They have evolved very slowly and I feel they are the better for it.
First, a little background......
The quilts tell the story of children who are trapped by poverty on cocoa producing farms in West Africa. They are amongst some of the poorest people on earth and they and their families have few options in life and the cocoa trade takes advantage of this fact. Over 70% of the worlds chocolate is produced from cocoa grown and harvested in the west African countries of Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire), Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Togo, with Ivory Coast being by far the largest. The beans are grown on smallholder farms and require much hands-on labour to grow, harvest, ferment and dry them before a 'Traitant' comes to weigh, purchase and collect the crop. The large chocolate producers Cadbury, Ferrero, Nestle and Hershey are amongst the biggest purchasers of Ivorian cocoa.
It is estimated that over 2 million children under the age of 16 are used in the production of cocoa beans in West Africa. Increasing world cocoa demand and a falling price paid for raw cocoa beans by the big global chocolate producers means farmers look for the cheapest labour they can find. Many poor families are tricked into sending their children to work on the farms with promises of paid work, housing, and education. Worse still, many are enticed to leave home with false promises and end up as modern day slaves. NGO's such as Save the Children, the US Department of Labour and journalists such as those at the BBC and Fortune magazine have all documented the widespread use of children on these farms. A quick Google search will bring up hundereds of images and numerous reports and investigations into this terrible abuse. Even the chocolate manufacturers themselves admit they are aware of the practice, but despite signing up to numerous pledges to wipe out the practice 20 years ago, it still continues. Not a single prosecution has been brought.
In April 2018, the biennial 'Cocoa Barometer Report' (a new report is due out this year) on the $100-billion industry, said this about the child labor situation in West Africa: "Not a single company or government is anywhere near reaching the sectorwide objective of the elimination of child labour, and not even near their commitments of a 70% reduction of child labour by 2020"
For more information Wikimedia is a good starting point. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_labour_in_cocoa_production
And now the quilts..............
Faces have become a familiar part of my work and I have used them in the past to tell other stories. These quilts also started out with monoprints and lino of children's faces made on fabric, which I surrounded with pieced squares and rectangles of fabric in choclatey colours - a nod to the final product we all love to eat.
I wanted to show the children in their working environment, hidden amongst the cocoa plants. Their presence on the farms is almost never acknowledged. Technically it is illegal to employ children on the cocoa farms, so naturally it is in nobody's interest to acknowledge their presence. However everyone knows they are there. They are an open secret.
To portray this I made lino blocks of cocoa pods and leaves and printed over the pieced cloth, gradually obscuring the faces, but leaving just enough peeping through. To add more depth selected parts were then coloured with ink and paint.
I added text using more monoprinting, also peeping through the leaves. The shady business of chocolate production is not very well known on the high street, although gradually the story is leaking out. Cheap chocolate is cheap for a reason - we enjoy it because at the start of the production line the 'workers' get paid less than 50 cents a day (if at all). There are similarities in the the so called 'fast fashion' industry, but that is a story for another day. Whilst awareness is growing about issues such as these, there is still a reluctance by end consumers to acknoweledge the reasons, even if they feel strongly about it. Price, it seems, is a more important driver.
Chocolates are still frequently wrapped in luxurious gold foil, a subliminal message that reinforces this image. We are also used to the idea of chcolate being a little bit of a treat, even though these days we probably eat it almost every day. I wanted to add this element to the quilts so I too used gold foil - in fact, gold leaf, for some of the text. It too is hidden amongst the leaves. I did not want the message to be instantly recognised, so I broke the letters up, adding one letter to each of the chocolate squares.
Overall I am very pleased with this piece of work. Its many layers hold the story of these children.
The second, slightly smaller quilt uses much of the same imagary, but has a more direct message. There is one particular chocolate product which upsets me more than any other. It was first marketed in 1968 and aimed directly at children, for children, a marketing coup at the time. It is now sold inover 30 countries throughout the world and has a loyal following. I suppose many would say that is fair enough; kids love chocolate and as far as marketing goes, this product has it all. Hazelnuts, wafers and smooth sweet milky chocolate, a neat easily transportable kid's sized portion and a little (plastic) gift. What is not to love? It is even marketed at parents as a good choice for their children as it contains whole milk for strong teeth and bones (OMG). It is also reassuringly expensive in terms of price when compared to other chocolate - not cheap and nasty, but still affordable enough to make it an easy purchase.
Sadly the product is tainted with numerous bad associations. The company that makes this chocolate buys all its cocoa from West African farms, paying rock bottom for the product. The hazlenuts used in many of their products are mostly grown in Turkey, where 70% of the worlds supply comes from. These hazlenuts are picked mainly by low paid migrants, including children. Several reports on this have been published in the last year, one by the BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-49741675, and another by the Guardian.
Independent investigations by journalists have also discovered that the little plastic toys that are part of the marketing of some of the products are being packed in Romnia by extremenly low paid workers in their homes, often with the help of their children. None of this is good.
This quilt is called 'For the Children' / 'Für Die Kinder' - you can probably guess why.
So - what is a chocolate lover to do?
Obviously we all have our own views on this. Mine are that I don't want to knowingly contribute to the profit of companies that take advantage of low paid workers, especially children. For that reason I have decided to eat less chocolate and pay more for the chocolate I do buy which is sourced from ethical sources.
I have researched companies that grow their own beans and produce their own chocolate - the so called 'bean-to-bar' companies who know exactly who is working for them and pay their employees a fair wage.
I have discovered exactly what 'Fair Trade' means (transparent and robust standards in supply chains, externally monitired, and a hard ban on any exploitative labour).
I have also found out more about a new initiative called 'Cocoa Life', a self-policing initiative set up by the company Mondalez International Inc., (owners of Cadbury, Cote D'Or, Milka, Oreo, Toblerone amongs many others) which says it has invested 400 million in improving the suply chain of in its choholate related business.
It is all interesting and this is certainly a very complex problem. It is my aim that the quilts will promote discussion about these issues.
Thanks for reading.
It has been 2 long months since I last updated my blog - although a lot has happened this past year there has not been so much for me to record or share on my blog. I have missed writing it. However, it is my hope that next year will be different and I will be back creating new work, discovering new things and having lots to write about.
For my last post for 2019 I thought I would share a small piece of work which has ended up being rather more personal than I originally intended. It is called 'Departure' and was finished a few days after my father passed away.
I belong to a very small and friendly group of textile artists called 'Six Dames'. We are slightly unusual in that we are a bilingual group (French and English) and next April we will be holding our first group exhibition in France. You can find out more about our group and our exhibition here on our website: https://six-dames.weebly.com/
Every 3 months one of our members provides us with a photo to inspire us into creating a new piece of work. So far we have had photos from Barcelona, Antibes, Clevedon, New York, Dubai and our next one is from Porto. Working from photos has proved to be a fascinating challenge and the results from each of the artist members has been incredible. You can see what I mean by looking at all of the work we have created on our website by clicking here or on our blog by clicking here.
But for speed, here is a little glimpse of the photos we have worked on so far..........
The most recent photo we have been working from was provided by Fran and is a photo of one of the departure gates at Dubai Airport. When we received it back in October the scene didn't really have much significance to me other than I had been there a few times on my way to somewhere else. I liked the shapes of the windows and the seemingly calming 'greeness' and decided to focus on those elements.
After some thought and some trials with different materials I decided to create an embroidered 3 dimensional piece using heavyweight interfacing, exploring how the unusual window shapes could create a self-supporting structure. As the building is in Dubai I chose to feature traditional Islamic designs for the embroidery which can be seen below.
All in all this piece is composed of 4 layers of interfacing; two outer layers of pure white and two inner layers which I dyed a dark grey/green. The interfacing is not all that difficult to stitch through, but I did not want to risk leaving any pencil or chalk marks on any of the surfaces so I made a paper pattern then pierced the pattern onto the interfacing first then stitched it afterwards. The whole piece measures 16 inches square and as the interfacing is not flexible the stitching was a slow process.
For the top layers I cut the interfacing to make the 'windows' and then stitched each one, emphasizing the sail-like shape using a curve stitching technique (remember those string and nail pictures that were so popular in the 1970s ???!)
Once the completed the top and back sections were fully embroidered I then put them together and restitched the pattern once again to secure all the layers together. As a base it is now very sturdy indeed and is able to support the curved window pieces with just a tiny slot.
II am very pleased with the delicate lace-like effect on the surfaces and I am happy with the airy feeling of the overall design which I think captures the feeling inside the airport departure hall. It is also strong yet fragile; a good metaphor for life.
This piece, along with the 5 others that are inspired by Fran's photo will be hanging in our Six Dames Gallery at B.I.A.T. - the 8th Biennale International D'art Textile in Villefranche-sur-Saone from 15th - 18th April 2020 (just after Easter) . All of the other work from our photos will also be in our gallery. If you happen to be in that part of the world during those dates please do come and say hello. I will also have my own gallery at the expo and plan to hang some of my portraits along with my Stitched Alchemy series of quilts that I have been working on for the past few years and have never yet managed to hang together. I am very looking forward to that too.
Thank you to those of you who read my blog posts - I wish you a gentle end to the year and I hope that the arrival of 2020 brings you much happiness, good health and creativity.
Following on from the new light-hearted 'Superheroes' quilt I made in the summer I have decided I will take the idea further. I enjoy making them and it provides a little light relief from other not so happy things that are going on at the moment. Several designs are now underway, and I thought I would post a few pictures of some of them. This one seems appropriate for today.
The idea behind the quilts is simple; these are two little mischievious characters who love to dress up. Each quilt shows them taking on their new persona. I have another idea which I may persue using these characters, but I need to do a lot more work on that before I let the cat out of the bag. Each small quilt is hand printed and painted onto cloth then quilted with free-motion quilting. Most of them will measure 16" x 16" and be mounted onto stretchers, making them easy to hang.
Here is a glimpse of today's work in progress.................... I aim to finish it today and pop it in the post to Chris at Midsomer Quilting in time for the 12x12 exhibition. (Deadline is now 10th November)
It is going to be called 'Los Dos Amigos: Santa's Little Helpers' and will be available to bid on, with the proceeds going directly to Dorothy House Hospice.
Just in case you don't already know what the 12x12 is all about, here is a little description.
The shop 'Midsomer Quilting' located in Chilcompton, Somerset hosts and annual 12"x12" quilt challenge each November/ December. Anyone with a connection to the shop (such as being customer, friend or visitor) is invited to make a small 12" square quilt to be exhibited as part of a special exhibition. There is no entry fee and there is no 'judging' - so there is no need to be shy. Previous entries have come from children, beginners, professionals and even a metalworker and a woodworker! The aim is for the exhibition to be inclusive and FUN.
This year the very loose theme is 'One day...........'
Last year over 250 wonderful quilts were displayed and I know they would love to repeat that this year.
The other lovely thing about this exhibition is that many of the quilts are available to purchase by secret auction. If you like a quilt (and it is for sale) all you do is note which one it is, jot your name on a piece of paper and write the amount you wish to bid for it. At the end of the exhibition the highest bid wins. The procedes of the auction are donated to Dorothy House Hospice - I'm sure you will agree, a very worthy cause. Last year over £3000 was raised and donated.
I have entered lots and lots of quilts over the years (except the first year when I accidentally cut my quilt in half with my rotary cutter).
The deadline for handing in your quilt is November 10th - so there is still time to get stitching and make a quilt for the exhibtion and if you aren't able to make one then please do visit - you will be amazed at what can be done with fabric and thread!
The exhibition will run every day from (and including) November 29th until (and including) Saturday December 21st.
The exhibition is FREE to enter and FREE to visit. The shop even offers FREE coffee and chocolate biscuits and what is light heartedly known as the 'creche' for non-quilting partners who can relax after viweing the exhibition!
You just can't go wrong.
01761 239333 or 01761 232509
Shop Opening Hours throughout the exhibition:
Daily - 10:00AM - 4:00PM
Thanks for reading