Monday, 22 October 2012

New directions for Angelina Fibres

Autumn Flowers

Autumn Flowers

Dew covered cobweb
It was a foggy, chilled October day this Sunday. Though I can forgive the weather when it allows such wonderful colours and beaded cobwebs for catching on the camera in a morning.

It has been a busy week running four workshops, each on different subjects and for three of which I forgot my camera.  I did remember it for a new day course which uses Angelina fusible fibres and encourages participants to fuse and then melt and burn the fibres with candles, heat guns and soldering irons. (Remembering, of course, all appropriate safety guidelines for using heat tools, naked flames and the possibility of fumes crated when burning synthetic fibres).
The ideas began a few years ago when I was asked to create a panel for the bedroom of a lady who felt her decor was cominated by furniture from 'a well known furniture and lifestyle' chain. She brought me samples of the colours and patterns in her room including the duvet and various accessories and asked me to make some thing which was 'the crown jewels gone mad'! Angelina fibres certainly can fit that bill so I used those in her colours:

Using hot fix angelina fibres to create art by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden
'The Crown Jewels Gone Mad' for Debbie
Heat fusible angelina fibres art by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden
Detail from the Crown Jewels Gone Mad

I have touched on the techniques in this panel in other workshops, but felt that I wanted to go to town in pushing the properties of these fibres. So I spent time over the summer with the fibres and my burning tools but with access only to a embellisher and hand stitching. A small selection of the creations which developed are here:
This small piece used Sugar Plum and Calypso Blue fibres and as with many of the pieces was inspired by coral, anemones, jellyfish, sea squirts etc.  - a hark back to my marine biology days.

Sample from 'The Crown Jewels Gone Mad' Workshop

This could have been lichens, fungi, seaworms etc. but was really just having fun with textures and bright colours. I have used Lemon Sparkle, Watermelon and Raspberry fibres:

Sample from 'The Crown Jewels Gone Mad Workshop'

 More marine inspiration in Key Lime, Wisteria and Raspberry fibres:

Sample from 'The Crown Jewels Gone Mad' workshop
This next panel was created with studies of paua shell pieces very commonly used in New Zealand for jewellery and accessories of all kinds. I have soldered and embossed Ultraviolet fibres and stitched onto an embellished backing.

Detail from Angelina fibre panel inspired by Paua shell from New Zealand

Overall view of the Paua shell inspired Angelina fibre panel.

This final example perhaps doesn't fit the title 'The Crown Jewels Gone Mad', but shows that it is absolutely possible to create subtle, strong pieces with a fibre that can and often is used for high imapct and frivolous, fun creations. I have used Blaze fibres and a light chiffon scarf with lots of seeding stitches in off white and charcoal threads.

Lace inspired panel, prooving that 'The Crown Jewlels Gone Mad' can be subtle as well!

Detail from Lace inspired Angelina panel

Detail from Lace inspired Angelina fibre panel

The participants on the day were great, taking on board all of the ideas. Though in a day it would be too much to ask to complete a panel, everyone fused, burnt, melted and then arranged, discussing ideas for the piece they were working on and other developments which come to mind as you work (You know, next time I will use a different colour, use a different inspiration for design, or, at home I have just the right colour thread and beads to finish this...)

Getting it together later in the day after melting and burning, generally having fun!

Part of the panel started by Viv

Samples by Tracey
Lovely impressed and textured leaves (Sorry the colour is washed out in the image), by Margaret
Cath stitching her mini-paisley leaves in place ready for beading later.
Maggie really went to town - fantastic

A detail from Maggie's piece

I don't often get to see the finished products when workshops are just a single day, but from these images I can certainly imagine great results, and if I get sent any images later I will certainly share them with you.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Flattery will get you on this blog!

I am definitely of an age where I am susceptible to a bit of flattery, so this week I have been made to feel very happy! Having been told I couldn’t be more than in my 30’s on one day, I was asked last night if I was a university fresher - if only! 
The sweetest comments came from Martin, who says he is a printer trying to express his creative side and who asked to take my picture at the Knitting and Stitching Show in London last week. On sending the image and after my complaints about the increasing amount of wrinkles on show, he wrote:

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me yesterday and for graciously letting me take this picture of you.
Just so you know, you are now standing in one of the halls at Harwick looking at a Tapestry of the Old Amlwch Copper Mine (created by me photographically), all with an delicate over lay of your own workmanship.
I would be happy to hear what others think of your likeness but would be very surprised if they don't love it. Our face belongs to us, each little line, each contour tells a story that only gets deeper more interesting and more mysterious with time, how can you not love it. That little wisp of hair coming down your neck and onto your collar, how perfect is that.

What can you say to that?
And here it is ....

It is also flattering and gratifying to receive images of work inspired by my teaching. Gillian sent me these:

The design is based on machinery at Killhope Lead Mining Museum in the North Penines and has been made using Vilene painted with brusho dyes, then with the iron reactive metal paint and immediately spritzed with rust activator. The background is an original North country strippy quilt.
The piece is called 'Links' made for exhibition entitled ' HEAVY METAL ' shown at the Festival of Quilts  2012, then travelling to 4 venues in the North East during 2013.
Now I can add my own flattery to the many artists whose work was on display at the Knitting and Stitching show, and if you didn’t catch it there, you have 2 more chances, one in Dublin (1-4 Nov) and another in Harrogate (22-25 Nov).
Unfortunately the show was so busy I had very little time to enjoy the work on display. Usually I manage to get in early and have a lovely quiet walk around before I am back to my stand and another chance at the end of the day when most visitors have left, but not this year. It must be a sign of how popular the show is that I was meeting and chatting to visitors every minute of every day. Thanks to all of you who commented on the work I was showing and enjoyed the workshop.
There was an inevitability about my being drawn to one piece from the exhibition of embroidery curated by ‘Mr X Stitch’ Jamie Chalmers.

My friend Val Holmes launched her new book all about collagraphy techniques for textile artists ‘Collage, Stitch, Print’. I have not quite finished reading my copy yet, but already find it a comprehensive guide to what materials and techniques I can use, even without a printing press in many cases.
The four artists exhibiting ‘Material Space: In Touch’ is a great display, using many recycled, upcycled and ephemera in their work. Thoughtful and quirky.
I tried really hard to see the ‘Landmarks’ work by Jean Draper, whose work I admire very much, but having just had laser eye surgery, my detailed vision is still compromised and I couldn’t appreciate the delicate, dense textures and forms she has created – sorry Jean.
Other exhibitions at the show which I also really had no time to look at included the graduate showcase, the Alice Kettle and Jane McKeating exhibition launching their book ‘Hand Stitch Perspectives’, The 62 Group,( apart from being drawn to Louise Baldwin’s piece, probably as it is similar to one I bought from her at the Beetroot Tree), Cas Holmes (another textile artist who we have recently shown at the Beetroot Tree),  Anglia Textile Works, Jane Hall, Ann Small and just so many others, let alone the many individual artists on their stands such as mine. As I type, I am beginning to feel that I will have to make time to get to Harrogate for a catch up on that list!

Louise Baldwin

Detail from Louise's work

For now it is back to preparing for my ‘Easy Peasy Gilding’ workshop in two days.
Don’t forget that if you want to check out where I am teaching in the UK over the next few months, go to the ‘Out and About’ page and look for dates and places.