Monday, 28 March 2016

Time Marches on.

March is nearly through, so I thought it was about time I posted again. I've just spent another fabulous weekend on a stitch retreat, this time with Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. Despite having a horrible sore throat and other cold symptoms which kept me awake it was everything I'd hoped.  Since retiring I have set myself the challenge of developing my skills as a textile artist. The Creative Quilt-making C&G cert. set me off. However I have always found hand stitching more challenging. Machine embroidery gives quick(er) results than hand stitching, but I love the richness of texture and surface detail that can only be achieved with hand stitch. Jan and Jean must be two of the most well known practitioners of creative embroidery, so it was definitely worth listening to what they had to say about embroidery as well as their amusing anecdotes about their travels teaching round the world. They combine machine and hand stitching, embellishing, bonding, dissolvable fabrics, infact any method that produces the effect they are looking for.
I think the most important thing I've taken on board this year is the need to practice and experiment and then more practice and more experimentation. When you're attending a workshop with a skilled teacher it is so easy to take it for granted that you will be able to go home and apply the skills you've just learned about.  I frequently have a go at home with my newly purchase materials and manage, unguided, to make a dog's dinner! So thank you Hilary Beatie, thank you Maggie Grey and thank you Jan and Jean for giving me enough techniques to practice for the rest of my life! Hilary, on the retreat, and Maggie at a demo at Art Van Go convinced me that I must stop being so precious about my sometimes expensive materials and be prepared to create some colourful dog's dinners. I'm not going to improve my results if I don't get experimenting. Jan and Jean impressed upon us that they continually experiment and practice their stitching, never taking anything for granted.  I just watched Hilary Beattie's quirky video on Facebook where she talks about how she made herself a career in textile art. Nobody could deny that beneath all of these artist there are years of hard work and an underlying self belief. Hilary shared with her viewers how diligent she was at making a five year plan and then breaking that down into one year, months and weeks - and she stuck at it. 
So... time to make a new plan? I did make one when I started out, to learn about textiles. I can say I have covered much that I'd aimed for. So now may be a good time to set out some new objectives. I do not need to plan a career or a way of making a living. I do not want to commit myself to a lot of exhibitions,  However I do want a challenge and to move forward.  I shall take my time sorting out some priorities and setting myself achievable goals as well as challenges. I will share my journey here, but don't hold your breath, but committing myself here on my blog is the first step.

I also popped into Art Van Go to see Maggie Grey give a super demonstration of Pebeo Prisme ceramic paints to add a few special effects to her multi media pieces  Had to treat myself to a few pots and trialed a few inchies.  They are great fun - not sure how I shall be using them, but the effects are lovely.

Here we are at Wyboston - a  large group, but we did have two very experienced tutors.

First evening I took a bit of stitching to bed!

We practiced textured stitching, trying to raise the surface and make lots of texture.

 On Sunday we all displayed our work Jan and Jean were very supportive and totally inspiring.

A visit to our local craft shop yielded a few bargains which I have subjected to some dyeing, inspired by Double Trouble, to increase my yarn selection.

Below are two close up of 3 inch square samples experimenting with depicting a flint wall

Below: exploring some more ideas

I keep postponing posting this post! I'm busy experimenting, but if I wait any longer I will have to rewrite the whole thing, so I'm pressing the 'Publish' button and saving anything new for next time.