Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Mermaids, Femmes Fatales & Trees at The Ropewalk

Mermaid Brooch

Just a quick update to let you know that a delivery of mermaid & femmes fatales brooches has arrived at The Ropewalk in Barton upon Humber...

Femme Fatale Brooch

And for the first time a forest of knitted deciduous and conifer tree brooches has also sprung up there...

Deciduous & Conifer Knitted Tree Brooches

So go take a look! The Ropewalk's a great place with lovely things to buy in the Craft Gallery, interesting exhibitions, a good cafe & a great garden with sculptures.  You can even find out all about the history of rope making at the Barton Ropery in the Ropewalk Museum.  The building has a characteristic ropewalk from its ropemaking days - hence the name!


Friday, 20 December 2019

Jen Cable, Sisse Fog Odgaard & Bradford School of Art at the Knitting & Stitching Show - Harrogate 2019

Jen Cable - Who blazed your trail?

Jen Cable's exhibition "An Ideal Woman?" employs traditional women's  textile techniques in a contemporary way to reflect on society's views of women's acceptable conduct.  In doing so she highlights how such expectations limit the role and behaviour of women.  In "Who blazed your trail?" the depiction of a burnt bra represents an image of empowerment inspired by the protest marches of the 1960s & 1970s.    

Jen Cable - Some day my prince will come

In "Some day my prince will come" Jen is reflecting on the industrious, servile women of fairy tales e.g the miller's daughter who gets to marry the king when she can spin straw into gold and wonders what reward would result from being able to turn bark and petals into cushions.

Jen Cable - So much more to give

"So much more to give" references Rapunzel's conditioning which meant she failed to realise she could use her own hair as a means of escape.  It asks why can't we accept individuals as they are, rather than expecting them to conform to a single norm.

 
Sisse Fog Odgaard - #Unfinished
 

Sisse Fog Odgaard's #Unfinished was an amazing display of six colourful life rafts made up of more than 2,000 pieces of unfinished knitting, collected over a period of 6 months. Sisse cut the pieces and stitched them onto a base of discarded parachutes and covered the joints with a total of 2.5 km of French knitting. Her knitting machine was powered by a lego motor! Sisse hopes to inspire us to let go of preconceived ideas of perfection and to speak openly of the things we aren't so proud of.  "When we dare to talk about our mistakes, it sets us free". You can watch a video of the project here.


Lorna Muir - HNC Contemporary Constructed Textiles

Lorna Muir, from Bradford School of Art, takes inspiration from Martin Parr's photograph collection The Non- Conformists which looks at farming and chapel communities in the Upper Calder Valley.  Her collection is an interpretion of what Charlie & Sarah Hannah Greenwood, a brother and sister who farmed at Thurrish Farm and worshipped at Crimsworth Dean Methodist Chapel, would wear at work, home and for worship. Items shown are envisaged as what Charlie would wear for work and what Sarah Hannah would wear to the Chapel anniversary, a special occasion.


Nicola Green - HNC Fashion & Textiles

Nicola Green, also from Bradford School of Art, has produced her Urban Pattern collection inspired by the Yorkshire urban landscape.  Her pieces, designed for a therapy seting for young people, have a colour palette and texture that it is hoped will have a positive impact on mental wellbeing.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Marian Jazmik & the Vlieseline Fine Art Textiles Award at the Knitting & Stitching Show - Harrogate 2019

Marian Jazmik - Gravel Path (2 vessels), Lichen 1 & Lichen 2

This is the third in my series of blogs about the 2019 Knitting & Stitching Show at Harrogate.  Marian Jazmik's exhibition - Beyond the Surface - was fascinating. Marian takes photographs on her walks on the Lancashire moors and on her travels abroad and digitally manipulates these to reveal hidden surface textures at micro and macro scales.  Fungi and lichen are of particular interest to her. Using mixed media including plastics, packaging, wood, wire and papers and using free machine embroidery & the application of heat Marian produces these amazing surface textures...

Marian Jazmik - Beyond the Surface
Marian Jazmik - Beyond the Surface

I was also blown away by the exhibits in the Vlieseline Fine Art Textiles Award.  Here are just some of the fanastic entries including one by Suzette Smart who is inspired by her local landscape, birds, animals and storytelling and using collaged fabric, machine embroidery and hand stitch...

Suzette Smart - Draw my world in words


Amans Eliane stitched letters to someone close to her, who was undergoing cancer treatment, on torn bedsheets .  These letters were never sent but knitted up - the knitting itself indicative of the time passing during this difficult period...

Amans Eliane - A toi, Lettres secrete


Ann Goddard's piece highlights the decline in the global insect population and the threat this poses to the health of the planet.  Her chrysalises, some of which have been burnt, have been formed from Ugandan bark cloth...

Ann Goddard - On the Brink


Caroline Bartlett uses cloth to embody memory, identity and experiences, folding backwards and forwards on itself as a metaphor for the degenerative and regenerative processes of life...
Caroline Bartlett - Imprint II


Using ideas from mathematics, Marilyn Rathbone has created an artwork that determines itself from the structure she has chosen, represented by dorset buttons and joined by bugle beads...

Marilyn Rathbone - Self Avoiding Walk


Susan Sami celebrates the past story and the beauty of the gradual decay of Brighton's burnt West Pier Marina using printing techniques and machine embroidery...

Susan Sami - Up in Smoke


Gaining creative inspiration and materials from her allotment, Alice Fox has produced some vessels formed round apples using stitched looping.  The apples dried and shrank leaving the vessel shapes...

Alice Fox - Apple Vessels 1-5


Hope you've enjoyed looking at at this brief selection of amazing textile art.





Monday, 9 December 2019

The Embroiderers' Guild & the Quilters' Guild at the Knitting & Stitching Show - Harrogate 2019

Home Exhibition - Catherine Hill - My Mum's Baking - Cheese & Onion Pie

The Knitting & Stitching Show provided an opportunity to have a closer look at work by members of the Embroiderers' Guild and Quilters' Guild.  The Embroiderers' Guild had an exhibition entitled "Home" where their members had produced work about what "Home" meant to them.  Here are some of my favourites...

Home Exhibition
Clockwise from top left: Frances Reilly - The Cotswolds, Moira Wood - It's Where the Heart Is,  Victoria Flood - Symbols of Home, Sara Frost - Washing on the Line

Home Exhibition - Anne Kelly - Maudie's House

They also had an exhibition of "Life's Rich Pattern"...

Pauline Medinger - Pine Deconstruction
Pam Keeling - Patterns of Autumn
Jean Usher - ...two days after Pearl Harbour

And of course there was the Graduate Showcase.  There was some amazing work on show including...

Elle Foreman takes the discarded and transforms it into something unique using among other techniques, printing, stitching and applique...

Elle Foreman

Catriona Charlton's work centres on costume inspired by the teen fantasy novel Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor...

Catriona Charlton

Alex Vincent Turner's work is influenced by issues of sustainability and male identity and the need to embrace the feminine side of menswear...

Alex Vincent Turner

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Quilters' Guild and as ever they had some amazing quilts on display including...

Katarzyna Plesniak - Pieces of Memories 1

Katarzyna Plesniak - Pieces of Memories 1 (detail)


Jean Grimshaw - Berlin Wall

Heather Chalkley

CQ London were also exhibiting at the Knitting & Stitching Show.  They are a London based group of contemporay quilters and their theme was "Capital Contrasts" focussing on their home city. I particularly liked this one...

Sabi Westoby - Southbank 14 CQ Quilters

With so much to see, I can only give you a brief taster of all the wonderful work on show. If you missed the 2019 show, I'd recommend it as an essential date for your diary in 2020!




Monday, 2 December 2019

Denise Watts & Kate Whitehead at the Knitting & Stitching Show - Harrogate 2019

Denise Watts - Dressed to Impress
"Fashion can be bought, style must be posssessed." Edna Woolman Chase

I particularly enjoyed the Knitting & Stitching Show at Harrogate this year.  I'm not sure whether it was the fantastic exhibitions, the great workshops, the enticing stalls or the fact that I'd finished my own pre-Christmas events. In fact it was probably all those things.  

Denise Watts - Everything is Rosie

"Be content to stand in the light and let the shadow fall where it will." Mary W Stewart

Anyway this blogpost is about some of those fantastic exhibitions.  I really loved Denise Watts' "The Little Woman" exhibition.  Denise Watts is a bobbin lace artist who through the medium of art dolls, has expressed women's pain throughout history, be it menstruation, childbirth, heartbreak, beauty treatments, having a conforming body shape, being treated as a chattel, or the general frustration of not being treated equally to men.

Denise Watts - Trapped in a Bubble
"Menstrual blood is the only source of blood that is not traumatically induced.  Yet in modern society, this is the most hidden blood, the one so rarely spoken of and almost never seen, except privately by women..." Judy Grahn

The dolls were beautifully made with paper mache heads, arms and legs, fabric bodies and hair made of handmade horsehair bobbin lace.  They were dressed in vintage fabric and lace.  Each doll was also accompanied by an appropriate quote.  You can see some of my favourites in this blogpost.

Denise Watts - She Wanted Curls
"Naturally curly hair is a curse, and don't let anyone ever tell you different."  Mary Ann Shaffer


Kate Whitehead is a textile artist, whose work is a protest against the way textiles are consumed in western society. Through weaving and embroidery, Kate explores the potential of the forgotten, the overlooked and the abandoned. Kate was showing work from her series "Honesty is the best policy" - in honour of her father's life & "Not from the stork".  Kate is an adoptee and in her work "Not from the stork" she explores the journey women make to have a baby and to nuture it in the first weeks of life and to celebrate her mother and father for adopting her and others who adopt and foster.

Kate Whitehead - Honesty is the best policy

Kate Whitehead - Honesty is the best policy

Kate Whitehead - Honesty is the best policy


Kate Whitehead - Not from the stork - Mother & Daughter

Kate Whithead - Not from the stork - Mother
Kate Whitehead - Not from the stork - Daughter

More to come about the Knitting & Stitching Show in the next blogpost!

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Mini Pincushions for the Travelling Stitcher

Mini Pincushions for the Travelling Stitcher

Recently, I had a great find at my local charity shop.  I found a couple of wide hexagonal rings that I thought would make great mini pincushions...

Rings from the local charity shop

I used some FIMO to make bottoms for the rings using the rings as cutters to get the right shape...

FIMO bases

Next I glued the bottoms into the rings - I used UHU glue...

FIMO bases glued into the rings

Then I cut out a circular fabric top using a template.  I wasn't sure whether this would be the right size so I made one in calico to check and it was fine.  Using a running stitch round the fabric circumference I gathered the fabric and stuffed it...

Cardboard template for the fabric top and samples

Here are the finished ones I made using Liberty prints...

Liberty print pincushion tops

I glued these into my pincushion bases. And here are the finished pincushions, all ready for the travelling stitcher...

Mini pinshions ready to use

As not everyone will be able to find some suitable rings or have some FIMO lying around I've written some instructions so you can make your own mini pincushions using bottle tops...

Mini bottle top pincushions

Check out the instructions here or take a look on my How to make... page.

Happy stitching and happy travelling with your mini pincushion!