Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Needle sketches

As soon as I had done the continuous line drawings - drawing (mostly) without looking - of the weathered oyster shells and mermaids purses I collected from the beach at Eastbourne I could see that they would make great stitched designs, and had potential for incorporating into my Narrative Thread work for Diversity.

I want to put them on rusted fabric, as the colours are so sympathetic with the subjects, but I have had  problems stitching into rusted fabric in the past; my 'prima donna' top end sewing machine refuses point blank to stitch through it, with the message STOP FOR SAFETY REASONS. Personally I think it is getting over dramatic, but there's no arguing with it. My workhorse semi-professional machine behaves a little better, but you can tell it's not really happy. I've tried various combinations of fine needles and different threads, but I think the oxidised metal clogs up the weave and makes tension very difficult to control.

So I've decided to stitch first and rust later. The samples are testing out different combinations of quilt sandwich and a variety of background treatments.

I'm pretty happy with the 'drawing', each slightly different but quite recognisable. I wanted to densely stitch the background so that the images gained dimension, 

and I've tried conventional quilt sandwiches with white cotton, hand and machine stitched, linen with felt and linen with felted blanket. 

I though this was going to be too heavy, but once the the stiffness of the quilted background might be a good thing. I think I'm going to leave the edges raw, so it's important how the backing and wadding reacts to the rust too.

Next step layer them up with rusty finds and tea a wait and see what happens!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Mid-century at The Oval

On my travels again - this time only to south London for a day looking at things I mainly can't afford, but there's no harm in looking. This is the MidCentury Modern show at The Oval - love the living wall!

Inside is a treasure trove of beautiful design and memories from my childhood. 

I wander round drooling over stunning Danish designed sofas and chairs, either in their original upholstery like this Hans Wegner settee (in order to remove the beautiful rosewood panels to reupholster the arms you'd have to destroy them)

or lovingly reupholstered. 

Or reminiscing about Ladderax modular shelving and mid century ceramics. 

This was the type of furniture that I was surrounded with when I was growing up (we had a cruet set exactly like the one above). My Dad, being an architect, loved the clean lines and contemporary styling of the sixties, and my Mum tells how they spent their honeymoon looking round Heals in London, planning what they needed to save up for. I clearly remember the curtains in our living and dining room when I was probably only about six - a design called Sweet Briar by Barbara Brown for Heals - very striking when you have wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows to display them on. Mum says they're probably still in the loft - what a treat!

They had the blue and olive version, which I can't find online at all. The photo above is from the V&A museum archive There were very few vintage fabrics today - those that were there, from Forgotten Fabrics 

tended towards the warm side of the spectrum, typical of the late sixties and seventies, but I was looking for blues and greens, so miraculously managed not to spend any money today.

We rounded the morning off with lunch at a tiny new cafe called The Sugar Pot round the corner on Kennington Park Road. Great light lunches, tea, coffee and yummy gluten free cakes, and service with a smile.

And the star of the show? Undoubtedly this stunning Arne Vodder Triennale sideboard from The Modern Warehouse.

At 2.5m long it was huge - with a price tag to match. But so beautiful, with reversible sliding doors - what looked like Formica (but could have been paint) on one side and rosewood on the other. I just love the detail round the drawers. Now where did I put that lottery ticket?

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Summer's here ... I've been working in the garden instead of in my work room ...

Still some rust involved mind. Nice to be able to sit out for lunch at last.

long may it continue!