Friday, 8 February 2019

Pleating and Gathering have never looked so good!!! City and Guilds Hand and Machine embroidery Busy Bees Patchwork.

Pleating and Gathering have never looked so good!!!

 City and Guilds Hand and Machine embroidery
 Busy Bees Patchwork

Tutor Beccy Paget


Every Wednesday I walk into class with anticipation, I am overwhelmed each week with the talents of my students. Each week I give them a new technique, and in the weeks to follow they bring the results of their endeavours and I cannot tell you how satisfying it is as a teacher to see the work produced from just playing with a different approach to a traditional method.

We have been looking into using pleating and gathering as texture, as a focal point and to use as a feature within a project, we have used the sewing machine to add decorative stitches built into the machine to utilize the many ways of embellishing a machine has to offer. The students are not keen machine users preferring hand stitching as their "go to" choice of sewing, but I think they are beginning to see the advantages and the beauty that machine stitching can offer. 
As an avid machine sewer I love the way in which the machine gives me an expressive way of working, I can be very accurate and precise and in the next moment be free and drawing with the thread as though it were my pencil. I love the sound of the machine making each stitch and the way it trundles along making complicated patterns with no effort at all. I can definitely loose my self in the mesmerizing hum of the motor as I create.
I understand why people say they don't like using the machine, especially when it chews the thread or gets stuck and you have to cut your piece away from the machines feed dogs, but then I also get frustrated when hand sewing and the thread shreds or I can't get a bead over my needle or how often I have to thread my needle and then the thread won't go through the eye of the needle. It's all the same really, without a little struggle or something that irritates us counteracts the wonderful and therapeutic side of this craft. I guess artists of all descriptions have parts of the craft that are tedious and irritating but over all making and creating are what is important and without those little annoying things we wouldn't end up with fantastic results.

Below some of the work that has been done over the past couple of weeks !

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I love the way Kay has used the patterns on her machine in this sample especially the isolated satin stitch patterns in variegated threads.

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Ann's soft colours reminds me of the patterns made by the sea on the sand when the tide is out, and the sun shining on the sand.

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This sample by Ann looks so much like fossils buried in the rock strata.

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Mel has used hand dyed fabrics in her sample below, I love the combination of the browns and blues,
gives the feeling of very old worn fabrics  
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Mel has really used her imagination in this sample, the placement of hand stitches holding down some of the pleats feels as though some these are areas are locked and forbidden places to look under. Her hand dyed fabric is stunning, makes me want do some dying!

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Another super sample by Kay above, decorated with her own hand made beads!

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You shall have a fishy!!! A stunning book cover made by Kay, I wish you could see it "in the flesh" as it were, my photo does not do this piece justice ! Fabrics painted using the geli plate, Fishy's are stuffed from behind and have been free motion embroidered on the sewing machine.

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Sonia has made this wonderful Japanese inspired wave design, the waves are raised and sashiko stitch worked to give the waves life, you can almost feel the spray from the foaming waves!
1,2,3, JUMP

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Sonia has used so many techniques in this piece and considering she is one who is not so keen on the machine, I think your quilting at the back of this piece really gives the design to whole picture. The lightly floating stenciled leaves and the flying birds gives this picture movement and the ducks below have been stitched in a method called needle weaving which Sonia has become particularly good at after taking a class with Jen Clements.
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A dedicated a beautiful embroidery, each individual flower cut and stitched separately, Such patience and talent!!

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Above is a wonderful embroidery by Celia, she has use her own rust dyed fabric to great effect in her pleating and gathering giving the appearance of marbled stone in a church with the printed image of Jesus with his arm around Abbot Mena amongst fragile fabrics. A well thought out composition that is really thought provoking.

Well done to all, in a fortnight I hope to have some pictures from this year's level 1 ladies. I hope you have a positive creative week and even though there is something that will annoy or irritate you it's worth pushing through when the results can be as amazing as those above. You can bet your bottom dollar there were some choice words said in the making of them:)

Best stitches
Beccy

If you are interested in joining us in September 2019 for level 1, please don't hesitate to give me a call, where I can give you more information about the course ! 

Thursday, 24 January 2019

New Year - new and exciting textile possibilities !! Thinking outside the box !

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

We started back last week with new and exciting ways of using the machine technique of gathering and pleating. Generally these two techniques remind you of little girls dresses and Grandma's skirts, but with a little imagination and some rust died fabrics suddenly gathering and pleating can take on whole new lease of life.

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This is one of two samples I have been playing with, I have tightly gathered a one inch strip of Moda grunge fabric and pulled up the fabric as much as it would allow, I have sewn on the machine two rows of gathering stitch and again pulled up as tight as the fabric would allow. I have loosely gathered some organza fabric and then instead of gathering through the centre of the fabric strip I have gathered on the edge and then a wavy stitch to create different effects. The background is a rust dyed fabric and the frame is a piece of mount board texture with Galleria texture gel and painted with acrylic paint and Faber Castel Gillatos.

My second trial was very similar but with two apertures cut into the mount board, both pieces represent rock strata and how the rock layers are pushed up through the movement of the earth.

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likening fabric and stitch into representing natures textures to me, is an infinite source of inspiration. I have a personal goal this year culminating in an exhibition at the Oriel Crick Gallery with my fellow artists the Naturally Sew group in Crickhowell at the end of May 2019. I am working and sampling towards some pieces that will show how hard life was for the mining community, the people and the strive by these phenomenal men who extracted coal in the most inhumane conditions to scrape a living for their families. Fraught with danger and the risk of all manner of disease through these harsh working conditions, they dug the coal that kept Britain at the fore front of industry throughout the Industrial revolution until the early 20th century. Take a trip through the Welsh valleys now and you will still see evidence of these times but smoothed over by grassy banks and trees breathing fresh air into a world where only a few decades ago the air was full of coal dust and smoke from the iron works. This really hit a chord with me as I remembered my Great Grandfathers brass miners lamp and how my father used to cut timber for the pit props that held up the tunnel roofs, when men were men, strong in arm as in mind to carry out the hard labour it took to earn a living. I used to think my father was Superman because I don't know many men who could work a timber yard on their own with no help and no fancy equipment and still help the farmer next door to bring in the bales of hay from the field and stack them in the barn after work and do the same all over again the following day. 
Too easily we take life for granted and sometimes our talents too, until we come to a block where nothing we seem to do is deemed worthy of even trying to attempt. Our good ideas and best intentions don't meet our expectations and all seems lost when we look at others who are succeeding. All is not lost, those who succeed have also worked hard, it has not come easy to them either they have been in that place where everything has not gone as planned and have found their way through sheer determination and trial and error, which is why we should not dismiss their success with saying "well they're just clever" if we only knew their story I'm sure we would see that they have struggled too, to find the path to their success.
We all love to create something truly spectacular and breath taking but we can only do that by working even harder and being like those miners and my Dad, strong in mind to carry out what must be done in order to achieve and reach that goal what ever it may be. So at the moment I've got my head down and every moment I can spend trying out different ways of saying what I want to say in fabric and stitch, drawing on all my knowledge and limiting myself to certain techniques in order to explore their full potential to bring together these pieces for this exhibition.

Below are some trials of the ladies of level 2, the first beginnings of their sampling toward gathering, these first tentative steps I know are going to become great pieces of art!


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One of our Level 2 ladies has had some experience of machine gathering and she has made this amazing book cover using this technique, I love the simplicity of just using calico and bringing it to life with the beads and buttons, just beautiful!



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Another finished piece for you below, this was from a workshop on bonding fabric scraps. At first it was an abandoned piece but I am so glad Mel continued with it because now it looks incredible!!!
I am sorry that the photo does not do it justice I really must get a better camera or a new phone with a better camera.


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Below Year 1 ladies have been taking on the weaving challenge, a little different to last year where I made them weave on a cake rack (as you do)  I decided to take pity on the new group and give them a smaller item to weave on, which was just a piece of mount board wrapped with threads or fabric of their choice. I asked them to relate the colours to a picture or item of inspiration to focus their minds on a particular subject. Having inspiration is important it not only helps you to focus on the task but it gives your work a story and reason for being made. It helps the mind to think more widely about the subject and to look at colour in more depth.

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Well that's all folks for this week, I am sorry not to have blogged every week, but I am trying to keep up to date with everything, it's like juggling with all the balls in the air at the moment and class get's so busy having two levels in one morning I forget to photograph everyone's work.

Hope this week has inspired you a little and if you do feel like you've hit a brick wall with your creativity at the moment, there are many great groups you can follow on Face book and the net. Textile artists.org is a great one run by Sue Stone and her two sons. They have some great videos and free e books now and again that are really interesting. Also visit some shows or museums and if nothing is inspiring you at the moment just take it back to the beginning and get a sketch book and fill it with all the things you like in no particular order, paint the pages, doodle in it and I am sure the ideas will soon start to flow!

Best stitches
Beccy





























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Friday, 21 December 2018

A feast for the eyes - City and Guilds Creative Textiles at Busy Bees Patchwork tutor Beccy Paget

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

Much has been happening at the studio here at Busy Bees, creativity abounds as we step forward toward another year. My, how swiftly those hours and minutes go by. I was speaking to a lady in the shop the other day and she banks her sewing time. For every 15 minutes of must do stuff she banks herself 5 minutes of me-time! Which I thought was an extremely good idea otherwise the must do stuff gets in the way of the really important time that we should set aside for ourselves and do something that we love to do instead of what you have to do. So often I hear "I would love to sew, but I don't have the time" my reply is usually oh dear! or never mind, but really I want to say why are you it putting aside, if it is something you would really love to do - just do it! Don't wait you may find that "one day" or "when I retire" will never come for what ever reason. Just have a go and make the time to do things that make you happy, picking up a piece of sewing be it patchwork, embroidery, quilting or cross stitching it has been proven to be very therapeutic and good for the soul!

Here are some finished pieces from the last few weeks:-

Lynne has completed this fab little picture depicting the colour wheel on an umbrella, simple but so very effective!!




Kay has been experimenting with metallic foils and stitching into leaves, this piece has a japanese feel to it which she has been researching for one of her hand embroidery textile artists.

  

Kay has really blown us away with this piece, again worked from inspiration found in her research towards hand embroidery textile artists.
Very poignant and contemporary!




Mel has created this piece using the Gelli Plate.
Strong and bold, a piece that makes you think!



Sonia has made this amazing evening bag from a workshop we did
creating shapes and then contouring the shape with kantha stitch. Beautifully worked and a real statement on a special evening.




Celia has made a beautiful book cover/folder from the same workshop, glorious colours and a fantastic shape that she has created from our exercise on shape creation. It is so satisfying to bring design into a completed piece.

   


Another folder made by celia from our Gelli Plate workshop.  The one square looks like the sun dancing on sea in the Caribbean and the other looks like frozen water in the Antarctic.
Creates a wonderful sense of movement and stillness at the same time.



This picture doesn't really give justice to Kays evening bag, but again produced from the shape creation workshop and kantha stitch.
Beautifully stitched and executed it would definitely grace any evening occasion!!




Ann's piece below is a culmination of the Gelli plate workshop and the shape workshop, she has used skeleton leaves on a painted background with silk rods trapped under fine organza. Ann has machine stitched this piece and it looks sensational.




Well, a feast for eyes I'm sure you will agree!!!

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

See you in the new year and if you think you would like to study the City and Guilds course yourself then please don't hesitate to call.

Very Best Stitches
Beccy xxx

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Ship Shape and City and Guilds Fashion for level 2 - Colour theory for Level 1.

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

I am not normally a naughty person but I have been a bit remiss with my blogging this year! Seeing as I no longer have any one to slap my legs for not doing what I should be doing i'll have to chastise myself and give myself a good talking to. But, you know sometimes it's difficult to keep on top of everything and I don't mind saying that I fail now and again to keep abreast of the written side of my daily work, it's never been my forte!! I love creating with needle. machine and thread rather than words and so, that's what I've been up to! I've been doing some sampling for next year's classes and for this year, and with all the best will in the world I am not a magician as much as I would like to be.

Personally I have also been feeling a bit that I have lost my mojo, which I think every artist understands. Ideas don't come so freely and if they do they don't translate as you might like them to. You spend hours trialing a design and wish you hadn't started. I don't mind admitting to feeling this way as I know my mojo will return and usually the best way is to have a break from it all and come back to it with fresh eyes. I also find getting out my paints and my favourite wooden box of  Derwent Inktense water colour pencils that my husband bought me for Christmas the year before last, a lovely water colour pad, some inspirational music and just doodling, nothing serious sometimes just scribbling on the page and colouring in the shapes. It opens up your mind and allows you to think freely with out a specific design in mind, sometimes these little doodles can bring great ideas!
I also had a little boost to my confidence the other day from a student on one of my other classes,
she told me I was Genius for working out a pattern for a pocket on her children's fleece top. Not one to blow my own trumpet, but what seemed perfectly straight forward to me, to her seemed amazing and she was so genuine in her praise, I actually believed her compliment which boosted my mood no end. We all get those days and sometimes all it takes is for someone to appreciate what you have done and tell you so, that makes you feel a whole lot better. Instead of letting low moods set in we should listen more to the compliments we are given and believe in them rather than allow bad thoughts to get us down.

 Feeling a whole lot better now and when I look at what the ladies are producing every week it's so inspirational!! We have started to play with the concept of shape as you saw in my last blog a couple of weeks ago. Here are few photos of what they have come with.


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Wowee, all these designs from a circle, you really need to have a go!

1.  Start by cutting some circles out of card, all the same size at first.
2. Draw around the circle and then lay another one on top half way across and draw around.
3. Fold one of the circles in half and draw around that, draw a mirror image.
4. Cut the circle into quarters, draw around them, move them and draw again.

Think of as many ways as you can to manipulate the design and make sure you have the day free, because when you start the ideas can flow so quickly. Keep your designs in a sketch book and colour them in, make collages from old magazines. Truly all designs, shapes are the beginning of some exciting projects, grouping the shapes together makes even more, it's never ending but such good fun.

This week they have been given a task of using one shape and taking it on to an embroidery, using a raised technique similar to that used in gold work, but on a larger scale.  Raising the shape gives the piece of work more form and dimension. I have also asked them to use Kantha stitching to accentuate their chosen shape. Kantha stitching has it's origins in Indian embroidery, rows of straight stitching that contour a shape.

This is a piece I have been working on, the shapes were cut from a fabric which I have painted and printed. I have raised them from the back and placed them onto a background fabric. Over the top i have laid strips of organza and finally a whole piece of organza over the top. I have then use a matching silk thread to stitch the Kantha work. When it's finished I hope to make the panel into an evening bag.





I am very much looking forward to see what the ladies come up with next week!!

Level 1 girls are studying colour theory and this week their task has been to make preparations to hand stitch a colour wheel. They have been researching and experimenting with tints and shades
and learning how this effects the original colour. Keeping with the primary and secondary colours to make life easier for the moment they are collating all their new found skills into a colour book. To satisfy the marking criteria for City and Guilds they need to have painted a colour wheel, made a collage of a colour wheel and stitched a colour wheel, here are a few of the photos I took from last week's class.

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I asked them to first use Colourcraft pots of acrylic paint, it's not too runny and covers well if used neat. They used colours similar to an electronic printer as this gives the best range of colours and the best purple which is really difficult to obtain from other paint combinations.
I have also asked them to do a primary and secondary colour wheel in their own colours and to
compare them with the colourcraft paint, to see how different they are in the colours and pigments.
Today there is so much variety and paint companies with different names to their colours it is difficult to get the same results. The best thing to do is to choose a company you like and stick with them.

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Next week we should see some of the colour wheels stitched I hope if the girls haven't been naughty like me or perhaps I shall be slapping their legs in order for them to finish. I am of course JOKING!

Hope you have a creative week, try out some of our techniques and let me know how you get on i'd would love to see that this blog has inspired you. But know this don't worry if your mojo has lapsed you can always catch it on the way back up!!!
Best stitches
Beccy





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!
01633 810801
beccy@busybeespatchwork.com