When is a scarf not a scarf?
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Written by Mark Francis There are scarves and then there are iconic scarves.  As a life long fan of a certain Time Lord, I have always coveted Tom Bakers famous neck wear since I was a kid.  When I was a boy I nagged and nagged my Mum to knit me one, which she duly did.  It wasn’t ‘screen accurate’ in any way but I didn’t care as I loved it. I still have it to this day. What made it extra special was that she made it using her wool stash from the 1970’s when she regularly used to knit for my brother and sister. Recently though, I was fortunate enough for a friend to teach me to crochet. Yes I know, I can hear the dyed in the wool Doctor Who fans say ‘The original wasn’t crocheted’, but I didn’t care.  A scarf seems a good place to start with crochet. It’s a simple shape and good to practice your technique.  But it’s so easy to drop stitches and you then end up with a wibbly wobbly scarf, which is exactly what happened to my first attempt.  In the gap between filming and broadcast of The Great British Sewing Bee, I plucked up the courage to start the beast that is the Tom Baker Doctor Who scarf from 1980. This one isn’t the more famous multi coloured scarf first seen in 1974, designed by James Acheson and knitted by a lady called Begonia Pope. It may surprise you to know that the scarf wasn’t ever supposed to be at long as it was, Begonia Pope was only told to knit up all the wool which she duly did.  The scarf ended up at the enormous length that we all came to love and which has become so memorable. In 1980 Tom Bakers costume was completely updated and a new scarf was designed by June Hudson and knitted up using Lyon Suede Chenille wool in colours of red, plum and rust. The Chenille would be nice and light and the updated colours would coordinate with the new costume. It’s a beautiful colour and was a garment I have always loved. The chenille wool is very difficult to find in the same colour way, plus I didn’t fancy working with Chenille as a new crocheter. Instead I found similar colours in the chunky monkey range and made from Acrylic which wont irritate my skin. I had no idea how to calculate how much wool I would need, so I plucked a guess out the air ahead bought 5 balls of each colour. I would later realise I’d need a little more, luckily I was able to get the same dye lots over a year later.   I downloaded a pattern from a lovely site that specialises in the minute details of every Tom Baker scarf (there have been rather more than you think) and got to work. Little did I know how long this project would take me, the winters that I wouldn’t be able to wear it and the summers I didn’t feel like sitting under hot wool, crocheting.   Just before the final episode of The Great British Sewing Bee went out, we were asked to provide an update as to what we’ve been up to and a nice picture.  I decided to mention my crocheting and sent in a suitable picture.  They where surprised how much I had done, which was lovely, but I knew it was just a fraction of the finished project.  Over a year passed before I signed off on the scarf and finished the final tassel. It was a relief to finally have it finished and I knew how thrilling it was going to be to be able to put the finished garment around my neck for the first time.
In Conversation with…Hannah Lamb
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Hannah Lamb is a Yorkshire-based mixed media textile artist. Her exhibition, Home/Work, is at The Knitting & Stitching Show at Harrogate Convention Centre from 18th-21st November 2021.  Hi Hannah, we’re really looking forward to seeing Home/Work, your forthcoming exhibition for The Knitting & Stitching Shows this autumn. The collections contemplate the role of home and work in our lives, and feature work made before, during and after the COVID-19 lockdowns. Can you tell us a little more about the appeal of home and work as inspiration for your art? Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, all of our lives have been turned upside down. For me, the boundaries between home and work became blurred as my teaching role moved online. The stresses and messiness of my personal and professional lives became entangled, changing the way I felt about home and testing my relationships. On a more positive note, during 2020 I was able to have a wonderful studio built at home. I was able to watch the work progress from my window, whilst working online – daydreaming about a space of my own while doodling little house shapes in my notebook. Multiple lockdowns in our area have made me feel immensely fortunate to have a safe, comfortable home, supportive friends and now a ‘room of my own’ in which to be creative. Has making work during the pandemic been cathartic?  During the early part of the pandemic, I found my creativity had largely deserted me and it was almost impossible to make serious artwork. I felt envious of those who had a huge burst of creative energy during lockdown. Eventually I came to accept that creativity would come when I was good and ready. I began enjoying the simplicity of working with small pieces of materials; patching, piecing and hand stitching. I chose fabrics that felt good in my hands, things that were softened by age. The tactile sensation of working with materials, slowing down and zoning out, was helpful when I felt stressed. Some of these little textile fragments have been incorporated into the collages, prints and house assemblages created for the exhibition. You are deeply fascinated by the structure and surface of cloth and have described cloth as “poetic, with an ability to describe what is difficult to put into words”. Can you tell us what you mean by that and what the work in your Home/Work exhibition has to say? In my book Poetic Cloth (Batsford, 2019) I describe the relationship I have with textiles as an artist. For me, it is both my creative media and my muse. Cloth is ever present in our lives, from cradle to grave. That close relationship allows us to convey meaning through a common language of tactility, texture and movement.My work for Home/Work isn’t intended to be obviously hard-hitting, but there are deeply emotional and personal ideas behind some of the pieces. I have worked with contrasting materials and effects; vintage chintz and softly quilted materials suggest a romantic vision of domesticity; while blackened, torn and bound materials represent turmoil and change. I frequently work with layers of different techniques and materials to create a sense of time and subtle variations of surface. I generally don’t have my work all planned out beforehand but instead allow elements to come together, building things up and joining pieces.My hope for the work in this exhibition is that while some pieces are dynamic and impactful in the space, other smaller pieces will give people a chance to focus and slow down, creating space for personal reflection You live, make work, and write from your home in Bingley, West Yorkshire, teaching too at Bradford School of Art. What role do you think Yorkshire’s rich textile heritage has played in the development of your passion for cloth and textile art? Having moved to the Bradford area 17 years ago, I feel incredibly lucky to be living in a place steeped in a rich culture and heritage of textiles. Textile is everywhere; in the landscape, buildings, places and language. I have had the chance to visit local textile manufacturers, endlessly transfixed by the transformation from fibre to fabric. I love to see the mix of historic mill buildings and modern manufacturing. The relationship between textile heritage and contemporary arts spaces creates wonderful opportunities for artists in the area; Salts Mill and Sunny Bank Mills have both provided inspiration and spaces to exhibit. Local museums and archive collections have also been hugely influential in my work. In the Bradford College Textile Archive, beautiful patterns and fascinating recipe books include items of importance to local industry and highlight their global connections. For me, the seemingly quiet spaces of archives and redundant mills hum with a quiet energy of creative potential. Your work features a wide range of textile processes, like stitch, print and fabric manipulation, and ranges from large-scale installations to small-scale studies. Is there a technique or process that you’re like to explore in future work?  I love learning new processes and it can become quite addictive so I try not to just learn new things for the sake of it. In my work I try to focus on choosing the best combination of methods and materials to convey my ideas. Having said that, I’d love to have the time to develop my skills with natural dyeing and printing. This is such a huge area of study you could spend a lifetime learning – if only I had more time! You’re a member of the acclaimed 62 Group of Textile Artists which aims to challenge the boundaries of textile practice. How do you feel that your own work contributes to this ambition and which boundaries would you like to break? Becoming a member of the 62 Group was a huge honour. I know the group is hugely respected and so there is a weight of expectation. In some ways it is hard to be pushing the boundaries of textile practice today; there is so much openness to what textile art can be. I do sometimes worry that the textile art world is too cosy and not self-critical enough but one of the things I like about being in the 62 Group is the rigorous selection process, which means if members don’t have work selected for three exhibitions in a row they are out of the group. This pushes me to make the best work I can, continually questioning my practice and its context. Recent work created for our ‘Connected Cloth’ exhibition as part of the British Textile Biennial, has encouraged me to consider the global context of textile manufacture. I wanted to learn about the colonial and post-colonial context of British textiles. For me it’s important to be constantly learning, questioning and challenging myself. To see more work from Hannah Lamb, click below. SEE HANNAHS GALLERY
In Conversation with…Onome Otite
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Onome Otite is a London-based artist specialising in figurative textile collage. Her exhibition, Cirque, is at The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, London from 7th-10th October 2021 and Harrogate Convention Centre from 18th-21st November 2021. We caught up with her to learn more about her work… Onome, we can’t wait for visitors to see your wonderfully vibrant life-size 3D collages in London and Harrogate this autumn. What is it about fabric collage that you love working with as an art form?  Apart from enjoying the craft element of embroidery and dressmaking, I love that textiles hold stories. All the fabric I use is recycled and my textile collection includes fabric donations, off-cuts from seamstresses, clothes outgrown, out-dated or just rejected – that someone once owned, wore or used in a particular way. Stories at my fingertips! The fabric design could also have a meaning or the craftsmanship specialised – the list is endless! My skill is to rework the fabric as well as those memories, meanings and stories into a beautiful collage. Please can you give us a little insight into your making process? Where do you find inspiration for your hand-drawn figures and how do you choose the fabrics to decorate each piece? My life-size collages explore costume in contemporary circus, in particular the performers clothing in Cirque Du Soleil and Cirque Nouveau, where costume plays an integral part in the theme and storyline of the performance. I also studied how the performers interact with their costume to convey narrative to the audience. My use of wax print fabric pays homage to both my Nigerian ancestry and the colour and design patterns of contemporary circus costume. Fabrics with similar shapes and motifs were sourced in London and Ghana. The vibrancy of the textiles lends itself well to the collages’ buoyant circus theme. For example, ‘Untitled iii’ pays homage to my experience in Makola Market in Accra, Ghana. Shopping for art materials in Makola was hectic and hot! The material I purchased included a patchwork design ‘nsasawa’ featuring many patterns, shapes and bold colours. A popular style to wear by the street performers in Ghana, this was the perfect material to inspire the development of this collage. Like my experience in Makola Market, this dance-like figure is animated, open and inviting, and full of life and I wanted to reference this in the fabric.⁠ Your pride for your West African ancestry is clear in your work through your use of batik and waxed print cloth. What is it about those fabrics that appeals to you as an artist? I’m naturally drawn to bright colours and patterns, but my use of batik fabrics and recycled materials helps to weave a cultural narrative into my work. Traditionally the colours, patterns and symbols of the fabric design suggest stories and emotion, which inspire my designs. I like to experiment with collage and create various textural combinations. Growing up within a Nigerian community, I’m also influenced by women who use traditional colourful clothing as a means of empowerment. Women using textiles to celebrate their womanhood and heritage resonates with me and is a subject I’m excited to explore. The manipulation of pattern and the prints’ vibrancy adds to the celebratory mood of the artwork.  In 2016, you won a Cockpit Arts Prince’s Trust Creative Careers Award, have been mentored by the British Fashion Council, took part in a British Council Cultural Exchange Programme in Ghana, and have exhibited your work all over the world. That’s a phenomenal CV for such a young artist. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give other budding young artists hoping to achieve commercial success with their work? I have been creating artwork for the best part of 8 years, though I launched as a business with the Prince’s Trust in 2016 and it has been a really exciting experience. As part of The Prince’s Trust Business Enterprise Programme, I completed a business plan and was also awarded a studio space at Cockpit Arts – a business incubator for craft and designer makers, where I was provided with further creative career development and design direction. Previously working from a home studio, I was finding the lack of space difficult to manage, yet the cost of a London studio was too much to afford at the early stage of my business. Having supportive mentors (both in business and art) helped me to focus on my creative practise and growth. If there is anyone considering using their ideas and creativity to start their own business, I would say go for it 100%! There are so many initiatives and schemes in the UK to support emerging creatives and I would advise to focus on these opportunities rather than let doubt hold you back.  The collection you are bringing to The Knitting & Stitching Show is Cirque, a series that explores costume in contemporary circus, and specifically the role of costume in conveying the theme and storyline of a performance. Is costume design a possible avenue for you in the future? Working with a costume designer would be a wonderful collaboration – never say never! What are you working on currently and what’s next for you? Currently I’m working on a new series ‘Bahia’, inspired by Brazilian ‘Baiana’ costume, which launches this October, and I will be hosting a special event in London to mark the release. Details of the launch will be shared exclusively with my mailing list, so I encourage signing up via my website (www.onomeotite.com) to be in the know. I’m also preparing for a group exhibition with the Craft Council in November 2021 where I’ll be showcasing a very special collage celebrating black female artists in the UK. Again, all information can be found on my website and social media pages. This year is definitely going out with great events. To see more work from Onome Otite, click below. SEE ONOME'S GALLERY
We’ve been shortlisted for the Best of...
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We’re chuffed to bits that we’ve been shortlisted for ‘Best Show/Event’ for this year’s Best of Craft Awards! Thank you so much to everyone who nominated us, it’s such an honour!HJJVoting is now open! Please take a moment to vote by clicking below. Voting closes on 24th September and the winners will be announced on 28th October!HJJEveryone who enters will automatically receive an exclusive download pack straight to their inbox. You’ll also be entered into an exclusive prize draw to win lots of fabulous goodies including a cruise, all valued at over £3,900!HJJWe’re so grateful to have been included this year and would love your support! Simply click on the button below to have your say and vote! VOTE NOW About the Best of Craft Awards The UK’s longest running craft awards hosted by Crafter magazines is back and bigger than ever, giving you the opportunity to celebrate all the inspiring people that make the world of crafts such a wonderful community in which to work and play. HJJ The Best of Craft Awards 2021 is a true celebration of all that is creative and a genuine mark of quality. Craft enthusiasts and readers of Crafts Beautiful and PaperCrafter magazines have been keenly nominating their favourite brands, shows, products, tutors, designers and more. After the nominations are collated and verified, the voting stage begins. HJJ Now is the time to vote for your favourites in the Best of Craft Awards 2021. Which brands, bloggers and products have your loyal support? Who do you want to see in the spotlight?
Diana Bensted: Next Steps in Crochet ...
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Save 20% - Pay just £32* Next Steps in Crochet: Make a Sampler Blanket By Diana Bensted, The Crochet Chain *Plus transaction fee BUY THIS WORKSHOP Sponsored by: Sponsored by: About Crochet a sampler blanket with confidence with the help of passionate crocheter Diana Bensted. We will be following patterns for 10 different stitches and techniques to create a sampler blanket with a tulip border. If you have started on your crochet journey, and patterns bemuse you, or if you are happy with the basics, but want to know more.  Then this is the course for you!  Diana will be guiding you through the techniques and tips that she has picked up in a decade of crocheting that will make your crochet projects easier, quicker, and more enjoyable.  The patterns and worksheets provided can make a great sampler blanket and can be used in combination or on their own.  Throughout the masterclass, you will also learn how to read a crochet pattern, starting with common words, though colour coding and finally as commercial patterns are written. We will be covering different join as you go methods, cables, Tunisian entrelac, 3-D flowers, magic ring, and more.   Materials you will need: A kit will be available with 10 colours of Stylecraft Special DK, or Highland Heathers. You will also need a selection of crochet hooks from 4.5mm to 6mm.  Materials can be purchased from suppliers of the Beyond K&S Shopping Hub, available here: www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/shopping-hub.  Bookers will receive full joining instructions and a session materials list. Plus, there will also be details of patterns, advance preparation guides and links of where kits can be purchased if these are applicable to your session.   Sessions overview: Session 1 – Good foundations and Shells: Learn how to work into the foundation chain, and the alternative foundation double crochet stitch, starting a pattern. Pattern repeats and shell stitch. Session 2 – Granny Goodness: Starting in the round, choosing, and changing colour, standing treble, join as you go, weaving in ends. Session 3 – Spike St: Working into the row/rows below. Double crochet, Straight edges. Session 4 – Bobbling along: Using Double crochet, learn to make bobbles, working in rows. Session 5 – Babette square: Make a solid square in the round, finding the ‘hidden’ stitch and join as you go using a second method. Session 6 – Ripple Rows: Increasing and decreasing, reading your crochet and different height stitches (dc, htr, tr). Session 7 – Curious about Cables: Learn about front post stitches, cable stitches and working sideways. Session 8 – The 3rd Dimension: Making a flower, using a magic ring, working in 3D, joining the background and a 3rd join as you go method. Session 9 – Tunisian Entrelac: Using short rows of Tunisian simple stitch you will learn to crochet Entrelac. No need for a special hook! Session 10 – Beautiful Borders: Finish your sampler blanket, working into row ends, the border base and tulip border, and back post stitches. Access to the session The On-Demand recordings will be available to view until 11:59 pm GMT on 31st December 2021. BUY THIS WORKSHOP ALL WORKSHOPS About the Tutor: Diana Bensted Diana Bensted trained as a Primary School teacher and works as a freelance crochet pattern designer and teacher.  She owned her own wool shop where she taught courses and honed her crochet skills.  She has designed patterns for DMC, King Cole, Inside Crochet, Lets Knit and Women’s Weekly.  Teaching for many years at the Knitting and Stitching shows and weekends away, as well as local yarn shops, she self publishes her designs on Hochanda, Ravelry and on her own website.  Diana is known for her friendly, patient and knowledgeable approach to teaching Crochet. Tutor contacts Email: Website: www.thecrochetchain.co.ukFacebook: www.facebook.com/thecrochetchainInstagram: www.instagram.com/thecrochetchain ** The Knitting and Stitching Show are not responsible for the kits visitors purchase from the tutors including the price, availability or delivery. Stock may be limited. Please liaise with the tutors for details and please note restrictions may apply.
The Encaustic Minimalist with Daniella W...
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'The Encaustic Minimalist' with Daniella Woolf Encaustic is a mixed media technique whereby paint or pigment is added to hot beeswax which is then applied to a surface. This workshop is designed for those wishing to give encaustic a try, in a series of mini workshops that can be ‘dipped into’ in your own time. It is the ideal investment for an artist who desires to broaden their portfolio and create some wonderful art with minimal investment of materials. In association with Galli Creative buy workshop About ‘The Encaustic Minimalist’ with Daniella Woolf is a series of mini-workshops each designed to help you learn and enjoy the art of working with encaustic wax.  India Ink, the Encaustic pen tool and attachments, stencils and metallics are explored in a series of demonstrations and suggested projects. Level: Suitable for all levels, for beginners through to intermediate and advance.Price: £35 (plus £1.50 booking fee) Watch the trailer to find out more! What you'll learn: Creating a paper napkin collageMaking doughnuts with the pen toolEncaustic and India inkWorking three panels at onceEncaustic pen tool: explained and demonstratedFlecking watercolour pencils on fabricUsing spray mists for added blingCreating watercolour substrates on your panelStencils and India inkWorking with stencils before encausticWorking with stencils after encausticCreating an encaustic work on paperDry brush strokeApplying metallic foils to encaustic artRepurposing art with encaustic pigments What's included: 2.5 hours of video tutorials. The sessions have been split into 10 bitesize sessions, meaning you can navigate and watch specific sections again at ease. 100-page e-book  Comprehensive material list of things you will need to get started.   Getting started Click below to see the list of things you will need to get started.   RESOURCE & MATERIALS LIST Access to the sessions The on-demand recordings will be available until 11:59pm (GMT) on 31 December 2021. About the Tutor: Daniella Woolf Daniella Woolf is an artist, author, curator and instructor in encaustic, fiber and mixed media. She describes her work as ‘an amalgamation of materiality, mathematics and repetition’ and her preferred medium is encaustic because of the versatility it offers. Daniella is currently exploring stenciling and multi-dimensional paper mixed media art as well as enjoying the beaches and bluffs of her hometown, Santa Cruz, California. BUY WORKSHOP
Soy Wax Inspirations with Susan Purney M...
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Soy Wax Inspirations with Susan Purney Mark Soy wax is an environmentally friendly, versatile resist technique which can be used in quilting, surface design and wearable art projects. This workshop will explore a variety of resist techniques which can be used to create unique effects on cloth. You will even learn how to translate them into finished fabrics for your quilts or surface design work.  In association with Galli Creative BUY WORKSHOP About Easy to use, clean and 100% eco-friendly, soy wax is a fun and versatile technique to use in quilting, surface design and wearable art projects.Susan Purney Mark will teach you how to use soy wax as a resist for batik, silk screening, mark making, clamping, pole-wrapped shibori and more.You’ll try everything from scrunching, knotting, clamping, stitching and even poking your fabrics through plastic grids; to  dipping, stamping and brushing wax onto your fabrics before and after applying dyes.Learn how to prepare your own dyes and thickened paints, how to create print tables and colour charts, plus, how to batch and finish your fabrics. Works with all cold dye products.Each fabric is a wonderful exploration of colour and design.  Soy Wax works with batik tools, Susan also demonstrates how to use traditional wax pens with soy wax in developing a colour grid. After you’ve mastered the basics, you will combine soy wax with other techniques such as sun printing with textile paints, discharge and soy wax, and Dy-Na-Flow which further explores the many uses of soy wax in surface design projects.Finally, Susan provides some understanding in how she translates her fabrics into finished fabrics as she moves beyond soy wax and further into quilting and surface design projects.Level: Suitable for all levels, for beginners through to intermediate and advance.Price: £31 (plus £1.50 booking fee) Watch the trailer to find out more! What you'll learn: Soy Wax for Fabric DyeingPreparing your Dye SolutionsColour Charts & Print TablesMaking Marks with Soy WaxSoy Wax and Batik ToolsBuilding Gradients and Soy Wax Make-oversGrids and Other DevicesJapanese Stitch Resist & Pole-wrapped ResistSun Printing with Soy WaxCreate Soy Wax Silk ScreensDeveloping Fabrics with Soy WaxSoy Wax on Silk What's included: 2.5 hours of video tutorials. The sessions have been split into 23 bitesize sessions, meaning you can navigate and watch specific sections again at ease.232-page e-book Comprehensive material list of things you will need to get started.   Access to the sessions The on-demand recordings will be available until 11:59pm (GMT) on 31 December 2021. About the Tutor: Susan Purney Mark Susan Purney Mark is a textile artist, quilt artist, and instructor. Based in British Columbia, Susan is the winner of the National Quilt Canada award for her quilt, ‘A Bridge between Equals’ which features hand dyed fabrics with a soy wax resist, stitch and screen printing.  BUY WORKSHOP