I have been invited by the Embroiders’ Guild to submit a piece of work for their exhibition at the Knitting and Stitching Show, entitled Page 17, using a book as inspiration. I chose ‘The Crane Wife’ by Patrick Ness, which takes a Japanese folk tale in which a couple assist an injured crane who then returns in human form to weave beautiful fabric, plucking feathers from her breast, which they can then sell. Ness transports this tale into present day London.
I have titled it “With the arrow removed from her wing, the crane calls at the moon” Size: 58 cms by 23.5.
My inspiration was the boro style of stitching, patching old fabrics. I used vintage Japanese fabrics, indigo dyed fabrics, printing, bleach discharge, painted bondaweb, feathers, sequins and mother of pearl buttons.
I made this one to take to a friend in Kuala Lumpur on my forthcoming visit. My indigo dyed fabrics, cotton and silk.
I went to visit my son in Hove a couple of weeks ago and wanted to take some stitching with me so a scroll book seemed the perfect choice. I cut out the pieces before leaving, attaching them with a narrow length of bondaweb along the edges. I got quite a lot done there and finished it on returning home, adding beads and mother of pearl buttons, more hand stitching and some machine stitching. The buckle is also mother of pearl. I wish I could always take one of these to stitch while travelling, but it’s not possible to take needles when you only have hand luggage on a flight.
I took the makings of a scroll to work on whilst on holiday in France and then gave it to a friend down there. It was very pleasant sitting on the terrace stitching by hand. I had done all the cutting out and printing beforehand.
I’ve always loved umbellifers and have lots in the garden, even allowing carrots to go to seed, so decided to do a whole book on them. I first sun printed a load on to fabric, then added more images, printing directly from the flowers with acrylic ink and also using decolorant to remove colour. As well as the sun printed fabric, I used some that I had previously dyed using low-emersion dyeing and arashi dyeing techniques. The rectangular pieces of Evelon were coloured using transfer dyes and plant material as resists. Finally, I added machine and hand stitching, beads, sequins and mother of pearl buttons. On the cover I used acrylic mat medium to attach a real head of hogweed.
This seems to be a continuing passion – when I feel stuck for a new project I have a look at my fabrics and think about another book. Another passion is experimenting with ways to print leaves and tree forms.
Several of the pages are eco-printed. There are pages towards the end composed of several pieces of fabric sewn together and dyed as one piece, then printed with red + umber acrylic paint using actual leaves. I didn’t like it for use as a hanging, so cut it up for use here. Other pages have been screen printed. Pages 5-6 were made by gluing pale blue tissue paper on to calico, then using Quink ink and bleach to produce the ‘branch’ shapes. I’ve used appliqué, transfer printed leaves onto Evelon, bits of lace, pearl buttons and khadi paper which I bleached with leaves. Having sewn through the spines, I stitched a crocheted doily around the outside and tied the threads together with beads around a eucalyptus stem.