The Lull Before the Storm!

It’s been a while but I’ve had my head down making and teaching lots of felt classes as well working on my Kombucha research. It’s lovely to see so many people embracing felt as a new medium- whether it’s for the first time or to adding to their textile work. Great work everyone!

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I had a treat for mother’s day on Sunday. My youngest daughter wanted to see Richard Wilson’s 20:50 installation at the Saatchi Gallery as part of her A level art.IMG_6492 IMG_6537 IMG_6513

So we trundled up to London. Amazing installation that had all your senses working overtime..the smell, the reflection and the silence. Also on was Pangaea ll – New art from Africa and Latin America. This was an added bonus we both enjoyed. However it was the staircase that took Amelia’s eye. She wants to now draw her version!! Unfortunately we had to finish the day with a 2 hour visit to the American clothes shop Brandy Melville, which luckily for her happened to be next door the Saachi Gallery!!!

I now have this week submersed in paperwork and getting ready for the ICHF show in the NEC, Birmingham, with the 2014 Graduates from the Stitched Textile course (http://www.fashionembroidery.co.uk/birmingham/features.php). I will be showing more of my ‘Growing Fabric’ work. Do come along and see us if you’re going- We’re on stand N16 Eastleigh College!

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This is followed by an exciting week in Alyesford Priory , in Kent, felting with the International Feltmakers Association.  Looking forward to meeting up with old friends again.

Plans are afoot for several exhibitions later in the year and some collaborative work to come- watch this space….!

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Chasing my tail…(or hats in my case)!

How is it that Christmas is at the same time year in year out but that even with meticulous planning you always end up running behind and chasing your tail in the last few weeks? I’m still teaching right up until school breaks up and also felting in the studio space on Wednesdays at the Rum’s Eg gallery in Romsey, Hants. They’ve been selling my felt hats as fast as I can make them!

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Last weekend my copy of Felt Matters, the International Felt Makers Association quarterly magazine, landed on my doormat. How I got asked to write an article on the techniques on Indigo dyeing I’m still not quite sure but it was good to see my words and pictures in print, that was until my father-in-law, a retired epidemiologist and writer of many books and magazine articles, read it. ‘You’ve not mantioned the Latin name of the Indigo plant and who proof read the text?’ (I did) he commented. (Note to myself -next time you write an article for a pulication get your father-in-law to read it first)

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I have had a chance to do some research on my ‘growing fabric’ and in the New Year will continue with the waterproofing of the material. I’m lucky enough to have a neighbour who travels worldwide in the tannery business and has given me lots of advise. So my new year’s resolution is to try out all the potions he has given me!!

Watch this space…

In the meantime I’m taking part in the Society of Designer Craftsmen’s 25th Designer Crafts at the Mall Galleries in London in January . Do come and see all the wonderful work on display.

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What a week!

Well I have truly hit the ground running in the past week, including two trips to London and my graduation in Winchester Cathedral.

Firstly I went to Ally Pally to support all my ex friends and collegues from Eastleigh College. What a representation: Helen Sill, Caroline Bell, Nicky Barfoot, Conseulo Simpson and Alison Hulme all whom were exhibiting. Great to catch up and see how they are all progressing.

Caroline Bell's eco printing stand

Caroline Bell’s eco printing stand

The amazing Helen Sill and her machine stitched women

The amazing Helen Sill and her machine stitched women

Then two days days later I was invited to Tate Britain to look at their archives  and discuss the future development of the Demarco Archives with Adrian Glew, senior archivist at tate Archives, and the Demarco European Art Foundation. How I got to involved in their meeting is a long story but so glad I went. What an insight.

Richard Demarco

Richard Demarco

Archives of Tate Britain

Archives of Tate Britain

Tuesday saw  ‘us girls’ from The Foundation Degree in Stitched Textiles have our graduation Ceremony, in Winchester Cathedral of all places. Just a small quiet ceremony (not!) with hundreds of other excited students – well it was quite emotional as I hadn’t done this for thirty years! Julian Fellowes (writer of Downton Abbey) should have been there to add to the excitement, but missed his slot so got his honoury degree in the afternoon (very disappointed needless to say).

 

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I have also moved my felt making into a new studio (thank you Wendy) just a stone’s throw from my house. So I now have space and can get down to working on my Kombucha and the growing of my new fabric. Watch this space…I’m rested and rearing to go!!

Kombucha shoes

Kombucha shoes

Gowing fabric

Gowing fabric

 

 

Moving On

It seems like an eternity since the Degree Show at Eastleigh College, in July. I’ve had time to clear, sort and enjoy the summer and even get to doing some felt making, ready for the open studios. Now September is just around the corner and I’ve recovered from the 10 days of the Hampshire Open Studios my mind is focused on the future.

My plans are to spend the next couple of months continuing to research the waterproofing of my growing fabric. it’s been very evident that it’s something I have to continue with. The potential for the future is endless- from science/art collaborations, medical uses to the next ‘new’ fabric.  I’ve come across several people who have been very helpful recently with suggestions and ways forward. I shall be following up these and finding out more.

In the meantime I have two daughters to sort ready for university and college. We are all moving to new beginings and hopefully there are exciting times ahead for all of us.

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The Class of 14- Foundation Degree in Stitched Textiles

The graduate exhibition

Well it’s all over. What a wonderful experience the last three days have been. I just need to say a huge thank you to all the  those of you who all came to support me and see why I  have been hidden away for the past six months. The growth of my new fabric has taken over my life and I think it will continue to do so….sorry….I’m not stopping here though!! I still have lots to find out and experiment with. So watch this space!

For those of you who couldn’t make it to Eastleigh College this week to see my ‘science lab’ here are a few of the pictures:

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Private View

It’s actually happening tomorrow night. After 3 fabulous years our Degree Show in Stitched Textiles will be opening tomorrow night with the private view (6-8.30pm at Desborough College, Eastleigh). All calm, collected and ready to go…look forward to seeing some of you over the coming days…!

Lots to see- my growing fabric and a science lab!

And to wet your appetite here’s a sneak preview…

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One week to go!

Very sad..it’s our last day at college tomorrow. I will miss everyone after 3 (long years). What will we do with no Wednesdays together?
Anyhow I’m sorting my last bits of work for the Degree Show, which starts next Thursday. Not sure how I’m transporting it all there…might be two trips I fear.
The last bit of sewing is about to commence. Trying to decide which order to place my 16 Kombucha pieces has been hard work. They will be displayed ontop of a lightbox to show their cell structure .

16 squares of Kombucha-dyed, printed and texture

16 squares of Kombucha-dyed, printed and texture

All five plinths are having their final coat of paint, as I write this. The fishtank is ready and waiting to be emptied and tranported. I’m pleased to say that it hasn’t got any fish in it…just sugar and green tea!  For those of you who know me well, next week’s display will be slightly different to everyone elses…watch this space.

 

 

 

Winchester School of Art Degree Show -Private View

Just had a great evening with Helen Dowdeswell and Eloise Waters in Winchester tonight (albeit they slowed us down rather as they BOTH were on crutches!). What a wonderfully inspiring show the students put on. Some really talented work! If you get a chance this week go and have a look.

Pivate View Invite

Pivate View Invite

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Came to see my friend’s daughter, Hannah Futcher, with her weaving.

Hannah Futcher -Woven Textiles

Hannah Futcher -Woven Textiles

219Beautiful weaving Hannah. I look forward to seeing your future work……

 

A day to dye for!!

 

 

At last I’ve got to doing some long-awaited indigo dyeing, but this time with my Kombucha fabric.  It’s the last few weeks till our degree show and I am at full speed ahead with plans for the final show.
I have been seeing how my ‘growing fabric’ takes to being coloured. ..and it does..beautifully!  At the same time the sweet sickly smell disappears too, which is an added bonus for some.

Out of the indigo bath

Out of the indigo bath

Shirbori technique qorks well

Shirbori technique works well-just like normal fabric

Samples out to dry

Samples out to dry

Close up of the cellulose fabric

Close up of the cellulose fabric

Once dry I will start to do some stitching with it, although some pieces are too thin and will tear. Tomorrow I’m going to be trying cochineal…..