Wednesday, 31 August 2011

NWCQ Weekend Group: the Challenge Pieces

Just over a month ago I put together a series of challenge packs of bits of fabrics thread and so on from my huge hand-dyed stash - an attempt to do something useful with it instead of letting it just sit there.  The pack contained a variety of small pieces of fabric - felt/wadding, silk, cotton, satin, scrim, butter muslin, velvet, chiffon/organza, a silk carrier rod, stranded embroidery cotton, ornamental thread, and jute scrim.  The challenge - to use some of the contents (plus any of your own that you wanted to add) to make one or more small pieces - these could be sample pieces, the idea being to explore the possibilities.

The results amazed and delighted me, not just for the quality of the work but also on account of the enjoyment people obviously had in producing it.

So here goes - in no particular order (or rather the somewhat arbitrary order in which Blogger uploaded the photographs:

This gem of an abstract composition is by Ann Horton: something of most of the fabrics laid onto felt, embellished with stitching, couched thread and absolutely amazing use of beads which really make this piece (unfortunately the beads have not shown up as well as I'd hoped for which apologies) 

Catherine's work - in progress - started with the satin, which suggested stormy sky, together with the stormy sea of the hand-dyed cotton and scrom suggesting foam (if I'd known this fabric could look this good she might not have got it!)  I also loved the felt sails with the emboidered crosses.  Look forward to seeing this one finished.

Hilary's beautifully appliqued leaves really wowed me and I love the way she's found just the right fabric to use with the fabrics in the pack - and the stitching is wonderful too - again, really looking forward to seeiong this one finished.

Ena Glogowski's Volcano is a really dramatic and exciting pieces.  This is the first time Ena had tried anything like this and she has made really effective use of the materials - the silk volcano, the muslin and scrim mountains in the foreground, the fibres, jute scrim and bits of silk in the smoke and fire.  A very special piece - and Ena's comment - "You have introduced me to a Real Good Thing" is the icing on the cake.

The following piece - probably the most adventurous of all - is made by Anne Egerton, Ena's daughter.  She describes it as a 3D sampler, and once again I'm not sure the photographs do it justice.  Part of it is quilted satin made into a sort of cornucopia...

with various other fabrics spilling out in a sort of wild profusion - an effect I love but which I always find difficult to achieve; she's also included ornamental gift ribbon.  I especially love the stitching on the satin and the way she's used the jute scrim so effectively.  Again, one I look forward to seeing finished.

Helen's work will be familiar to those who have followed the Twelve by Twelve group or seen their book and exhibition at Festival of Quilts.  This piece contrasts the mass-production (shown in the comparatively flat machine-stitched background fabric) of textiles with the richness of handwork: and here it really is rich - if you click the picture it will enlarge so you can see the detail.  The more I look at this the more I see in it, and I particularly love the asymmetric composition and the way in which the tiny darker pieces of silk carrier-rod bring the whole thing together.

During the meeting Ann Horton made a frame for her piece (hope we get a lesson at some later stage - is there no end to this woman's talents?)

Dina is another member of the group for whom all this peculiar stuff was new, challenging and ultimately exciting and worthwhile.  Her piece is a sampler of different materials and techniques depicting the twelve months of the year, beginning with the paper fan ( a fanfare for the coming year, and including april showers made of scrim, chiffon plants, frayed velvet for a November bonfire, a painted apple and winter fires in jute scrim: a really inventive use of the materials.  She was also stitching a really beautiful scarf during the meeting.

One of the members of the group got a little stuck (it happens to all of us from time to time) and passed her pack over to Ann Horton, who made this piece for her friend - not only taking on the task of finding ways to use the fabrics effectively but also making something her friend would like  - beautiful felt and velvet leaves, padded petals and a variety of fabrics and threads for the flower centre.  Lucky friend!

Leah Higgins is the groups convenor and produced a beautifully finished geometric piece: unfortunately the photograph doesn't do it justice.  A pity because she's used a whole range of fabrics in a very complex way to produced a beautifully balanced composition.  Using simple shapes she's used a whole range of techniques - different kinds of edges, lines and overlays.  And being me I love the touch of asymmetry.  Another one I could look at for a long time (I hope I'll get a better picture at a future meeting.

Finally to Mary's.  Apparently her technique was to spread out the contents of the pack on the background fabric, rearranging until she got something she liked the look of and it really has worked well.  I love the contrast of colours and textures and particularly the way the wiggly lines in the jute scrim and the thread with silk carrier-rod contrasts with the straight-sided geometric shapes elsewhere.  Another one I wish I'd made.

And there are hopefully more to come.

Pleaase if I have mis-spelt or got names wrong could somebody tell me and I will correct it (I was still a bit train-lagged after going to London the day before!)