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!

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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!

Holiday sandwich

I’ve just returned from a week’s holiday in northern Spain, starting at the pilgrim city of Santiago de Compostela and then driving along the coast and inland to Asturias. It was a great combination of fantastic seafood, wild landscape plus a smattering of culture.

Skip the gallery below if you hate looking at other people’s holiday snaps! 🙂

Before I went away I had a great weekend in Stroud, with a stall at the first Collectives Fair at the SIT Select Festival. It was the chance to stay with some old friends whom I hadn’t seen for about 20 years, and meet some lovely new makers and customers.

It was also a fantastic surprise when Janet, a felter from Washington State I met at the International Shibori Syposium in Oaxaca last November, showed up. Janet was visiting the UK with her great aunt and found out I was going to be at Stroud so came along to say hello. It was lovely to see you Janet – and I hope you enjoyed the rest of your trip!

As well as selling at the Collectives Fair I managed to squeeze in a bark cloth workshop with Bobby Britnell – I’ll write a separate post about this later.

Then yesterday after I got back from holiday I ran a workshop on making felt flowers as part of the Chelsea Fringe at Nine Elms on the South Bank. This area is undergoing huge redevelopment – the US Embassy will be moving here in September – but the venue was pleasant and spacious and the participants were keen and did amazingly well given that none of them had ever felted before!

Some of the happy felters with their flowers

 

Contemporary Textiles Fair review

Phew! I’ve just about recovered from a very busy and successful Contemporary Textiles Fair at the Landmark Centre in Teddington at the weekend.

Image: Contemporary Textiles Fair

The private view on Friday evening was one of the busiest I’ve ever experienced, and with more than 60 exhibitors there was plenty to see.

Image: Contemporary Textiles Fair

The organisation was superb, and everyone was really helpful, especially the unflappable guy in the car park scrum at the end!

The felt corsages I’ve been making certainly brightened up my stand.

And a couple of pieces I recently ecoprinted with onion skins were the first to sell.

ecoprint scarf with onion skins

I didn’t have much time to have a good look at the other stands, but some near me are worth a mention.

Sarah Grove makes lovely porcelain pieces from plaster casts of stitched, stuffed and upholstered textiles. I couldn’t resist this jug, which reminds me of the pleated shibori pieces I make.

jug by sarah grove

I also signed up to No Serial Number, a quarterly magazine about eco-conscious and heritage craft, design and lifestyle.

I also liked the work of artist Rachel Pearcey, who had the stand next to me. Her drawings in black thread are very meditative.

Image: Rachel Pearcey

All in all, a great weekend – roll on next year! 🙂

Christmas events

This year I’ve got together with three other local makers to spread the Christmas load.

Because so many fairs and markets at this time of year tend to be on the same days, we’ve decided to organise some group stalls and take it in turns to run them. This allows us to have a presence at more than one event on the same day, as well as lessening the workload. That’s the theory, anyway! 🙂

The makers I’m teaming up with are:

Processed with Snapseed.
Processed with Snapseed.

Anna Jackson of Black Cactus London, who makes lushly gorgeous handprinted art and accessories

mosaic-keep-calmKes Young of Heart in Art Workshops, who makes stylish and colourful mosaics, including door numbers and pots

ben-bowlBen Willis, who makes beautiful furniture and other household wares using traditional green woodworking techniques and timber from sustainably managed woodlands

So here’s a list of events we’ll be appearing at before Christmas.

Dulwich Christmas Bazaar

dulwich-christmas-bazaar-thumbnailSaturday 12 November, 10am-5pm
St Barnabas Parish Hall, Dulwich Village
Run by Anna

Friends of Langley Park School for Boys’ Christmas Market & Craft Fair

red-baubles-soc-med-fb
Sunday 27 November, 11am-4pm
South Eden Park Road, Beckenham, Kent, BR3 3BP
Run by Kes

Camberwell Arts Market

camberwell-arts

Saturday 3 December, 10am-4pm
Datchelor Place, London SE5 7AP
Run by me

Handmade Palace Christmas Craft Market

handmade-palace Saturday 10 December, 10am-5pm
The Alma, 95 Church Road, London SE19 2RN
Run by Anna and Kes

Rookery Christmas Fair

Sunday 18 December, 11am-4pm
The Rookery, Streatham Common, London SW16
Run by Ben

As well as these events, I’ll have a solo stall at Furzedown Community Network Christmas Market on Saturday 17 December, 4-7pm. Women of the Cloth will not be doing their usual stint at Sprout this year, so this gives regular visitors a chance to see my latest scarves and accessories!

furzedown-xmas-market

Plus I’m taking part in the Diverse Makerhood Christmas Showcase, which runs from 14 November to 8 January. There’s a special preview on Sunday 13 November, 12-5pm, with 15% discount!

makerhood-flyer-1

The other advantage of taking part in group stalls is that it allows me to go away on holiday. 🙂

I’m off to Mexico tomorrow, partly for holiday and partly to attend the 10th International Shibori Symposium in Oaxaca. I’ve signed up for workshops with Michel Garcia, Ana Lisa Hedstrom and Jorie Johnson, so as you can imagine, I’m hugely excited!

I doubt that I will have time or facilities to blog while I’m away, but I may post the odd photo or comment on Twitter or Instagram, so do follow if you’re interested.

Hasta pronto!