Monday, December 31, 2012

A new year.

When I look back at my post for the start of 2012 I am pretty pleased with the way I kept to my chosen theme which was based on Louise Baldwin’s three day course during which we looked at the work of artists who have used the theme of Change, Transform and Disintegration. However, the work took an unexpected pathway when I bought the Baby lock Embellisher, having resolved never to buy yet another tool which I suspected I would make little use of; well, it is now part of my work routine, moving between my Pfaff and the embellisher.
What else has happened to Stitchworks during the year? I made a video workshop for Alma Stoller which was a huge learning curve but which I managed despite time pressure and the fact that I had the most awful chest infection which meant that between takes I coughed until I was breathless.
I worked with Sue Bleiweiss to produce a sketchbook on the theme of Rhythm and a textile piece for her book ‘The Sketchbook Challenge’ which was successfully published. Both Sue and Alma, although each having different approaches, were so organized and a pleasure to work with throughout.
My book for We Love Your Books on the theme of Minute was chosen for both the on-line exhibition and the actual exhibition at the  University of Northampton.
My work for Change based on my theme of the rabbit’s skeleton was displayed in the foyer at City Lit in London.
I tell you all this not only to show off but to make myself aware that Stitchworks has had a good year, despite the fact that in other ways the ‘real’ me has had the worse year of her life, so far. Despite the terrible bad bits creativity has survived and helped me through.
For 2013 I already have two projects in the pipeline which you will hear about later if you stick with me.I have lots of ideas for the Embellisher, particularly combining felting with hand stitch. I will at times practice my lino cuts,  burning and encaustic are in the background. There will be a little flurry of bookmaking as this is the terms’ theme for my U3A group and the day services group will be working with the theme of Paper, when I get round to thinking what we can do – definitely making paper and then …

I have added a link to Barry Smith, sculptural artist and metal worker in Australia to my side bar. I purchased three bowls raised from reclaimed metal for family Christmas presents. They are beautiful tiny objects and he took the trouble to make sure they arrived in time.

Best wishes for the New Year to you all.
 Thank you for visiting. If you are able to leave a comment I appreciate it as it helps to keep me blogging.

Monday, December 10, 2012

'Hand stitch'

I am pleased to have received a review copy of the new book ‘hand stitch – Perspectives’ by Alice Kettle and Jane McKeating published by Bloomsbury. You may have been lucky enough to see the display about this book at the recent Knit and Stitch Show.This post is some first thoughts about the book and a tribute to hand stitch.

It is certainly a substantial, heavy book; hardback and 224 pages, but what I mean is that it is deeply serious and comes from an academic base, many of its contributors having links to the embroidery department in Manchester University’s School of Art. For those of us who consider stitching on paper, adding twigs, metal or simply constructing an array of French Knots in varied weights of thread to be adventurous, some of the articles, which feature conceptual stitch that floats in the air or tries to answer the question ‘How do you hear the voice of thread’, will introduce ideas which come as an eye opener and are challenging. I find this approach stimulating and it reminds me of my time in the library at Farnham University of Creative Art looking at images and ways of working which were completely new to me.

I eased myself into the book gently with a look through the many beautiful illustrations and then found the Glossary, which in itself would make a book; this features images from a project in which students from MMU worked with Coats Threads to explore and be inventive with stitch. These examples are shown alongside historical examples. Fiona Rainford who is studying for a degree at MMU and who some of you may ‘know’ particularly for her stitching on felt which she shows on Flickr as Fi@84,worked 

Wave Stitch on distressed photographs.

 So far and I have been particularly moved by Alice Kettle’s chapter ‘Outside, Inside and In Between’ with examples of artists who have worked outside the established art world and expressed their creativity in original ways. A jacket with layers of words was stitched by Agnes Richter in 1895 and she graffited her institutional jacket and so asserted her individuality.

Even though only just starting the book I already feel a quiet pleasure at having for so long hand stitched. There is suddenly a certain pride at being a small part of this tradition which has a truly contemporary presence. So much so that I found some of my old work and decided to give it an airing here as a tribute to hours of hand stitch.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


A page from my sketchbook today; encaustic worked on handmade paper and then added to the sketchbook. There is a happy accident in the top right hand corner, after I had a nasty happening with discharge paste, which I mentioned previously, and had to repair this page by adding a scrap of material. I then discovered that by writing on tissue and then adding a layer of wax the writing looked as if it was on the material. I must come back to that idea.

I don’t know what your views are about Pin Interest, I know some people have really strong views against the use of their images on the site. I have not looked at it much until recently. I must say I was amazed at how many of my images have been pinned, of which I had no knowledge and not a comment made by the ‘pinner’.
The point is that I want to make a special mention of Eva Lundberg            who had the grace to email me and say that she liked my work and asked for my agreement for her to pin it. I was most impressed and have enjoyed looking at her pin board.

Dionne Swift, UK textile artist, is asking for anyone who has purchased a piece of her work to send her a photo of it in situ and she is putting them up on her site here. If you have not seen her work you may like to take a look.
Thank you to new followers and especially to those I have not been able to get back to.
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