Embroidery and Puppetry workshops update

I just heard yesterday that the workshops I propose to do at a local facility that provides counselling for sexual abuse survivors have had to be postponed again due to the omicron surge. I am so sad about this, but really understand that it has to be this way. The workshops have to be as safe as we can make them. Meanwhile I will keep sewing and responding as I so believe in the way this work can help us come into the present whilst being personally creative. I will keep you posted as to any changes. Luckily the facility sees the real potential of the initiative and want me still, but in the future when it is hopefully safer.

More ‘Dawn Cloth’ stitching

I have been adding to this cloth with a variety of stitch solutions and textures whilst still referring to the colours and light in the dawn that I witnessed a few weeks ago. I now have a much better directional light in the studio which is helping. The feel of the cloth and sound of the thread as it passes though it are especially satisfying. Almost like breathing. Repetitive and comforting but it can change to be whatever it wants and frequently does!

More ‘ Dawn Cloth’ sewing

I have been making slow progress with the ‘Dawn Cloth’ I have tasked myself with making. Got to be careful not to strain my eyes on these dark days! I still use mostly back stitch, some French knots, zig-zag and fly stitch. Progress still so slow but no hurry after all which is a good feeling!

Dawn Cloth

I started this cloth in response to a dawn of astonishing brightness and colour I witnessed the other week. I wanted to create something positive in the wake of all that we are going through with the covid situation. It also links to my proposed workshops with sexual abuse survivors which are still going ahead but in the new year. Here is my beginning in backstitch mostly. Progress is glacial but I am pleased to still have loads to do if that makes sense!

Leaf Glove

I have been experimenting with this ‘leaf glove’ recently with a view to using such stimuli with the sexual abuse survivors in my proposed puppetry workshops. I enjoy turning to nature for ideas and was going to use a flower as a starting point, but found the oak leaves at the garden we visit more interesting. The colours and textures just now are beautiful and I brought some back to my little studio. I proceeded to create one leaf after another referring to different leaves I’d found. I then embellished each leaf with embroidery and dye before assembling them on a flexible twig I had made. I slip stitched the completed piece onto an old leather glove of my mum’s, and was able to move the leaves with my fingers as if rustling in the wind. This was very satisfying and resonated as the glove was very worn from my mum having used it so much. It is now reanimated in a different way! A different kind of memorial and I do love repurposing things like this.

Birksmere watercolour and pencil sketching

We visited this very special garden and lakeside on Monday this week and I was so grateful to be able to sketch and photograph it once more. The dawn was especially beautiful, and the way some clouds were reflected in the lake was mesmerising. There is always something that lights up when I’m there, and it changes throughout the day. I’m coming towards the end of my sketchbook so will need to invest in another soon. I made a large oil inspired by this garden during lockdown and will share images once I have had it properly photographed, which could be a while yet but the machinery is in motion for that to happen. I even have some ideas for my embroidery and puppetry experiments from  drawing there. Nature  is  the  master  healer.

Needlewallet pile

I have now created enough needle-wallets for 8 prospective participants for the puppetry and embroidery workshops I hope to offer for adult survivors of sexual abuse at a local facility that offers counselling to such folk. Here you can see the needle-wallets I have made to lend to the participants. They are each different with a silk painting on the the inside. I hope they will provide a sense of ownership and belonging in the workshops. I am also gathering little starter kits of fabric swatches and threads to use in an embroidery sampler in the first instance. Onward and upward…

Seaweed embroidery with ripples

Have added to my seaweed embroidery based on some that I found at St.Bees beach in the summer.  The running stitch in ripples just made itself into repeated shapes with minor variations. I find myself worrying that it will end soon as is always the case with me making embroideries! I like doing them so much, but inspiration is infinite and will just start another! I’ve just heard this week that the facility that I want to do workshops in embroidery and puppetry with still want me which is great! Covid has interrupted so much of this vital work with survivors of sexual abuse, but the need is greater than ever now. I really believe in the benefits of creative work on so many levels, am all ready to go!

St.Bees Seaweed, drawing and embroidery

I found some interesting dried seaweeds at St.Bees beach on my recent visit there and decided to have a go responding to it through thread on fabric, and pen on paper. I had previously thought it would be a good visual resource for such responses and was glad I remembered to collect some whilst on the beach. The abstract shapes lend themselves to linear responses whatever medium you may use!

Pendle Hill, little oil

I created this small oil painting on canvas board as a commission for a friend. It was fun doing it. My initial photos of the iconic hill did not fit the brief and I was grateful for the feedback from the commissioner. She then hunted down her own image and sent it over to me which was much better as I understood what she really wanted. A ,more brooding and atmospheric Pendle. I made a little sketch which she liked and proceeded with the commission. It was an enjoyable journey completed when I gave it to her daughter in person. Communication is so important throughout this process so the resulting piece is in line with what is looked for.

I should add that I found it really quite hard doing the initial sketch which was a mix of looking at the photo provided and the view of Pendle from my little studio window. I think it was because you have to be in a certain frame of mind to draw atall I think. I was struggling with the lockdown due to Covid, but in retrospect was really grateful fo this work for moving me along and ultimately doing something for someone else that will hopefully give pleasure. My friend’s daughter is returning to Australia where she lives soon, and the view of Pendle will remind her of home I hope.