Thursday, August 23, 2007

Patchwork of Life - almost there

My second and final piece for the Sharon Boggon Sumptuous Surfaces class is almost complete. Most of the squares are complete, I just need to fill in some gaps here and there but generally pleased with the result.
Concept of patchwork of life is reflected in the half empty/half full sections, the emptiness & gaps in ones life, the isolated squares, the purity of new life and the richness and closeness of family and friends.
The green squares represent the green grass that tempts us but is no where as rich and full filling as life.Tonal change reflects the wealth of knowledge and wisdom gained throughout life.

Now that summer has at last reached the UK I am off out to the garden so I don't know when I will finish it completely!!!!!!!!1

Monday, August 20, 2007


Returned last night from the NEC and the Festival of Quilts 2007. The display of quilts was phenomenonal, the range was huge and the skill stunning. It was nice to see works by people who I knew via workshops or the web. Helen Cowan, Greta Fitchett, Kaffe Fassett and Jennie Lewis to name a few. Also stalls, Ruth Brown of Stone Creek Silks, Mary Day from the Guild of Silk painters and Maggie Grey from the WOW, Workshop on the Web. I am not a quilter but thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition which I had to do in two attempts and would have loved to have had another day to go around again. It was interesting to see the contemporay quilts, many from abroad, utilising various techniques.

Whilst browsing the stalls for goodies, many of which I bought, I watched Maggie Grey dem the Janome embnellisher and it inspired me to get mine out of its box and have a go this morning. Nothing too big as I wanted to finish something so used my colours of the moment in silk tops that I dyed a while ago.

I embellished a piece of felt with a selection of silk tops and synthetic fabric from a cast off skirt of my daughter and ended up with this. Much brighter than the photo shows.

I then zig zaged strips so that I could weave them to produce this. Quite pleased with the result.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sumptuous Surfaces Piece # 2 - Half Way

I have finished the first low relief layer of my patchwork piece. The base of each square was green non woven fabric that florists use, I increased the number of layers to help with the tonal changes needed. The one inch square pieces allowed me to use a range of stitches. Click on photo to see in gretaer detail. The main challenge was to create a gradual change in tone as I progressed down the piece. Alot of squinting took place and unpicking but I think I am happy with the result so far. I expect that I will need to remove or add after the top high relief layer is finished. I have started this at the top, lilac triangle! This shows some detail of the bottom four squares, mainly dull so that they will receed rather than jump out of the piece.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sumptuous Surfaces Week New Concept

The brief this week was to think in colour. When I think of colour at this time of the year it has to be my garden. The lime green of 'Ladies Mantle' aka Alchemilla Mollis is so prevalent and with the pinks/purples of the fushia, geraniums and pertunias the complementary colours on the colour wheel come to life.
Thinking beyond that India and the richness of life in colour has to be a second best. I've never been but after googling India I couldn't help but be impressed by the saris and dyes. The use of primary colours and the matching of complementaries in saris and textiles generally is so breath taking.
Finally I thought of the work of Kaffe Fassett. I am a great admirer of his use of colour in patchwork, tapestries and knitwear. I have three of his books and they never fail to inspire me.

So I put all this together and came up with an idea of using a basic patchwork design to show off the use of colour. The first colour scheme was blue and yellow, but this was disregarded and one that reflected my garden at present was chosen. Below are the colours I found in my stash.

I played with this range both in paint and thread.
Above are my expts with altering the value of the colours as I want to change the tints and shades throughout the piece. Tints at the top and increasing in value towards the base. The sketch below shows my first attempt at a design based on patchwork squares.
Too basic I thought so moved on to playing with the grid and the sketches below show some of the more acceptable results. The top line shows the grid altered to produce a more pleasing silhouette. In the second line I have introduced triangle shapes to break up the right angles and introduce an additional geometrical shape. I introduced negative shapes in the final line and the final design is an combination of all of these ideas.

Final design incorporating patchwork squares, triangles and negative shapes as well as the colour value increasing towards the base. The stitch plan is to have the green areas in low relief stitching and minimal embellishment. The fushia coloured squares will be in high relief stitching and increasing embellishment towards the base. They will also overlap the green to soften and minimise these areas. Haven't decided how to outline the shape yet or in fact whether to at all.
Off now to transfer the design and get stitching!!!!!!!!! Looking forward this this.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sumptuous Surfaces Sea Urchins Finished

Spent all my free time over the past few days completing my sea urchin embroidery as part of the Sharon Boggon Sumptuous Surfaces class. Took longer than I anticipated but I think well worth it. I am particularly pleased with the recession and the way I managed to use a range of different stitches to capture the texture and surface of the urchins. I had never used drawn thread stitch in this random way before and will definately use it again.

Week four is about a new concept and design process so I'd better get started.