Friday, 22 August 2014

Memories of WW1 Textile - The community

Although I have been the 'artist' on this project what I've loved most about the whole process is that it has been a true collaboration. The Hunts Archive pulled out all sorts of wonderful resources for us.The components of the panels were all made by students from the Ivo School with hands-on help from both their History and Textiles teachers. My wonderful mother, Resa Selsick, arrived just in time to help me with the mammoth task of sewing the panels up. And the collaboration extends to the display 'in the box', shown below.

The Textiles teacher from the Ivo school came up with the wonderful idea of using an old suitcase as part of our display and the Norris museum managed to source one of these.

One of the students from the school did a collage of various newspaper articles and letters we found in the archive and the museum.  I made up a photoscreen from this and we used it as a cloth that draped from the ceiling into the suitcase.

We masked out areas of the main print and included images of some of the young men from St Ives who went to war

We used this as a base for other wonderful things made by the community for the show.

These included little stuffed hearts made by volunteers from the museum, from U3A, from Adult Learning Classes for adults with learning disabilities and from Claire's Creative Cabin.  These replicated the pincushions made by invalided soldiers, using some of the images from the main panels as the focal picture on each heart.  .

Some of these volunteer embroiderers also made exquisitely  stitched postcards on silk organza, (which is not an easy fabric to sew on). These were based on the hugely popular cards sent home by the troops from France and Belgium.

Thanks to Cary for drawing these up for us.

And of course I couldn't have done this whole project without the wonderful Gilly Vose, assistant curator at the Norris museum and great collaborator!

I know these pictures are a bit blurry - if you get the chance, come along and see it all for yourself!!!

It's all part of a bigger exhibition at the
Norris Museum

Memories of WW1 Textile

The WW1 exhibition is up at the Norris Museum in St Ives and will be open until the 28th of September.  As promised I have some more pictures of the show. Young people from the history and textiles departments of the Ivo school researched the war on a visit to the    Huntindonshire archives

We used images, letters. newspaper articles which they selected to create these 3 panels.

This one focusses on the stories about local men who went to war

This panel is the story of the VAD's (nurses), of the music that was played during the war, and features a local school's log book recording the news of the Armistice
This  panel is about the women and children at home, in and around St Ives and their role in the War Effort

So, each panel has  number of pictures which the young people and museum volunteers transferred onto fabric and embellished with stitch, applique, buttons and other ephemera

... like these of the Hunts cyclists

and this assemblage on Ivor Day, which includes a poem written by his brother on the event of Ivor's sad death in action.

Here is a lovely composition, found in a school book, written by the young girl pictured, describing how children can help in the war effort.

Many of the local women  became VAD's

I pre-dyed many of the fabrics using natural dyes to match the muted browns of the sepia photographs and to capture the sombre mood of the war.  We used touches of red as a highlight, here and there.

Scattered across the panels are verses of popular WW1 songs. The exhibition is part of a larger show on the music of the Great War.  The young people from St Ivo School did these little panels by exposing the texts to the sun using cyanotype fabric - another link with history.

I have even more from this exhibition - I'll show it in my next post......

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

World War One Textile

This is a little preview of a community art project I've been working on with the Norris Museum in St Ives. We will be putting up the exhibition tomorrow, and it opens to the public on Saturday.
Norris Exhibitions

This picture is just a little taster - there will be more.

 The project focuses on the home front, the roles of women and children and the parts played by local people in the First World War.

Individual embroideries by young people from the Ivo School and museum volunteers.

If you live locally,  I hope you'll  come and see these for yourselfI think this is a very special exhibition.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Transform a Textile

Every year Barbara from  the MX Dyers list, very kindly sends out an "ugly' fabric that she has dyed. Her challenge is for  the person who recievesthis fabric to transform it in some way, using Procion dyes as part of the process.

This year I got a fabric which was more boring than ugly- A textured pale peach fabric and this is the story of what I did to it:

So, this is what I recieved.

First I hand painted it roughly with some dyes I had left over from other work, allowing the peach to modify the colours and show through in places.

Thinking it looked a bit like a rusty screen,  I screen printed on some 'graph paper' using textile paints to give it a screenlike texture

Next, I screen printed with some thickened dyes using a photoscreen I made some time ago from some marks I had made with charcoal.

And finally, I selected a motif from the larger screen and printed with a discharging agent to give some added illumination to th ein between spaces.

Detail of the final surface.

After an intense week of teaching summer school, it's really good to be challenged to do some work of my own,   - so thank you Barbara!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Cottenham Summer School 2014

Whew....another wonderful, creative, energetic week.  Here is a small sampling of the work made by the very talented and hard working summer school, "Sensational Screenprinters"

Sarah R   see fab fabs  for more of Sarah'a work

Amanda - removing colour with her own thermofax design

Betty - lovely tablecloth, being printed

David - designed for clever registration!

Jean J another exquisite textile print from Jean. See Flickr account below for some of her variations on this theme

Kate - fabulous winter trees.

Jean G, breaking all the rules!

Marian - her delicate grasses, layered

Sandra a true child of the 60's!

Alison, all the way from America!!
Sarah P - she really likes to print little creatures!

Ann- Look out for her cards of this print    
See flickr account for more work made this week   flickr summer school  look under 'photostream' for work from this year and past years

Weaving into Fence

Fabulous Fence Weaving.  

I don't mean weaving a fence, I mean improving a boring old fence with a wonderful bit weaving.   This is the fence at mid Suffolk HOPS - an outstanding holiday play scheme which brings children and young people together who are socially isolated by both  the disabilities they have and the rural locations in which they live . Find out more about the scheme at  

I fixed a bit of sturdy netting to the fence and the children developed the weaving.  We recycled strips of plastics and weather proof fabrics, including  sparkly foils and ripstop nylon into the netting and beyond, into the fence itself!  Some of the children enjoyed just playing with the pile of strips, whirling and twirling in the breeze.

The children knotted in the offcuts from silver balloon manufacture to create a fluttery centrepiece. The final touch was adding pompoms and bottle top 'buttons.' I am expecting more will be added to the weaving as the summer progresses.

And thanks to the Reimagine Resource Centre for the sturdy, sensory materials we used. see Reimagine