Saturday, July 16, 2016

Filling Stiches by Edith John

I am a bit of an op shop addict?   I can browse and touch. And if you buy, it’s only a couple of dollars.  Every so often I come across a wonderful find.  In a holiday in Anglesea (Victoria) I discovered some wonderful pink dupion and old linen begging for a new life.   

sample worked from
Edith John's book
More recently I picked up a great book - Filling Stitches by Edith John.  The book was published by Batsford in 1967 in with black and white diagrams.  As a result, it has wonderful contemporary graphic images.   The instructions are clear and easy to follow.  

I have played with some of the patterns with perle, DMC and machine threads and they create striking patterns.    I like to do crazy patchwork and I can see fillings and seam embellishments on every page.

I couched down the threads but why stop there?   All sorts of lines could be made with thick and thin threads and heavy and light stitched lines.  Why not raised chain band and chain.  Or couch with detached chain.  Or…

sample worked from 
Edith John's book 
I think the book should have been called ‘Design by Default’.  When I see the drawings I think I could…

·         make a quilt
·         play with twine and raffia on hessian and make a hanging
·         branch out and couch down chop sticks (wrapped or not), textured wool or something found
·         applique in the traditional sense or
·         make a Mola design applique with embroidery.

Old Chiltern Cemetary, Victoria
Wroung Ironwork - Grave surround
More recently, I stapped at an old cemetrary by the Highway.  It was closed in about 1860. I had a browse around the surviving head stones and thought how I could transpose the ironwork patterns into something textile.

Edith John had a number of curvey line ideas in her book. The wrought iron could be easily transposed as  couched threads or applique.

 But for time being I will continue to make 5 cm squares and mount them on my workroom wall and enjoy the changing patterns.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Winter palettes

I have moved some 6 hours south of Sydney since last winter.   The colours are different.  I am relishing the chill, enjoying the frosts and but i'm not so keen on the cold winds that blow on occasion. We are inland and not on the sea so at least the antarctic blast is lessened.   But snow is starting to happen in the highlands and soon, cloud coverage permitting, we will be able to see it in the distance.

In the interim I have been enjoying the muted colours of the sky, watching the rain filled clouds come over the hills and follow the sheets of rain as they move towards our house.

View from the verandah  - sun on the trees next door and rain clouds in the distance

When I walk and see the natural world around me I think life is good.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Making Fey Folk

Fairies have taken my fancy of late and I have been creating little female folk.  I have used sticks, feathers and leaves collected from my walks or garden and scraps of cloth and thread and clay in my studio.

It is addictive.  And helped me find my mojo :-).

Having made a couple of these little creatures I visited Google scholar and tried to find out a little more on the history of fairies.   It seems that fairies have been recorded as far back as the early Medieval Age. They looked like normal sized people and did not have wings. People were very wary of fairies (fey)and avoided any engagement with them.  The fairy as we know them – all sweetness and light with butterfly wings – is an invention of the Victorian era.

There appears to have been a cross fertilization between the Irish and Scottish and Scottish and Norse in terms of shared beliefs due to migration and physical proximity.  A lot of research has been done by scholars including Dr Lizanne Henderson of the University of Glasgow.   Some of Dr Henderson’s work is available online and makes for interesting reading and is a font of ideas for more making.    By way of example a paper by Dr Henderson entitled Witch, fairy and folktale narratives in the trial of Bessie Dunlop gives descriptions of fairies as recorded by Bessie’s prosecutors.   Reading it made me feel glad to be living now and not then.   

My fey folk journey started after seeing Wilma Simmons' message stick dolls.  Wilma kindly donated one of her messgae stick dolls for a cancer fund raiser and gave me permission to use her tutorial for a fund raising arty party.   Her dolls inspired me to keep playing and make little creatures in my own voice. 

I will post more photos as the fey folk family grows.

Not quite a self portrait

Not quite a self portrait
small 8' quiltlet with embroidered hair

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