Monday, 15 July 2013

The Sparrow and I.

A few weeks ago, I challenged myself to work in a different way producing a series of hand stitch sketches of the humble sparrow, in response to Anne Kelly's request for sparrow art.
(See 'Stitches for Twitchers' blog-April)

Choosing an appropriate finale for a project is an important decision....otherwise work gets confined to the 'what on earth can I do with this'  box from which there is seldom escape!

Well, hand stitch sketches deserve a hand stitch sketch book, so the decision was made.

Although I wanted to keep the book simple using calico and sparrow colours, I felt a little text would give added interest. But what?
For a few days I watched sparrows, read about sparrows and listened to sparrows. Noisy chirpers! That phrase played over and over in my mind until a little poem was born....half about sparrows, half about me.'The Sparrow and I'.


Lines of the poem appear opposite each sketch thus encouraging the reader to turn the pages and read a little more.

The final page where I achieved my aim of stitching in a freer way, using larger and fewer stitches, a hand stitch sketch!

Any way, enough teasing you,here is the whole poem, dedicated to all sparrows and textile artists.

The Sparrow and I.

Straw collector, grain hopper,
Textile hoarder, crafty shopper.
Cowboy builder,puddle splasher,
Thimble rigger, needle flasher.

Feather duster! Feather stitcher!

Clever clinger, crumb picker,
Bonda webber, finger pricker.
Speedy pecker, crocus ripper,
Quick unpicker, nifty snipper.

Noisy chirper, insect finder,
French knotter, bias binder.

Social grouper!  Stitch in a hooper!

So, this little project has an appropriate end. When I reached this stage, I thought of the way people bring valuable old books out of store and lay them carefully on a cushion to be perused with reverence.
So now 'The Sparrow and I' has it's own cushion to lend it gravitas!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Sizzling Stitches

Stitch Camp 2013....Final Day!

The Wednesday Group are dedicated to their art. Nothing stops their stitching! Last year clad in raincoats, several layers of woollies and wellies, they stitched on. This year, wearing rather less....I won't specify...and with fingers less numb, their needles flashed to a frantic finale.

First thing, dew still on the grass, saw the early birds pulling out their day's work in the gazebo outside the summer house and planning breakfast.

Chocolate brownies are a good choice. We stitchers know that the iron in cocoa fortifies and therefore gives the ability to stitch longer. ( Free health tip.)

Now to down to work. One of our group, Kathleen, carries round a little suitcase containing a glorious confusion of threads in a loose bundle. Hence when one of the clan short of a specific colour ask 'Have you got...' the answer is 'Yes' before the question is finished. Actually this is not quite true, we just want an excuse to handle this most wonderfully thready concoction!

All week, we have been aware of wafts of a most haunting perfume drifting our way. It wasn't until Friday when we were busy with our installation art ( See last Friday's blog...soon to be animated!!!) that we discovered it's surprising source. Lois found it necessary, for the sake of art,to be face down on the lawn and declared it to be the white clover. None of us realised that the humble little flower had such a lovely scent. To be honest, we have it in our lawn and mow the heads off weekly. We should leave it as it's a good source of nectar for the bees. ( Free nature tip.)

Sorry- it looks a boring photo......but I include it for it's scent alone.
As the sun got higher in the sky and the rest of GB headed for their TV sets to watch Wimbledon, we decamped to a shady cherry tree for lunch.

As you can see, a blackbird had already started his, and in a fit of pique continued to bombard us with half eaten fruit for the rest of the day.

Look carefully at the delicious meal here. A favourite choice of Savoury Muffin and salad and this is the reason why Kathleen worked so hard all day. ( No, she wasn't baking...more about the muffins later.)
Reading thus far in this particular blog may suggest that we are food obsessed....... but take a look on the left, someone can resist lunch on the table in order to complete her work! I told you we were dedicated.

Actually, the reason why there's more food than stitches is that many of my 'work in progress' shots were out of focus. I'm hoping someone else has a few to fill in.

Although I managed to capture the next stage in Alison's beautiful faded rose picture.

On the final day, Ann was working in the style of Kathleen and making a badge for herself. This bore the legend 'Wild at Heart'!

Ann hopes to finish this gorgeous little scrap soon, ( as her fingers couldn't keep up with her Guru's that particular day.) We hope she will wear it always. ( Lois added 'but not in the bath.')

Kathleen is renowned for her beautifully worked badges bearing pithy statements. It's hard to believe that the writing is stitched! All day she worked  until the very final moment of our stay producing a badge as a thank you gift for Sue Lim, the owner of the gallery and cafe where we have had the pleasure of working all week.

This badge was a real work of art and I'm sure if Sue wears it as she promised, everyone in search of delicious morsels at 'Blue Ginger'  will be encouraged to try those magical muffins.

Hurrah! Our hundredth blog. The celebrations are about to begin........

Friday, 5 July 2013

Phew what a scorcher and the March of the Blobs

Today at Blue Ginger we were a sedate group of three.  Anni stitched a jolly bird, Alison worked on a rose collage of fabric and text, I finished my blobs.  Blobs?  Yes, last autumn I started a piece which required my making lots of round blobs on metal stalks, covered with shower-caps made from chopped up silk ties.  Ok, so maybe that doesn't make much sense, but if you come to the show in September you can see the finished piece.

The weather was lovely, sunny and a light breeze.  It actually got a bit too hot, and we moved around the garden to catch the coolness.

When I finished the blobs Anni suggested setting them on the flowery lawn, and then moved them around while I photographed them (first day when I didn't have camera and tripod!) so that I can make an animation.  More later.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Laughing with Lindsay

Today was group challenge day- stitch an applique panel the way Lindsay makes her comic images of friends.

 We were provided with neat A5 pieces of calico backed with pelmet vilene, and set off to draw images, trace them, cut the traced image ( having first labelled pieces so that purpose and right side up were known), and then cut out coloured cloth, back with bondaweb, attach to calico base and stitch in place then embellish. Those of you who know me will not be surprised that I stopped paying attention part way through the list of instructions. I also got distracted by the wind blowing my scraps of coloured fabric off the table into the grass. I was chopping up old silk ties I had painted, so the fabric was very light....even those working in felt had a problem with gusts of wind.  I made a swift and inelegant work which will have to count as a learning piece - could do better if tried.  I have been provided with a spare calico/vilene base, bondaweb and tracing paper for a second attempt.

I amused myself working on my blobs for my stairwell piece, making more wire legs for birds, and continuing to learn how to draw on the iPad. Blogging on the iPad is continuing to escape me, so no instant reporting.

Kathleen had kindly let her hair do its wild thing, helped by the wind, which made her fun to draw,

and Katie worked merrily on a piece commemorating a significant event in her little daughter's development.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Blue Ginger Summerhouse

Back for another few days of sewing jollity at the Blue Ginger Gallery.  We have two gazebos so we can spill out of the summerhouse.  This time last year we were huddled under coats, visors pulled down over our foreheads, struggling against the sinking of our chair legs into the sodden ground.  Today was dry but cool.  We had come prepared with thermals, scarves, spare sweaters- and also went into the summerhouse for lunch to warm up.  At least it was dry.

Tomorrow we are all working to Lindsay's brief of a humourous picture on a stiffened calico base.