Thursday, 7 March 2019

World Book Day 2019

This year I was asked by my sister to create a costume for my nephew to wear on World Book Day. He's 3 years old and obsessed with Mary Poppins (as I was and still am!), so a Bert costume it was! Or more specifically, Bert in the 'Jolly Holiday' scene. If you haven't seen the original (or need a reminder) you can check it out here! It's basically a classic casual men's Edwardian seaside holiday lurk with striped blazer, bow tie and straw boater hat.

So for this costume I used this Kwik Sew pattern and super-simplified it (e.g. left off all the pockets and unnecessary bits) and customised my own stripey fabric. First, I cut out all the pattern pieces from plain white cotton, then I used red, yellow and orange ribbon in different widths to make each individual stripe, pinning them into place first and then sewing them down with the corresponding colour thread. 🙈 If you are reading this with the intention of making this yourself here's a tip - you need like 5 metres of red and yellow and about 8 - 10 of orange... 2 trips to Fabric Land later I wished I'd known this beforehand!😅

Once that was done I sewed the whole thing together including a contrasting blue half-lining, which I included to make it easier to get in and out of the sleeves. The finishing touches were a faux breast pocket with faux handkerchief and of course the signature blue tie! I whipped that up out of a bright blue scuba / neoprene style fabric, which works really well for that purpose because it holds it's shape so beautifully and has a kind of cartoon / hyper 3D / sculpted fondant cake icing look. You know I love me some neoprene!
I then handed over to my sister, who gave it a jolly good iron, added some buttons, a shirt and hat and inserted a child! Here's the finished lurk:
Jamie serving Bert from Mary Poppins boots-the-house-down executive realness fantasy nonsense
Doesn't he look amazing?! I was so happy with the end result, but I was even happier that he looks so great in it and that he was willing to wear it at all! It just made the whole thing so fulfilling! I can't wait to see how we outdo this one next year!

Update: Jamie won the best costume award at his nursery! What a fantastic surprise; I didn't even know there was such a thing and I so rarely win anything that this is a great honour for me! Well done Jamie!
PS is anyone else dying to know the backstory between Bert and Mary?! C'mon Disney, we need a prequel now!

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Little Indie Art Club

This year my fellow art tutor and friend Jeannie Brunskill started a new after school art club at The Reef, Colehill and she kindly asked me to help her out with running the classes. Little Indie is a not-for-profit organisation and runs on a Monday afternoon from 3:30 - 5pm for children 5 - 10 years of age.
Little Indie at The Reef, Colehill
We've now broken up for half term, but I really wanted to share some of the incredible projects that we've been working on this year because they're so creative and brilliant! So in no particular order, here they are:
Photo by Jeannie Brunskill
It's what's inside that counts! Photo by Jeannie Brunskill
This week the children finished off their 'Inside Out' houses, for which they designed, drew and coloured in a picture of their dream house! The picture of the outer house flips down to reveal the rooms inside and they had great fun dreaming up the interior spaces. The above is one particularly fabulous example, which lots of love and care went into; the clouds are my favourite part!
Photo by Jeannie Brunskill
Previously the kids made these gorgeous colourful backgrounds for llama collages; these were created with oil pastels and watercolour paints and then left to dry whilst the llamas were made. Some used a template for the outline, but they all came out looking very unique and fun:
Photo by Jeannie Brunskill

Photo by Jeannie Brunskill
The kids used chalk pastels to create a soft and furry effect on the llamas before attaching them to the background. They turned out amazing; the different medias create so much texture and with the addition of a 3D fabric flower it's a wonderful effect.

A little mini project that some worked on this week was these simple, yet stunning 3D butterflies!
Photo by Jeannie Brunskill
A few of them decided on this rainbow pattern, which I just adore (if you know me, you'll know I love a rainbow), whilst some opted for a more random look. After drawing and colouring them, we cut them out, made pipe cleaner bodies and then attached them to a wood slice, so that they appear to be resting. They looked beautiful!

Next term starts on 25th February and here's a sneak peek of a couple of projects that Jeannie has planned:
Jeannie Brunskill
Jeannie Brunskill

These are a fab mixed media otter and folk style birds on wood! I know the children are very excited about the otter and I can't wait to see those folk birds; it looks spectacular! 

To stay up to date with all the latest news you can follow Little Indie on Facebook: Little Indie Facebook Page. Bye for now!

Sunday, 6 January 2019

A Creative Christmas at Kingston Lacy

Towards the end of last year I was working with the National Trust's Kingston Lacy on their 'Creative Christmas' project for December 2018. Myself and two other artists selected female members of the Bankes Family to represent via handmade decorations, which were then placed around the house as part of the Christmas festivities.

This was the second project I've done based on the Bankes Family (the first being Threads of Narrative), so I feel fairly well acquainted with the family now. This time I based my pieces on Anne Bankes, who was the sister of William John Bankes, a stained glass artist in her own right and after William John's exile she took on much of the work overseeing the refurbishment of Kingston Lacy. Not a lot of detail about her life is known, however I was able to take a few of her personal letters, portraits and some photos to design a print in homage to her:

I had this digitally printed onto velvet and cotton in two colourways, the cotton was then stretched onto a pyramid-like frame designed by me and I personally made 12 cushions of different sizes using the velvet. These were the couple of ideas (out of many) that were accepted to be brought to fruition by Kingston Lacy, although I originally had a lot more creative and unusual ideas up my sleeve!
I used various different luxury trimmings to finish the cushions and they turned out really gorgeous and exquisite. I've even had a few people ask about buying them, which is lovely! At the moment they're an installation only, but who knows what the future might bring.
Here's some pictures of the whole lot installed in the Spanish Room at Kingston Lacy:

The Christmas exhibition ran from 30th November 2018 until 1st January 2019.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Only 351 Days Until Next Halloween!

This year for Halloween I taught wreath classes for children at both Walford Mill Crafts and the Russell-Cotes Museum. As most people know, Halloween is goth Christmas and probably my favourite holiday ever. Here's the example that I made to show the kids:
I was pleased with how it turned out - all the characters have different personalities and it's the ideal type of craft to do with children - they can make it as complex or simple as they like. Here's a few pictures of what the kids made:



What a great and varied set of results! I like all the colours and textures they used and the great spooky faces they drew!

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Victoria Cross Commission

In 2015 I was approached by Bournemouth Borough Council to create a bespoke covering for a very important unveiling ceremony honouring Cecil Noble, a hero of the First World War and Victoria Cross recipient. Yesterday I was reunited with the unveiling cloth when I was invited to a second ceremony, this one honouring Charles Riggs who was also awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. The ceremony was held exactly 100 years after his death on 1st October and as I found out from my Mum, I also had a Great Great Uncle who died in the war on the very same day.
It was lovely to be reunited with such a meaningful piece of work that I haven't seen for so long. I put a lot of thought and energy into making the ceremonial cloth and I worked on it at the same time as finishing a major assignment for university and somehow fitted in a trip to Venice as well?! Well played, Past Me.
I used hand embroidery, hand sewing, machine sewing, CAD embroidery with velvets, faux leather, braid, tassels and cotton lining to create a multi-textured effect and to put my own signature on this very traditional design.
Thanks again to Bournemouth Borough Council for inviting me to the service and for this fabulous commission. I am told that the work will now be placed into their archive, hopefully to be preserved and brought out for future generations!

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Featured Artist for Balaclafa CARN

This month I'm lucky enough to have been chosen as the featured artist for Balaclafa, a small gallery in Caernarfon, North Wales. I'm always looking for opportunities to exhibit outside of my local area (Dorset) and thus spread the joy of my unique textile art all over the darn place, so to have been asked to show work so far afield is fantastic.

I decided to show a mixture of some of my older work alongside the newer prints, brooches and cards that I've been creating. It was brilliant to rediscover some of these pieces that hadn't seen the light of day for a couple of years and I found it quite inspiring and reinvigorating to look over it all again.

Without further ado, here are some pictures and thanks to Menna and all at Balaclafa for setting it all up and having my work there!
Stickers and Mixed Media 
Stickers, Temporary Tattoos and Mixed Media Textile Mask
Cards, Prints and Mixed Media Textile Mask
Temporary Tattoos, Stickers and Brooches

Colour Changing Magic Badges

An Overview
Cards and Badges

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Threads of Narrative; Part Two!

This week Threads of Narrative (my shared textile project with Lisa Earley) opened at Kingston Lacy in Wimborne. They've incorporated some of our work into their larger exhibition 'Beyond the Portrait' about some of the ladies of the Bankes family and we've got our own space in the laundry room out in the courtyard. If you didn't get around to seeing the exhibition the first time at Walford Mill Crafts, then this is a great chance to see it since it will be on until October!

Here's a few pictures I took today:
Apron Strings - Sarah Appleton 2018

Little Hilary - Sarah Appleton 2018

That's me - hieee!
 Other than that, I'm currently working on a big private commission which I'll post progress on soon, and hopefully there will be more exciting news to come too.
Byeeee!