Wednesday, 22 September 2021

'Elements of Nature'

 

‘Elements of Nature’ is my largest textile piece in international exhibition Texnet2 at Carrefour Européen du Patchwork 2021 and also the largest piece I have ever tackled!
It is 80cm x 150cm and I dread to think how many hand stitches over the months of making. Many times I asked myself what had I started . . . but it was still a total joy to make and I loved every minute.


‘Elements of Nature’ is the four elements - Fire Earth Air Water

The background is vintage cotton and silk noil that I dyed naturally with flowers, leaves and some rust.
I added antique lace top and bottom to bring some history and lots of texture and because I always find a way to include lace ! To make it easier to handle and as it was stitched on my lap I made the decision to work on it in four parts. So after carefully stitching my full background in place I took out a big sharp scissors and cut in quarters to be carefully rejoined later !!

For the element Air I stitched two birds.
A Bluebird for the lightness of air and blue of the sky and a Dark bird for the strength of the wind.


I drew the basic outlines and then filled and layered with thread.
Hand stitching is a slow process but I love the control I have to build up the shades.
I stitched the birds separately and then added to the background.


For the element Earth I choose to stitch one of my favourites, seedpods.
I stitched lots of bullion stitches and french knots to give very dense detail.
I cut small circles of silk for detailed colour flashes . . . and a little more antique lace!


The stems of the seedpods are overlapping sari silk strips and dyed scrim and couching stitch on top of that. Lots of detail.


Also included in the Earth element are some mushrooms.
More of my dyed silk and again I stitched separately to add to background later.
The mushrooms needed to have a small bath in watercolour to give them shading.
First time I painted a mushroom ! (And I added antique lace of course.)


For the element Fire I stitched fireflies.
I researched these tiny creatures - they are very magical.
These are my versions of them and my two birds were given the task to catch some in a jar!
The jar is made with antique netting that was part of an Edwardian wedding dress.


For the element of Water I stitched two fish in a little pond.
Lots of antique netting to soften the blue of the water as it was standing out too strongly.
Their pond is surrounded by deeply dyed silk noil and I added naturally dyed prints taken from leaves.
Yes there was a lot of dye pot days before I ever started stitching this large piece !



The many different sections were finally linking together  . . . and I used one needle for it all.
The needle and I deserve a rest !

Saturday, 18 September 2021

'Lost Glove'

Another piece as part of the international exhibition called Texnet2 in EPM (Carrefour Européen du Patchwork) in 2021

This was made to be part of the October section of our Texnet2 exhibition calendar.
For me October in Ireland has a ‘rusty’ feel and I decided to depict it as a lost glove.
I imagined an antique glove lost by a lady . . . perhaps in a park . . perhaps during a romantic rendezvous !
The abandoned glove is left to be taken over by nature and eventually to become part of the landscape.


I bought some antique gloves and I dyed them using flowers, leaves and lots of rust sprinkles !


The background layers are silk, vintage linen and cotton which all got a dip and steam in natural dye.
I added lots of delicious antique lace for more history and to add to the story.


Then I hand stitched fossils and started adding deep rustic looking flowers intertwining themselves through the glove. Lots of chunky bullion stitches and french knots.


The lady who dropped the glove has her secrets safely hidden forever !!





Tuesday, 14 September 2021

'She Dreamt of Growing Antique Lace'

 

This is a very personal piece based on a poem written by my very talented cousin the writer Geraldine Moorkens Byrne.
It is a poem she wrote about my crazy love for antique lace, the woman knows me !

It is part of the international exhibition called Texnet2. I am delighted to be part of this wonderful project which is a collaboration of 21 international textile artists. We are artists from Europe, United States, Canada and Australia and have interacted, discussed, planned and inspired each other via a facebook group since 2018 under the guidance of Juliette Eckel.

The result of our project Texnet2, a collection of 377 textiles works.

It was a joy to work on as well as so wonderful to get to know fellow textile artists who I have never actually met ! The pandemic canceled our chance to exhibit in EPM (Carrefour Européen du Patchwork) in 2020, but going ahead September 2021.

My first challenge was how to draw myself . . . fun. I used light flat felt as base and drew guide markings, then it was hand stitching in many shades of thread.


I wanted to depict the dream of growing the lace.
I stitched layers to form a bulb shape and then painted extra detail of colour with watercolours.
The hands were tricky !!


The background was silk noil I had dyed with flowers and leaves.


I tried various ideas for hair but because it was a dreaming figure I ended up going very detailed.
I mixed thick knitting yarn with thread and ribbon and of course lots and lots of antique lace.
Finally I wanted to include the poem that started it all, printed on cotton.



Monday, 8 March 2021

Texnet2 International Exhibition

Introducing two pieces that I made for an international exhibition called Texnet2.
I am delighted to be part of this wonderful project which is a collaboration of 21 international textile artists.
We are artists from Europe, United States, Canada and Australia and have interacted, discussed, planned and inspired each other via a facebook group since 2018 under the guidance of Juliette Eckel.

The result of our project Texnet2, a collection of 377 textiles works.
It was a joy to work on as well as so wonderful to get to know fellow textile artists who I have never actually met !  
The pandemic canceled our chance to exhibit in EPM (Carrefour Européen du Patchwork) in September 2020, perhaps it will be kinder in 2021.


The first piece called ‘Say Rabbit for Luck’ is a very special lady.
Our family have always followed the tradition of saying ‘rabbit’ on the first of the month.
It was always the challenge to be the first to say it on the day and grab the luck.
When I was young I thought it was only our family until I realised this tradition is widespread with people saying  ‘rabbit’  ‘white rabbit’  or  ‘pinch punch’.

It was made with naturally dyed silk, lots of antique lace and hand stitching.
Layers of fabric I dyed with flowers and leaves and antique lace for texture.
Dandelions are embroidered to add to the luck and wishes.
I gave bunny a blush watercolour bath before hand stitching and adding a lace collar.
The piece is 32 cm square.



‘Wish Nest’ is the second textile piece I made for the Texnet2 exhibition.
It is a 15 x 32 cm piece and features a bluebird of happiness building a nest of words.

I dyed the background silk noil with flowers and leaves and then hand stitched the bluebird.
The nest is a mix of dyed silk ribbon and ripped fabric with an antique lace soft centre.
The words and wishes are printed on cotton and stitched and woven through the nest.



In all made 11 different medium size pieces for this exhibition and then one very large piece 
80cm x 150cm that I stitched throughout lockdown in Dublin. 

It is the largest embroidery I have made and hope to share images soon .  .  .  .  .  .  .

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

‘I am my inner stitch . . . the needle dreams my journey’

August 2020
The Irish Guild of Embroiderers exhibition in the Lexicon called ‘2020’ celebrating 20 year Anniversary of the guild.


One little needle and lots and lots of thread and the journey begins.
I celebrate the magic of embroidery that creates worlds just by moving that needle in and out of cloth.
I have learnt to trust it and go where it takes me.
My flowers and creatures are not accurate species, they appear on fabric with their own personalities mixed with mine.
I love the wildness of free stitching that can be unpredictable, satisfying, therapeutic and totally addictive.
All of the elements I love are in this piece, naturally dyed fabric, antique lace, vintage textiles and very slow hand stitching. 


First I made the flowers, a little alien and imagined. Then some seed pods . . . even more dreamed up !


I always like to add a few mushrooms, they are part of fairy tales and magic and I love their stalks and textures.You can really have fun texturing a mushroom !


I prefer to stitch birds on a separate fabric and they cut out very close to the stitching and add to background. I find it is easier to position and also can give a slight three dimensional feel.

When the birds had taken their perches I added the needles they hold and linked them all together with a thread to form my stitch journey.


Antique lace is a big part of my textile embroidery and it is the texture and history I always add to my work. For me it brings the story together.


Sunday, 31 January 2021

One Little Needle

 


This small square of 20cm was part of the Irish Guild of Embroiderers exhibition at the 2019 Knitting and Stitching Fair in RDS Dublin.
The canvas squares were a forerunner to the full exhibition of the guild in the Lexicon called ‘2020’.
The theme for larger exhibition to be started , teased and introduced at RDS.

At the time of making this piece I was thinking about the tools of embroidery.
I have many packs of needles, bought at trade fairs and in craft shops and even online. 
Yet I realised that for over two years I had hand stitched with the one needle !!
It is a little bent and perhaps not as sharp as it was but I love the feel of it and it knows me.

So that was my starting point for this project and going forward into the main exhibition in 2020.
Like an old fashioned typewriter being part of the novel, or that special paint brush helping the portrait emerge,
my needle is very much part of my stitching progress and always influences my making.
Well that’s what it feels like to me !! It is my typewriter, my paintbrush . . . and the means by which I tell my stories.


Not wanting to actually put myself in the picture, I choose a bird to tell the tale.
But the central character in the story is the needle.
I started by drawing guidelines for my bird, which is a bluebird for happiness . .  why not !
Making the sketch on a separate fabric gave me the option to place it easily and change my mind a few times.

The background fabric was silk noil . .  so lovely to stitch into.
At bottom I added a flowerbed of silk that I had dyed with flowers and leaves and over that some lovely antique lace.
Once everything was tacked into place I could stitch.


I gave myself room in layout for the wording . .  ‘ I am my inner stitch in and out of cloth the needle dreams my journey’.


I gave the bird a flower to stand on and the needle to hold.



I write this post finally in January 2021 . .  still using the same needle !!