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A Blast from the Past

Monday, 31 March 2014

I just wanted to share with you some of my old work. I went through all my folders to see what worked well and what didn't so I can constantly improve on my practice.
Here are a couple of samples from my Norfolk Farming project that I thought were really fun.

All samples were digitally printed onto Linen Juniper.

Naturally Dyed Linen Outcome

I am so pleased with the outcome of my natural dyes experiments and I will definitely be using this process throughout my project. I am going to experiment with fixatives to play around with the saturation and hue of the colours . I think that Linen works well with the muted tones as the colour is sympathetic to the natural material . Overall I am really pleased with my outcome.

Looking at Flowers in my own Garden

This weekend I got a load of pots from the garden centre to decorate my garden with. I mostly went for white , purple and blue flowers. However once I had them potted up they reminded me of shapes and line that I had seen in my wild flower research for my textiles project. So I have photographed them to use them for colour referencing and line .
My favourite plant is the Lavender as it smells amazing and looks so pretty . This also comes in wild form so I will use mine to create observational drawings from to inform my practice.

Plants and Pots bought at B&Q in Norwich and Wymondham Garden Centre in Norfolk.

Natural Dyes

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Since I am looking at wild flowers and preserving the environment in my project I wanted to experiment with eco friendly dyes. I scoured the internet for recipes for producing dyes from berries , plants and nuts and came across a really simple one on the Natural History Museum website ( Natural History Natural Dye Process ). Click the link if you want to explore the same experiments.
The materials I am using in this post is a 100% Linen cloth and a Crushed Velvet.
Firstly I tried beetroot , following the recipe online to the ratios suggested. I left in for over an hour and the colour was very muddy/orange not the bright purple I was expecting. You have to be careful no to over boil or this tarnishing can happen so I think I had my dye to hot.
Next I experiment with Red Wine and Tea this too came out rather muddy/orange however the colour was richer and had a very small tinge of deep red. This was also left for an hour.
I then went on to use blackberries ( as suggested in the natural history recipe ) and yes I finally got a brilliant result. The colour is a vivd crimson pink and took to the crushed velvet straight away. The linen took a little longer but the end product was a beautiful muted crimson with a hint of violet . I was so pleased with the result I went on to dye one of my large fabric pieces for a large scale sample.
Note that if you are using blackberries make sure you strain the mixture or you will get a speckled effect where the seeds stick to the fabric.
Next I used pomegranate seeds mashed up . This produced a weaker tone of colour but the shade was similar to that of the blackberries. I only used one pomegranate because they are rather expensive so maybe if I used more I would of got a stronger result.
Lastly, I used red cabbage chopped up which I was also extremely pleased with creating a gluey/violet shade . I went on to produce another large scale piece to be worked into at a later date.

I will be posting the results properly when they are all washed and dry so I can photograph them properly.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen GBK - The King of Burger Houses

I am a huge burger fan. Not just any burger , I am a 'posh' burger fan. Yes , I admit that I am a burger snob .
Since GBK came to Norwich my boyfriend and I have been there ALOT. And we are never disappointed ! They have a varied menu with something to suit everyone with even salads for those on a diet. They use fresh ingredients and can make burgers to order so you really can have what you want! Made with 100% west country beef cooked to order ( usually perfectly medium ) they really are delicious. You also have the option to have you burger 'naked' ( without a bun) which comes with gorgeous mini salads which is a perfect guilt free option.
I always go with ' The Classic ' which is plain and simple ; 1 patty, lettuce, tomato, mayo and salsa in a burger bun. I don't see why you need to add all the extras . Accompanied by ' skin on fries' which are fresh double cooked fries with their skins still on which are amazing with the homemade garlic sauce. Make sure you take mints! All washed down with a Diet Coke in a glass bottle. Who doesn't love bottled coke?!
My boyfriend went for 'The Blue Cheese ' this time which consisted of the same ingredients as 'The Classic' plus either a blue cheese sauce or a slice. He went for the sauce and although a bit messy he finished it in about 30 seconds flat. He went for their signature 'skinny fries ' on the side . Which are super super super thin chips which are amazing with the Hei Hei salt they give you to have with them.

GBK have a great app where you can gather freebies and get a great student discount of 30% sunday - thursday.

If GBK did black cards I'd do anything to get one ! 

Well worth a visit.

Spring Brights

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

So today I have been experimenting with Disperse dyes using the heat press. You pint onto the shiny side of the brown paper ( so the dye isn't absorbed into the paper ) and once dry place on top of a polyester fabric in the heat press and press for 30 secs. Voila! 
However I miss judged the colour as when it was on the brown paper it looked beautiful and muted and blended however once pressed it came out a lot stronger and looked rather unsophisticated. A bit like a rushed felt tip drawing. I tried to rectify one of my samples by free machine stitching into it to add abit of depth but I am still very unhappy with the result.

The Granary , Norwich

I was feel totally stuck for inspiration and motivation for my project on interiors fabrics so I made a small trip into town to The Granary.

The Granary is a branch of Jarrolds ( the main department store in Norwich ) which stocks contemporary furniture, home accessories and gifts. Described on their website as  'Italian design meets Scandinavian style to bring a unique and inspiring shopping experience to Norwich.' And it definitely does what it says on the tin!
With a range of designer products from Marimekko , Margo Selby , Anorak and many more its a chocolate box of interiors ideas and designs.
As you might guess from the brand names in house it's pretty pricey but because a lot of the pieces are a statement you don't need much in your home to make an impact.
They place bold bright prints against classic simple italian furniture which creates a contemporary feel with an interesting twist of colour. If you are walking past it is certainly worth a visit.

The Granary
5 Bedford Street


Opening Hours

Mon - 9am - 5.30pm
Tues - 8.30am - 5.30pm
Weds - 9am - 5.30pm
Thur - 9am - 7pm
Fri - 9am - 5.30pm
Sat - 9am - 6pm
Sun - 10.30am - 4.30pm

No copyright intended 

An evening with Emma Bridgewater

Friday, 21 March 2014

I am so excited to get a copy of Emma Bridgewaters book . I stopped for lunch and literally couldn't put it down. It's a lot of things in one from recipes to her personal stories and the interview style throughout makes it an easy read. Her imagery within the book is evokive and creative much like her designs and the sneak peaks inside her sketchbooks are priceless. I am yet to read it properly through so I will review in full at a later date , but so far I love it.
Not only did I get a copy of the book but I also got an invite to her evening of questions and answers at Jarrolds on 17th April which I am really looking forward to .

Winsor & Newton Inks

Today I bought 6 pots of W&N inks and I am in love with them already. My watercolours are really well used and are looking a bit sorry for themselves so I made a change to these bright inks ( and I don't think I will be going back to watercolour any time soon).
I was inspired by bluebell greys video on her website about how they paint with inks to start their beautiful designs.
You can get extremely vivid colour using them neat or beautiful soft shades by adding lots of water . They mix really well and look amazing across all types of papers. You don't need that much of the ink and the 14ml pots are enough to last a good while. They are quite pricey RRP £3.00 but I got them from my university shop for £2.50, so look around if your thinking of getting any.
From these drawings I can easily see them translating into sublimation dyes and being created into fabric samples. 

BA6 - Wildflower Project

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

For my final project of Year 2 I am looking at Wild Flowers native to Norfolk. I am taking shape , form and line from the flowers themselves then reinventing them in 'wild ' colours for my collection of interiors fabrics for domestic cushions and curtains.
My brief is highly influenced by my work placement I did with Sarah Hardaker who creates exquisite floral fabrics for interiors on to Scottish woven linens. So I will be experimenting with linen and how I could use this for my project. 
Sarah also creates a lot of her work by hand so I will be concentrating on hand rendered techniques through my practice from research to final outcomes.
I am not a fan of the standard roses and pretty flowery florals . They are over done and boring so I need to create a fresh approach to the floral print. Using wildflowers will provide me with interesting line qualities and shape to form delicate motifs that I can jazz up with wild selection of colours.

No copyright intended on image used in post.

STEW Gallery - Third Year Exhibition

Monday, 17 March 2014

I went to the third year textiles exhibition at the STEW gallery in Norwich. It was really interesting to see what other years are producing on my course and to see the competition. There was such a range of textiles work and the majority were printed textiles. There was an emphasis on mark making and felt that the year had been influenced by a previous student Katie Whitton which did make the exhibition feel abit samey.
I felt that everyone used colour really effectively and I need to be more confident with colour in my own work so I am going to use it in my BA6 unit this term.
What I learnt from the exhibition is that presentation is as important as the work itself , good work hung badly looks awful. Spending time on marketing and branding your textiles really does enhance your work and transforms work from 'student done in my bedroom' to 'professional'.