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.