Woven balls

In November last year I attended a hexagonal weaving workshop with Polly Pollock, where we made hexagonal baskets. At the end of the workshop Polly demonstrated how to make a woven ball using flat cane, but we didn’t have time to try it ourselves.

A few weeks ago I came across a pile of discarded plastic strapping – the type used to secure boxes to wooden pallets by delivery companies. It was about the same width and thickness as the flat cane, so much to ESP’s horror, I decided to take it home and have a go at making a woven ball. (His horror was largely due to the fact that I didn’t have a bag at the time, so he had to carry it. 😉 )

Hexagonal weave actually lies flat, so to get a rounded structure you need to use pentagons rather than hexagons. I started by using five lengths of strap to create a pentagon.

Then I used a sixth strap to weave another layer of five pentagons. This formed the bottom half of the ball. To create the top half I wove another layer of five pentagons – the trickiest part of this is lining up the ends of each strap so that they overlap correctly, tucking them all in to form the single pentagon at the top.

After finishing I posted the final result on Instagram, whereupon someone asked if I’d tried making the 10-strand sphere! Not being one to shirk a challenge, I went off and found the instructions for this.

I started off with a pentagon made from five straps again, but this time added five more straps to surround the pentagon with a layer of hexagons rather than pentagons. After that it’s a case of working out where the other pentagons go: each pentagon is surrounded by hexagons. It was very satisfying to finish this!

Talking of recycling, I will be taking part in The Good Life: Revive, Recycle, Restore at the Weald & Downland Living Museum on 5 and 6 May (bank holiday weekend). I will be selling my garments and accessories upcycled with indigo and ecoprinting.

The museum is a fascinating collection of rescued rural homes and buildings spread across 40 acres of the South Downs, and this themed special event includes a fashion exchange, upcycling demonstrations, a repair cafe and various talks and taster classes.

 

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2 for 1 entry to Contemporary Textiles Fair 2019

Next weekend I’ll be back at one of my favourite events – the Contemporary Textiles Fair at the Landmark Centre in Teddington.

In a converted church you’ll find a particularly strong line-up, selling everything from conceptual stitched pieces to wonderful homeware and wearable art pieces. There are also some interesting workshops – I would have loved to do the sculptural spoons but sadly will have to mind my stall! There’s a full catalogue here of the exhibitors and events.

Normal admission price is £4, but if you show the following flyer on your phone at the door, you can get 2 for 1 entry!

2 for 1 flyer

One of the other exhibitors at the Contemporary Textiles Fair is Romor Designs, who is also taking part in the Japanese Textile and Craft Festival at Craft Central this weekend. To be honest, the event is smaller than the word “festival” might suggest, but the quality is very high.

Rob Jones of Romor Designs is one of the two main participants, and he has a splendid display of indigo shibori, sashiko and katagami work.

romor designs shibori romor designs shibori

The other main demonstrator is Janine of Freeweaver Saori Studio. Saori weaving was founded in 1968 by Misao Jo, a Japanese weaver, and is more about free expression than perfect regularity.

saori weaving demo

One of Misao’s sons created the saori loom, which comes with a prebuilt warp, so setting up takes around 20 minutes rather than the best part of a day. Even more ingenious (to me), you can remove a work in progress from the loom to let someone else use it, and then replace it afterwards to carry on weaving. Thus the looms are perfect for studios where people can rent a loom for a couple of hours and then come back next week.

Janine had some lovely examples of her work, which often incorporates strips of fabric or ribbon as well as yarn.

saori weaving saori weaving saori weaving

There is also a handful of other exhibits, including the following.

Indigo block printed garments by Harumi Ikegame
Katazome stencil work by Sarah Desmarais
Dorozome (mud dyeing) by Yukihito Kanai
Kakishibui (persimmon dye) by Iris de Voogd
Kintsugi inspired work by Ross Belton

The Japanese Textile and Craft Festival is at Craft Central, 397-411 Westferry Road, London E14 3AE. It’s open today and tomorrow, 12-5pm.

Sparkle Fair this weekend

This weekend I’m taking part in the Sparkle Contemporary Craft and Gourmet Food Fair at the Landmark Centre in Teddington. I’ve previously done the Contemporary Textiles Fair at the same venue (and will be doing it again next March), but this is my first time at Sparkle.

Sparkle 2018 flyer

If you show the flyer above on your phone at the entrance, you can get 2 for 1 admission (normal adult admission is £4).

I’ve been experimenting with making ecoprinted scarves with coloured backgrounds. It’s still a bit hit and miss, but some of my successes will be on sale at Sparkle for the first time. 🙂

Sparkle is at Landmark Arts Centre, Ferry Road, Teddington TW11 9NN.

Opening times:

Friday 16 November, 6-8.30pm
Saturday 17 November, 10am-5pm
Sunday 18 November, 10am-5pm

RHS Plant and Art Fair and hapazome workshop

I was hard at work last week replenishing my stock of ecoprinted scarves for the RHS Plant and Art Fair this week.

With botanical art and photography competitions, talks and demonstrations on ikebana and Japanese garden design and of course some wonderful plants, this should be a great show.

And with this heatwave we’ve been having, I’m getting some great prints.

The RHS Plant and Art Fair is at RHS Lawrence Hall, London SW1P 2QD. There’s a late event tomorrow evening 5-9pm, then it’s open on Wednesday 11am-8pm and Thursday 11am-6pm.

Then on Sunday I’m running a hapazome workshop at Brixton Windmill’s Art in the Park. Hapazome is the technique of leaf (and flower) pounding, where you pound vegetation on fabric or paper to leave an imprint.

Here are some samples I’ve made for the workshop.

Let’s hope that people aren’t too busy watching the World Cup final and/or the Wimbledon men’s final to turn out!

Goodbye flaming June, hello flaming July

June has passed in a flash, as I have been preoccupied with running a four-week crowdfunding campaign for the Friends of Windmill Gardens – another of the hats I wear (which is much needed in this weather!). I’m relieved to say we exceeded our target.

Central Saint Martins textiles degree show

I did take some time off, though, to visit some of the degree shows. My favourite this year was the textiles degree show at Central St Martins, which always seems to be particularly strong in constructed textiles. AND they produce a decent handbook with photos and statements about the students’ work.

I was particularly impressed by Andrea Liu, who had tanned, dyed, woven and stitched smoked salmon skin that she collected from a local warehouse. Perhaps not surprisingly, she won the Mills Sustainability Prize.

csm andrea liu

I also liked Zoe Atkinson‘s rhythmic 3D knitted fabrics that incorporated solid materials like leather, calling to mind organic and manmade armour.

As a felter, Henrietta Johns doesn’t really fit into any of CSM’s categories of print, knit or weave, but naturally her experiments with felting through stencils and using natural dyes made her work of interest to me.

thread 2018

Last Saturday I got up at 5.30am to pack up the car and drive to Farnham Maltings to set up my stall at its flagship textiles show, thread 2018. This is the third year I’ve done it and I always enjoy the quirky venue, the interesting range of exhibitors and the great organisation.

Despite the heat, the morning was extremely busy – it was some time before I could get a photo of my stand without lots of people in front of it. 🙂

 

Then in the afternoon I gave a talk about my upcycling work. It was both flattering and terrifying to see the number of people who turned up for it – some were even sitting on the floor because there weren’t enough chairs! No pressure at all…

Thankfully everyone seemed to enjoy it, judging by the questions and enthusiastic comments at the end. And it was lovely to see some familiar faces, like Ginny Farquhar of Alice and Ginny, who I met at thread last year and who is also interested in natural dyeing (as well as much else) and is also growing Japanese indigo this year – we were able to compare notes!

And many thanks to my friend Magdalen Rubalcava, who got up early to come with me and hold the fort on the stall while I was giving the talk.

SLWA exhibition Silence is Over

After packing up and driving back to London after the show, it was straight off to the private view of Silence is Over, the exhibition by South London Women Artists.

I was pretty late so missed the speeches and poetry, but it was fantastic to see how the collective billboards turned out – very strong, thought provoking and provocative.

After that it was off to bed, exhausted! Hopefully July will be a little more relaxed. 🙂

 

 

 

RHS London Autumn Garden Show

RHS Autumn Garden show

Next week I’m taking part in my first RHS show in London. A lot of my customers are keen gardeners, so I thought this would be a good event to try.

As well as my ecoprinted and indigo upcycled scarves and garments, I’m going to try selling some felt pots. I really like making felt pots, and when I first had a market stall I tried selling them. Although people liked them, the most common question I was asked was “But what would I do with it?”.

Then recently I ran a felt pot making workshop at Brixton Windmill harvest festival. After the workshop, I sent one of the sample pots I made to my friend and festival organiser Magdalen. She promptly posted a photo on Instagram of two pots I had made for her, containing some succulents.

Felt pots
Image: Magdalen Rubalcava

This prompted a lightbulb moment – show, don’t tell! So I’m hoping that by showing people how they can be used, this will inspire them to think more creatively.

felt pot and succulent felt pot and succulent

I will also have a couple of the abstract seedpods to see if they attract any interest.

felt seedpods

Wish me luck!

Free tickets for thread 2017

The wonderful thread 2017 festival of textiles at Farnham Maltings is on 30 September.

There are exhibitions by students from local colleges and others, workshops (extra charge) including shibori, batik, rust dyeing and stitching, talks by Fine Cell Work, Mr X Stitch and Francis Tobin, and free drop-in making sessions.

Unfortunately, as I am one of the 55 stallholders, I won’t have the opportunity to attend these other attractions, but it certainly makes for a good day out. I did the event last year for the first time and met some great people united in their passion for textiles.

Tickets cost £5 in advance or £7.50 on the door – but I’m delighted to have a pair of free tickets to give away. 🙂

To enter the draw, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post saying what subject you most enjoy reading about in my blog.

Good luck!

Small print
  • Closing date is midnight at British summer time on Sunday 10 September.
  • The winner will be chosen at random after this and I will post the name of the winner in the comments on Monday 11 September – so please look out for this, as you will need to let me know the address to send the tickets to. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours I will pick another name at random.
  • Entrants must be 16 years or over and based in the UK.

 

Textiles Fair at American Museum in Bath

Last week was a blue fingernail week as I charged up the indigo vat to make some new stock for the Textiles Fair at the American Museum in Britain, which is on Saturday 19 August in Bath.

I do wear gloves when dyeing with indigo and when rinsing the work, but it’s impossible to remove stitches and bindings when wearing gloves, so I always end up with blue hands! The indigo washes off my skin fairly easily, but my fingernails remain blue for a couple of days.

Removing the stitches from this machine stitched shibori jacket was particularly time consuming. The main threads rip out very easily, but then I’m left with lots of tiny bits of thread that have to be picked out with tweezers! Still, I think the result was worth it.

machine shibori jacket

At least this ombre dyed linen cutwork dress didn’t need unstitching. The issue here was trying to match the ombre dye on the separate silk slip that goes underneath to retain modesty. 🙂

ombre linen cutwork dress

In fact I have a bit of an ombre thing going on at the moment.

And of course there are always scarves to overdye.

indigo shibori scarves

And more blue fingernails from unstitching these silk cushion covers.

ori nui cushion covers

The Textiles Fair is on Saturday 19 August, 11am-5pm, at the American Museum in Britain, Claverton Manor, Bath BA2 7BD. Entry requires a garden ticket (£7 for adults, £5.50 for over-60s).

And if you’re around East Sussex this weekend, some friends of mine are taking part in an exhibition at Marchants Hardy Plants – so you can stock up on some fabulous perennials and ornamental grasses as well as seeing some lovely textiles!

Expect fabulous felt from Carol Grantham, elegant embroidery from Lucy Goffin and Barbara Kennington, superb stitched portraits from Chrissie Messenger, and more!