Tools of the trade…

A few weeks back, when the Discover Original Art group was discussing our upcoming exhibition in November, it was suggested that we each share online, details about the tools and materials we use to make our art.

I loved this idea, because there’s nothing I like better than having a nose about other artists’ studios, seeing what they use to create their work: imagine the fascinating tools used by printers, glass makers, stone carvers, oil painters, mixed-media artists, eco-printers!

I was just happily nodding away, when it dawned on me, that my own tools of the trade were somewhat less exciting – in fact I did spend a few minutes wondering if it was possible to write a whole post about needles…

But then, there is surely beauty of a kind, in the simple, the mundane?

So although I can’t offer you the oooh factor of printing-presses or kilns – here are my particular tools of the trade…

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Big and thick, short and thin, but all with a large hole and a blunt tip…tapestry needles

It took me a long time to realise just how much difference using the right size for the job would make – duh!

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I would like to hug the person who invented the R & R Craft Frames – for me, the number one choice every time… which is not to say I don’t occasionally use others, but well, the flexibility of the R & R suits my stitching style.

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The floor-stand gets a lot of use, but so do my knees, the steering-wheel (followers on Twitter will know what I mean) and the edge of tables – all depends on my mood and where I’m stitching at the time…

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Loose-weave canvas: linen scrim, cotton crash – you name it, if it’s loose-weave, small holes, and reasonably robust, I’ll give it a go…

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Don’t think of them as yarns or threads, think of them as a paints – that you can stroke…

And last, but not least…

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Without which, nothing would be possible ❤

 

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New Friends…

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I had the great pleasure of visiting Fibre East last weekend at Ampthill, Bedfordshire – happily for me, very close to home.

Not usually the sort of person who enjoys big events, I was persuaded to go by the lovely lady at Art Van Go, who mentioned it in passing to me, the last time I was over in Knebworth.

We had been discussing the difficulty of finding the range of yarns we wanted locally and the demise of shops selling any worthwhile selection of tapestry threads.

And so off I went to Ampthill, armed with high hopes and a fairly bulging purse.

What a brilliant day I had! I was delighted to find that Fibre East was big enough to have a fabulous choice of suppliers, but not so huge that you couldn’t get up close and personal with the yarns and have a good talk with the stall-holders.

For me, one of the most fabulous things about becoming serious about textile art, has been discovering a whole new group of people, many artisans or very small business owners, who are producing an amazing range of threads. Access to such a variety of colours and textures is what has transformed my version of needlepoint/embroidery to the art practice it is, so I was enormously pleased to see so much variety available from people who all seemed to be passionate about their products.

It was also a pleasure to be able to touch and test out so many silks, wools, cottons and linens. Most of my purchases are made online these days, and although this works well enough, there’s nothing quite like being able to stroke the threads, and see for yourself their true colours.

One of my main objectives, was to identify suppliers that I could go back to online, throughout the year, knowing that they had yarns, strong enough for me to use for my canvas embroideries.

Of course, there were far more goodies than my purse could cope with, and so feeling a little like the woman who goes to the rescue home for dogs and wishes she could bring them all home with her, I had the horrible job of deciding which ones to bring away with me. There were many I left behind – I know there were lots of other kind-hearts/yarn-junkies, doing their own bit to re-home the entire stock, so not too guilty! And I have noted a number of people who although I didn’t buy from at Ampthill, I expect to go back to at some point.

But for the record (and as a reminder for me too) – these are the champion suppliers whose threads are even now being stitched into my latest tapestry…

Black Bat – http://www.blackbat.co.uk  – Exquisite natural woollen yarns – the lace weight Wensleydale works wonderfully as a tapestry thread!

Weavers Bazaar – http://www.weaversbazaar.com All the colours I wanted in worsted…

Midwinter Yarns – http://www.midwinteryarns.com I went a bit goo-goo over the coloured linens.

Namolio – http://www.namolio.com Another wonderful range of linens – already using these…

Whimzy – http://www.whimsy.co.ukIrresistible colours and the lovely Ling!

Thank you’s to all the stall-holders who made the event so fabulous – especially as the second day, it rained so heavily – you’re doing a wonderful job, and this textile artist for one, is very grateful x