Tuesday 26 June 2018

Fairfax Court Yarnstormers are Blooming Marvellous!

Ann Driffield, Edna Shilletoe, Doreen Feetenby, Jose Smith, Marjorie Winn

The Bloom! festival in York, running from the 5-8 July 2018 is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Ancient Society of York Florists.  After attending a workshop run by York Learning to make flowers for the community art flower wall at York Explore Library, I thought, I know some people who'd like to get involved with this! 
Daphne Atherton, Jean Elliott, Jean Marshall, Hazel Laws

So I popped along to see the Fairfax Court Yarnstormers - stalwarts of community knitting, stitching and crochet projects.  And guess what - they've been Bloom!ing marvellous!  Between them, these magnificent makers have produced 140 knitted blooms for the flower wall...

Knitted flowers for Bloom!
And more knitted flowers for Bloom!

I'm sure York Learning will be delighted with these fab flowers - thank you Ann, Daphne, Doreen, Edna, Hazel, Jean, Jean, Jose, Marie, & Marjorie!

Sunday 17 June 2018

Unusual Mixed Media Embellishments with Jessica Grady

My dyed mixed media embellishments - elastic bands, cable ties, cotton buds & more

Recently I went on one of Jessica Grady's "Make Your Own Mixed Media Embellishments" workshops which was great fun.  

Detail of Jessica Grady's work

More examples of Jessica Grady's work
Jess is an embroidery artist and is inspired by surface textures such as barnacles and peeling paint.  Her work is truly original, colourful and inspirational.  She describes her work as "encrusted" and makes her own embellishments out of all sorts of unusual materials.  Jess's work has been featured in various magazines - Fibre Art Now (Spring 2018), Reloved (Issue 54) and the Embroiderers' Guild members' magazine Contact (46), not to mention online at Mixed Up magazine & Art Reveal (Issue 38)...

Fibre Art Now & Reloved Articles

Jess taught us to make our own embellishments and provided lots of different materials to experiment with.  It was interesting to see how each material took up the colours. 

Dyed paper & tyvek

And when we were spray painting - the background paper ended up looking great too...
Painted metal, wood & plastic embellishments

We spent the day dyeing, painting, melting and foiling...

"Sequins" from melted plastic

Foil added to the painted embellishments

Now I have lots of interesting materials to work with - thanks Jess!  If you fancy doing one of Jess's workshops, you can see what's coming up here.

You'll be hearing lots more about Jess this year.  She has become the Under 30's 2018 Embroiderers' Guild Scholar and so will be exhibiting at this year's Knitting & Stitching Shows in London, Harrogate & Dublin & will be appearing at Art& in York as an installation artist. 

Some of Jess's work will be on display at the City of York Embroiderer's Guild Triennial Exhibition from 22-24 June 2018 at the Tithe Barn in Nether Poppleton, York. More details here.  Why not come along!

Friday 8 June 2018

Postcard for the Embroiderers's Guild Stitching Together Exhibition

Holding the case that contains my postcard

Coming soon is the City of York Embroiderer's Guild Triennial Exhibition "Stitching Together" which will be held at the Tithe Barn, Church Lane, Nether Poppleton, York, YO26 6LF from Friday 22 June to Sunday 24 June 2018.  One of the exhibits is a series of postcards stitched by members which is also a competition.  Each postcard depicts a place and you have to guess where they all are.

Calico & pelmet vilene

My contribution is a postcard of a lighthouse that I chose to applique and stitch.  The lighthouse is one I have visited and that I have a photograph of.  (I haven't included the photo here in case it helps anyone guess where it is!)

Materials - dyed calico, cotton & yarn

The base of my postcard is calico bonded on to pelmet vilene which I then coloured with Inktense watercolour pencils and blended with a wet brush.  While this was drying I made a pattern for my lighthouse and cut out the various pieces from cotton and dyed calico that had bondaweb ironed onto it.  

Painted background and lighthouse pieces bonded on

Once the painted background had dried I peeled off the bondaweb backing paper and ironed the lighthouse pieces into position and machine stitched them in place.  Next, with a Frixion pen (which irons off) I drew on the extra details I wanted to stitch - the rail at the top of the lighthouse, the windows  and the pattern on the glass.

Lighthouse pieces machine stitched, frixion pen detail still visible

With this element of the machine stitching finished, I chose some yarn for the vegetation, laid it on the postcard and free machined it in position.  
Vegetation stitched in position

At this point I thought the background colours needed strengthening so I added some more Inktense colour.  When dry I hand stitched some extra vegetation.

Background recoloured and more vegetation handstitched

Then I machine stitched the front of the postcard to the back with a zigzag stitch.  The back of the postcard was piece of natural calico bonded to pelmet vilene.  Afterwards I printed off a copy of the postcard onto fabric and made a container to keep my postcard safe.  That's me at the top of this post holding the container that my postcard's in.

Finished postcard

Do you know where it is?  If you do, don't tell anyone - come along to our exhibition and enter the postcard competition and guess where they all are! 

The exhibition is open on Friday 22 June & Saturday 23 June from 10am to 5pm and on Sunday 24 June from 10am to 4pm. Entrance £3.  There will be tea & cakes!  Hope to see you there. 

Tuesday 5 June 2018

Bloom! - A Floral Festival in York

Paper Flower

I have recently had great fun at a workshop run by Deborah New for York Learning making flowers for the community art flower wall at York Explore (the main York Library for anyone who's wondering).  This is part of the Bloom! festival in York, running from the 5-8 July 2018 and beyond.  The festival is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Ancient Society of York Florists - who have held an annual horticultural show since 1768 - which is quite an achievement!  There are lots of things botanical going on and you can check them out here
Flower out of bin liners and pipecleaners
Flower out of old bags
Flower out of plastic bottle, fruit netting & more

Here are some of the flowers that were made by other people...

If you want to get involved why not make a flower or several - they could be knitted (if you want some flower patterns check out my blog here and knit them in any bright colour you like!), stitched or how about trying out some recycling or upcycling and invent a flower.  

Melted straw flowers

Since the workshop I've made a few flower heads from melted straws (thanks to Jessica Grady for the technique - watch out for more about Jess in another blogpost!).

So, if you want to get involved your completed flowers have to be with Claire Douglas at the City of York Council West Offices (open 8.30am to 5pm Mon - Fri) by 30 June 2018.  There are also more workshops on Sat 16 June 2018. Contact York 01904 554277 or email Claire at claire.douglas@york.gov.uk for more details.

Go on - make a flower - you know you want to!