Other stuff (odds and sods)

This is a kind of specious post.  I’ve uploaded pages about quilting, and knitting, and crochet.  Along the way, I found a handful of photos of other things, and since I’ve found them I want to put them up.  But these are things I made experimentally, just to see if I could, so I’m not going to give them a page of their own…

Back in 2003 (or somewhere around then), I did one year of a two year City & Guilds course in patchwork and quilting.  I didn’t finish the course for two reasons, both of which took equal weight (in my mind, if nowhere else..)  First, I went back to working full time and didn’t have time to spend Thursdays at college.  Secondly, the first year assessment package required me to design and make a box.  Out of fabric.  A box!  It’s not that I couldn’t, if I didn’t want to.  It’s just that I couldn’t imagine *why* in the name of all things sacred, I would *want* to.  I didn’t want to.  I designed and made just about everything else the assessment required – a wall hanging, an accessory, a quilt, a book of patchwork samples, another book of quilting samples, a cushion – oh, the list goes on.  But really!  A Box???  Anyway.  These three pictures I totally haven’t talked about at all are the City & Guilds wall hanging I made.  It’s based on a picture of a wave at Sennen Cove, and is made using the bargello method.  This is a brilliant, if slightly technical and complex way, of making waves in fabric, and I loved doing it.  In order to break the wave up and give a breaking water effect, I left the seams exposed.  I then couched some unspun merino top, woven through with silk waste, over the circle to give the crest effect of the wave, and adding some murano glass beads for the sparkle of the water.  So far, so good.  I then rather spoilt the whole thing by quilting it really crudely.  One day, I have it in mind to unpick the quilting and do something a bit more sophisticated.  But it’s been 8 years so far, so nobody should hold their breath…

 This is the accessory I made for the City & Guilds.  It’s a handbag based on a picture I found of a Moroccan mosque.  The fabrics are all hand dyed.  The blue edging is an upholstery weight linen, dyed using Dyrect dye from Omega Dyes.  The front and back are made from layers of cotton dimity, fine linen, silk, and silk velvet.  All were dyed in the same batch of Dyrect, but each fabric took the dye with a different intensity.  The fabric was stitched onto a linen backing, quilted into grids, and then slashed in different directions.  Each fabric, at a slightly different colour, breaks through the slashing, giving a depth and movement to the colour.  The velvet and silk also give a slightly chenille effect.  If I had slashed on the bias rather than along or straight across the grain, this chenille effect would have been enhanced by the way the raw edge would have frayed.

The edge, flap and handle are made from leather I got in a bag of scraps from Croft Mill, who used to do a marvellously eccentric catalogue selling roll ends and odd bits of stuff, which they now seem to do online: result!  You should totally read it – it’s full of treasures you’ll not find the like of elsewhere.  I never use this bag – it’s really not my thing at all, but every once in a while I stumble across it in a corner of a wardrobe, and I have a happy moment, simply stroking it.  It does feel utterly lush!

If my sister ever stumbles upon this blog, I am a dead woman.  In which case, it’s been lovely meeting you all – albeit briefly.  I’ll explain: this block is a New York beauty.  It’s a traditional American patchwork block, reputedly based on the Statue of Liberty’s crown.  The central and corner fabrics are Japanese geishas, and the zig zags are – um – something else I can’t quite see.  I must have made this block – and a few others like it – in 2004, when my sister got married.  Only it’s fiendishly technical (involving both curves and the points of triangles) and I moved jobs and houses and counties, and somehow that quilt never got finished, and Sissy never got a wedding present.  I am a *bad* sister!  But look!  Isn’t it lovely!  Wouldn’t it have been beautiful?? I’m sure I’ll finish it one day… maybe sometime soon after I unpick the wall-hanging…

This is a cushion I made for a very lovely friend.  We saw one a bit similar in a shop window, and he admired it.  So I made him one to celebrate a new job.  It involved applique, piping, machine embroidery with the feed dogs and free machine embroidery based on my own drawing – combining some of my favourite things with some of my least favourite things.  But that’s what friends are for, right?

And the next two pictures are… well… pictures.  Painted pictures.  These are recent – made within the last month.  I’ve never really done painting before, but after a stressful meeting, I found myself at home, drawing on the hall wall in precisely the manner which would have earned any of my children a resounding, heartfelt scolding!  I was making a mural.  When you’ve never done anything before, tackling it for the first time without thinking about it, in a place where it’s immediately visible to anyone who walks through the front door, isn’t necessarily the best plan… but once I’d started, I rather had to carry on until I’d finished.  And I have to admit, I like this tree.  A couple of people have commented that the colours are very Orla Kiely, and I guess I see that – but it wasn’t intentional at the time.  I don’t think it’s startlingly original, but actually I quite like the finished piece.

This painting is a canvas.  Which I bought, and left lying around in the hall until I was so irritated with it I had no choice but to throw it away, or bloomin’ well paint it.  So I painted.  Using a mixture of textured acrylic gesso, dulux matt emulsion, Windsor & Newton acrylics, embossing powder, silk paint and…um… no, I think that might be it.  Mixed media, then, I guess.  Again, this isn’t necessarily something I’d buy in a shop – it’s a bit twee – and about a fortnight after I finished it, I noticed that the gilded cage is wonky.  I’m going to pretend  that’s deliberate.  It’s a metaphor, you see, for the assymetrical injustice of entrapment.  Or something.  Anyway, what do I like about this?  The effect of light on the hanging heart.  The gold of the cage.  The sparkle on the wings of the flying heart.  Some of the density of movement and light on the background.  I’m not sure, yet, whether I like the whole thing, but it fills a gap on the spare bedroom wall…

And that’s it.  My forgotten photographic discoveries.

And now I’m going to make some felty things based on some half remembered pictures I saw while browsing for links to  put on some of the other pages.  There will be pictures…

About Vicki

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