Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Written in stone

Have you ever considered the ground under your feet as a source of inspiration for stitching? Walking along the Cobb at Lyme Regis there is something interesting everywhere you look.

The Cobb is the huge breakwater which shelters the harbour at Lyme Regis from south westerly gales, made famous in The French Lieutenant's Woman, with Meryl Streep staring wistfully out to sea from its top. 

This set of steps to the top must have been there since Georgian times (probably before that even) when the book/film was set, and are every bit as precarious as they look!

There is a patchwork of Portland Stone forming the sloping surface, and the marks are fascinating - very reminiscent of stitched lines.

It's a kind of limestone, studded with fossilised shells -

these are known as Portland Screws.

Elsewhere the quarry marks are visible, looking like rows of French knots

and lines of quilting.

This is my favourite bit - rusty iron bars stitching the stones together.

Meanwhile round the corner, someone has pulled the plug!

Always plenty of rusty things to see ...

Hope your bank holiday has been just as inspiring.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Stamp collecting...

Over the last few weeks the Inspiration to Stitch students have been busy printing and colouring fabrics using a variety of techniques.  One of our favourite resist techniques at InStitches is flour paste, especially when combined with our best printing tool the humble potato masher!  Students are always surprised at the exciting marks made by the most domestic of tools.

Here's a round up of some of the tools and the resulting marks made using flour resist...

An everyday potato masher.

A scalp brush from the pound shop, twisted or stamped it makes a great mark.

Grandma's plastic doilies.  Tricky to find these days but cake decorating ones work well too.

Or try the local cheap household shops, this is a plastic table runner! 

Children's aisles in the supermarket provide rich pickings such as paint dabblers and bubble wands- thickened procion dye.

Whilst the DIY department has grout spreaders, dabbed or scraped the resulting mark is really interesting.

And even the pet department can suprise - okay, I own up, I actually got this horse stirrup from the charity shop ( yes really! I got it free because they only had the one....). Here Terry is using it to print with thickened procio dye.

And this rather alarming print tool is a cheapie foam hair curler used by Gill! 

If you've used something strange to give an interesting print mark do send us a photograph of it and the resulting print!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The sounds of mark making

What do you listen to when you are being creative - sewing, working in your sketchbook, painting or hand stitching?  Terry and I have quite different aural tastes.  Terry often listens to music 

whilst I mostly listen to spoken word, often Radio 4 but sometimes an audio book. 

But recently I've shifted my workspace downstairs into the conservatory (because my workroom is just too messy, but that's a whole different post subject for later!)

Working in the conservatory not only means I have a different quality of light - it's north facing overlooking the garden whereas my workroom is south facing overlooking the road, but I can also fling open the doors to the garden and let the outside soundscape into my working environment.  Suddenly I have another aural choice!  Bird song fills the room, but so does the shrieks of children playing, lawns being mown and, because of the glass roof, the sound of the rain falling.

This change in the sound environment has lead me to wonder what effect it will have, if any, on my mark making - by hand or machine, in stitch or pen.  Certainly the change in workplace seems to have energised the creative process (which, given the lack of enthusiasm of late, can only be a good thing!)

One textile artist who harnesses the creative forces of sound is Debbie Lyddon, who will be our guest tutor in June.

Debbie Lyddon: Marshscape Collage #9, Linen, wax, metal, linen thread

In her artist's statement Debbie states 'My practice aims to present a multi-sensory interpretation of my surroundings – one that can be seen, touched and heard.’ 


Debbie Lyddon: Soundmark Book, Handbound cover, watercolour paper, watercolour, pastel, graphite stick

Our workshop with Debbie promises a treat: You will discover new ways of inspiring your creative work by using the sounds around you as inspiration. Using drawing and stitch you notate and interpret sounds that she has recorded (and ones that you will create yourselves) to create an exciting new vocabulary of mark making. 

At the end of the day you will have a collection of experimental drawings and samples that reflect how you ‘see sound’ and you will have formed an excellent new way of approaching future work.

If you would like to join us then all the details can be found via the Textile Adventures link on our website: http://www.institchestextilecourses.co.uk/debbie-lyddon---seeing-sound.html.  I, for one, can't wait!