Residency Day 9 -new ‘Green Pledges’.

Before I came out to Bergby Konstcenter in Sweden, I had asked people who had visited my studio in Newcastle if they would like to make a ‘Green Pledge’ and I would make them to hang with the others in the exhibition in Sweden.

Here are some new pledges which have been made:

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‘I will encourage bees into my backyard’.

These new pledges have been made using resources I had at hand in Sweden including plastic bread bags (the tassels above) to milk cartons ( the patchwork below).

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I will stop eating beef.

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I will grow my own fruit and vegetables.

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I will turn off the lights.

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This one contains a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: ‘Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.’

All of the ‘ Green Pledges’ are now up in the exhibition, already more new pledges are being made. I hope to go and hang them all up in the woods this weekend! Then I shall send photos to all the people who have been involved in the project so far…

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Call out for ‘Green Pledges’

Over the next four months, I am working on a environmental art project to be finished and exhibited at Bergby Konstcenter in Sweden. As part of my artist residency, I am asking people to make ‘Green Pledges’ which can be made into a small pennants to be sewn together and hung in the trees at the center. Some of the examples below have been made by members of the 86th Newcastle Guides, who are working on a craft badge, they have designed their mini pennants using fabric pens on cotton, which they will then further embellish with embroidery, recycled fabrics, ribbons and buttons.

 

86th Guides Veg

Made by a member of 86th Newcastle Guides ‘Grow Your Own Veg’

If you would like to get involved, you can either get in touch with me, telling me of your ‘Pledge’ to live a greener life OR you could even make your own ‘Green Pledge’ mini pennant (I haven’t set a size for the finished piece, but the largest we have made so far are 20x30cm).

Recycle by 86th Guides

‘Recycle’ pennant made by a member of the 86th Newcastle Guides.

The pennants can be made using any textile technique and can be as simple or as sophisticated as you wish or have time for.

Look after your planet.

‘Take care of our Planet’ by a member of 86th Newcastle Guides.

If you just wish to make a pledge, get in touch and I can develop you plan of action into a ‘Green Pledge’ pennant to be hung in Sweden as part of the exhibition.

'Green Pledge' mini pennant

‘Green Pledge’ mini pennant.

This weekend, you can also pop into my studio for Late ShowsStudio 11 at the Biscuit Factory, Newcastle, between 6-11pm on Friday and Saturday night (13th & 14th May, 2016), where you can see some of the pieces I am currently working on.

About ‘obsesivcreativ’

Rupert Brooke poet

Hand and machine embroidered portrait of war poet Rupert Brooke

Louise is a Newcastle based textile and three dimensional artist making unique pieces, working with traditional north east techniques such as hooky and proggy matting, as well as spinning, quilting, patchwork, embroidery, felting, batik as well as upholstery and lino print.

William Morris

Hand and machine embroidered portrait of war poet Rupert Brooke

Louise is particularly influenced by nature and environmental issues. Inspiration and influences include the Arts and Crafts movement, costume of all eras (but particularly military, late C20 and theatrical), contemporary quilting and fibre arts in the US, subversive crafting and textiles.

AWAS chair 1

Hand and machine embroidered portrait of war poet Rupert Brooke

A constant maker, Louise sources materials from across the country. She is keen to react against mass production and uniformity.

Recently, Louise was very pleased to be involved in the exhibition of Grayson Perry’s ‘A Vanity of Small Differences’ at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens. Louise worked with local community groups to create three large textile wall hangings in response to his work, these hung alongside the exhibition.

'The First Aspirational Tea Party' made with young mums for Grayson Perry's  'The Vanity of Small Differences' exhibition in Sunderland.

‘The First Aspirational Tea Party’ made with young mums for Grayson Perry’s ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’ exhibition in Sunderland.

Louise believes that passing on skills is very important and welcomes commissions involving school and community work, teaching textile crafts in formal and informal settings.

'All We Are Saying' blanket for Peace.

‘All We Are Saying’ blanket for Peace.

This year, with her family, Louise is heading to Sweden for a two week artists residency at the Bergby Konstcenter. The underlying theme for her residency is about the environment and she have come up with the working title of ‘Häxors Trosor’ for the residency. This is Swedish for ‘Witches Knickers’! This is a humorous term for the shreds of plastic bags stuck in trees and bushes which are such a common sight in our landscapes.  These are symbol of the sad condition of our planet, much of which is a result of a throw-away culture, with rubbish found dumped in beautiful landscapes, plastic floating in the seas and chemicals seeping into the planet’s ecosystems. Watch how the project develops here and on instagram.

W. G. Grace portrait – work in progress.

Today is the 100th Anniversary of the death of one of England’s greatest amateur cricket players: W. G. Grace. To commemorate this and my families love of cricket, I decided to make a portrait of the great man. The portrait is not quite finished yet, there are still a lot of little details I wish to stitch further into it. Symbols and visual metaphors which honour and celebrate his life as an outstanding cricketer but also as a physician will be embroidered into his waistcoat and shirt.

Since my last posting on W.G, here are some more images of his progression:

Hand stitched 'cricket' themed 'wallpaper' background.

Hand stitched ‘cricket’ themed ‘wallpaper’ background.

Building up the cricket wallpaper background.

Building up the cricket wallpaper background.

Lapel badge, symbolising W. G. Grace's career as a physician.

Lapel badge, symbolising W. G. Grace’s career as a physician.

W. G. Grace portrait, almost finished - though not quite!

W. G. Grace portrait, almost finished – though not quite!

Over the next couple of weeks, I shall be finishing a couple of other projects off for delivery but hope to find time to do the finishing touches to the portrait, ready to be framed for Ouseburn Open Studios at the end of November.

How to: Yarn Bomb a chair!

WARNING!! -This is a really fun one and could possibly get addictive!

Finished yarnbombed chairs.

Finished yarn bombed chairs.

You will/may need:

Knitting wool – double knitting and above in thickness, and lots of colours!

Crochet hook or knitting needles,

Wool needles,

Foam/seat pad,

Fabric for patchworking,

Webbing and webbing stretcher if there is not ‘seat’,

Tacks/small nails,

Hessian or similar fabric for underside of seat.

This is a great way to recycle an old chair you/friend may have or that you’ve found down a charity shop. Firstly, you need to clean your chair and tighten up any nut and bolts. If your seat has wicker for the ‘seat’, strip this as close to the wood as possible.

Strip wicker or any fabric/wood from the seat.

Strip wicker or any fabric/wood from the seat.

If you have a wooden seat, check there’s no nails etc sticking out, which could be dangerous. If you have a seat which was a woven wicker, which you have now stripped, then you will need to ‘web’ a seat – YouTube has many sites explaining this method.

Finished 'webbed' seat.

Finished ‘webbed’ seat.

You are now ready for the fun stuff! Using either crochet or knitting, make narrow strips according to a rough estimate of the width and length of you chair. I started with the legs. I calculated roughly by first crocheting a chain which I wrapped around the base of the leg and worked in treble crochet, making brightly coloured stripes.

Striped lengths of crochet for chair sections.

Striped lengths of crochet for chair sections.

When I had reached a ‘joint’ in the chair, I would slightly decrease the number of stitches to work around the joint, then increase again after. (When two joints meet the crocheted sections will be sewn together to cover the join.)

Once, the crocheted length was the correct size, I would cast off, then sew the section to around the leg of the chair, pulling tight to ensure the wool stitching is discreetly disguised.

Continue working this way, making lengths of crochet to wrap around the different joints of the chair.

Stitching the 'joints' together.

Stitching the ‘joints’ together.

If you have webbed the seat, stitch the lengths of crochet through the webbing. If you have a wooden seat, using small tacks, nail the crochet length around the base of the seat, ensuring your tacks will be covered over with your seat pad later. Also, ensure all tacks are safely hammered in.

Wrapping the length of crochet around the webbed seat.

Wrapping the length of crochet around the webbed seat.

Once your chair is fully yarn bombed, you will now need a foam seat pad which you can either buy pre-cut from a shop. Then, you will need to decide how to cover it. I choose to cover my seats using my daughter’s skirts and trousers they had grown out of. These were in great fabrics – ideal for upholstery – such as cord, velvets and denims. I decided to cut them and sew them into ‘crazy patchwork’. This is a traditional technique, which uses up small pieces of fabric. But, you could choose to continue with the crochet/knitting and make a cover or use a full piece of fabric to cover the cushion pad.

Chair covered in crochet yarn bombing.

Chair covered in crochet yarn bombing.

The fabric, with the pad positioned underneath, was tacked around about 1cm from the top edge of the seat. I then, made a crochet binding to cover the tacked edge, by crocheting a long length in two rows of double crochet. This was then discreetly sewn onto the patchwork and the chair.

Crazy patchwork seat cover, with crochet binding.

Crazy patchwork seat cover, with crochet binding.

You’re now almost finished! To make your chair look neat and tidy, it’s always best to cover your working, so that there’s no little wool ‘tails’ dangling from your chair. I would, therefore, recommend to now cover the underside of the seat with hessian to hide your working. This can be done with a small square of hessian, or another fabric you have at hand, and tack that to the underside of the seat.

Underside of seat, with the 'working' of your chair hidden underneath.

Underside of seat, with the ‘working’ of your chair hidden underneath.

Now, you can enjoy your most gorgeous and fabulous seat – invite your friends round and maybe make another!

My finished chairs on display at Ouseburn Open Studios this weekend.

My finished chairs on display at Ouseburn Open Studios this weekend.

Finished chair.

Finished chair.

Recent finished projects

It’s always great to report that you’ve actually finished something, as often I have many W.I.P’s (work in progress) but I thought I’d do a little catch up – mainly to make me feel better – about some of the things I’ve finished recently and a couple I didn’t blog about at the time. Like the socks below, which I had speculated about finishing in time for Christmas to be my present to myself – which I did – but I became so caught up in the fun of family Christmas stuff and my jazzy, stripy socks were left forgotten in the blogosphere.

Christmas present socks

Christmas present socks

This week, I also finished another pair of socks for my birthday! This is not like me, I hasten to add, normally every pair of socks I make are usual given to friends and family, so to have actually made myself two pairs of socks in three months is pretty good going! Sock knitting is something I do a little of, often. I have a very cute little bag a friend gave to me a couple of years ago and it always contains my current socks in progress, so that if I have to hang around for a while whilst the girls are at a party/swimming lessons, the bag is taken with me. Below are my lovely new, very bright, slouch socks.

Slouch socks, a present to myself!

Slouch socks, a present to myself!

Now, I apologise for not up dating on whether I’d finished my Stash Buster Challenge in time during February! Well, I did, literally the night it needed to be finished to complete the challenge in time, at about 30 minutes to midnight, my tank top was finished!! I had made my own pattern up for the tank top and I probably could have made it a size smaller as the lovely wool I used, ‘Click by Sirdar’, was quite stretchy and forgiving. But it’s lovely, soft and cosy!

Stash buster challenge tank top February 2015.

Stash buster challenge tank top February 2015.

Last week, I was busy preparing my studio for a visit by a local satellite TV channel Made in Tyne and Wear to discuss Ouseburn Open Studios and my work. So besides tidying, I decided to make a lovely Spring Wreath to go on the front of my studio door.  It is made using freeform crochet and has now got me in the mood for more crocheting – so I may yarn bomb the street where my studio is – or even just a few of my chairs!! My interview will be on the TV next Monday and I may – depending on the results – try and embed it into my blog… we’ll see.

Spring Wreath in Crochet.

Spring Wreath in Crochet.

Well, I said I was inspired to go a bit mad with the crocheting, and after seeing another crocheted gnome house on Facebook, my daughters have decided we need to make a village! This was last nights Gnome house and we now even have designs for the rest!! Still, when your youngest daughter is 6 years old, your allowed to not take life too seriously sometimes! And going off on a slight tangent today, I also made her a crocheted unicorn but that’s for her birthday and hopefully there will be a whole blog post infested with unicorns soon!!

Gnome house!

Gnome house!

Another future idea, developed from the mad gnome house, crocheting craziness, as we have an allotment, I may also make some gnome houses using plastic garden twine, so that they can stay down there in the vegetable beds!! Might make a spring wreath like that, too…

Crocheted and hand made Christmas decorations

It makes such a difference to getting in the Christmas mood once the tree goes up, which we did this weekend. I’m afraid it is a fake tree, but seeing as we bought it over 10 years ago and still using it, I’m happy about that! Over the years, I have made lots of the Christmas decorations and it was nice to see them come out again.

Crocheted Christmas decorations

Crocheted Christmas decorations

Both of the wool decorations in the picture above have been crocheted using pure wool, then machine shrunk, beaded and stitched. You can also see in the foreground a crocheted chain, which I used to love making in paper when I was young.

Scrap leather tree decoration

Scrap leather tree decoration

This lovely heart decoration is made using leather offcuts and ribbons. This style has always proved popular when sold at the November Open Studios events at the Biscuit Factory.

This years OC's Christmas card!

This years OC’s Christmas card!

Mince Pies, mmmm, my favourite! It was decided that this years lino cut for our Christmas Card would be of the lovely mince pie – which I’m afraid, once the box is open, I can’t stop eating!!

Finally, I am beginning to feel festive and the clock is ticking. As I am sure so many of you have also put yourselves under the same pressure, it’s not a time for cleaning and tidying the house for visitors – it’s a time to finish off all those presents you had planned to make!!

Dachshund cushions commission

After the recent Open Studios, a lovely lady asked me to create some cushions for her daughter’s Christmas Present, as she loved the Schnauzer cushions but they were the wrong breed of dog!! I had a glorious time choosing the fabrics and patterns that would compliment each other best.

Dachshund applique cushions

Dachshund applique cushions

I have used woven silk fabrics which I buy from the silk mills in Sudbury and they are appliqued with floral cottons.

Red and white woven silk and black floral dachshund

Red and white woven silk and black floral dachshund

Blue/green floral woven silk and green leaf dachshund

Blue/green floral woven silk and green leaf dachshund

In the cushion above, the dachshund looks like he’s out smelling the flowers. He makes a lovely silhouette against the light background. This was the cushion the lady choose, so I will need to find a home for the two red cushions…

Ouseburn Open Studios starts tomorrow

Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen

Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen

It was great today to finally get both my portraits of Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen, both poets who died during World War One, up on the outside wall of my studio, number 11 at the Biscuit Factory, Newcastle upon Tyne. It’s been a busy couple of weeks tidying, cleaning my space as well as getting everything finished off.

Inside my studio - cushions, crocheted hats and chocolates!

Inside my studio – cushions, crocheted hats and chocolates!

Opposite my studio, there also a number of rather fabulous jewellery makers whose studios I enjoy popping into when I get a chance.  inthesilverroom is contemporary silver jewellery by Michelle – check out her fabulous website for distinctive designs.

The Biscuit Factory Studio corridors.

The Biscuit Factory Studio corridors.

'Matriarchal Trefoil' and 'Caretakers of the World, UNITE!'

‘Matriarchal Trefoil’ and ‘Caretakers of the World, UNITE!’

Both of the pictures above have been made using ‘hooky’ mat technique. I finally framed up the ‘Matriarchal Trefoil’ yesterday, as it had been tricky to source someone to cut me an oval board to mount the heavy picture on. You can see a link to the stages of this picture here.

Embroidered Love Birds

Embroidered Love Birds

Really pleased with these two little fellows! So cute! I do enjoy embroidering, very relaxing and again, another job finished. A deadline is always good to have and the Ouseburn Open Studios, is a great one!! I am so looking forward to getting down there now as it’s a great opportunity to meet people, show what you’ve been working on, get feedback and maybe even sell some things!!

And just a reminder for anyone in the area: it’s on this Saturday and Sunday 10-5pm.

Lino prints

I had a great trip down to our local Oxfam today and bought loads of old books, maps and sheet music to print on. My husband will be very upset when he sees what I have done to a lovely old map of North West Africa. But, I did save a beautiful map of Scotland for him to look at, though I couldn’t tell you how long it will survive!

Lino print 'I Love Maps'

Lino print ‘I Love Maps’

Lino print 'I Love Travel'

Lino print ‘I Love Travel’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the way the lino print ‘feels’ the creases of the old map, so you can’t get a ‘perfect’ print. The idea to use the maps and the music papers have stemmed from my original prints for local place names in Tyne and Wear, which I had been wanting to print for Open Studios such as: Heaton, Ouseburn, Byker as well as much loved pubs in the area.

Lino print 'I Love Guitar Music'

Lino print ‘I Love Guitar Music’

Lino print 'I Love Heaton'

Lino print ‘I Love Heaton’

 

The lettering is a bit quirky and, shall we say, unsteady. But it’s all hand made fun!

Again, these are all to be mounted and framed when I’ve decided on the best prints.