I have been working on the khadi cloth traveller's blanket and it is quite addictive- as I sit and sew I think I will just do another one and another one. The stitching is simple so it's easy to be lost in thought and think back on the wonderful trip I had to Syria and Europe and all the little stories that I encountered.At the moment I am filling in the tie dyed circles I made in the khadi cloth which I dyed a darkish blue. The paler fabric on the right hand side is also khadi cloth but has coloured threads and a slightly larger weave. I have used it for the back of this blanket.
I wondered for ages what to do with this piece of cloth as I did not tie dye it all over, but the softness of the khadi, the slight graduations in the spun thread of the hand woven fabric and the way the dyes absorbs into the fibres are all interesting. And so each tie dye is calling for its own treatment. I don't set out with a plan in the stitching , it just builds as I stitch and as the colours demand.In the areas where there is no tie dyes I intend to applique some sari silk remnant which Fiona Wright sent to me - these are so colourful.
The on-line class for the travellers blanket will definitely go ahead- I have quite a number of people express their interest.The cost of the workshop will be $50 and will cover a 4 month period with access to a group for discussion and sharing work and stories!
This is the description:This class explores hand stitching and creating fragments of memory. It is inspired by the idea of the silk road and the great travellers ,like Marco Polo who travelled the road in order to source silk, eastern spices and other treasure. If you travelled that road and you could not write but wanted to keep memories of the fabrics and silks you encountered, and wanted to remember the patterns and stitches and wanted to keep warm at the same time- what better way then to sew fragments onto a blanket- a visual aide de memoire. The texture is created with simple running stitch and the embroidery on the fragments of fabric likewise employ simple stitches. This piece is about the rhythm of the stitching and to create decorative effects.
The layers have been created using hand dyed muslin and flannel- this gives the piece a lovely drape
We will spend the first session dyeing the muslin and flannel which is utilised in this piece. The muslin has been dyed ,using a shibori technique in order to create the underlying grid . Then the stitching will begin!All other fabrics are scraps left over from various projects.
Or if you would prefer to use khadi cloth- I can sell it to you but you will need to contact me.
In the spirit of sharing stories, on my second last day in France we went to Fontainebleau- the "small" home largely built by Francis I ( who was a great patron of the arts) and added to by various other French emperors over the years.The photo collage is of various rooms in the palace as well as some of the entry ports and the small lake which was used for leisure activities. The rooms are highly decorated with fabulous chandeliers, tapestries or silk adorning the walls and four poster beds that look as if you are lying inside a jewellery box. Every surface is decorated, and so decorated that you marvel at all the skill , workmanship and art and you wonder how many people it took to achieve all this- quite a bit different to the blank white or taupe walls seen in so many display homes now a days with the huge plasma screen tellie dominating the scene.
In my more proletariat days i shunned visiting such palaces for their ostentation and luxuriant excess of the incredibly rich- but when I think of all the fine workmanship, all done by hand; the marvellous rich texture of seeing in such a place; of the artisans and artists that were fostered and who created this incredible interplay of decorated ceilings, walls and panelling, carpets, curtains and tassels, furniture, chandeliers, paintings and vases I am aware that our world is so much the poorer for having lost so many of these incredible skills.The skills of the hand- see I knew I could somehow tie Fontainebleau into a traveller tableau......