Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Early Bird Meets the Jar Dweller

Waiting for a new resident
The early bird catches the worm, or, in this instance, get's themself a place on this forthcoming workshop...
This Summer Blue Ginger Gallery, near Malvern in Worcestershire, will be holding a 'make-fest'; access to 10 days of creative workshops in the Gallery's garden marquee being tutored by artists from across the Midlands. As part of this we will be running a special one-off workshop involving textiles, found objects & handstitch to create a small, jam-jar dwelling creature, 'Woodland Creatures in a Jar', based on our Silva Populi tribe. 
There will only be EIGHT places available so we're giving you warning now before the details go onto the Gallery's website.
Date: Sunday 5th July 2015, 10am - 4pm
Cost: £50 per person - materials included (but please bring along any small treasures, fabric scraps, feathers, shells etc, to make your character uniquely yours).
Please email: kathleen@murgatroydandbean.co.uk to book. Payment will be required once your place is confirmed.




Monday, 12 January 2015

Tie Politics

The 2015 workshop season was kicked off last Friday, 9th January, with a Sewcial at Trumpet Corner Art Studios & Tearoom. As regular readers will recall, these are sessions where the participating stitchers turn up not knowing what they'll be asked to do. 2015 is a general election year in the UK, and as you rarely see a male politician without a tie when they're 'on duty', the humble tie was the object of our focus.

Certainly in the West, ties are traditionally a male item of clothing, often worn with a suit. This combination is a popular uniform for those in positions of authority or power such as business & politics, or those who wish to give a sober impression or show respect. It's interesting to note that as opportunities began to emerge in the late nineteenth century for women in education, employment and their legal rights to land & property (although not yet the vote), Edwardian women's fashion adopted a more tailored look which included tie wearing reflecting new responsibilites and the desire to fight for more. 
With the tie having such a strong male association, the workshop members were tasked with 'feminising the masculine'; from their female perspective, consider a message or impression they'd like to portray using a tie and embroidery (traditionally upheld as a female activity...). 

Each person was given a vintage, woven wool tie and carte blanche to chop, stitch & transform it. Although free to cut & reform the ties into less recognisable tie shapes, all of the group members decided to stick with the original form and transform the surface instead, thus keeping them as wearable pieces. Several of the stitchers carefully split the back seam of the tie so that it could be laid flat ('spatchcocked') in a hoop for easier sewing.
Here's where their thinking (& stitching) led them... 

 The piece being created above depicts a male politician in a suit jacket & tutu (complete with knobbley knees on show). Taking inspiration from the character ties popular in the 1990's, the stitcher imagined a politican wearing this tie when canvassing, perhaps taking the sting out of political pomposity.
 

This tie with it's bold & colourful stitches offers words of warning, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions". The Suffrage colours of purple (amethyst) & green (peridot) were deliberately choosen to drive the message home.  

'Loosen the Noose' accompanied by a strangulation of vines...
"Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see".  Some sage advice for life for a teenage nephew couched in perle thread & embroidery floss. 
Some sterling results, now we will wait to see who's going to be brave enough to wear them! 

If you'd like to join in the next handstitch challenge it will take place on Friday 13th February, 10am-1pm, at Trumpet Corner Art Studios & Tearoom. More details HERE


Friday, 2 January 2015

A Shiny New Year

Happy New Year Fraingels
Although there's a little more plotting to do, plans for 2015 are coming together nicely. We will kick off with the first workshop of 2015 on Friday 9th January: The Sewcial at Trumpet Corner Arts Studios & Tearoom (places available). Further news of exhibitions, fairs & new workshops will follow shortly. 

A bright, shiny New Year - use it wisely folks & may all good things come your way! 


Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas Wishes



 Thank you for following our adventures - there will be new tales to unfold in 2015

Monday, 22 December 2014

Winter Blackbirds


Here you see a recently made commission. The bird will be given to someone who is regularly visited by a curious blackbird who comes in search of crumbs. By strange coincidence, since making this piece we have been visited every day by a male blackbird who has a distinctive black beak. He comes to peer in the workshop window & has been polishing off the red berries on the pyracanthus bush outside.  
The handstitched bird, made from black wool felt, is a little unusual for us in that we rarely work in black or white, prefering a more colourful palette (you may have noticed!). Dense, black felt is not very kind on the eyes on these dark Wintery days so we were limited to working on the piece during daylight only, companionably accompanied by Black Beak. However, it's always interesting to work outside your usual practice and we really enjoyed making this chap, who stands at around 12cm tall. 
This year's commissions have now been completed & delivered but there are still a few Christmas presents left to finish so we will be stitching on for a few days yet...

Monday, 8 December 2014

Tiger Feet

We were given the most super surprise during last Saturday's workshop at Trumpet Corner. The assembled group, who had met before on other workshops, were each presented with a tiny pair of wooden boots by one of our regular stitchers. These weren't just any boots but boots which had been handcrafted (by a very clever spouse) to be a perfect fit for the Murgatroyd & Bean felt Lions, Tigers, Bears & Foxes! Cue cooing and delight all round.
A HUGE thank you to Mr D who didn't give up the quest until he had perfected a boot of the correct size and proportion to allow the felt creatures to stand up & look dandy in their new footwear.
We were tickled pink (with white polka dots)!
   

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Yuletide Garland

It's the last handstitch workshop of the year at Trumpet Corner this Saturday (6th December) so it is only fitting that it should be a seasonal one. We will be making Yuletide Pixie Garlands, garnished with baubles, poinsettia and perhaps a slice of Christmas cake too. 
There are two places remaining so please jingle your bells if you'd like to take part! 
kathleen@murgatroydandbean.co.uk

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