Friday, 25 May 2018

American Museum in Britain

Today's post is a little different than usual because I'm writing about something other than myself! On Wednesday I went with family to visit the American Museum in Britain; I was given a National Art Pass for Christmas and am trying to utilise it as much as possible - the AMiB is one of their places.
whut

meeee
 The fancy gardens are being worked on at the moment so we didn't get to see a lot of those which was a shame. I did spot this rather lovely Art Deco-ey sculpture thingy though, which is maybe some kind of sundial...?

My favourite parts were the Native American costume, with all its colours and patterns:

And the Room of Many Quilts, especially this Thistle-Disguised-As-A-Pineapple quilt:
is it a thistle? is it a pineapple? you decide
And then I spotted a few hidden gems too such as this skull in a frieze:
Wallpaper that understands and celebrates the glory of corn:
Aaaand a quilted horsey!
There was of course lots more things to see as well but you will have to go and have a look yourself if you want to see any more! The current exhibition about WW1 includes a fascinating display about early plastic / corrective surgery and prosthetics and there's lots of dressing up in period costume to be done throughout the whole place. It is a joy!

My top tip for the AMiB would be that although the onsite cafe does very nice typically American food it is a little bit pricey so if you're on a budget and the weather is good enough you can take your own picnic and sit in their picnic area to eat. 
They also have two great gift shops with fantastic textiley things, gifts, cards, books etc. I tried to resist but I couldn't help buying this Kaffe Fassett ribbon, which I just loved on sight:
That's all for today! It's Dorset Art Weeks for the next three weekends, so you'll probably be hearing more from me soon.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Dorset Etsy Team Spring Fair

The past few weeks have been very busy for me as I prepare for my very first proper craft fair. It's being organised by a team of my fellow Dorset-based Etsy sellers and there will be over 60 locally based stalls there selling crafts, arts, vintage and antique goods so it all sounds very exciting indeed!
There's lots of elements for me to think about as it's my first one; such as how to present my stall, the equipment I need and packaging and marketing materials... and that's even before I've thought about all the stock that I'll need! With three days left to go I'm finally getting there, I've been checking things off my list, ironing tablecloths, etc. and I wanted to share a few of the new products I've been working on that will be featuring on my stall.

First of all there's my new stickers:
which come in two fabulous space age designs; 'Planet' and 'Cow Abduction', the latter of which is based on my original linocut, which you can also buy as a print:
Prints Drying on the Line
These black and white A4 prints will be a limited run of 50. In the above picture you can also see a glimpse of the green apple card which is another new product I will be featuring on Saturday.
Nextily (and possibly my personal favourite thing) will be my line of Temporary Tattoos:
The ideal way to look instantly cool without having to suffer all the scary bits of actually getting tattooed. As you can see, these feature the space age designs again, but also some of my animal designs; peacock, crocodile and lion and even a little apple to remember me by! Great fun for kids, adults and everyone else and super easy to use; simply cut out your chosen design, peel off the backing, stick it to your chosen body part, apply dampness and slide the fronting away to reveal your new look. No ouchies involved! These are super super limited at the moment (until the postman arrives with more), so if you like them then you'll have to grab them!

Along with those, I'll have my usual range of cards, postcards, brooches, jewellery and goodies to sell.
Fabulous Lion Badge!

Extra Super Birthday Badges!

Magic Colour Changing Goodies!
I look forward to seeing you all there, please do say hello if you're passing by. In the meantime I'll be organising myself, creating gorgeous things and planning for future exciting things!

Monday, 26 March 2018

More Threads of Narrative

Threads of Narrative is still running at Walford Mill Crafts and will be staying there until 22nd April, having been extended due to popular demand (or something)! After the original opening date was postponed due to the snow, it's great that more people will be able to see the work during the extra time. After it's finished at Walford Mill, the show will be moving on just up the road to Kingston Lacy - the last home of the Bankes family - where it will be on display for even more people to see! I'm really looking forward to seeing my work placed in the home of the family it was inspired by and will be so proud to see it there. More details of this exciting development to come!

Without further ado, here's some photos of our launch event (photos by Steve and Sarah Appleton):
Lots of people came along (thank you if you were one of them), including Jude the dog!
'My Own Darling Mummy' - Sarah Appleton
'Apron Strings' - Sarah Appleton
'Apron Strings' Detail - Sarah Appleton
'Spares' - Lisa Earley and Sarah Appleton
'Spares' - Lisa Earley and Sarah Appleton
'Spares' Detail - Lisa Earley and Sarah Appleton
'Little Hilary' - Sarah Appleton
'Threads Through Time' - Sarah Appleton and Year 6 of St. Mary's C of E Middle School, Puddletown
Lisa and I talked about our work and the commission in general:
And I even wore a blouse that I made especially for the event, which matched my work:
As you can see, I had a lovely time! The two glasses of wine helped... let's not talk about the fact that this was at 10 o' clock in the morning!!!

Friday, 2 March 2018

Threads of Narrative

I've been a bit rubbish at posting blogs so far this year, this is mainly due to finishing all the work off for the Threads of Narrative exhibition, which opens this week at Walford Mill Crafts in Wimborne. If you've missed my previous posts about this project, you can read a bit more about the beginnings here; but in a nutshell the project is a textile exhibition about the Bankes Family of Dorset.

Now all the work is complete and up I have more free time to talk about it... or at least post pictures! Here are the two main pieces I've made:
My Own Darling Mummy
This is the pink neoprene dress I posted about previously, now complete with lights, words and frills. I'm pleased with how it turned out; as with any project there are things I would have liked to have added or improved if I'd had more time, but time just trickled away with this huge commission and I had to end it somewhere! Here are a couple more pictures, I will of course take higher quality shots when the exhibition officially opens.


The dressmaking pattern is a reproduction of an original 1914 dress and I used neoprene to contrast some contemporary material with the old timey style. It also gives it a really surreal, sculptural sort of effect and almost looks like fondant cake icing... mmm... cake. I hand cut all of the letters out of neoprene to be attached onto the dress:

I also hand stitch and programme all the LED circuits and circuit board into the dress to make the lights blink on and off, I'm not sure if people realise that I do all this or if they perhaps assume that LED fairies come and do it for me, but anyway I do! So quite a lot of thought and physical work went into this piece and I'm proud of it for that. This was also the first LED piece of work that I've created which plugs into a mains plug (the others all being battery powered), which is very very exciting to me!
For another couple of pieces I designed and had some fabric digitally printed onto a plain but good quality cotton:
I used my original photos from the archive visits and some that I found online to design this piece about Hilary Bankes (not the one from Fresh Prince of Bel Air, I checked). Considering that I designed it over Christmas when I was ill with evil flu it turned out amazing and I had a lot of compliments on it; so many in fact that I ended up ordering twice as much as I originally had - one to cut up and one to keep whole. This is what I did with the one I cut up:
Yes, I turned it into some kind of mad tree apron thingy! The apron strings are overgrown and extend out into the family tree, reaching through time into all the generations. The apron pattern was another reproduction from 1911 or so, again giving it that old fashioned look with a contemporary twist on the fabric used. I was really pleased with my sewing skills for this piece of work; I chose a fabric that was very easy to work with and put a lot of effort in to making it neat and well finished.
After that I also hand painted special magic colour changing ink onto certain parts of the apron so that they change colour with heat. Click here to see what I mean. This makes the work interact with its surroundings and with anyone who is allowed to touch it!

Lisa and I were also lucky enough to get a mention in the current issue of Embroidery magazine, so many thanks to them!

That's all I shall write about for now, but you can expect more once the exhibition officially opens next week. It's running until 22nd April so if you're in Dorset you have plenty of time to see it. To close, here is a rare photo of Christine from Walford Mill hammering nails into the gallery wall!

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

I've Never Heard Of It Either...

I did some work with the Year 6 pupils at a school in Puddletown in December and the headteacher was impressed enough to mention my visit in their Parish Magazine! 

I really enjoyed making coded postcards with the kids and am looking forward to seeing them all in the exhibition this March!

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

A Christmas Update!

I haven't posted on here in quite some time due to sheer complete and utter busy-bee-ness; there are a few very good reasons for this, which I will now explain!

Gathering
The first and probably most significant is that I've been working on a huge Textile commission with artist Lisa Earley about the Bankes Family of Dorset in conjunction with Walford Mill Crafts and the Dorset History Centre. So most of my spare time has been spent researching in the archives, handling documents from as early as the 1200s, interpreting these documents into craft pieces and all the various admin that goes along with such a project. We've also been working with our local communities; making work with local school and college students as well as independent craft groups to involve the public and raise awareness of the archive. The results of this commission will be in an exhibition called 'Threads of Narrative', opening in March 2018. In the meantime you can follow our progress on Instagram: Threads of Narrative. I've never worked on a commission of this scale before, nor with such an established artist, however I'm learning a lot as I go and working with Lisa, who is infinitely patient and extremely organised, has been a real pleasure.

Another reason why you have not been hearing as much from me is that I have a new 'real job', working in the Education department of Walford Mill Crafts. I'm really enjoying it and all the various challenges that come along with the role!

Aaand in between doing those other things I have also been updating my Etsy shop with a few new things. When I looked back at my blog post from the beginning of this year, I had a sort of vague plan of refining the brand of 'me' and I'm very happy to say that I think I've followed this vague plan rather determinedly and that my style is coming along in a way I'm pleased with.
I've definitely stayed true to my weird and wonderful and completely unique aesthetic, and I'm building up a stock of work that I'm really proud of. I try to play to my strengths when I am designing my work; these are my illustrative and imaginative drawing style, my love of colour and not taking myself too seriously.



That's all for now, I have a busy start to 2018 but hopefully I'll be updating again soon. Until then, goodbye!

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Summer Sparkle!

Over the past month I've been teaching and assisting with quite a few kids craft classes as part of the summer spark program, so this post is to show off a few of the things we've been up to. A lot of these are sea themed to coincide with our current 'By The Sea' exhibition at Walford Mill Crafts. One of the first was this 'jumpin' jellyfish' workshop that I led:
These were made from the plastic dome lids of fancy smoothie cups, decorated with coloured tissue and glitter, with scraps of fabric, ribbon and yarn for tentacles and strung onto a decorative stick with elastic to make them jump up n down!
Another workshop I ran was a hand sewing workshop for 8+ year olds. Although I'd never done this before and had some reservations about how it would work, it went really well, the kids were fantastic and really enjoyed it and also made some fabulous felt sea creatures:

I gave them stencils to cut the patterns out from, but the rest of the work was all theirs! I was really proud of them because they worked hard and had great ideas, like using the buttons to decorate the turtle shell and mermaid's tail. This was definitely one of my more successful classes and I hope to run some more of these soon with a different theme.
One of the classes I ran last week was 'Painted Nautical Pebbles and Shells', for which the idea was to paint a tiny scene onto a pebble or shell and create a mini work of art. Some of the kids 'got' this idea more than others:




But even the lesser-decorated versions came away looking pretty nice:


So all in all it was another successful class! Kids can sometimes do really cool looking arty things without even trying too, like this mixed up paint pallet:
Another little activity I set up for our exhibition was this kid's corner:
 I painted / collaged the under sea scene and put together some materials for visiting kids to add fish and other creatures to it. So far there's been a few contributions:
I'll try and remember to take another photo when the exhibition ends in september. Although I'm enjoying all the different crafty activities I've been doing, teaching is very tiring and I've got a newfound respect for anyone who can manage it full time! 'Real' teachers must be made of steel!
That's it for now, more updates soon!