Category Archives: Uncategorized

Foundation Degree Show

It was a delight to be invited to the Bournville College / Staffordshire University Foundation Degree students end of year show preview night on Thursday 12th May. This was especially so as one of my mentees, Rachel Faulkner, was exhibiting her wildlife inspired needle felted work.

Rachel’s textile work “The garden, a keepsake in a jar”, explores the idea of collections and keepsakes, and examines our ongoing [sic] ” need as humans to keep mementos of the past and preserve them for future generations“. Her work investigates the Victorian obsession with collections, moments mori and the impact of collecting, cataloguing and displaying taxidermy collections.  This contrasts with a desire to preserve and encourage species and ecosystems today, and I think, asks; what and whose idea of the garden & nature is it, a real or imagined one, ours or one of the past, that we wish to preserve?

Rachel piece is a keepsake of memories of her garden; featuring two terrariums, a tree and specimen plants. One terrarium contains a rose – representing the idea of the quintessential English rose garden, and the other houses a frog and insects on a log pile – purposefully placed and designed to attract wildlife. The tree at the centre of the two terrariums has an ecosystem of its own, in which a bird resides alongside a human’s treehouse with a window box of flowers!

 

Rachels’ work and more can be seen at Cohesion, the Bournville College / Staffordshire University Foundation degree Contemporary Art Practice show.  

Cohesion: 9am – 5pm 12th – 26th May Prirory Square, Queensway, Birmingham, B4 7LJ

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Joseph Franks Exhibition

I visited the London Fashion and Textile Museum last week to see the Joseph Franks Textiles screenprints and paintings.  A wonderful display of colour and pattern, it was like spring had arrived both outside and inside the museum. Here’s a flavour of my visit…

 

As well as a display of printed fabric lengths there were a number of Franks’ watercolours.  I particularly liked theses two for their use of colour.

 

The exhibition displayed full length fabric prints from the ceiling giving them a real impact. The printed textiles were applied to interior design and shown off with a mock up of a sitting room….almost like a visit to ikea…..without the crowds!

 

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Inspire Stitched Textile Group 10th Anniversary Exhibition

I’m delighted to share the Inspire Textile Groups invitation for their 10th Anniversary Exhibition, please do come along to support the group and see their wonderful work.

The exhibition will be held on Friday 16th & Saturday 17th June 2017 between 10am to 4pm each day in St. Swithins House, Barston, B92 0JU. Follow the link below for the invitation.

 

 

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Baby Bootie Commission

I was delighted to be asked to make these tiny baby booties for a friend of Sally Harper- Kenn’s new born baby boy.

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Felt Clock

I recently had the pleasure of making one of my Felt Clocks for the consulting rooms of Jane Arden Pschology Services, and thought I’d share a few images with you here. The clock is made with merino wool and machine stitched using free motion embroidery to create the circular textures around each raised dial numerical point.

Felted Clock

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Felt Pod Vessels Worksop

Lesley Stewart – Sea inspired pod

The Seamless Felt Pod Vessel making workshop which ran on Saturday 18th February was a great morning. It was rewarding to be working with new and returning students who created these pods, all so unique and beautiful.

Group laying out their designs

 

 

 

The pods were made using a combination of grey Norwegian and coloured Merino wool tops with hints of additional silk and dyed Teeswater locks.

 

 

 

 

Everyone used the same process, but varied how they designed their Pod vessels. This was achieved by working with the wool to create different shapes, deciding where to place the openings and the selection and combinations of colours and fibres.

If you are interested in future Pod Vessel workshops with Emma you can visit the www.silversoles.co.uk / www.craftcourses.co.uk or call 07753366795.

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Felt Flower Workshop, Saturday 28th January 2017

Come and join us to learn how to make your own felt flower in this relaxed half day workshop. You will learn how to lay out the wool and silk fibres to then wet felt it to shape the wool into a flower shape and add stamen. Each stage of the process will be covered from design to completion with accompanying notes to take away as a guide for future flower making. No previous experience is required as complete novices and more experienced feltmakers are all welcome.

Workshop Date: Saturday 28th January 2017, 10am – 1:30pm.

All materials and light refreshments included. Small groups with a maximum of 5 to guarantee plenty of one to one tuition. £40 per person. Booking is essential, bookings can be make online at www.silversoles.co.uk ( see the link at the bottom of the Workshop page). Alternatively you can book by contacting Emma via email (info@silversoles.co.uk) or telephone 07753366795.

All abilities welcome – Beginners and Beyond.

Venue: Silversoles Studio, 129 Hazelhurst Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 6AG


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Knitting & Stitching Show, Alexandra Palace

It was thrilling to make my first visit to the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in October. Teaching comitments have previously prevented me from visiting, and since the show no longer visits Birmingham, it has been a few years since I have been able to attend. It didn’t disappoint, the venue is wonderful, Alexandra Palace is situated on top of a large hill in North Londons’ leafy Muswell Green and Wood Green. The view from the terrace across London gives stunning view to the centre of the city and gave my friends Jane, Anjum and I a lovely backdrop to our pitstops and lunch break.

imageThe show brings together fibre artists of all types, demonstrators, guilds, mini workshops, how to talks and suppliers, Habu and Merchant & Mills being my personal favorites! Aside form shopping, it was the Gallery spaces I was most drawn to, here I found the work of Michala Gyetvai. Michala paints and sculpts with threads, stitching and layering her images in a variety of materials employing hand & machine embroidery techniques. In her ‘Enchanted Landscapes’ exhibited here, she uses blankets as the base to draw and paint on with threads, building layers of wool, fine threads of cotton and silk felted together.

I love sculptural forms and there was a great selection on show. Stella Hardings use of measuring tapes and metal basketry is inspirational. Stella  combines organic and manufactured materials into complex geometric forms. Her interest in natural mathematics is applied in basket weaving techniques and its application is neatly echoed in her use of measuring tapes as the key materials in these vessels.

It is the sculptural and architectural qualities of Bernie Murphy’s New Beginnings that attracts me to these pieces of wearable art.

I have to include Sophie Digards work here, I love her use and combination of colours and admire her patience and the stamina it must take to create her work. The palette used by Amanda Clayton and Vivien Prideaux’ transparent and stitched surfaces was also a visual delight.

Finally I want to share to the witty work of Kate Jenkins, Kate’s Plaice, The Stitchmongers made its debut at Alexandra Place and had the wow factor of the show for me. Displayed as a traditional fishmongers counter, it was filled with freshly knitted, stitched and sequined anchovies, mussels, scallops, prawns and Atlantic salmon. Visitors to the show could select the fresh product of their choice from the counter and have it mounted and signed as an original art peice. There was also a wall of framed tinned sardines and other fishy delights!

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Kate’s Palaice, The Stitchmongers

If you have not been to the Knitting & Stitching show before I would highly recommend a visit, the exhibitors are diverse and the standard of work on display is excellent and inspirational. You can find out about the next shows at www.knittingandstitchingshow.com

 

 

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Family Textile Workshops

Wax resist papers made into lanterns

Wax resist papers made into lanterns

In July I held some of my favorite children’s workshops, the Family Textiles workshops, a format I established at mac, Birmingham. These are learning experiences during which the children experiment with textiles alongside thier parents, grandparents or guardians with the emphasis on working together as a fun sharing experience.

The first session saw us experimenting with wax as a resist and dyes, to explore pattern and mark making, creating decorative papers and summer lanterns. The exploration of pattern and mark making continued in the printing workshop where printing blocks were made. These were then used to combine how to choose colours, printing and repeat printing processes.

Sewing was the focus of the third session enabling the children and their adults to work together to create these wonderful owls and mice.  Using socks, felt and buttons everyone learnt how to understand and cut out a 2d pattern and then assemble them to make a 3d object. I love these, the middle one being a personal favorite, do you have one?

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Striped Sock Mice

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Felting with ‘Sense’

Over the last four months I have had the pleasure of working with Sense Jessica Evans (Sense Art Tutor). Sense is a natioanl voluntary organization that works with and supports people of all ages who are deafblind and / or have sensory impairments.

In August I delivered a drop-in activity at the annual Sense (West Midlands) summer gathering, held at Rowheath Pavillion, Bournville. This year’s theme was a 1950s Summer Rock ‘n’ Roll Tea Party,  a celebration event bringing together all the regions’ Sense clients, their carers, friends and family. The atmosphere was fantastic, music, dancing, and reuniting friends along with a display of home made cakes, biscuits and treats that was truly amazing and very delicious! Our drop-in activity involved making ’50s vinyl record inspired brooches and summer bunting.

In November I was invited to design a project to give Sense clients the opportunity to develop new skills, produce a wall piece to decorate The Garden Room, (Smethwick), and provide a future income generator to help fund the centers’ activities. Health & Social Care students from Stourbridge College joined us, combining their learning about working with people who have multi sensory restrictions and to experience occupational interactive sensory art activities.

A Tree of Life became our theme for a hand felted wall hanging. The tree was made as a bare trunk and branches so the wall hanging can be an ongoing interactive art work; decorated with additional work attached at later dates. The finished wall hanging is to be hung up, but also shared as an interactive multi-sensory table peice, to be handled by visitors to the centre who can enjoy it’s tactile nature. To achieve this is was important to include contrasting colours and highly tactile surface relief.

We did this by including shining glittery threads, Angelina fibres, differing textured yearns, varying depths of wool and smooth silk fibres. The group worked together to prepare and lay out the the wool and mixed the yarns and fibres, before wetting and felting the whole peice together.

As it was close to Senses’ Garden Room Christmas Fair, we also made textured felt pieces to be made into festive baubles for Christmas tree decorations. Future projects are planned using the new skills learnt, these will include making leaves and flowers, to decorate the wall hanging and to sell for fund raising as book marks and brooches.

I would like to thank everyone who participated during the project; Jessica, all the Sense clients & Stourbridge students, carers, friends and family – it wouldn’t have been possible with out you. You can find out more about Sense and donate towards their services by visiting www.sense.org.uk

 

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