Monday, 20 June 2016

Midsummer Rain

It's June 20th, and raining, and raining, and raining. It hasn't deterred the birds though. Green finch and goldfinch chicks have fledged,  and are busy emptying our bird feeders every day! Blue tit, great tit and woodpecker parents are still working hard collecting food for their babies.

 When it's not actually raining, the birds now tolerate me sitting and drawing very quietly on what I call the 'patio', alongside my rusty, trusty wheelbarrow!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Deer, Roe deer, Roe deer....

Deer have been much in my mind of late, and then I saw Tammie's invitation to this drawing challenge!  A while ago I was thrilled to find a Roe deer antler on the marshland behind our home, and made a journal entry about it.

These deer are British natives. Unlike most deer species, they are solitary, but form small groups in the cold months.  I though I'd try some wintry sketches of a buck...

 and a doe.....

Then this evening,  I got a tweet from the National Trust, who saw this photo I took of the Fallow deer herd at Dyrham Park. They loved it and asked if they could use it in their social media promotional material! So I'm feeling that deer are very dear today!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Natural Dyeing again

More playing in the kitchen, mordant free!

Some lovely pale indigo/grey tones with black beans - I used a lot more this time!

Avocado pits next. I played about with re-wetting, drying and folding the freshly dyed fabrics,  and got some nice textural marks.

I was really pleased with the colours this time, again, I used more stones, and waited overnight before using the dye bath. Apparently the avocado produces its own mordant?

This doily had been tea dyed lightly before, which wasn't doing anything for it, but overdyeing with the avocados produced a gorgeous tone. 

Now to use the fabric!

Monday, 5 October 2015

I found a treasure! Victorian Crazy Quilt.

I found a real treasure while stewarding on Open Doors weekend at Kings Weston two weeks ago. A wonderful Victorian crazy quilt, which was languishing in a dark passageway. It had been mounted in a frame at some time. I squeaked a lot, then rushed off to make sure Norman the owner wasn't going to throw it out! It turns out to have been given to him by a local couple who I'm now trying to contact.

The quilt  is beautifully stitched and has lots of  wonderful stitched clues to its origin. Here it is, with Adrian,  the caretaker, very kindly giving some scale!

 Further investigation revealed clues to its origin. Luckily, I had no problem dating it!

There is some damage, as it's obviously not been stored well,  but the stitching is wonderful.

 The colours are still quite vibrant in places.

 Alongside all the flowers, birds and insects, there are more wonderful images.

A clue! This is the coat of arms of Kendal, in Cumbria 

There are several naval emblems, and anchors, and this seems to be a  British naval Petty Officer's insignia.

 Plus there are  these school emblems,

and  household objects like this kettle.

So I have a date, a place, and some information about the family of the creator of this quilt!

I hope to find out where the local people got it from, and I'm going to contact the Quilters Guild, the American Museum and possibly the V&A  to find out how it might be assessed. I also wondered about contacting quilting groups in Keswick , just in case? 

If anyone's got ideas or experience in  historic textiles, or knows someone who has, I'd be so grateful to hear from you.

This was such a thrilling find, and a great piece of social history. x

Monday, 28 September 2015

My 1920's Book- WIP

Well, here it is, as far as I've got.  As I said, this was a challenge. The 20's would not be my personal decade of choice for a subject, so I found it hard to get my head into  the right place.

My cover was originally, going to be some sort of geometric flowery thing, then Frances mentioned the silk I'd dyed for my cover looked like stockings! Light bulb moment and complete re-think! I did a sort of reverse applique with some tea dyed sheeting and ......

.....What's this you say, lace, and beads, and girly type things? What has happened to Jules, and her traditional austerity!?  Luckily, having decided to be completely 'not me', there are lots of wonderful laces and beads to be had  at Frances' workshops!

As luck would have it I had some thread which was also the colour of stockings! I embellished the laces with Chinese Knots,  added buttons - (which are old, probably 1920/30s) made a teeny 'pearl necklace' and  used rose petals  hoarded from some dried buds. I bonded the silk  cover to pelmet vilene for support.

Frances gave me some vintage blue lace and  1920's little matte sequins, so I could make the garter.

Now the inside is another story! I'd already made my pages in paper,  convinced I'd want lots of straight lines. You guessed it, as soon as I saw everyone else's books and ideas,  I wanted  to do fabric, but  alas, it was too late, so  I pressed on.

Here are the pages  I've started so far, they aren't complete,  I want to add more stitching and fabrics.
The inside cover is lined with tea dyed sheeting, and the pages are painted wallpaper lining paper.

I did do a lot of reading up  beforehand, and found out some interesting things which I didn't know. My idea was to create a sort of scrap/sketch  book progressing  through the decade, showing how embellishment changed through cultural influences.

 So, in  the very early 20's, organic design and Art Noveau was still very much in vogue, and the Great War was still  uppermost in minds.

Beading  was everywhere, be it clothes, accessories or household items. It became really popular, with lots of magazines devoted to it.

 I made the tiny bag previously, but it didn't 'fit' my book- so I've hidden it in the envelope!

When Howard Carter opened Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922, 'Egyptmania or Tutmania' took hold  of the West and had a major influence on styles through most of the decade. The picture on the left is my interpretation of a Palmolive advert,  headlined 'The Re-incarnation of Beauty'!

 The infamous bob was also a result of the passion for all things Egyptian!

 It wasn't until 1925  that the Paris Exhibition heralded the onset of Art Deco and the Age of Chic.

I had to include the Year of the Flapper - as those radical styles influenced the embellishment of the popular - especially the passion for pearls.  The inventions of new plastics and fake pearls meant now that jewellery could be worn and afforded by many women,  not just the rich.

This is an interpretation of a Vogue cover,  it just says 20's to me so I put it in!

That's it so far. I suspect this one will get put away for a bit, but it has been an interesting challenge. I learnt quite a bit about myself and what I want to do through the process of creating it, plus of course having a wonderful time!x

Monday, 14 September 2015

Late Summer at Hawkwood with Frances Pickering

Warning - these were all taken on my phone so the standard's not as good as I'd have liked!

I had a fabulous time again at Hawkwood College last week, at Frances' late Summer Masterclass. Beautiful and peaceful location,  great company, yummy food and so much help and inspiration from Frances, and all the other participants. Here is a flavour of where we were.

These were the views across the valley.

 This abandoned shopping cart had been very usefully repurposed on the farm!

This owl was carved on a post in the middle of nowhere. I found him by accident on one of my walks!

The dew webs on Saturday were stunning and this one  was fabulous.

Meanwhile in class...

A few of us early birds  getting started before the rush!

The theme for this year's class was The Roaring 20's.

Frances' wonderful books provided more inspiration for us. Here's a small selection of her fantastic books on this theme.

My piece is  not my normal thing at all! I went with the preconception, (and preparation) to make this theme a  real challenge, and do something very art deco/angular - but it turned out to be completely different to that idea too! I'll  share it next time.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Daisy Scrap Journal

Fabric books are much on my mind  as next Friday I'm off  to 'Late Summer at Hawkwood' with Frances Pickering.

So I thought I'd share the last sample I made for my December workshop, which is this Daisy Scrap Journal.

Daisies say 'neat and tidy' to me. To represent the feel of a smart, fresh little flower, I made the cover from bonded scraps of  a crisp striped  red cotton. The centre panel is painted abaca tissue, and hand dyed vintage lace. I wanted to keep a simple feel - the stitching is in hand dyed rayon threads and  vintage pearl cotton. The little daisy tag is cut from pelmet vilene - a great tip I  picked up from Frances.

 Inside the covers I went for a scrap book effect.

I used  brown paper for my pages, scrunched and re-ironed - which gives a nice textured effect to  make marks on. A simple daisy stamp was used to mark all the odd pages for a bit of interest..

The back  has a panel with a bit more detailed stitching. 
I enjoyed putting this piece together very much, and I think it's because it has lots of small parts. However hard I try I am always drawn back to the little details. Sometimes it is the obvious things about yourself that you don't see for ages!