Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Festival of Quilts 2016: Lines, Simplicity and Hand Stitch

 One of the outstanding galleries for me at FoQ  was that showing work by Claire Benn and  Ingrid Press, I loved the simplicity of colour, line and texture ( achieved with hand stitch in Claire's pieces). It was really interesting to hear Claire  talk about her inspirations and processes, much of which resonated  with me after my City Lit painting course. The importance of space, not being slave to your image ( either looking at it then putting it away or as in painting course, obliterating what isn't of interest) . She mentioned  work by Dorothy Caldwell several times  and I  thought I could  see some of Dorothy's influence in Gail Parkers  work in the 6th European Quilt Triennial  ( Gail was in Puglia  at the same time as me)

 I like  the discharge  marks  in the centre and the quirky border/binding. Most of all I  love the hand stitching - kantha in the centre and fly stitch(?) all over the background, it makes such an interesting textured surface.   Nice to see when there's so much (to me) soulless precision machine quilting.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Festival of Quilts 2016: The Rydal Hall Effect?

 The Festival of Quilts and annual  retreat in the Lake District at Rydal Hall  are the highlights of my year.  Both Julie Bunter and Leah Higgins from  exhibiting group 'Etcetera' and our Rydal Hall retreat group  had  work juried into 'Fine Art Quilt Masters' at  FoQ this year.  Leah also won 1st prize in the 'Art  Quilt ' competition category ( the winners list is here) .She was working on this at Rydal, sewing for hours at a time , while her neighbour Jean Marshall  was building up layer upon layer of subtle colour and stitch on  her 'Coral Reef' entry for CQ On the Edge.  She was part of the 'Salon des Refuses'  ( a place I'm familiar with!)  but won 2nd prize in the 'Art Quilt'  !!  
 Julie meanwhile was experimenting  with stitching exquisite small structures  and Karen Hurrell was  gradually building up  her carousel of brightly coloured ponies which won the Sue Ridgewell  challenge at the QGBI  conference at Llandudno.

We always have a wonderful time at Rydal, working hard but with a lot of laughter. This year  it's gone up a gear - it's a privilege to work alongside such talented  people, I hope a bit of the stardust brushes off ....

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Festival of Quilts 2016: Free Motion Stitching From Life

Lots of posts to write on my 4 days at the Festival of Quilts   starting  with the one day class  on Wednesday  with Susan Chapman   drawing with the sewing machine. I had a 4.30 am start  from London  but fueled by  coffee I didn't flag too much  until the afternoon.
On  loaned Bernina B330  machines (luckily   not too dissimilar  to my Activa 125 )  we started with some warm up exercises on  2  layers of medium calico : feed dogs up, stitch length zero, fast feet, slow hands, shoulders back , breathe!! 
After some scribbles  and writing our names, we 'drew' various machine feet and gadgets with continuous line.  Who knew they could be so interesting!! We then drew our neighbour - Judith made a very good job of drawing me reading my Kindle - mine of her was less successful.  We both agreed it's much easier drawing people   who are wearing glasses.

In the afternoon Bailey  patiently sat   in 3  different half hour poses  wearing a variety of different clothes and accessories - hat was good, the scarf very difficult.
Then in contrast to normal life classes where you have quick poses then a more sustained  session, we had Bailey standing  for 5 minutes. These were my favourite sketches - no time to overthink, I love the energetic lines produced.
A very satisfying afternoon's work ! Other used scraps of fabric and added  coloured details to some of their drawings - I'd run out of steam after my early start,

  Susan was an excellent tutor and I loved her figures in the 'Quilt Creations' section of the show and the sentiments behind it; ' Communion' is a vision of the world where all nationalities and cultures will stand together. There will be no hatred of people simply because of colour , religion or culture  but an understanding and tolerance of their differences. Amen to that.
I also spent some considerable time with the stitched pieces by Rosie James in the 'Art Textiles:Made in Britain ' gallery, looking with even more admiration now I'd had a go at the technique myself.

This afternoon I wanted to have a go at home on my own machine while the instruction  was fresh in my mind. Ian was a  willing if fidgety model - I'll make a better job of his head next time, it definitely did not show my handsome husband at his best!

The ' selfie' I did in the mirror, as Penny pointed out on Facebook, made me look cross ( it's the concentration)  but with addition of  the bits of  collar from a favourite shirt that has decided to disintegrate, I'll make the deadline for August's Journal Quilt!!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Heading to Festival of Quilts

'Thames Lock 101'  (Art quilt entry 458)
Today I catch the 6.43 am train(!) from London  to Birmingham  for my annual Festival of Quilts adventure!  I'm  spending Wednesday 'Free Motion Stitching from Life'  and  am on  a workshop  on miniature books on Thursday morning.
I'm  stewarding  the SAQA exhibition 4 - 5.30  on Thursday and Friday, do drop by and say hello.

 I'll be staying at Birmingham New Street Premier Inn for the first time this year, the Hilton , while convenient has just got too expensive.  

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Back to Birchington-On-Sea

 On Friday, I  returned to Birchington-On -Sea with Ian , he loved it as much as I did.  The tide was in, the sun was out, there were lots of happy, colourful holiday makers. We explored a little further than  I had last time  and discovered a different type of disintegrating  sea defence as well as some  nice examples of peeling paint. Lots of inspiration and a nice meal at Minnis Bay Bar and Brasserie thanks to a £25 premium bond win that came in the post in the morning. A lovely day out at the seaside.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Journal Quilt Update

 I  like my Journal Quilts to reference  what I've been up to : classes I've taken or places I've been.
So June's  JQ  above is  based around techniques  learnt  on CQ Summer School with a combination of photos printed on silk ( lighter colour)  and on black t shirt transfer paper ( more intense colour)
July's JQ  is based on 'Reading a Paint Surface' course at City lit , with  photos of final piece printed on cotton.  I've got several of these fabric studies  on the design wall , mulling over ideas.

A journal quilt of sorts ( it's 12  x 12 inches), this is my contribution to the SAQA Benefit Auction. All are now listed on the site, such a variety, and I'm currently thinking about choosing 6  for my ' dream collection' . It's very gratifying to see my piece  included in a couple already!
 Ian is on the mend and I've set up my sewing machines and  fabric is strewn around my studio composing  a quilt on the theme 'green ' for International Threads. About time too! Looking forward to FoQ next week!!!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Drawing Tuesday: Museum of London Docklands

 I haven't been able to  join the 'Drawing Tuesday'  group  for a long time( not since the end of May in M's 'Domestic Museum') so it was lovely to catch up with some members at Docklands Museum.
And I haven't been there  since  2003 when I met  Ian's dad for the first time! Photos from that time below.

  There's been a few changes in that time  but the cranes outside are still there!

I spent a fascinating hour looking round, there's so much of interest.  For drawing purposes  however, a lot of the galleries are  too dark even if the lighting gives strong shadows. I loved the shadows cast by the tools in the forge and the  telescopic  paper model of the Thames  Tunnel.  

  I settled for tools which were in brightly lit cases - initially looking at those for ship building ( my grandfather worked as a pattern maker on the Glasgow shipyards and I still have some of his tools)  but then was attracted by the interesting  shapes of the dock hooks  etc in the 'warehouse of the world' gallery.

 Afterwards in the  cafĂ©, how could I resist a pirates brownie to go with my coffee!
  Went on an adventure afterwards with Janet and Margaret  with amazing views  of the Thames .