I always have problems using the blog which inhabits me. Sometimes it is its fault as small things change but if I did it regularly it would be easier. It always changes.
Our trip to Japan in the spring was full of textile and art wonders. Here are just a few. Tokyo held many wonders – including frenetic crowds and rain – but most importantly lovely helpful people. I started at the Amuse Boro museum which houses the main collection of these textiles. The remnants of clothing used in desperate cold conditions and poverty.
Tokyo holds a wonderful area of textile shops. The most famous being ‘Tomato’. I bought cheap cotton yardage and even a second hand kimono.
Yuki worked on a collaborative Round the World quilt project with Sheila Steers, Shirley McGregor and myself many years ago. This was the first time that I met Yuki. A fab, fun lady.
Kyoto was where I experienced a roketsu wax resist indigo dye workshop. I was the only one there and spent hours trying to master the application of a wax design with a brush. I learned a lot but did not master it all by any means. Enormous fun.
Last night’s three corner event went really well and the audience was lovely and responsive. The only set back is that I had no opportunity to see the other two’s work as I was answering questions right up till after coffee time! Great to have such interest.
I have been adding some stitching to my Glacier piece which was exhibited with South West Textiles at the FOQ at the NEC and in the West Country Show in Bristol. It is always difficult to know when to stop but I felt it needed just a bit more detail.
For the Exe Valley Quilters bunting/banner I volunteered to do the letter I. It needed to a capital and to be ‘funky’ so I found some vibrant yellow material that I had printed with red ‘lines’. I went right through the fonts on laptop and ended up choosing one I that looked like a cotton reel.
Now I am also thinking about trees for the next Exe Valley challenge.
Tonight I am giving a small presentation (a three corner event which I have not done before) for Exeter Quilters on Ice Dyeing. I have had great fun making a whole new selection of fabrics, see below. I am also posting the instructions. This is the way that works for me rather than being definitive.
Ice dyeing notes Patricia Hann
Must work on 100% cotton or silk, which needs to be pre-soaked in soda ash or washing soda solution 5 mins or more. (NB you can re-use left over solution.)
Then squeeze out excess, scrunch the material and place on grid over sink. You can have several different materials at the same time and can try pleating and twisting etc.
Spread a bag of ice from the supermarket on top.
Sprinkle dye powders on top of this. Use cold water Procion MX dyes Think a bit about colour mixing so that you do not get all muddied browns – experiment with amount etc.
Remember MID Material /Ice/ Dye
Leave overnight or equivalent and when ice all or nearly gone wash fabric as usual to remove excess dye (cold water till no run off then hot water). – Do not panic if it looks awful.
Dry and iron and WOW!
 I use any cotton available as I like to experiment. I used to use Whaleys of Bradford but am currently using Stone Fabrics in Totnes as I can see and feel the material without having to send for samples.
 Use 3 scant tablespoons soda ash or 9 washing soda per litre of solution.Â Dissolve in hot water and allow to cool â€“ ignore any cloudiness. (about 20% washing soda)
After the emotional commitment to the last piece of work, I needed an easy therapeutic piece of sewing and, as I have done before, turned to a quilt pattern by Anita Hallock from her book Scrap Quilts using fast patch.
Ebb and Flow is the new SWTG subject for an exhibition in Stroud in May 2018
The sea and shore are subjects very close to my heart and in recent years I have researched, sketched, photographed and worked on pieces inspired by the theme.
This time I wanted to create a more meaningful piece and am very aware of the shocking state of our shorelines littered with jetsam. Dots of manmade bright colour peppering the beauty of nature’s stones, rocks and sand. A deeper worry is what it is doing to marine life that gets caught up in it and tries to eat it. Last year, somewhere I saw a painting of rocks with one piece of bright red rubbish glowing out. I do not know who it was by or where it was but the image remained with me. What especially struck me was the power of its effect and how it said far more to me than mobile installations I had seen made up purely of jetsam. To me less was more. The red also reminded me of the little girl’s red coat being the only colour in ˜Schindler’s List.
I have been constructing fabric stones as an experiment. I will need to find a good technique and have decisions to make. I think sketch will be my next step. My current idea is to have a tray shaped base into which I make sea, sand and stones.
Deconstruction I am never quite sure what people mean by this but I have taken to bits an old work base on the shoreline and salvaged small pieces. I gently washed and dried them in the hope I can recycle them in this piece.
Festival of Quilts
I managed to attend the Festival of Quilts this year, being in August we are generally away and was able to steward our SWTG gallery.
The most inspiring thing I saw was the June Wells exhibition. I loved the quality of her quilts with colour set against neutral backgrounds, print and a feeling of inspiration. I spoke to her and found her to be a lovely person. I have now bought her book Intuitive Colour and Design and am reading it with the aim of learning some of her techniques. My friend Madelaine paid a visit and she too was taken by Jean’s work and s going to order her book. I forgot to take photos of the new piece Madelaine is working on.
Yesterday, we were lucky enough to meet up with old friends from Suffolk. I always admire the fine, precise needlework that Rosanna does. Her eyes and patience are astounding.
It has been a while since I blogged and there are a things to catch up on. I am going to do it in two posts – work I have done and work in progress. Monet’s garden
I am still in love with my ice dyed fabrics and will be part of a three corner evening at my local Exeter Quilters in November.
The question was/is what to do with the fabric? When there was a call for some extra A3 quilts for the Contemporary Quilt Group’s suitcase exhibition with the subject of your favourite artist, I thought Monet and my fabrics! (He is only one of my favourites).
I researched his garden paintings and came up with a design. This was to be machine appliquéd.
It took days to work out which fabric should go where and most difficult was finding sections the right size.
South West Textile Group were exhibiting at The NEC Birmingham with the theme â€˜Strip Showâ€™ and members were asked for a long narrow piece in bright colours. Eventually, I decided to wrap dowelling with strips of my own dyed fabric. Placement was a problem and I ended up using a wave formation and thought of the colours we had seen on our trip to Mexico.
Having had a lot of fun, I was now ready to really put my heart into serious work again. I had been saddened by so many stories of global warming and thought that the recession of glaciers provided a visible and terrifying measure of what climate change was doing. We had visited Iceland a few years ago and the Svinafellsjökull Glacier. Â I began to design and work to this theme. I had also been moved by the story told to us of how 2 German youths disappeared while hiking in the region, another tragedy.
I blew up some of my photographs for reference and went through my stash of dyed fabric bringing out any colours that I thought would work. I also dyed and painted more. As usual the laundry room was covered with painted, dyed and rubbed fabric scraps. I made a sampler of all the techniques I was auditioning.
Shapes and forms emerged and I had to fit them all together. Once again I found it like solving a cryptic jigsaw.
Then at last the real thing
That’s all for now, hopefully before long I will be sharing my current work.
Because I am dyeing a lot of blue in this batch of fabric and it often takes more time to fix, I have been very patient and left it in for 24 hours. Meanwhile, I have been downloading and printing some of my photos of Iceland in the snow. I hope to work with these. My first job will be experimenting with replicating some snow and ice effects.
I placed several fabric types in this set up and used five blues and a little magenta, black and yellow dyes sprinkled on top.
After a few hours the dye had worked off the top and into the fabric layer.
ice has almost gone but I want to wait the 24 hours.
Three fabric samples, more colourful in reality.
These were superb, finer threads, more of them to accept the dye.
The Totnes lawn
There we go a hugely successful dye set to start me off and another post thanks to my IPad rather than my tablet ( and some guidance).
Another new year and another attempt by me to crack the system for posting. I cannot believe how many problems I have encountered. I have resorted to WordPress For Dummies!
Last year was busy with the Travellers Tales exhibition and then ‘Roots, Shoots and Leaves’ . The latter was held in the wonderful barn at Wesrptonbirt Arboretum. I exhibited with the cyanotype method that I have described.
At present I am having the most wonderful fun with ice dyeing. This is the first time I have tried it and am totally addicted. I set it up at night and then come down to the amazing results.
Here I have treated cotton with soda ash, scrunched and pleated it. Next laid on a mesh over a rack on the sink. Then come the Ice cubes and lastly carefully sprinkled procion dyes (warning wear mask if any respiratory problems). Leave overnight and wash out as usual. Dry and iron, hey presto!!!!! The examples below are not from this dye set up.
This is so belated I cannot believe how the months have passed. I have to say that it is more about HOW to post rather than complete abandon.
Here I am now. Summer has been as full as ever, being in Scotland and France.
My cyanotype project is what I want to show. Cyanotype is a method I have used on several pieces but always using my own photographs as a mask. In this piece, I developed my work further by using sketch as the mask. In this technique, the fabric is dipped into a solution of sensitising chemicals and then dried before exposing to sunlight with the mask on top. The image is then revealed by washing out the fabric, leaving behind Prussian blue where the sunlight has fallen.
Another month of rushing around but so wonderful to see so many things. I was at the house in France working on my pieces and thinking about the next ones to be created. Then off with my friend to the QG conference in Llandudno,next a trip to discover some of the treasures of amazing Berlin then on to old East Germany to visit friends and now am at the Bristol Guild gallery stewarding at the exhibition. It is full of inspiring work – I love to discover what others create.
I have not had enough time to sketch, which is sad as that is how I often begin an idea for a piece. My two exhibition pieces in my mind are something to do with Japan for a group hanging with Contemorary Quilt Group. It has to be 36″ long but no other constrictions, and in my mind, I am wondering about returning to a cyanotype print using Japanese symbols and stitching. My second project has to involve nature and I did a birch tree study last year. I was cold and sitting on a pile of builders rubble but quite liked my large sketch. I would dye my fleece and hand stitch into the final piece.
March nearly disappeared and I am still working on my African pieces for the Travellers Tales exhibition at the Bristol Guild in April. My simple pieces are inevitably taking up time and thought. Lots of samples and trials.
I have enjoyed exchanging ideas with other members and gaining encouragement.
We are now in our house in Normandy and I have been working very hard here. I am on my third vessel which I hope will be the last and I am now hand stitching into my four panel pieces. I have to complete my pieces early as I am at the Quilters Guild AGM on handover day and will need to take them up country to another member.
I had hoped to have pictures from a French modern textiles exhibition to post but after an hour’s journey, guess what it was closed.
Here are pictures from our French house and one of work – still in progress.