Saturday 28 November 2020

New in at The Ropewalk

Fabric Necklaces

I've just made a delivery to The Ropewalk in Barton upon Humber so they would have new stock in time for the post lockdown reopening. There are lots of lovely things, apart from a whole lot of colourful fabric necklaces, including some wooden domino brooches...

Wooden Domino Brooches
and resin button brooches, both of which are new to The Ropewalk...

Resin Button Brooches

Some of these knitted tree brooches could even be Christmas trees...

Knitted Tree Brooches

and there's some bird brooches... 

Button Bird Brooches

and some button brooches...

Button Brooches

not to mention People & Places brooches...

People & Places Brooches

and coin brooches...

Coin Brooch

and if you need something to carry it all home in there are even some bike bags...

Bike Bags

Of course there are lots of other artists and makers represented at The Ropewalk so if you can, make a beeline for their Craft Shop and do a spot of Christmas shopping!

The Ropewalk Craft Shop re-opens at 10am on Wednesday 2 December 2020.

Sunday 22 November 2020

The Potential of Pattern - Sunny Bank Mills


Jenny Haynes - Modern Times Quilt

The Potential of Pattern exhibition is on in the Gallery at Sunny Bank Mills until Christmas 2020 which hopefully means you will get a chance to see it when the current lockdown ends.

Frances Priest - Gathering Place - Grammar of Ornament - India ii

Pattern: the underlying arrangement used to organise a surface or structure in a consistent, regular manner. This can be by the repetition of a shape, form, colour, rule or sequence. Exploring this theme, the artists and makers in this exhibition all uniquely reference pattern in their work, whether through process, inspiration or form.

Above and below are my top pics from the exhibition.  Here are examples of surface pattern design from Millie Rothera...

Millie Rothera - Digitally Printed Cottons

Next, ceramics from Charlotte Morrison (I'm a big fan and have a few pieces of her work)...

Charlotte Morrison - Jug

and print from Russell Hughes...

Russell Hughes - Language of Addiction 1 Series (part)

 Furniture from Nick James...

Nick James - Bespoke Furniture

Textile design from Vanessa Plews...

Vanessa Plews - Hand drawn design detail

Weave from Carol Penney...

Caron Penney - Twelve Avenues

and Jacqueline James...

Jacqueline James - Hand Woven Rug

and another quilt from Jenny Haynes...

Jenny Haynes - Paper Round 

I think Jenny Haynes' Modern Times quilt was the star of the show!

Sunny Bank Mills has plenty of car parking, cafes and of course the Gallery which includes a shop. It's well worth a visit!


Sunday 8 November 2020

Random Weave Baskets With Ruth Waller at the Harley Gallery

Ruth Waller's Random Weave Baskets

Before the recent lockdown, I was lucky enough to attend a workshop at the Harley Gallery in Welbeck and yes, it was in person and not on Zoom.  It was being taken by talented artist, Ruth Waller who was sporting a rather fab reversible skirt she'd made (sorry no pics!). We were making random weave baskets.  These were something I'd only recently come across and was looking to find out how to make when this course popped up on my radar.  Luckily I got one of the last places available.

Socially Distanced Workstations

Everything was very socially distanced and everyone was wearing masks - there was plenty of hand sanitiser and it all felt very safe.  All equipment needed was provided.

Equipment Provided

Ruth explained how to make the baskets and we all got started by making the form around which our basket would be woven...

Next it was time to weave the cane.  Here I go...

And here's my finished item...

My Finished Basket


When I got home, I added some decorative stitching round the hole...

Decorative stitching added

I need to try making a few more to improve my technique but I really enjoyed the afternoon and it was great to get out and chat to people at a real live workshop (at a distance and wearing masks because we want everyone to be safe).  Ruth was very helpful and full of tips to help us improve.

Edwina Bridgeman Artwork

The education room where the workshop was held had this great mixed media artwork on the wall by Edwina Bridgeman which I really liked.

It was a fab afternoon - thanks Ruth!

Saturday 31 October 2020

Bramble Jelly and Dyeing with Blackberries

My favourite jam when I was a child was Robertson's Bramble Seedless. So you can imagine how pleased I was when a recipe for Bramble Jelly appeared in my inbox!  And do you know where it came from - the lovely people over at Cambridge Imprint who produce those gorgeous patterned papers and stationery.  Here's some origami stars in their fab papers from their star garland kit...

Cambridge Imprint Paper Stars From Their Origami Star Garland Kit

You can find their recipe here.  It's super easy and it's delicious - which is great because my only other attempt at jam was a bit of a concrete nightmare!
Blackberry Gloop - A By-product of Bramble Jelly

But do you know what was also great about this endeavour?  It provided lots of Blackberry gloop which was strained off when making the jam.  This was great for natural dyeing!  I wrapped the gloop in some muslin, tied it up with an elastic band, and put it in a pan with some water and turned up the heat.  
Blackberry Dye Bath

I added a small amount of calico, muslin, linen thread and wool yarn all of which had been washed beforehand to remove any surface dressing.  These were all simmered together in the blackberry dye bath for an hour or so and then left to cool in the liquid over night.  
Unmordanted Fabric in the Dye Bath

The next day, having removed the dyed textiles, I did the same again but this time, the textiles added had been pre-modanted with alum.  A mordant is a dye fixative.  It helps bind the dye to a fabric to make it more colourfast and can affect the resulting colour.
Mordanted Fabric in the Dye Bath
When both sets of textiles had been washed I put half of each into some iron water (made from leaving some rusty nails in a water and distilled vinegar solution for several weeks) to modify the colour.  Iron generally has the effect of darkening the colour, often resulting in grey tones.  It should also increase the colourfastness of the textile in terms of light and washing.
Blackberry Dyed Unmordanted Textiles
Blackberry Dyed Unmordanted Textiles + Iron Water

Blackberry Dyed Mordanted Textiles

Blackberry Dyed Mordanted Textiles + Iron Water

It was good to be able to see the different results depending on the addition or not of the mordant and the iron water.  The iron water could have done with some filtering as the rusty particles have left brown rusty patches on the fabric where they came into cobtact with it.

By the way, we made so much Bramble Jelly that I've got some more blackberry gloop in the freezer if I want to have another go!

Saturday 24 October 2020

Open Exhibition 2020 at the Harley Gallery

Self-Portrait from Travel Card - Alistair Mavin

The Open Exhibition at the Harley Gallery in Welbeck, Nottinghamshire is made up of selected artworks made within 100 miles of the gallery.  Here are some of my top choices...

Alistair Mavin's Self-Portarit was made up of postage stamps
St Dymphna - Patron Saint of Stress & Anxiety - Susan Dodd

Eruption of Waders (Humber Estuary) - Stephen Todd

Glitch - Roanna Wells

Kingfisher (Blue Lobster) - Lucy Stevens

Let Them Eat Cake - Chris Cooper

Social Isolation - Marie Muir

Distant Boundaries - Myfanwy Williams

Francis and the Birds - Jaqueline Warrington

Under the Blossom Tree - Maria Emilov

Rabbit Hole Day - Susan Isaac

Juxtapose - Gill Edwards

As you can see there's a wide range of styles and media.  These are just a few of the works on show.  There are lots more fantastic pieces.  There's a cafe just next door, a farm shop and plenty of carparking.

Islanded Tent - Joanna Whittle

There's also an exhibition called Between Islands by Joanna Whittle, who won the open exhibition in 2019.  This explores the relationship between ‘creating worlds’ and ‘creating collections’ and the role curation and display of collections plays in developing narratives – real or imagine.

These exhibitions were due to continue until Sunday 1 November 2020 but had to close from Friday 30 October 2020 due to Covid Tier 3 restrictions. The cafe and gallery shop are still open however.