Monday, 24 April 2017

World Illustration Awards 2016 at Chapel Gallery, Ormskirk

Kate Jenkins - Kate's Plaice The Stitchmongers - Self Initiated (Professional)

On a trip to Ormskirk recently I called in at Chapel Gallery (a favourite haunt) and took a tour round their current exhibition - The Association of Illustrators - World Illustration Awards 2016.

Nicholas Stevenson - Diary of a Time Traveller - Children's Books (Professional)

The awards, which cover 8 categories, brought in over 2300 entries from 64 countries.  This exhibiton includes the winners and a selection of shortlisted work.  The categories cover Advertising, Books, Children's Books, Design, Editorial, Public Realm, Self Initiated and Research & Knowledge Communication.

Josh Patterson - Bramwell Brown Weather Clock - Design (New Talent)

Whether serious or light hearted the work showcases the best illustration work out there.  I've just selected a few of my favourites.  And of course my very favourite was Kate Jenkins' work - but that's not surprising really.  Kate's textile art is witty and wonderful!
Andy Tuohy - Great Modern Artists A To Z - Books (Professional)

Levente Szabo - BAFTA Film Awards Brochures 2016 - Design (Professional)

Better hurry if you want to catch this exhibition - it closes on 6 May 2017.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Get Creative at Olive's Nest with Brilliant Birds

Making Brilliant Birds at Olive's Nest

Friday was the start of the Get Creative Weekend. So Deborah New & I got creative at Olive's Nest, a super gift shop on Scarcroft Road, York. 

Olive's Nest, Scarcroft Road, York

We held our preview Brilliant Bird workshops in preparation for the Brilliant Birds Yarnstorm in Rowntree Park later this year. It was lovely to meet everyone who came along. Here are some of the makes...

#BrilliantBirds & Giant Leaves

...and quite a number went home to be finished off so we're looking forward to those birds flying in too!  We met up with some old friends but also had new people come and join us which was just perfect!  In fact we were chatting so much in the afternoon I forgot to take any photos.  I'll try not to let that happen again!

The Get Creative campaign is run by a group of cultural organisations to celebrate and support creativity. We certainly enjoyed getting creative!

#BrilliantBirds take to the bushes

Thanks so much to Gaynor at Olive's Nest for letting us roost there for our #BrilliantBirds Workshops and for keeping us fuelled with tea, coffee and biscuits!  We had a lovely day.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Brilliant Birds Yarnstorm - The Details

What are we doing?
In May it's
Craft & Design Month which celebrates crafts across the UK, and with your help, Deborah New & I plan to make a giant Brilliant Birds installation for Rowntree Park, York in time for the Rowntree Park Birthday Party on Sunday 16 July 2017.
Two of our workshops are during the Voluntary Arts Festival 2017 (5-14 May).  This is an annual celebration of cultural creativity across the UK & Republic of Ireland. 

We are also embracing
The Get Creative campaign is run by a group of cultural organisations to celebrate and support creativity.  So at our Brilliant Bird workshops, you can unleash your creativity with knitting, stitching, pompom making, finger knitting, knitting with very large needles and hopefully even some hula hoop weaving. 
Workshop Dates

Friday 5 May 2017 – Rowntree Park Café 
Rowntree Park, Richardson Street, York, YO23 1JU 
10:00 – 12:00
Saturday 13 May 2017 – The Golden Ball Pub 
2 Cromwell Road, York, YO1 6DU
12:00 – 14:00

Monday 15 May 2017 – The Winning Post Pub 
127-129 Bishopthorpe Road, York, YO23 1NZ 
19:00 – 21:00
Drop in – all materials provided and leave your makes behind for display in the park.

Want to join in but can't make a workshop?
If you can't get to any of the workshops but still want to be involved you'll find some Brilliant Bird Patterns here.  In all there are five different knitting and stitching patterns, including
a cheeky knittted blackbird and a colourful knitted hummingbird by Sue Stratford Why not give them all a try?  

Completed birds can be left at Rowntree Park Cafe, Rowntree Park, Richardson Street, York, YO23 1JU or dropped off at any of the workshops (see above).  If you use twitter or instagram why not post a picture and use #BrilliantBirds in your post. 

And you don't have to use these patterns - we'd be happy to have a knitted, stitched, felted or crocheted bird of your preferred design.

When will the installation be up?
The Brilliant Birds installation goes up in Rowntree Park on Tuesday 27 June (by the tennis courts, near the café and beyond)
, weather permitting, and will be on display until after the Rowntree Park Birthday Party on Sunday 16 July 2017.

And afterwards? 
The charity we are pleased to be supporting this year is St Leonard's HospiceSt Leonard’s Hospice is an independent charity, providing specialist palliative care and support for local people with life limiting illnesses. Whilst their care is free of charge to patients and their families it is not free to provide.  So, after the birds come down they will be sold in St Leonard's Hospice shops and at their events to raise funds for their services.

Want to see what we've done before?

Yarnstorming Event in Rowntree Park - 2013

The Brilliant Birds project is sponsored by the Friends of Rowntree Park.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Fabric of Place - Reeth & Swaledale

On a beautiful day at the weekend, I travelled up to Reeth to investigate what was going on in the Fabric of Place project and to make some string with Joanne B Kaar.  I have seen some of Joanne's work before at the Pittenweem Art Festival in 2015 and you can read about it here

Joanne B Kaar

The Fabric of Place project is a community based project looking at Reeth and Swaledale and the relationship the communities have with the place they live.  It's a two year Slow Art project.  Slow Art is a movement to help people look at and love art without being an expert and to unlock their passion & creativity.  This project has three artists in residence.  Joanne, who is leading the project, is a fibre artist and weaver of grass and is inspired by place, the natural environment and history and has a lot of experience working with communties through artist residencies.  The other artists involved are Serena Partridge, a visual artist working largely with textiles and stitch and Graham Taylor, a potter.

New Zealand flax and nail brush to shred the flax, dried fibres, dampened fibres ready for string making

On the day your could make string with Joanne, felt with Serena or add to Graham's Green Man.  I chose to make string with Joanne.  She told us how to collect and dry our stems, the need to dampen them before beginning to make the fibres more pliable, and how to twist the fibres together to make string.  Joanne comes from the north of Scotland and has a large garden and so has a wealth of plant fibres to choose from for her making.  She told us that she would be harvesting daffodil stems next - once the flowers had gone.  I hadn't thought of daffodils as being suitable but was pleased they were.  I live in a city with a garden the size of a postage stamp and about the only thing readily available to me at the moment is daffodils - so I shall look forward to trying them out!

My ball of string

I made about 1.25 metres of string - here's what it looks like wound up into a little ball.  And I'm looking forward to making more with my daffodil stems!

Jig mitt made using Oslo stitch & boots made using Coppergate stitch

Once the string is made, Joanne uses the nalbinding ("needle binding") technique to make items.  This predates knitting and crochet and although more ancient still, was popular with the Vikings.  It involves using short pieces of yarn or fibre as the whole length must be pulled through the loops made.  Joanne has used this technique to make her trig mitt and her boots which were on display.  The boots illustrate Coppergate stitch which first seen in the Viking "Coppergate sock" found in York.

Serena Partridge - Gauntlet Glove & Other Work

Although Serena was making felt at the workshop, she had brought some of her beautiful work to show.  I loved the miniature gloves...
Serena Partridge - Gloves

Graham, who does a lot of work with heritage institutions making replica pots, was working with folk to complete a Green Man plaque...

Graham Taylor - Green Man - work in progress

The project, which has been developed by Chrysalis Arts Development, is in its infancy.  Joanne has started looking at lichens, present in both Swaledale and her native Caithness.  Lichens are very slow growing - very suitable for slow art!  Artwork may include the mapping of lichens and making clothing inspired by lichens.  Whatever the artists and the community decide on, the outcome will be an touring exhibition in late 2018 which will consist of community artwork and the artists' artwork displayed together.  I can't wait to see it!

Work on lichens has begun - Joanne B Kaar

It was a really interesting afternoon.  If you live in Swaledale do get involved!

Click here for the Facebook link and here for the Twitter link.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Ailish Henderson & her Creative Sketchbooks

Fear of the Unknown - Ailish Henderson

Recently, Ailish Henderson, freelance artist, designer, lecturer and tutor, came to talk to the City of York Embroiderers' Guild about creative sketchbooks and brought some of her own to share with us.

Carrot Musings - Ailish Henderson
More Carrots - Ailish Henderson

She told us that we shouldn't be afraid of how they turn out and that they didn't have to be neat.  They don't have to be made of paper and you can make them a page at a time and combine them later.  You can use what's to hand and don't have to use anything special.  Recycling envelopes and packets, staining papers with tea and coffee, collaging items, painting and stitching are all techniques to be used.

Sketchbook - Ailish Henderson

Collage - Ailish Henderson

You can use them to explore ideas and thoughts, give an insight into what's going on in your head and make your thoughts real, encourage deeper thinking and self directed learning, provide focus and develop confidence.  The resulting creative sketchbooks become things to keep and treasure.

Watercolours - Ailish Henderson

Sketchbook - Ailish Henderson

The following day Ailish held a workshop for us so we could try out lots of different techniques that we might want to use in our own sketchbooks.  Here's what I made on the day using collage, stamping, discharge printing, stitch, painting, filled bubble wrap, oiled papers, bondaweb sandwiches and more, all presented in a concertina book...

My concertina book of samples - side 1
My concertina book of samples - side 2
My sketchbook cover

Thanks for sharing your ideas and techniques, Ailish!

Monday, 6 March 2017

New in at Kunsthuis Gallery, Crayke

Felt Necklaces

Here's a sneaky peak at the new things now in Kunsthuis Gallery in Crayke, near York...

Liberty Print Fabric Necklaces
Flower Button Necklaces

Knitted Wird Bird Brooches

Fantasy Fish Brooches

Various Flower Button Brooches

Kunsthuis Gallery also has a lovely cafe, wildlife garden & car parking.  For the more adventurous, you could cycle there or call in after a walk.  Until 2 April 2017, the current exhibition is Revealed by the KH Printmakers Collective - definitely worth a visit!  Open Wednesday to Sunday 10-5pm

Prints by Annie Ramsden, ceramics by Katie Braida, Clare Wakefield & Julia Roxburgh

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

My Pillowcase for Susan Aldworth's The Dark Self Exhibition

My pillowcase

Artist, Susan Aldworth, is putting on an exhibition about sleep at York St Mary's from June to September 2017 called The Dark Self.  One of the artworks will be an installation of embroidered pillowcases hung from the church ceiling.  These pillowcases will be embroidered by local people, community groups and schools in York and across the country to express to the world what sleep or dreams mean to them.  

The materials

A pillowcase and embroidery threads in dark blue, light blue and gold are provided to those who wish to take part. (In York you can get your pillowcase from the Lotte Inch Gallery.) The work has to be portrait in orientation with the pillowcase opening at the bottom and stitching in the colours of blues and gold, only on one side.  Otherwise you have free rein to do whatever design you like.  Every pillowcase has a number so your work can be identified.  Mine was no. 24.

My number

Here's how mine emerged.  First I wrote a haiku that describes how my dreams seem when I wake up:

A vivid dreamscape,
Remembered for a minute,
And then forgotten.

(Haikus are a form of traditional Japanese poetry that typically have 3 lines with the first and third line having 5 syllables and the second, having 7.) 

Original blurry pictures

Next, I wanted to find some imagery which suggested that dream vividness which disappears when you wake, leaving only a blurry memory, soon forgotten.  This I found from an unusual set of circumstances. It goes like this... after my Dad died, my Mum gave my daughter all his camera equipment.  One camera still had a film in and after much struggling we took it out and had it developed.  Whether it was the struggle to get the film out or the length of time the film had been in the camera, I don't know, but all the images were indistinct (see above)
Blurry blue image of original above

and you couldn't really tell what they were.  The above picture is of me but I don't know when or where it was taken.  They were slides too so it was even more difficult to see what they were.  They have been lying around in an envelope for years.  Anyway, this Christmas, I was given a slide scanner so for the first time was able to look at them properly and download the images to my computer.  I choose some that related to me, edited them and added some effects to emphasise their blurry nature and made them blue to fit in with the colour scheme.  This gave me the basis for my design:

Design on paper

Rather than hand stitch the text onto the pillowcase I decided I would machine embroider it.  So I matched the embroidery threads I had with machine threads,

Embroidery thread and machine thread

took my pillowcase apart and to one side ironed on some lightweight vilene to stabilise it ready for machine stitching.

Images ironed onto pillowcase

Next, I printed out the images onto Lesley Riley's Transfer Artist Paper which I got from Art Van Go and ironed the images onto my pillowcase.  (Note: this TAP paper has a shelf life, so my advice is only buy it when you need it!  Also you would normally reverse the images but I didn't because it didn't really matter for this purpose.)

Design with text on dissolvable fabric pinned in position.

Next I traced my text onto disolvable fabric and pinned it into position on my pillowcase and began sewing.  I started with a dark blue.  Everytime I came to an image I changed to gold and the second time I stitched the haiku I changed to the lighter blue thread.

Stitching in progress

Once finished, I ripped off as much of the dissolvable fabric as I could and soaked my pillowcase in water to get rid of the rest.  I had used a Sharpie for the text and it was still visible in parts so I put the pillowcase in the washing machine to more thoroughly get rid of the dissolvable fabric.  That did the trick although in future I won't use a Sharpie.  Once dry, I machine stitched the pillowcase back together again.  All complete - now I just have to deliver it!

You have until the end of March to complete a pillowcase, so if you want to join in, there's still time.  You don't have to do anything complicated and it can be hand stitched.  Why not have a go!