Thursday, 29 October 2015

Evaluation of Functional 3D Embroidered Item

The completed embroidered assessment pieces for Module 3 are two evening purses based on the design topic of spirals.

How do you feel about the resulting conclusion.

I love both the purses, I like the rich stitching, the tactile nature of the layers of silk carrier rods and the beading.

Is it fit for its purpose - give reasons

Yes they both are fit for purpose, the bags are lined and a reasonable size to use for a special occasion. 

If you were asked to make it again what changes would you make to the way you designed it and the way you made it?

The only change I would have made is in my choice of fabric. The rich embroidery deserved a more exotic fabric such as a textured silk for the bag and lining.


Zandra Rhodes, Deidre Hawken, Carole Ann Waugh

Zandra Rhodes

Zandra Rhodes is one of my favourite designers. She is two years older than I am so I have always felt that she designed for my age and era. One of her major areas of study at college  was printed textile design, she once said that she had 'a life long love affair with textiles'. I can appreciate that feeling,  I have always loved textiles and I enjoy working with fabric. Early in her career she could not find the fabrics she wanted for her designs so she pioneered techniques to print her own fabrics. Her designs in the 1970's were very striking  and controversial. I was at teacher training college in the 70's and one of my core subjects was Dress and Textiles.  She was a big influence on my work at that time with her bold prints, bright colours and exotic designs. 

 I found many aspects from her work  included in this module. Many of her dress designs have flowing lines that indicate movement.

 She uses spirals and swirls  in her designs and also makes accessories to complement her dresses.

The theme for my work in Module 3 was shells.
Zandra Rhodes used shells as the theme for her Autumn/Winter collection of 1973. I was unable to copy any of these images but they can be found at-

Deidre  Hawken

Deidre Hawken is a milliner who makes very unusual hats and headpieces. She began work as an artist in theatre design but in 1999 she won a Qest Scholarship to study millinery with Rose Cory. After completing this she started taking commissions to make bespoke hats.  Her work is in many permanent collections thought out the world including the Victoria and Albert Museum. 
Some of her very quirky and innovative headpieces below are one of a kind accessories. 


Carole Ann Waugh

Carole Ann Waugh is an American fabric and fibre artist.
I found Carole Ann Waugh's work when I took a 'Craftsy' course on the internet. The class included unusual ways to use reverse applique and decorative stitching. Her work includes vibrant colours, lots of layers and the creative use of machine and hand stitching. She mixes geometric and organic shapes with many layers to create complex surfaces.

 I discovered that she is a fibre artist after my own heart, this is a quote from her blog -
 'I don't know how other people work but I know my own process. I have an idea and I try to make it. I don't plan, draw it out or put too much effort into restricting my ideas in the beginning. I just start out and let the piece take me where it wants to go'.
She describes exactly the way I work and it is very reassuring to know that someone else works this way.

Elements of work from Module 3 are shown in the samples of her work below. They include  spirals, lots of stitching, both machine and hand, as well as indications of movement with the wavy stitched and cut lines. She also makes use of unusual combinations of complimentary and analogous colours.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015


Select a design idea to develop

As I mentioned in a previous post I do not have a sketch book/work book record of the development of my accessory. The embellished purse was inspired by an embroidered sample I made whilst working on  Chapters 4 and 8 of this module. I think the initial idea came from a web page concerning Steff Francis and her work using silk waste for decoration.
In the original sample I used silk carrier rods, they were split apart, dyed in complimentary colours and machine embroidered to a background fabric in a stripe pattern. I subsequently embellished this with hand embroidery and lots of beading. The sample is a 2-d design with a rich textural feel.

This particular stitched sample turned out to be one of my favourites from this module and was the inspiration for my accessory. You saw it at Summer School and we both thought  it was crying out to me to be transformed into a evening purse! I went home and started work on the purse straight away. I love hand stitching and beading. The design evolved as I worked and regrettably I did not record the process. My enjoyment and enthusiasm for the piece  took over and I eventually made two evening bags/ purses in different styles.They are both lined, padded and the backs are quilted. One has a decorated button closure the other one has two handles. I dyed all the fabrics for these purses. The photos of both are below.
Purse one made using the original sample.

Second purse with handles.

I am not sure what to do about the composite sheet. This is working backwards record of my progress to the finished accessories. I will await your feedback and make sure I keep a better track of my progress in the future.


Selecting of a source image.

I am starting this Chapter with the image of my finished cushion because it was completed before Sian and I decided it could be my resolved sample!! 

I now need to work backwards and remember my design pathway. When I initially 'played' with the image 9b below I had no idea that it would be used to make a shell themed cushion.

The design evolved from a photograph of two conical shells, one had unusual coloured bands. I printed the photograph, cut out the shells and mounted them on one of my printed papers. I liked the illusion of the shells appearing to stand away from the backing.

My next experiment with this image was to trace in on to lutrador and paint the shell outlines. I cut them out and mounted them on another painted paper.This gave a more ethereal image.

My next experiment with the original photographic image was to print it onto some cotton lawn that had been treated with Bubble Jet Set 2000 liquid. It gave a beautiful clear image of the shell on fabric and this eventually became the central image on my cushion. 

I printed several other shell images on fabric at this time and knew that I would use them some time in Module 3. 
The images on fabric were fantastic, the Nautilus shell looks as if it is real

I eventually decided to use one of the images,the conical shell,  to make a patchwork block. I did not want a traditional regular block but chose to make an irregular or crazy patchwork block. I wanted a design that indicated movement around the central image. The drawn paper pattern and cut pieces for the block are below.
9e, 9f

The next step in my design pathway was choosing fabrics from the stash I dyed for Module 3. I chose some Shibori dyed fabric that complimented the shell image.

I cut out the pattern shapes and pinned them around the shell image.  The fabric was machine stitched to form the block and a piece of batting used to back the design. 
This is layer one of my design

Layer 2 introduced some trapino  type padding behind the central image and  bonded fabric shell shapes in two of the surrounding pieced shapes.
9i, 9j, 9k

Layer 3 involved lots of hand stitching on the bonded shell shapes, hand stitched spirals in the two remaining pieced shapes and embroidered edging  around all the pieces in the block.
9l, 9m

The final stage was making my embellished block into a cushion cover to resolve the design.

I think I have overcome my 'sketch book wobble' and this chapter shows my design development for this resoloved sample. It feel it demonstrates layering, use of complimentary colours, tonal contrast in my dyed fabrics,  patchwork piecing, shapes arranged to form a pleasing design and hand stitched embellishment. Hope you agree?

Saturday, 12 September 2015


Hello Sian,
 I feel in need of a 'chat' with you, so please bear with me whilst I try to explain my long break from Module 3. You saw my work for this Module at Summer School and we decided that my shell cushion could be my resolved sample and I would develop my stitched sample, using silk carrier rods, into an embellished evening purse for my Accessory. I came home and really enjoyed finishing the evening purse, in fact I made two. Then I sat down to complete the written work for Chapters 9, 10 and 11. I read words like 'design elements' , 'design development', 'design an accessory'  and 'composite sheets' and all my old phobias about sketch books and designing came back. I had already finished my resolved sample and accessory, both pieces were my work and unique designs but now I would need to work backwards and explain how I had arrived at the end products. I felt that I could not remember or explain the exact design progression. I almost threw in the towel at this point but instead decided to take a break from Module 3 and return when I was in a calmer frame of mind.

I have given this matter a lot of thought over the past weeks and these are my reflections.  I think my phobias go back a long way. I have always found the concept of designing using a conventional sketch book almost impossible. Maybe it's because I come from a needlework, dress making background and did not go to art school. I would love to produce a sketch book with drawn images and notes on the design process much like the ones I have seen created by students at Summer School. This has always made me feel inadequate. I thought that this Course might cure me of my phobias and/or help me to produce a Sketch Book.   I have tried but it is not going to happen.  There is never going to be a detailed sketch book recording my on going and gradual progress to a finished piece of work because this is not the way my mind works.
 But I am not giving up, I have come to the conclusion that there is no point in drooling over other people's sketch books and trying to copy their way of working and designing. I need to accept that my way is just different but I can still achieve an end product that is truly my own. It is difficult to explain but I feel my way is an organic, evolution to the end product. I design in my mind and initial ideas change as I work. I use a variety of things for inspiration or as a starting point. For example, a beautiful  image developed into my shell cushion, a stitched sample demonstrating a new technique was the starting point for my evening purse.  But I did not develop or record this evolution in a sketch book. I was engaged in watching the piece grow in my hands until I felt it was finished.

  I do have my work book/large file where I keep chronological samples of all the images, techniques  and design concepts etc. that I have used and learnt about in the Modules. I will now use this file as 'an aide memoir' and work backwards to try and explain to myself, as well as you, how I achieved my end products!! The Chapters will be with you soon but I would welcome your comments and input on the above before I finish the chapters. Thanks and regards Lorna

PS. During my break from Module 3 I have joined a local Spinning and Weaving group. I have learnt how to spin with a spindle and spinning wheel and just acquired my own spinning wheel. This has been very therapeutic and I will be able to make my own yarns for future projects!