Hello again. Before it feels like old news I thought I pop a few more photos from Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch here. This first one is of some lovely work by Wendy Rudd. Wendy was our neighbour for the show and we were very grateful to her for holding the fort for us when we were delayed by the rotten weather. Wendy’s part of a textile and mixed media exhibiting group called Reveal. I was drawn to these pieces because I’m working on a Boro inspired quilt of my own at the moment. Loved how Wendy had chosen to display them too.
One of the nicest things about getting out and about to the shows is the opportunity they provide to catch up with old friends. It was lovely to have time to chat with my pal Bobby. We don’t get together nearly as often as we’d like. I’m hideously envious of her studio so it’s lucky for her that she’s far enough away for me not to gatecrash on a regular basis. Her studio by the way, is where she holds workshops in textiles and art and also welcomes wonderful guest tutors such as the likes of Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. If that sounds intriguing then do visit her website
where you’ll find a list of forthcoming workshops and ongoing courses.
Here’s Bobby holding a piece of barkcloth from Uganda. Not only does Bobby work incredibly hard teaching, making her own work, writing a new book, etc. etc., but she and her husband are spearheading some incredible charitable work in Uganda to help villagers set up a farm, build houses and install solar panels. Their charity Hands Up for Uganda encourages the villagers to use the materials local to them and traditional skills such as those used in producing barkcloth and making baskets. Amelie came home with a pair of barkcloth shoes (I’ll have to photograph her wearing them for you to see, they’re gorgeous), and I couldn’t resist this beautiful basket.
Bobby’s been using the barkcloth in some of her new work, combining it with print and hand stitch.
Thanks for dropping by,
I know I said I had other photos from ‘Fashion, Embroidery’, but I’ve been distracted. I will post them next time. I’ve been out walking the last couple of days and the hedges around here are just wonderful at the moment. I love them at this time of year in all their harsh, thorny glory, particularly when the sun is bright and low behind them. Over the years I’ve done a lot of work inspired by these hedges, but I’m sure there’s more to come.
Last weekend I was at Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch. Linda and I have had a stand there in the past and it’s a lovely varied show. There’s not the feeding frenzy around exhibits like there can be at Festival of Quilts, but nevertheless there’s a nice atmosphere and plenty to see. The snow put pay to me taking Amelie along for all four days. She came with us on Thursday before the worst of the weather arrived, but after that it didn’t seem worth risking getting stuck on the road in bad weather so she stayed home and played with G’ma. Felt quite strange being out and about without responsibility!
We did our usual with the stand and piled it high with loads of stuff. Quilts on the wall and then fabric, cushions, threads and sketchbooks on the table. It all seemed to go down quite well. I did have one visitor take it all in and then come over and ask ‘What’s it for?’. I hesitated to answer for a moment thinking that maybe the question referred to something specific; I had pots of paint, gel medium and a sewing machine with an embroidery unit, all of which might prompt such an enquiry, but no! It was just a general query. Of course the simple answer is that it’s not ‘for’ anything. As all the best things in life are, it’s completely pointless.
My favourite display of the stand was surprisingly the smocks. Well, it surprised me that I liked them so much anyway! Along with the 19th Century examples were miniature versions. I’m sure Amelie needs one so it’s on the list.
Apart from the lovely stitching what appealed to me most was how the smocks are cut. Basically, us girls would go to the market and buy a piece of fabric that measured from our noses to the tip of an outstretched arm three times. That would be enough to make a smock for our man back home. We’d cut the fabric into thirds, one for the front, one the back and out of the final third all the other bits such as sleeve, collar, cuffs etc would be cut. All this would be done with straight lines, squares or rectangles. All of the shaping comes from the smocking.
It reminded me of the kimonos that I’d been reading about when doing some research for Orientation. A kimono is cut from a set length of fabric using straight cuts. All of the fabric is used and none is thrown away. In theory the kimono could at any time be dismantled and the original fabric length reassembled. I like that idea. Funny isn’t it how these similar conventions evolve in parallel on two different sides of the world, borne out of necessity and economy of course.
I have more photos from the show to share so I’ll get them uploaded and will post again soon.
Today was a very productive day. It’s been over 6 months since I’ve had a full day in the studio and I’d forgotten just how productive I could be given half the chance! Mom decided that if I didn’t knuckle down there would be no way I’d meet the exhibition deadlines that are fast approaching so she volunteered to look after Amelie all day. Amelie by the way, is doing really well, 6 months old tomorrow and just starting to sit up and tuck in to the odd spoonful of mushed carrot or mango. Yum.
So for the first time in a long time I have the opportunity to spend several uninterrupted hours in my studio, but of course, I don’t know what to do with myself. The answer, procrastinate and tidy up of course! I tackled all of the piles on my desk and two of the piles on the floor, along the way discovering all sorts of things I’d forgotten about and at least finding out all the bits and pieces for the projects I ought to be doing.
With surfaces revealed once more I did get on. First on the hit list was my second new piece for SiX – Orientation which has to be handed over next week ready for the exhibition hanging in a couple of weeks. This morning I completed the quilting and this weekend the binding will go on. I’ll photograph it once it’s done but for now here’s the first one in the series that I finished last week.
It’s a digital photograph that we printed to cotton poplin here at Fingerprint. I’ve simply free motion quilted it with contour lines on the hands and a Japanese sashiko design in the background.
With that bit of quilting done I moved on to new work. Although over recent months I haven’t always been able to do anything I have had lots of thinking time to plan new work. I have a very long list of paintings to paint, drawings to draw and quilts to quilt, let alone the new designs I want to do for the Fingerprint range. I can’t ever dive straight in and paint or quilt though, I always have to work through ideas in my sketchbook first. To maximise time I’ve worked today in two books at a time so I can switch to one when the other is wet and back again. For some of my new work I’m going back to the hedges that inspired me right at the beginning of my quilting career. In fact, in digging out the piles in my workroom I came across samples and drawings of hedgey things that date back to my degree show. That feels like a LONG time ago! I still love all that stuff though and at this time of year the hedges around here are at their best. I’m not going to get cross that our new neighbours have massively trimmed the blackthorn hedge between us that I’d been allowing to grow so I could collect it’s thorns. Well, not really, really cross.
I’ve been drawing with charcoal, working direct to the page and onto some found papers. I love charcoal for it’s immediacy and (I’ll probably scan them) and then print them to fabric. Jamie’s got a long list of print jobs at the moment so I better put my name down!
It’s been a fun day. Amelie had a great time with Grandma and I even managed to get my new paints wet! I realised that comments on this blog had been turned off, but they’re back on now. I’d love to hear from you!
Bye for now,
I’ve just about been finding time to do some quilting. I’ve promised two new pieces for SiX – Orientation which’ll go on display next at The Bramble Patch in Northants, UK towards the end of March. When the theme ‘Orientation’ was suggested to the group nothing really sprang to mind, but I’ve learnt by experience that the themes which can appear to be the least inspiring at the outset, often drive the most interesting work in the long term. I suppose it’s being forced to research something new that causes this and results in other influences being drawn into the work. I do find it difficult to change tack and much prefer to gently feed in outside inspiration to what I’m working on naturally rather than go off on a tangent and produce something quite separate to my ‘proper work’. When you’re a person from England who’s experience of the Orient doesn’t extend much further than the Chinese takeaway, it at first seems quite a stretch to introduce anything oriental into a set of work without it seeming unnatural. Eventually though ideas present themselves either through long hard thinking, or just doing. Looking at the work I’d been making over the last couple of years I noticed that there was one common denominator – hands. I do love drawing and painting hands. It’s always challenging to capture the complicated form of hands and convince the viewer that there are bones and joints underneath the flesh and skin.
"1000 Cranes - Step 1" - Laura Kemshall, 2013, £225
I’d begun looking at origami forms and folded a crane, thinking I was going to draw it. Of course then it struck me that the interesting aspect of origami is the process of folding which is of course done by hand. I refolded the crane this time photographing each key stage. It was simple to convert the photos to black and white (I love focussing just on tone), then print them to cotton poplin using our digital textile printer here at Fingerprint.
Of course the print is just the first step. Quilting is my favourite part of the textile process. I’ve used freehand machine quilting. Usually I’d work on a longarm, but these pieces are relatively small so I’ve used a regular sewing machine, besides, Linda’s been hogging the longarm and with the intermittent nature of my work at the moment I daren’t block her progress with one of my quilts lingering on the frame far too long!
The quilting is simple, contour quilting on the hands, linear quilting on the crane to suggest the change of planes that the folds create and then a more decorative, Sashiko inspired background in an ‘oriental’ red. So this is the first, there’s definitely a second underway and quite possibly more to complete the set, but I only have confidence in two being finished and ready to hang for the next exhibition.
If you’re able to come then you’ll be welcome to view SiX – Orientation at The Bramble Patch, Weedon, Northants. March 23rd – April 6th 2013. All details on the Bramble Patch website.
Thanks for dropping by today. I hope you enjoyed visiting the Fingerprint website.
Bye for now,
Hi again everyone,
Well my new endeavour to blog more frequently is holding up, but it is early days! Just a quick post today to share with you one of our recent Fingerprint Bespoke jobs. One of the exciting things about running a printing business is you never know who’s going to email and take advantage of the service. We just printed some silk chiffon for a charity called Charlie House. They work hard to provide respite care for children with disabilities or complex needs. Here are the team sporting matching Charlie House silk scarves for the launch day. Don’t they look great? We’d like to wish them the best of success with their charity appeal. You can find out more about their work on the website.
Bye for now,
Gosh, I was horrified to see it was July when I last posted on this blog! Hopeless! I do have good reason though and here she is. Due in early October Amelie arrived over a month early and has kept us occupied and entertained ever since. It’s been tough balancing a new baby with even the thought of being creative. I have given myself over entirely to motherhood. It feels very natural, but very strange at the same time. They say being a Mom changes you and it’s true, all of a sudden you realise how selfish and self indulgent life could be before. Now of course nothing else matters. So many things stay just the same, but somehow everything has changed. It’s scary, but I like it.
Four months on and I can feel my creativity emerging from the newborn fog. Now, as well as having ideas I actually have the energy to see them through. Jamie, who some of you might have met last summer at Festival of Quilts has taken to the digital print process like a duck to water. Whereas I only care about the design, his technical mind loves to know how the printer actually works. I do have nightmarish visions of popping down to the printroom one day only to find the whole thing taken apart for inspection purposes! While I’ve been submerged in all things baby related he’s looked after Fingerprint, working with new designs, printing and packing the fabrics. It’s been a big relief to know that everything’s been in safe hands.
So while it’s a little late for resolutions you can be sure that there will be much more activity here on my blog from now on. I hope you’ll add this page to your favourites and drop by often. For today I’ll leave you with the great news of successes with Fingerprint quilts. My quilt Bird in the Hand was selected for display at the Through Our Hands exhibit at Leamington Spa Art Gallery. I’m delighted to say that someone liked the quilt so much that they bought it! Of course that does mean I have to make a new piece for the Festival of Quilts outing for Through Our Hands 2012, but hey, I have fabric!
In the photo below you can see my other pieces for this exhibition a painting and wholecloth quilt entitled ‘Don’t Go’. The quilt is also a digital print, this time of the painted image. I’ll have to show you that one in more detail another time.
Linda’s also been making use of digital print in her recent work. Her quilt Remembering which we printed here at Fingerprint is a wholecloth quilt with machine and hand quilting. The design was made from one of Linda’s sketchbook drawings combined with photographs of moths. Exhibited last September at Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork it won Best in Show, a fabulous endorsement for digitally printed quilts.
Here are some photos of Linda’s quilt to enjoy.
Bye for now,
I’ve been making progress with the quilt top I showed you last time. You’ll remember that it was entirely digitally printed onto cotton poplin and used our Winter Hedge image together with one of my graphite drawings. I’ve pinned it to the longarm to quilt and kept things simple by simply following the printed image as my guide when quilting. I love to work this way as it means there’s no need for marking anything!
All the quilting is freehand and I’m adding in extra detail where needed to areas like the feathers on the bird.
I really enjoyed quilting the fingers. As they’re palm side up, I took advantage of being able to quilt the fingerprints using contours!
In the hedgy, thorny areas I’m either following the lines in the print, or filling in spaces with spiky angular shapes.
And here it is finished, well almost, I just have to choose a fabric for binding and then add the hanging sleeve.
The quilt is going to be on display in a few weeks time on our stand at Festival of Quilts (NEC, Birmingham, UK) before heading off to Leamington Spa Art Gallery for the exhibition there entitled Through our Hands. You can find all the info for both events at the bottom of this post.
A Bird in the Hand
Come and see Fingerprint at Festival of Quilts!
Stand number S16 – Linda and Laura Kemshall
Festival of Quilts
NEC, Birmingham, UK
16th-19th August 2012
For more info www.twistedthread.com
See ‘A Bird in the Hand’ and other works at ‘Through Our Hands’
Leamington Spa Art Gallery
An exhibition with: Bethan Ash, Elizabeth Barton, Elizabeth Brimelow, Eszter Bornemisza, Dijanne Cevaal, Laura Kemshall, Linda Kemshall, Sandra Meech, and Alicia Merrett
Leamington Spa, Worcs, UK
18th October 2012 – January 2013
For more information about the venue http://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/WDC/RoyalPumpRooms/Art+Gallery+and+Museum/
Thanks for dropping by the Fingerprint blog.
Talk to you again soon,