In 2014 I won the City and Guilds Gold Medal for Excellence in Stitched Textiles (Embroidery) for my work on a Diploma course.
Since then I have thinking about ways of developing my work more professionally as a textile designer and part of this process is considering ways of presenting my work for sale.
I recently attended a two-hour workshop on making lampshades at ‘Sew in Brighton’, which introduced me to Needcraft kits. I used a piece of batik fabric that I created myself using white cotton fabric, hot wax, dye, and a potato-masher.
This is a lovely way to use art-fabric, and it is particularly effective with light shining through it.
The workshop set me thinking about how well Needcraft lampshade kits would work with my art-textiles. I also work on paper, which would work well too. Here are three examples of my designs that I would like to use in lampshades.
I often make pieces that incorporate light into stitched textiles. For example these two tea-lights were stitched on the sewing machine and were stitched into a round form and then stitched onto a base.
Making the 3D forms is quite fiddly and can sometimes take as long as producing the embroidery itself.
The Needcraft tea-light lanterns would work really well with the colours and textures of embroidered surfaces, particularly if the stitching were planned in the dimensions of the kit.
Another technique I like to use is ‘cut-away’ embroidery, where holes are cut in the fabric, and machine-embroidery is then applied across the ‘holes’. This piece is a design based on a repeat pattern from a collage; imagine it right across a big lampshade. Where you see the green backing in the photo, light would shine through.
I would love to be able to share pictures of an amazing professional studio, but up to now this has just been a dream. During the Diploma course, large messy projects (such as dyeing fabric) mainly happened on the kitchen floor. If you asked me for advice for aspiring artists and craftspeople, it would probably be:
where there’s a will there’s a way!
Since then we have moved house and there is an extra room – now I wonder what that could become? There is a little way to go before the ‘junk room’ becomes a real grown-up studio, but the potential is definitely there. Let’s just pretend that it’s all kitted out, all singing all dancing and ready to go!
I am excited about the prospect of developing my work. I am being asked to do talks and workshops as a professional textile designer and I’m starting to look at ways of incorporating my work into saleable items. That’s where Needcraft comes in!
With a group of textile friends I am planning an exhibition, probably late in 2016, based on themes of World Textiles.
If you would like to read more, I write a blog about my textile exploits, which you can find here.
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