Pandemic Treat Workshop – Sue Stone

This week’s interesting workshop was presented by Sue Stone, one of the UK’s foremost textile artists, well known for her portraits and other works using principally hand stitch.

The video, workbook and inspiration booklet were all very inspiring. The class project was designed to encourage us to search out and repurpose fabrics from used garments or other sources, including garments/textiles with a history of something significant to us. I’m always in favour of using what’s around for workshops, if at all possible, rather than buy new stuff for each one. While watching the video I remembered some old textiles I have including one or two things of Gran’s. I found one of them to be a white-on-white embroidered front panel of what had been a laundry bag – the clue being “Laundry” stitched in flowing script across the front. Hand printed in indian ink on the inside of the hem was my grandmother’s maiden name – ‘M.I. Scott’.

The first part of the project was to construct a fabric background from several printed fabrics, cut or torn into strips of varying width. These were woven together and pinned or stitched onto a backing piece about A4 size or smaller. This in itself is an interesting idea, and I asked Sue what size was the largest woven background she’s ever done – she said about 1.5m x 1.2m or so, so it is a technique that might have some potential some time.

The second part of the project was to stitch the outline of an object or a figure onto that, giving a nice ethereal effect of the figure floating against the background. I drew this figure from the memory of an early photo I have (in storage) of Gran holding me, aged about 2. The idea is to do lots of stitch along the strip borders, with some infilling stitch highlighting parts of the patterns on the print.

You can see strips of the white-on-white embroidery from Gran’s linen bag with my other fabrics. But it turned out that the rooster fabric was not colour fast, as even after just this small amount of stitching, already greeny-black colour was rubbing off onto the white fabric. Because of that and other problems, I won’t finish this piece; but I still have the drawing, and will repeat it with a different background. Or I could wash some of that rooster fabric and use it again …

This workshop was fun and some wonderful pieces were produced.

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