Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Frayed - an extraordinary textile exhibition

Yesterday I visited a textile exhibition in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.  I didn't know what to expect as I hadn't read any "blurb", in fact, from the title, "Frayed" I suppose I was expecting some modern textile art pieces!
The exhibition is in the Time and Tide Museum, an amazing building that, in Victorian times, was a herring curing works.  All the textiles on display had been thoroughly researched and so I photographed the information boards.  I hope you can read them.  There were also files of additional information available to read, if the museum/curator had published a book I think they would have sold many copies.
All the textiles were related to lives damaged in some way, through bereavement, poverty, criminality, mental illness...  I think we all know how therapeutic stitching and working with textiles can be, this exhibition reinforced that it has always been so.
Sorry that I have no close-up of the patchwork and broderie perse in these bed hangings, I set an alarm off just getting this photograph!
I did take a picture of the space above the bed in the exhibition though, this is where the fish would have been hanging to cure.
Hanging alongside each other were contemporary pieces by prisoners in the Fine Cell Work scheme and a quilt made by the female inmates of Newgate Prison in 1817 under the direction of Elizabeth Fry.
The exhibition was rather emotionally draining and so I shall spread it over a couple of posts and finish for today with this sampler in cross stitch:
The exhibition continues until March 2014, I urge you to see it if you are in Norfolk and also recommend the curator's blog for lots more information.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Monday, 21 October 2013

WIP - Wall In Progress

A short post from me today in wild, wet and windy Lincolnshire.
Firstly, I had a great workshop with Angela Daymond on Saturday, learning how to use the iPad for design. Lots of wonderful techniques and ideas. 
I'll be doing more of that so "watch this space"!
Secondly, today is definitely a stay in and sew today. I've been sitting in front of a lovely log fire and cutting up bits of fabric so that I can stitch them all together again. This is what I've done so far...
Lots to be done on this piece!!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Bad Weather = Lots of Stitching

Today it is cold, windy and wet;  an ideal day for staying in and stitching.  I was very good and helped DH tidying the utility room this morning (we still have a lot to do, this is the room that is the place to dump everything that hasn't got a proper home in our house) so this afternoon I escaped to my sewing room.  DH has also given up on the sorting and tidying.  He "discovered" his guitars and also his gramophone player during the tidy up and so I can hear ancient ditties floating up the stairs, getting slower and slower as the gramophone runs down!  Technology eh?
Back to the stitching.  I've prepped three more pages for my Hadrian's Wall book.  One is a simple Bondaweb landscape that needs some quilting, another is the same landscape but created with oil pastels, ditto the stitching, and, finally, I've gathered fabrics and thread together for a texture/shades of the Fells piece.  I'll work on the handstitching on Tuesday at Country Roads Quilters.
I also made an "infinity scarf".  This is a pattern I admired on quilting friend, Fenella, a few months ago and I have finally created my own.
I wouldn't suggest using chiffon as I did, it was a bit of a nightmare to keep under control, but I like the drape of it and the contrast of both the styles and textures of the fabric I chose.  Since taking the photograph I have top stitched the scarf as I thought the edges looked rather too soft when I saw the picture. I was given the pink/indigo print by lovely Carin, in Japan and bought the pink chiffon from Images of Egypt at the Springfields Quilt Show.  Of course it is a complete Japanese fashion faux pas to be wearing cherry blossoms in Autumn but they brightened my day so I hope I'm forgiven!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

A Project

Many years ago DD bought me a lovely vanity case which did great service until finally giving up the ghost.  I replaced it with a "free" cosmetics case that came as part of a set from The Body Shop and which has caused frustration ever since as it is not rigid and does not close properly, simply having overlapping flaps on top.
I decided to buy a new, proper, vanity case.  Big problem, I just couldn't find one, "There's no call for them".  I decided it would have to be vintage and searched all the usual suspects, finally finding what looked like an ideal purchase on Etsy, a Samsonite case at £22.  The only problem, it was in America and postage would be £38, hmm.
Last week DH and I decided to go on a jolly to a local antiques centre and I spied this beauty:
It's a good make, Antler, in good condition and doesn't have any "aroma" of past use.  It even has the key for the lock. The case was marked at £12 and I cheekily asked if that was the best price, and got a discount to £11.  Happy bunny.
So, the project I mentioned last week is to "up cycle" my vanity case.  At that price I don't feel obliged to retain the original lining (although it is in good condition, with just the glue becoming brittle and discoloured and the ruching needing re-sticking)
and I am auditioning fabrics to line the case.  I'm considering using Lamifix that I saw demonstrated at FoQ by Empress Mills.   I'll share my progress.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A Quick Make for Sam

This is not the project I mentioned yesterday but a quick post about something I have finally got around to doing.
When I went to Japan last year I bought some "ready quilted" fabric featuring Anpan Man with the intention of using it to make something for Sam. When he got his iPad I decided a carrying bag would be good use of the fabric. Today I made it. I think I have been having a Japanese day, salmon for lunch and watching NHK World which Saz can receive on her television. As well as the news I have enjoyed programmes about Autumn in Tohuku and a programme about artisans using tatami in new and innovative ways.
I have been reading one of the new books I mentioned a few days ago, 'Colour - a journey' by Victoria Alexander. I haven't got to the chapters on individual colours but the introduction, about colour itself, is thought provoking:
"Colour affects us emotionally and informs us intellectually."
Today it has been raining all day so we won't be going to the park this afternoon, it's as well we had fun there yesterday.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Progress and Purchases

Here's a progress report on my Northumberland/Hadrian's Wall textile book. I think this page is finished (who knows for sure?) and it was inspired by the flowers we saw, predominantly heather and rosebay willow herb. I had a very relaxing time doing all the stitching on a piece of dyed linen (from Images of Egypt at FoQ).

The next page isn't finished, it will have more stitching and some words. I've never got on very well with transferring photographs to fabric, the surface/texture is always disappointing, but I had to include my little Roman soldier in the book :-) The background is fabric weaving, not pieced.
Today I went for a mooch and happened upon this book for the bargain price of £3. I did a weekend workshop with the author, Richard Box, many moons ago and hesitated to buy the book as it was expensive so I'm extra pleased with buying it today.  Sorry this photo is sideways (still getting to grips with posting from my iPhone).
I am going to save my other bargain for my next post, suffice to say it is a "project" and will need some thought. Now I must away, Sam will be home from school very soon and I promised to take him to the playground. It's such fun being a Nanny :-)