Happy Easter

I’ve been away a lot over the last week or so, and seen both daughters (which was lovely) so I haven’t done anything textile-related, nor been reading blogs or blogging. But I didn’t want to let today go by without posting Easter greetings. Though it felt more like Christmas this morning as we woke to the heaviest snowfall of the year so far – Tansy thought it was wonderful – here she is wading happily across the garden.

dog in the snow

At our church we have a tradition of decorating an empty cross on Easter Sunday morning with spring flowers to celebrate joyful new life after the darkness of Good Friday. Each person comes to add something, and in a few minutes wood and wire are transformed into a vibrant swathe of colour.

cross of flowers

“Spring comes: the flowers learn their coloured shapes.” Maria Konopnicka

little pieces of fabric

I recently spent a happy couple of hours snipping samples of my fabric stash, which I’d sorted by colour in preparation for some collage exercises in my OCA Textiles 1 course. It reminded me why I love fabric as a medium. Partly the textures, the combination of warp and weft, its weight (or lightness), the way its colours and patterns work. And partly the associations and meanings that come with it, personal, historical and cultural nuances that enrich each tiny snippet beyond its visual and tactile qualities.

blues

greens

reds

purples

TIF Challenge March 1

Sharon’s Take it Further Challenge for March is about small things

Do you ever notice the little things, the small moments, the details in life? This month’s challenge is to do just that, pay attention to the tiny details. Sometimes the small things become emblematic for something larger.

This reminded me of one of my favourite quotes – I heard it on the radio, and later tracked down to an American writer, Donald Windham:

It is ordinary to love the marvellous. It is marvellous to love the ordinary.

However, while I aspire to a mindful, noticing way of living, my brain has never really cooperated. I’m either not paying much attention at all – I wander about in a daze, life gets very black and white and the small things pass me by. Or else I’m getting so focused on the detail that I stop making connections or even remembering why I was there in the first place. Finding the middle ground where I really breathe and look and listen… it’s a struggle, and it takes a lot of energy.

So, I’ve decided this month (thinking small) just to spend a bit of time focusing on two little things I like a lot.

1. dots – look around and find them, draw them, paint them, stitch them. I’d like to join them up too. Maybe I could take my February challenge a little further by experimenting with joining dots by machine.

2. dogs – (actually just one). Tansy, being a Tibetan spaniel, is very little and very much emblematic for larger things – joy, love, faithfulness, for example. Sometimes I draw her and as I’ve been thinking for a while it would be good to have a go at drawing her with the sewing machine, I’m challenging myself to do that this month .

tansy.jpg

I think, too, during March, I’ll seek out poetry that inspires me to stop and look, starting with the wonderful celebration of difference, Pied Beauty, by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

well, it’s done…

… the ‘when will this ever be finished’ wall hanging for City & Guilds Patchwork & Quilting is now finished!

This was my first experiment using felt as the batting so it became an integral part of the design. The assessment was to make a piece using appliqu̩ techniques. It has three layers Рpainted silk organza, handmade felt, and painted silk pongee. The shadow appliqu̩ shapes are hand dyed cotton and hand painted silk, and the machine and hand quilting are in cotton.

I cut back the top layer of some of the shadow appliqué and machine quilted areas after quilting them. I finished the edges with buttonhole stitch and then needlefelted them to break down the stitches into the felt. The support is a piece of driftwood I found on the beach, and the work is 53cm x 78cm (or 76cm x 78cm if you include the wood).

applique hanging

applique detail

applique detail

applique detail

applique detail