After several false starts of postponed classes & cancelled bookings, yesterday, me and my new former ‘best friend’ (aka my new sewing machine, whom I have decided, is NOT my ‘new best friend’ any more!) went off for to a class of Free Motion Embroidery, (other wise known as FME) with the amazingly talented fabric artist OLGA WALTERS. HOW INSPIRING!!! (you’d think!!) Free Motion Embroidery or FME, is, as the name suggests, machine embroidery that is quite randomly & freely stitched, in both regular & irregular patterning, over a fabric base. It is a combination of art, sewing & collage rolled into one. In this particular class, we used a fusable webbing, stuck down co-ordinated (some less co-ordinated) fabric scraps & stitched over the top. I had been SO looking forward to this, & had been collecting an array of machine embroidery threads, & images & books on the topic as I really thought with all of my colour work, knowledge of fabrics & experience as at sewing, I would take to it like a duck to water. I thought that I would save the ‘wear & tear’ on my hands using the machine & that I would be able to produce at least some moderately pleasing results, even as a first effort. Hmmmmm……I was DECIEVED & DELUSIONAL! My hand embroidery/quilting days are definitely numbered after years of handwork, & working on computers most of the day, I am definitely feeling the pain of that. ‘Handwork’ has to be saved for special occasion outfits & presents……………Olga is such an effervescent & encouraging tutor & made an incredible artform look very ‘doable’. Her work is amazingly inspiring and SO life like. OF COURSE it WASN’T doable AT ALL. I had a brand new sewing machine that I wasn’t familiar with & looked as though I started sewing yesterday as I read my instruction book to find out where everything I needed was. My thread kept breaking every 3 – 5 minutes. Theories abounded from other students & the ever helpful Olga about why this was happening……(it wasn’t happening to anyone else and the sweet lady sitting next to me had exactly the same machine as I did purchased about the same time)………first it was the brand of thread………what had I paid for it???? (As with every thing price = quality) NO, it was agreed that the thread I had was both the right thing & good quality…..was it the needle that I was using? How much had I sewn???? Was it blunt……….I was working with 2 colours, perhaps I should only work with one!……….ARGHHHHH! I spent most of the afternoon (which was supposed to be the ‘fun’ stitching part) re-threading my machine & adjusting all of the variables that could have been the problem. By the time I went home I was ready to throw my machine out of a moving vehicle!!! LOL!!! (oh AND had the debilitating revelation that I can’t thread the needle any more without glasses!) I arrived home with a megre offering of 3 ATC sized ‘Autumn Masterpieces’. I hate them all. But, for what it’s worth – here they are. This UTube clip just about sums up the day. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRBIVRwvUeE (I ‘stole’ this link from Charlene….it is SO appropriate for this post!) I must say after my anticipation of the day, I feel pretty flat this morning & hardly inspired to have another go………….this was just not happening for me! In keeping with my resolution to learn some new skills this year, I WILL have another go, I just think that I will do it a little less randomly than what we were led to believe was possible.
I am a bit of a glutton for punishment though………..NOT content with trying ONE new thing……….I am also having a go at Encaustic Painting. Any of you that know my work will realise that I can’t draw or paint to save myself, but I wanted to have a go with the ‘Byzantine Dream’ style of art that I made last weekend. Encaustic means ‘burnt in’ & basically it is pigment suspended in wax. I was amazed to find when I have been researching it a bit that there are people that actually use a small iron (YES………like you use for your clothes!) to work the wax & paint with. A-MAZING!!!! (I have to admit, the people that were saying they were using this method didn’t have anything really remarkable to show for it, but still, I guess it’s a way of using out moded household equipment! LOL!)
The artist that has inspired me the most is Molly Cliff Hilts, NOT that I could EVER produce anything like this, but her work is so SENSATIONAL………..her colours are alive, her compositions SO engaging. I love it! Her website is here: http://www.mollycliffhilts.com/ JUST for the pure pleasure of it, take a look, it is delicious!