Thursday, 23 September 2010

I won a prize!

here I am getting my winner's prize from the Mayor.

I entered the 'miniworks' judged exhibition in Hereford - the entries had to be no bigger than a twenty pound note.
The winning piece is at the bottom.

This one is another I entered called  'An evening alone' - hand and machine cords with the cup in soluble lace and the books from silk cocoons and handmade paper.  It's slightly squiffy because of a bit of over indulgence from the cup.

It's called 'Let your compost breathe'  Soluble lace sides, knitted layers, bobbin lace leaves and tatted lace flowers with machine cords, vilene leaves - lots of rubbish really!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

garden art

Forgot to take a photo in the garden at Urchfont - so found a good place  in my garden instead - I will finish it - I promise.  Finished my dandelion book and when I've learned how to do page turning on the blog I'll put it up.

Had a brilliant time at Urchfont - Ruth worked so hard for us and was so generous with her goodies. The mono printing was great - feel I learned a lot.  Was lovely meeting new people and catching up with everyone from last year.

Going kayaking and cycling and walking and playing with the grandchildren and my poor neglected husband for a little while before getting into module 1 seriously - though I can't promise not to think about it!

Hope you all had a good journey home and are now getting over the withdrawal symptoms.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Assessment piece

Finally finished the piece. I have a few more fish in hand in case they slump a bit more in the net.  When hung it is 5ft from the bar to the edge of the net.  In the middle it is 6 inches deep and the top of the net is 21 inches wide. The fish on the top layer are caught to the net so they stay in position. I used a shiny transparent thread to sew the net together and some of the fish to the net so I could leave the ends long to sparkle.

Close up of the bottom of the net.

Close up of the top of the net.

The digital picture quilted and machine stitched to show the ravaged sea bottom, areas still lively, the trawlers pushing forward and the wire currrency symbols showing what they are solely interested in.

Stretched out on the floor as I don't have a big enough bit of wall space to hang it up!

Design time 15 hours.

Construction time 63 hours approx

Cost £22 approx.

It fulfills the requirements for a wall hanging so I think it is fit for purpose. I am very pleased with it. The original design idea was to have the net hanging from the trawler picture on a concealed rod, but this did not prove to be practical. I think the idea of the net attached to the trawlers still works with the alternative hanging rod.  The hanging cords were handmade from a variegated wool sock yarn and were rather stretchy which is why they now have the 'arty' knots in them.  If I was making it again I would make these from a stiff cord instead.  The word ribbons made on solufleece and scrim were very stiff as I only partially dissolved the fabric; unfortunately they became much less stiff with handling so it was difficult to keep them in positions so they could be easily read.  If I was doing these again, I would experiment with various stiffeners.

Sunday, 27 June 2010


This is the composite booklet compiled to show the process of research,

choosing the final design and sampling for the various areas of the finished piece.  

Top to bottom:

1. The booklet opened up

2. The front page showing the digital image and a fabric translation

3. Inside front showing research, initial designs, cords,  fabric samples and the making of the net

4. Middle pages showing fish pictures, fabric samples, and fabric translations of deep sea creatures and plants.

5. Inside back showing samples of decorated papers as background to the digital image process and the making of the basic support structure.

6. Back cover showing the larger working design, the cord used for the net and the wire currency samples.

Records and authentication

Wednesday, 23 June 2010


Extras for the net - the devastated sea bottom has to give up everything to the net  -  so here are seaweeds, corals, starfish , sea anemones and sea urchins.

Chapter 11 assessment piece

This is the final piece mocked up to show positioning - still finishing to do on the pole, the word ribbons and the digital piece, a few more corals and a starfish to finish.  Saving the hand sewing for Wimbledon so I don't feel guilty!!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

asesssment piece progress

The bubble fish

Tried to stitch the bubble wrap with the machine but the needle dragged and stuck so I stitched these by hand.  I used 505 on one side and laid my fillings, then put the second bubble wrap fish shape on the top and stitched around with a sparkly thread.

Fish with various fabric manipulations.

Top - orange-red silk gathered and stayed with greeny blue raw silk panels and a bluey-green edging in twisted silk waste.

Middle - peachy orange silk corded with deep orange perle, topped with couched raw silk waste.

Bottom - pin-tucked green silk with a variegated thick and thin yarn edging.

I've deliberately given them all long tails as when they are all stuffed into the net I want a bit of chaos to emerge to give the feeling of panic in the entrapment.

This is the support for the net so that it will lie fairly flat against the wall when hung. It's made from pelmet vilene and fish, coral and seaweed shapes are bonded to it. They are deliberately vague as it is just a background which will be covered by the stuffed fish when the net is attached.

This is the back of the vilene support. I used my random-dyed drop cloth cut and sewn into wave formations and attached to the front to give a smooth edge all round.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

net trial

Quarter size trial of the net. The lace is made freely with the bubble wrap background as a rough guide to distances.  I like the irregularity caused by having to add bobbins ad hoc to allow for the irregular widening of the net. This will further distort when the fish, corals and seaweed are stuffed in. The cords will gather at the top ends of the net to form the hawsers.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Fish with edge

Following Sian's injunction to consider my edges - here are some edgy fish!

Assessment piece - sampling for the net

While deciding how to make the net for the fish I've sampled a few cords and I think I'll use a Torchon lace background stitch to make the net - I'll use oversize bobbins and mark out the shape on the lawn with sharp twigs for pins as I haven't a large enough lace pillow to make it in one.
From the top -
1. A bulky wool yarn finger corded by hand - too heavy for the net - but may be great for the connecting hawsers to the ship panel.
2. the bulky yarn finger-corded with a thin black and silver metallic yarn - like the unevenness of it but a little too stretchy for purpose.
3. as above but corded with a dark blue nylon filament yarn - again too stretchy.
4.The bulky yarn twisted with the black metallic and the dark blue filament and machine corded with a black/multicolour in the bobbin- like this the best - not too thick or thin - not too stretchy - has glints from the metallic threads like the sea water clinging.
5. Finger corded wool sock yarn - very attractive but not quite dark enough and a little too stretchy.
6, 7 and 8. Lovely blue/orange silk waste yarn - machine-corded with black/silver metallic or dark blue or both - love the hairy look but it blended in with the fish too much so the net pattern was lost.
9 and 10 Thinner black and dark blue yarns machine corded - too thin.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Research study for Diploma

Thinking about the Diploma on holiday - getting very snap-happy with the camera - have chosen Boundaries as my theme and the mind map shows the tributaries that are springing up so far.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

more Chapter 10

A computer generated paper for the fish shape. Translating the horizontal lines, the shadowy feel and variable light and texture.

Top translation: going for the shadowy light with trapping 'bits' under a strongly coloured sheer - needed a few more darker additions really, but still a nice fish.

Middle: used a cheap nylon curtaining with sheer panels for the light and shade and it had strong horizontal lines, changed the colour as I need more in the red orange range.

Bottom: tried some free machining in a dark thread with a contrasting head and a flirty tail.  used markal on top to make it more colourful but its not either a great fish or a good translation.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Chapter 10 - even fishier

Absolute final decision now for the piece!  I am going with the lively stuffed net attached to a long view of the ship mono print, with Sian's blessing. Really pleased with this as it looks to be a lot of fun.

Making the fish for the net now and trying to translate the paper textures in a few different ways.  Here are some of my efforts:-

1. The paper fish is cut from paper with a mono print which was then over printed.

Top translation: corded pin tucks with the cord showing on a soft turquoise silk - I think it is delicious!

middle: diamond quilted - tipping the crossing lines the other way - not so fond of this one - a bit bland and ended up with not so much texture when it was made up and stuffed.

bottom: lots of gathers for the horizontal lines and then stitched with wavy lines for the vertical lines - this is much more successful and has lots of texture and interest.

2. The paper fish was cut from paper which  first had lines drawn with neocolour crayons softened with water and allowed to dry then painted with runny acrylic  and salt added.

Top translation: serpentine stitch freely worked and crossing to make the bubbly line.

middle: the material itself had the vertical lines - a nylon sheer sold as curtaining - over a red metallic synthetic. Stitched with long stitches to gather the material slightly.  It's a bit of a free interpretation - but a lovely fish!

bottom: the material was a commercial print with corded pin tucks. I originally intended the back to show - but it actually looked better with just the relief as the material was such a good translation.  They all have their merits, but I like this one best.

3. The paper fish is dyed kitchen towel tucked on to cartridge paper.

Top translation:  corded pin tucks on both sides so sometimes the cord shows and sometimes the corded relief line.

Middle: seam pressed open and frayed together with lines of zig - zag couched cords - the least successful, I think.

Bottom:  the most successful translation - dyed silk with soft pin tucks pressed so they lie unevenly.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Chapter 10 - a bit fishy

The fish lines from the top:-

Top - I gathered some dyed sheeting and pulled the gathers variably and stitched to a firm heavy cotton stay to get the fish shapes. The middle fish was then machined on top of the gathers.  This didn't make enough difference to mark it out clearly from the adjoining fish so I stroked markal on top. I like the effect, but would make individual fish and join them, I think to get the variety.

Middle - I joined three different materials to see if this was better and used quilting and cutting around the tail areas.  The orange fish is pretty horrendous, but the definition is good.

Bottom - I took a length of dyed cotton and made corded pintucks with a 4mm needle, changing sides to get the different effects.  Then I pintucked across in the same way. I used different free maching to make the fish look different - but again I think making individual fish and joining would be better.

As the pattern of the fish lines is so pronounced I think there is a case to be made for using all the methods to produce the fish.


Thinking about the diamond shapes - I have tried dyed scrunched tissue, it is shown in the previous post where I cut out the diamonds and pushed the tissue in the gaps - this is the back of the big paper design. I tried one background colour, several background colours and the fish prints.  I forgot to take photos of the single and several coloured backgrounds as I rejected them so quickly! 

I am favouring scrumpling the fish prints to appear in the diamond gaps. I think as there can be several reddy orange diamonds I can avoid having a large fish in the contrast colour - little flashes are more effective. They will be sewn to the background material which will be quilted over wadding around the diamond shapes and the the fish lines applied on top, topped off with the net- sampling machine cords, twisted cords for this and the long lines to the monoprint.

I crumpled the monoprint until it was soft and floppy and then quilted to a firm background with polyester wadding.  The scarred and unscarred sea bed areas were free machined using fancy stitches to get small shapes effect without heavy stitching to avoid tearing the paper.  The sediment plume was hand stitched.  Detail has been lost - but maybe because it will be a 'long view' it is not so important.  Think I still prefer the cloth version.

This was printed on fine cotton poplin.  I machined the unscarred sea bed and the sediment plume areas first so they would not be flattened when quilting.  A firm heavy linen backing with thin polyester wadding was then quilted with duller threads in the scarred sea bed areas and the ship areas outlined with black and dark metallic whip stitch.  The areas of sea bed left unscarred were joyfully whip-stitched in appropriate colours with a variegated metallic thread in the bobbin

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Chapter 10 The final design and samples

Following on Jenn's comment, have had a go at amending design - does the process ever stop?!! - Now the mono print has a place as a long view of the ships and scarred sea bed and connected to the net with cords. The extras can be concentrated at  the top of the net.  Thanks Jenn.

Having chosen the large net as my final design I thought about the constraints of the project.  The smaller design is lively and colourful but the development needs to have pattern, the opportunity for fabric manipulation, machine stitching, one main colour group and still retain the liveliness and colour that would go with a net full of trawled sea bottom.

I experimented with tessellations and drew one that gave two stylised fish shapes. These will be for the background of the piece and I will sample for ways of giving texture and high relief to the shapes.

 The big fish shapes were cut from the different decorated papers. Tone is darker at the bottom of the net where the crush would be heaviest and lightens towards the top.

Questions about the larger fish shapes:

All different as in the papers?

Each line different?  My original thought was to have a connected line of the same colour and texture placed diagonally so when the slips are on top the edges show at different parts of the net. Gathering tighter and looser would produce the tessellated shape. Differences in the fish could be made with machining on top of the gathers.

I will sample to answer the questions about the diamond fish shapes:

one background colour?

low relief?

high relief?


Need to blend with the solutions for the bigger fish shapes.

As I intend to have more fish slips on the top of the background, I am thinking to make sure the shapes on the outside edges have plenty of   relief and texture. 

Sampling also for the net cords, hanging cords, and word ribbons.

The regularity of the tessellated shapes will be broken up by the slips made to go on top - these will be coral shapes, different fish shapes in different sizes and seaweed shapes - some poking out from the net along with the word ribbons and draining sea water. I hope this will answer both the demands for displaying techniques and an evocative design.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Chapter 10 bigger designs

Design A - I think this is my favourite now.  It is very 3D.  The back net shape was one of the A3 decorated papers, though it doesn't show - I was thinking to translate with a heavily machined and gathered base. The 'filling' is from my scrap bag (one of!) and I could have great fun making the 'catch'  in the decorated papers and translating by using lots of the free machining techniques for different textures.  The 'net' I'm thinking machined cords? twisted cords? net made on soluble fabrics?  The word ribbons like sea pouring out of the net could be backed up with more very thin torn fabric, threads and cords also pouring out.

Design B - I had the idea of a manta ray with this design.  It has a lot of the elements of the powerful research pictures.  The big design to be translated into fabric manipulations and the smaller to be printed and lightly quilted around the main areas - the 'tail' experiments with free machining the words on ripped ribbons, or pleated and machined on top. 

Design C - I like the drama of this design together with the fun of making things to put in the net.  The big dramatic boat shapes I wanted to be overpowering - thinking heavily pleated material to make them with machined lines on top and a bit darker than the photo shows.  I'm not sure about the amalgamation with the computer design - though I like the design in the middle instead of sea colours.  I've tried a few different variations but not entirely happy with any.  From the top - 1,2 3,and 4.

1. not enough tonal variation - the ship pieces are darker than photographed but thin they still needed to be darker

2. a bit plain and blocky

3. The best of the four I think, but has lost the mood of the small design where the black shapes are as overpowering as the ship is in reality.

4. Ship pieces again need more thinking, but could showcase the middle more - top edge needs more thought too for its finished middle edge.

Chapter 9 decorated papers

Some of the papers I have decorated for my bigger designs. They include swirls of gel and texture paste, sponging, spraying, allowing paint to run in several directions, salting, monoprinting and over printing.  Some were produced on the computer using the designs from earlier chapters.  Tissue has been crumpled on to cartridge paper with dilute PVA in the paint, as well as crumpled and painted on their own. I did get a bit carried away as it was sunny and I had a table outside, but you can't have too much decorated paper!