Thursday, 16 October 2014

Green Tea Rust Dyeing Experiment

 Home with a day off after my stimulating  CQ Winter School workshop  on rust marks with Alice Fox, I wanted to have a go straight away while  it was fresh in my mind.  I found a  bag with some old tools in the cellar ( mainly some of my Dad's pliers) and some Green Tea bags bought from a herbalist in Iran which I hadn't got round to trying ( good for obesity apparently!)
As before I placed some watercolour paper in a tray and placed tools and items either directly onto the paper or wrapped them in silk or linen  with lashings of tea. I then lay a piece of silk chiffon over the top. The photo  below was taken just after setting up, the photo above was the marks on  paper after 3 impatient days!  I'm thrilled  with most of the results - I used the tea  when it was hot and there's less of the brown  staining resulting from normal tea, more variety in colour and tone.
The chiffon layer on top also picked up stronger marks
 I was also pleased with the marks on the strips wrapped round nails 9 although there were a few that took up hardly any caolour.

I liked the effect of the rusty tin bottom ( above)  and the piece of shelving bracket (below)

The wrapped pliers gave the most interesting  and  pleasing results: linen above, silk habatai below. Definitely an experiment to build on.  

Stitched Rust Marks

I've just unwrapped the parcels of stitched fabrics wrapped around rusting items that we prepared on Saturday afternoon as part of CQ Winter school workshop with Alice Fox . After a busy morning wrapping up items , wetting them with tea, it was nice to have  a change of pace, digesting our delicious lunch!  Alice shared some of her samples showing how she'd stitched into the fabrics before dyeing with rust and built up layers and textures. The picture below shows 'before' and the results above 'After' (these are the more interesting ones)
An intriguing idea was to incorporate a piece of metal between 2 layers and stitch around it, the idea being that the metal remained in it ( might be a useful way  to  weight a quilt) I prepared 2 samples with washers- one with linen , the other with cotton organza. In both cases I placed the fabric on top of some watercolour paper  and then put a silk chiffon layer over the top - hoping to catch any marks  above and beneath ( the photo below is after a days soaking in  tea.)

 In the case of the cotton organza ( above) with  stitching out from the centre, it was the paper beneath that gave the most interesting marks
For the linen, all 3: paper, linen and silk chiffon over-layer  provided interesting, sand ripple like marks. It's my aim   to  combine all  of them in one piece and also investigate this  particular method further

Rust Marks at Alston Hall -CQ Winter School

  It was my 5th time at Alston Hall on Contemporary Quilt Summer/Winter school  and possibly the best yet! I love the  peaceful surroundings looking out over the Ribble valley, the food is delicious ( 6 different  cakes at afternoon tea!)  and the company stimulating as ever.
 I was pleased to see that the  peeling  paint of the glasshouse door as featured in my 2 green door quilts was still intact and even more weathered!
 Last time I had a productive time sewing on a retreat but this time I was doing a workshop with Alice Fox on ' Rust Marks'
 Sue generously  shared part of the 10kg of rusty items she brought in  her rucksack on the train ( considerably lighter on our return as she donated several items )
 Rather than using vinegar  as the acid to create the rust marks on fabric and paper, Alice uses sea water in situ as in  her 'tide mark series' or  tea ( which works because of the tannic acid it contains). Apart from 'builders tea' she had a selection of other brews to try including red wine ( which went down suspiciously quickly)
  Our first exercise was using wire woll as this gives very quick results  and lovely marks.

 Than  we got busy  wrapping our items or placing them on  paper until the hallway looked like the scene of an archaeological dig.  Ideally the marks are better if  items are left wet for a few days and dry out naturally  but  most of us couldn't resits opening our parcels on Sunday morning so see what was happening

To retain moisture, I mostly covered my parcels or items with a piece of silk  chiffon or habatai  which also picked up subtle marks

 The  piece of chiffon placed over a saw blade resulted in this charming 'rapunzels tower'
 So that we could see the effect of a longer contact time, Alice had these wrapped nails which had been marinating for a week and we had the pleasure of opening them!
 Even better, we were each given a piece of the silk and linen to experiment with.

 I decided to make a little book ( as for Dorothy Caldwell's  masterclass and in  Crete ) and created several signatures which I have yet to sew together (still playing with the sequence)
 The   marks of wire wool on paper and a piece of silk organza wrapped around a nail was one of my favourite combinations. The subtle marks  and tones  achieved work well in a  small format and I like the interactions that happen.

   My piece-de-resistance  however was a much larger piece -  a fine silk dupion wrapped around the piece of rusting car I found on Aldeburgh beach that Ian very reluctantly allowed me to bring home.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Highlights of Knit and Stitch Ally Pally

Liz Hammond - 'A Poplar  and the Moon' . E.A.S.T
  5 days of creative textiles! 1 day at Knit and Stitch, 3 at CQ  Winter School at Alston Hall  with Alice Fox ( more in another post) and a day at home catching up and putting some of what I learnt into practice.
The first thing  at Knit and Stitch was 'Between the lines' by East Anglian Stitch Textiles - I was interested in how the faux chenille/ slashing  was used in Liz Hammond's piece.

 I liked how  the shadows  were integral to Jo Beattie's 'Precious memories' embroideries.
 Among the quilts on show as part of Zero 3 'signature' I particularly liked Cindy Kearney's 2 pieces

  Good to see the second part of  Prism's Coded, Decoded - once again it was the work of Consuela Simpson that caught  my eye and the graphic qualities of Alice Fox's black and white pieces so different to her tide marks.
 I treated myself to lunch in the Londesborough room, and then after a bit of retail therapy ( fabric from C2C and African Fabric Shop, linen threads from Empress Mills ) before a 2 hour workshop with James Hunting 'Transfer a drawing to cloth using couture techniques'. The method he uses (  drawing on silk organza  which is then stitched through) I probably wouldn't use  but the explanation was clear and he gave lots of tips for hand stitching. Most of all it was a fascinating glimpse into his working methods - lots of pieces and samples to look at in detail. The way he builds up couched lines to make interesting marks and suggestions of shapes  and leaves his tacking in to give glimpses of colour  produce such rich results.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Chesil Waves and Sirens

Last Thursday in Weymouth ( a week ago now!)  we got the bus  across the causeway to Portland to have lunch at the Cove House Inn - special of hake  with chorizo, spinach and mushrooms was  delicious. Rather  more tranquil scenes to when we visited in February  (below)!
 A few days after we visited in February there were monumental waves  that engulfed the pub ( below image from news item). As it happened during our visit this time the pub was covered in scaffolding  and they were just putting the finishing touches to new storm shutters. 
After lunch we strolled in the sun  along towards the Chiswell Earthworks  a land sculpture by John Maine. Along the sea wall  the Environment Agency was out in force, providing information on flood defences while they  were  having practices of the flood sirens( very loud - as it needs to be)

On Friday we went  into Weymouth itself for our annual visit to the beer festival  -  lovely to see the tall ship 'Pelican'  in the harbour. Our  favourite was GIPA from Gyle 59.
Then after lunch at the Ship we  caught the 5pm train home - a bit tiring but it  meant I could go to the Quilters Guild Regional day in Vauxhall the following day ( talks by  Linda Seward and Liz Trenow about their books )

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Fleeting Moments

'shibori 'Clouds
'Shibori' waves on Chesil Beach
You would be forgiven for thinking that our breaks in Weymouth revolve around food and real ales! Today we had the treat of a traditional afternoon tea at the 'Height's' Hotel and Restaurant overlooking Chesil Beach. The first time we've been inside, we usually make our way there at some point for the amazing views.
Probably our favourite spot however is the'Taste' Cafe at Chesil Beach Nature Centre- we walked there for lunch both yesterday and today. I never tire of  watching how the Fleet lagoon changes by the minute, with the tide rising and falling and different light and weather conditions.It formed the basis of my 'Fleet Mudflats' quilt  and I've had various bits of fabric marinating on my design wall for the last few months.

Lots of little waders (Dunlins?)spotted when I didn't have my  new binoculars with me ! 

colourful beach debris 
Seedheads at Smallmouth Bay 
Thumbnail sketches 
The dining table becomes my studio space - scraps of fabric for journal quilts today, mono-printing planned for Thursday (we're  visiting friends in Wellington tomorrow) and beer festival on Friday ( our 3rd)