Monday, 29 September 2014

Retro fabric design for this weeks Spoonflower contest & other fabric designs

It's been quite a while since I entered a Spoonflower fabric design contest. This weeks challenge was chairs & tables and in my back catalogue of designs I had a retro chair fabric which I always felt lacked a bit of oomph (see pic below) so I decided to rework it.

I immediately considered a new colour palette and also a few new design elements, colour is the quickest way to ring changes and by the time I had added some new drawings it started to take shape and turn into a more retro kitchen style fabric which I was pleased with.

The contest entry I've gone for is the bright yellow version although with hindsight I think the brown version is probably my favourite.

Also reworked this last week was another of my butterfly waltz fabric designs.

It's been a busy few days with Spoonflower stuff as I took delivery of some crepe de chine scarves I've had printed with an assortment of my designs. I'm in the process of preparing them, some are having hand rolled edges and others I'm backing with a contrasting fabric, also embellishing the blue flowery one with beads and sequins. Results later when I'm all done.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Meeting a fabric designer at work

I was delighted to find out the other day that a fabric designer whose floral work I admire was doing an artist in residency just up the road from me.

Once again the destination was Burton Agnes Hall to seek out Nel Whatmore.

Nel is in the middle of a fortnight stint and I think she is there until the end of Sept. The weather has been mostly grey and misty the past week so waiting for a lovely sunny day to visit Nel was not going to happen so I just went for it last Sunday.

I found Nel in the little artists conservatory working on a fabulously colourful picture.

Ok the top picture is one of those 'auto awesomed' things but I thought it looked like a painting in it's own right.

Nel works mainly in pastel, it has real depth the way she builds it up, and you can see her tray of pastels below.

It was great having the chance to talk to a 'proper' artist / fabric designer and pick her brains about pattern repeats, creating collections etc, she was absolutely lovely and I can't wait to see what fabric designs emerge from her latest artwork.

Nel creates fabric for Westminster fabrics and here are some of her other pictures on display. You can find her on Facebook and follow a diary of what she is doing whilst at Burton Agnes.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Scotland, will they stay or will they go?

Today is the day we've all been hearing so much about, and in 24 hours we will know if they are staying or going.

I've quite immersed myself in the Yes and No debates, it's not that I'm a particularly political animal, far from it, creativity is what makes me tick. My interest comes as hopefully a future resident of Scotland, one day in the not too distant future when I can turn the lifelong dream of moving over the border into reality. 

I have spent a bit of time in Scotland the last couple of weeks and the atmosphere was quite intense, the referendum being the subject on most people's lips. I have to say that I can see good and bad on both sides and so it is probably as well I'm not there yet to vote as I feel quite undecided and sat on the fence.

I have friends up there on both sides who will be making well thought out choices today so along with them I will be waiting with baited breath to see what tomorrow's result holds.
Lets just hope positivity wins through and this hasn't turned Scot against Scot.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Trip to Glasgow and all things Mackintosh

A working trip to Glasgow last Thursday was a good excuse for a couple of days exploring. Now I've been past Glasgow many times heading north but I've never been in the city centre which quite surprises me even as I'm a big fan of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Here's the first thing I didn't know about Glasgow, it has an underground subway train system. I don't like the tubes in London, infact I don't have much desire to ever go down there again as big cities have started to freak me out so it was quite something for me to 'brave' Glasgow. 
My first look at the subway and how cool is this Mackintosh-esque illustration.

I found the trains ok, it's not complicated as it's just an inner or outer circle around the city so you can't get lost and it wasn't that busy during the day so I quite liked it. It allowed much toing and froing from one part to another in the quest for artisan coffee shops.

However, first Mackintosh pilgrimage of the day was breakfast at the Willow Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street.

French toast with maple syrup and earl grey to wash it down.

Possibly not as large as I was expecting and not many waitresses in lacy aprons but it's something ticked off my bucket list.

Onwards to see the Glasgow School of Art following the fire in summer.

And some souvenirs from the school art shop.

There are some interesting steep streets in Glasgow.

The one below is quite untypical, doesn't it look like a Manhattan back alley in the 1970's.

The art tour was interspersed with a list of coffee shops to seek out, think we ticked 3 off the list, all different, all interesting. In no partic order Laboratorio Espresso, Artisan Roast, Avenue G.

Back to art and the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA). A fabulous exhibition with cardboard buildings and churches as far as the eye could see.

Interesting art on the corridor walls too, most poignant the top one with the referendum tomorrow.

Hardly went in any shops as there was so much else to see but this one intrigued me with the window display. It was very hard to photograph but on every glass window it was floor to ceiling with vintage sewing machines. Looked a very expensive shop.

Some street art near to a bridge in the city centre and it was weird and like being in the countryside, a bubbling river running through, lots of trees, a park too.

A fabric shop on my to do list, Mandors, oh my it was packed with fabric, haberdashery, wool etc. I had to control myself and was very restrained with this one metre of atlas fabric.

That was Glasgow in a nutshell, I liked it, there was a good vibe and it felt very Scottish if you get my drift.

There was time for a quick visit to a coffee friends cafe in Dundee on the way back, Espress Oh! which was a very lovely place.

And we tried to visit The Kelpies but that was chaos on the parking side, or very little of it. The pictures were from the car, we couldn't get parked and had to queue in an unorganised state (even though there were car park workers who were next to useless) just to get out without even stopping.

If you go, plan to go early as it's next to a childrens theme playground with little parking.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Northumbria - vintage shops, galleries, cafes and some purchases

I will finish off Northumbria with these snippets.

1. Boe Rigg, Bellingham. A groovy, retro place which is a camp site, self catering hay loft and a cafe. A very nice peaceful place to stop for a snack and they have some interesting local crafts for sale.

2. Linda Lovatt Gallery, Jedburgh as previous post, this is a beautiful hare necklace I bought which Linda had made. I just love the packaging too, excellent presentation.

3. Barter Bookshop, Alnwick. A cross stitch book I bought, sometimes it's nice to do a non demanding craft like cross stitch.

4. Lindisfarne, produce. Walking from the car park to the village there were 2 local produce stalls, I bought these spuds which were delish, some honey also delish and the jam is unstarted.

5. Hawick, Lovat Mill, towards the end of the weeks trip I discovered a leaflet for the Textile Trail, if only I'd had it sooner to visit more wool and fabric places. Oh well, I made it to Lovat Mill, no website for them but you can go to the mill and a lovely lady dragged lots of small bits of tweed for me to look at and did me a good price by weighing them to price up. The tweed is all spun there and of course they do have full metreage to buy and blankets, scarves and clothing too.

6. Corbridge, lovely place for small indie shops. cafes, arty crafty stuff etc. Found this little Vintage shop with a beautifully presented selection of things, even some Hornsea pottery too. It's a small co-operative run by 3 ladies. I bought these vintage buttons, could've gone mad as they had a great stash of Liberty fabrics too.

And then this shop which I did go a bit mad with the photos as it had such a weird and wonderful collection of vintage, new, reclaimed etc. It's called RE and we have a web link for this one so if you want to go and buy a skeleton plate or a mug with the Yorkshire Wolds on this is the place for you!

I had to control my purse in here so these are the few things I bought.

Now feast your eyes on some of the other displays, there's lots of haberdashery things, kitchen and garden. A very inspiring place for a mooch.