I missed you last night

I went to Malvern Forum Theatre last night to see The Unthanks who were supported by the wonderful Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell whose work I didn't know. It was a brilliant gig in a place I hadn't been to before. If you don't know the work of these bands click on the links and check them out, you'll be greeted with a folky soundtrack to this wet and windy Sunday.

Amongst all the folk several strange and important things happened to me. I found myself missing these:

Yes. Watercolours. The Unthanks had low house lights on for the whole of the show so very weirdly for a gig I found myself sat with a great view of the stage and able to see my lap. I was overcome with a desire to paint the scene that was before me. At some point in the last few months I have transformed from being a crafter who some how managed to talk her way into art school into an art student, or I could even go so far as to say *whisper* artist *whisper*. I did not worry about the fact people would have been able to see what I was painting, or worry that they would be judging me or my pictures, all I wanted to do was capture the scene. This realisation fills me with a quiet confidence that I am in the right place, at the right time. 

Which is good news because I've got four weeks of deadline madness and then that's it. Goodbye second year.  


A Very Berrington Quilt

As well as getting my craft on, some of yesterday was spent scampering outside at the merest glimpse of sunlight to take pictures of the brick wall quilt I made last term. The weather in Hereford is crazy at the moment. Amazing sunshine followed by storms that last for hours so I has to take advantage of the sun while I could! I thought you might all like to see some proper pics of the finished quilt rather than the very gloomy ones I posted last.

I made a half size sample of my final quilt design as time was very short once I had finally committed to a piece and a full size one would have been impossible - lesson learnt, commit to a good idea earlier! You can see some of my sketchbook work and a bit more info about the project for this quilt here.
This was my starting point and I interpreted the lines of the grouting in reverse appliqué on a pieced background. The back of the quilt was kept very plain to show the quilting lines, but a little flash of brick coloured fabric jazzes it up a bit. *

Having done research into quilting and how historians have built a history of quilts through the labels added by the maker I knew I wanted to include a label in my work, but I didn't want it to affect the aesthetic of the piece.

So I hid it.

I reverse, reverse appliquéd a block in the quilt, and embroidered the quilt name, my name and the year and place it was made. The idea is that you can see the label only when it is held up in the light, while hanging on a washing line for example. This idea of hidden panels and light is a big part of my work this term so expect to see more of these shenanigans!

I had spent too much time working on this piece at the last minute that I had fallen out of love with it. Taking pictures of it yesterday I was able to stand back and appreciate it. I am very proud of it and I can see the connections between it and my current, more abstract work.

I hope you enjoyed that little bit of quilt-y joy early in the am.

*Yes. I used the phrase "jazzes it up", but it is very early and I am blogging before college so forgive my clumsy turn of phrase.


Wonderful Wet Wednesday

Yesterday was a very good day. While I have mused on how hard a bad tutorial can hit me, I sometimes forget to recognise how much a good day can perk my whole week up. We have had three weeks off college for Easter and though I needed the break, it was a l-o-n-g three weeks. Bringing in all my sketchbooks and samples did help me feel more positive that I had been doing practical work over the break and hadn't just been chained to my computer! I left college last night shattered, but with a giant heap of new samples and full of ideas.

But today was not spent with these samples. Nope, instead we had a crafternoon-in-the-morning session, the perfect antidote to a hideously rainy day. I am working on a super secret project with a few of my friends from college so we spent the morning in my studio designing, stitching, listening to Fleetwood Mac and drinking tea.

I taught the girls a few techniques on my sewing machine, which I can't divulge just yet, and they got a taste of my working day at home in my studio. They learnt this mainly involves me cutting fabric, losing fabric, swearing I had cut out a certain bit of fabric, before searching high and low to find it - my house has a serious borrower infestation I am sure!

It was lovely to pass a few hours creating with my ladies, getting a little taste of what I hope my future studio life would be like.


We can do it

Hello!!!!! Yes long time, no see but I am back and at slightly snuffly, fighting fitness. The snuffle comes from another night sat outside in a beer garden in the rain. I know, ridiculous. I think I am finally giving up the fight when it comes to the Barrels (the local pub) and just not going. A pub should only be allowed to give me a hangover, not a cold.

Anyway snuffles aside I have had a very good break, there were birthday's - some big ones, some less big ones, there was a trip to Berlin which has been wonderfully inspiring for my final pieces, there has been a lot of time sat in front of my computer trying to map out my future and write a presentation on it, and of course there has been some personal crafting. The first piece of which I can finally share here now as it arrived safely in its new home yesterday.

I have spoken before of my most lovely friend SilverLining, and in her home she has what I like to think of as her wall of irrepressible women. On this wall there are several versions of the We Can Do It WWII poster (AKA Rosie the Riveter), including a brilliant Czech one. Inspired, I decided to embroider a version for her christmas/birthday present.

This first version was a straight up line drawing interpretation which I gave up on because I wasn't getting the texture I really wanted from the piece. I am not very good at filling stitches like satin stitch and the idea of having to fill big sections of this filled me with dread, so I went back to the drawing board and decided to incorporate some other textiles. And this is how she turned out:

As you can see I added a fabric headscarf and a shirt, which was hand folded and tucked and then stitched in place - the creases are meant to be there, in fact I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out if it was too crease-y.

I am so pleased with how the shirt came out, the collar stands a little proud of the rest of the piece and those folded back sleeves were very effective.

The We Can Do It banner was machine appliquéd which kept it looking very graphic and tidy, making a nice counter point to the hand stitched Rosie the Riveter. You can also see in this picture a little glimpse of the roving I used for her hair. There was one particularly rough moment in the sewing of this where I decided to do her eyebrows using roving as well. Let's just say it ended badly for all involved and the stitched brows are by far better!

I am so happy with this piece and judging from the tweet squeals of joy last night SilverLining loves her too. I may have to play with this stitched collaging a little bit moreover the summer.


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