Posts tagged ‘freeform machine embroidery’

taking a yarn trip

STA45198STA45202embellished yarn 086 So, I was supposed to take a trip into my overdraft at a fancy yarn supplier, but life had other plans…instead I have been upcycling more factory yarn into hand work friendly balls… some yummy landscape mixes are coming through, very Cornish heath and autumn woodland, the holiday I want to have is happening in the winding πŸ˜‰ Nonie gets mesmerised by not just watching me wind, but the long dreadlocks of freeform crochet as they accumulate on the floor. The next mix is sand, blues and browns, driftwood on the beach and white horses on the North Sea colours…mmmm….

But first a trip down memory of yarn usedΒ  lane πŸ˜‰




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see more slideshow

Boom! I finished the handmade book SEE MORE and I even knocked up a couple of flyers for the SEE MORE @ Nottingham Contemporary Space, while doing necessaries for SEA CHANGE…might need to lie in a darkened room all weekend πŸ˜‰

so, you can see it is much shorter than the books I have made before, and is very focused to the theme of seeing with the new eyes art can give us, by simply teaching us to pay attention…the Thich Nhat Than quote is spiritual rather than creative, intended to teach the interconnectedness of all things, but is in the same vein:


PoetrySue says she likes it more for having such a strong centeredness, so that is food for thought…my favourites are the little reward bundles, the paying attention to small scraps, the discarded, that can become beauty:


– even the cufflink style button is upcycled, and the centre of the bundle is the chopped off ends of the peacock feathers from another page…but they make a delightfulness! I am so looking forward to getting to work on ‘cradle for stones’ where there will be lots of this πŸ˜‰

Having been released from the tasklet of making a flyer for SEE MORE, I just thought I’d have a play with Stephen’s idea and when I’d sorted out my master copies of SEA CHANGE, I set the printer to making a gift for the class, invite cards they can give to friends for next week πŸ˜‰


and in black on white card, coloured card too, but the white looked very chic and like the concrete walls of Contemporary!


Hope they like them πŸ˜‰

SEE MORE @ Nottingham Contemporary


Soooooo…the Contemporary class curve balled me, and extended by a week, meaning I will have an interesting challenge on managing spoons of energy…On Friday 10th May, we are having a 3hour performative art share, SEE MORE, 11 – 2, when I will promptly hustle into a phone booth and twizzle 3 times, emerging as Wonderwoman (sshhh! my secret identity, tell no one πŸ˜‰ ) and whisk away to Queen’s Walk Rec to sit and instruct the installation team on how to hang all the components of SEA CHANGE. I really need to get my head round this because I hang in a happy process daze of flow, and having to choose and explain every little decision is super tiring and induces fibro fog. And I need to stay fresh for the picnic the next day πŸ˜‰


Well, obviously, it will be a day of taxis and ready meals/sandwiches. Then I have already done myself a big favour by choosing to make a handmade book, to be shown on a plinth. I think the class is supportive enough to accept that I have no spoons to herd cats and help curate the space by class consensus, instead I will volunteer to sort out flyers and a couple of posters to attract visitors from upstairs at the Contemporary to The Space, where we will be showing. As I am doing all my flyers and posters at the same time, this is minimal extra energy, while saving the others a deal of stress. I can drop the flyers in to Contemporary by friend delivery (looking at you Robyn πŸ˜‰ ) on Monday/Tuesday and then arrive about 10.30 on the Friday, with SEA CHANGE carried by bearer (tbc!! but hopefully Cherise) and plonk SEE MORE on plinth, sit and smile and enjoy the art. Mary is using some sword form in her piece, ages since I’ve seen good tai chi ch’uan, so that will be a highlight for me and very centering/calming…


It’s interesting how different people interpret the same theme, I think Mary may be the most holistic of us, she is very elegant and moves beautifully and her piece may encapsulate somatics, performance and aesthetics, while exploring the class experience…we will have to see! I have chosen seeing more through internal adjustments, the quotes from creatives and the bringing in of non-traditional elements, embroidery and embellishment bundles, metallic and neon marks, not your average material for an international gallery πŸ˜‰Β  A daoist chuckle at resolving the chip on my shoulder about this by quietly bringing in what I believe should be more acknowledged in the age of altermodernism, that art is non verbal philosophy and can be “decorative” [read: visually interesting in a harmonious way] without losing its edge…may even be more powerful for it… (heresy!!! pass the smelling salts!!!) There will be inter-active elements as well, so altogether, an interesting event, if you happen to be in Nottingham that day, come on by πŸ˜‰ and I will take photos on the day too.


I’m trying to think out a way to prepare some of SEA CHANGE so it can be easier to install on the day. I went to Poundworld (like a dollar store) yesterday and lucked into some green gardening mesh, so am beginning to see a way to lay out some of the chains and stitch them down (it’s a VERY windy site) so that section can be unrolled like a carpet and then tent pegged in. I got some glow-in-the-dark tent pegs to edge it!!! I’m not totally convinced the batteries will work still, but it could be great…

Lovely Eleanor set up a Facebook page for the event, in particular for the bring and share craft andΒ  picnic event that’s standing in for a private view, and as she has an enthusiastic following, the invites (it’s open to all, it’s just a way of letting people know about it) are creating a buzz already πŸ˜‰ This inspired me to set up a page for the week, and bring it to the attention of non-fibre artists, and already some accepts are trickling in. Fingers crossed the weather plays nice, a good forecast will do wonders for my stress levels πŸ˜‰

Feel free to check out the links and send good wishes across the sea! I hope they work, my, my, the learning curve I’ve been on in the last couple of weeks…

see more at nottingham contemporary

The title/theme for our end of course art share is SEE MORE. I have really broken through a lot of personal barriers on this course, perhaps not in the way I expected, but in ways that matter deeply for how I will approach presenting my art to others, particularly art world gatekeepers. I realised that I get wound up by jumping through the hoops of gallery and exhibition proposals because I bend myself out of shape to fit into art speak, to prove I may be an outsider, but I can speak your language…No more!! Because I have such a bad taste in my mouth while I’m doing it that all the joy is lost. Bit hard to be a singing bird while I’m sucking lemons…


So I have rewritten my artist statement to be more directly from my true/heartfelt process, I have kept some terms like inflection of surface, because to be honest, there is no other way to describe what I do, the mixture of texture, colour and dimension that make a single plane multi-faceted or many surfaces one colour field is something painters care about, and not many others, like Flemish bond is a bricklayers’ term because they really care about sticking bricks together…but I have shared more of how I want to catalyse others to reclaim their creativity, which always felt taboo, as direct appeal to the viewer veers dangerously close to beauty/hobby painting/ elvis on velvet πŸ˜‰ I’ve always felt art theory is a bit like psychology, there’s a defensiveness, trying to prove it’s a respectable discipline by being unnecessarily wordy and impenetrable… when really they both involve the the ineffable, the use of what looks like magic to bring people to a better appreciation of how to live…at their best, anyway.


So my art will be seeing more of me, sharing more of what matters to me, being more playful and taking risks with being pleasing on a more superficial level…less abstract, but informed by my love of interesting surfaces, allowing more decoration even (eek, eeeek, such a taboo in fine art) and fusing art/craft elements more…and so this end piece is more elaborate than Chris asks of us. The minimum requirement is to spend 3 hours on our end piece and obviously people with family and work commitments will be very relieved at that, but me, I have more time and…more stash!! So I have dug out lots of leftovers from City & Guilds and elsewhere, brusho and quote albums and new techniques like the stippling…and am making a book. I am using a lot of found objects, they just happen to be my own leftovers πŸ˜‰ and I have let myself work in a very decorative way, I’m enjoying it and I will be pleased with it, it will be worth the spoons…

So, eye candy time:


looking with new eyes: ghalib

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“it’s the rose’s unfolding, Ghalib, that creates the desire to see –

in every colour and circumstance, may the eyes be open for what comes…”




book box: immersed in the making

Now it’s safely arrived, I can show some more images of a book/box I made as a present for the lovely Soraya ofΒ  this blog

You know how you make something and as you make it, you figure out how you should have set about it? Uh, huh… I have plans for how to make more book/box/houses without needing three hands next time πŸ˜‰Β  But for me the joy of making things as gifts for special people (and Soraya is a dear person, a brave woman, a beautiful soul) is I can take a lot of trouble over it and learn so much for me as I immerse in the making….

I had to get it through the post to America,Β  two postal services and customs, so I figured out how to send it flat, but easy to assemble…that’s where the three hands come in, cos I sewed it together from a template like a cross with extra wings, which was upcycled from the buffer lining a very posh tin of biscuits (ahem, bought on approved foods, of course πŸ˜‰ ) and let me tell you…DON’T do it that way! Make each side and lace it together! When I say lace, I mean punch holes and put a ribbon or fancy machine cord through, like lacing shoes. I think it would look great with pelmet vilene as the base and free machine embroidery for script or decoration, but I know Soraya is a great fan of Brene Brown’s ‘Daring Greatly’ and the late, great poetΒ  Audre Lorde, so I started with that quote and built up the idea from there. There’s no way I could write all that on the machine in the space, maybe 10 x 12 cm on the biggest side (3 1/2″ by 4 1/2″) so out came the letraset and I had some beautiful aqua and gold brusho paper, and even so, it was touch and go fitting it in πŸ˜‰

Virtue is definitely its own reward sometimes! I felt I really took in these quotes by having to focus on the letraset (dry transfer lettering) and I think I have been more daring recently, an assertive letter to a demanding in-law; sending my proposal for exhibiting Gaia’s Guardians in a county park/arts venue in spite of the department of wanton persecution (DWP) re-assessing my claim for disability benefits. (Part of the British ConservativeΒ  party make-over of the benefit system/ National Insurance Scheme, not a personal thing, but you are put through the wringer by the process and they could save 50 times the money by going after tax dodgers)

Chris Lewis-Jones, the tutor for the art class I go to at Nottingham Contemporary made a really astute comment about the DWP issue: “Artists are never really unemployed”. It’s true, because so much of what we do is unpaid/underpaid/made without any expectation of making a living from it, but we make it anyway, because otherwise we’d shrivel into husks of ourselves, all the pith and juicy bits gone, we CANNOT not make. There was a lot of focus and effort put into this gift, but it took me about 6 WEEKS from idea to posting, because I could do so little at a time, and I did a lot of change and change about, trading off easier and harder parts. I also traded off some spoons, living in the same clothes for 3 days at a time with wet wipe washes (TMI, sorry !!!) so that I could keep making. Because making is a lot more rewarding than having a shower, and it is snowing again here, so not much sweat happening πŸ˜‰ But I really doubt that the powers-that-be can imagine that having a shower is harder/more tiring than crafting a beautiful thing, I expect some of you able-bodied readers are struggling with that too…but it’s true, having a shower takes me about an hour if you count getting out of bed to put the shower heater on through to back in bed to ‘recover’ and then be ready to do anything other than fall asleep…and then I’ve used up major spoons and forks (pain!!) out of my weekly ration…to think I would hop in the shower, in and out, un and redressed in 10 minutes after the allotment…fibromyalgia is such a life changer…

I feel I make the right choices FOR ME, and they would not be right for non-artists, and there are plenty of makers who couldn’t live without a daily shower/bath, even with chronic fatigue/pain, but for me, life is not what I make it, it is what I get to make, because then I am glad to be alive! And that links to the van Gogh quote “One must work and dare if one really wants to live”…



bundles make magic

“The proper, fitting shape of the novel might be that of a sack, a bag. A book holds words. Words hold things. They bear meanings. A novel is a medicine bundle, holding things in a particular, powerful relation to one another and to us” Ursula le Guin

found with a much longer quote, here:

– well worth reading, the full quote and the whole post from Myth and Moor, lovely photographs too…

I have bounced from being in a very happy, post-chiropractic tired but cheerful and optimistic place to a post- letter -from- the- Benefit- Centre, heart in mouth place…Knowing how badly these civil servants handle tricky don’t fit the boxes claims, and how upset I got in 2007 when I had to fight for a year to get my DLA back, my first instinct is to cower with fear…but an alternative thought is playing on the edge of my mind…it will be what it will be…so you might as well make art πŸ˜‰

I have a lot of components sitting on the table in the studio from a piece I wanted to make ages ago, called cradle for stones. It involves papier mache shells (think grapefruit to large cabbage size) cut in half with bundles inside, like fibre art geodes πŸ˜‰

Remembering that art objects are also texts, that can be read… maybe it’s time to make some power bundles to help me through the trial by ordeal, trial by endurance that standing up for your rights with the benefit system can be. I paid into a National Insurance scheme to cover me should anything awful happen to me, and guess what, it did, and guess what, I feel entitled to the service my contributions paid for…I am not a scrounger, I live with chronic pain and fatigue, but knowing the humiliation they feel entitled to put claimants through, I feel my adrenalin rise…and then the pain follows…

yes, better go make art!

Here are some images of components from theΒ  installation ‘Gaia’s Guardians’, it took me a mere 2 years to make πŸ˜‰ and is based on freeform crochet and other fibre and textile art elements about the use of gorgonian corals in climate change prediction. I’m hoping to get it out in a public space in a couple of months, it’s a site-specific installation so hanging it outdoors would be amazing…it includes freeform crochet in nickel chain, yarn, fabrics, machined cords and the funkiest pompoms you’ve ever seen πŸ˜‰