I have been involved with crafts for many years and more recently I have really focused on sewn goods. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to do machine embroidery but never seemed to find the time to learn it. This has all changed in the last few weeks as I finally came to grips with how to set up my machine to tackle this art form and then get the practice underway. In less than two weeks I have gone from a complete novice to being able to write words with the machine needle. I have, however, done many hours of sewing! Years of using a sewing machine have come in most useful.
What I love most love about this new skill is that it moves between art and craft effortlessly. I can use it to make my new range of ‘gifts in a bag’ for With Love from Arran for the coming season but it is also going to be employed in my art exhibition pieces. In August I will be exhibiting for the first time as part of the Open Studio event on the island in August and I have three pieces planned already. Using reclaimed textiles I have designed pieces that speak about the juxtaposition between the natural world and human impact. The first piece, Weeping Willow, is using vintage Liberty fabric with many pieces designed by the Collier-Campbell design studio. Sadly Susan Collier died in 2011 but her sister, Sarah Campbell, is still designing. It has put me in mind of designing my own fabric one day…..
The second piece is unnamed at the moment but includes seed heads drowning in rising tides and I am currently researching vintage tweed as a possible way forward. My third piece feels impossible at the moment as I would really like to work with silk but this fabric and machine sewing is a nightmare. By using fabric stabilizers I am hoping to be able to produce the two feathers in the piece entitled ‘the lightest touch’. The feathers are drifting to earth catching seed heads in their twisting shapes. I originally trained as a silk painter so I am hoping to feature those skills in this piece as well.
So, my sewing machine is incredibly busy and earning its keep. I am having to manage my craft and art work around my writing so there have been some very late nights. I am tracking my practice work with little sewn journals to accompany the art work and also thinking about associated craft work such as cushions and messenger bags to sit alongside the art pieces.
This is all possible as I am taking this season off on the smallholding. If I am honest I am not well enough at the moment to manage the physical work so I am leaving this work to Pete and the boys. We have modest development plans this year anyway as Pete is hand building a vintage kitchen and this is just the start of his list. My writing is mainly focused on a collective project which is in research and development phase for most of this year so everything slots in somewhere.
I am extending my online presence in sales with a new shop with Remade Britain by producing one off, unique pieces using reclaimed vintage and retro fabrics. I have the front of a cushion made ready to finish and I love the fact that it is unique. Over time I am hoping to open up a commission book so that I can make bespoke pieces for special occasions. I think reclaiming fabrics that mean something to people is a journey that I am going to enjoy.
All of this new work was part of the plans for the year that I put together in January. I always thought it was an ambitious year but so very exciting. 2015 is going to be busy.
Blessings to you all,