Sunday, 31 July 2011

It's Smocking!

So this week I have cleared three orders off the books, completed the African Fly Swatter

and spent some time on on Module 5.

Sadly I am a week behind on the sketchbook and I've eaten the pear!

English Smocking Samples

I continued to add to the sample role of pleats, tucks and gathers required for Chapter 6.

Next week I am at the Royal School of Needlework on a Goldwork course.

It's a training week as I hope to incorporate everything I learn into new designs for my business.

I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

African Raffia Weaving Completed

Just finished sewing together the sides of the woven strips to create a triangular stick.

This is my interpretation of an African Fly Swatter

Here is a Maasai Beaded Fly Swatter

So you can see where I was coming from design wise!

And here are views of each of the three sides

Thanks once again to Mary Sleigh for introducing me to the delights of African textiles.

I will now put an end to this line of design work for the time being as I have priorities in other areas, especially the C & G course work, BUT now I have found them I doubt that the methods, stitches and design work of the African textiles will be too far away.

Friday, 22 July 2011


I never grew up in a dance environment, I only had Pan's People, Legs and Co. and the rather raunchy ones off The Kenny Everett Show to influence me. The only ballet I had seen was while in Sixth form, the one that most children are introduced to ballet with - The Nutcracker. Even when my daughter was of an age to attend dance classes she showed no interest and had gymnastics and swimming lessons instead. As a child I did not miss it, I remember saying to myself that it didn't matter that I didn't appreciate or understand ballet as I would when I got older. What a sensible child I was because last night I got it!

I experience something amazing, whether it's because my daughter had been at a workshop at the ENO, Coliseum all week and had been telling me about the goings on, or maybe it was the quick tour behind the scenes before the performance. It could have been Bizet's music, the costumes, the set or the Roland Petit choreography, all where wonderful... here's to being a grown up and finally understand what the hell is going on!

Raffia Weaving update

Here is the third panel with some embellishment.

I intend to add some buttons and then join up the sides.

Then I will have a completed Chieftan's Ceremonial Stick to find a home for...

Probably in the loft next to the boxes containing the Unwearable Apron and the Spiral Hat!

Hand Weaver's Gallery and Studio visit

So yesterday I visited the Hand Weaver's Gallery and Studio.

It was like walking into a sweetie shop, the colours and choices of thread was amazing.

I had an ideal of the colours I wanted and my budget - always an important thing to set before going to these places! - and then I shopped...

Something for myself

Something for the business...

and of course for coursework

Linen, Tencil, Paper/visose, Japanese Koyari paper yarn and ramie/viscose

Yes, Jenn, Course work is still where I left it. I have been very busy with completing five orders since returning from Urchfont. I may not be physically doing anything at the moment for C & G, but it's all up in my head awaiting time to put them on paper! Seeing the other Module Fivers posting work usually gets me worried and burn the midnight oil!

Really enjoying the Sketch Book project - squeezing in a few drawings each morning either side of the school run make me organised and more dedicated to using sketchbooks.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Sketchbook Update

Adding Shadows

Today's challenge will be fun as I have a long thin sketchbook, not the standard book form.

Off to the Hand Weavers Studio and Gallery in London today, as suggested by Mary Sleigh

and then later to the Coliseum for ballet!

Cultured Me!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Sketchbook Update

Yesterday's Sketch Book Task

I decided the Stone was going nowhere,

not rolling or gathering moss! - so I changed to a Pear

I did some preliminary sketches to get to know my new object

I added a green wash to the outside of the Pear instead of colouring in the piece of fruit

I used some of my "home made " surface

Close up of the "home made "surface

which by complete accident holds a mantra to live by while doing this project

- and maybe for life?

"Reclaim Your Free Time!

Get Started!"

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Raffia Weaving update

So I was holding the two woven pieces while sewing on some embellishment when it bent in half along the sewn edge. "Hmmm 3D" thought I. "Chief's ceremonial stick?"

So out came the weaving kit again and I wove a third panel

Embellishment now taking place on this new panel...the end is in sight, honest!

Sketch Book Day 4

While waiting for today's instructions I did a few detailed sketches and then drew on a created surface I had made at the weekend. How's that for serendipity?

The created surface is a separate project I have set myself after getting fed up with being handed bits of paper. It seems such a waste and I wanted to find a way to recycle them. The criteria for the project is that the pieces of paper MUST be handed to me and NOT picked up from somewhere. Once a suitable amount have been collected I sew them together and cut and sew until it is A3. I then painted with gesso and cut down to A5 so that they can be put into a sketch book bought for the project.

So I thought I would check out the surface while waiting...

Now I have my instructions I shall blog later with the next installment.

Guilfest in the rain

My civilised Glastonbury happened last weekend

and I had a great time, as usual, even if the umberella

made too many appearances.

My Husband met his favourite Dancing Men, The Fez Heads

Here is my Adonis with Adonis Kebab

Does any one remember Dr. Robert and the Blow Monkeys?

I was transported back to the 80's singing along to two of their hits, "Digging Your Scene" and "It Doesn't Have to be This Way".

Ziggy Marley did his Father proud with a fine selection of his own and his Father's hits.

Andy Bell fresh from "Pop Star to Opera Star" and two gigs in Scandanavia made my day.

Bopped til I dropped and sang my heart out. LOVE, Love, Love their music and have them blasting around my workroom on a regular basis. I last saw them in the 90's and Andy was as good on Sunday as he was then. Vince was his usual enigmatic self. And I saw a "first" - the Roadie tuning the computer before they came on! Only Erasure!!!!

Headlining was James Blunt... I was worried I would have to explain to my friend's husband that she wouldn't be coming home as she had "gone on tour" with him as she disappeared down the front of the crowd half way through his set!

Daughter was sent to chaperone and return her to base camp at the end of the show!

Husband, not a great fan of Erasure or Mr Blunt, was seen heading to the other stage to see Hugh Cornwell of the Stranglers and John Lydon and PIL.

He was able to tick his "See before they Die" list!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Summer Sketch Book Challenge

My attemps at the Sketch Book Challenge...

Take one stone...

and brew a cup of tea,

stain the sketch book's pages

Use a waterproof fine liner

Move on to pencil...

Trying not to lift the pencil from the page

I await Day 5...

Friday, 15 July 2011

African Raffia Weaving Embellished

Embellishments of stitches, buttons and folded and rolled nail varnished sweet wrappers.

I need to walk away from this as there are more pressing matters of a module to complete


I feel it needs some more work doing to it before it can leave my mind,

it will just nag and nag until complete...

Monday, 11 July 2011

Weaving with Raffia

After the workshop with Mary Sleigh last weekend and having bought her book, "Exploring African Themes in Fabric and Stitch" I had ideas brewing from the last week which needed to be released.

A visit to the local garden centre with an extensive craft department saw me buying raffia in three different shades. I didn't know what I was going to do with it as usual, but they would become part of the ideas at some point.

On arriving home I remembered the child's weaving kit I had salvaged from a jumble sale some time ago. I kept picking it up and putting it back and it nearly went to the recent jumble sale in a fit of tidying up! Just as well it was given a second chance as I began weaving the raffia whilst watching the F1 race at Silverstone on the TV.

Here's a photo of the weaving at the beginning.

And here are two pieces of woven raffia, I did them in strips in keeping with the textiles I had seen recently.

Keepng the tails of unused raffia for effect.

I tried to join them together with the third shade, but I fear it must had been bleached to get the white colour and this had weakened the raffia, making the joining the two strips together most frustrating. So I turned to orange thread instead. I have bought some orange felt and some cotton trapestry wool to add some more embellishments later this evening.

Now I have to work...

Friday, 8 July 2011

And Now for Something Easier on the Eye!

Here is my sampler of African techniques

and my interpretation of a Xhosa tobacco bag

I learned so much about African textiles that I felt ashamed of the riches I have compared to the men and women who produce the wonderful pieces Mary Sleigh introduced me to.

Thank-you to Mary for opening my eyes and mind.

It was a very thoughtful workshop as well as a very useful one.

Two Sleeps since Urchfont!

It isn't pretty, but I did promise...

... I'm an embroiderer, not a gymnast; but as I feel wonderful thanks to Dr Hughes here I am cartwheeling on the Croquet Lawn. No gold for me in 2012 though!

As usual I had a great time at Urchfont and I'm finding it difficult to get back into the work groove. I doubt my clients would appreciate me incorporating the workshop schemes into the designs they have chosen, but I have had lots of ideas for new designs, so thank you to Mary Sleigh for her inspiration and guidance. Mary was a very generous tutor and opened up a new world for me to explore.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

One Sleep 'til Urchfont...

Summer School time again and meeting up with my Distant Stitch friends.

The best part is catching up with people I meet regularly and others who are

there for their first visit, but who I "know" through their blogs.

Been wondering what I've forgotten, as though I have misplaced something.

Then it struck me, the injection my Consultant gave me Tuesday had kicked in

and I didn't have the nagging pain - lovely.

I'll be cartwheeling on the Croquet lawns!