Textile Tantrums

I am obsessed with fibres, thread, cloth, paint and all things textiles! Unfortunately I am also a procrastinator extraodinarire who spends more time reading, surfing the net and admiring the materials than creating! I struggle to translate my ideas into textiles - hence the tantrums!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Creativity Course and Dyeing Fabric

Went along to my monthly class at the Bramble Patch with Brenda Boardman (http://www.brenboardman.com/) on Saturday and had a really relaxing day. Work has been very stressful at the moment and will continue to be for the next month at least. I ddin't really feel like getting my stuff together and driving to Northampton but I'm really glad I did - good company and lots of fun!
I thought I wouldn't get anything done - just a chance to unwind and soak up the atmosphere but I managed to get all my fabric in dye and then washed it all out on the Sunday. I've found that Vince is actually very well behaved when you are busy doing things - it is when you are sitting down that he doesn't like it!!
Here's a shot of the fabrics I dyed - colours based on the shells from the Zoology museum. Hoping to make a very simple, contemporary quilted hanging in these colours (fuschia / red, black and more of a cream than yellow - this fabric may be too dark). Thinking of using some simple strip piecing and machine quilting with some simple hand stitching added.

Fabrics include silk velvet, cotton and cotton sateen.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Shell Sketchbook

Well I missed last month's 'Creative Potential' class as we picked Vince up the day before and I was too exhausted to drive there. Really disappointing as the topic was sketchbooks which I love! I am always looking for new ideas / kick starts to help me fill a sketchbook. After speaking to Kaye(http://marmitesmuddlings.blogspot.com/) and Sarah (http://sarahquilter.blogspot.com/) and getting some more info off of Brenda I made a start on my sketchbook on the theme of shells.

Original inspiration came from these beauties seen at the Zoology museum in Cambridge

and the humble mussell shell on Newquay beach...

Paper printed with roller, oil pastel lines and then painted twice with black Koh-I-Noor dye. Acrylic paint was stamped over this using a foam spiral stamp from a DIY shop. Black pen was used to outline the spirals and glitter gelly roll pen was also used. I've ripped this piece in half and am hand stitching on top of it.

This page was monoprinted then marks were made with oil pastels and black Koh-I-Noor washed over the top. This is one of my favourite pieces and I'd like to print it on fabric / tissue and stitch into it.

Another monoprint with oil pastel and Koh-I-Noor washed over the top (2 layers). I've then added some black outlines

More pages to come later in the week....

Monday, July 09, 2007

Puppy Update & More Medieval Madness!

Here's our little baby Vince! He's been with us just over 2 weeks now and turned our lives upside down! I had no idea that having a puppy was such hard work! I have gone back to work today after spending 2 weeks with him. He has settled in really well (it took longer for me to adjust!) and is happily roaming around his new territory. Had his 2nd injection today and will be able to go for walks / puppy classes next week, though he needs to overcome his fear of 'the lead' first. He hates having it put on and when you hold it he has a hissy fit!!

Here's Vince relaxing on his first night with us - it's a hard life being a pupsie!

Onto textile stuff now....

I have read Traci Bautista's fantastic 'Collage Unleashed' book and watched her DVD Retro Rags. I can THOROUGHLY recommend them and they have really inspired and kick started my sketchbook. I took one of her techniques and applied it to fabric rather than paper. Basically you put a layer of gesso down and then scratch / print into it (I used my medieval cathedral lino blocks). I then painted over this with metallic acrylics / fabric paints (a mixture of lumiere and Setacolour). I have started to highlight the motifs with stitching and may add some sheer fabrics / paper to the surface. i also plan to rub markal and gold leaf / foil over it. This would make a good technique for a hanging or book cover - quite sturdy.

BTW the fabric is cotton drill or something from Dunelm - really cheap! I found that when I stamped on the gesso it went through to the paper underneath so I plan to paint that with gesso / inks and get 2 for the price of 1!!!!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

WIP medieval hanging

I really can't work out how to get my pictures in order - they all want to sit at the top of the post!! So here are some pictures of 1) wallhanging / collage in progress on the design wall and 2) more cathedral prints that I plan to use in another hanging

Textile pictures at last!!!

For those of you that hate dogs....back to the textiles!

I have finally finished stitching my cathedral piece and have been debating what to do with it. I used a really nice multi coloured metallic with a black core (madeira) for the stained glass windows - absolutely gorgeous when you scribble with the machine!

Anyway I had thought to use this on a book cover or maybe a box lid but when I went to Brenda's creative potential class she suggested I incorporate it into a wall hanging. I had a pile of painted / screen printing / block printed fabrics and papers all around a medieval theme. Unfortunately because I lack the space at home (and was too scared to start!!) I hadn't started to put them together. Having read Traci Bautista's fantastic book 'Collage Unleashed' I decided I wanted a random collage type hanging. I usually work very symmetrically and I was keen to move away from this.

Brenda (as always) was a great help and at the Bramble Patch I was able to get all my pieces up on the design wall to see what I had. I started putting the pieces together...
Having trouble with picture will have to add later!!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Puppy Update...introducing Uno

Thanks to everyone who commented on the cuteness of the puppies - they're gorgeous aren't they! Well we went to visit Carol and the pups last Sunday despite the awful weather and me suffering from a terrible stomach ache.
Carol had recommended little Uno as the best pup for us and we were besotted so he will be coming home with us in just under 3 weeks (and counting).

Here I am giving him a cuddle

And having a nap...it's a tiring life being a pup!

Today I bought a new digital camera so I can take action shots of him as he grows without just getting a blur!

Saturday, May 26, 2007


I AM SO EXCITED!!!! Having wanted a dog for over 10 years we are finally in a position to get a puppy!! We met Carol and Simon (http://www.casiat.co.uk/) back in March when we attended a malamute/husky rally in Thetford. Our aim was to research Alaskan malamutes with a view to owning one in a few years. Then we found out that Carol and Simon also own collies and were expecting a litter at the end of April! Having seen the mum, Lucca and fallen in love we decided that we would have a collie now and get some experience with training and owning a colliebefore moving onto the more demanding malamute!! We are off tomorrow to see the pups who are now 4 weeks old and make our choice!!!!! Then we have another 4 weeks to go until we can pick our little bundle up! The waiting is awful, especially as I've been waiting since March when Lucca was not even confirmed as pregnant! Anyway...now for the cute pictures.........

This is Blueboy.....too cute!

Here are the 2 lilac boyr, Uno and Mr Roo! We think we might be having Uno - he's the cutie on the left, nibbling his brother's neck!

6 little boys having their milk....

Here's Summer the malamute guarding the pups! You can just see little Uno's head squashed behind his brothers.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Cathedral Sample - picture at last!

So this is one of the thermofaxed images that I have started to work on. I screened xpandaprint through and heated it with an iron on the reverse. I then dabbed gold lumiere paint onto it using a stencil brush. To dull it down a bit and add more depth I dabbed on some liquitex bronze acrylic paint. I have started to outline the shapes with a dark gold thread - will post more pictures as I go along!

Creativity Course and Cathedrals

Using the thermofax screen I printed LOTS of cathedral arches on different fabrics, papers etc. I used hand dyed cotton, black discharge cotton velvet, black cotton sateen, undyed cotton, abaca tissue, coloured papers from C&G. I used discharge paste on its own and mixed with gold paint, I used a lot of black setacolour transparent fabric paint and also xpandaprint through the screen. One thing that I would like to try but didn't get round to is putting glue through the screen (PVA) and then using foil over the top (you need to wash the screen immediately so the glue doesn't block it)

Creativity Course and Navel Gazing! - part 1

Back in January I started on a day a month course called 'Explore you Creative Potential' at the Bramble Patch in Northants. This is run by Brenda Boardman and covers lots and lots of different techniques and ideas with the aim of you developing your own work and style. Brenda is a great mentor and tutor and I have been really enjoying these classes. I come back really fired with enthusiasm and often spend the next day working on what we did in class. Sometimes this is all the time I spend on my textiles in a month and it keeps me going until the next month.

I am a perfectionist and a control freak (lucky me!) and am one of those people that are always beating themself up about something! So I feel bad that I spend more time buying the materials and reading about textiles than actually doing! Brenda said something to me that was really helpful - she said that I need to learn (and accept) my own way of working. So for some people doing a bit each day works for them - I would like to do this and have tried it before but realistically with a puppy coming home with us in 2 months (more on that later!) this won't work. It seems that I work best just after the monthly class when I am 'on a roll' and then I work somewhat sporadically throughout the month. THe ideas are never far from my thoughts but putting them into practice doesn't always happen. Work also affects this - the busier and more stressed I am at work, the less sewig / creating I do. This is why I am trying to nip my work stress in the bud as I have only been there 5 months and it is starting to escelate! I blames this on mean but when I think logically it seems that if you work hard and are conscientious people think you can cope with anything and jsut do more and more and more!!

Anyway, enough philosophising - get to the pictures!! I have been working on medieval for a while now. I went to my creativity course with a sketchbook full of ideas, doodles etc but no real samples or progression in fabric. Brenda made some suggestions and I have started to move forwards. One week we did thermofax screens (GREAT FUN) and I created a design based on the arches of Notre Dame in Paris.