Thursday, 28 June 2012

Serendipity part II - rain stops play!

Another set of serendipitous circumstances occured due to prevailing weather conditions.  On Sunday I decided to visit a retail outlet via the metro.  The weather was pleasant when I left home without my brolly (big, big mistake) and my journey there was uneventfull.  I had been told an italian linen company (yes you linen lovers) had some stock in the outlet.  I hot-footed to the appropriate section as I had specific instructions from my friend Anne.  She had been a few days earlier and purchased seven gorgeous linen garments.  Since my birthday is approaching I needed no further excuse and I had numerous items back and forth into the dressing room.  I decided to buy three pieces, two dresses and a jacket.  My photography of garments is a bit suspect so I have just taken snapshots of the details....... 

The Grey Jacket

lovely double collar detail

 fabric manipulation on the sleeve

The Stripey Dress

pin-tucked detail on the neckline

The Tunic Dress

embroidered pockets

As I had taken so long to decide which items to buy, the weather had changed dramatically outside and I can only describe it as flash flooding!  As I was wearing clothing of the definitely not waterproof variety this proved a bit of a problem.  The metro station was a good five minute walk away.  I hopped between bus-stops sheltering for a few moments until the rain subsided.  I decided to get off the metro at the weekly flea market (it is under cover) as the rain was torrential by this time. And so the serendipity moment II happened as I had no intention of visiting.  I have a route (sad I know) I always follow around the market stalls but this time I deviated and came upon a stall selling vintage items.  There was lace, trims, buttons, fabrics, clothing, threads, bobbins, patterns, books and lots of other things too numerous to mention.
I bought a bag of trims mostly hand-crocheted and a couple of pieces of lace and a gorgeous very long piece of what I think is broderie anglaise.....

little crochet bundles

an exquisite length of lace

a broderie anglaise trim

I really love it when I find a bag of goodies, especially when you get a couple of gems in there.
There was a lovely box of threads I could not resist, it was the lettering and colour of the box that initially attracted me.....

nestling amongs my Woolfest props

My last purchase was a tiny pixie that I simply could not resist, a purchase of the frivolous kind....

A little linen person sat himself in the props box think I will have to keep my eye on him!

Hope you all have a good weekend despite the atrocious weather forecast.
Jayne x

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Harrogate Home & Gift - the nerves kick in!

Home & Gift....
What a busy busy week, been down to college, stayed overnight at my friend Therese's house and went to Woolfest in Cockermouth on a coach trip organised by The Knit Studio in Newcastle.

The Home & Gift show is in three weeks time (how did that happen?) so the people who have been selected had to attend College to mock up the stand and organise paperwork etc.  My friend Cheryll and I have known for quite a while we had been chosen but did not know any of the details until Thursday.   We were each allocated two metres by one metre of wall space.   My tutor suggested I take all of my textile pieces so a selection could be chosen.  It proved difficult to display my accessories to reflect who you are and what your work is about.  It somehow seems real now and the nerves have started to kick in!  Will anyone like my work, never mind want to order any!  What if no-one orders anything!  My mind has gone into overdrive.  I have decided to treat it as an adventure and I am sure I will learn a lot, meet lovely people and enjoy the whole experience with friends, keep you posted .......

I am sure there will be many bloggy people writing about Woolfest, as it only happens once a year I get very excited (I know, very sad!) about the prospect.  This year I went with my creative friends, Gill W, Anne and a last minute entrant Therese.  None of the girls had been before so I was hoping they would like it.  I needn't have worried, they loved it all.  I love the mixture of animals, fibres, designer makers, workshops, demonstrations, the whole experience is a real treat.  I tried to take some photos of the alpacas (just had a very severe hair cut - a No2 on the clippers I'm sure!) but they wouldn't stay still.  They have such huge doe eyes, a swan like neck and a mop of hair, here is the only half decent photograph ...

Normally I like to have a quick look around and then double back to make my purchases.  We all just meandered and took in  the atmosphere.  A variety of spinners, weavers, felt-makers, knitters, basket weavers all working away on their stands.   It is always very busy and this year there was an added marquee to peruse.  There really was some beautiful and original work for sale.  Jenny Pepper felt maker had the most gorgeous stand, think it was my favourite, driftwood, pebbles, wooden crates, cake stands all used to display her exquisite work.  It is interesting to look at how people display their work and what they use as props!  Talking of which....... a lot of purchases were made in the prop department.

 an old wooden shuttle and a vintage folding coat hanger

I had a thought that a few of my corsages would sit nicely in it.  It really is a gorgeous piece of aged wood with some interesting detail....

I usually buy lots of fibres, yarns and fabrics but this year I blew my budget on one stand!  They had so many lovely pieces to choose from I could have spent an absolute fortune!  I had to bypass an old tatty ladder, I could have got it onto the coach but would have had a struggle on the metro train home Pity!!  I did buy a box and three other pieces which I intend to use for display purposes. 

lovely weathered wood and metal

A mystery object of the mill kind!

 metal ends like tiny keyholes

I have no idea what the piece with the holes in could be (answers on a postcard please) but I did think it had good potential for display, a lovely weathered box never comes in wrong either.  A deal was struck and I was a happy girl.  To finish the day off we had a lovely vegan lunch of carrot, herb and pine nut pasty with home made salads, it was absolutely delicious and very filling.  The coach journey home passed quickly as we all looked at what everyone had bought and oooohed and ahhhd.
A quick drink together rounded off the evening, a good time was had by all! 
Did you have an interesting weekend?  Back soon with more purchases of a linen and lace kind!
Jayne x


Monday, 18 June 2012

Obsessions of a natural kind..........

I am sure I am not alone in my obsessive collecting of antique and vintage textiles that may (or may not!) be incorporated into my work.  Linen, lace, buttons, threads and yarns seem to find their way into my possession without me realising it.  Friends give me lots of things, charity shops are searched, flea markets perused on a regular basis to feed my obsession.   As a student for four years, I did not spend a lot of money.  People are very kind and if an exquisite piece of lace or fabric is damaged or torn it can be purchased for a very reasonable price.  I only use natural fabrics and yarns such as linen, silk and cotton in my work.  Linen has to be my all time favourite.  I love to print, dye, hand embroider, embellish, and wear it.  There is nothing like the feel of it, I just love the way its beauty increases with age.  Here is a beautiful old french postal sack .....

 showing its age beautifully, worn and darned

now living on the bottom rung of a bamboo ladder in my sitting room

the top half of the ladder

small corsages, dyed and frayed, embellished with crochet pansies made from old linen

I live five minutes away from the coast, I often beachcomb and pick up some incredible organic pieces with fascinating structures and textures.  Here is a piece of dried seaweed which is now on a shelf in my garden.....

knarled and twisted

a tangled web of organic shapes

Sometimes you find something so breathtakingly fragile and beautiful it takes your breath away.
I was tidying my front garden when I came across two physalis skeletons.  I used to have a plant but lost it a few years ago.  I do love these little lanterns, they dry beautifully and keep their hot-orange colour.  A mystery then how two came to rest under my laurel shrub.

a tiny individual hydrangea petal accompanies the lanterns

a delicate filigree structure

has this been spun in gold?

More of my obsessions to come.... the list is endless.   Hope the weather is kind to you and the sun continues to shine. 

p.s. In a charity shop today I bought a bag of doilleys, tablecloths and a lovely darned very tatty linen embroidered sheet, tell you about them next time, they are soaking as we speak.

p.p.s. linen postal sack courtesy of Julie from The Cloth Shed, thanks Julie!

Jayne x

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Making, Mending and Living North

Another lovely making day with my two creative friends, Gill P and Gill W.   The three of us are having a stand at the Living North Christmas Fair in November  (.  We have decided to exhibit collectively as 'Made', and have been asked to provide images of our work.

Gill W is a wizzo with the camera taking very arty photographs, so she was given the job of creative director.  I was chief cook and bottle washer providing sustenance in the form of tea, sandwiches, home-made corned beef pie and for afters strawberries and blueberries with creme fraiche - not all at once you understand.  A bowl of sweeties to be nibbled throughout the proceedings (and boy did they do that - not a fruit gum left in sight!) finished off the catering for the day!  Gill P was quietly sewing her lovely wall hangings and supervising props usage with Gill W.  Trugs, baskets, trays, curtains and cushions were all utilised .  Interior and exterior shots were taken - no stone unturned in the quest for the perfect image.  We are all so creatively different, to marry our work together proved difficult, oh and did I mention it had to be Christmas orientated!  Anyway we did eventually come up with a composition we were happy with.   We decided a simple photograph of one piece of work each worked the best, but here are a few Gill created using a lot of our work together.....

 My lovely rustic wire wall basket full to the brim

A trug full of delights

Heart shaped baskets provided a nice backdrop for this simpler shot.....

Yes, apologies that is Santa Claus making a very early appearance!

Gill kindly took some photographs of my work and let me take some with her super duper camera. 

A wrist cuff nestling in the curtains

and another ....

last one!

and now for something completely different, the mending part...........

I was lucky enough to find a tatty old bag full of gorgeous cards of mending yarns, there were over fifty - someone must have had a lot of socks to darn!

another trug full of delights

I wonder who used that needle in the card on the right?

I love the description on this one - lisle hose sounds so romantic!

a few lovely smoke cats-eye mother of pearl buttons from my local flea market

and last but not least, an image of some buttons to be used on a garment I am working on for Betty, I have hand painted dye onto a few of them.

gorgeous linen lingerie buttons

Show you them in-situ on a later post!  The sun is shining so I am off to have a cup of tea... have a lovely week.  Jayne x


Monday, 4 June 2012

Betty's Brassiere and Bloomers and the colour purple.

Sometimes dyeing goes the way you want it to, and sometimes it doesn't.  My last dye bath was too purple, no matter what colours I added it remained the same.  I had to water the bath down and re-mix colours to get a pink tone to my purple.  I have realised I do not like true colours, I much prefer to make them a little muted by adding a touch of grey or black which just takes the edge off the colours.  Anyway, much dipping, soaking, rinsing and washing in machine, I am happy with the colours of Betty's underwear!  Here is the modestly panel ready for embellishment.....

lovely hand stitching

dyed doilleys, crochet and lace

turning it inside out  to embellish

Betty's brassiere dyed well, I dip dyed the hemline to obtain a deeper shade.  I will turn this inside out to embellish as well to show the pockets where the whalebones were.  I feel they make a lovely feature.

.a tiny print of gypsophila nestles in the top corner

positive and negative transfer printing

        ready to embroider
linen and crochet gorgeousness!
Betty's bloomers are very pale at the top and deeper on the broderie anglaise trim

embroidery enhanced by dyeing

a little wristcuff in the colour purple

Now that all of the garments are dyed it just remains for me to embellish them with gorgeous fragments of crochet, lace, knit and hand-embroidery.  I have decided not to repair any of the frayed edges, seams or stitch to retain the aged hand-rendered quality that I love.  My final photograph of the colour purple is starting to work on the modesty panel.

adding dusky pinks to the mix 
I have also been trying to spend a little bit of time drawing, it is such a long time since I have put pen to paper and I really do enjoy it.  I had a lovely hellebore flower and tried to do a very quick continuous line drawing, with my left hand, and then with my right hand.
     left hand
right hand
I much prefer the right handed drawing and as I am left-handed it makes me wonder why. Something
to do with not having the control making you more relaxed perhaps.
until next time, enjoy Jubilee week weather permiting, Jayne x