‘Apron Strings!’ Exhibition by Connie Flynn

Apron Strings!‘, a solo exhibition by Connie Flynn at Courtyard Arts.
I’d heard about this exhibition only last week so I was keen to see it before it closed.
I purposely hadn’t read too much about it before visiting so I had no preconceived ideas about what to expect other than embroidered aprons (which in itself is wonderful). How wrong was I. I was blown away with her work. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pieces below are half aprons – the rectangular kind with ties that wrap around the waist. These pieces have been worked on both sides using every textile material to hand, from hand made felt to re-purposed tea towels.

 

 

 

 

Connie Flynn

I had a good chat with Connie about her past and future exhibitions. I suggest getting in contact with her if you want to know more (her work is a breath of fresh air). She also offers workshops – I was a quick to add my name to her mailing list!  Connie is a very gifted lady and I have a feeling we will be hearing more about her in years to come.

Jessie Chorley at the Guild

My place had been booked for months for this ‘Embroidered Handkerchief’ workshop. I was so excited. I love Jessie’s style of work. She incorporates found objects, re-purposed and vintage textiles, story telling, printing, and plenty of hand stitching.

By Jessie Chorley
Jessie Chorley
By Jessie Chorley
By Jessie Chorley
I have been following Jessie Chorley’s work for a number of years now and have been lucky to attend many of her weekend classes at Hope and Elvis – all truly wonderful.  This workshop was nearer my home and with my girlfriends at the Hertfordshire Embroiderers’ Guild.
I had offered to be hostess for the day (involves keeping the tea flowing throughout the day and providing lunch for the tutor) which kept me rather busy, so I spent more time thinking about my sewing than actually doing much of it. Which was quite nice.  I hadn’t really spent a day like this before. It offered me the opportunity to revisit the same piece of work throughout the day, audition threads, fabrics and ideas, until I was very content with my choices and started sewing (quite late in the day). I also stitched a pin onto the back of one of Jessie’s heart buttons and adding it to my apron. I love it!
Work By Jessie Chorley
Having met Jessie before, I knew that she loved vintage everything. A perfect excuse to raid my vintage linens and vintage china to make her lunch special.
By the end of the day, many of the faster stitchers had completed a tremendous amount of work. I am always stunned at the Show and Tell. Each person has been given the same guidance from Jessie and yet each has created such different pieces.
Our Show and Tell
It was a wonderful day. I haven’t been on any form of workshop for quite a few months and I really have missed doing them.
As a quilter in my previous life, I used to attend and teach a great deal of patchwork and quilting workshops. Each class (or rather the quilters) were rather driven to achieve something substantial or an objective – like a quilt top – by the end of the day (quite a lot of sewing). Since I have moved into hand embroidery, I am more content with the design elements of carefully positioned coloured threads and fabric scraps – ‘slow-stitching’ – and have enjoyed my workshops more as a result. Just giving myself ‘permission’, the time to think, has made a huge difference to my work. I now go home with my mind buzzing and several more projects developing.
I forgot to mention, Jessie gave us each a gift at the start of the day – some pieces of her new printed fabrics. They are so yummy.
Goody bag
She had also brought some goodies for sale. Some of her printed tea towels gave home with me.
Jessie’s new book is out 15th August 2015. More photos of it to follow in a later post. I have had a sneak preview and it’s a purchase I would definitely recommend.
The brand new book By Jessie Chorley

Colour theory using a colour wheel – make one yourself!

Before starting my embroidery course I had very little experience of using a colour wheel. The style of work I create is mainly self taught and I have become accustomed to using my own instincts when it comes to mixing and matching colour. If it feels ok then I used it.
One thing I hadn’t accounted for was my own colour tastes. There are selections of colours that I always gravitated towards – colours I feel comfortable with – colours that have influenced my work.

 

I would like to share with you what I have gleaned from making my own colour wheel.
A colour wheel can be made of anything you like – paint, crayons, paint charts from the DIY store or even clipping from magazines. I made mine from paint.
What ever you chose, ensure the colours are of the same tonal value or shade.  Red, blue and yellow are the primary colours which are mixed in equal quantities to make the secondary colours; ie red and yellow to make orange. I used my Sizzix Big Shot and a Tag die to cut out the tag shapes.
It wasn’t until I made this wheel that the fear about the ‘unknown knowledge behind a colour wheel’ became clear. Complimentary colours appear as opposites on the wheel, and by mixing white or black with a colour you change its tonal value. To expand your knowledge, there are other things you can look into, for instance triad, tetrad or split complimentary colours, but I will leave this for you to seek out on your own.

The next thing to look at is how the primary colour hues work with each other, this is red, blue and yellow all in the same tone; which might explain why some embroidery and fabric combinations work better than others; ie working with blue thread on a red fabric will not have the same clarity or impact that a blue thread has when worked on yellow fabric. I have always ‘auditioned’ thread with fabric to see if it works for me. The primary hue theory explains why some of my initial choices have required changing for threads with more clarity.

Finally,  an exercise which was rather enlightening.
I started a small box of magazine clippings, collecting colours I liked which I made into a collage.
I collected these pieces of colour over a period of three weeks and was quite astounded at what I ended up with – a definite slant in my colour choice.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and hope you have a go yourself.