Lambeth Open 2015

As mentioned previously, I’m taking part in Lambeth Open again this year, which takes place this weekend (3 and 4 October).

I’m teaming up with two fellow Makerhood members.

  • Gabriela Szulman creates wonderful collages, prints, dolls, jewellery and furniture, combining painting and decoupage (you may remember the fantastic shoe decoupage workshop of hers I attended). Gabriela is very kindly hosting for the weekend in her lovely new studio, and will be doing a decoupage demonstration on Sunday afternoon.
  • Robyn Parker of Archie Mac London is leading a crusade against beige, creating kaleidoscopic, playful textiles which she makes into bright, colourful home and fashion accessories. Robyn’s Chronicles of Brixton for the recent Brixton Design Trail featured items that people would save from a fire.

I will have my latest batch of upcycled indigo shibori scarves, natch, plus some examples of my latest felt work, like the seashells and eco-printed vessels.

Two doors down, printmaker Pauline Amphlett will be displaying etchings, aquatints, lino prints and collographs featuring London trees and stylised birds.

So do come along and see the lovely varied work on display!

Gabriela Szulman Open Studio is at 6 Empress Mews, Kenbury Street, London SE5 9BT. We will be open Saturday and Sunday 3 and 4 October, 10am-6pm.


Felt ruffle neckpieces

As previously mentioned, I’m not really a ruffle type, but there are ruffles and ruffles. 🙂

When I attended a workshop with Maria Friese in France earlier this year, I got a bit obsessed with making flaps. I thought I would try a variation on this effect by sewing in resists at the prefelt stage and then cutting them out after fulling.

So I made a conventional rectangular scarf from four layers of fibre, then at the prefelt stage sewed in diagonally some plastic strips to act as a resist. In the centre, where the neck goes, I used a strip in the shape of a semi-circle. There was some gathering and bunching at this stage, but during fulling this disappeared.

After fulling I cut out the resists, fulled some more and removed the stitches.

felt neckpiece autumn felt neckpiece purple

They sit slightly differently, caused by sewing in the resists at slightly different angles.

I’m not sure whether to trim the edges to create a smoother line or to leave them as they are, so I’m going to show them at Lambeth Open this weekend and get some feedback. I’ll also be showing my nuno-felted wall hanging and  some felt cutwork scarves, as well as the ever-popular indigo shibori scarves.

lambeth open flyer 2014 small

Lambeth Open 2013

lambeth openWoohoo! I’m currently a featured artist on the home page of Lambeth Open!

This annual event, where artisans across Lambeth open their studios and workspaces to the public, is on 5 and 6 October.

I’m going to be exhibiting with Women of the Cloth at Carol’s lovely house in Streatham.  As well as selling her felt, Carol will be running workshops, including needlefelting.

And we’ll have some guest artists exhibiting with us, including Zuzana Lalik, who specialises in geometric embroidery, upholsterer Virginia Tuck, and needlefelted dogs from Janet Thompson.

Women of the Cloth will be at 27 Mount Ephraim Lane, Streatham, London SW16 1JE on 5 and 6 October, 10am-6pm.

Pleating machine

It was back to school last week – or rather, back to Morley College for my weekly fix of textiles in a well-equipped studio. The building has been refurbished over the summer, with a new floor and decent loos (at last!), but the main attraction for me is the supportive atmosphere and passionate enthusiasm of the tutors.

Our class this term is much smaller, which is good for individual attention and space. The rest of the class are experimenting with mark making at the moment, but I have to get my head down and produce some stock for Lambeth Open on 6-7 October. I’m focusing on indigo and shibori – on felt, paper and fabric – and feel like I’m on a bit of production line at the moment!

Yesterday I dyed a couple of silk scarves, one using arashi shibori and the other itajime.

two silk scarves dyed with shibori indigo

Itajime can be a bit too regular and geometric for me, especially on such a fine silk, so I didn’t dampen this scarf after clamping, but put it straight into the vat instead. This meant that the indigo bled  more, creating softer outlines and a pleasing range of blues.

I also dyed some cotton lawn that I’m going to turn into pencil rolls – if my sewing machine hasn’t rusted up from disuse!

shibori dyed cotton

However, between indigo dips I did find time to have a go with a pleating machine that our tutor Debby found at the back of a cupboard. It’s a beautifully solid contraption, made in South Africa in 1948.

hand pleating machine

Although it takes up to 16 needles, Debby could find only three, but she’s ordered some more.

I threaded the needles, rolled the fabric around a chunky knitting needle, and fed the edge of the fabric between the mangle-like rollers. Then I cranked the handle slowly towards me, and the fabric emerged from the other side complete with three neat parallel rows of stitching.

Because there were only three needles, I fed the fabric through the machine twice. It was a bit trickier keeping it straight the second time because of the first set of pleating – this would clearly not be necessary with more needles!

pleating machine in action

I pulled up the two sets of pleats and dipped the fabric in the indigo vat. The result is a bit too regimented for my taste, but it could be combined with other forms of resist to make it more interesting.

shibori from pleating machine

On a completely different subject, many thanks to everyone who has voted for my Blog to Japan on Facebook. I’m currently in second place, though the person in third place is rapidly gaining ground, so every vote counts.

If you haven’t voted yet, please go to the Inside Japan Tours Facebook page and vote for Blog to Japan (the third one on the list in the first post). Voting closes tomorrow!

Lying fallow

I haven’t been doing much textile work recently, as I’ve been working on a couple of writing/editing projects.

Also, after the loss adjuster had gone through all the tendering process, approved the costs and issued a contract for the work on our house after the flood, it went into administration. So although the redecorating was supposed to start last week, we’re now hoping it will start next week.

But before that a removal company is supposed to come and empty four rooms and put everything into storage, so I probably won’t be able to do much textile work until the job is finished.

On top of that, I’m going to be a volunteer Games Maker for the Paralympics, starting on Wednesday until 11 September! So posting is going to be a bit sporadic for a few weeks until life (and the house) return to normal.

Looking forward, I am going to be taking part in Lambeth Open on 6 and 7 October, at the Portico Gallery. I’m going to focus on indigo pieces for this, so expect some felt vessels and “prints” on paper and fabric. I’ve tried mounting some of the indigo paper and I’m quite pleased with the results.


Edited to add:

In response to Hilary’s comment below, I should have said that the bottom print was done by binding fabric in loops (as in conventional tie dye) and then wrapping the fabric on a pole on top of a piece of paper. So the fabric itself was used as a resist, if you like – the print was the marks that were left on the paper once the fabric was removed. The fabric is pictured below.