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).

 

KDP_ 009web 210

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

KDP_-001-web

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:

10458116_10204322952060727_1341667523181510909_n10397161_10204322969301158_3630051735683081507_o 10497505_10204322966701093_6140136233244189088_o 10396308_10204323020502438_64877315011281733_n 10257777_10204322935740319_2965701448172126379_o  IMG_4298IMG_4094IMG_4296  IMG_4292 IMG_4179 IMG_4101 IMG_4083 IMG_4174

 

 

 

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…

IMG_4094

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

221

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…..

Printing onto my cellulose fabric

It’s been a very busy time. At college we are on the last six weeks till the Degree Show and finishing touches are now being put in place. At home I am at maximum capacity with the amount of trays that are growing Kombucha. The smell in this warm weather is very acidic and it hits you you when you first open the door into the studio. So my daily rouine is to check and tend to the growing fabric. .. a bit like when I was sheep farming and checking my flock on a daily basis. Very theraputic I find.
I have been doing several experiments with printing and colour and having found that the cellulose fabric takes the dye very fast. The rusty nails worked very well and have a very DNA look about them now that they are dry. Washers have produced very dark spots onto the cellulose.

IMG_3490

Vegetable leather printed with rusty nails and washers

I have had fun photographing the pieces up close and they have produced some very ‘landscape’ like results. You would never think these had come from cellulose fibres.IMG_3319 IMG_3335IMG_3340

I have several challenges ahead over the coming weeks. One of them is to waterproof the growing fabric. It is not stable and can reabsorb moisture!  Last year frankincense and myrhh resin worked well but today I am making soy milk to try. I have also heard that persimmon (or commonly called Khaki fruit) is a Japanese method of tanning. Need to see if I can obtain some.

Why am I growing my fabric?

I have been asked several times in the past few days as to why am I growing such a vegetable leather. So it’s got me thinking..well why not. But that’s not really a very good answer. My vegetable leather is made from bacterial cellulose and could have enormous potential in the future of fabric development. It is organic, biodegradeable and regenerating which in these current times of looking for alternatives could be a real possibility. It could even have potential uses in the medical industry.

I have also been looking at mark making and printing onto my growing fabric with rusty nails. I’m very pleased with the outcome. The kombucha takes the colour almost instantly.

nails sandwiched between two layers of kombucha

Nails sandwiched between two layers of kombucha

The vegetavle leather takes the rust very quickly

The vegetable leather takes the rust very quickly