A denim bag panel and reflecting on my boroinspired quilt

Over the last five years I have been art journalling or working on ‘A’ sized paper. I have been working intuitively but thinking in rectangles. When I started sewing I loved the newness of the method and the feel of the material (though my fingers and hands are rebelling at the repetition and the skin on the top of my right thumb is rough and pitted where I clip it with the needles) .

I really enjoyed starting my big quilt. It is a rectangle, but I am struggling with being intuitive on such a large scale.

I sewed a bag panel and then started an A4 sampler. I realised I might kid my self that I work intuitively but I am always assessing the design….

I saw a couple of denim bags on social media and wanted to have a go at a boroinspired panel.

I found a denim bag in a shop sale which was decorated on the top 3rd – some of the design was heavily machine stitched – so I covered that section of the panel with patches and stitching. It needed more.

Boro is the Japanese term for mended cloth with sashiko stitching -I read that it was built up with layers over years. To make cloth stronger and warmer.Maybe working so fast over a couple of days means that the fabrics don’t have time to bed down or build up any sense of history.

Anyway, I didn’t like my panel as it was. When I am art journalling- or working in other pieces I have found my self in the mind set – that if it doesn’t look like it is working, I set it aside for a bit or add another layer…..

I looked back at the bags that I liked on social media – a stripy design appealed. So I added another layer to my panel

This ability to assess a design – look at the balance of texture/ pattern / shape is lost for me on my quilt. I am enjoying working on such a large piece and can see that there will be a huge sense of satisfaction when it’s finished, but the assessing, control freak is not a happy bunny. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Boroinspired quilting

I have always wanted to have a go at making a quilt. I was given a small blue one when the children were small that I always loved.

I have never been able to imagine cutting out the fabric neatly with 90 degree corners and straight lines. Doing some research around my teabag quilts after some one said they looked a bit like sashiko- I discovered the fabulous world of Japanese stitching and boro inspired patching.

There are lots of sources on Pinterest and blogs about the history of /methods online

https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/an-experts-favorite-japanese-textiles#9

Above is an early 19th Century bed cover.

Back to my quilt. I was offered a bag of fabric scraps by a friend if mine. I decided to have a go at making a quilt using an old single duvet as a base.

As a child I remember saying when I grow up I am never going to darn socks – after watching my mother sew little hard circles of stitches into jumpers and socks. So I am amused that the technique mum taught me is now being used to top stitch a whole quilt!!!

My aversion to the effort required to cut neat shapes means that the design will be quite organic and the top stitching will hide a multitude of sins ….

I had a bright cotton skirt that was too busy. It would make a good choice to base all my other fabric colour choices on.

I started at the edges because I thought the hem of the skirt would add strength to the final piece.

I practiced boroinspired stitching on some of the pieces

Then started adding my friends fabric scraps. She has some experience with quilting so a lot of the pieces were cut into rectangles or squares ….

I wasn’t really sure about the yellow but it does lift the blue.

I have been a bit obsessive and made my hands and back ache. So I decided to stop pinning new fabric and sewing it onto the base and concentrate on a bit of top stitching.

Jon and I are enjoying this because me adding fabric pieces is very very messy πŸ˜‚with needles pins, fabric and thread all over the kitchen.

This is as far as I have got with my design. I am thinking of just adding blue pieces to the middle bit in a nod to the Japanese

history. I am using second hand pieces of fabric or clothes in an attempt to be frugal.

Paper bag quilt

I wanted to do a quilt that represented where I am situated on holiday – rather than a teabag quilt. We bought some veg in a pretty bag with French words on.

I took the bag apart and cut out the decorated panel. I ironed some iron on facing on the back and used a paper towel for added strength.

I started embroidering my back stitch circles. I asked Dad if he had any old envelopes with postmarks or stamps on. He didn’t have any but he gave me a French stamp and an airmail sticker.

I decided to leave them just with running stitch around the edge

After yesterday’s cardabelle drawing I was delighted to find one on a bag Jon bought a croissant in from a bakers

I worked all over the bag in circles and straight lines – I thought I might add other pieces on top as I find them over the next week.

I like the back almost as much

Experimenting with different thread/ teabag quilt

I have had a sewing box for ever. This is the first time I can remember running out of white thread.

I had a go at embroidering a mandala with the same thread that I used for my most recent quilt ( see my last post). I sewed using cheap white thread that I had had for years. I was disappointed with the results. So I overworked the stitches and added some thicker cotton/ wool

I saw some multicoloured thread on a friend’s Instagram feed and thought it would be fun on teabags. I went on a shopping trip and found some fab colour ways made by Guttermann.

I also bought a heavy duty white thread and a large multi use 100% polyester white. The multicoloured reals are 100% cotton.

I love the results

I think the orange will be great as the cotton to sew the tea bags on to my substrate. The darker/ rainbow mix shows up the best. However I like combination of the three colours.

The stronger thread shows up against the tea bags very well

I decided to make my – mandala into a sample piece. I added the paper fabric as an edging

I am getting better at making my work more regular (πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚)

Art making as enquiry

Jon has been writing a book for the last four years. It has finally been sent off to the publishers . During the last few weeks he has been reading sections to me, I have read bits and become immersed in the words.

He has written about ‘writing as inquiry’ ( Richardson1997 ) before and I reminded that I could substitute ‘art making’ or just ‘making’ for ‘writing’.

It’s how I think through my process. My art making could be an seen as an inquiry.

Recently I have been sewing into my mandalas this seems to form its self into definite, purposeful shapes, engendering in me a sense of solidity (Wyatt 2019, forthcoming).

Collaborative piece – my sewing into Jon’s writing

And there is a pulsing between the lines ( ibid)

The sewing, drawing, printing, making, seems to be an assemblage of times of day, space, bodies, objects, movement and more (ibid).

Another collaborative piece – we are working on ideas for the cover of his book

The pieces hold an imprint of that time of making, held within the layers of work- almost suspended -captured by the movement of my hands, my body, my inquiry.

References

Richardson Laurel, Fields of play (Constructing an Academic Life) 1997

Jon’s book will be – Wyatt Jonathan,’ Therapy, Stand-up, and the Gesture of Writing: Towards Creative-Relational Inquiry’ 2019

Living by and working with ideas around water

During my life I have lived by water. I am fascinated by how the light plays on the surface, the movement and the patterns that are created.

I grew up near the Thames at Wallingford and as a child we used to visit Abingdon where I ended up living for 25 yrs. During uni a I was in London and up in the North East at Newcastle upon Tyne. I suppose living on a small island you are never very far away from water…

Now in Edinburgh there is the water of Leith that winds its way through the city. I travel over the the Forth of Firth regularly for work and visit the North Sea at North Berwick.

Recently in Bristol I was interested to see that architects had incorporated elements of water into a foot bridge in the quay area and some railings on Temple St.

My latest ripping/ hand sewing into a mandala/ blue abstract on paper is reminding me of water this morning

I wrote into it today about mandalas, their cultural significance, how to draw them and their meditative values with Hindu and Buddhism.

I started weaving in some text from yesterday’s writing about art making

And watery concepts popped into my head. I have been making lots of layers using digital imagery this month so I needed to attack this in the Image Blender app

I attached the piece to another mandala which peeps through the gaps – I’m not sure about the text and patterned strips they might come out.

more Image Blender stripes

β€˜Home sweet home’ teabag quilt

I have been enjoying hand sewing very much recently, so I decided to make another tea bag quilt. A few people have asked how I made my first one so I thought I would do a step by step. My friend Fran Halperin and I have been experimenting with joining techniques. Fran has been using her sewing machine.

On the left zigzag stitch, on the right she has straight line stitched along the edge of the teabag and then jumped over the gaps.

On the left I used blanket stitch on the right for my new quilt – I back stitched the tea bag onto material. NB try and use something with very little ‘give’ – I used an old linen nappy and it’s very difficult to sew neatly on top of.

I decided to make my ‘ Home sweet home’ quilt have a more quilt like feel- the last one was a bit abstract. I printed some tea bags blue/ purple and others pale blue/ white. With my doors and window hand carved stamps .

The tea bags were a bit higgledy piggildy on the linen so I decided to add some strips of kitchen towel ( dyed with tea during the drying of teabags process) with writing on between the rows and buttons at corners. This stitching held on the back piece which is a white tea towel

I am edging the quilt with a sheet of used colour run paper/ fabric that goes in the washing machine. It needed 3 rows of running stitch to keep it flat. I used white sewing cotton throughout. I think I will print over this again when it’s stitched all around

Nearly finished. It needs a few more buttons and I haven’t stitched the edging all the way round but you get the idea.

I wanted this quilt to be a bit more obvious that it was teabags. I haven’t used any glue on the joints so that it feels much more like fabric

I think I need to do a bigger one ……