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.

Friday, 25 May 2018

American Museum in Britain

Today's post is a little different than usual because I'm writing about something other than myself! On Wednesday I went with family to visit the American Museum in Britain; I was given a National Art Pass for Christmas and am trying to utilise it as much as possible - the AMiB is one of their places.

 The fancy gardens are being worked on at the moment so we didn't get to see a lot of those which was a shame. I did spot this rather lovely Art Deco-ey sculpture thingy though, which is maybe some kind of sundial...?

My favourite parts were the Native American costume, with all its colours and patterns:

And the Room of Many Quilts, especially this Thistle-Disguised-As-A-Pineapple quilt:
is it a thistle? is it a pineapple? you decide
And then I spotted a few hidden gems too such as this skull in a frieze:
Wallpaper that understands and celebrates the glory of corn:
Aaaand a quilted horsey!
There was of course lots more things to see as well but you will have to go and have a look yourself if you want to see any more! The current exhibition about WW1 includes a fascinating display about early plastic / corrective surgery and prosthetics and there's lots of dressing up in period costume to be done throughout the whole place. It is a joy!

My top tip for the AMiB would be that although the onsite cafe does very nice typically American food it is a little bit pricey so if you're on a budget and the weather is good enough you can take your own picnic and sit in their picnic area to eat. 
They also have two great gift shops with fantastic textiley things, gifts, cards, books etc. I tried to resist but I couldn't help buying this Kaffe Fassett ribbon, which I just loved on sight:
That's all for today! It's Dorset Art Weeks for the next three weekends, so you'll probably be hearing more from me soon.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Dorset Etsy Team Spring Fair

The past few weeks have been very busy for me as I prepare for my very first proper craft fair. It's being organised by a team of my fellow Dorset-based Etsy sellers and there will be over 60 locally based stalls there selling crafts, arts, vintage and antique goods so it all sounds very exciting indeed!
There's lots of elements for me to think about as it's my first one; such as how to present my stall, the equipment I need and packaging and marketing materials... and that's even before I've thought about all the stock that I'll need! With three days left to go I'm finally getting there, I've been checking things off my list, ironing tablecloths, etc. and I wanted to share a few of the new products I've been working on that will be featuring on my stall.

First of all there's my new stickers:
which come in two fabulous space age designs; 'Planet' and 'Cow Abduction', the latter of which is based on my original linocut, which you can also buy as a print:
Prints Drying on the Line
These black and white A4 prints will be a limited run of 50. In the above picture you can also see a glimpse of the green apple card which is another new product I will be featuring on Saturday.
Nextily (and possibly my personal favourite thing) will be my line of Temporary Tattoos:
The ideal way to look instantly cool without having to suffer all the scary bits of actually getting tattooed. As you can see, these feature the space age designs again, but also some of my animal designs; peacock, crocodile and lion and even a little apple to remember me by! Great fun for kids, adults and everyone else and super easy to use; simply cut out your chosen design, peel off the backing, stick it to your chosen body part, apply dampness and slide the fronting away to reveal your new look. No ouchies involved! These are super super limited at the moment (until the postman arrives with more), so if you like them then you'll have to grab them!

Along with those, I'll have my usual range of cards, postcards, brooches, jewellery and goodies to sell.
Fabulous Lion Badge!

Extra Super Birthday Badges!

Magic Colour Changing Goodies!
I look forward to seeing you all there, please do say hello if you're passing by. In the meantime I'll be organising myself, creating gorgeous things and planning for future exciting things!

Monday, 26 March 2018

More Threads of Narrative

Threads of Narrative is still running at Walford Mill Crafts and will be staying there until 22nd April, having been extended due to popular demand (or something)! After the original opening date was postponed due to the snow, it's great that more people will be able to see the work during the extra time. After it's finished at Walford Mill, the show will be moving on just up the road to Kingston Lacy - the last home of the Bankes family - where it will be on display for even more people to see! I'm really looking forward to seeing my work placed in the home of the family it was inspired by and will be so proud to see it there. More details of this exciting development to come!

Without further ado, here's some photos of our launch event (photos by Steve and Sarah Appleton):
Lots of people came along (thank you if you were one of them), including Jude the dog!
'My Own Darling Mummy' - Sarah Appleton
'Apron Strings' - Sarah Appleton
'Apron Strings' Detail - Sarah Appleton
'Spares' - Lisa Earley and Sarah Appleton
'Spares' - Lisa Earley and Sarah Appleton
'Spares' Detail - Lisa Earley and Sarah Appleton
'Little Hilary' - Sarah Appleton
'Threads Through Time' - Sarah Appleton and Year 6 of St. Mary's C of E Middle School, Puddletown
Lisa and I talked about our work and the commission in general:
And I even wore a blouse that I made especially for the event, which matched my work:
As you can see, I had a lovely time! The two glasses of wine helped... let's not talk about the fact that this was at 10 o' clock in the morning!!!

Friday, 2 March 2018

Threads of Narrative

I've been a bit rubbish at posting blogs so far this year, this is mainly due to finishing all the work off for the Threads of Narrative exhibition, which opens this week at Walford Mill Crafts in Wimborne. If you've missed my previous posts about this project, you can read a bit more about the beginnings here; but in a nutshell the project is a textile exhibition about the Bankes Family of Dorset.

Now all the work is complete and up I have more free time to talk about it... or at least post pictures! Here are the two main pieces I've made:
My Own Darling Mummy
This is the pink neoprene dress I posted about previously, now complete with lights, words and frills. I'm pleased with how it turned out; as with any project there are things I would have liked to have added or improved if I'd had more time, but time just trickled away with this huge commission and I had to end it somewhere! Here are a couple more pictures, I will of course take higher quality shots when the exhibition officially opens.

The dressmaking pattern is a reproduction of an original 1914 dress and I used neoprene to contrast some contemporary material with the old timey style. It also gives it a really surreal, sculptural sort of effect and almost looks like fondant cake icing... mmm... cake. I hand cut all of the letters out of neoprene to be attached onto the dress:

I also hand stitch and programme all the LED circuits and circuit board into the dress to make the lights blink on and off, I'm not sure if people realise that I do all this or if they perhaps assume that LED fairies come and do it for me, but anyway I do! So quite a lot of thought and physical work went into this piece and I'm proud of it for that. This was also the first LED piece of work that I've created which plugs into a mains plug (the others all being battery powered), which is very very exciting to me!
For another couple of pieces I designed and had some fabric digitally printed onto a plain but good quality cotton:
I used my original photos from the archive visits and some that I found online to design this piece about Hilary Bankes (not the one from Fresh Prince of Bel Air, I checked). Considering that I designed it over Christmas when I was ill with evil flu it turned out amazing and I had a lot of compliments on it; so many in fact that I ended up ordering twice as much as I originally had - one to cut up and one to keep whole. This is what I did with the one I cut up:
Yes, I turned it into some kind of mad tree apron thingy! The apron strings are overgrown and extend out into the family tree, reaching through time into all the generations. The apron pattern was another reproduction from 1911 or so, again giving it that old fashioned look with a contemporary twist on the fabric used. I was really pleased with my sewing skills for this piece of work; I chose a fabric that was very easy to work with and put a lot of effort in to making it neat and well finished.
After that I also hand painted special magic colour changing ink onto certain parts of the apron so that they change colour with heat. Click here to see what I mean. This makes the work interact with its surroundings and with anyone who is allowed to touch it!

Lisa and I were also lucky enough to get a mention in the current issue of Embroidery magazine, so many thanks to them!

That's all I shall write about for now, but you can expect more once the exhibition officially opens next week. It's running until 22nd April so if you're in Dorset you have plenty of time to see it. To close, here is a rare photo of Christine from Walford Mill hammering nails into the gallery wall!