Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Thanks to Manchester!

Tina Francis - mandalas

I had a fantastic time at ICHF Stitching and Sewing Show in Manchester last week.  I have never exhibited there before but will definitely be back.  I was made to feel very welcome by everyone especially Val Hughes who was my next door neighbour for the duration. We had a fair few laughs mainly about how we couldn't have a chat because of the amount of people on our stands!
This was my first solo show since being away ill last year and so I was a little nervous about how I would hold up! But I did and really enjoyed my time there.
Manchester seemed to especially like "Use Your Stash" and so I had many conversations with people about their stashes, inherited stashes and how one loft is just not big enough! Many people set off home with a pattern and the promise yo use what they already have and to send me an image once they have finished. I am looking forward to seeing what comes through.
The plastic canvas circles are becoming more and more popular and another way to "Use Your Stash" for not much outlay. I heard about 3d dragons being made from plastic canvas and also keepsake boxes. I am definitely going to be producing more patterns and examples on plastic canvas this year.
My next show is Craft 4 Crafters in Exeter, again another show that I have not done before.  I am on the stand with Brenda Kiligrew of IDC Redditch, we will be talking about our Textiles CPD course and City and Guilds 7168 as well as all the other workshops available at IDC. It will be great to see you there and talk all things stitch. 
I am busy preparing for an exhibition at the end of March called "Where Wool Meets..", I am really lucky to be exhibiting with two great friends Suraya Hossain and Judith Watson, there is a lot of work left to do but knowing I will be exhibiting with them is pushing my on.
Thanks for looking after me everyone!
Happy Stitching!


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Up next!

Same but Different - Tina Francis 2017

So the new year is well and truly underway, during 2017 I will be revisiting my ongoing project "Same but Different" where I stitch the same design but in different colours (see what I did there!) Around 25 of these small needlepoints will be exhibited at Sewing, Stitching and Hobbycrafts show in Manchester and then on to Glasgow, Birmingham and Harrogate. I am really looking forward to exhibiting in Manchester and Glasgow as these were places that I had to decline last year due to ill health. In three years time the work will be exhibited again here in Birmingham and America, the collection will have grown by then to I hope over 100 pieces.
At the Manchester show I will also be exhibiting stitched Mandalas as part of my "Use Your Stash" campaign. With wool being the most expensive part of any kit it's important that we use what have before we buy more. I'm hoping that I will be able to hang them as a "curtain" at the end of may stand.
Mandalas - Tina Francis 2017

One of the great things about the start of the year shows is that you get to meet up with other artists that you may not have seen for a while, I am really pleased that my stand is next to my extremely lovely friend Val Hughes. We share a love of the Nordic design and cave painting is in our list of top ten things! We are going to have a great time there, it's a few years since we've been "allowed" to have stands so close together so please come round and visit us both and see just how much we have in common!
It seems likely that my solo exhibition 7 Stages of Grief will also be on display at Manchester we are just looking at whether there is enough space to hang it. If not then the exhibition will be in a Manchester Gallery in 2018.
Back to the stitching now and also proof reading my new canvas sampler pattern and instructions that will be launched at the show.
Happy Stitching!



Friday, 23 December 2016

A year of not doing that much!

Tina Francis 2016


So the nest laid plans and all that! Most of what I planned to do in 2016 was put on hold whilst I recovered from an operation (I am back on track now!)so most of those plans will be used for 2017!
In 2016 I did however have my first solo exhibition "7 Stages of Grief" which will continue in galleries next year, ran Jewellery Quarter Open Studios for the second year, became "Artist in Residence" at ScrapStore Birmingham and visited many pre-school settings creating art and fun. Ran a successful workshop at RBSA (more to come in 2017) and helped Spring Hill Stitchers exhibit at one of the largest textile shows in the UK, we have got funding from Ageing Better so watch this space for more exhibitions and maybe come and join us Saturdays 12-14 in Spring Hill Library. So all in all not a bad year!

Looking ahead to 2017 I am back exhibiting at the shows and will be at the following:-
The Stitching and Sewing Show - Manchester 2-4 February, Glasgow 2-5 March
Craft 4 Crafters - Exeter 16-18th February
Fashion and Embroidery - Birmingham 16-19 March

I will then be exhibiting (27/3 - 2/4) at The Gallery, Craft Central, Clerkenwell with two fantastic makers, Suraya Hossian and Judith Watson. Our show is called "Where wool Meets" and will see us creating a collaborative piece and also exhibiting our own work. Our practices are very different but it is wool and the act of using processes associated with it that joins us. Keep up to date with the show here.

I am running workshops in my studio from February, maximum 6 people with as many different teas as I can muster! The workshops will include embroidery using Oh Sew Bootiful kits, Weaving using kits from Juko Designs, Canvas sampler designed by me, Fun stitch workshops encouraging you to "Use Your Stash", lampshade making and a few more that will involve other makers in the Jewellery Quarter. Full list and dates will be on the website by Mid January. 
Talking of workshops I will also be at IDC Redditch running a selection of the above workshops plus mono printing and mixed media.

So that's the first three months or so of 2017! Thanks for sticking with me this year I have really appreciated all your kind words and the continuing orders which have inspired me to create more printed kits and new canvas work kits which will be launching in April 2017.

Have a great festive and I hope to see you in 2017 at the early year shows or later at Ally Pally and Harrogate.

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Taking time

Tina Francis Tapestry 2016

So I have not updated the blog for a while, I have been a little unwell and so have had to pick my battles! I had to miss my first Scottish show at SECC Glasgow and was really upset about it but at the moment I am feeling fine and looking forward to Fashion and Embroidery at NEC from 17th March.
Fashion and Embroidery is such a great show because as well as all the fantastic trade stands it gives you the opportunity to see some of the best textile artists around and speak to them about their work.  Many of the artists are tutors too and so you can learn from them at the free workshops that are available as part of your ticket price.

My number is ZJ24 and as well as exhibiting the best tapestry around (!) it will also reflect on what I have been working on over the last year and more importantly who. Last summer I attended Cannon Hill Art School, an experiment run by Trevor Pitt to see what would happen if everyone could go to art school.  During this 8 week course I was drawn back to print and multiples which has inspired my stitch work, expect to see a lot of the mandalas above, all using the same circular motif but not one of them the same. These mandalas are a great way to use up your stash of wool ends and the plastic blanks will be available to buy at the show, I will also be running a family friendly workshop using them at RBSA on Sunday 3rd April.
I have also been working with my stitch group "Springhill Stitchers" over the past year and the results of our sessions will be on display on the stand too.  I think if I look back running this group has been the thing I am most proud of in the last year, we started in June 2015 and members have learned to stitch, follow a pattern and now stitch their own designs. We were talking on Friday about what coming to the group has meant to them, the main feeling is that it has been good to have time to be free to create. This sentence has been echoed by textile artist and mentor to me Kim Thittichai.
 Kim is exhibiting her own work alongside Susan Chapman in their collaborative exhibtion "People and Places". Both of these artists are "noticers", a pattern, a shape, a form, a meeting, a change from the norm you will find it all in this exhibition.  I know that it is going to be the highlight of the show for me and I really look forward to hearing what you have to stay about it.
Kim teaches at Inkberrow Design Centre in Redditch who this year celebrate their 25th year! If you have visited the show before you will know about the fantastic fashion show they bring every year and also about their City and Guilds courses, make sure you drop by and see their full rosta of workshops and courses which range from sketch books to sewing stretch knits, print to perfect pleats and much more! I am proud to be part of the Inkberrow family and as I look back on the year since the last show I am also looking forward to being part of their 25 year celebrations running workshops, demonstrations and talks - be sure to ask them about all the exciting events they have planned.

So I look forward to seeing you all at the show and Steph Redfern I look forward to seeing your tapestry triumphs!

Happy Stitching!
Tina

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Stitching the month away!


So we are well and truly into 2016, the month of January seems to have flown by and whilst I was on holiday for one week of it I really do not know where it went.
During 2016 I will be setting up shop at Inkberrow Design Centre on most Thursdays (see the calendar for details) and I will be either running 3 workshops of 3 hours or a full day workshop. I start on 11th February and there are still places left but be sure to book up so that you do not miss out this month.
The classes are titled Creative Stitching and we will be looking at stitch and design in each session, learning new skills and sharing what we know to learn from each other. So let's take a look at what is in store on 11th February!

10 - 1 Tapestry Needlepoint Brooch
In this session we will be looking at my old favourite topic of Use Your Stash! Using my stash of second hand wool we will learn how to follow a stitch chart, learn tent stitch and look at colour theory. This workshop is an extended version of the brooch stitching workshops you may have completed at Knitting and Stitching Show because we will be looking at colours and how they resonate against each other and also with us. bring a notebook because we will be noting our thoughts on different colours and looking at why we like what we like.  At the end of the session you will leave with a hand stitched piece of tapestry which can be put into a brooch frame or used as inspiration for a larger piece of work.
Photo courtesy Jackie

1 - 4 Mandala Madness!
Check out the lovely image at the top of this blog. Again using secondhand wool we will be creating some fantastic works of art on plastic canvas. There really is no end to combinations of stitching that we can do to create some really exciting pieces of art.  I have used these pieces to adorn chairs, create wall hangings and at Fashion Embroidery and Stitch at the NEC my stand will be awash with them! Simple and stylish this workshop is great if you are looking for ideas for cross generational activities or if you want to start looking at stitch in 3d.

6 - 9 Cross Stitch City (copyright)
I am so excited about this workshop which will see us create a city skyline and much more from 7 motifs. Later in the year this series and process will become a book so get ahead of the cross stitch curve and begin to build your own city. We will look at the motifs and then set about designing the city, once you are happy with your design it's time to start stitching it onto aida, binca or tapestry canvas. You will need an embroidery hoop but I will have a supply if you want to buy one on the day. You will leave with the start of your city ready to complete at home or why not come back for another session and continue building?
Cross Stitch City - copyright Tina Francis

These classes will be repeated in March and April so if you want to do all three why not book up ahead of time for the next three months.

On 18th February I will be running my first all day workshop at Inberrow which will see us Colouring the Canvas. Drawing our inspiration from flowers, concrete and any other texture I can lay my hands on we will be learning how to make the canvas and not the stitch the star of out work. Here is a little example, I will be posting more about this class in next weeks blog.

There are so many great workshops happening at Inkberrow this year what with it being their 25th Anniversary and all! I am really looking forward to working with the other tutors and learning from them too! Jenny Taylor from Great British Sewing Bee and Create and Craft TV will be showing you how to create a great sewing organiser, Julie Marshall of Fabricology will be running classes on all thing stretch fabric, Kate Andre has gelli plate and thermofax printing covered and Sheila Davies will get your mixed media appetites going. All that just in February!!!

Hope to see you at one of the workshops soon until next time happy stitching!

Tina




Thursday, 21 January 2016

Taking Stock!


Well we seem to be flying through January already! I have been spending some time getting myself sorted for the coming year and generally been doing my favourite thing the world List Making. Second of course is ticking things off!

February sees three of my pieces exhibited alongside other RBSA tutors in their Love Art, Buy Art, Make Art exhibition. Its a great way to see work and then of course decide whether you want to learn something new with one of us, there are some fantastic tutors there.

In March I will be exhibiting with ICHF in Glasgow and Birmingham at their Sewing and Stitching Shows. In Glasgow I will be demonstrating how to stitch tartan in tiny little brooch format, do come by and check me out. On display will be stitched gallery work and of course Use Your Stash! At Birmingham I will be exhibiting "Mandala Madness!" which will see lots and lots of plastic circles stitched up with second hand wool giving ideas about how to use up yours. Alongside me will be the work from my stitch group "Spring Hill Stitchers" and you will be able to see how the group has progressed from never stitching before to creating their own designs and masterpieces. Stitching really is good for the mind and soul! I will also be running a workshop every day on the Vilene education stand using our old friend bondaweb to create some fantastic Troika Pottery inspired art!

In May I will be exhibiting all on my lonesome at Coffin Works I am really excited and work is well under way. You can find out about here and I will be adding more information about workshops and demonstrations as the months go on.

On many Thursdays I will be at Ink Berrow Design Centre in Redditch teaching classes and generally having a great time! Ink Berrow have a taster day on 30th January so do please come along and see what this gem of a place celebrating its 25th year has to offer!

I am running the Open Studios here in Jewellery Quarter in the summer but that really is too far ahead to think about at the moment! 

So with all of this going on it's time for a stock take, all orders placed up until 29th January will be sent out week beginning 1st February when we will be back to normal service and there will be some new items in the shop too!

Until next time happy stitching!
Tina





Saturday, 5 December 2015

Small and Micro!


So today is Small Business Saturday here in the UK.  It's a great day to promote small businesses and also for small businesses to connect with each other.  Most of the textile artists, makers and designers that I know are Small Businesses, I sometimes think I am a micro business because there is just little old me ploughing away at the wool face!

To celebrate this day I have a small offer which contains my top sellers this year!  The Brooch Bundle comes in two sizes and two colourways you will receive the following:-
3 or 7 Goldtone Brooches
Small Squares or Inca Squares Pattern books
Zweigart Canvas
John James Needle
Anchor wool in either Bright (For small squares) or Traditional (for Inca)
All boxed ready for giving (or keeping!)

The price is £25 for the 3 brooch bundle and £35 for the 7 brooch bundle.  

Both Inca and Small Squares Pattern Books have been really popular this year, they are not just patterns for brooches, stitch 4 designs in a square and you have a pin cushion, 12 or 15 squares make a great cushion front, so they are great way to use your stash too!

You can find the Brooch Bundles here and for this weekend only I am offering free postage too! 


I hope that you are able to shop local and small this Christmas season there is so much talent here in the UK, so until next time Happy Stitching!