Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Lesley Patterson-Marx

In the December issue of WOW, I reviewed the Lark Books 500 Handmade Books volume 2.  In it was a beautiful set of miniature books by Lesley Patterson-Marx in tin that was a beautiful recreation of a watercolour paint box with miniature books in lieu of paint cakes.  I chose that out of the 500 as my favourite, but the picture posted with the review was small, due to there being so many book reviews in the December issue.

I just wanted to post the picture here of Radiant Paint Box on my blog from Lesley's website as it's one of my favourite handmade books ever.  I also posted it onto Pinterest on my Books board (I'm Mrs Crumpsey...).

Splash Image

I think it's just a beautiful piece of work and I never tire of looking at the pictures.

I love Lesley's work and so please take a look on her website www.lesleypattersonmarx.com

Saturday, 14 December 2013

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Imagine me crooning that song.  Hmm, maybe don't.  It will be too tuneless!

As I am very behind on my Christmas cards, here is a little piccie of how far I have got so far.  I did start, for my Stitch n'Bitch friends, by crocheting snowflakes out of the brilliant 100 Snowflakes to Crochet book from Search Press, written by the uber-talented Caitlin Sainio.

I reviewed the book for Workshop on the Web in December 2012 (yes, it's taken me a year to catch up) but I have been feeling confident enough to tackle a few for Christmas cards.  Or that was my initial thought. After crocheting my first 8 and stiffening them for all my Stitching buddies, I realised that to do them for everyone was going to take me up to next Christmas and there was unlikely to be any presents, turkey, Christmas pud if I was going to be a slave to the hook.  

So I decided to take on a slightly easier project for cards.  I bought a couple of snowflake thermofax screens  which were such an excitement and I screened those in silver acrylic onto Khadi paper, which I had bought in little packs from Art Van Go when I accidentally shopped there a few weeks ago (I had gone up for the exhibition).  When dry, they were put through the die cutter with a snowflake embossing folder and then I used Ranger Distress Ink Pads in varying colours.  The variety of colours stems from using an old sponge, which still had the residue of many colours and which I was too lazy to replace.  But they turned out OK as I think I got some good combinations and blends.

Finally, using a Crafter's Workshop Flurries stencil which I masked off, I used thick white paint to stencil another snowflake on.  Job done.  Just need to write my cards now.   Bah humbug!

I realise now, having given away all of my snowflakes, that I didn't actually take any piccies of them.  I will try and make up a couple more in time for Christmas and post them here...

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Approaches to Stitch - Book Review

Approaches to Stitch
Published by D4Daisy Books Ltd 
ISBN 978-0-9574413-1-6
Price £16.00

Approaches to Stitch: Six Artists

I am really pleased to be able to review Approaches to Stitch, the new D4Daisy book focusing on six artists - Elizabeth Brimelow, Ro Bruhn, Ruth Lee, Sian Martin, Olga Norris and Beryl Taylor.

Olga Norris pic 1
Olga Norris
Siân Martin pic 1
Sian Martin

Edited by Maggie Grey and with Michael Wickes's beautiful photography, the book grew from innovation, something that Maggie Grey is so good at.  Maggie put the feelers out to followers of her blog, www.magstitch.blogspot.co.uk and on Facebook, asking for suggestions of artists for a new book.  From the many responses that came in, these were distilled down to six artists.  This is a fresh approach in terms of commissioning, and the results of this are seen in the book itself.  The selections were well made. Each artists stands on their own in terms of their techniques and approaches, but the look and feel of their work gels together with each other in the book as a whole.
Ro Bruhn pic 2
Ro Bruhn

Elizabeth Brimelow pic 1
Elizabeth Brimelow
Each artists talks of their background and experiences in inspiring the art they make today, and then go on to talk about how they approach their work.  There are step by step instructions given for techniques such as sun printing (Ro Bruhn) and stencilling (Beryl Taylor) within each chapter, and these are useful for giving an insight into how some of the work is produced.  Particularly interesting is Elizabeth Brimelow's stages of producing her Peach, Pear, Plum quilt, which takes you through the whole process of creating this quilt. This worked more effectively for this particular artist, rather than taking you through one specific area, because the construction of the quilt as a whole was what made the piece so interesting.  Each artist is profiled in a way that best fits their work and this really makes the book work well.

Ruth Lee
Beryl Taylor pic 2
Beryl Taylor

There is a great mix of work contained within the book, from Elizabeth Brimelow's varied approaches to quilts, the colours of Ro Bruhn's journals, Ruth Lee's beautifully crafted gloves, Sian Martin's amazing bottles using dimension, paper pulp and stitch, Olga Norris's beautiful figurative studies and Beryl Taylor's delicious mixed media techniques.  All beautifully shot, the book is a fantastic snapshot of the scale and variety of textile work being created at the current time.  And in the technological age, where blogs and social networking have us flicking from screen to screen, it is refreshing to have some great contemporary artists committed to the page and provide us with a book we can sit down and absorbed.  I loved it.

If you want some added extras, take a look at Maggie's blog www.magstitch.blogspot.co.uk where there are posts relating to the progress of the book, and also sneaky peeks of the work she is doing on the next D4Daisy book on Cutting.  I am working hard on my bits for that book too, so 2014 is looking exciting already.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Book Review: Felt Christmas Decorations - Corinne Lapierre

Just putting a short review of a fairly new Christmas book that is published by Search Press and should fill you with Christmas cheer.  Felt makes great decorations, and this book from the 20 to Make Series is worth a look at this time of year.

Felt Christmas Decorations
Corinne Lapierre
ISBN 978-1-84448-943-5
Published by Search Press
Price £4.99

If you have got a few minutes to spare in the run-up to Christmas (haven't we all?), then that would be all you would need to choose one of the designs and make up several of them.  They are all designed for felt that you can buy in your local craft shop, and for those that require shape cutting, there are templates included at the back.

There are some very cute designs, such as the owl on the cover, Christmas angels and a tin (felt) soldier.  Also worth a go are the stitched snowflakes mounted on tiny embroidery hoops (right).  If you made up lots of these, it would be a perfectly decorated tree for any self-respecting embroiderer at Christmas.  None of the projects will be taxing or time-consuming but there are some great ideas.  I for one will be making felt envelopes with stitched names for my stitching friends (and of course, an extra large one to send to Santa).

Friday, 29 November 2013

Bird Book

I have taken a small break from work to make a book cover.  It's a present (possibly won't be a surprise now...) so I thought I'd make use of a Stencil Girls Swallows stencil, some lovely hand-dyed fabric, DeColourant my long suffering sewing machine.

First I pressed the fabric and then stencilled a bird design around the lower part of the fabric with DeColourant.  I have reviewed this product before and didn't get on very well with the DeColourant Spray but I do like the bottled stuff.

After sponging this on and then ironing, the design came out really well.  I then launched into stitching the fabric.  The gorgeous fabric was bought from the Festival of Quilts from Jo Lovelock who sells the fabric under Alter Ego www.handdyedfabrics.co.uk

 This was the design overall for the whole piece.  I decided to make a book cover that you can fit a bought notebook into due to time constraints.  On a good day, I would have cut the paper and sewn them all in.

The beautiful fabric had lots of interesting patterns on it, so it was easy just to stitch around those.

For each bird, I stitched around in grey cotton. to give the impression of feathers.

On the edge of the book, I sewed seed beads in a blanket stitch.

All done!

Swallows Stencil copyright The Red Door Studio L.L.C., Artist: Tracie Lyn Huskamp, Manufacturer: www.StencilGirlProducts.com

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Merry Christmas Sweaters

Due to be reviewed in the December issue of Workshop on the Web is Sue Stratford's book Merry Christmas Sweaters.

A book packed with those special Christmas designs that everyone in the family (EVERYONE!!!) can now sample the delights of.

I always like to promote a good cause, and one of the designs in the book, the Snowman, has been chosen by Save the Children to promote Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 13 December.  In return for a £1 donation, everyone is encouraged to wear a Christmas Jumper and celebrate Christmas kitsch.

You can access the pattern from the Search Press website:

Merry Christmas Sweater pattern

The sweaters included in the book are all good patterns, and you have set sizes for Adults and Children on different pages, which I am told helps prevent making different parts of the sweater in different sizes.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Art Van Go Exhibition - Taking Textiles Further

I paid my first visit to Art Van Go this week.  I have seen Viv and Kev many a time when at shows, but I've never seen the Knebworth shop and gallery.  It's great!  If you love their stands at the shows, it's just like that, but with more goodies.


As there is an exhibition on at the moment by pupils of Janet Edmonds, called Taking Textiles Further, I popped over there in the week to have a look at what was there.  And also to browse around the shop without being constantly elbowed out of the way by over-excited Show Shoppers.

I loved the work that was there.  My particular favourites were pieces by Buffy Fieldhouse which used printing in line and pattern that was reminiscent of Viking Runes.  I loved the way the pieces were assembled and that they were so visually striking with effective colour palettes.

Be What You Are IV Buffy Fieldhouse

Be What You Are I - Buffy Fieldhouse

Be What You Are I - Buffy Fieldhouse

Be What You Are II - Buffy Fieldhouse

Other members of the exhibition were Mary Gamester, who had sewn this beautiful handstitched picture.  I loved the colours and design:

Marian Hall's piece Gridlock I was lovely, with little snippets of handstitching in a contrasting colour that really stood out against the dark background.

Marian Hall - Gridlock I (detail)
Marian Hall - Gridlock I

Marian Hall's work Gridlock II was also a beautfiul piece and in the contrasting panel, the gold thread outlines lifted the shapes and highlighted them (above left and detail right).

June Withers produced some fantastically bright work which I loved:

June Withers: Autumn Leaves (left), Summer Glory II (middle), Summer Glory I (right)

There were other artists exhibiting but there's not room to put them all here - shame.  It's worth a look (especially if combined with a shopping trip), and the exhibition is on until 30 November.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

In the Wrong Order - a look back at the Festival of Quilts

Yes, the Festival of Quilts was in August, but that got lost in my summer hiatus and so blogging about the show was sadly neglected.

But all the talk of the Knitting and Stitching brought me back to the photos I took at the FOQ.  Particularly exciting was seeing Stephanie Redfern's stand, especially as my mum then bought me one of her pictures.  I love my mum.  And my dad, I think it was a present from him too!!

Spring Rain by Stephanie Redfern. 

Flowerpecker by Stephanie Redfern

Stephanie's work on her stand was amazing.
Duanne Cervaal's piece had amazing colours and was constructed beautifully
Sandra Wyman's Transition: Dragonfly
Linda Kemshall's quilt was huge, and had been printed on one piece of fabric.  It looked fabulous.
Uta Lenk's Play of Lines XXXI

It was a great show, with plenty of great quilts on display.  Also there was a stand by Mandy Pattullo.  I am not entirely sure about whether I like all of her work, but this piece, a printed skirt was lovely.  I liked the colour and the pattern created by print.  

Mandy Pattullo

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Adeline Schwab at Knitting and Stitching

I wanted to create a new post for this artist Adeline Schwab as I loved her work so much.  It was beautiful - created on a tiny scale and painstakingly stitched.

Creating her own fantasy world of beautiful angels, birds and flowers, this work was featherlight and so delicate and exquisite!  I have given a fuller description on the Workshop on the Web December issue Exhibitions section - that is openly available to all readers, and you don't have to be a subscriber to read it.  It comes out on December 1.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Knitting and Stitching Show

Please excuse the hiatus in writing.  The world seemed to have moved too fast over the last few months and I am just gathering myself together before half term starts and I get lost again.

Last weekend saw a trip to Alexandra Palace in London for the Knitting and Stitching Show.  I had a great day, meeting up with Maggie Grey, Fiona and Lauren (from Workshop on the Web) and my lovely friend Paula Watkins.  It was incredibly busy and too packed out in places to be able to walk around and see some of the stands at leisure (much better at half past four, when my feet were starting to complain) but I think I managed to see a good proportion of the show.

I really enjoyed some of the exhibitions that were there this year.  Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn had a wonderful exhibition, Jan being inspired by fields and how different times of day and the year affected their appearance.  Jean Littlejohn's work came from the glimpses of times past as a result of renovations in her home and her fanastic works of distressed surfaces were a joy to behold.  The fantastic stitching had us bowing at the altar of Textile Royalty.

Jean Littlejohn - Reclaimed Victoriana
Hoar Frost Jan Beaney

Moving on from there, Ruth Issett and Bobby Britnell had a joint exhibition Equal on all 4 Sides.  I loved the contrast between the two here.  Bobby's work was based on a Ugandan game, and the bold colours and pattterns were striking (left).  Ruth Issett's work was a bonanza of colour, and having reviewed her new book A Passion for Colour in the September issue of Workshop on the Web, it was fantastic to see how bright and vivid her work is in the flesh (it was incredibly vibrant on the page).(right)

Also on show, and not covered in my WOW review was the work of Nicola Jarvis, The Embroidery of Nicola Jarvis and May Morris.  The daughter of Willliam Morris, May Morris was a designer and embroider in her own right, and ran the embroidery studio of Morris & Co.  Her work is held in galleries around the UK and it was these textile designs of May and her father that inspired Nicola Jarvis to create embroideries, drawings and paintings.

The birds featured in the work were beautifully painted and stitched and I loved how Nicola Jarvis incorporated the colours and patterns into each bird.

All above pictures Nicola Jarvis
A lot of great stalls were there and I bought some fantastic fabric from Alter Ego (www.handdyedfabric.co.uk)

I also bought a few thermofax screens, some seagull masks and some yarn for my sister.

But aside from the shopping opportunities, at the end of day, we met Stuart Hilliard from The Great British Sewing Bee.  I have to say that he was so delightful it was the perfect end to a great day.  We all chatted about the Sewing Bee and how lovely and British it was to have people all supporting each other and being competitive in a non-competitive way!  He was hand-stitching some lovely pieced fabric.  His life in textiles has taken off since the show and it is fantastic that someone so enthusiastic about their work has such a life-changing experience and embraces everything it has to offer.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Lindsay Taylor's Embroidered Art Book Launch

Today I have had the most fabulous day at the Book Launch of Lindsay Taylor's book Embroidered Art, published by Search Press.


You can see from the cover that you get a pretty fabulous book with some of the most beautiful stitching fashioned into exquisite shoes and necklaces and pincushions and more.  My full review will be in the September issue of Workshop on the Web, but suffice to say, I would jump at the chance to buy this book and immerse yourself in Lindsay's welcoming and open account of her life in stitch.  It is a book you will treasure.

The launch was at Kew Gardens, and I couldn't think of a better venue for a book so immersed in nature and beauty.  On one of the hottest days of the year as well, it couldn't have gone better with the venue, the surroundings and the company.

I had the chance for a quick chat with Lindsay Taylor and told her how wonderful I thought the book was, and how beautiful that artwork is.  It is refreshing to talk to someone with so much enthusiasm about her work and generosity in sharing her story of how she got to where she is now.  Dressed in an amazing outfit and a rather splendid bag (home-made I'm sure), the whole atmosphere of the event was of a family affair (many of Lindsay's family had come along), and I felt privileged to be part of it.

Another high point was meeting the lovely Mary of Search Press, who supplies me with many lovely books to review for Workshop on the Web.  Making our introductions purely by chance, I chatted to Mary about books and fairs and some of their upcoming projects.  I left without any more time to have a sneaky peak around Kew Gardens, but it was worth it through having had such a lovely time chatting away.

An amazing lampshade and stand hand felted and embroidered with leaves.   

A close up of an embroidered leaf on the lampshade.  Beautiful work.

One of my favourite pieces, with beautiful pastel coloured roses in a bouquet.

An amazing cabbage teacup.  I loved this - doesn't it just look exactly like a cabbage???!

There were several beautiful necklaces, so elegant and again showing a huge amount of detail and artistry.

Another necklace.

Lindsay Taylor and myself, feeling very tall and very short respectively.  Lindsay did have high heels on and I was wearing flats, which probably didn't help with our height difference.  Lindsay has a natural style and looks amazing.

Me and my New Best Friend, Mary from Search Press.  After several years of communicating via e-mail, it was great to finally meet her.

Lindsay Taylor with her book in the beautiful surroundings at Kew Gardens.
I had a fantastic time.  And the great news is that Search Press are offering a copy of the book for a Workshop on the Web giveaway.  You need to go to the WOW Facebook page to get the details on how to win this or one of a selection of books reviewed either on WOW or on this blog.  Good Luck!!