Thursday, 18 August 2016

Festival of Quilts 2016

Earlier in the year I applied for the BA Bursary award from the Quilters' Guild of the British Isles and having been chosen as a finalist was invited to display my work as part of the Festival of Quilts in the NEC, Birmingham. Well that happened last week and so I found myself and my creature pals on the road once again!
This was the first time I'd set up an exhibition all by myself (without help from tutors or technicians), which was both liberating and a bit scary. Due to my work being all kinds of little pieces rather than a few big ones, I elected to invest in some bookshelves to display my heads on; the thought being that I then wouldn't have to drill into the wall and also I really wanted to make them into a kind of totem pole effect, reflecting the kind of folky side to my work.
I was quite pleased with the way that this turned out, luckily all the other gals on the bursary stand were really friendly and we all helped each other out a bit. It felt good to make new friends; you rarely get a chance to mingle with people from other universities and see their work while you're a student. The other ladies were:
Petra Baker - who does fabulous things with triangles and leather
Margaret Bacon - who makes clever quilts for dementia patients
Romany Simone Crewe-Henry who invented the Modern Gypsy Caravan style and is also a musician!
Lily Goulding - (who I already knew as she is also from Textiles course at AUB) winner of the BA Bursary (well done Lily)!

Penelope Jeffries - winner of the bursary last year

and meeeeeee! Here's a photo from the last day of those of us we could round up at the time:
3/5 ain't bad
That's me, Petra and Margaret standing in front of Petra's work. Don't we looked chuffed with ourselves?! The FoQ was very tiring but a lot of fun and I talked to a lot of lovely people who said very nice things about my work.Were you one of them? Hello to you!

Here's another view of my stand:
I displayed my tentacle bunting horizontally which I also prefer to the other ways it had been exhibited before (draped down vertically); this was mostly due to having a lot more space on my stand. Along with this I have been working hard over the last few months to create a new piece to add to my collection, the Scaly Black Dragonfish - and here he is in all his glory:
The Dragonfish has bioluminescent qualities, so I made sure to put LED lights all over my dragonfish hood so that he can light up to lure in his prey. I think most people don't realise that I create all the circuitry and programme the flashing light sequences myself for my work; it isn't that hard once you learn the basics. Takes up a lot of batteries though! I used a scaly patterned fabric usually used for table covering to make this piece; the teeth are covered in beads and French knots and his eyes are poofy rosettes. He's one of my favourite pieces from this collection.

That's it! Thanks to the Quilters' Guild for letting me come along, to my fellow graduates for being so fun and nice, to Tony and Irene for being amazing hosts and to all the kind people I met at the Festival. I have a fun idea to enter into the competition categories in the future, so watch this space!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Dot.Tea's Vintage Tea Boutique Window Display

In July I was asked to help out with the Dot.Tea's window display in Westbourne, Bournemouth. Dot. Tea's is renowned around Westbourne for their creative and fun window displays and so I was very excited to be part of such a fun project. This season's window display was all about holidays and Dot's needed some vintage style holiday clothes to be made for a gaggle of Barbies / Sindys and one Ken!
This was a dream project for me; being an overgrown child I have a soft spot for toys and of course making vintage style clothes is a passion of mine so the two combined made my creative juices very juicy indeed. I started out trying to freehand make the clothes but quickly realised that this wasn't going to work well as plastic dolls arms do not bend in the same way as ours, so therefore the clothes need to open in specific ways. Luckily when explaining the project to my mother, she remembered that she had a Barbie dressmaking pattern from my actual childhood and was able to post it out. This saved a lot of befuzzlement and although the patterns were very 1980s-ish I was able to adapt them to look more classic in style. Here are some of the outfits I made:

Like many crafters I have a huge hoard of fabric scraps, so this project was perfect for diving into those. As you can see I made an air stewardess style outfit, swimsuits, a circle skirt halter dress, shift dresses and was even able to utilise some of my friend Rachel Cave's lovely fabric.

Here's some photos of the dolls up in the window:

I'm really pleased with how the project turned out and to have been involved with something so unusual and fun! If you'd like to see the display in the flesh then it will be up at Dot.Tea's in Westbourne until October!