Monday, February 22, 2010

Working an idea.....................

Someone said that these little pieced cotton dolls reminded her of native indian babies in their papooses:


(click on photo for bigger image)

My daughter doesn't like my spirit dolls because she says they look like babies trapped inside the 'carrots'. Obviously, I liked the idea of papooses much better, and it fired my imagination. So I googled a bit. I found some pictures and discovered that most of these baby carriers were based on a board made of wood that rested flat against the mother's back. The covers were made of bark or hide, securely lashed to the backboard and laced around the baby. Mostly they had a hood to protect the baby from the weather and were often lined with fur or soft fabric. Often the covers were highly decorated.

Then I started to work on the idea, based on my original 'carrot dolls'. I would have to simplify a lot of the details or the dolls would become far too complicated.

Lots of lashing and lacing - so I moved the stitching to cover the front panel and used the back panel to interpret the backboard and lashing of the cover. Interlaced and spiky stitches:


(click on photo for bigger image)

a variation of interlaced chain band, with a long anchoring stitch to fasten the lacing, and


(click on photo for bigger image)

laced cretan stitch. These spiky stitches also serve to represent the coloured quills that were often used for decoration. No beads, because these little things are just way too attractive to small children. My favourite trellis stitch represents the hood.

Let's change some of the printed cotton to a synthetic suede fabric to represent hide and see how that comes out:


(click on photo for bigger image)

I think the facial features are too strong here. Trellis stitch, with its rows of knots, could make a substitute for beads. Some carriers were lined with fur - how to represent that?


(click on photo for bigger image)

a wool fringe around the top of the hood. These features are much better.

Here are the results of my interpretation:


(click on photo for bigger image)

I've had some fun with this, and there is yet more mileage in the original idea.

So, just a glimpse into the deranged mind of a doll-making embroiderer!

Thanks Marguerite, for providing me with some entertainment over a wet and grey weekend!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Birds make a come back

A bird string for spring!

I had some bits of birds left over, so I strung these on a machine wrapped cord and finished it off with one or two beads.


(click on photo for bigger image)

and while I was at it - I made a pink pair for my granddaughter's new bedroom.


(click on photo for bigger image)

As before, the bodies are made from scraps of fleecy fabric needle punched with wool sliver (roving), the wings are offcuts of felt and both body and wings are edged with trellis stitch on a buttonhole foundation. They are "adjustable". The birds slide up and down and you can make the string longer or shorter by moving the beads at the top. I'm thinking about making a more elaborate version with lots of hand embroidery.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Hanging Together

Sorry, no photo's, but please follow the links instead!

I paid a quick visit here today for a textile exhibition by the group Hanging Together. If you are in or around the area the exhibition runs until Wednesday 10th February and I can thoroughly recommend a visit. All the work on show is of a very high quality and some of the textures achieved are quite amazing. The ironing boards (Pressing Matters) are highly amusing! I took no photographs, but the group has a blog here where you can see samples of the work of each member and some galleries of previous exhibitions. Do keep an eye on it, as I am sure the blog will be updated with photo's of Pressing Matters once the exhibition has finished.

The Gallery at Chequer Mead in East Grinstead is ideal for hanging textiles and seems to be getting very popular. There are several interesting exhibitions coming up. The gallery is housed in a delightful old school building, fairly expensive but delicious refreshments are available and there is a reasonably priced car park directly opposite. The town of East Grinstead is on the A22, just north of the lovely area of Ashdown Forest and the charming village of Forest Row.