Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Handmade legacy!

All images copyright the artist (listed below)
Montage created by Tina Francis from Web images

Those of you who read this blog on regular basis (thanks pals!) will know that my bespoke stitching only uses second hand wool, I am as much interested in the story behind who owned the wool as I am in the new piece I create.  Some of my second hand stitching has been used to create the tapestry needlepoint kits that I sell but of course these kits contain new wool! Taking a look at my stand neighbours at The Handmade Fair there seems to be a common theme of tradition and memory woven into our practices, lets take a look at the people that will surround me at the end of September.

Firstly The Littlecote Soap Co. founded by Elaine Stavert 12 years ago after a life-changing move from a London television career to a farm in the heart of the Buckinghamshire countryside. Inspired by the surrounding countryside and her favourite things in life, each ethical range is made from traditional recipes with exclusively designed perfumes that are quintessentially English with contemporary twists. This all sounds a bit like the good-life and yes it seems that it is because one of the ranges is based on gin and tonic!

Bobo Stitch has a very special piece of history in the making as the company is named after their daughter Olive, see their site for the full story. Whilst the kits used traditional cross stitch the patterns created are really something quite special and heirlooms in the making.

Speaking of tradition the work by Chachoulie concentrates on recycling the rich embroidery of Palestine, a country that has a rich heritage in cross stitch. The national dress of the region is defined by its embroidery and each dress tells a story with its colours, patterns and shapes, revealing not only which village the wearer is from but also her marital status.
Rima set up her company to showcase her creativity through the cultural identity of Palestine and to keep the folk craft of the region at the front end of fashion. 

Onward! How will you have the time to visit us all! The powerhouse that is Puntobelle design all their own fabrics and then use them to create really useful products, I am particuarly looking forward to the Travel Wallet which will set anyone,s holiday off to a great start. Some of these patterns are already design classics and so will be around for a long time!

Whilst Puntobelle use their own fabrics for their designs Creative Quilting bring you fantastic fabrics for all your quilting needs. Set up with just 5 bolts of fabric in 1989 the shop now boasts 2000 bolts! Hopefully a good selection of them will be making their way to the fair. A huge amount of quilting knowledge will be there for the taking on this stand, don't miss out on asking for advice if you want to start working with fabric.

There is a Norwegian saying about if you want to sing you will always find your song which I was reminded of when I read how printer Sarah Hamilton describes her work which revolves around colour for her the colours must sing which I can appreciate being a tapestry artist! Sarahs prints have a Scandinavian feel but are also based on her love of 1950's fabrics and among others Eric Ravilious and Georges Braque (a Tina Francis favourite). Sharing a stand with Sarah will be another print maker called Gabriela Szulman whose work is inspired by the nature of memories, over the years she has saved family photographs and printed ephemera from the 1940s and 1950s to create beautiful collages which are now being used for a new range of scarves that will be launched at the fair.

Using family memorabilia is taken to the next level by The Hutton Emporium who will be exhibiting work from members of the Hutton Family. This exciting mix of styles and practices will be great to see, I will be trying to find a link in the styles! Emma Hutton is a jeweller who adds history to her pieces by giving them a worn and cherished look with different pattination techniques.

After a long day at a show I like to sit down and look at something really beautiful for a while before I start to pack away and this time I will be looking at the fantastic hand painted and naturally dyed wools of Watercolours and Lace. I am very interested in the way that a naturally dyed wool can bring immediate texture to any piece especially as some of the dyes are from right here in the UK.


So there we go just a few of the stands in the West Tent that I will be sharing my time with from 19th to 21st September. I will be blogging more soon about other stand holders that I know whose work is nothing less than fantastic.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Learning as we go

Tina Francis Tapestry 2014

Being a lover of a well designed brochure it is a joy for me at this time of year to sit back and look at all the night school classes that are available, it reminds me of my night school days in London making a stained glass window for a chip shop and completing my City and Guilds in technical drawing amongst other things! Living in the Jewellery Quarter I am thinking that a jewellery class of some description really must be on the cards this Autumn. 

I wouldn't really be here without the night classes I attended in Brighton where Cath Bristow taught me how to print and Kim Thittichai taught me how to develop an idea. So now it's my turn to run some workshops which I am very excited about, I hope to have more in the future so watch this space!

Firstly I am running a workshop at Farfield Mill in Sedburgh on 5th October.  It's a day long class as we will be creating two samples using my old favourite second hand wool! The morning will see us stitching a small sample using all the random wool's in my stash and in the afternoon we will print onto tapestry canvas and use stitch to highlight, take a look at the image at the top of this blog. 

Secondly at Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace I will be running a short one hour session yet again using the wool from my ever growing stash to create tapestry stitched brooches.
Tina Francis 2014

I love how second hand wool is always a bit knobbly creating it's own texture!

I have other workshops closer to home in the Autumn which I will put up on the blog and my website soon.

Finally if you have caught the learning bug then why not come along to The Handmade Fair where a full price ticket includes a choice of workshops, talks and makes.  There are some great names running workshops and seminars, if anyone goes to Kaffe Fassets can they please come along to my stand in the Marquee afterwards and tell me all about it it would be fantastic to learn from him.

Off now to look at the courses available here in Birmingham!

Happy Stitching!