Sunday, 23 August 2015

C&G Module 6 Chapter 10 completed

Chapter Ten

Final Port of Call


Throughout the course, books have been recommended and wherever I have been able to afford to purchase them, I have. I now have a wonderful library which I can use into the future. Some will be re-visited frequently, some less often.  

There are too many to list individually but I have made a spreadsheet of my library and whenever a new book is recommended I search my spreadsheet to ensure that I don't already have it. This has happened twice so I am trying to avoid a repeat.

I have over the last 20 months visited shows at the NEC and West Point where I have gained inspiration from so many textile artists. Exhibitions have been attended at the V&A, the Holbourne Museum, The Costume Museum in Bath, The Textile Museum in London and Art Trails around the area focusing on textiles. 

I use the internet a lot, looking perhaps for a fabric, product or thread that I need and get quickly drawn to looking at peoples' work. I am an online member of Workshop on the Web, Be Creatively and Distant Stitch members' sites. I read recommended peoples' blogs and visit inspirational sites including Pinterest. 

I purchase magazines, Embroidery and Stitch, Through Our Hands and Selvedge and am a member of the Sarum machine embroidery group (MEG) and Salisbury Embroiders Guild where there are practical and theoretical events to learn and practice new skills. I am a member of the National EG.

Time and Costs

I have kept time and cost sheets throughout. 

Apart from the cost of the course and certification, I have spent around £640 on materials. 

In total and I am not very good at recording this, the course has taken me 822 hours to complete but this is not totally accurate. 

Health and Safety

The Health and Safety list was completed in the relevant module and nothing has been added


Photographs have been taken during each module and are included in one chapter of each module. 

Overview of the Course

  1. Skill progression - Three effects that I am particularly pleased with are; 
    1. Trapunto quilting
    2. Paper and fabric feathers
    3. Granite stitch in metallic threads now that I have found one that stands up to the speed and intensity of the work
  2. Have expectations been met? I wanted to learn machine embroidery skills as before I started I had been to a workshop and stitch a complex piece which made me realise that I had none of the underpinning skills, so looked for a suitable course. This course has given me those skills and so much more. I look more closely at textiles and designs, the natural and made world and see things more differently than before. 
  3. Three samples from the course that I like most are very difficult to choose as throughout the course I have enjoyed and loved and then moved forward and created another that gave me a similar feeling but if I have to choose then - 1) the quilted bunch of grapes because I achieved texture and tone using a range of techniques, fabrics and threads.  

    2) The McQueen Armadillo boot because I was able to create something through fabric and stitch to create a sample which was comparable to the artefact from which I drew inspiration

    3) Growth and Decay, which was made to represent fritillaries and ferns stitched with metallic gauze between an organza outer and attached to a 'floor' of woven silk

  4. Three samples that I was not so happy with are almost as hard to choose. 
      1. Module 4 Chapter 6 on rubbings were disappointing and if I am to use these again in future, I should practice the technique more thoroughly - so not one sample but all the rubbings, particularly wax over card shapes were not successful
      2. Module 3 Chapter 8 assessed sample 'This sceptre'd isle' was much an immature sample inasmuch as I had not learnt techniques to make this sample (which was at the time quite intense for me to make) into a well-created piece of machine embroidery. If I was to make this type of sample again, I would use more free and creative techniques that I have learnt since making that sample.
      3. Module 2 Chapter 2 - transfer painting. I seemed unable to produce subtle colour when heat transferring paint to man-made fabrics. Ways to improve this are several. Try harder to find subtler shades to transfer or use different fabrics - acetate satin seems to hold the bright colour more than synthetic chiffon and cotton which I have done since. I have also found that if I paint the background that I want, then I can print or photocopy onto printable fabrics which works.
  5. Three samples that show the most improvement in my skills in machine stitching again were really hard to choose but I have and the first is an earlier piece of the owl guarding her eggs on a wall hanging which incorporated a lot of techniques

    The second is a piece of quilting where the stitching, colour, form and technique come together to create a pleasing image

    And the third is the piece on poverty and invisibility of the homeless inspired by a poem. I really enjoyed developing this piece as the words of the poem affected me so there is a lot of emotion in the work.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the course which has taught me so much. Today I looked through all my work to complete this chapter with likes and dislikes etc., and was astonished at what I had made over the length of the course. 

    My tutor, Janet Crowther has been an amazing mentor and guide, and a support if I wobbled, encouraging when things weren't so good and it was such a joy when she wrote 'brilliant' on feedback. That really made me want to do well. 

    I would encourage anyone to take this course, the learning opportunities are a real kickstart to further stitching. I will miss doing the work.

C&G Module 6 Chapter 9 completed


Below are the pieces that I have made to complete the final sample. 

A small shoulder bag with curtain material as a base stitched with an automatic pattern, cord made from zigzagged threads and attached as a handle and a leather strip applied as a fastener through holes created in the fabric

A suitcase made from thread waste trapped and stitched between organza layers - cord was made with threads and zigzags to hold and made into straps and a handle. The cords are secured with buttons made from acrylic waxed Indian paper. The case is lined with stiff card to support the soft structure

This rucksack is constructed from dyed silk rods stitched to a silk base and embroidered with contrasting threads in automatic patterns. Cord was made in the same threads and used for the handles and fastening. Eyelets were made using the sewing machine programme.

This box represents a tea chest. and is made from the seals of coffee tins, zigzagged stitched together with the handle also made from the same metal. The box is lined with acrylic waxed Hindu newspaper and and outside of the box rubbed with bronze embossing powder to represent rust.

This shoulder bag is made from quilted fabrics. Cottons sandwiching wool batting, then free embroidered with a 'jigsaw' design in the a thread to match and a thread to contrast with the outer fabric. The handle and closing strap are made from a tube stitched and turned with doll finger turning tools. A stitched slot was made with blanket stitched thread through which the strap fits

This little bag is made with space dyed felt, stitched with circles in free embroidery then covered with organza, the square pattern added and then the organza burnt back to reveal the circles of stitching below. The strap and ends are from the same fabric. This bag doesn't open and is stuffed with polyester toy stuffing to give it substance.

This box is constructed from a sheet of heat burnished copper and copper mesh, stitched as a whole then cut to create the box and lid. The box is lined with space dyed cotton supported on Vilene held with a couple of stitches at each corner. 

This brief case is made from leather found at a scrap store , stitched with glove thread and the construction finished by hand. The gold lining is leather but used to signify that the owner of this bag is a smuggler!

This box is made from the layered fabric the corners constructed with machine zigzag and unlined as the base fabric is a Gelli plate made some time ago. 

This 'dolly' bag was made from painted Tyvek covered with space dyed scrim, heated to shrink, cut to a circle and eyelets stitched close to the satin stitch finished edge and threaded with a cord made with matching thread.

This bag was made from the glove thread 'woven' fabric made on a water soluble hooped gridded base and stitched with green thread. The ends of threads were left free to create the tassel bottom of the bag and the handle from some of the 'fabric' This bag belongs to the porter who will have it over the handles ready to go to the temple after he has dealt with the luggage. In side the bag he will have 'marigolds' made from knotted cord and chenille.

The dimensions of the bread box were measured and red silk supported on Vilene was made into an internal framework.

I had though to use wire for the axle and supports for the trolley but this was insubstantial 

so instead, coffee stirrers were covered with a broken fabric to denote wood and attached as handles to the trolley. The 'trolley' box was then painted later in brown acrylic paint.

The slots were created for the wheels which would be made from Dorset buttons and the palm leaf interior base added

Some of the bags had not been photographed and these were added later.

This 'shopping' bag was made from cable stitched fabric backed with silk and cord straps attached

This brief case was made from the wine bottle collar 'fabric' and a tab and slot used to fasten it

This bag was made using the 'star' shaped pattern and the long and short cable stitched 'zebra' fabric. Tabs were added at each point and a cord made and threaded though to close the bag

This basket was made from the bark and gilded 'fabric' - difficult to stitch as the woodiness of the plan leaf broke three needles! The handle was made with needle punched copper and attached with hand stitching.

The constructed trolley with the base draped with gold metallic embroidered silk - the trolley cover is completely detachable so perhaps the porter onto drapes his trolley for high days and holidays. 


Side view of the completed trolley      

Each bag has a tiny label (right of page) which were spray painted in a range of colours, LHR on each label to denote their destination (London Heathrow) and attached with matching thread to each of the bags. 

I have enjoyed making this range of fabrics and constructing the boxes and trolley as my final sample/s for the course

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

C&G Module 6 Chapter 8 completed

Along the way - Assessment Piece


I have taken photographs of my notebook to show where my ideas were recorded, either used, modified or dismissed.

There are also some sketches, some scribbles to record ideas or measurements.

Intermingled with these are some of the developments towards the final piece, so for instance, the fabric that I intended to use for each of the pieces of luggage; the paper pattern which was shaped to determine that it could be used for the texture of the fabrics.

There are images of the fabrics in the development stage and once developed

Notebook plan, sketches and scribbles

Then fabrics were developed

Gold thread automatic pattern on palm leaf for trolley base

Cable stitched silk using a range of wool, cord, metallics for one of the bags

Zebra print onto cotton

The pattern was stitches with granite stitch (white thread) and with blue glove thread in the bobbin, what would have been the black stripes on the top, were free embroidered in long and short stitches 

Felt base, leftover thread, trapped under organza and free embroidered

Silk dyed rods, Stitched with contrasting threads and automatic patterns onto a silk base for a rucksack 

Coffee tin seals stitched together to make a tea chest which will be 'rusted' with embossing powder and lined with acrylic waxed newspaper

Furniture leather stitched with glove thread to form a brief case which will be lined with gold figured leather

Wine bottle collars using a variety of colours, cut into 1cm sq and positioned to form a design 

Temporary glue on a thin plastic to hold the metal

Design completed, plastic layer laid over metals to hold for stitching

Base fabric made with all plastic to be removed

LH image; Palm leaf, mulberry bark, birch bark and gold leaf. RH image, base fabric layer - squares of barks gilded and attached to the base palm leaf

Cotton base layer, padded with wool batting and using the top fabric design as a guide, overstitched to quilt, trapping Bonda-webbed scraps of Hindu newspaper printed fabric

Old Gelli plate fabric as base layer

Layering or fabrics, including organzas, nets, velvet, pin tucked cotton and silk to create a new fabric when overstitched with an automatic pattern

Reverse of above

Tyvek splashed with acrylic paint

Overlaid painted Tyvek with space dyed scrim

Tyke heated to shrink

Reverse of Tyvek with new fabric base

Hooped water soluble, with grid stitched in 'invisible nylon thread, then line stitched with loose ends

Stitching across the grid to suggest weaving

Mock-ups from patterns

Several paper patterns were made from which to craft the different bags. Some were modified from these patterns, some had no pattern

Each fabric and design was considered for suitability. I wanted to use as many types of fabric and techniques that were feasible for these elements of the final piece. 

The trolley to support the pieces.

A bread container from a local baker seemed the ideal base on which to develop the trolley. Four coffee stirrers were also a useful basis form the handles of the trolley. The bread box has been modified and handles added, the embroidered palm leaf forms the floor of the trolley. 

Development of the trolley

Dorset buttons will denote wheels and will be supported on a wire axle. The buttons will be made with scarlet and gold embroidery threads. 

The ground supports at the wheel end will be made from bent wire, overstitched with threads and both these supports and the wheels, fed through slots in both the bread tray and the palm leaf base into the body of the trolley

Trolley development

Red silk will be embellished with gold thread and an edge of tassel added to create a vibrancy that reflects the Indian source; this will be shaped using Vilene Bonda-webbed support internally and draped freely externally to finish the trolley.

Each of the bags on the trolley will have an airport tag added.

I am really enjoying making this final sample - knowing when to stop as ideas come into my head is the controlling factor!

I look forward to having the sample completed very soon