Tuesday, 25 September 2007

A productive day

On Sunday, hubs was busy writing a report for work so, in between washing, ironing and cooking, I had some time to play. In our embroidery group we are looking at rust and gold and I started by exploring the idea of rust and finding relevant photos.

I looked at the meaning of rust and poems with the word rust in them. I came across themes of erosion, deterioration, decay and everything started to get a bit melancholic,

But I then came across a photo I had taken on holiday of the paint peeling on the side of a boat. There was nothing melancholic about this decay, the colours were absolutely stunning.

I came across too a poem referring to the rusty colours of autumn which helped to cheer me up further and took me to photos I took last autumn when out walking the dog. Last year was our first autumn of living in the country and nature shouted out to me wherever I went.

I went to add some stitching to my book and I remembered last year being told not to add the “craft” to the “design book” – so threads and fabrics were not allowed, BUT, guess what, I'm not doing C&G anymore and I can add just what I like to my books. What a perfectly liberating thought!

Like C&G Diploma, however, we have to choose a theme for our work. I have more or less decided on churches. Z. got me started on Friday with a spider diagram of ideas and I developed that further in my pristine new sketch book, and looked at various definitions of related words.

A very productive day, I thought.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Firstly, thank you and apologies too to all the people that have left comments for me since I started blogging. I have only just found them!
I can't believe I have been back from France a week now. Came back with a stinking cold, had migraine for three days, and work has been absolutely manic but I am beginning to feel more like myself now.

I had a great holiday and if I tell you I put on 5 lbs in six days you will get an idea of how I spent, at least, some of the time.

The food was magnificent. Claude and Val were great hosts. I did try mussels for the first time, which were delicious. I also tried oysters for the first time but only the ones cooked in garlic butter. I gave the live ones a miss. Having been told that the way to check they were Okay was to push one edge and if it moved it was alright to eat, I thought I could live without them.

I learnt a lot about my camera whilst away from the others on the course and tried various techniques out including cheats silk paper, melting Sizaflor and layering painted Bondaweb to give rusted effect. I also tried combining hand and machine stitching, something I had never thought of before. Here are a few pics of our work.

Wednesday, our embroidery group met for the first time. Under Gina's guidance we explored rust dyeing using wirewool, using Transfoil onto fabric and machine embroidered gold work. Here are two of my pieces of rust dyed fabric. I love the marks.

Apparently, the rust dyeing looks really good on orange fabric, so have just dyed a piece orange. I will also use that for this month's challenge, which is to create an ATC (or several) using the opposite of our favourite colour on the colour wheel. Mine is blue, so I have to work in orange.

I had such a fantastsic and creative time on Wednesday. I felt very liberated not having the City & Guilds pressure. Couldn't sleep this morning, so I was up at 4 a.m. sorting through photos of rust. My head is buzzing with ideas.
I said it had been a busy week. Yesterday I met up with my friend Z and we went to the preview of the new Couture exhibition at the V&A. If you have ever made clothes yourself, or just love the look of tailored items, frocks and the classic clothes from the 50s and 60s, this is exhibition for you. "The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947 - 1957 . Throughout the exhibition there is great emphasis on textiles and the use of embroidery. We also went to the lecture given by the curator which, although not as long as we expected, did give a wonderful insight into the exhibition.
I bought myself a diary there for next year. Each page has wonderful photos and drawings from the exhibition. This is one of my favourite pages;

The exhibition also brought back very fond memories of my mum to me. She used to do a lot of dressmaking, and taught me too. I remember spending ages with her pouring over pattern books and then spending a day in the fabric department in John Lewis in Oxford Street selecting the materials. Those were the days when John Lewis had a decent fabric department!

Z.also gave me this wonderful piece of altered art she had made. Isn't it gorgeous.

I think its going to become a bookmark for my bedside reading book. Its just crying out to be used and admired.

What a long post. Note to myself: Must write more frequently!

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Village Show

Today was the Village Show and it was my only second time of entering, having moved here 18 months ago.

I was really delighted with the results: I won two First prizes and two Seconds:

So this - a collection of hand and machine embroidered ATCs

and this - a shoulder bag made from hand dyed fabric, decorated with applique and hand made buttons

and this - a handmade book

and this - chalk on paper

means that I won this:

The Dawson Trophy for the most points in the Handicraft section.

I was reliably informed by my next door neighbour that her husband had won it last year, so I can see some friendly neighbourly rivalry going on next year!

This amazing cushion won the Embroidery cup

but my personal favourites of all the 410 entries were these

Aren't they absolutely gorgeous.

Tomorrow I am off to http://www.gitesvendee.com/gitesvendee_index.htm in France with my City & Guilds group and our tutor for a week's embroidery course entitled Sea Themes with Val Holmes. I am really looking forward to it. Hope to have lots of photos to show you next time.