Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Some Wabi Sabi spirit!

wabi Sabi style picture
Wabi Sabi bird

Wabi Sabi style picture
Wabi Sabi floral
Two of my recent works made completely from antique textiles. I have quite a collection now of old fabrics and look for ways of using them as they are amazing in their own right. The main background of these two wall hangings are from an old flour sack that’s been patched and darned many times which gives it a wonderful texture. You can still faintly see the printed writing of the flour sack.

Sometimes I take apart items and clothing to reuse the fabrics, the gold metallic braid running up the right hand side is from a 19th century rug. The printed fabrics are also from a 19th century decorative border. I have worked in free machine stitching, repeats of the antique print patterns.

Running up the side on top of the metallic ribbon, are finely embroidered European braid in lovely faded cotton.

Stretched onto wooden frames, they are 40 x 70cm sized.

Different from my other work I've produced (no indigo!) but with the same ethos of reusing antique textiles and celebrating its imperfections and beauty.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Backbone of the night II at the Festival of Quilts 2019

Textile quilt
At this year’s Festival of Quilts, I exhibited my work “Backbone of the night II” in the Art Quilt section. I did not know until I visited to pick it up that it was chosen as a “Judges’ choice”. A lovely surprise for me!

I love visiting this event to see all the galleries of established textile artists work and this year, India Flint was showing some of her work. For those not familiar with her work, she is well known for eco dyed textiles and their connection  with her journeys around the world.

I’m always amazed at the skill and effort by the quilt makers at this event, far more patience that I can muster! There’s quilts made by children, groups, two persons, novices and experienced persons. Recurring themes are environmental concerns and Brexit! Though nature is always a popular subject.  

Below is some quilts from the Fine Art Textile Masters gallery:

Detail of stitching

Cyanotypes quilt

Caroline Bartlett work

winning quilt

Friday, 14 June 2019

Backbone of the night II - new textile artwork

Backbone of the night II.  (60 x 112cm). Dyed antique linen, machine & hand embroidery.

Here is my latest textile work, three months in the making. The theme is of course, the Milky Way, of which the title 'Backbone of the night' refers to. I had an idea of extreme contrast of a white centre merging into deepest indigo of which was achieved through a bit of shibori dyeing, tightly wrapping cord round the middle and multiple dip dyeing. Some cold wax resist was applied to suggest stars and red Victorian fabric circles were needle punched through the main cloth to suggest supernovas.

I liked the idea of mapping the stars and referring to our planet's unique position in the galaxy so coordinates of the nearest stars and projection lines are stitched into the overall design. The piece went through various design stages from sampling to unpicking stitching on the actual piece that didn't work. There was going to be big red hand stitching on the outer edges that I eventually rejected. Through out the making, I constantly think, changing and making decisions which is all part of the process and labour spent on a work.

My work involves using antique and vintage textiles, the rips, darns, pattern and stains all become part of the design. The main fabric is part of a antique linen sheet dyed in indigo. Round the edges of the piece (see photo below), dark blue vintage Japanese fabric has been needle punched from underneath to give a rough worn texture.

I use hand dyed threads in cotton, silk and linen in a variety of thicknesses. Hand stitching in a running stitch is mainly applied all over the work with the machine embroidered design restricted to the centre. I love hand stitching the most as it's satisfying for me to do but also I like to see the handworked element. 

The whole piece is then backed onto a light cotton batting and vintage cotton sheeting with a bias bound edge to help give body to it. Eventually, once the piece has been exhibited at the Festival of Quilts this August, it will be mounted and framed so it's more easy to sell as an artwork.

So hopefully, this gives a better understanding on what makes a textile artwork.