28 July 2012

BEVERLEY'S BULLETIN : 1 Exploring Stitch

I thought I’d kick of my delve into the files with a basic. Something which is so worthwhile and yet so easy to completely forget about. Exploring with One Stitch.
Are you like me, have the stitch dictionaries on the shelf, and yes even get them out and look to use a stitch not tried before or remind myself of how to create a stitch – but after 30 minutes wading through the book, back on the shelf it goes and I slip back into the familiar.
I have favourites – Seeding, Cretan, French Knots and Raised Chain Band.

There’s a wealth of stitches available to create the look we are after, but each individual stitch can have multiple applications if we just think about experimenting with it. It can be hard to push the boundaries, particularly if you were disciplined into making it perfectly as per the given standard.
I remember back in the day having to produce a small square sample of Chain Stitch and all its variations (or Lazy Daisy).
For some unknown reason I’d worked it on polycotton, my square did not end up square! In class it went up on a board alongside everyone else’s and there was a class critique. I don’t remember what was said about mine, I just remember this wonky ‘square’ glaring at me!  And look I still have it... and its still hideous and I don't know which way around it goes!
Some time after that we were given a class project of stitching a ‘picture’ in one single stitch. I used Straight Stitch, a landscape of a cornfield, with trees in the distance and a barbed wire fence at the front. It was amazing to see how just one stitch could create all of these elements.
I’ve since seen other pieces of work made using one stitch and it can be very creative and usually provokes, is that really just the one stitch?

Work an individual stitch – big, small, make a cluster, a line, a circle, work spaced out, close together, work on top of itself, vary the threads used.
Again I chose a hideous fabric to work on - this time like a polyester knit - why?   This is variations of Cretan Stitch, you can see adding beads or sequins as its worked.

A couple of things have stuck with me from the early days, Texture and Contrast. You won’t see the textures created if they are against similar. Put the lumpy and crunchy against something smooth. And don’t think the Contrast always has to be about stitch – the blank space is invaluable.
This time the base fabric is more creative - its a monoprint using acrylic, with Buttonhole Stitch used to decorate.  I've also used a Couronne Stick to make the buttonhole circles, but anything like a pencil will suffice.  Its still just a stitch exploration, but a bit more attractive than the others.
So, even if you stay within your comfort zone, using the same favourite stitch, try to mix it up and see what happens. The bonus of experimentation is that no-one can offer criticism for it not being a perfect text book stitch.

Enjoy playing.

25 July 2012

Growed Up Fluffy Nonsense!

Its dull and its raining and the light is bad and I can't see to do any work.   Oh no, its now extraordinarily hot, I stick to everything, the brain has gone foggy, everthing is at slow speed. See British weather provides excuses for not doing whatever the day!!!
I did my Committee thing this week, and at the moment I feel a bit like "they are going to find out I'm not good at this".  I was being a growed up person - things came out of my mouth and I swear its not me saying it, I wonder who this person is, how did that happen?  Of course you come home with more things to actually do.

As always I've got things to make, deadlines to meet, but I've kinda gone off the moment, the ideas I had still relevant, but actually I don't want to be meeting the deadline, making for the task.  I want to be making light fluffy nonsense.  Actually I was gong to attend a workshop this past weekend, which would have provided the light relief, the "I'm just doing this for fun, its silly and  not vital to learn, not for a deadline or a dedicated project" - but unfortunately it was cancelled.  So I still feel the need for that, mhmm fancy a bit of bling, let's get out the beads.
Took this along to the Embroiderers' Guild this morning, ideal because its portable for one, and because there's no pattern or even a preconceived idea, I can make and talk at the same time!!!  Its a bit like the free designing, go anywhere with stitch work, using beads.
What is it?   Well its art darhlink - obviously, tsk!!

19 July 2012


I’ve given a lot of thought to my last post, about reminding myself of techniques, and my thoughts on if/how to collate and make a record of all this information I have acquired over the years.
I don’t know if anyone will drop by here for a read, but as blogs ultimately are selfish things anyway, written from a personal need to record and share, I thought I would blatantly put that out there. Reminding myself, making a record for myself, and at the same time sharing and hoping it also offers something to others.

So I’m going to start a posting under the title of   BEVERLEY’S BULLETIN   looking at the many samples from my stash, sharing the details.

So let’s go back in time. 1992, so 20 years, almost impossible to believe, since I started on this creative journey, by that I mean via formal studies, I’ve been making and creating all my life. So in 1992 I began City and Guilds Creative Embroidery studies, well the first year wasn’t that as such, as the college I attended had a compulsory Foundation Year, although I started the Preparing Working Designs element that year. City and Guilds had switched from being an examination based course to assessment based, and I would be in the second year of this new format. Over the years as anyone who knows C&G will tell you, the how and what of the course has changed many many times, add into the mix that each centre is allowed to teach the course how they see fit to meet the given criteria, the variations in knowledge can be huge. Back in the day... I studied for Part I and Part II Creative Embroidery – I believe they are called levels/diplomas now... but I’m not sure. 20 years ago it was a prestigious thing to undertake, opportunities to study were rare, most counties only had one college offering the course, if you were lucky. For me it was a lifetime dream to take this path, and most of us considered it an honour to get a place.
At this time also you could find day workshops in all sorts of topics, run both privately and via organisations such as the Embroiderers’ Guild, and I’ve attended many of these. Today...sadly both formal studies and one off workshops are disappearing. So from all of these resources open to me, I’ve studied lots of things, some with the ‘names’ from the creative textile world.
I attended two colleges to study City & Guilds, the first being the only option around at the time. My Part I studies were quite formal and conventional, a very good grounding, all sorts of basic info was drilled into us, which still stays with me. But it could be quite disciplined and prescriptive in the how and what. However my Part II studies at another college could not have been more different. Very creative, and eventually freeing, once I finally got used to being able to do almost as I pleased! The room would be filled with everything necessary and we would be told to go and play! There would be questions of ‘miss’ – what happens if..... and the answer was always go and try it and see.
So the examples will come from this background, its absolutely by no means definitive, the right way, the only way. I think its very important to remember that, as for a long time I felt a bit of a round peg in a square hole, trying to make myself fit in with others ways. Unless you are making for coursework or set criteria where it is important that ‘rules’ are followed, or evidence produced – guess what, you are allowed to make things the way you want to, how you want to. The end result may not be as anticipated, it could be better or worse, but it all feeds into the knowledge base for the next time round.

So this is the background to my project, next time, I’ll have something practical to think about.

12 July 2012


I'm tired..... permanent afliction these days.  But today I want to be creative but almost don't trust myself not to stitch something in the wrong place, so I've just had a wander round my computer photos.  I take photos of virtualy everything I make, sometimes the photo is all that I have left.  I've got all this information here and not taking time out to look again, see it again, realise connections etc.
I made this ages ago, and it doesn't actually exist any more as I chopped it up and used it in part elsewhere.  Its simply pieces of paper on another, bit of rubber stamping and lines of stitching in multiple colours.  I have others of this ilk.
This has changed, as it now has handstitching on it - but actually after all the grids, I rather liked the back of it too.
This is part of Heart Mosaic, and this time its torn paper shapes with the overlaid stitching.  Again this is a couple of years or more ago.
Anyway, in the last week or so, I've been reading of someone else's work laying down blocks of coloured fabrics and then 'ignoring' them and stitching all over as the mood strikes.  Even advised stitching from the back so as not to be distracted by the blocks of colour.  Wonderful, must try that, sounds like a brilliant idea.   Errrrrrr already been there and done that one, here's the evidence.  But why can't you recognise that you have these or similar samples in your own history, it always sounds so enticing to read it of others.  I once spent a whole morning at a workshop doing the task before the lightbulb went on and I realised, already done lots of this.  How daft - but in my defence the tutor called it by her own name for it and it just didn't click it was the same thing.  I have thought lots of times of writing out a list of all the techniques and bits I've tried.  I think about it, but how would I categorise stuff, it inter mingles.  Here I have the evidence, would I even look, if I had the list - quite clearly I've not been looking at photos of my own stuff and realising what's what, as it is.
I thought I ought to compile one sketchbook with all my cut/stitch/cut/stitch paper techniques - as it is they are dotted about in various books.  But almost is there any purpose to this, do I need it for me, if I did it who would want it after me?  Mhmmm, perhaps time would be better spent eating chocolate!!!

06 July 2012

Lighted Sequin Waste

Today was one of those moments in life... the kind where its should I bother, should I not, never get to see it again.
Anyway himself more or less said 'we' were going along, at least I don't remember being asked.  Stood in the drizzle, listened to the children cheer every car which passed by, the police outriders with hands outstretched to move the crowds back, who got High Fives instead!
And the title.... when I first saw the torch design, I thought who paid for and commissioned that?  It looks just like rolled up sequin waste - us textile people can all spot that one.
So apart from this blog, I'd better write it all up in Dear Diary - you never know someone in the future may actually read and wonder what it was like to be there.....

03 July 2012

Behind the round window?

So you have anything and everything available in terms of design sources...but what to choose?  I keep taking photos of these
Doors and windows, I've loads of them now, when himself is out and about there's the "don't forget if you see any nice doors....."  It is developing a bit, as a few of these are also creeping into the collection.
Nice battered gates and fancy chimneys, and then there's the bricks with lichen, sigh.   But so far I've done little with this design source.  Difficult when you are attracted to things which are 'real' but the art you make is abstract.  I'm thinking for events for 2013, perhaps I should use the material I've already got, stop collecting, stop dithering and start doing, cough, a series. Ha, funny, series?  I always see my work as inter related, as one thing always seems to feed into another.  But visually I don't think others would get those connections.  So in terms of a 'set of' - 'collection' - 'series' I've actually done very little, see part of the trouble is I've soon had enough of those colours or that idea or technique, quickly itching to do something which is totally out of keeping with the idea I'm working on. I also enjoyed the conceptual piece I made - totally made up back story for it all, quite detailed, which only I know. And all the pieces made from my imagination.  May be that's the answer, look through the window, step through the door and see where it takes me......

01 July 2012


Serendipity - lovely rolling word to say - also known as "whoah spooky muzak time".   Or, perhaps its, there's a message here, are you listening?
I was busying making a paper stitch piece, similar idea to previous but a variation I've only produced in test form (I have already in my head up-cycling versions of this - mhmm like that, upcycling).  Anyways after making, flicking through emails and I have an e-newsleter, literally read one sentence and I thought, hang on, what a brilliant, and yet obvious idea that is.   Then I went to visit an art event, with multiple genres, and saw something else which clicked.  Suddenly I realised, if the piece I made I'd stopped at step 1, I would have had the basis for the technique from the e-newsletter, to make my stitch variation of what I'd seen in the flesh demonstrated.  I'm not going to say what, because I've not played yet, so it could well be a disaster, plus, with this input of information from various sources, its not wholly mine, and I'd hate to be seen as stealing ideas from elsewhere, and yet they were all here already in part, done in part and not so obviously connected, hence my need to record, before the thoughts dissolve and I can't remember this brilliant idea I had!
(Personal life hit another serious glitch last week, which means the peace and relief I was hoping finally to come is now likely to be delayed a while longer.  Sigh.  I think in reality its just one of the life zones you hit where things are likely to happen.  Some days I don't want to be a big growed up person!)
PS  Realised, whilst at the art event I gave someone an idea for use of something she was making, in a method she'd never tried before, saw her eyes light up. So, that's a bit what goes around comes around, took something away for myself and gave something back.