Thanks for reading
Terry & Hazel
As Hazel mentioned last week, whilst she was in Petra I was at the other extreme in Iceland. And it didn't disappoint. Whilst its climate often has a reputation for being a colder, wetter version of our own, the week we were there started with glorious sunshine, with clear skies perfect for Northern Lights chasing, and ended with snow as Storm Gareth hit the east of the country.
We toured the whole island with an Icelandic guide, which was a great way not only to see the sights but also to hear about the way of life, customs, folklore and of course the sagas. Being on a minibus for long stretches of time even meant that the sketchbook (which always optimistically accompanies me on holidays and rarely sees the light of day) actually got filled, albeit in a somewhat wobbly fashion, which did sort of suit the scenery.
Iceland's location at the junction of two tectonic plates is responsible for the volcanic landscape, with rift-valleys (moving apart 2cm each year),
130 volcanoes, many of them beneath glaciers [the one on the left below is Eyjafjallajökull, which erupted in 2010 and caused airline chaos in Europe],
hot springs, geysirs and lakes,
black sand beaches and seemingly endless flat lava fields stretching between the mountains and the sea.
Add to that its latitude, just on the arctic circle, which explains the huge glaciers which cover much of the interior,
creating beautiful glacial valleys, meltwater rivers and waterfalls and which formed the eastern and western fjords.
The scenery is stunning and with such huge variety it has a very other-worldly quality, which is why it has been used for a location for many films (James Bond, Batman Begins, Game of Thrones, Star Wars).
It would seem that I have taken over 1500 photos, many of them of interesting textures and lines, for inspiration!! So here are a select few for you to enjoy.
And since I haven't yet touched on folklore, traditional houses, old ways of life and arts and crafts, I think there might be another post in the pipeline ….
Thanks for reading
Terry & Hazel
If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook you’d be forgiven for wondering what on earth has been going on recently. There’s been posts from both Iceland and Jordan, from snow and frozen waterfalls to desert sands and floating in The Dead Sea plus no blogs for the last couple of weeks.
Long story short: we’ve been on holiday!
After a very frantic start to the new year with moving studio, teaching etc we decided that it was time for a bit of rest and recouperation! Terry went off to Iceland and I chose to cycle through Jordan.
Wherever we go the textile artist in us isn’t far behind.... This week you are being treated to some of my photographs from Petra and next time it’ll be Terry’s from Iceland.
So go make a coffee, sit back and enjoy!
Camels may have a reputation for being a bit grumpy,
but that aside, these ones had beautifully woven saddles (and were very well behaved!)
You enter Petra through The Siq, which in itself is an amazing walk and then you start to see glimpses of why you’ve come:
The Treasury, this is the view and why you travel to Petra.
But it’s the rocks that keep you mesmerised
and the resident animals which give it life and character!
Fascinating by day
and quite magical by night. Once I’d overcome my lack of exclusivity, Petra was the most amazing place to visit and move away from the Siq and Treasury there are some amazing delights waiting for you.
No coffee was being served, but
just look at the view, you feel as though you’re quite literally on top of the world.
It took my breath away.
In one week I managed to take over 1000 photographs (as well as cycle too!) so they’ll be sure to pop up in future blogs!
Wrap up warm for next time when it’s glaciers and frozen waterfalls....
Hazel & Terry
I've waited and waited for this exhibition to come to the UK after seeing it featured on a friend's Instagram feed last year (she'd seen it in Paris) and this Monday was an ideal opportunity for a mother-and-daughter day out! Unfortunately, I'd forgotten it was half term but even a 50 minute wait in the members queue did nothing to dampen our enthusiasm and eventual enjoyment.
The V&A exhibition spans from 1947 to the present day, and traces the history and impact of one of the 20th century's most influential couturiers, exploring the enduring influence of the fashion house, and Dior’s relationship with Britain.
And because it was a V&A exhibition you were allowed to photograph and encouraged to share....so here's some of my favourites: enjoy!
Some of the designs from Dior who came after the untimely death of Christian had a more challenging focus. I wonder what he would have thought? Colourful yes, but wearable and flattering? Not always!
One of my favourite rooms (and there are many in this exhibition) was the one based on the atelier. The simplicity and clean line of the calico toile was stunning.
Dior designed the whole look and an important aspect was millinery .
Could this be the perfect hat for me I wonder?
The penultimate room is one for you to linger in. Walk round, admire the dresses and then sit and enjoy the light show. A magical end to a truly stunning, and unmissable, exhibition.
The V&A exhibition runs until 14th July but, except for a very limited number of daily tickets, is sold out. However I am sure that, due to the popularity of the exhibition, its run will be extended. More information can be found over on the V&A website. And of course, if you are a member you can visit the exhibition free at anytime - if you don't mind standing in the queue!
Hazel & Terry (who's a bit miffed at not going...)
We both love words and like to use them in our creative work, both as text to be read and as text for texture. When we start planning a stitched textile we take our inspiration from many areas, recording what we find in drawings, in colour and in words. We play with the words, sometimes isolating particular words and phrases and other times so that, although they look like words, the whole narrative can't always be seen or understood.
It is easy for the viewer to understand the purpose of text that can be read, but having text that can't be read can baffle some; so why do we do it?
As humans we can recognise the written word, whether we can actually understand it or not, and so it draws us in. Text piques our interest - we want to try and make sense of it; you could say it's like solving a puzzle. That's why, when you are travelling, foreign scripts are so fascinating.
Indistinguishable text in our stitched textiles can be a way of adding a hidden meaning, adding to the narrative in a personal way,
and then sometimes we just want to use text for texture or because of the elegance shape of the letters....
Join us again to see how we use text in our own work,
Hazel & Terry
Last week when I was up in London I popped into a large well known art shop with the intention of buying a few bits and pieces as a treat for Terry and I to use in the Studio. There was so much choice and I felt overwhelmed; In the end I left empty handed.
With so much choice these days it's good to sometimes go back to basics and keep it simple and this week in the Studio we did just that!
As you can see - I gave the Inspiration to Stitch students a selection of mark making tools - all three of them: half a wooden tongue depressor, half a lolly stich and half a cosmetic bud plus 3 inks - Quink writing ink, a drawing ink and Indian Ink; in any colour they wanted - as long as it was black.
At first the mark making was safe
It’s a useful skill to be able to draw on all different scales and this exercise will help you expand your drawing to fill the page – whatever the size!
You will need:
Before you start, spend a few minutes looking at the item you have chosen to draw – look at its overall shape, its relationship to other items on the table and/or the back ground etc
Regular readers of the blog will know that a couple of weeks ago I'd tried, and got waylaid, to see the Tate Modern's new exhibition on weaver Anni Albers. However, a dreary Monday this week was a good a day as any to rectify this so I hopped the train up to London and visit the exhibition; in fact it was the perfect day (trains cancelations not withstanding) because Monday afternoons in mid November look to be very quiet days in Tate Modern.
I spent 5 years learning to weaving when I lived in Finland in the 1990's; rugs, runners, bags and wall hangings, I've had a crack at them all, and one of my hand woven bags is still in regular use 25 years on! Last Christmas I also very lucky to received Anni Albers' seminal book, On Weaving (confession: I look at the photographs rather than read the words...)and so I was more than a little intrigued to see how Tate Modern would portray this artist and her work.
The first thing to note is that this isn't just an exhibition of Anni Albers' work but rather an examination of her process as a designer, artist and teacher. It charts the way she transformed weaving from the domestic to a medium for art, design and architecture.
Anni Albers had enrolled as a student at the Bauhaus, Germany in the 1920's and after a general preliminary course was required to chose a specialised workshop. But despite the ideals of equality at the Bauhaus, women were not actively encourage to join some classes, however weaving became a popular class for women, so much so it became known as 'the women's workshop'. Anni Albers said that she 'went into weaving unenthusiastically, as merely the least objectionable choice' but 'gradually threads caught my imagination'.
When I read that I knew instantly what she meant: a passion born.
Not Anni's loom, but a replica and just like the one I used to learn how to weave. To see what is involved watch this short video, How to weave like Anni Albers made by the Tate in collaboration with weaver Rosa Pearks.
The designs for weaving needed to be meticulously planned and calculated before the loom could be warped with the required number and colours of threads. These grid-like designs were painted in water colour using four or more different tones and were exercises in colour theory.
Artist, Paul Klee taught at the Bauhaus but Anni Albers said that she was more influenced by his paintings than by his teaching! Following Klee's exercises in composition and colour and tonal variation combined with his mixing of layers of watercolour on paper influenced Albers's own designs.
I was so taken by these studies made on the typewriter (remember those??!) that once home I was straight upstairs rummaging around until I found my ancient one, blew the dust off and started pounding the keys.
Now there's an exercise workout for the fingers; quite forgotten how much effort is required to thump the keys down. Oddly satisfying though, it has to be noted... Now, where can I get a new ribbon from?
Unlike so many exhibitions these days, photograph was allowed in this exhibition so it's very tempting to wander around snapping away. But here's my advice: if you only have the one chance to visit the exhibition, put the camera/phone away: weaving isn't a process to be rushed and neither is this exhibition. Take the time to explore Anni's creative world, marvel at her use of colour and development of techniques
and then sit in quiet contemplation of the Ark Panels woven by her in 1962 for Temple B'nai Israel, Woonsocket, Rhode Island. After all, you'll need all the stillness and calm you can get before the madness that is Christmas arrives next month!
Besides which, there's plenty of merchandise outside the backdoor waiting to tempt you. Alternatively why not ask Father Christmasoppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppl (heee, hee, hee: Betty cat has just jumped on the keyboard to embrace her inner Anni....) for a Tate membership so you can visit this and many other exhibitions (in all the Tate Galleries up and down the country) as many times as you want, without booking or queuing?
The Anni Albers exhibition is on from now until 27th January. See you there (again!)
Hazel & Terry
Wednesday was such a beautiful day here at the Studio that we decided to have a 'walking meeting' instead of sitting in the studio
so on went the boots and down the lane we went...
It probably won't come as much of a surprise to some of you, but a 2014 study by Stanford University in the US has shown that people are much more creative when they are walking around as opposed to when they are sitting still.
It's also one of the reasons why we encourage students to stand up to work and why, after lunch on a Textile Adventures workshop we suggest everyone goes outside for a 10 - 15 minute walk; besides which it gives us time to clear lunch away!
The walk was also an excellent opportunity to look for line inspiration for us to use in a monoprinting session we've planned for ourselves later in the week.
From the twist and knots of barbed wire,
the concentric circles on a felled tree
and this year's growth on the hedge
to the stark outlines of the cow parsley seed heads
and the prickly cones of teasels.
And if you've ever visited us (or plan to do so in 2019!) this is why we always tell you to ignore the ever helpful Satnav and follow our instructions to avoid ending up at/in the ford, which is along the road from the studio!
Hazel & Terry
Does this happen to you? You finally admit it’s now autumn, cold enough to warrant a proper coat being worn, and on putting a hand in the pocket you find your fingers caressing one of last year’s conkers. You then also realise it’s time to start lashing on the hand-cream and wearing gloves - looking at my dry hand I realise I should have started that regime a while ago!
This week Debbie Lyddon has been teaching her Exploring Place workshop in the studio and one of the things students have been doing is collecting and recording things found on their local morning walk.
Outside the studio there are huge oak trees so there are plenty of acorns,
down the lane pheasant feathers were found
and, of course, conkers were everywhere!
But what to do with all these things we collect?
Debbie has made a series of vessels
While the grasses were twisted and woven into a series of small balls.
Terry walks and collects too, usually by the sea.
Usually, Terry records what she finds, such as the lovely sea glass above.
But, sometimes Terry isn't able to actually 'collect' the items she finds, like the beautiful ammonite pavement on Monmouth Beach, Lyme Regis. That's where carrying a camera and a small sketchbook comes in handy and back in the studio she was able to do a series of studies on paper, from which a thermofax screen was made. The quilt, above right, shows where this screen was used to discharge a piece of hand dyed fabric.
The line of oyster shells were 'drawn-without-looking' and eventually became a free motion quilting design which Terry has used several times, above is Walking on the beach and below they feature on one of the long Narrative: walking strips.
Look carefully and you will find other images of collected items!
More of Terry's work can be found on her website.
Are you a collector of random 'stuff'? If you are do tell us what you collect and how you use it in your creative practice.
Hazel & Terry
Yesterday it was 24 degrees in my garden and as I sat in the beautiful autumnal sunshine eating a salad lunch, after a morning spent gardening, it felt like summer could go on forever.
How deluded was I.
Today has been cold, damp and quite frankly miserable. True, Saturday looks a bit perkier, but there’s no denying, autumn is definitely on its way. Not before long some may say, but I have so loved these long warm summer days. Now it’s time to move back indoors and start thinking about some serious stitching projects.
After the flurry (and I have to note, some success) of the three quilts I made earlier this year (if you missed them you can read all about then here, here and here!) I've been a bit lax on the sewing front it has to be said: too many cycling adventures, a lot of gardening, getting ready, setting up and taking InStitches to shows, and the knitting of socks (yes...really, doesn't everyone?!)
Also taxing my brain was a certain tell-tale line slowly rising up my study wall. It certainly has put a dampener (#allpunsintended) on creative thought - take a look...
How can such a 'tiny' leak create so much havoc?
The whole of my study has spent weeks in the garage,
Harry and Betty have been, quite rightly, flummoxed at times.
But the plasterers finished today. Now there's 'just' a new floor, woodwork and full decorating to go and finally I shall have my study back. THEN I can begin creative work - surely??
True, I could have, of course, gone up to my workroom. But as you can see, the state of affairs in there isn't much better. In fact it's worse - only I can sort that mess out (actually, that's what happening, we all know you have to be messy in order to tidy up - don't we?)
I know I also have a whole studio to play in...but quite frankly over the summer it hasn't looked that great in there either...if we'd been burgled I think they would have felt duty bound to tidy up for us!
The new studio is progressing slowly, despite all the edible brides and encouragement. But all good things come to those who wait... (note: this picture was taken a few weeks ago and there's been a lot of activity - you'll just have to trust me on that one!)
So there's nothing for it, I can't procrastinate anymore; no more excuses, I'm going to have to do what I'm always telling our students to do: get the sketchbook/workbook out, set an intention, make some notes and start exploring! I just need to begin... Carpe diem!
Hazel & Terry
Welcome to our blog! Here you'll find out what's been going on, plus plenty of ideas and inspiration and the odd cake recipe!
Check back often to see what we're up to - it's great to have you along
Hazel & Terry
InStitches: exciting courses for people who love textiles, quilting, design, stitching and sketchbooks
Courses and workshops
Copyright © InStitches 2010-2020
All rights reserved.