Saturday, 23 June 2012

Machine Embroidery Workshop

Today I held a Machine Embroidery workshop. Some people had done some free machining before but not a great deal. In the morning I used my own machine embroideries based on seascapes as an inspiration for discovering the different marks that can be made with both straight stitch and zig-zag.
Variations were explored in speed and direction:

In the afternoon experiments in form followed the principle that spiral stitching creates peaks from flat fabric. Added to this zigzag stitch over wool yarn gave the opportunity to build in the same way as coil pots or basketry. Some lovely colourful pieces were created and stimulated ideas of further developments into jewellery, bowls or mini hats. It was great fun imagining what might be achieved!
What do you think?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A Weekend with Arran Visual Arts

For two days at the beginning of June I taught a workshop to Arran Visual Arts. What a treat to be invited to this lovely island! Of course the theme had to be landscape and seascape with such lovely views do dip into both on the island and across the water on the mainland.
Photographs were used to find interesting lines, shapes and colour schemes. Surfaces were created on both paper and fabric using crayons, stitch and specialist texture making fabrics. Experiments were made and developments into structural forms were trialed. Fun was had by all, including me.
Here are some of the bits and pieces:

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

'A Body of Work' - first showing

A selection of my work involving the human form starting with a drawing and prints from 1971/72 on Foundation Course at Bolton Art College. These were a development from drawing the life model as she walked round the room - very challenging!
Recent work - a slightly padded panel free-drawn on the sewing machine from lots of pencil and pen drawings of 2 minute poses of the life model. This piece references my stage costume work because the fabric used is 'Nude Net' which is used as a panel in a costume to look as though you can see bare skin.
Made last week - an experiment in construction. Machine embroidered panels, reminiscent of bodice panels from costume making, are seamed together to create a random form.

7 artists: Sue Lancaster, Jennifer Shonk, Jo Owen, Ken Jones, Paul Forster, Sam Dexter and Dionne Swift, are showing their own personal responses to working with the human form. The exhibition continues 11 to 4 each day until Friday 30th March. Further developments with possibly additional artists will be shown at KIAC, Sheffield later in the year.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Students' Work for City & Guilds Embroidery

I have been doing some assessing this afternoon.........
Lots of lovely work has been designed and made by the students since September. The first section that I have been looking at is work based on research into COLOUR. All the students looked at colour theory and how artists and designers have used colour before following their own investigations and experiments using the theme of CONFECTIONARY. Many observations, extractions and abstractions later they all produced an A2 design sheet in mixed media. They all then produced major samples based on a variety of machine and hand embroidery techniques which they combined in order to manipulate their fabrics and extend their previous expectations of stitch. Some of the students coloured their own fabrics before stitching into them.
I put all the work on display in the studio as pieces were finished and it made a fantastic 'collage' of surfaces. These are photos that I took of that display but they look as though they could be designs in themselves. Well done everyone!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

From Spice Fairy to Water Fall

Some progress has been made on my work for the 'Elements' exhibition work destined for the Art Through Textiles exhibition at Rufford at the end of July. I was recently given back a costume that I made for a dancer some years ago and because my aim is to revisit the various elements of my past work and somehow use my costume work in my decorative machine embroidery work the headdress of this costume seemed to be a useful structure.

This structure is made by stitching my made fabric onto wire by using zig zag on the sewing machine and then assembling the flat shapes into box forms. These are then stacked with a wired net layer between each box.

Each box was turned at right angles to the last.

Two thoughts occured to me:
I could turn the boxes in different patterns and if I just moved them slightly then I could create a spiral. This would then fit well with my previous work using shells as a design source.
I would like to work without the wire so that any collapse or distortion of the fabrics would develop the form. This would fit well with the work I have previously done using sea waves as a design source.

My work last year was concerned with drawing moving water with a sewing machine - a series called 'Water Marks'. I decided to paint and stitch artists' canvas with water marks, cut it up and reassemble it into box forms. Each box needs to be slightly smaller than the last in order for them to stack well. I used my 'signature' satin stitched edge on all the pieces to control the fraying as I cut through stitches.

Another element previously used has been net or sheer fabrics free stitched on the machine to create the wavy lines which also distorts the fabric into ripples. This will form the layer between the boxes. Being a softer fabric than the canvas it will drape over the edges and give a downward pull to the structure.

So.....three days work and I now have a stack of nine boxes and four sheer ripples (so far). The stack is now about a metre high.
Here is a sample:

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

'Watermarks' Development

Inspired by the visit to Birmingham's 'Lost in Lace' exhibition and conference last week I have started developing my work based on water. I have been painting long narrow pieces of canvas with acrylic paint. I wanted both sides of the fabric to be coloured so that I can use them to make structures. It was quite tricky to not have the paint soak through or under the canvas! Today I have started to draw on the sewing machine, using straight stitch to makes sweeping lines. The colour scheme so far is in blues and greens but this may develop as I continue to draw. Later I expect to cut these panels up and rejoin the pieces into structures inspired by my previous dance costumes and headdresses.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

What a busy week - and its only Tuesday!

Lots of things have been acheived at the studio and its early in the week as yet! The Embroidery Diploma class on Monday morning were experiencing 3 dimensional felt making in order to add that skill into the mix for designing their 3D functional item project. Everyone went home with a small and colourful vessel! The Embroidery Certificate classes on Monday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon have been about being creative with hooks, eyes, press studs and zips! Some very interesting samples were developed - definitely 'out of the box' thinking! This morning the level 2 Embroidery group covered papers with repeating sponge prints, made lovely textured and colourful cords, produced a variety of creative tassels and shared, developed and sorted designs and plans for their bag project - some really excellent things happening in this class!
Well - that has set the standard for the rest of the week!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Sketchbook Developments with Dionne

Friday 27th January 2012 - Great day spent on 'Sketchbook Developments' with Dionne Swift. 10 of us had a very productive time, nearly filling a whole sketchbook by 4 pm! I followed it up by using the idea of being able to remove and return pages from your sketchbook in the life-drawing session this morning. I used loose pages to make a temporary collage to draw over. I then separated the pages and returned them to the sketchbook - thus having oddments of part drawings to work into or onto or just leave as they are.
Dionne has slotted in another session for this popular workshop day - Saturday 18th February. Get in touch if you are interested.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Getting going on this Blog

Finally I have got going on this Blog! New Year resolutions are starting to have an effect - 2 sessions of life drawing last week and another this Sunday will hopefully feed my creativity for the exhibition planned for the end of March at the studio.(See info at the bottom of the page).
City and Guilds classes have resumed and a new level 1 in Hand Embroidery has begun on Wednesday mornings for the next few weeks. This will be replaced by 'Textile Decoration' 9-12 Wednesdays from 22nd February - a beginners' course for dyeing and printing fabrics.
Several one day workshops are advertised at the moment - see the bottom of the page for details.