The busiest month of my year

June is a lovely busy month here at Shirley Rainbow HQ. I’ve just finished my time as Folksy Featured Maker, which was really fun. You can read my interview here. I was also asked to write a short piece for their blog about Hoop Art, which you can read here, which shares some of the wonderful embroidery available from Folksy.

Today I set up my display for Art in Shops which is part of Sherwood Art Week. Lots of shops let local artists and crafts people use their shop windows to display their work for a week. My textile and embroidery hoop art (above) is on display (and available to buy!!) at TSB and Sherwood News at 656 Mansfield Road. I’m looking forward to the Secret Garden Craft Fair tomorrow, and seeing all the yarn bombing. The exhibition I’m taking part in starts next Friday, at Sherwood Methodist Church, Mansfield Road, Nottingham; I’ll be there to help with invigilating the exhibition on Friday lunch time. I’ll do a blog next week with all the fun stuff that went on. If you’re in the area though, Sherwood Art week is a great event with lots to do and see, check their website for all the details.

It’s also Just A Card week next week, which is an online campaign to support all designers and makers, encouraging people to buy from and support independent shops as every sale counts, even ‘just a card’! I’ll be taking part in their Instagram challenge next week.

Images courtesy of Just A Card.

I’ve also got both of my children’s birthdays in the next two weeks, and I’m making a dress for a wedding I’m going to on the 30th June! Yikes! I’d better crack on with it…

Teresa xx

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Crafting Gold (and silver and bronze!)

I’ve been really into metallics this year, I bought a gold spotted sweatshirt in the January sales and some gorgeous gold brogues from Clarks too, so when I saw on Instagram that one of my favourite online haberdashers, Cloud Craft was selling iron-on metallic vinyl I knew I had to have a go! 


As with all my orders from Cloud Craft it arrived very quickly and I couldn’t wait to have a little go. I bought one sheet of gold, silver, bronze, copper and pewter. The instructions provided were very clear, and I tested my fabric to see if it could withstand the hot iron. I had a go on 100% wool felt, which did scorch slightly but the colour returned to normal after a few minutes so I wasn’t too worried. I used scissors to cut the vinyl which was a little tricky, but only, I think, because I decided to cut out something so small. And voila! Here is my first little mini make!


I also had a go at cutting the vinyl using a paper punch. This was not very successful, the punch was just not sharp enough to get through the protective plastic sheet that covers the metallic surface. However a hole punch was fine, and I managed, inspired by my sweatshirt, to create beautiful metallic spotted linen. Here is the finished result with my embroidery design. 


I also tried it with the copper sheet.


The only no-no with this vinyl is not to use a biro to draw the shapes you want to cut. The biro seeps into the fabric during ironing and creates a rather obvious line round the shape, I’d recommend using a pencil! 

I found it trickier with larger pieces to get the heat evenly distributed so this is something to practice, as they have buckled slightly. I’d like to play around with different textured fabrics for appliqué. Applying the vinyl to felt gives a wonderful, almost leathery texture. I’m really impressed with this stuff, the effects are great. I’m looking forward to playing around with some Christmas ideas too, expect to see a lot more metallics from me! 

Teresa

Disclaimer- I am not affiliated with Cloud Craft in any way, just a very happy customer of their products and service! 

New inspiration for Sherwood Art Week

Over the last few months I’ve been preparing some new pieces of work to display in a small exhibition during Sherwood Art Week. Sherwood Art Week is an annual event in an area of Nottingham near to where I live, and hosts three craft fairs, lots of workshops, artist events, displays in shop windows and also lots of fabulous yarn bombing. I’m taking part in the Art in Shops event, where many of the shop window displays feature the work of local artists and makers. I feel very lucky to have a prime spot in a charity shop called the Spaghetti Tree, right in the middle of Sherwood. The whole event is a fabulous showcase of the talent in just one neighbourhood of Nottingham!
I wanted to take a bit of a new direction with my work for Sherwood Art Week, and draw on a few sources of inspiration that had been twiddling around in the back of my mind.


We joined the National Trust last year and have since enjoyed visiting lots of beautiful houses- I like to look at the interiors and furnishings and my kids love the adventure trails and playgrounds. The houses themselves are brilliant sources of inspiration; one of my favourite National Trust houses is Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, which was built for a remarkable woman, Elizabeth Shrewsbury, known as Bess of Hardwick. Bess was a renowned needle woman and Hardwick Hall, for which building started in 1590 is full of examples of her own work, and tapestries which she collected. Popular motifs were fruit, leaves and plants, birds and wildlife, and also geometric patterns. 


The geometric patterns in brickwork on the many Victorian houses in my area are also a source of inspiration, I’m often surprised by how beautiful and detailed some of the houses are, even my house has a teeny bit of fancy brickwork! These floral designs, I think, are crying out for an embroidered interpretation…

As I’ve been getting back into embroidery I’ve been researching different styles and methods, and also materials to use. I still want my embroidery to have a contemporary feel, even using traditional methods such as black work, crewel work and gold work also has a strong appeal too. I’ve been hoarding fabrics with simple but contemporary prints and colours to use as backgrounds, and incorporating more modern methods (such as iron-on metallic vinyl!) with the traditional stitches and modern motifs. 

The brickwork patterns have inspired my geometric sampler style pieces. 



Bess of Hardwick’s fabulous tapestries inspired my modern crewel work birds, flowers and cactus designs.


Chicken scratch (also called gingham lace, much prettier!) was the inspiration behind this little cloud. I can definitely see me doing more of this. 


You may have noticed I’ve sneaked a bit of crochet in too, I think the little frames set the embroidery off nicely. 

I’d love some feedback, so if anyone has any I’d love to hear it! 

Teresa