textile tv

Thanks to Joanna at Things [Handmade], I just learned about a very exciting new TV series, Talking Threads, which is going out on Sky and on the online TV channel countrychannel.tv, and will be made into a DVD as well. The series starts in mid-October – may it be the first of many.

I’d not come across the Country Channel before but it has some other goodies too, including a short feature on Farfield Mill in Cumbria and a 3-part series called Inspirations – interviews with different textile artists about their inspiration and process.

The other thing that caught my eye this week was the new Galleries feature on Flickr. You can collect up to 18 images by Flickr users "around a theme, an idea or just because". So I’ve made a small celebration of the washing line.

Flickr galleryon the line

fun with Flock and Flickr

Styling itself the “social web browser”, Flock (based on Firefox), has a host of built-in features for social networking, but I’m writing about the one I like best – the Media Bar. This can be opened from the View menu or by clicking an icon in the Flock toolbar:

Flock media bar button

The Media Bar can be used with several different media services including Facebook and YouTube, but I only use it with Flickr. When the bar is open (at the top of the screen by default though you can move it to the bottom) it displays photo feeds laid out as a single-row grid of square tiles. (I have a thing for grid layouts so this is great for a start!)

There are a couple of built-in streams, which update regularly to show the latest images that have been added to Flickr, for example photos from your Flickr contacts:

Flickr contacts

But you can have your own custom streams too, and this is where the fun really starts. You can add your favourite Flickr searches – mine include “stitch textile”:

stitch textile Flickr search


shibori Flickr search

and “nuno felt”:

nuno felt flickr search

It’s visually exciting to see the thumbnails together, and if something particularly catches your eye, you can hover over the thumbnail and expand the image to see it better and find out who it belongs to – this one is by felt4uart:

nuno image expanded

Or you can click through direct to the image on Flickr (this is by KatharinaBe):

from media bar to Flickr

You can tell someone else about an image:

sharing images

And save your favourite searches to revisit:

media stream menu

Sometimes I play with keyword searches for inspiration – this was “orange spiral”:

orange spiral search

The default media stream is “Preview New” which displays the newest images from all your saved searches, including your Flickr contacts.

Flock preview new

I spend much of my working day using a browser, so I really like this colourful little changing show of textiles and design inspiration quietly feeding itself onto my screen. Something will often catch my eye and give me a moment of pleasure. When I stop for a break I sometimes scroll back through recent images and maybe follow through one or two that stand out. And if it all gets too distracting, I can just close up the Media Bar, knowing next time I open it up there’ll be new goodies to enjoy.

felt under fabric

When I was working on this quilted hanging, one of my aims was to use felt as the wadding in a way that made its colour a central element of the design. I’m still thinking about that, so today I’ve been stitching some studies for my sketchbook pages for the April TIF challenge (changing a piece of fleece in as many ways as I can). I collected a pile of sheer fabrics of varying opacity and made a small sample of each, layered with some of the pink felt I’d already made.

transparent samples

The best silk I’ve found for this is silk organza (top right) – it’s what I used on the front of my hanging; though I think you can get silk net and I’d love to try that. The manmade fabrics at the bottom – nets, voile and organza – are the sheerest of the samples but I really prefer natural fibres (although I confess I went and bought the finer net and the organza specially for this at Reticule today!). It’s partly because I like the feel of natural fibres so much more, but also because so many manmade fibres are petrochemical based. I think if I were to use them extensively I’d look for them in secondhand clothes and recycle.

In the middle are the cottons – an organdie on the right, and on the left my favourite – cotton scrim. I just love the combination of the open weave and the distortion from the stitching and the way the felt shows through and is furrowed by the pull of the stitches.

felt and scrim

I’m going to try a kind of nuno version on a partially felted base, and also with dyed scrim and different colours of felt.

And I just wanted to share these, because they’re so lovely…

tulip tulips

art and recession

I’ve been thinking about the economic situation over the last few weeks, about how it might affect our business and other plans for the coming year, so I was very interested to read this analytical and practical post on marketing art in a recession, by Katherine Tyrrell of Making a Mark. Although I’m not selling my work at this point, most of our clients are artists or in art-related businesses so we’ll also be affected by shifts and effects in the art market.