Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Harvest festival

This is my panel for my City and Guilds. I printed with vegetables and acrylic paint on fabric, added machine and hand stitch and then applied them to a pre-made canvas. I added padding behind some and some loose elements like roots and leaves.

I have until the end of this month to finish two more resolved pieces and my foundation folder of collected information. I can do this- the house will go un-cleaned but I can get this done. I have spent too much time and money on this to not make the final push to get it done. 

If there is a lack of sparkle and excitement in this determination it is not because I have lost my love of stitching- not one bit. I am struggling a bit if I am honest, and shouldn't we be honest when it all gets a bit much? I turned forty this year and in terms of an introspective assessment on the progress of how my life is progressing and how much I have achieved it was like all the worst New Years  rolled into one. It doesn't really matter that I have been so very very lucky- loving family, healthy children, enough money, somehow the guilt that I am not full of the joy of living despite these fortunate circumstances is just another gloom to add to the pile. 

Adding to my general feeling of grey is the frequency with which people are asking 'what are you going to do with that then?' when I mention my working towards my certificate. The answer is nothing. At the start of this whole journey it might have been; who knows? I was excited then that I was moving forward putting my self 'out there' for new experiences, to learn new skills. I honestly thought the world was my machine embroidered oyster. Now, well actually the way I have studied has been really isolating. I have shared my work here but actually no one will see it in real life- no one will touch it or, I hesitate to type this, admire it. To create is surely about expressing oneself. I am expressing into a void.- wow how melodramatic does that sound? It's how I feel, about more than just the sewing.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

A little seedy

This is a small selection of my experimental work on a Pomegranate. I have come thtough a long process of cutting, sketching researching and sampling with these jewel like fruits.

I loved the colours, from golden to crimson and from the matt exterior to the luscious seeds within.

I wanted to contrast the crusty brown at the bottom of the fruit....with the glistening interior.
I finished up with a very simple bag, the interior is quilted satin with seed pearl pips, one side of the exterior is reverse applique with hand stiching and the other velvet with machine and hand stitch. The cord for the bag is machined sari silk couched on with the occasional bead. The closure for the bag is a pieced of the fruits dried skin drilled through and attached with beads.

I still have one more experimental piece to complete before I get going on to my final resolved work. I am currently looking at Anglo Saxon disc brooches. I am having a ball. I have been going through the process of looking for a new job and have now found one. Job hunting is hard on the soul so stitching has been more important than ever to provide an escape. I am also looking forward to a visit to the Knitting and Stitching show in a couple of weeks. Are you going up? How much money do you reckon will get spent!?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Whipping along

Whipped and woven wheels? Signed off. That completes my stitch samples for my course and it has been a real challenge and joy working on them. To keep pushing myself asking; have I used  real think yarn, have I used something bonkers, have I played with scale? Can I add a bead or sequin? And probably most importantly, how might I use this stitch in another project? 

For these wheels I can see a flower garden, A sky of fireworks, a shell or fossil, a piece of gothic tracery, a weird cell, a decoration on a garment. I liked mixing these up with some Dorset button designs as the are the same principal. Another useful stitch to add to my tool box.

I am feeling a bit less angst ridden today- it is the magic of stitch I'm sure. 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015


I have just submitted my final stitch sample for approval. It was whipped and woven wheels so fingers crossed it gets the o.k and I can show it to you soon. Meanwhile our 'gang' had a get together for Comic Relief. We bought the special magazine- put together by lots of fabulous generous clever people, and got together to chat, eat and make. I wanted to make a pretty picture using old linen but in the end used a fairly new napkin and added lots of bits and bobs. The tiny dolls are some Polly Pockets which Mum found whilst clearing out for a move. It was nice to include something I played with as a child. This is a bit soppy for me, a bit pretty but I couldn't bring myself to dd any expletives so pretty is shall stay! I may add some more print fabric to the outside of the hoop we shall see. The afternoon raised £65 with us all putting some money in a jar, what a lovely way to raise money! 

I am hoping to push on further with my City and Guilds over Easter, I seem to be building up a head of steam again. I am giving some thought to my next move- I am struggling with the question of whether further education should be undertaken with a career move in mind. My gut says no, that learning for personal development is fine and dandy and valid. However there are the rumblings of a mid life crisis deep down. So far I have only really worked for one company and I have fallen out of love with my employer big style. Really and truly I'd like a fairly radical job change but my problem is that I am not qualified for anything other than what I currently do. I'm not hoping to be a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon but even little part time jobs I'd thought I might apply for seem out of reach. My feelings of self worth are plummeting with this realisation. I don't wish to get all naval gazey, it's just a little grumpy sooty thought bobbing about in my head and sometimes getting these thoughts out helps. I will hit 40 next summer- can you tell?! x

Hope you are all well, happy and settled with who and where you are. xx

Monday, 16 February 2015

Give it to me straight

Here we go, my straight stitch sample now signed off and only one more to go! This one was quite a challenge for me. Just a straight stitch, I did manage to come up with some textures with which I was happy and I like the radiating directional stitches. I made most of my samples on the same hoop so am thinking about buying a number of these hoops, mounting up the samples and trying to get them on display somewhere. I have done all this work and there are ideas I know I will loose if they simply get packed away. 

It is weird to be thinking about my final projects for the City and Guilds. I have bought an A3 sketchbook to start thinking about my first resolved piece. I usually work in smaller books which somehow results in smaller work so this is a bit of a challenge to myself.

Apart from the coursework I am helping out with a Victorian Fayre at the museum where I volunteer. I will be on a table showing Dorset buttons and inviting people to pay to make a 'singleton' button. These handmade thread buttons were an important cottage industry in this area and were unfortunately seen off during the Victorian period by the button making machines which were unveiled at the great exhibition. I am so enjoying learning a little, drip by drip, whilst at the museum. My school history rather bleakly covered only wars, very important but it didn't peak my interest to continue my studies. I am wondering if my resolved course pieces might incorporate studies of items in the museum,we offer tours based on 'take one piece' where students choose an item on display which they find interesting and then research around it to make it come alive for them. I think I'd like to work on a textile response to some of our exhibits...which range from dinosaur skeletons to ecclesiastical metal work. It could go anywhere couldn't it?

I hope you are well and happy and ploughing through bleak winter? Look after yourself won't you? x

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Stem stitch research

So, what's been happening in your world? Are you enjoying the New Year, fresh start, world of possibilities? I can't say last year was my bestest ever. Nothing really disastrous you understand, in fact some shining bright nice things amongst the rest if you look hard enough. Looking back on the year though, as a whole, it wasn't all that. I am not all about self fulfilment, I don't feel that each year I must strive to grow as a person, develop as a human being. I sort of think that these things happen almost by accident whilst one is pottering along with just half an eye out for a new experience or an opportunity to say yes to something. I think last year I pushed too hard for happiness. I have no idea if this even makes sense but it seems that the harder I try to be 'progressing' the more the stress of the progression saps any joy from it. 
This year,2015, is about sitting still and letting the happy things come to me. I am going to be stitching away at my City and Guilds work. I am going to continue to volunteer at the local museum, I am going to be winding up the business venture I've been involved in with a friend, I'm going to be doing my physio to make my ankle stronger. I will be drinking Earl Grey, going to the flicks sometimes, watching some gentle T.V, reading the odd book and getting back in touch with the simple pleasures. I believe these things, more than Work or Travel or Excitement, make me content. I hope this year is a year of contentment for you too. 
The samples above are of Stem stitch and Portuguese knotted stem stitch. I have two more stitch samples to complete- straight stitch and woven and whipped wheels. They should be up here by the end of the month, I will be working on them whilst listening to the radio. Happy Days. xx

Friday, 20 June 2014

Lofty ambitions

I have a loft room. I used to get really jealous of people who have a dedicated place to work, now that's me! I have to be honest- I haven't spent masses of time up top because I like company but I'm sure I will creep up more and more often when I get used to not being part of the melee! 

I have really crammed my materials in- there is always more than you think isn't there? So much wool, thread, fabric, beads, paints and BOOKS. Oh my gosh the quantity of it all is obscene......and wonderful! It's a tip already. Perfect, I can't get my juices flowing in a sterile environment can you? 

I have also had a nudging mail from my City and Guilds tutor, no I haven't been making much progress lately, what with the moves and the building work and and and..enough excuses. I have sought advice and cracked on with my 'seeding' sample. I haven't sent images for approval yet but hopefully I won't have to do too much more to add this to my file. 

In truth I should be able to finish the course this year if I pull my finger out. Of course there are always distractions;

 Anna will be 8 next week and as such she has invited 8 friends round for her party. We will be screening the first Harry Potter film interspersed with little activities. One of the tasks is to rescue an owl from Fluffy so I have made ten owl familiars for them to save. The pattern is free and available here.
Plenty more distractions are calling but I shall try to be strong and stick to the City and Guilds like Bondaweb until it is signed, sealed and delivered.