Thursday, 19 February 2015

February catch up

After two glorious days we are back to rain again today but then I'm not feeling guilty about being in the garden to continue with the tidying up that should have happened back in the Autumn. I'm very much a fine weather gardener so its no problem being outside when the sun shines but then there's the attraction of an indigo vat or maybe a little bucket dyeing!I'm so easily side tracked!
At present there are buckets of dye sitting in my utility room
with fabrics to over dye that have been discharged with formusol. I am building a collection of fabrics for a new piece of work based on the vaulted ceiling of the Hall at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford. 
The colours are based on the stained glass windows I posted about here.
I have also spent time working on a textile book inspired by my recent trip to Vancouver. 
Having visited the Emily Carr exhibition at Vancouver Art Gallery and being especially inspired by how she drew and painted trees I wanted to experiment with my own designs. I was pleased with how these sketches worked and had them made into Thermofax screens. Here you see a double page spread of one of my fabric signatures for my book.
On this page I have started stitching. This is going to be an ongoing project but as it is small and portable it will be travelling with me over the next few weeks. I will keep you updated of its progress.
If you are unfamiliar with Emily Carr's work, this is Big Raven, painted in 1931 and
Forest:British Columbia painted at about the same time. She was very much inspired by the mountains and forests of her surrounding area and having walked through forest areas I can begin to understand the depth and intensity of some of her paintings. For me each section resembles draped fabrics, not dissimilar to the trees swathed in lichen I posted here.
I also wanted to share with you a few images of Bang, the installation by Ai WeiWei which was also at Vancouver Art Gallery as part of the exhibition Unscrolled: Reframing Tradition in Chinese Contemporary Art which is on until 6 April 2015.
This installation comprised of 886 three legged antique stools and replicas from the Qing dynasty (1644 - 1912). These stools were often handed down through generations and could be found in nearly every Chinese home until the 1960's when plastic took over! They are arranged as an  expansive rhizomatic structure that suggests directions in motion with no beginning or end. Ai WeiWei suggests that any one stool can be interpreted as symbolic of an individual in relationship to the rapidly developing and complex structures of contemporary society.
The reflections of the stools on the walls of the gallery was almost as exciting as walking through the arches and tunnels constructed by them.
Back down to earth again now and off to rinse those fabrics. I will show you how they turned out next time.
Thanks for visiting


Thursday, 29 January 2015

All the C's

I'm not sure what happened to all of my good intentions at the beginning of January but here we are with only two days left. I have had a busy month which included a week in Canada visiting my good friend Catherine Nicholls in Vancouver so I suppose once the jet lag is added on it's not surprising that I haven't found time to blog.
Before I left for Canada I finished Coffee and Cakes and as promised here are some images.

I decided to free motion quilt the names of the group members into the background around the cups and as you can see this has created a lovely texture. This is one of my favourite ways of quilting backgrounds.
I also completed the hand quilting on my Indian block printed quilt so all that is needed now is a binding. I will post images when it is bound.
My week in Canada was wonderful. I haven't visited at this time of the year before so it was an amazing experience to see the rain forest draped in lichen.

There was also an abundance of fungi
A fairy staircase maybe?
or maybe umbrellas?
Some were not quite so attractive!
As well as admiring the vegetation we went on several trips including a visit to Vancouver Art Gallery to see the Emily Carr and Landon Mackenzie exhibition: Wood Chopper and the Monkey. We also discovered an amazing installation by Ai WeiWei but more about both of these in my next post.
I hope your January has been as exciting as mine! Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year!

Just squeezing in a last blog for 2014. I hope you have all had a very merry Christmas and are preparing for a happy and creative 2015.
Our Christmas was spent with the family, eating, drinking and enjoying grandchildren opening and playing with their presents.
Isla loved her doll's house.
Isn't Lego wonderful!
And there's always time for family photos!
There's also been time for quilting over the festive period  and I have spent many hours hand quilting my Indian block printed patchwork. My aim was to complete it by mid January and I'm pleased to say I'm on target!
I have also spent time machine quilting this piece which is for a group exhibition next June.
This is a detail of 'Coffee and Cakes' made from a selection of fabrics provided by members of GOGs (The Groomery Old Girls). This was the first City & Guilds patchwork and quilting group that I taught at The Groomery in Droitwich back in the 1990's. We still all meet regularly and work on group projects. Our latest theme relies on a selection of blue, red and teal coloured fabrics provided by each of the thirteen members of the group. The only prerequisite for the challenge is for there to be twenty 'somethings' included in the design. I decided on thirteen cups and twenty cup cakes - yes I realise that there will be a squabble over the cup cakes! I will post a photograph of the completed wallhanging. I will be teaching a workshop based on this idea at Coles Sewing Centre in Nottingham in April.
We have taken advantage of the frosty weather and the beautiful blue skies over the last few days and one of our walks took us over the Malvern Hills.
The fabulous weather attracted quite a few families and one or two more adventurous types!
This person took quite a while to take off but eventually they sailed over the edge of the hill.
I must admit, rather them than me!
Maybe after tonight's celebrations we should be off for another walk in the morning.
As you can see I have also been busy in the kitchen. This is one of the puddings, a cranberry meringue roulade, for this evening's celebrations with the neighbours - our turn to host so I must now finish the preparations and wish you all a very happy, healthy and creative 2015.
I would also like to thank all of you who have taken the time to read my ramblings over the last year.

See you next year!

Edwina x

Monday, 15 December 2014

It must be nearly Christmas!

You know it must be nearly Christmas when you see reindeer in the city centre!
They were obviously reserving their energy for the busy night ahead.
We visited Worcester Cathedral over the weekend to see the Festival of Christmas Trees in the cloisters. Many local schools, organisations and shops had decorated trees which were then arranged throughout the cloisters.
There were traditional trees, trees made from hops, glass, bamboo, vegetables, blocks of wood and fabric, to name but a few!

Apologies for the poor photography but what a fun way to raise money for local charities.
Back home we decorated a simple wreath with chillies, well it makes a change from the traditional holly berries doesn't it?
One benefit of long dark evenings is that there is time to hand quilt while catching up with the many TV programmes we have recorded.
I pieced together a collection of beautiful Indian block printed and Ikat woven fabrics a while ago and I am now enjoying the meditative process of hand quilting them with a selection of perle threads. I chose wool wadding and a backing of some appropriately coloured Oakshott fabrics and this combination is a dream to quilt.
Front pieced and ready to be tacked.
Backing fabrics pieced.
As the fabric designs are repeated across the quilt I decided to quilt each fabric design with a different pattern which I find keeps me interested as I'm not very good with repeating the same thing over and over again! I am challenging myself to quilt at least one fabric block each day so I should be finished by mid this space!
I hope all of your Christmas preparations are going to plan.
Thanks for visiting.


Friday, 5 December 2014

Dyeing fun!

Over the last couple of weeks my students have played ( or should I say experimented) with family dyeing. It is a method I was shown by Leslie Morgan of Committed to Cloth when I was on a course at the Masseria della Zingara last year which I wrote about here.
Once the pots were labelled and set out and the two control dye colours selected, the fun began using a credit card to scrape the dye into sketchbooks and on to fabric to record the results.
Helen started with golden yellow and scarlet dyes and then added first a little blue and then a little lemon yellow to produce these lovely colours on the right.
Annette used indigo and golden yellow as her control dyes scraping them first into her sketchbook and then on to fabric. She then changed the proportion of the dye mix to produce the mixes on the right.
She then painted the thickened dyes onto a printing block to sample her range of colours on to cloth.
Judith began with rust brown and royal blue on the right and then experimented by adding dark brown (top left), then magenta (middle left) and finally a little more dark brown to produce this range of colours.
She then scraped this rather gorgeous piece of fabric with the mixed colours.
Sue used her credit card creatively to make these lovely marks using her mixed dyes which started with black and magenta and then a little royal blue.
 Meanwhile Ann was using some Thermofax screens to print these lovely crocheted doily patterns. The cloth will be used as a background for appliqué.
I have been busy stitching the scroll that I began a few weeks ago. I'm pleased with the result and really enjoyed the process. It was fun to get out the bead box and apply some beads.

This is a great way of using the scraps of fabric, threads etc left over from a larger project and would make a lovely gift for someone - maybe for Christmas!
I hope all of your Christmas preparations are well underway - that reminds me, I must feed the Christmas cake!
Thank you for visiting.

Edwina x

Sunday, 16 November 2014

A new arrival

It's a been a busy and productive week with the best possible results. On Tuesday 11th November Reuben, my fourth grandchild was born, a brother for a very excited Isla!
As you can see at 24 hours old, he is a bonny baby weighing in at 8lb 7oz. I can't wait for my next cuddle!
Of course Reuben had to have a play mat and I really enjoyed doing some 'proper' patchwork to make this for him.
It was fun exploring different arrangements using equilateral triangles and I was pleased with the final decision to use the red fabrics at the top and the bottom of the piece and the binding.
As I was otherwise engaged on Tuesday Ineke took over the teaching of my weekly Textile Inspirations class which is held at Littleheath Barn. During the previous session Ineke had been working on a scroll and as everyone was keen to use their machine embroidery samples produced this term this seemed like a brilliant idea to incorporate them.
base fabric

top fabrics

I have sorted through some of my fabrics and samples, added a few screen printed sections and am now ready to compose and stitch.

base fabric
a possible layout
I added to my collection of Namolio linen threads this week - let's call it an early Christmas present!
I think some of these will work beautifully once I start stitching my scroll.
I'll keep you posted and thanks for visiting my blog.

Edwina x