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





























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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