Having used my Janome for years but found it struggling to meet my needs where machine embroidery was concerned; as it gathered pace it sounded like a jack hammer breaking concrete not trying to sew some texture into a piece of fabric and as it sewed breaking the thread every 10 stitches I was was finding my patience worn thinner than the snapped thread, so, I bit the bullet and when my very lovely friend and mentor, Miriam Forder, offered me her old Bernina I couldn’t say no! It is sublime in comparison, yes I know its out of the ark compared with todays stunning pieces of kit but do you know it is so lovely and straightforward, I can just plug it in and off we go creating! Heaven in a little metal machine.
As the weather decided to take a turn for the worse this week after the most glorious Spring sunshine, where I had been sat in the garden writing and updating the website, soaking in the warmth after the horrid wet, windy and general gloominess that has been this Winter. I realised that to return indoors and get on with some experiments with my work was what was needed.
So out with the inks and fabrics and away I went. I started by mono printing onto different fabrics. Creating a base onto which I could work. I used some of the fabrics that I had dyed in the oven using natural dyes I had in the kitchen and found on walks , berries, fruit, veg, flowers, bark. Some worked beautifully and others just made the fabric look grubby. I think out of all of it my favourite was the rust dyeing I did. The patterns that appeared on the fabric and the different ones were amazing and really lend themselves to being worked into with stitch.
The four images above were a good starting point. I mono printed shapes onto the fabric to begin with and then I added different types of stitch. They are based on the flotsam and jetsum that is found along the coast (although for some reason the one on the top left reminds of a raspberry smoothie….?!). The top and bottom right have pieces added to them that I made gluing lots of pieces of fabrics and threads together and then stitching into them. I think it definately gives the feeling of those wrapped up pieces of fishing lines, rope, seaweed, broken muscle shells and other collected bits that the sea thought would make these mounds look interesting. The bottom right also used a piece of rust dyed fabric which brings the feeling of sand banks into it. The bottom left reminds me of the little wonky jetty that tries to be all masterful paddling out to sea so the fishermen can take their day trippers out to try to catch something, whilst the giant Victorian pier struts its way out to sea near by.
The above image was made with layered fabrics that I then cut into using the reverse applique technique of stitching the edge of the shape and then cutting down through different layers of fabric until reaching the one that I wanted in that particular area. I then overlaid fabric that I had printed on and appliqued these over the top adding another layer to the image. I think this was the piece that fits into what I am working on at the moment as a series (if I am sticking with that, which I think I want to for now…)
I really love the hairy, splashes of colour that I created in this piece. It’s a rough form of chenille. Instead of layering fabric in a strict format I made a pocket of fabric that I sprinkled little bits of allsorts into then stitched stripes up and down that I then cut into and voila the little bits inside the envelope then pop out giving little glints of colour and texture, again the flotsam and jetsum of the beach summed up in a scrummy piece of fabric.