Thursday, 8 November 2018

The Colour Wheel, Shape and Form - City and Guilds Hand and Machine Embroidery

Busy Bees Patchwork
City and Guilds Hand and Machine Embroidery
7161
Tutor - Beccy Paget

Half term has come and gone, a distant memory! The clocks have gone back and every evening we are plunged into darkness at some ridiculous hour of the day and mornings are just not long enough, Can you tell it's not my favourite time of the year!! and yet ever the optimist I try to find things to cheer my self up, because if there is one thing I don't like; is hearing myself moan. I have nothing to moan about and if it's only the weather that is getting me down, well I'm not doing so bad.

Before Half term we were discussing how level 1's were getting on. They have made a fantastic start with some wonderful mark making using wet and dry mediums and stitching into some of them using hand embroidery stitches and some using the sewing machine.
It is thoroughly fascinating what designs come from messing around and not giving a great deal of thought to the composition/colour/pattern etc and just letting your mind go free, it relieves the worry of "did i do that correctly" or if your not good at drawing particularly it doesn't mean that you have to be an artist to bring together an interesting and thought provoking image.


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These two pieces above were made by Elaine and she has used her machine to great effect here. In sewing these pieces she has learned several things about stitching onto fine fabrics and how to use interfacing to her advantage to help support the stitches, so that they don't pucker the fabric.
We also found that the piece of paper she used with a square aperture to paint the background fabrics would make a wonderful frame.



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This week we have been studying the colour wheel, something which can be really confusing, but hopefully after a few sessions of colour theory, it won't seem quite as daunting.
I think they had a lot of fun any way by the state of the table.


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Adding colour to a picture is like turning the light on, without light there is no colour! I am not about to tell you the physics of light and colour but it is safe to say that it is only when light shines on a object that it's true colours are revealed. Some colours are stronger than others with high content of pigment  and it is those that would change dramatically were sunlight to be less.

To fully understand colour theory would mean taking a University degree, the technology and manufacturing industry is huge.  We don't realise how important it is to our lives through advertising and even down to what we wear, colour can have a impact on our social and personal feelings.
 We are bombarded everyday by signs, images and video we would be totally and utterly lost with out colour in out lives.


Meanwhile level 2's are beginning to study Shape and Form, in today's task we are discovering that from a circle all other shapes are derived, we did a series of pages on distorting and manipulating the circle shape into other shapes by folding and cutting and then drawing around the shapes to make other patterns.


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I just love doing things like this, the more you do, the more it opens your minds to other designs and shapes, it is totally mesmerising and inspiring. When I start, I just can't stop and time flies by!!!!

After the girls have made their decision on a shape to follow, they will then stitch some samples by hand and machine so I can't wait to see what they come up with.


Just a short blog this week as I haven't many pictures yet to show you. Pictures are so much more fun than listening to me waffling on.

Speak to you next week, all being well!!!

Best stitches

Beccy

If you would like any information on the course, please do not hesitate to get in touch!
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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Let's see how Level 1's are getting on!

Busy Bees Patchwork
City and Guilds Hand and Machine Embroidery
7161
Tutor - Beccy Paget

Last week I spoke about level 2 and the skills that teach us how to begin thinking of ourselves as textile artists rather than just embroiderers. Learning to design and how to develop our own style can take many years and it all starts with level 1. Many centers do not teach this level but I think it is pivotal to that journey that makes us into an artist.

Level 1 as I have written before, way back last September 2017 teaches all the basics, from mark making in dry and wet mediums to understanding the colour wheel and then how to take those basic elements of design further into stitched samples.

Starting off with mark making using all sorts of items from around the home, tops of boxes, an old toothbrush, old store cards, bottle tops and dipping them into paint and just making marks. I find this process fascinating, apart from the fact that it has no known out come the out come is one of wonder and astonishment that such evocative designs come from nothing other than just messing around with paint. paper and bits of rubbish.
The students always have a great time doing this but are not always convinced with the finished piece, well I get that because it just seems too simple, too easy to be thought of as a serious piece of work. Not all of what we do should be serious, there should be that element of play and joy. Often we become upset by the things that we make, they don't go to plan, we expected more of ourselves, we didn't like how it turned out even after spending hours planning, we find fault in it and pick it to death saying it's not good enough or I wish I'd done that better. I hope that City and Guilds will give the students the confidence to say I made that and I am proud of it!!! Learning that not always does it have to be perfect in every detail, but learning to experiment and take joy in the simple as well as the more sophisticated. I love these samples below, they are joyous and full of "let's go for it" after all how could you go wrong! 


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All the above have been created on lining paper, which has been bonded to a medium iron on interfacing and machine stitching added to embellish further. They will be made into book covers to store their mark making tutorials with wet and dry mediums.
Next week for level 1's will be trying out different embroidery stitches onto printed fabric backgrounds, so I am excited to see how these turn out.

Mean while Level 2's have been embracing a layered background using bondaweb and painted bondaweb to make covers for their books which we will be making next week.
Let loose with a bag of scraps and some Bondaweb and here is what they have come up with!!!

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So different in colour and style yet they all started off with the same remit, never ceases to fascinate me and why I love my job so much.

A shorter blog this week but I think sometimes pictures speak louder than words, so I am going to leave it there and see what next week brings.
Best stitches
Beccy xxx


Wednesday, 10 October 2018

It's all about the texture and Bonding - City and Guilds Hand and Machine Embroidery


city-and-guilds-logo-xl.jpg.pngBusy Bees Patchwork
City and Guilds Hand and Machine Embroidery
7161
Tutor - Beccy Paget


Level 2 City and Guilds in textiles begins to train you to start thinking more for yourself. A part of the syllabus requires, that you study 3 hand embroidery artists and 3 machine embroidery artists. Also that one should be a contemporary, one historic and one cultural. It is designed to help the student to develop their own style by seeing how other artists work and how they have been influenced by others to create their own unique approach to their work. 

Looking at other artists, patterns and trends is not copying, the very first designers of let's say the heart design have long been forgotten, many leaves are heart shaped and those who have designed before us would have been influenced by nature it's self.  When a heart appears on a bed quilt or appliqued on a cushion not one person would call that copying, because it is a shape now widely known and yet still we can make that shape our own in the way in which we implement it.
I have often thought a good class would be, to take one shape, one stitch and one type of thread and then see at the end of the day what every one would come up with and I guarantee they would all be different with no perceived idea of an initial design.  Everyone can design, it's a just a matter of taste and imagination! Although those who are creative are not afraid of thinking outside of the box, where as some need to build on their confidence and learn to think again as a child, where there are no limits and no right or wrongs. We are conditioned to think that either there is a correct way or a wrong way and forgot that there is room for the middle ground and the WHAT IF way.
May be I will get the group to experiment and see what we can come up with, it would be an interesting experiment.
For the past couple of weeks we have been concentrating on hand embroidery. Using simple stitches in a way we would not normally associate with those stitches, also creating backgrounds for stitch which require thinking outside the box to create pieces of work that are totally unique, with plenty of texture and depth. Here are a few examples from week 3 that have been completed, where we trapped buttons, bottle tops, curtain rings and other items under organza's and scrims. The effects are a textural symphony, creating surfaces that resemble those in nature produced by barnacles on a stone or lichen on bark, not a new technique on the block but certainly a very satisfying and exciting form of embroidery.


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This type of work would lends itself to many natural applications, for instance tree bark, rock pools, fungi, cliff face and much more. Depending on the threads, fabrics and items chosen this technique knows no end and certainly a very usable and useful technique to know.

Last week's class was using Bondaweb in a non traditional way. There are many forms of this brand of adhesive attached to a carrier sheet normally used for taking up hems and holding applique designs in place. I only use Bondaweb so I cannot really tell you if other makes work in the same way so experiment and see how your brand works. In this session we painted the Bondaweb with a watered down acrylic paint onto the glue side and let it dry fully before ironing it onto a piece of chosen fabric. Ironing the paint onto fabric gives a wonderful shiney texture almost like the texture of shark skin, creating backgrounds to be stitched on can add authenticity to a project by resembling the texture of a chosen subject.

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The variations of using this method are endless, the only drawback for lots of students is the cost of the Bondaweb, but careful planning and testing small pieces will help to create a portfolio of samples that could be used in certain projects. Some of the samples above remind me of that lovely texture of peeling paint on an old door or boat, and the diamond texture on a different make called applique it looks like snake skin. Of course more can be added to these backgrounds to create even more layers of colour and depth, we will also be trying some foiling as this sticks to the Bondaweb to add some luxury which can look like gold or silver plating.

This week we have been using the Bondaweb as a bonding agent for fabric and thread scraps to adhere them to a background for some hand stitching. These pieces will possibly used for book covers for sketch books.

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A great way to use up all those scraps from other projects that you just can't bear to throw away. This technique is not easy to plan, you need to feel this one as you go. Adding and removing as it grows and sensing when enough is enough.  No two projects like this will ever be the same and I think that's why it's a process I love to do because you just never know what it's going to look like until you've thrown the last piece down, and comes the stitching on such a rich background needs a certain amount of bravery and confidence in your ability. These won't be completed for a while but I am really looking forward to the reveal, I know that much! I will just have to get the girls to see it the same way I do and not to give up  half way through, I hope not, it's a technique that instills "Keep calm and do more stitching"

Today as well saw the arrival of the well deserved certificates for last year's Level 1, Rachel from Newport Borough Council brought them along to class and we had a little ceremony to hand them out. I am so proud of them all with Distinctions throughout what more could a tutor ask. Some really exquisite pieces of work were produced and hopefully you will see them again when we exhibit next year at the Busy Bees Programme Launch day and also another venue which is not quite finalised yet.
Well done to all I am so excited to see what this year brings!!!!!


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Best stitches
Beccy

   

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Texture, Texture and more Texture !!!!!

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Busy Bees Patchwork
City and Guilds Hand and Machine Embroidery
7161
Tutor - Beccy Paget

There is nothing quite like Wednesday morning and the chatter among the ladies as they show and tell their embroideries. It is great fun to see pieces of work grow and come together. 

The hardest part of an embroidery is the beginning, we are optimistic at first but then doubt sets in, are you doing the right thing, have you chosen the best colours, the right fabrics? You begin with the first stitches and even they feel like you have never picked up a needle before in your life but stitch after stitch soon you find a rhythm and your away. Ideas flow through your mind I could do this and I could do that, what thread shall I use next? I wonder what a bead would look like there and so on. It becomes part of you and your thoughts sometimes you even dream about it, I wonder what compels us to sew the pleasure and the pain when doubt sets in and we can't quite see the woods from the trees. 
There is one thing for sure, every creator feels and thinks exactly the same way, we have the best days and the worst days where nothing seems to flow, the ideas have stopped and you think you will never hoop up another piece of work again, but gladly that doesn't last long because deep down it's part of you and you have to create and soon your mojo returns and it's back on track for the next work of art. When a block of creativity comes you have to work through it, try to empty your mind and just accept the fact that not always do things go the way we want them to. Try another approach or maybe new colours or fabrics but most of all don't give up go back to the piece of work with fresh eyes, hang it up for a while, look at it from different angles and if you really don't like it then take it apart and just start again.
New beginnings are always difficult, apprehension and doubt can be dispelled by picking up a pencil and doodling, going back to basics as level 1's have been doing for the past couple of weeks.


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Drying on the floor, some of the mark making project using all sorts of items to make marks using acrylic paint. 

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Experimenting with unusual printing objects, tops of boxes, bottoms of bottles, scraping with forks and old tooth brushes can make shapes and marks that are not managed and the outcome will be a complete surprise. It's like finding shapes in the clouds or the smoke in the fire, it teaches us to look further and beyond and when black and white is used on the opposite background the shapes are clear and crisp which makes the shapes in the background stand out. Positive and negative shapes can be so satisfying and when you don't have to try too hard to get a fantastic result.

  


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I asked the level 2 ladies to put faith into themselves and their power of observation and try sketching with thread and needle instead of pencil and paper, quite a task when we are so used to marking out the fabric first before we sew.  I think they surprised themselves!

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old habits die hard :) beautiful long and short stitch!

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Mel had already had some practice at this, with a wonderful portrait.


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Using thread and needle to draw takes a great deal of skill, it's not so easy to rub out mistakes for one thing. Well done to all you did a magnificent job!!! 

last weeks little test was to help the ladies to learn to look before they made each stitch, to plan where to place the mark without marking prior to sewing. Marking areas is not always appropriate or easy to do. Some fabrics such as velvets or rough fabrics are notoriously difficult to mark and so sometimes you need to jump in at the deep end and just go for it, heck! you can unpick it (ARGGHHHH)
So was set the following challenge, of filling an area with threads of different weights and sizes to achieve a textured surface.



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Making little samples like this tests you to think about how to use simple stitches in a less traditional way.  It is great fun seeing how you can manipulate the different threads and pile them on top of each other, twist them, weave them in and out and go hither and thither. Try it out and see what you can come up with.

In today's class we have been trapping, making textures through placing all sorts of things between layers of fabrics and stitching them down with plenty of textured stitches.


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Next week we will see how these have grown, it's like planting a seed and waiting for the flowers to bloom!!

Best stitches
Beccy