So sorry for the radio silence – the past few weeks have been filled with doing rather than writing! Here’s a round up. (Warning – lots of pics!)
I had a wonderful time at the two workshops I ran in Kent on felting and ecoprinting. Two very enthusiastic groups of ladies made some beautiful work. Hopefully we will be able to arrange some more workshops in the future.
Artistic window display featuring dentures and dental implements:
More (and more!) dental implements:
And a cute Italian poster for toothpaste:
I also went to the Chelsea College MA Textiles exhibition (finishes today). I loved these beautiful ethereal garments made from discarded fishing nets by Jialu Ma:
Hongyangzi Sun’s knitted magnetic building blocks were lots of fun:
I also liked Anum Rasul’s architectural textile constructions, combining hard and soft elements:
And Miles Visman constructed a fascinating colour exercise showing how embroidered panels change under different lighting:
Inspired by nature
I spent a lovely weekend in Deal in the gorgeous cottage of a friend, going for walks on the beach and in the countryside and sitting in the garden.
I thought this was a giant dandelion but I’m told it’s meadow salsify:
Spot the crab (or ex-crab):
Work in progress
I’ve been experimenting with coloured backgrounds in ecoprinting:
And I’ve also been trying some weaving with palm fronds. In my back garden is some kind of palm. I don’t know what it is or how it got there – I didn’t plant it! The lower part has lots of dead fronds so as I was tidying it up a bit I thought I would try a bit of weaving with them. They are surprisingly easy to work with and I like the frayed ends where they were removed from the trunk.
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!
When I first started doing indigo shibori I made quite a lot of fat quarters. However, since I started upcycling scarves and other garments I don’t make so many. I have limited time, and a hand-stitched and hand dyed shibori piece takes quite a lot of time to stitch (and unstitch!). This makes it look expensive compared with all the printed fat quarters out there.
So I was thrilled to receive some photos from Jane, a quilter who had bought some of my fat quarters, showing the end result.
Not all the indigo work is mine – she made some of her own fat quarters (very talented!). I think you’ll agree that the overall result is stunning.
It also prompted me to go and dig out some other photos sent by creative customers. A couple of custom orders via Etsy resulted in a shibori blind and a shibori footstool.
Then at thread 2016 at Farnham Maltings a visitor mused about the possibility of cutting up a linen shibori pillowcase to cover a lampshade she had just bought. I offered instead to make her a custom piece of fabric – this was the result.
Finally, of course, there was the amazing wedding dress where I provided the ecoprinted fabric and the bride’s mother made the dress.
Isn’t it wonderful seeing what other creative people do with your work!
A couple of months ago I showed you a sneak preview of some ecoprinting I’d been doing for a special commission. I can now reveal (drum roll!) that I was working on fabric for a wedding dress.
The stunning photo above is by The Kitcheners, who were the official wedding photographers. It reminds me of a Pre-Raphaelite painting, with the woodland setting off the autumnal colours of the dress perfectly.
It was nerve wracking to be asked to produce the fabric for such a special occasion but I’m over the moon with how it turned out.
It started when Daisy, an Etsy customer who had bought one of my ecoprinted scarves, contacted me to say that her daughter Mary was getting married, loved the scarf and wondered if I could ecoprint some silk for her wedding dress.
I admit my first reaction was panic. What would happen if it all went wrong on such a big occasion? And then there were the practicalities – I steam my ecoprinted fabric in a fish kettle, which limits its width to around 50cm, and I thought a wedding dress would require acres of fabric. But I agreed to talk about possibilities.
When we met up I explained the limitations of my facilities, but after we discussed the design of the dress they were interested in, it became clear that it could be possible.
I went off and printed some samples so that Mary could choose which colours and shapes she liked – and then took a deep breath and started printing the actual fabric. As ecoprinters know, there can be considerable variation in how leaves print, depending on the time of year, so it was important to try to get consistent results by printing all the fabric within a short period.
Each piece included rose and cotinus leaves for design continuity, plus a third type of vegetation for variety. These included sycamore seeds, eucalyptus, short-fruited willowherb, maple leaves, dock leaves and flowers and cranesbill leaves.
Daisy made the dress herself, and I think you’ll agree she did an amazing job. The silk was incredibly lightweight, and I wondered if she would have problems sewing it, but she said it was quite easy in the end.
As Mary was very interested in the process, I made her a small book as a keepsake. The front and back covers were covered with the cotton fabric dipped in iron solution that I used during the printing, and five internal pockets included some of the printed samples, dried sycamore seeds and a carefully wrapped rusty nail used to create the iron solution! I adorned the front cover with some more sycamore seeds stitched together.
So despite my initial trepidation, this was a wonderful creative collaboration to be part of. Mary was a beautiful bride, and both Daisy and I are proud – and relieved. 😉