I’ve been on annual leave this week so it was perfect timing when textileartist.org announced a week long free workshop with Gwen Hadley. I did a couple of their free workshops last year and it certainly pushes me out of my comfort zone and this was no exception.
Each day a ten minute video was released where Gwen explained each step. The first day was making marks on fabric, basically painting and stamping to create abstract designs. Mine were very abstract and random!…
We then had to cut them up and mix them together to make a new design, hopefully finding connections between blocks which we could then embroider. Whilst I liked the darker blue one as a piece, I just couldn’t get it to work with the other colours, it was too dominant. In the end I just used four of the lighter ones as I liked the way the swirls could be linked up.
Our next task was to embroider to link pieces together, often just simple straight stitch or running stitch.
As you can see I started with running stitch along some of the swirls, linking them together and adding extra loops. I also put wadding behind the piece both to give a bit of support and to add texture to the stitching.
Gwen then started to add other textiles to create the effect she wanted. Her style is very much abstract with colours, shapes and textures. I’m not very good with total abstract!
I then had an idea and ran with it…
Our next exhibition with Skipton Stitchers is called ‘There is no Planet B’ I’ve been thinking about various embroideries I could do about bees, as without bees there is no food and therefore no us, so we need to look after them more. I’ve planted a rose hedge on the side of our drive as a sort of nature pathway, there is much talk these days that we need nature corridors that will link one natural area to another, so birds and insects can easily forage along them. I decided that the yellow ribbon could represent a nectar path which we need to join up by planting nectar rich flowers.
I stem stitched the yellow ribbon and then just used running stitch to connect the two ends. I tried embroidering petals onto the yellow spots to make flowers but I didn’t like the effect. I then found the pattern from Raggedy Ruff which includes echinacea like flowers and cut several out of gold quilting fabric. I arranged them so the gold spots became the flower centres. I was originally thinking of trying to make the dark spots into bumble bees. It then came to me that I have some bee fabric…and they were perfect size. I did some free motion embroidery on the flowers and the bees and my piece was complete!
I trimmed the wadding and backed the piece with a dark blue batik and added a bee ribbon and a charm to roll it up and secure.
If I spot a suitable wooden reel I might stitch it on there, in the meantime it can roll up neatly and sit in my sewing room.
This workshop was a perfect example of trying a workshop that’s a style you wouldn’t usually try, it’s good to be pushed occasionally into a different style, even if you then retreat back to comfort. Textile Artist .org run a stitch club where every fortnight a different tutor releases an on-line workshop, several of our Skipton Stitchers members are in the Stitch Club and they love it. Membership is only opened every so often, usually preceded by a free one such as Gwen’s. I’d love to do it but I think at the moment I’ve too much on to be able to give it the commitment it requires to balance with the monthly cost. If you fancy being pushed and trying lots of new techniques and ideas, do have a look at it and follow the link.