Monday, 3 July 2017

It's been a while!

Well time seems to fly and I never have enough of it. At a show recently someone said wistfully "if only we could knit time", that's pretty much what I need to do but with stitching!

I've been hard at work developing new patterns and kits and will be putting them up on the website real soon. I am enjoying working on plastic canvas and so some of the kits will use it. What I like is that you can use any wool rather than just tapestry wool and so they are real stash busters. I am working with Appletons Crewel Wool on some of the designs which is giving me a lot of intriguing colourways and also brings me back to my love of maths as the rhythms are created by a strict mathematical pattern.

Exciting news in the stitch world is that Mr X Stitch is bringing out a magazine which will feature some fantastic stitch designers and will also be packed full of advice and interesting articles that all have stitch at their core. One of my designs is in the magazine along with Emily Peacock, Bobo Stitch, Maria Diaz and many more. It's really great to be part of something new and I hope that you will find it just as exciting!

I hope to have some of the magazines at my studio on 29th and 30th July when I open up the doors and invite you to "come and see what we do" as part of Jewellery Quarter Open Studios. There are over 40 studios and workshops opening their doors, jewellers, brewers, visual artists, leather workers, chocolatiers, make up artists to the stars...... I will have guests in my studio which include my community stitch group Springhill Stitchers and also Shelanu who are a social enterprise that work with Craftspace. It will be great to see how craft and making can be a support to people in the local area and also that a career as a maker is possible.
The link to the Open Studios blog is here, I will be linking to it on twitter so please do follow me @tinafrancis15.

Happy Stitchings! 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Off to beautiful Wales

Work in progress - Tina Francis - Martin Christie (image)

So the end of March came and went which heralded the end of the ICHF Stitching shows until later in the year. I really enjoyed myself and am looking forward to being part of their new show at Harrogate in May.
The exhibition "Where Wool Meets" at Clerkenwell went really well and we are now looking for new galleries to exhibit together.
This coming weekend I will be at Wonder Wool, Wales at the Welsh Show Ground. I am very excited about exhibiting there because it will be my first time exhibiting in Wales. I am taking the printed and counted kits alongside stationary and homewares. Also there will be a limited edition kit especially for the show which has a real Welsh flavour!

The kits use my "Welsh Weave" design which I am using for my current art piece "Same But Different", they have unique colourways because I promise never to combine these colours ever again! (Some of them are truly 1970's caravan!). The mandalas are coming along too and I have been working on some kits for release later in the year.Some of the kits will use 30cm diameter size mandalas!
Tina Francis Tapestry 2017

So a short update from me, I'll have more to tell when I return!

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Trying to stitch time!!!

Elisabeths Mum - Tina Francis 2017

I am back on the gallery trail next week when I will be part of a really exciting exhibition called "Where wool meets....". I am exhibiting with two other makers Suraya Hossain and Judith Watson both of whom use wool or its related machinery in their practices.
Suraya knits with wire and produces the most exquisite jewellery, she also uses wool in her knitting kits. I am really excited to see Surayas main piece in the exhibition which is a knitted wire skirt that includes swarovski crystals.  It is a major feat of both knitting and engineering, here is a sneak peak
Suraya Hossain - 2017

Judith combines knitting, tufting and weaving in her practice and is particuarly interested in rare breed wools. She has been very busy collecting samples from rare breeds around the UK and will be displaying where the wool has come from in one of her pieces, for now hers a taste of how she uses texture!
Judith Watson 2017

We are collaborating on a central piece for the exhibition too which has really stretched me so it will be very interesting see how it works.

Our exhibition will open on 27th March and close on 2nd April, you can find us at 33-35 St John's Square, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 4DS, hope to see you there!

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!