Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Cotton Reel Kate

Coming up this Saturday. Two places still available...

'Cotton Reel Kate'  
Saturday 18th April 2015
Learn how to make a small, decorative doll based on a cotton reel, creating clothes and a personality for her using fabric scraps, haberdashery and handstitch. Cotton Reel Kate really doesn't mind having pins stuck into her hair so she would also make a charming pincushion.
10am-1pm £25 per person
Venue: Trumpet Corner Art Studios & Tea Room
Trumpet Crossroads nr Ledbury, Herefordshire, HR8 2RA

Friday, 10 April 2015

The Sewcial - Pinned

'Voids' sample detail by Kathleen Murphy
For those who come along to The Sewcial we've created a Pinterest board just for you (although it's available for everyone to take a peek!). In it's infancy at the moment, the board will be filled with inspirational pictures on topics we've discussed or experimented with during the workshops. The board will be updated following The Sewcial each month. We hope it proves to be useful.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Daphne's Glove

Dates for your diary! 

In addition to all things Murgatroyd & Bean, we're also involved in the organisation and curation of 'A Group Gathering' which is a mechanism for bringing artists together to work on collaborative projects with a textile bent. Each year the project challenge and the group of artists involved changes.
The 2015 project, known as 'Daphne's Glove', will come together in an exhibition this Autumn. This year each participating artist was given a single, pale glove and some Cash's name tapes bearing the stitched words 'Daphne Bryant', and thereby tasked with responding creatively to the given materials. The project artists are currently working towards finishing their pieces in time for the 30th April deadline. 
To read more about the project and to see what sort of progress the artists have been making, please pop over to the website here:

Clock's a tickin' and we've got a glove piece to finish...

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Persian Pickles

Boteh, Persian pickles, Welsh pears or just plain paisley, we do love this teardrop shape whatever you care to call it. Here you can see we've used the shape as the base for stitch doodling onto felt. The combination of organic curves, hand embroidery and joyful colours have now been turned into jolly pieces of wearable decoration. 
We will have a selection of these 'Persian Pickle' brooches for sale in May (amongst other things) when we take part in the Selvedge Spring Fair in Stroud.  The fair will take place on Saturday 16th May 2015 at the Subscription Rooms in central Stroud, a five minute walk from the station. Tickets are available in advance from the Selvedge magazine website (for those who like to be organised), or you can buy them on the day. For anyone interested in textiles, a visit to Stroud that weekend is an absolute must as the International Textile Festival will also be in full swing. As well as the Selvedge Fair there will be events, exhibitions and all sorts of interesting things going on in shop windows throughout the town. Take a closer look HERE 
You wouldn't want to miss out on all that would you?  

Sunday, 22 March 2015

A Peachy Avocado

Our Silva Populi creatures are usually made from naturally dyed fabric which we dye ourselves. After seeing some beautiful dusky pink dye results from avocado skins at the hands of Ruth Singer, we decided to have a go at making our own for the plumage of the next family of Populi. 
 After a week or so of asking family & friends to save their skins & pits, we finally had enough plant matter to make our first batch of avocado dye (resulting from 7 large & 2 small avocados). After removing any last traces of pulp, the avocado skins were added to cold water & brought to the boil. 
Silk, wool & cotton fabrics ready for the dye pot
While the skins & pits were simmering away, the fabric to be dyed was given a good soak in warm water. Pre-soaking makes the fabric more willing to take up the dye and helps to give an even spread of colour.  A collection of natural fibre fabrics had been picked for dying - half of which had been mordanted using alum some time ago. Natural fibre fabrics such as cotton, wool & silk are more ready to absorb natural dyes than manmade fabrics are. However, both the dye and the fabric can be made even more amenable to this process by mordanting it first. Here's a definition from http://www.wildcolours.co.uk about what a mordant is: 
"A mordant is a chemical binding agent that adheres well to both the fibres and the dye. The word comes from the Latin mordere, which means to bite."

Within 15-20 minutes of boiling the skins the water began to show some colour
The skins were boiled for over an hour before the pre-soaked fabric was added to the dye pot and allowed to boil for a further 70 minutes. The great thing about this pot of dye was that it didn't smell too badly - unlike onion skin dye! Bleugh!
Both the fabric and avocado matter were left to cool in the pot overnight making sure, as far as possible, that all of the fabric was covered by the dye water.
The following morning the fabric was rinsed twice in cold water before being allowed to dry outdoors. It was interesting to note that the mordanted and non-mordanted fabrics achieved very similar results, however, over time the non-mordanted fabric may prove to be less colourfast. Here are the results...
A pale peachy-pink colour was achieved on a vintage hankie & child's vest
The colour range spans from peachy pink to pale toffee - like vintage silk stockings. Beautiful muted tones.
We're really pleased with the results. Definitely worth trying again. Now to get on with some making...

Saturday, 14 March 2015

The Manifestation of Nothingness

Sample by Kathleen Murphy

In preparation for a forthcoming Summer exhibition we've been exploring an ongoing interest in the imperfections one finds in domestic textiles - frays, marks & mothholes. In particular, a notion that a hole or rent in fabric is in fact a void presenting further design possibilities. 
A void can be described in many ways; as an empty space, blankness, a vacuum, a cavity, an abyss, nothingess. It's definition and meaning has caused much debate in both science, religion and as the basis for fictional writing. In terms of it's practical use in textiles, it can be a powerful space, for example, a point of calm on an otherwise busy surface or an area of concentrated focus on a blank canvas.
Prepare your void...
Pondering these thoughts, the theme for this month's Sewcial followed suit - a chance to explore stains & holes as design considerations on small sample pieces. To get the creative juices flowing, yesterday's workshop began by looking at the work of contemporary artists who have made use of imperfection, stains & holes in their stitched work, such as Anne Wilson, Nava Lubelski and Elvis Robertson. Along the way we touched upon embroidery techniques such as drawn thread work, needleweaving, darning and Twisted Blanket stitch as methods to create or fill voids and enhance imperfections. Each student was given a piece of stained calico as a basis for their sampling. 
The following photo's will give you an idea of their exploration. 
We'll keep you posted about ours!
Picot stitch variation in variegated thread

Red wine rings
Glass stain
Stains trapped in opaque layers
Vibrant base layer...
...With top layer of stitched sheer fabric added

An abundance of seed stitch enhanced by the opacity of the muslin

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