Sunday, 12 September 2010

Jan Beaney!

On the 3rdSeptember, four mrmbers of SCCS went to the 2 day Jan Beaney workshop at Bobby Britnell's.

We stayed at a lovley B&B (, and had 2 great days of stitching.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Chapter 3 - Tonal Effects in Machine Stitchery

A variety of different machine stitches used in multiple rows to cover an area, forming a gradual tone contrast from dark to light.

a) zig-zag stitch using stitch length control to graduate tone.
b) as sample a) but also using space/distance.
c) 3 step zig-zag adjusting stitch length.
d) A decorative stitch, overlapping to create darker areas, and adding space to create lighter areas.
e) An embroidery stitch, varying stitch width, stitch length, and distance between rows to create dark and light.
f) zig-zag stitch, adjusting stitch length, and distance between rows, criss-crossed to give variation of tone.
g) Straight stitch in rows that are not parallel to one another. The concentration of lines give a darker area, fading out to a lighter area with less stitching.
h) As g), but using a untility stitch.
WHIP STITCH - Stitching with a loose bobbin thread.
i) Straight stitch. White thread in top spool, black thread in bobbin. Stitch length control knob used to graduate the tones.
j) Satin stitch to zig-zag whip stitch. The white thread in the top spool gives an illusion of invisibility.
k) Satin stitch to zig-zag, adjusting stitch length whilst stitching.
l) Feather stitch in rows that are not parallel to one another. White thread in the top spool, black in the bobbin.
CABLE STITCH - worked on the underside of the fabric. A thicker thread is hand wound onto the bobbin.
m) Straight stitch with thick black pearle thread in the bobbin, and white machine thread in the top spool. Stitch length is adjusted to create tonal graduation.
n) 3 step zig-zag. Thick black thread in the bobbin, white machine thread in the top spool. Tone is created by stitch density.
o) As m) but with thick white pearle in the bobbin, and black machine thread in the top spool.
Machine Stitched Bands to Create Animal Patterns
top row, left to right:
zebra/mohawk, octopus/tentacles, elephant skin
bottom row, left to right:
lizzard/snakeskin, porkupine, feathers

Friday, 9 July 2010

Look What I Grew at Urchfont

This week I made the first, of what I hope to be many visits at the Distant Stitch Summer School at Urchfont. The work above is the result of three days hard labour under the ever watchful eye of Ruth Issett.
Ruth was fantastic, we all learned so much about mixed media mark making, mono-printing, masks, and the use of selective colour.

It was lovely to meet Sian and all the other students, some whom have attended many Summer Schools in the past. Everyone was so friendly and it was great to meet a group of people who are equally as mad about all things creative and 'stitchy' as I am!

View of the kitchen garden from my attic bedroom window.

As an 'ice-breaker' on the first night we swapped ATC's.

The food was absolutely fantastic, with cereal and a cooked breakfast every morning, followed by coffee & homemade biscuits mid morning. Lunch (and pudding!) was always delicious, but by mid afternoon it was becoming a little difficult to make room for the afternoon tea and cake, especially as we were aware that at 7pm there would be a wonderful four course meal waiting for us!

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Chapter 2 - A Tonal Column in Stitchery


Graduation of tone using cross stitch and only black and white threads of varying thicknesses.
A simple design showing how lines and detail can be added to make the pattern appear darker.
Pattern development to create darker/lighter tone. Worked from pattern created on graph paper in previous exercise.

Spacing between stitches used to control the tone. The first few rows are overlapped.

Different thicknesses of threads used to create darker/lighter tone.

This is an example of blackwork that I created in a previous course, showing a combination of methods to control tone.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

12th June 2010 - Amanda Clayton

Sutton Coldfield Creative Stitchers were very fortunate on Saturday to have a visit from Amanda Clayton. Her workshop was called CELEBRATION OF CLOTH IN A NEUTRAL PALETTE. We were not sure what to expect, as the list of materials needed was a little bizarre and included rice, pebbles, herbs and glass!
We had an amazing day, Amanda took us on an incredible 'learning journey' where we were all encouraged to create transparent hangings appliqued with shapes sketched from objects in her collection. Amanda encouraged us to think about methods of applying shape, division of space, joining and fastening and to consider edges, hems and boundaries of our work.
It most definately gave us a lot to think about!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Saturday 5th June - Sue Rangeley

Oh, dear! Bought another book on Saturday! I went to Wolverhampton EG with a couple of friends, to a lecture by Sue Rangeley. What an amazing lady! Her machine embroidered lace panels inspired by her sketches of frosty plants were exquisite, and her silk organza skirts, jackets and bodices, appliqued with flowers made me eager to get home and try out some of her techniques! Alas, I have my priorities, so that will have to wait for another day (perhaps a workshop next year......?)

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Chapter 1 - The Study of Tone


from the top:
ink applied with a brush
ink applied with the edge of a piece of card
ink applied with scrunched up paper
ink applied with rubber stamp (from module 1)
ink splattered from a pipette

ink from stamp pad applied with simple 'circles' stamp
ink from stamp pad applied with intricate 'dragonfly' stamp
chalk on black paper
charcoal on white paper
felt tipped pen

felt tipped pen
small pieces of ripped newspaper
small cut shapes of patterned paper
circles from hole punch
wax crayon rubbing from supermarket fruit netting

ink / marker pen / charcoal / pencil on white paper
ink splodges / charcoal / hole punched circles on white paper
charcoal / rubber stamp / torn newspaper on white paper
marker pen / ink applied with scrunched paper / wax rubbing on white paper
chalk / stamp with white acrylic paint / patterned paper on black paper
The exercise forces you to explore the options and possibilities for indicating graduating tone - which are seemingly endless. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to find methods additional to those suggested in the workbook. The rubber stamp I made in Module 1 was very useful.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Module 2 - Introduction - Abstracting a design from animal markings

A collection of visual information, and a list of words describing the subjects. (Thank heavens for National Geographic magazine!) These are all pasted to A3 cards and attached to the pinboard in my studio.

'Drawing' marks that relate to my list of words (also on A3 card).

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Between Modules

My Albert Irvin bookwrap! Based on an Angie Highes workshop of woven fabrics covered with a layer of organza. I'm disappointed as I think I totally ruined the effect with the black stitching, but I needed to anchor the organza to the fabric strips somehow.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Chapter 11 - Resolved Design based on Growth and Disintegration

There were loads of ideas swimming around in my head, so for speed and simplicity, I did some quick computer 'thumbnails'. This way, I only had to draw each different cross once, it could then be reduced or enlarged in size and duplicated as many times as I wanted. Simple!

I then experimented with a few of my favourite layouts. First, I tried using white paper onto black card using various methods of disintergration.

This was OK, it simplified the thought process because it was just black and white, it enabled me to think about the layout and not about colour. However, this became difficult when I wanted to try out the designs in multi-layers, so I did the rest in colour.

I reviewed the work done to date and made a list of my favourite elements that I would like to include and decided that the bottom right image, originating from Chapter 3 - 'Repeat Pattern Using Change of Scale', gave me the best scope for experimentation.


Composite Sheet

Onto a rectangle of calico I put snippets of glitzy yellow, gold and orange fabrics to achieve an applique ripple effect. Most of these were polyester scraps given to me by the girls at work, left overs from their pajami suits.

On top of this I put a layer of beautiful, newly dyed, inky indigo scrim. This is my favourite fabric as it has a lovely textural open weave and frays delightfully for chenille applique.

Layer 3 was specially dyed violet and indigo calico, also perfect for fraying.

For the top layer, also specially dyed and printed, I used a slub weave linen which has a sumptuous texture. I printed the fabric with gold fabric paint as this is easier to stitch through than acrylic paint. I tacked all layers together to stop movement.


1st stage of reverse applique.

I became so obsessed with stitching and cutting away to create the 'ripple effect' and 'chenille' applique that I completely forgot to take any photos of the next stages!

My original plan was to applique solid gold crosses into the negative spaces, but I was desperate to use both trapunto, and bondawebbed gold foil which gives a lovely worn-away, disintigrated effect.



close-ups of finished design:


I am very happy with my finished design.

I think the foiled crosses merge nicely with the gold printing, as if gold leaf has flaked off the surface of the crosses and blown across the design, unifying the foreground, which gives the impression of an ecclesiastic grid-worked partition with a warm, bright, gold iconic light shining from behind.

Although I planned the design very carefully from the outset, it evolved slightly as I progressed, so, for this reason, there are not really any changes I would wish to make.

I feel it is fit for the purpose. It is a simple design showing growth and disintegration. I have used many of the methods of embroidery and decoration explored in the exercises leading up to this chapter - ripple effect and chenille applique, bondaweb and gold foil, and trapunto. I have also included hand printed fabric using my rubber stamp design and completed the project with machine and hand embroidery.

HOWEVER, viewing the design objectively, I feel perhaps that this is too much of a pattern, and should have been more of a composition. Is it too regimented and geometric? I should probably have tried to achieve something more fluid and spontaneous. Some of my samples in earlier exercises were more random, but I still struggle to feel confident about whether an irregular, unconstrained design is aesthetically pleasing. Maybe I wouldn't feel this way if I had pursued the 'crossroads' and the gnarly crossed twigs designs from my original source images in chapter 1, as I think Sian was trying to encourage.

I am slowly working through 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain' and admiring work of other students, such as Catherine Slater, Maren Fischer, Leanne Boughner and Jenny Marty, and also becomming aware of the work of artists such as Kandinsky with his 'shapes and swirls that fly across the canvas'. Hopefully, as I work throughout this course, my work will develop more natural fluidity.