A group of internet artists from all over the place who have decided to give each other a challenge every few weeks, on a theme chosen by each in turn. We have different ideas and styles, but share a love of textiles, and want to have some fun.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Windows -

I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do for the 2nd challenge yet, but I've been looking through some of my photographs and have found a lot of ones with windows.....

Most of my window photographs were taken in The Burren, Co. Clare which has a large number of tombs, old churches, etc.

Definately going to start this challenge a lot earlier than the 1st one though. Learned my lesson about leaving it till the last minute!
Noughaval Church, The Burren, Co. Clare.
Templecronan Church, The Burren

Kilfenora Church, The Burren

Mulling it over!

OK!!  Through the Window.........................first thought was a traditional Attic window block either looking outward or inward............................broaden your outlook woman I said to myself!!   Then I thought ..............what comes through a window?................why, light  light of course !!  So that is where my thought processes are going at the moment with a lot of colour!!

Through the window - Annabel - initial thoughts.

Through The Window, is more of a challenge than I realized.

Of course what you see through a window could be anything and everything, and therefore anything would go; it could be a garden scene, street scene, graveyard etc etc., but I think the window element is important, and needs to be in there in some way.

So, I have to put the window in (frame, attic windows etc) or I have to show the distortions of speed (Mags) or colour and texture (Liz).

After a bit of consideration however, I think I shall go along with trying to portray, in some way, a phrase my mother used to say to me as a child ....."you are the window through which you see the world"

Pages from my altered books will help too. The first one is of a window cut into a page, and I like the idea of making a window to look through.

This anguished page is more of a self portrait involving emotions.  I have to say lest you think me on the verge of collapse, I was taking photos of myself pulling faces in the hope of finding interesting facial features to paint. They all turned out to be ghastly, but waste not want not, they ended up in my Angst Altered Book!

 Since making this page, I've added a good dollop of paint to the images to tone me down a bit!!

This takes me off on a tangent and allows me to intepret the challenge is a different way. It's probably going to be more of a self portrait and may well end up as an abstract.

Through some stained glass windows

I live in a Victorian house and we have stained glass windows in the porch. Last year I had a go at taking photos through them, and thought that I might use one of them as a starting point for the next theme.

Here are just a few of them.

I could go for something representational or something more abstract like this one:

Through the train window

Ever since I bought my first digital camera I've been taking photos out of train windows. I love the blurred landscapes often with distorted reflections superimposed .

I used some of the photos in journal quilts in 2004 and 2005, including one about my experience on 7/7/2005 when I was on the last train from Kings Cross seconds before the bombs went off. I was at a meeting in Peterborough and thought I would be stranded there with no information about what had happened to friends and family. In the end I got home very late thanks to someone giving me a lift well out of his way and coming into Ealing from Reading on the train.
Several times I've thought of returning to this idea of a sequence of blurred photos taken out of a train, inspired by the 'Separate Landscape' series of Atsuhide Ito   - a serialization of Utagawa Hiroshige's The 53 Stations of the Tokaido from 1833.
The question is which series of photos to use?? The ones  I took  in Japan are probably the most interesting partially due to the speed of the Shinkansen. I loved the familiarity of the images ( tracks, pylons , stations, etc) but also the differences: the scale of landscape, the colours (bright green rice fields) and shapes of buildings.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Light & Shadow

Sorry to delay in posting. Life is interfering with art again...

I'm working on a series right now that uses photos that I've taken with my iPhone using some of the interesting photography apps (like Instagram, Hipstamatic, etc). The main subject is a photo of three vintage glove molds that I have on a windowsill in my house. I love the way the light plays off the fingers and the shadows form on the wrists.

Monday, 26 September 2011



I am a late arrival so I am only joining the Challenge now. I have watched from the sidelines as the first Challenge took place and it has my admiration.
I have dabbled in textiles for as long as I can remember going from family interests such as knitting and crochet to tatting, embroidery, patchwork and quilting to mixed media - with a little bit of painting thrown in!
My other passion are gardening and cookery but usually I cannot wait to get into a textile piece.
My heart is in the north east of England but work and marriage put me in suburbia. One day the wanderer might return!


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Looking through windows with Sue

This is a magnificent Victorian window in the Orangery at the Imperial Hotel in Exeter, where I took my nephew and daughter to lunch earlier this year.  I love the ironwork and the distortion of the view beyonf and the reflections on the room behind me.

Taken through a rather grubby salty window in November 2010 when we stayed in Brighton at the Queen's Hotel.  The seagulls were sheltering from the cold sea winds.

I thought there were some nice shapes in this photo - the arcs of the chimney guards and the two seagulls in similar poses.

And this broken window in the Abruzzo, Italy, a year ago imposes it's own pattern on the view beyond.

The Second Challenge...

has been set by Angela. The theme is 'Through The Window', and was inspired by a visit to Lacock Abbey; the holiday is, as Angela says, proving inspiring! The end date for this challenge is the 25 October; go to it!

This was the original post...after a storm of protest, the date is now 25 November, as it should have been from the start. Mea culpa, many apologies.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Moving On... What's Next? Admin 4

Didn't we do well! Congratulations to everyone who has shown their work so far. I hope we can all comment on several of the individual pieces...it's helpful to get feedback. I'll get the images up in the gallery as soon as possible.

1. Selecting The Theme
You seem to have voted with your fingers (not your feet...), as I've only been offered two themes so far. This, alongside the discussion we've been having on here, suggests that the majority of people want to select the theme as they go along. So, I'm taking Annabel's suggestion of an alphabetic system; that makes Claire next up, followed by Elma and so on. When Claire announces the next theme (as soon as possible, please, Claire), we will have one calendar month to complete the project. Good luck everyone... I've really enjoyed looking at the wide variety of interpretation you have all brought to the first theme.

2. General Admin
Rather than start again with a yahoo group, what I propose to do is post here when there is admin 'stuff' to discuss, but to put the link on the FB page, so that everyone is aware there's information around. That way there's only one posting, but two locations and a direct link to the relevant posts from FB.

3. New Members
I have been approached re membership, and have put out a note to say that there's a waiting list. Personally, I think that this group is big enough; I would, however, consider starting a second, similar group if there was enough interest. Comments welcome...

I think that's it for now...

heart reflections

here is my piece for the light and shadow challenge. after a few experiments and false starts and a measure of despair i finally sat down and put all of that experience into this.
layered wool/hemp; silk organza; hemp/linen/ plastic transparency. machine stitched then sprayed with ink and some finger painting with red and turquoise fabric paint.

Friday, 23 September 2011

How to be 'me' and still do the challenge......

Simple but mine own. I had been meaning to play with this shadow effect for years, this challenge gave me the opportunity to play.

Challenge no. 1: Light and Shadow

My inspiration for this piece came from a photograph I took while on holiday in Fuengirola, Spain about 5 years ago. One of the footpaths in the town had a whole row of painted concrete balls going all the way down the street which caught my eye.
I'd always intended to make something textile-related based on the photograph, so this was the perfect challenge to carry that out. Didn't think that it would take me 5 years to get around to it though!

I had intended to do a lot more free-motion quilting on this piece but that didnt happen due to my sewing machine going hay-wire back in August. I put my machine in for repairs thinking I'd get in back in a week or two, but have now been waiting over 6 weeks for it! And my other machine doesn't really like free-motion work so had to quilt this piece using straight-line quilting. Luckily, straight-line quilting looks like rays of light...

This is the original photograph that I used for my inspiration:

I really enjoyed this first challenge, so roll on Challenge no. 2

Murder Mystery

I'm not quite sure whether this is sticking to the theme, but it started with a shadow so I reckon it's my interpretation of it!

I started with this photo of the shadow of clothes on my washing line. I altered it to make it suitable for a thermofax screen and printed it. I ended up printing it quite a few times on different fabrics!

For the one I actually used for this challenge, I stuck to the theme of washing by using an old cotton nightie as the top and a piece of my husband's discarded Guernsey jumper (machine felted well) as the backing. I haven't hand quilted for ages and thought I'd start by tracing the outline of the design and hand quilting this outline in red thread before I printed it. I then printed the black shadow print to slightly offset the quilting line.

Didn't know what to do next. I decided to make another screen just of the jumper with sleeves but enlarged and printed this in red.

Looking at this, I thought it was becoming like a murder mystery! The red one looks like a body reaching up to the ghostly shapes on the line! Or is that a product of my overactive imagination?!

Anyway, I decided to carry on hand quilting. I outlined all the printed shapes and then decided to quilt round the red 'body' in concentric echoes of the shape, a bit like the background lines in The Scream by Munch. And added a washing line.

I'm not sure how much extra quilting to do or whether I shall leave it quite minimalist and spare with just some blanket stitch round the edge.

Here are the other pieces I printed in case this turns into a series!

This one uses the same fabrics as the first but I machine quilted it prior to printing rather than hand quilting:

And this one is just a large piece of the nightie fabric:

Off the Wall

Like some others here, I had a couple of false starts.  One idea I really liked was way too complex for such a small scale textile piece, and another, ultimately, didn't seem enough of a challenge and I became bored of it.

Shadows on the Wall

Fortunately, inspiration struck via my blog reader.  A virtual friend had posted a photograph on her blog, which fascinated me.  She had photographed the shadows of leaves on her garden wall, and I was intrigued how the texture of the wall interacted with the shadows, being more or less visible according to the depth of the darkness. Meanwhile the angle of the sun and the wind playing with the leaves rather abstracted from their actual flat shape, which was also interesting.

Wall Shadows

I decided this was something I wanted to explore in my challenge piece, and here it is, worked on quilters' calico overlaid with black twinkle organza and black chiffon, stitched in shades of grey and cream by machine.  It's about 30 x 30cm or 12" square: I squared down a piece of A3 paper to get this size and was happy working to these dimensions.

At present the edges are raw and I'm not sure how or if to finish them.  The little quilt looks quite well in the mount I found which fits exactly (good old IKEA) so it may live in the frame for a while, until we determine some sort of common practice.

I enjoyed this challenge very much, however much panic and self-doubt it induced - and, as you see, these I overcame to meet the deadline (just)

Shadow Drawing

Above is a photograph, taken by my late husband, of evening light through our front window.  I've also been fascinated by the different shapes cast onto my bedroom curtains at night shining through my neighbour's plum-tree.  At first I agonised over what to do - have always been fascinated by light through trees but wanted to do something different.  As time grew closer to the deadline I came across the photograph which reminded me of the shadow-drawings done by a former art teacher.

I have a method for approaching artwork - it begins with a long period of reflection and observation.  Sometimes but not always it will involve drawings, painting and so on.  In this case not.  The period of reflection allowed me to see that the shadows on my bedroom window were paler in some places than others, that in places shapes were crisp and elsewhere blurred, for example.  (I think this is my equivalent of the processes used by Oriental artists traditionally - according at any rate to a book I read as a teenager - of spending a whole morning looking at something and then drawing it in a single stroke).

Anyway, here it is.  I found a nice piece of silk charmeuse I'd dyed, plus hand-dyed silk organzas and polyester voile, together with back mistyfuse-type stuff, ironed the mistyfuse stuff onto the organzas, then cut and overlapped the shapes onto the background fairly freely, using different colours and fabrics to give different depths of shadows (Mags, you are NOT to try to identify any real botanical items - this is an abstraction of the sorts of shapes you get in gardens (well that's my story and I'm sticking to it)).  Then layered and machine-stitched (free motion) and bound with more of the silk which was the most difficult part - rotary cutting silk binding strips isn't something I'd recommend.

Not exactly a single stroke but pretty quick nevertheless.  Started Monday night, finished Weds afternoon whilst sitting chatting to a friend.  Not a great work of art but I sorta like it..

First Challenge.....................Sunset Shadow

 Here is my first Challenge offering.  I have had the sky hand dye for ages just waiting for something to use it on!  It is fused applique and the shadow is fused organza. both machine stitched on and trapuntoed to try to give more shadow. Backgrounds heavily FMQed

Shadowlights by Paula Rafferty

So here it is my first Internet challenge called
Shadow lights

It's a whole cloth digital print 48cm by 61cm
Machine quilted and coloured with watercolour pencils

This is a close up image which shows the effect achieved by playing with an image in Photoshop.
I started this piece by little brain storming sessions in my head while doing other things!
Which them got transferred onto paper; phrases such as light n dark, good n evil, duality of self kept recurring.
I have also been making some self portraits and played around with some ideas combining these.
I wasn't happy, it just wasn't happening
and then I remembered an images of the earth from the air that I had played with in photoshop and printed on cotton on my Dad's large format printer.
It was just what I wanted, it fitted the theme perfectly with just a little extra shadow! 
I get lost in the patterns and swirls, every time I look at it I see different mythical and demonic faces and images.

I had to stop myself quilting any more. I feel the piece is more interesting with little stitch.
The eye is allowed to wonder round more freely to discover new imaged, like watching clouds!

Red watercolour pencil was used to highlight colour already there.

So that's it from me, can't wait to see all the other pieces and thanks Claire for reminding me about the deadline.

Inside Out I

I've written about the process so far; this is the finished piece. I think. I have been very selective about adding stitch, placing it only in the 'dark' areas of the piece, and to delineate the eyes, which I thought were the most important part of the piece, and the scar running down the side of the face, which is quilted using zigzag stitches; shades of Frankenstein's monster?

I found it remarkably difficult to stitch into my own face...until I started, and then it became just another piece of quilting, to be considered from the point of view of technique, structure and meaning. Emotionally, though, it was very difficult. I've made a lot of work about depression, but never directly used an image of myself to express feelings. It's as if I've been hiding behind abstraction, but am now coming out into the light, and letting everyone see how much darkness I carry around with me, regardless of how 'light' I appear. I'm crying as I write this, so it must be true... a therapy joke; I always weep when something is painfully true.

It will be interesting to see everyone else's posts, and the varied ways we have approached the challenge.

Challenge 1 Entry: Light and Shade

"Shadow & Sunshine"

I was taken by the idea of shadows being a degree of absence, not an absence. This piece is inspired by a photo I took of a church well on a bright snowing day. The well was very dark, however because of its material, it actually radiated light. I have always felt it to be a very simple but beautiful image. This challenge was the perfect opportunity to bring it to life with the shadow and light focus.

It's size is A3, which is working for me at the moment as I do feel that I need the limitation.

I thought a lot about feathering areas with the shading of feathers creating another dimension.
But after some thinking, that felt too fussy for the image, which I feel wants to stand alone.

The quilting had to be straight lines. Simple but effective.

DREAM ~ Angela Huddart

I made two pieces for this challenge as I had two ideas at the same time.  Both ideas are from the same photo of Dream, the 20 metre high sculpture by world-famous artist Jaume Plensa - http://www.dreamsthelens.com/ .  
I was so impressed when I visited it and took lots of photos from different angles.  Both my challenge pieces are from the same photo but using different fabrics - dupion silk on one made after posterizing the photo and I printed the photo onto Evelon & Lutradur for the other. 

For the quilting on the silk I decided to follow the contours of the face on the 'light' side and for a bit of fun I quilted curls on the 'shadow' to look like hair.

For the printed Evelon/Lutradur piece I cut up the Lutradur and lay it spaced out slightly over the Evelon, quilted a line of metallic thread in each space and the edges of the Lutradur are held down in the binding so stand away slightly from the Evelon.

The binding was the worse part as I didn't know what to do at first...leave it raw or neaten it up.  I decided on the latter when I found suitable fabrics for each piece - pale gold satin for the silk piece and a very pale blue Fairy Frost for the E/L.

I'm very pleased with how they've turned out - they're both A4 size and within my comfort zone!


DREAM ~ Angela Huddart

Best viewed from a distance!

Photo printed onto Evelon & Luradur


 Dupion Silk from a posterized photo


Light and Shadow, finished - Annabel

I started with a brainstorm, had lots of ideas, and then perversely went with something rather unconnected to any of them!

A lone flower in the sun.