Saturday, 14 October 2017

October Meeting Notes

BATS October Notes
Workshop Session at Mettingham Village Hall 10 October 2017.

Present:- Annette Watson Birgit Jones Dee Nicholson, Helen Durrant

On holiday…


Not currently attending

Dee explained that she was acting as Treasurer for the group. She asked that members of the group took it in turns to take notes or provide a report on a meeting

There is a notice about the group on the contemporary quilt web site and Magazine

Terry has spoken about artist’s liability cover. Dee had already investigated public liability insurance for BATs. She noted the hall had public liability insurance and would check with them to what extent we as users were covered. Dee will investigate with the Quilters Guild and Helen D will find out to what extent Embroiderers’ Guild members are covered

There was a brief discussion of numbers of attendees, future venues and costs. There was brief talk of the possibility of house meetings

We considered a trip to the Sainsbury Centre

Annette showed her woad scarf and a woad died stitched piece she intended to quilt.

She showed a white on white piece depicting Orchids and twigs in large brandy glass flower arrangement by Tor Gunderson ( She spoke about flowers as a source of inspiration especially from close observation for example the colours in a delphinium

She discussed her ideas for the light and dark theme based on seaside and coastal images at dawn or dusk. She showed some interesting fabrics, which might be used to interpret light and dark. She worked on her Woad stitched piece using machine stitched echo quilting

Dee showed stitched a dyed indigo dark circle piece ( which she had completed at a Jane Calendar workshop) and her recent work of a similar woad circle. She discussed if these should be worked together or as separate pieces.

She showed her exploration of dyed textured fabrics e.g. hemp and velvet and knitted fabric.
She showed work from a screen-printing workshop (with Jackie Linney) printing on plain fabric and a pre-dyed cloth.

She showed he pieces from the recent summer school on the theme of trees with Jean Littlejohn  and Jam Beany

She showed 4 square quilts from her French quilt group. These were a two-person project where the first person makes a square for the second to incorporate into a final piece. Dee felt the bold colours were typically French. In the future she thought we might like to consider joint or shared project ideas.

She worked on hand stitch

Showed her indigo and woad fabrics, which had been very successful, and her yarn, which had taken, colour well. She had dyed a selection of ropes from light to dark and these were very effective.

She was asked about the “broderie anglaise” fabric dress she had dyed. She had expected the stitched parts to take up the dye less well but the thread was now very dark and it had worked well.

She showed a hand-felted piece, which she worked on with hand stitch.

Helen D.
Showed her indigo pieces from the first dye session at Dees. She showed her pieces from the recent summer school on the theme of trees with Jean Littlejohn and Jan Beany.

She showed images of staircases for a project on the interior of Felbrigg and took advice on design and construction ideas. Annette recommended Whittington’s  on the Sweetbriar estate in Norwich for useful materials such as wire

She was also working on a small chain stitch challenge and considered the different kinds of chain stitch she could use. Could the design be inspired by light and dark?

She brought some inks for the group to experiment with. She had kebab sticks for drawing with and Dee had glue spreaders.
We experimented with ink on Paper. Dee and Helen experimented with using inks on small pieces of Calico. There was a discussion of Derwent Inktense pencils and blocks

Helen worked on her woad and indigo dyed thread in the afternoon

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Metaphorical Moving

Ive moved a long way since our meeting. It was good to be in creative company, thank you everyone. i wonder how many of us are in this blog and whether we will use it as our keeping in touch. i do hope so. 

i sat down on tuesday evening with a sketchbook and played with the notion of 'light'. i wrote a lot. i thought a lot. i researched for a long time. i concluded that i dont understand why, when light is SO important to me, I am going to a land of darkness. 

The Orkneys are 59 degrees North. the Arctic Circle is 66 degrees North, above which the sun does not rise for 67 days mid winter. I am going into a winter of grey. My research took me into thinking about degrees North and hours of sunlight and i came up with a design based on 90 strips of fabric grading upwards from 12 hours of day being light at the equator but dark at the north pole. I decided my 'line' would be a penumbra though rather than straight. i didnt think colour but def blues and creams rather than black and white. Hanging mirrors in my conservatory caught my attention and i decided i MUST add light to the darkness so suspended these in front of it.

I will not progress with this piece for now but it was useful thinking. why will i not make it? because i would need to be in my sewing room with bags and tubs of scrap fabrics to chop and change so the colourways sit easily for me but instead i must pack something somewhat contained. i will stitch while way but need to take a manageable project. 

the stitching group i will be joining are working on sampler quilts this term. hmm not me. i had already decided that i could make a quilt tho, to try to fit in a bit and thought i might try quilt as you go so i have smaller pieces to manage. my theme would be sea and sky and i could use many samples ive made over the years. 

i sorted and laid out random pieces and was pleased with the chaos and the colours of the northern lights dancing around although it needed direction. stitching this disorder using quilt as you go though was not manageable and i thought i must introduce order and rationalise colourways.

that was immediately before we met and agreed light as a theme. i pondered on my light design and decided to try to order my pieces from dark to light. there followed a series of experiments with a gradual trimming, removal of colour and conflicting lines such that i seem to have ended with blues, few northern lights and little grey. 

i find myself stuck. i am procrastinating. i enjoyed something about the discordant nature of my initial chaos but confess the largely blue sits more easily on the eye. 

Perhaps i need to abandon the idea of quilt as you go which has been limiting my sizing and placement and just strew them out again, a bit more random but removing the purple but putting back the sun. 

hmmm, this seems to work better...

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

what do we want from BATS?

ive thought a lot about what i want since helen first asked this question and come up with some ideas:

  • to really identify my priorities in my work.
  • to take myself more seriously as a textile artist and explore aspects of my work in depth.
  • to have my attention brought to exhibitions and bring others attention to exhibitions, maybe paired or group visits, local or further afield eg smiths row, national centre for design and craft, london and beyond
  • be encouraged to submit work for exhibition.
  • to try working in series.
  • to respond to a theme and be interested in others responses to the same theme.
  • to development my critical awareness of placement, colour, tone.
  • to be disciplined and study one of the many workbooks i have bought over the years.

ive remembered an exercise i once did from 'finding your own visual language' by claire benn and lesley morgan, p45 offers a checklist of principles and tools of composition, this is an area i struggle with. i found it helpful to evaluate my own work using these tools and make decisions about possible changes leading to improvements or further inspiration. 

i think it could be an interesting session to bring pieces of unfinished work, something perhaps we are unsure about where to go next and to spend some time using these principles and tools for ourselves. alongside this we could explore techniques of how to deliver constructive criticism to ourselves, about our own work and share our experiences with others.

developing a critical language of our own would help us if we then agreed to move towards offering constructive criticism of others' work.  

forgive me if i am trying to teach grandmothers to suck eggs, i understand several of us are already well established textile artists. if we decided to have such a session, i would not see myself as leading it, merely offering up copies of the tools for use. 

location wise, whilst it is very convenient and wonderful to benefit from the use of helens studio, i do think there are village halls that we could explore that would give us more independence when helens studio is not available. we would need to discuss a possible location before approaching any.
Tina Potter

11th July 2017 Shibori Day

We had a very interesting day dyeing with indigo and woad, usiing various resist techniques. Luckily the rain held off until the last minute as we finished.
A good time was had by all!

And then.......

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Block Printing, January 24th

Terry and Diana deep in contemplation

Piles of blocks - made mostly with craft foam and sticky-tape

Helen H's overprint on a dyed piece

Ros P, making pieces to overdye later

Heather H in Layering mode

And some of the results

Working hard

and deep in concentration..

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Rusty, rusty

Terri's rustiness, still somewhat damp from the machine...

And Diana's nice image transfers on calico