2014 The Journey continues

Our experiences as a group over the last two years has help develop and inform our direction of travel - our first exhibition this year (Veldhoven October 2013) will be followed by two more in 2014; London in early April for the 2012 pieces and Beaujolais in Mid April for the 2013 series.

We move forward in 2014 maintaining the same size for our work (A3 30x42 cm or 12 x17 inches); after some discussion the group has determined that an open theme of 'The earth' will be the theme for this year. This will give us each the opportunity to interpret the theme in our own way to produce a series of six pieces, one every two months.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

My final piece is based on rock art from a place called Laas Geel in Sudan and depicts cattle. The back ground is ice dyed, the cattle raw edged appliqued. The magnificent horns are bark cloth.


I have always wanted to experiment with 'Bogolan' or mud cloth. After sewing 3 pieces of hand woven cotton together, I dipped the panel in Turmeric and water then dried it. I mixed henna powder and balsamic vinegar and used the resulting 'mud' to make my design which is based on Aboriginal symbols. The result is not as dark as I would have liked but I did have fun!!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Chaco Canyon, New Mexico: Marking the Middle of Time

Chaco Canyon is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a remote canyon cut by the Chaco Wash. Containing the most sweeping collection of ancient ruins north of Mexico, the canyon preserves one of the United States' most important pre-Columbian cultural and historical areas.

Between AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon was a major center of culture for the Ancient Pueblo Peoples.  Chacoans quarried sandstone blocks and hauled timber from great distances, assembling fifteen major complexes that remained the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century.  Many Chacoan buildings were aligned to capture the solar and lunar cycles, requiring generations of astronomical observations and centuries of skillfully coordinated construction.  Climate change is thought to have led to the emigration of Chacoans and the eventual abandonment of the canyon, beginning with a fifty-year drought commencing in 1130.  But, there is also a legend that the Chacoans who built and maintained the buildings at Chaco Canyon may have found a way to control certain natural forces, and when they fully realized the consequences of such control, they abandoned Chaco Canyon and the knowledge they had acquired, leaving the canyon and its buildings to the whims of those natural forces they had so long sought to command.  Remnants of that long abandoned power are palpable in the canyon to this day.  

I made this quilt using commercial fabrics and hand-felted pieces with beading and embellishments.  The "stones" in the old wall were cut and laid one by one--just as the ancient Chacoans must have laid the stones in their walls.  The five felted pieces are intended to represent the sun or the moon on its journey through the sky each day and night. 


Monday, 27 October 2014

Mother earth speaks to us......

'Mother earth speaks to us through plants  and flowers'

Buddist quote

This piece continues my series using discharge pastes on dyed backgrounds. The base cotton was a low immersion dyed piece in deep greens - I was keen to see the resultant colour after printing on leaf images with different pastes, after two layers I lightly overdyed the piece in a leaf green to restore the background depth and finally discharge a third time with some decollourant.  My intention was to try to create depth in the piece by having some soft unstitched images floating in the background.

It never ceases to surprise me the range of various pigments that get pulled out of the dyed fabric. I used anti-clor as a final soak to ensure all the agents had been removed.

The piece was sandwiched together as usual and I used machine embroidery/quilting to emphasize the printed shapes with rayon thread as I needed the stitching to show.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Primal Lizard
I found a wonderful image of a lizard rock painting found in Kakadu National Park in Northern Australia. The area is inhabited by the Bininj and Mungguy people. Some of the paintings found here are 20,000 years old!
I used 6 layers of fabric, ice dyed, hand dyed, some damask from West Africa, batik from West Africa and a piece of metallic fabric I found in a second hand market in Nairobi. Using the Molo reverse applique technique was quite difficult as all the fabrics had a tendency to fray. I added some machine embroidery and quilting using rayon threads and then embellished the piece using ostrich shell and brass beads from Turkana. 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Earth Quotes - When clouds appears like rocks........

"When clouds appear like rocks and towers, 
the earth refreshes with frequent showers."

Old Amish saying

The inspiration behind this piece is a chunk of Blue John rock from the Blue John mine in Derbyshire. An appropriate quote as the 'blue' of the rock vein is caused by the  rain seeping over the specific minerals underground over millenium. 

I used black cotton which I discharged initially with Jacquard discharge paste to get the light 'quartz' bands running down the  piece. I used  sponges to try to achieve different depths of texture in the rocks - I then used decollourant colour sample pots to add a range of rock like colours to the piece working from behind. (I always find the effects are much better when you are using colour replacement discharge paints if you work on the reverse.) Finally I added flecks of turquoise blue  for the Blue John crystals.

Blue John Rocks

I used a heavy rayon thread to emphasise the shots of turquoise that run through the veins with a whip stitch again working on the reverse to give a looser thread on top. Similarly with cream and variagated taupe threads to add texture to the 'quartz' veins. I added the odd bit of turquoise bling - (plastic small gemstones) to create the sparkle.

The background black rock was textured with free machine quilting.

Detail of rocks

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Cherries – A taste of summer

Cherries – A taste of summer – August 2014

Big, fat, juicy cherries come into season here in July. They are grown locally and in the nearby Rhone Valley and appear in local supermarkets, village markets and in wayside stalls which one can find all over this part of France in the summer. They are not around for long, so everyone makes the most of the few weeks they are available at quite reasonable prices.

The background fabric is cotton sateen from Stoll Weber. Cherry juice is depicted in the heavily quilted area with beads of juice dripping from the edge. I like text on my pieces as you know and the word Cerises, French of course for cherries, is quilted and filled with hand embroidered cross stitch using one of my hand dyed threads. The cherries are painted with fabric paint and shadows put in with more embroidery.