22 Jan 2013

A new challenge... Tapestry Weaving!

I often find myself getting a little restless and a little bored, so am always looking for new things to do, whether its a new craft or a new country to explore!!
But this time i thought I'd stay a little closer to home and learn a new skill, so i thought I'd try out tapestry weaving!
Now, i don't know if you've ever looked in to tapestry weaving, but theres a huge branch of different skill and types of tapestry weaving! And in fact, tapestry weaving has been mislead for a lot of needle work! So i was a little lost when i began to look for a course or class to join!
But then i stumbled upon Hilary Charlesworth, a tapestry weaver who mostly weaves rugs based in west Sussex. I liked the idea of a small more personal class, so i signed up straight away and am so glad i did!

I went along with just one other woman so basically had a one on one session, and learnt the basics in weaving, how to set up my own frame and some lovely weaving techniques! I had such a lovely day with Hilary and her creative class and cant wait to get in to weaving and experiment with Yarn!

I highly recommend one of Hilary's classes to any one who is interested. She is a lovely, warm woman and i assure you, you will learn loads and have a really good time too! And weaving is such a therapeutic thing to do, you can get lost in it for hours!

Here are a few photo's of my own sample, don't you dare laugh!

If you are interested in learning a little more about weaving, you should definitely take a look at Hilary's website.


My latest project: Embellishment for Fashion!

My latest project for fashion was based on a trend of my choice. I chose to work to a cultural trend based on escalating fashion on travel!

Here are a few cheeky snaps of some work from this project!

So lets start with some drawing! I started by looking through photos galore, a great excuse to look through some of my own travel photos!

All background paper has been created by either screen pull through's (pulling through pure pigments, acids and procions, playing with colour and mark making! very messy and brilliant fun) and also mark making using different brush sizes and also paper towels and smearing it over the page! i also used some artificial flowers to make marks as well as the occasional hand print! 

 A Peruvian Woman, drawn in charcoal, with water colour.
 A Mehndi pattern, inspired by a selection of Indian images of mehndi henna tattoos.
 Possibly my favourite, an Indian man surrounded by some Aboriginal and Asian pattern! Such beautiful colours! Too exciting!
An African woman, i assure you she looks happy in the real image, not quite as scary as this!!!
 Various culture inspired patterns, colour, a cheeky man who i like to think is from Nepal (I don't know why...) and some stitching on to the paper and in with the pattern! And i didn't break my machine! phew...
 Beautiful little Asian girl! With some European inspired embroidery and some lovely bromeliads!

And now for the final embellished garment shapes! 

 This one is based on African jewellery! I wanted to do this with a modern twist, so used colours that perhaps meet a more western culture. I used bead work, stem stitch, straight stitch, back stitch, and satin stitch! This piece took me up to four days. The top itself has been dyed yellow, then dyed again with a pull through of pigments!
This piece took the longest and is probably my favourite of the four. It took about two weeks and is entirely hand stitched! The only thing that a machine was used for was to make the gold circles which have been done using water soluble paper and therefore are made entirely of gold thread! The elephants are each sewn with a different technique; The first on the left is simply a stem stitch, the middle was couching and the one on the right was a raised stem stitch, but very finely done.
The main detail of the hands were done using beading, a very delicate chain stitch, stem stitch, back stitch and satin stitch! The outside detail is stem, satin and back stitch, each layer being a different stitch!
The back ground again has been done using a pull through with a mixture of pigment and procions.

 This piece is possibly my least favourite. I wanted to bring in more to the colour scheme i had and thought i could do this through another culture. The main body of the top is based on Peru, and i wish i had stitched in to it further neatening up the painted background. This was done through a pull through, painted on to the screen, then painted on to the fabric itself to brighten the colours using all pigment. Exciting though it was, I'm not sure how successful this piece is.
The beading is quite simple but i thought it would be good to use more ethnic looking beads.
I also used some ribbon work and simply sewed squared using a red ribbon, which took quite a lot of stress and pricking of fingers! 
I pleated the top of the dyed fabric and sewed it on to give it a bit more to it but again, I'm not so sure of how well this has worked.

 And for the last garment! This was unfortunately mostly done by machine which i do not like to do. I think embroidery looks best when done by hand as it is more personal, and more beautiful. I also don't like the lack of control i feel when i use a machine, but that's just me!
So here we have another pull through dyed fabric and a tunic dress shape with a collar that has been sewn using machine stitches (zig zag and straight stitch using different lengths) and also some tambour beading and tambour stitches (as its quite beautiful just using the stitch without sequins or bead work)
There is some hand embroidery within the machine just to give it that extra lift.

 I used free hand machine embroidery, and a combination of zig zag and straight stitch playing with the length and widths of the stitches to make lines and shapes of different thicknesses. And of course some Hand embroidery, i wonder if you can pick out which is hand and which is machine?

So there we have my last project, a fun one and rich in fabulous content but how successful do you think it was, i wonder!?

21 Jan 2013

Work Placement 2: Zandra Rhodes

And as if i wasn't lucky enough to have had one amazing work placement, i managed to get myself a second!

So after a relaxing weekend after hand & lock i began straight away at Zandra Rhodes' studio! (Goodbye money...)

This was quite a different experience! From embroidery to a print studio! And a very different environment all together!

Now, Zandra has her own style as we all know, but this is very much shown in the studio itself! Its very much a museum to the art of Zandra, as she has kept everything. Every screen, every garment, everything! How incredible! Every where you look there is something else that makes your mouth open like a codfish, like being in Aladdin's cave! From Garments that you have seen before in magazines, to drawers labelled "Freddie Mercury", everything was just a real treat for the eyes!!!

And i was also lucky enough to have met the amazing Zandra Rhodes herself! And what a character she was! With her bright pink hair and her enormous tool belt that she wears all the time, she was so warm and lovely and i am so honoured to have met her!

I was at the studio for the few weeks running up to London Fashion week, so it was hectic time for everyone in the studios! But such a great time to be there, as i learnt so much just from observing and from listening to all sorts of stories from everyone at the studio!

While i was at the studio i spent most of my time designing and learning to draw in the style of Zandra! Which is not an easy task to do! But i really loved it!

I cant believe how lucky i have been this summer to have had such amazing experiences! Thank you all to those at both Hand and Lock and at the Zandra Rhodes studio for all your kindness and for teaching me so much, which will stay with me forever!

Work Placement 1: Hand and Lock Embroidery

So after a very eventful and exciting three weeks away i had to come home and settle back in to real life, what a pitty!

I was lucky enough to get some work experience with the wonderful company that is Hand and Lock! I had no idea what to expect but after my first day i was hooked! Four weeks of Embroidery, oh what a treat!

Over my time at H&L i learnt some very exciting new techniques, my favourite being tambour beading! (i now own my own tambour beading equipment, one day i will be a pro i assure you!) Thank you so much to the lovely steph for your patience when teaching me this technique! I loved sitting by you every day!

They also let me pick a theme of my choice and embroider a selection for a new window display! Like a kid to candy i jumped on this though perhaps got a little too into it and took forever embroiderying flowers and olympics related things and never actually got round to the window display, woops! but hopefully the next intern managed to put something together!

I had the best four weeks there, and dont think i could be luckier with such a great first work placement with such a lovely bunch of people! I'll hopefully be back for more!

 Designed by the amazing designers at Hand and Lock, very trusting indeed, letting me embellesh some of their very own beauuuuutiful fashion range!
 Embellishing the olympics logo! (this was appropriate at the time...)
 And some florals! Using different thickness of threads for a different effect...

Have a look at the Hand & Lock website for some very inspirational and very impressive embroidery!


Thanks Hand & Lock!