Thursday, 26 May 2011

Preview the catalogue

Click on the pages to enlarge to a readable version.
We'll hope to add images to this catalogue at a later stage.

Family drop-in workshops

Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd June
11.30am - 1.30pm at the Museum

Come and see what we're doing with fabric and textiles, play and experiment!
All ages. Drop in workshops for children with accompanying adult. First come, first served.

Installation day in pictures

Saturday - the big reveal. Lots of exciting unwrapping. Then a sense of nervousness as I wonder how we're going to pull this off and get an exhibition together in 2 days!
Tuesday - Everything unloaded at the Museum and spread out on the floor. We worked from a rough strategy planned by Delia, Sandy and Merete at the end of the day on Saturday. A few changes were made but it was really helpful to have a starting point.
Disappearing up a ladder. Having a husband who is 6'4" has its uses.
 Bottoms up! We discover the only way to move the perspex plinths around without dismantling first. (Thank you to Annie for the loan of the plinths - they were invaluable and look great.)
Lunch break. Luckily Vicki remembered we had to eat and got sandwiches all round from the bakers.
  Finishing touches. Everything is up and labelled, but we were worried the angel wings might fly off the wall. Finally, satisfied that enough blu-tack had been applied, we surveyed our efforts and headed for home.

Many thanks to Sandy, Vicki, Jane O'S. Great team work, lots of creative ideas, hard work, custard creams and tea got us through. We did it! Come to the Private View event on Saturday 4th June, 2-4pm. 

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The big reveal

Today everyone brought their submissions to the meeting. Wow! What a variety in so many ways. There were big pieces, tiny pieces. Big 3-d and tiny 3-d. Lots of quilts and lots of other things. Colourful pieces and muted pieces. Etherial pieces and solid pieces.
A huge range of techniques were on display - hand stitching, machine stitching, painting, printing, cyanotype, trapunto, applique, patchwork piecing goldwork,silk paper, and many more ...
And the work represented a very wide range of inspirations too - from mammoths to power stations, and dolls shoes to comets. Pictures will follow in due course.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Doll Corset - Structure and base

Blogger has been down for a few days, so just a quick posting of covering the base of the structure
top - with pins to remember where the holes are.

and how it looks complete... At this point I hadn't sewn round the top to keep the dowels in, nor stitched the back opening closed. I am also gluing the dowels into the base.

This photo shows how the light shines out from underneath a bit like a lampshade.

Looks like it may find a permanent home in the end in my lounge as it goes very well with our new furniture!

Looking forward to seeing all the work tomorrow.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Doll Corset - Structure

I have finally been able to get to the structure of the large doll corset.I am using 6mm dowels in the main boning channels. This is sort of a reference to the reed boning used in one of the doll's corsets from the SLough Museum. The dowels are sticking out at the bottom and are stuck into a large piece of upholstry foam.

Here are views of how they will be stuck in.

I had to go back to the DIY shop for one more dowel to get enough to have the support I wanted. A few channels I had made a bit too narrow with the hand stitching, so I had to remove a bit of the stitch. So, I just have a few places where I need to go back in and sort it.

One good reason for using photos for your work is that it helps you step back, so to speak. I had it arranged in what I thought was a good shape, but when I looked at the first photo, I realised I really wanted it straight in front. So, I will use a few kebab sticks to push it forward.
More photos of the new arrangement.

And a photo of the detail of the support sticks, which I am quite pleased with. A surprising aspect of the support I hadn't considered.

I plan to cover the base with more of the cream muslin, but also some burlap mesh, which you can see laying next to the base.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


I thought that it might be of interest to sum up what I have learned from doing this project.

Firstly, I think that the blog was a great idea and has kept us in touch with each other. It has been enlightening to see what others have done and how their thoughts have developed.

Secondly, it seems that most of us have been emancipated by not having to do something to go on the wall. In fact, it appears to have led to a surfeit of such work and a dearth of wall pieces. I am sure, however, that this will make it a more interesting exhibition.

On a personal level, my decision, after much procrastination, has resulted in exploring new avenues and having to come up with new solutions to problems. The research element has been exciting and educative. I know a great deal more about Uranus, swans and book arts as result! A further plus is that my free machine embroidery skills have improved dramatically. (Well, in my opinion!)

I am now infatuated with book arts, although I cannot get anywhere near the standard of MC. I have been amazed at the pieces created by artists in this field and the imagination of the work. Some of it is truly mind-boggling.

I have various follow-ups planned but I say this every time I do a JQ! I am planning to combine an appropriate block with a similar subject along the lines of 'Storm at Sea' with the swan.

Lastly, sincere thanks must go to the organisers for the work which they have put in. I hope that we can deliver an exhibition which does justice to their efforts.

Dream Shoes - Final Design

So, on to the final piece. Having created the pattern I now designed the fabric, using the computer to print the details on the organza.

The uppers of the shoes are covered with old-fashioned luggage labels, the soles feature an old picture of the world map - the left shoe focussing mainly on the western hemisphere and the right shoe on the eastern hemisphere. 'The world at her feet'

I used tiny machine stitches to stabilise the fabric with 1/4" seams between the upper and the sole, but deliberately did not seam the other edges so that over time these would fray and disperse. The stay stitching created a neat line for the hem and I sewed the upper to the sole by hand using smoky invisible thread.

The shoe bars are also not finished, but cut on the bias to prevent too much fraying.

The bars are secured with beads, used to look like map pins.

Sunday, 8 May 2011


Now that I am more familiar with this beast called blogging, I might make a better fist of this one. I am continuing the heraldic theme concentrating on the swan which features in both the old and new coat of arms for Slough.

I thought that a background based on the 'Storm at Sea' patchwork block linked well with water. This was constructed from separate disperse dye painted papers printed onto polycotton. Accidentally, a piece of painted Lutradur fell on top and it seemed to integrate the design. Where would we be without serendipity? Unfortunately, I did not have enough so several attempts were made to reproduce it. Oh course, that never works! I settled in the end for the third attempt.

The swan was inspired by a design from Indian folk and was constructed from painted Lutradur bondawebbed onto the background and free machine embroidered. The background was also enhanced with embroidery and a scallop design for water.

The cover is pelmet vilene painted with inks and a broad brush. This was actually one experiment which worked first time! I made black and white copies of various dianthus and painted them onto cotton, backed it with felt and free machine embroidered the flowers. A diamond arrangement looked better that a square so I decided on this and finished it with crochet cords. The whole cover was edged with buttonhole stitch.

Now what would I cover the inside with? I needed to marry the two parts of the work - swan and dianthus, so I painted some card and used this as a background. The swan is intended to stand proud of the cover. I designed a title label which had to go on the back - a new fashion! Nearly there.
My last problem was the side panels for the swan design. I thoughts of swan facts from a Mediaeval bestiary and quotes from poems but decided that these would be too intrusive. I was playing with my Storm at Sea block one evening when the solution presented itself and I came up with subtly coloured variations on the block with a wavy background which, I hope, complements the main swan design.

I think that I have done it at last and learned a lot along the way!

Friday, 6 May 2011

3 TINS part 3


Once I'd decided to use a duster inside the POLISH tin the rest followed easily. Various ways to get the text onto it were considered and sampled but the automated machine embroidery gave clarity plus a degree of gravitas that seemed fitting for ministerial pronouncements. Thread colour echoes the duster edging. I'll probably impregnate it with some polish to add smell if I can find any at the back of the cupboard.

Sampling: machine embroidery

I've chosen to use an assortment of plasters and fonts in the AID tin to suggest an uncoordinated approach. I quite like the amateurish look of the texts on these. To start with I wasn't sure stitching over the lettering would add anything but now 'stitching things together' is in my mind and the idea that a lot of effort doesn't always achieve anything useful. Mainly, I hope it will add in a suggestion of the feelings of care, comfort and nurture that trigger donations to emergency aid. So it has to be hand stitched. Also it might help tick the 'textile' box which I was beginning to worry was not obvious enough!

Two strands or three? Sampling stitching on plasters was a real pain because the glue gums up needle and thread. A baby wipe helps but stopping every other stitch or so to deal with it breaks the sewing rhythm. Will I have the stamina to stitch them all?

UNIVERSAL SALVE is the most difficult piece to make decisions on. The original plan was to include a zig-zag book of circles to emulate the fold-out directions found on some products. I like the sculptural look of these - a bit like a slinky.
Paper seems too flimsy to stay standing up; card is not easy to fold neatly. This structure might be hard to read when displayed.
Using ribbon to string the circles together is a possibility as is this interesting arrangement in the Schraubthaler or Coin Book:

Although I'd lose the 'slinky' structure, this sort of book would be easy to open out for display and facilitate reading. Ribbon spacing would need to accommodate thickness of one or more pages.
I'm currently thinking of printing the text onto fabric, stiffening with Lutradur and joining discs with ribbon. Will it attach to the tin (Velcro?) or be free standing? Will I include images? The order in which the 'pages' open might determine placement of text. Will it be double sided? Is there a simpler solution?
Now wishing I'd started sooner!