Friday, 30 January 2009

Felting and Dyeing today.

I have been making felt over the last couple of days. I had in mind to make a scarf as a present for our good friend in London who looks after us so well when we stay with her the evening before the Battersea Vintage Fashion Fair. I have a passion for Nuno Felt because of its fluidity. This first scarf is a commercially bought silk scarf with all the edges ready hand rolled!!!!!!!! It is really not the right silk for Nuno Felt but I had a go and after many hours was not too pleased with the result so I resorted to using my Embellisher Machine to punch the fibres through. The barbed needles made a pleasant pattern on the silk as well as doing their job of felting the woool into the silk thereby creating lots of lovely gathers and bubbles in the silk.
-This is a closeup of the texture. I decided to leave this one white as it shows off the orange cobweb felt. The next two photographs are of the scarf that is the result of my felting on to some very open weave silk gauze. I bought a roll of this silk several years ago at Honiton Textile Market when I was working there. It was years and years old and I would give my eye teeth to be able to get some more. It is wonderful stuff for felting. I dont know what it was for originally but every 45 cms across the width there is a break in the weaving like a row of perforations. This was a bit easier to felt but when it was finished I didn't like the effect of the cream colour gauze on the reverse so decided to dye it. I was a bit worried as I had no time for things to go wrong but as usual jumped in with both feet and mixed up some terracotta Procion Mx and added a bit of slate blue to knock the brightness. I then began to search for some white vinegar to soak the scarf in as silk has to have an acid environment to take a fibre reactive dye, but couldn't find any or not enough to do the job in hand!!! Then I thought 'Oh Nuts' or something to that effect and took out the only vinegar I had - Red Wine Vinegar purchased on a trip to France a while ago. As the scarf was orange and I was going to use a rusty brown dye I didn't think the colour of the vinegar would matter!! After leaving the scarf to soak a while in the Red Wine Vinegar I squeezed out the surplus and put the scarf into the dye and squished it about until my hands were a really lovely colour then transferred it to a Microwave Steaming Bag and 'nuked' it for 2 minutes and Hey Presto it was done. I really like it. I'm not sure I want to give it away!!!!!!!! but I will.
Tomorrow sees Linda and I travelling to London for the Battersea Vintage Fashion Fair. The first one of the year. Let's hope it's a good one.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Showing the ravages of time

I have realised that I have not posted very much about what has consumed much of my time for the past 30 years. I have had a love affair with Antique Costume and Textiles that has stood the test of time. While I don't now collect everything I can get my hands on there are still occasions when the hairs on the back of my neck stick up and I get very agitated indeed!!
In the thirty years I have been dealing with these things some wonderful and extraordinary things have slipped through my fingers to pay bills. If only, if only I could get them back. This photograph is of what must have been the most beautiful wedding dress, altered probably to make a ball dress later on. It is made of the most scrumptious silk satin and is trimmed with hand pleated silk chiffon ruffles. There are hand made silk chiffon rosebuds at the bosum and the sleeves and neckline are trimmed with hand-embroidered scalloped edged silk satin. Quite a labour of love. It is over 100 years old and showing the ravages of time. The silk is cracking and there is foxing to the silk chiffon sleeves. BUT someone loves it as I have listed it on Ebay and within an hour someone had bid on it.
I have been listing things on Ebay for about a week now as I have so much stuff and so little money!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, our house is about to undergo a major refit and I need to get rid of a lot of things. I have therefore decided that I will put a few things on this Blog for sale. I have boxes and boxes of interesting buttons and trims and lace and I know these things are sought after by Textile Artists so watch this space for unusual and interesting things that could be just as happy with you as they have been with me.

It has been brought to my attention by one of my readers that 'I have loud music on my Blog'. I am sorry if this upsets anyone and I can understand that perhaps 'The Killers' don't equate with an Antique Textile and Costume Dealer but I am Human (forgive the pun) and have a very eclectic taste in music. I have more faces than Big Ben and a loft full of Hats. Sometimes I need to be quiet and thoughtful and sometimes I need a good blast of rock'n'roll or reggae. Inside there is a Rock Chick/Goth trying to get out and a Tango Dancer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If I could start again wouldn't I have FUN.,
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Monday, 19 January 2009

Fun with Mixed Media

Before Christmas I bought myself a copy of Maggie Grey's new book 'Textile Translations'. This is a fabulous book full of the most wonderful mouthwatering photographs of mixed media projects. Although this book is aimed at Embroiderers, which I am not, there are lots of techniques and ideas for use in Contemporary Art Quilt making. Maggie has been publishing lessons online linked to the techniques in the book and these are two of the books I have made using the instructions from Lesson 1.

The covers have been made by coating pelmet vilene with gesso and embedding paper casts and pieces of distressed tyvek into the gesso while still wet, sprinkling with salt and then spraying with watered down 'Quink' fountain pen ink.
It was all painted again when dry and areas highlighted with gold wax. The pages inside have b een made with Indian Rag paper and stamped with an ancient script stamp.

This is another book made in the same way. I have called this one 'Scarlet Women'. The inside pages are made with Indian Rag paper again and stamped with images of Victorian, Edwardian and Twenties ladies. The cover is Pelmet vilene again with lace embedded into the gesso and painted with Acrylic paint when dry.

I am really enjoying participating in these lessons and am also enrolled on another online class with 'Fibre in Form'. My problem at the moment is finding the time to do all this.!!

On Wednesday I have a couple of students who are working on their Diploma project coming to my house to have a look at 'WW2 ' clothes and accessories, so tomorrow I must pay a visit to my store to get the things I need. I will post photographs of our meeting Thursday or Friday. I love Forties Fashion and have an extensive Library of Vintage Fashion Books so I hope to be as much help as I can to them.

Quilting Day Today

This is the bag I made at my local Quilting Group Meeting today. I had no idea what it was supposed to look like until I got there. I had just been given the list of requirements over the telephone by a friend. I was told to take 22 five inch squares in different fabrics. My first thought was 'Oh Lord, I have to cut all those squares'!! BUT on Sunday I drove down to Cornwall with my DH to Cowslip Workshops for Sunday Lunch and to see the Sandra Meech Exhibition before it closed. Lunch was excellent as always. The food at Cowslip is worth driving two hours for! After lunch I had a look at the exhibition, I have both of Sandra Meech's books and have taken a Sketchbook workshop with her a couple of years ago at Summer School, and it was great to see her work up close and personal.! I find her work fascinating.
After I had a good look at Sandra's exhibition I wandered down to the shop and lo and behold I found some pre-cut five inch squares in the Sale basket. I swooped on some batiks in lovely soft colours. There were five bundles of the same batiks and of course I bought all five - which amounted to 250 squares in total and I only needed 22!! Oh well!! I am very pleased with the bag I made with these fabrics and I must confess I am not a great fan of patchwork bags but I think the choice of fabrics is very important for this kind of thing. All the fabrics in my packs blended so well together . I am now all fired up to make more of these bags to help get rid of my stash of fabrics. With the remaining 225 batik squares I am going to make a patchwork throw - no wadding, just a backing fabric - an oldfashioned coverlet.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Busy couple of weeks.

I have had a busy couple of weeks getting up to date with all the creative things that were waiting for me to feel like it again ! I managed to get my Journal Quilts finished and registered by the deadline date. These are the last four in my Jurassic Coast series. These are based on Portland and the Chesil Cove and Abbotsbury Swannery. The first one is taken from a photograph I took one evening last summer at Chesil Cove. The sunset was extraordinary. Pale and watery. For this little quilt I strip pieced the background then did the machine quilting . It was then rollered allover with acrylic paint and then I painted the sunset with acrylic paints.

This one is strip pieced with my own hand dyed fabrics and machine quilted.

For this one I have transferred some of my photographs to fabric with my printer and pieced it all together 'log cabin' style.

This last one is based at Abbotsbury Swannery - one of my favourite places. I have printed the images on to painted tissue paper and then bonded it to a backing of hand dyed fabric then densely machine quilted it with a spontaneouss feather design.
I have enjoyed being a part of the 2008 Journal Quilt Project run by the Contemporary Quilt Group. Sometimes I felt pressurized to the point of jacking it in but I am not that sort of person and am now basking in a glow of satisfaction at having completed it all in time and am looking forward to the next Challenge.