Friday, 4 July 2014

Flights of Fancy.

A couple of weeks have gone by and I still haven't told you about our Blue Ginger residency! It's that time of year when everything happens. Exhibitions, holidays, moving house (one of us did) and even the red currants in my garden are jumping up and down saying time to dive into the jelly bag!

We decided this year to have a simple theme-butterflies- and make a brooch. Sitting in the garden, past experience has shown, often involves wind and rain so we can't plan anything too complicated. The main thing is that we enjoy being back together for a few days.

So in the forward planning, some of us made large textile butterflies to decorate the summer house where we are based.

 As soon as we got there we transformed the outside with some colourful paper ones too and laid out a table so visitors could get to work alongside us.

Soon we were hard at work inside the it wasn't a cage to keep us contained. The mesh sides did keep some of the wind out surprisingly!

By lunchtime the first butterflies were on their first flutter!

Then they were off!

A scene of peaceful enjoyment....punctuated by the odd strawberry or ice cream.

Judy's beauty mistook the colourful leaf for a soul mate. This should get the local lepidopterists excited.

I'm going to end with Ann's delightful and succinct summary designed to  inform the folk who missed some or all of the residency!

Raindrops ............................ 0
Sunny days............................5
Visitors................................. a steady trickle
Visitor Quality... ...................excellent,friendly, chatty,interested, interesting,admiring.
Coffee/tea drunk...................lots
Cake and ice cream eaten....too many
Butterfly brooches made.......11 ?
Live butterflies.......................1
Company rating.....................superb
Conversation rating,..... .......high quality,supportive,quiet in moments of stitch concentration.
French knots stitched............ lots and lots.
Friends sorely missed ...........2

Note to The Wednesday Group .....Perhaps we could have a role call of all those brooches when we next meet and see them here soon!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Polish those's stitch camp again!

This week sees us heading for Blue Ginger Summerhouse again for a short residency and what's more...the weather seems set to fair! We've had our fair share of rain and cold and sinking in the mud but I have to say last year surprised us, let me remind you!

A few of us having a lunch break in Blue Ginger gardens. Savoury muffin and salad is a Wednesday Group favourite...that is if we can bear to put our sewing down.

What could be nicer to be together and stitch in such a lovely spot on a summer's day?

We made a surprising discovery that white clover has an amazing scent. It wafted round the gazebo as we worked away.

This year we are using butterflies as our reason... they just seem so summery. On Thursday, most of the group can make it and we are challenging ourselves to make a butterfly brooch.

A few of us are making giant butterflies to decorate the summerhouse and entice folk to come and see what we're up to. May be they will want to stay and make one of their own or at least make a paper one to add to our collection as the week goes on! More blogging soon.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Stitching a kiln view

I have become engrossed with working with glass, and have done little stitching other than the housekeeping variety.  However, I am currently trying to make my first deep piece of fused glass, which needs the glass to be trapped by solid bars to make it stay thick rather than running out all over the kiln shelf to be the six mm thick it always wants to be.

I posted a photograph of the kiln set up on our Facebook page, and got so many positive comments on the appearance that I thought I would make a fabric version.

I worked on some artist's canvas with bondaweb stiffening.  The supports were cut from some curtain bumph stiffened with pva glue that I had left over from the C&G course we all did. The 'glass' seascape was stitched with an embroidery foot.  It is a long time since I worked like this, and as I layered different colours I found that the sound of the machine changed- on the final light coloured layer the needle seemed to be struggling a bit but I just assumed it was due to the build up of stitch.  However, when I removed the work from the machine I found I had accidentally stitched a catalogue to the back of the fabric.  I set about to remove it, although this would have meant restitching that layer.  I then realised that it was a catalogue from a glass shop in Venice and was so appropriate I left it in place.

I framed this in a white box frame which mimics the sidewalls of the kiln.  Not a perfect copy of the kiln, but an amusing idea.   I am still waiting for the kiln to go cold enough to be able to safely remove the glass.  This little project has been useful in keeping me from fretting and obsessing about the temperature falling slowly, steadily and safely in my glass studio.


The next day the kiln was cool, the piece had worked and it even stood up!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Sixteen Shades of Blue.

It was October when we hatched up the idea for this particular project. (Fewer group members than normal met ......and twice as many decisions were made...funny that! ) I'm sure this is the same for every creative group but we are always amazed at the diverse results from the same starting point.We then wondered what would happen if we restricted the starting point even further and used exactly the same materials. So, sixteen shades of blue was born. Everyone was to take a piece of blue fabric and a blue accessory for embellishment to share at the next meeting.

                                          First things first...... eat the cake then clear the decks.

Ginger cake and autumn fruit excellent start to the meeting. Now let's get down to business.                                                                            What have we got?

A sea of blue.

Divide into eight.

Everything sorted.
Oh help, who thought of this idea?

All packed and ready to go.
Don't lose all those little bits!
No cheating!
The Wednesday Group police will check you've used every last one.

I spread mine out when I got home.
Using some of those accessories will be tricky.
(The revenge of those not at the October meeting.)

The rule is that you must use all the materials provided but the let-out clause is that how much you use of each is up to you! Phew! I kept looking at my pile and rearranging the pieces. This is not going to be easy. birds ...jumped into my mind. I'm still slightly obsessed with birds, I know. Yes, blue birds.
I'm going to go with blue birds.

 Then what do you know? Lois, who ran away to play with the artists in St Ives all Autumn, posted a picture of her finished work! Some people had barely got home!

Hopefully, Lois will post her 16 shades of blue here...........she is,as I write, moving house and it's Christmas! She may be a little distracted.........

However, I can give you a verbal preview. The work shows choppy seas around the harbour at St Ives. I did wonder if she had included the press studs. (See last photo.) I am assured that they are part of the flotsam on the beach!

Now, back to the blue birds. I decided to make another book telling a story. I won't give the story line away just yet, but I will show Page 1. Spot the press studs. (No prizes.)

So far I have used six of the sixteen shades of blue...but I'm only on page one. Everyone else is being very cagey about what they are doing. 'It's a mystery' was a phrase being bandied about...which if you're anything like me will interpret as 'I haven't a clue!' Someone else was talking about a useful household object. Another was thinking along the lines of 'feeling blue and may stay under the duvet', but I wasn't sure whether she meant she was cold and staying in bed or she was sewing in bed. We'll have to wait and see.Also I think someone was thinking along the lines of a Japanese garment. This sounds promising. Again the press studs could be tricky!.....and the glass pebble!

Obviously I didn't do too well as a journalist finding the 'info' for this blog so I'll leave you on a cliff hanger. Tune in again to find out who 'dun' what, with what and how the press studs fitted in.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Back to the drawing board.

Another year is well under way at Textiles Alumni Course at South Worcester College. (Two of The Wednesday Group are attending this time.)
Some of you will remember how our tutor suspected that our pencils were gathering dust and sketchbooks were put aside for lighting fires when winter set in. ( picture the unease, the shuffling about and nervous giggles when this was suggested!) However the lady knows us well and ignoring the raised eyebrows and someone asking the time of coffee break, launched us on our first design exercise of the year which turned out to be fun!

We had to pair up with someone we didn't usually work with and one of the pair sat down with pencil poised. The other person, facing the opposite direction, was given an object and had to describe it so that her partner could draw it.Then we swapped places.I have to say that the results were uncannily accurate bearing in mind we didn't have any idea what we were drawing. Apparently this means that we are good communicators........ (which probably means we are better at talking than drawing.)
Sorry, I didn't get any shots of these works- they were whisked away.

By this time our pencils were nicely limbered up and we had to use them in various ways....just as we did when we first started.( Yes and using all the grades of graphite that never usually see the light of day.) I'll let you see my ten minute scribble to break up the prose!

We had to tie our pencils to a metre long cane for the next exercise and draw from afar. You certainly have to pit your wits against it to bring it under control.

Did I say 'control'?
Well, I do need to loosen up a bit, my usual work is too controlled and tidy. I will sneak in a page of my secret sketch book here - to show you what I mean.

Another way of getting rather uncontrollable results was to fold over a piece of paper and on the bottom half  cover it over in chalk. Over the top of the chalk, scribble blocks of wax crayons.

Fold back the other side to cover this and draw on top of it with a biro.

When you open up the folded paper the imprint of the biro shows as coloured lines.

People who had drawn patterns had much more effective  results in this exercise. Maybe with practise you could make this work for you as a design tool but I felt it was a bit of a gimmick.
A suggestion was to advance our embryo designs, we should use use a media that we don't normally use. I settled on collage using paper torn from magazines.

My subject was trying to reflect the ever changing profile of the Malvern Hills.
Oh for my needle and thread!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The party's over but we stitch on!

Our preferred gallery is a wonderfully quirky, little place off an ancient cobbled street in Ledbury.(In deepest Herefordshire.) One approaches it straight off the street through an old wooden door and up a flight of stairs. To make this a little more enticing, we decided to cover the walls in birds as if they were swooping up to glimpse the exhibition themselves.

Well, most of them...a few remembered they had a prior engagement and turned to go. 
As you  have probably gathered by now, the exhibition had a distinctly birdie feel and the birds mingled with the 'serious stuff'....( serious ?)...effortlessly. To add to the general ambiance, we played birdsong quietly throughout. One visitor remarked that even the local birds were joining in!

To add to the open air feel, the exhibition title was put on a signpost, so a few of the birds perched on it obligingly. We had to put Fire bird in a cage though as we didn't want him spreading like wild fire(ha ha) amongst the local bird population and cause a problem like the green parakeets in London!

Little groups of them congregated in corners, putting a smile on visitors faces. All had their own charm even causing a minor disturbance when two ladies fell in love with the same bird. Quite a few of these birdie creations have flown off now to lead a new life where I hope they will continue to generate the same amount of fun. My grand daughter was heartbroken that I should even consider selling mine and apparently is saving up to buy them herself.

At first glance, this corner seems a rather strange collection..with apologies to the two members whose work on the wall I cut off unintentionally. This all came about after a visitor to one of our previous exhibitions donated a suitcase of bits and pieces (later known as the suitcase of treasure.) We had a lovely afternoon diving in and choosing the bits that caught our eye.Then someone came up with the idea that we should make something using just those bits  to test our ingenuity....and we ended up with this collection which is quite a departure from our usual work.The patchwork cushion at the back was not for sale but had there been twelve, they would have all sold.

This project caused the most angst ....with the result that some are still W.I.P. We started with a photo of the bridge over the Severn at Worcester and made of it what we would! Yes, a couple of us managed to include birds too...though we didn't get any brownie points for this. The green work on the table is a contribution in glass inspired by the same photo...that is the 'so forth' bit... the rest of course the 'sew on'. (This explains the title of our exhibition.We included work in other media by members of our group.)

I haven't shown you all the work, just bits that maybe haven't starred before.It was a fantastic week and we have a book full of lovely comments about people leaving feeling inspired The one I liked best was from a lady who could no longer sew but spent ages looking round. She wrote that she hoped everyone would take the time to look properly !
 Our college tutor (that was) managed to get to see it this time and declared us to be professional with work of a diverse and high glad we didn't let her down. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Sew On and So Forth

Two years have gone swiftly and it is time for another exhibition - we wonder why we agree to do these as the day approaches for hanging a new show, but by the end of day one we can see how amazing our work looks presented together.

The Weavers Gallery in Ledbury is a quirky space, and it can be a challenge to position things well.  This year a flight of birds are scattered around, perching on beams and in amongst other exhibits.  We started making these little birds at our Summerhouse at Blue Ginger Gallery, and have continued making them since. Some of them needed encouragement to stay in their new perches.

getting birds to perch

There were lots of bags of materials scattered around as the display was organised, forming impromptu sculptures wherever we looked.

vivid sundries

taking a rest
 We followed completion of the hang with an excellent meal at the The Talbot Hotel, where two hours of laughter renenergised the tired crew.