Friday, 14 November 2014

Pinch, Fold, Tuck

The starting point
 "Using the oddly shaped calico bean in front of you and a selection of plain cotton fabric scraps you will create a character, the personality of which will be formed by folding, tucking, pinching & wrapping material in place." 

Is that a scream forming...?
These were the instructions given to the members of last week's Sewcial (which just happened to be the last of 2014). The scene was set by referencing the angular, stone features of the Easter Island heads. totem pole carvings and folk costumes from the Congo (Pinterest.com).
It's fair to say that expressions looked a little concerned, some of the samples did look a tad spooky, before the participants reached for the calico & muslin and began their folding experimentation. 
There were an amusing selection of comments along the way such as,  "However I fold this it still looks like my father", as the group settled into the task and their inventiveness gathered steam. 
Fabric was ripped, shredded, Suffolk Puffed and frayed as faces took on characteristics as unique as the costumes which evolved around them. This was such a fun exercise to do resulting in an unexpected and delightful collection of characters. So very well done to all who took part! 
The Sewcial will return next January with a new set of challenges. Dates can be found HERE if you'd like to join in.  
A ripple of folds et voila, a mouth & nose...




The organdy wings are filled with floral fabric to soften the beastly quality of this character
This chap has taken on an emperial quality
Making use of pulled threads & frayed edges


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Pomme

The wind is blowing a gale through the Applewood trees today, leaves are being whipped into a dancing frenzy and the apples remaining on the boughs are fighting a losing battle to stay put. There's no doubting that we're in the throes of Autumn.

The stitched piece you can see here is palm-sized and deliberately so. It was made for a client with impaired vision who wanted a small, tactile piece she could hold in her hand or keep in a pocket. A textural distraction to be drawn to, traced with fingertips, throughout the day. 
Through the process of making, rather than by design, it seemed to absorb the essence of the season and took on the form of an apple.
When squeezed it gives a delicious scrunch- it is filled with rice and has a wool-mix fabric exterior. The addition of rice also gives a pleasing weight when cupped in the hand. It has been embroidered with travelling stitches; Fly, Fern and Running stitch, with French Knots to further emphasise the texture of the piece. It was interesting for once to consider texture from both an internal and external perspective - something to explore again in the future perhaps. 
The quilted leaf provides a softer contrast - a little ear to be stroked. 

A mellow yellow pomme. 




Monday, 22 September 2014

The Politics of Thread

Here you see samplers from last Saturday's workshop at Trumpet Corner Art Studios which was entitled, 'How Does Your Garden Grow'. This floral themed session was devoted largely to embroidery stitch practice. It was influenced by a very British style of handstitched embroidery found on table cloths & handkerchiefs from between the 1930's-1950's where it wouldn't be unsual to find a crinoline lady stitched in a garden of Lazy Daisies. Although perhaps a little twee for our modern taste, the techniques if not the subject matter on these homespun pieces have plenty to inspire us. 

From the 1960's onwards this style of embroidery fell out of favour for a number of reasons. By means of a sweeping explanation, changes in interior design and taste were a factor as post war Britain became more prosperous and the public wanted to buy not make items for their home, but perhaps more importantly was the negative association of embroidery & domesticity at a time when huge changes were being forged in female equality & the workplace. Hand embroidery was seen to represent a period of female 'repression', a passive activity which had no place in modern times. Thus those handembroidered pieces for the home were hidden in drawers, cupboards and attics deemed as being too old fashioned to have on display. 

Today, we have travelled a safe distance in the journey of British feminism to appreciate the craft in such embroidered pieces once more.  We can openly express interest in such activity again as we recognise that the pleasure and self expression gained from creating with needle and thread far exceeds it's former 'domestic use only' reputation. 
So go rescue those table cloths from Grandma's attic and be proud of her artistic endeavours. 

Monday, 15 September 2014

In the Paws of Ursi


In our last post we mentioned that the Wordybob stick was currently being used by one of the larger, wiser Silva Populi - one of the Ursini species who like to dress as bears. Several of you have asked for an introduction to her so now that H.Art fever has calmed down for another year we're finally in a position to do so. Dear Readers let us present Yellow Ursi...

Ursi lives in a large, glass Cadbury's Roses jar with twists of quilted leaves & vines at the neck.  

She has a cape of white linen decorated with handstitched flowers & leaves and at her feet sits a tweedy tree stump. Her mask & hat are made from wool felt which has been embroidered with a rainbow of colour. In her arms she carries the Wordybob stick and if you peer closely into the jar you might just spot a few of the stray words which she hasn't yet picked up... 
Unmasked - how brave of her!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Wordybob Stick

Wordybob Stick
A little while ago we acquired some rather lovely bobbins used in lace making unearthed at a vintage fair. You may remember them? 
On seeing them, a little Silva Populi politely whispered to us that they would be very appreciative of a word swizzle tool and asked if could we make some for them from the bobbins. 
A word swizzle tool, also known as a Wordybob Stick, has a magnetic pull towards lost words so they are the perfect instruments for the Silva Populi to use when gathering stray words from the Enchanted Woodland floor.
After consulting several of the ancient woodland tomes of instruction we uncovered a recipe for making said sticks and here's our first prototype. Future models will no doubt undergo some further modification but for now we're pleased to report that this one is fully functioning and collecting words as it should. It is currently in the paws of a large, yellow Ursini Populi who is using it wisely. 
We will, of course, keep you informed of any upgrades.


Friday, 5 September 2014

A Little Extra for H.Art 2014


For those of you who have been following this year's Group Gathering project you might be interested to know that two of the collars (by Angie Hughes & The Human) will be on display during Herefordshire Art Week. Read more here: http://agroupgathering.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/herefordshire-art-week-2014.html

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

H.Art 2014


It's that time of year again when Herefordshire sprouts big, pink flags and arrows. Yes, it's Herefordshire Art Week or H.Art as it's better known. 
This year we will be part of a group of ten artists exhibiting at Trumpet Corner Art Studios & Tearooms near Ledbury. During the festival, which begins on Saturday, you will find the following artists in residence at Trumpet: Ben Homer, Simon Probyn, Hannika Summer, Elaine Mason (Glass on Glass), Nell Glover, Claire Watson-Staite, Anna Mitchell, Fiona Pringle, Ed Elliott & us! 
We will all be on hand during the week to meet you and those of us who can will be demonstrating what we do too. 

Please do make yourself known if you visit, it's always good to put a face to a name.
     
Click HERE for further details and to download a festival guide

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