Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Module 4 - City and Guilds

The criteria for Module 4 was Landscape and Geological Form, so I chose Fossils. This module also covered "Texture" and "Smocking".
We had to draw basic shapes from our chosen theme; colour various pieces of paper in a grey scale; then fill in our basic drawings using torn or cut shapes from our grey scaled papers. These were then cut up and exploded to create new designs. I enjoyed this.

We were also required to create texture pieces by tearing, cutting, and arranging paper using both plain and painted tonal papers.

Then came the embroidered samples: firstly, there were general smocking samples to create ...

... then onto the experimental pieces. My first experimental piece was created by smocking on 3 pieces of a checker patterned cotton fabric. I then replicated the smocking stitches directly onto the background fabric as surface embroidery inbetween the 3 smocked pieces. Painted squares were then randomly stamped on the background fabric to bring the fabric pattern into the design as a whole, these were then highlighted with stitches down two sides of the painted squares. It's a very uniformed design, but I am happy with it.

My second experimental sample was, once again, based on my line design from Module 1. This was created using reverse smocking on a multicoloured cotton fabric, embellished with beads and cord, with smocked suffolk puffs which were filled with buttons. I tend to always use the same colours for a lot of my work, but this time I used these happy colours and I'm pleased with the outcome.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Module 3 - City and Guilds

Colour and applique were the subjects for Module 3, and my primary source was Viking/Anglo Saxon artwork.
I'd touched on colour theory in art classes I'd taken a few years back, and I love history and was fascinated with the Vikings/AS, especially when I found out all about the Sutton Hoo discovery in England, so these two were great ... the applique, not so!
Although I love patchwork and quilting, especially Baltimore quilts, loving it and being good at it are two different things. I'd done some applique in the past but it just wasn't on the top of my favourite things to do list. Oh well, as Meatloaf says "two out of three ain't bad"... so I plodded on. Below are some of my designs based on brooches and shields that I found in various books.

These developed into my samples: (1) applique using various materials including paper, metal, rubber, fabric, felt, beads, ribbon;

(2) reverse applique using polar fleece fabric; and

(3) reverse applique using 4 layers of cotton fabric. I found it hard to stitch the circles in a circular shape, as the fabric was fraying ... this will take some practice!
This piece was my second experimental piece based on the line design from Module 1. Created by appliquing foils, buttons, fabric, seracin and threads to a base fabric.

Module 2 - City and Guilds

Module 2 was all about shape, and based on the industrial theme, which was hardly inspiring, but as I got into it I found lots of interesting shapes, and as is the point with these courses, it really does make you look at everything with new eyes. When I researched the definition of "shape" I came across words I'd never heard of before ... a frustum? a toroid? an ovoid? Oh crikey, what was I in for?
Hubby took me around loads of industrial areas to photograph everything and anything, until we were run off one site by a burly security guard, then in the end I settled on items in hubby's workshop ... spanners, vices, lathes etc ... loads to choose from and right on my doorstep too. My chosen shapes were a set of spanners, and its amazing what you can do with them using computer photo software ... I had great fun!
I find the DMC Cross-stitch software (about $20 from Officeworks) is brilliant for charting your designs. I used it for the cross-stitch and assissi patterns, and also for the canvas work. Here are some pics of my samples and the chart created in DMC software for my experimental canvas work

My resolved piece.

By the end of Module 2 I still felt out of my comfort zone and running blind, but I was in this now and there was no going back.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Module 1 - City and Guilds

I was very excited about starting my studying with City and Guilds .... until the first 3 modules arrived, then panic set in! It was a bit daunting and not unlike jumping off the high diving board with your eyes shut and nose blocked, but slowly I relaxed to it. Its been many, in fact, too many, years since I was a student, but it does blow away the cobwebs and kick starts your brain again, and now I love it. Here are some pics from my first module, which was "Line". The first two pics are from my design work ... I chose a capsicum for my primary source (after disecting and attempting to draw most of the fruit and vegies in my fridge!!!!)

This sample was created using only 3 stitches : lazy daisy, raised stem band and french knots. It's a raised piece of embroidery and depicts a branch from a large tree speckled with moss

Another sample was created using composite stitches, inspired by a garden trellis and climbing plants.
Previously I'd only ever done traditional embroidery following charts and designs, so the instruction to do an "experimental" piece filled me with terror and led to many days of chocolate and wine (not at the same time, I might add) to give me the courage to have a go. Here's my finished piece, which I was quite pleased with in the end, maybe I didn't need the chocolate and wine after all .... oh! who am I kidding, everyone needs chocolate and wine.

And finally here's a sample page from my "Threads and Materials" file, listing all materials used for the samples. Once I got my feedback from my tutor, I finally relaxed and looked forward to the next module. I think the first steps in Mod 1 are always daunting for a distance learning student, because you just don't know if you're on the right track or not. It really makes you think outside the box, and sometimes you crave inspiration from other students, but in the same token, being on your own makes your work individual and true to yourself.

Here goes ....

Welcome! After months of contemplating a blog, here I am, I've done it ... I decided to bite the bullet and create this blog to document my embroidery and textile journeys, with a few other titbits about my life thrown in.

Being a distance learning student its easy to feel isolated and so I hope this blog will help me to connect with other students and share problems, ideas and achievements along the way.

In the next few days I will post some photos of my City and Guilds journey to date, but in the meantime here's a few pics of my home studio where I try and spend as much time as possible studying, designing and selling supplies.

If you want to read a bit more about me please log onto my website.