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
Back last year I had the beginnings of an idea that decided to explore; it involved the concept of combining lots of small things to create something bigger and better than just the sum of its parts. I think this basically sums up what patchwork is, so from that perspective I was on safe ground. The simple way to sum up the concept is encompassed by the word 'Synergy, which Wikipedia explains as being derived from the Attic Greek word συνεργία (synergia), from συνεργός (synergos) meaning 'working together'.
It is very different from my other work which often focusses on rather heavy subjects, and taking a break from that for a while has been good for me as it has left some space in my mind for that work to develop and grow too.
I started off with paper and got drawn into the incredible world of complex origami assemblages. I have always liked the precision required to make a successful origami model - but what some people can do with many sheets of paper is incredble. I first began looking at the work of Coco Sato, http://cocosato.co.uk/things-i-do/ which led me on to exploring Kusudama (薬玉 the Japanese word for 'medicine ball'). These models require many identical pyramidal units to be made and subsequently stitched together to create ornate hangings that are used to hold insence or fragrant herbs and flowers.
After trying my hand at a few paper models I began searching for a fabric alternative that would be stiff enough to work with and hold a fold. I tried several starch prducts, Terrial Magic and gelatine on numerous lightweight fabrics, but none gave me what I needed to create successful creases that could withstand handling. Finally I settled on using a fine cotton muslin known as organdie which I have seen Iris Van Herpen using in her incredible couture.
'Points of View I' and 'II' were my first pieces in this exploration. After hand dyeing the fabric I created a few hundred folded pyramids in a whole range of vibrant colours - for once my studio looked beautiful (instrad of looking like a small explosion has happened), like a colourful sweetshop. Each pyramid is made from one square of fabric and the many folds give rise to layers which can be stitched, cut or embelished in many ways.
'Points of View II' is a large installation which is suspended from the ceiling and allows the viewer to walk around the whole piece, viewing it from all angles. It was a successful piece and has happily found a home.
You can see the whole installation here: https://www.clairepassmore.com/fold--unfold.html
Using the same lattice structure, but in a more formal layout, I next made 'Storm'. This was as much about controlling the use of colour as it was the use of the pyramidal units. You can see other views of this piece in the galleries on my website : https://www.clairepassmore.com/storm.html
One of the things I love about this work is its simplicity. With minimal materials and simple folds it is possible to create something that appears to be a lot more complicated than it really is. That sums up synergy for me.
Update: This piece has been selected to be shown in SAQA's first online gallery on their new website, which will be launched sometime in the Summer of 2020.
Connectivity II Claire Passmore © 2019
Following on from simply folding and stitching the modules together in a plane surface I followed on by exploring what happens when the modules are layered and stacked. This led me to make a series of small pieces which I called 'Connectivity'. The photos above are the second in the series. Although the photos appear to be different objects they are, in fact, the same piece, just posed in different ways. If I were more mathematically inclined I think I would have a better understanding of how to develop this, but as it stands I just stich and manipulate the pyramids and see what serindipitously occurs. It is a bit like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates - you never know what you are gonna get!
You can see more arrangements of Connectivity II here:
The last piece I have recently finished is this. It has been made using the same principle that of repeated modules, but this time they are only similar - not identical. I also made them flat, as the piece was made in response to a SAQA call for entry entitled 'Opposites Attract' that required 2D work. It was a lot of fun to make and has given me further food for thought in terms of cutting and layering the fabric as well as folding it. I am happy to say that the Juror, Gail M Brown, selected it for the exhibition and it will soon be winging its way to Australia to be part of a tour that starts at the Australasian Quilt Convention – April 16 to 19, 2020.
Read more about the SAQA Opposites Attract exhibition here
And more about this specific quilt here: https://www.clairepassmore.com/round-hole--square-peg--space-to-grow.html
I am pleased with the way this new branch of my work is developing - it satisfies my need to keep my mind occupied with new ideas and is also very 'portable' when under construction - something which I find very convenient!
Thanks for reading.
I have been very nicely surprised at the reaction I have had to the little Superheroes quilt I made a while ago. They are bright and fun and I have had so many lovely comments about them that I have decided I will take them further. I have lots of plans, whether they are fulfilled is another matter, but it is comfortable to have more ideas than time!
For this quilt I decided to try scaling them up (the finished quilt will be somewhere around 130cm x 95cm). Easy to do on paper, but new issues emerge when this is done with quilted fabric, the main one being the large spaces created that I don't want to fill with stitch.
I have also given them slightly different costumes, just for fun.
Here is a snapshot of the painting in progress.
Over the next few days I am going to try and get the quilting finished and then I can see which format I prefer and I will share the finished quilt.
Thanks for reading!
Time seems to fly be doesn't it? I can hardly believe that it is almost the end of July ....long summer days, glorious sunshine, juicy cherries and summer holidays - some of my favourite things. Before we know it the leaves will be rustling and we will be getting our sweaters out again, so make hay while the sun shines!
In between all that I am working on a few big projects at the moment, but they are in the early stages. I have been making lots of notes, models and sketches, trying out ideas and making small samples which are pinned all over my design walls. My studio looks a real mess, but the ideas are slowly coming together. For me this is the stage that takes most time - growing the idea. Sometimes though, I just want to have fun, so a few weeks ago I made a new small square quilt - no planning, no samples, just 'go for it'!
It started like this........... smeared intensely vivid printing ink on glass. I just love it; instant colour that is perfect for creating a monoprinted background.
With stitch I 'drew' 2 quirky characters, inspired by the fabulous work of Fernando Andriacci (click here to visit his website) and then spent a few hours painting them - so much fun! They make me smile just looking at them.
Once they were painted they seemed to me to look like two wacky friends who like to dress up as superheroes - so that is what I called them! Los Dos Amigos - 'superheroes'.
I took this happy little quilt to Midsomer Quilting a few weeks ago to use as part of a demonstration on how to mount work onto stretcher bars. It turned out to be quite popular, so much so that Chris and De have asked me to run a class where people can come and create their own quirky little characters from fabric, thread and paint. More information about this class can be found on my website by clicking here or by contacting De at Midsomer Quilting (Tel: 01761 239333, https://midsomerq.com/).
And now it is back to the mess! Thanks for reading.
"The most beautiful pier in England" is in Clevedon, according to Sir John Betjeman (who knew a thing or two about Victorian architecture) and is the only intact Grade I listed pier in the UK. Built from discarded railway track used by Isambard Kingdom Brunel on the Great Western Railway, it cost £12,000 when opened on Easter Monday, 1869.
The pier is simple and I think very beautiful; thankfully it has no slot machines, candyfloss, or doughnuts. You can find out more about it by visiting the official website: https://clevedonpier.co.uk/
My reason for talking about this pier is that I belong to a small group of textile artists called 'SixDames' and my friend and fellow 'Dame' Stephanie Crawford has challenged us to create our next piece of work using a photo taken on this pier for our inspiration. What Stephanie didn't know when she chose the photo was that it has some very special memories for me.
This is her photo.
When I was around 5 years old my parents took me on a very memorable day trip; we went 'abroad', which I thought was the best! We travelled from Penarth in South Wales, across the Bristol Channel to England, on the Waverley Paddle Steamer. The Waverley is the world's last sea going paddle steamer and up until last year was still steaming around the British coast taking passengers on pleasure cruises. Unfortunately time has taken its toll on her and I have just discovered that she has been temporarily taken out of service as she needs a boiler refit. You can find out more about The Waverley from their official website: https://www.waverleyexcursions.co.uk/welcome-aboard/
That trip made a lasting impression on me - despite the fact that no selfies or other photos were taken! However, the very best bit, as far as I was concerned, was that I brought home a souvenir - a kaleidoscope. It quickly became my favourite 'thing' and lasted a few weeks until I took it to pieces to find out how it worked. Sadly, after that, it never 'worked' again, but I still loved it - just in pieces.
I must confess I had forgotten all about the Waverley, Clevedon and the kaleidoscope, until I saw the photo, but as soon as I did the memories came flooding back - thank-you Stephanie!
So my decision as to what to do in response to this photo was easy. Make a new kaleidoscope!
As well as Stephanie's photo I particularly liked this night-time photo of the pier from the BBC News website (see below) and using the image manipulation software called 'Gimp' I selected part of Stephanie's photo and cut a small triangular section to use.
I cut, rotated, copied and pasted part of the image to create a regular hexagon shape.
Next I altered the colour to create a series of hexagons, starting with a 'daytime' look and ending with a 'night-time' version.
The last decision to make is how to use the hexagons. For a while I thought about printing them onto paper and making a paper quilt, but in the end I decided to have the hexagons printed onto fabric and used the company 'Woven Monkey' once again. (This is the same company I used to print the fabric I used to make my quilt 'Forward, Onward, Upward' inspired by Shamsia Hassani's work. You can read more about that piece by clicking here.)
So now what? Here are two early ideas.
Thanks for reading.