|Welcome to December, and the first snow flurries over the weekend. I’m glad to say I was wrapped up warm inside, looking out on the cold white scenes outside. The COVID news seems to get worse every day, with the emergence of Omicron (sounds like an alien invasion doesn’t it?) but my booster is booked for this weekend. I survived my husband’s recent COVID infection so my immune system seems to be working, but I’m sure it could do with a top up.|
Having been nursemaid to my sick husband in October, it has been his turn during November. Some of you may be aware that I fell off a stepladder (while tidying up my fabric stash) and severely sprained my knee and bruised my coccyx. Sound painful but it doesn’t encompass the myriad of other small strains and bruising that made absolutely everything difficult. Nurse Nicki had to bring a bed downstairs for me, wait on me hand and foot, drive me to doctor and physio appointments and do all the shopping and cooking, while still suffering through post viral fatigue. He’s been a real brick, but not necessarily a compassionate one. That has been the forte of all my visitors, who endlessly turn up to amuse me and raise my spirits. I’m so grateful to belong to such a fabulous textile community of mutual support and shared interests. I think COVID has taught us to treasure those around us and to forge links where we can. My WhatsApp groups have been fantastic, standing in for classes I haven’t been able to teach. Luckily I am finally making progress and can do more for myself. Hopefully next week I might be driving again.
Meanwhile, I’ve spent some time doing some research and hearing about interesting things.
Anne Bruntlett has sent me this link with some super examples of fabric books:
I think I might have found my next obsession!
Viv, our Chair, sent out some suggested Leicester-based exhibitions to members last month, but they have finished now. Likewise, the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate, which I had to miss. However, one Leicester-based exhibition I will definitely get to is:
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience at Leicester All Saints Church
Have you ever dreamt of stepping into a painting? To become completely immersed in the work before you, making reality around you fade into the new world created by the artist? This is where you can!
It has been on for a few weeks but is now extending booking until 31st March 2022. Booking is required but there is plenty of space at the moment. A friend went recently and loved it. Huge galleries of giant images create a really immersive feeling and, at the end, you can take an optional Virtual Reality experience to go with it. (Seated in a chair, not lurching blindly round the room).
Visit ArtFund – www.artfund.org – to find out about exhibitions and galleries around the country, and to read and see articles about what’s currently going on, indoors and outdoors, in the art world.
Join textile artist and writer Claire Wellsley-Smith as part of the Fashion and Textile Museum’s programme of on demand events. Claire discusses her new book Resilient Stitch: Wellbeing and Connection in Textile Art, in a pre-recorded conversation. The recording lasts about an hour and costs £5. Then you can treat yourself to her book or put it on your Christmas list.
Enforced rest has meant a lot of lying on the sofa watching TV. I started a Now subscription and have been enjoying Sky Arts Portrait and Landscape Artist of the Year re-runs. So fabulous to watch creative people capturing likenesses and views in so many different ways. Mainly paint, of course, but also stitch, lino cut, crayons, etc.
I’ve enjoyed Bake Off and Handmade, which have concluded now, but I hear that there will be two celebrity Great British Sewing Bee Festive Specials over the winter, so we have those to look forward to. They will have a new host, Sarah Pascoe, as Joe Lycett has stepped down. I’m expecting she will be a good host. I’ve become quite familiar with her comedy, having watched quite a lot of Taskmaster while laid up.
I’ve also become addicted to You Tube’s series of Haute Couture videos. Yesterday I spent nearly an hour watching the construction of Dior’s iconic red Bar coat, in mind blowing detail.
Truly marvellous engineering, such talent and understanding of drape and construction, perfection in sewing , tacking, etc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAXksLhLFAA.
You Tube’s Haute Couture also shows the runway shows from recent collections and lots of other detailed classic costume creations. Well worth a look.
I also love to check out Collosal (https://www.thisiscolossal.com/) – an arts and crafts images website full of fantastic inspiration and ideas. I’ve subscribed (free) which means I get sent a daily image, which I often set as a background on my computer screen. Here’s a crochet piece by Jo Hamilton, one of their featured artists.
When it comes to Christmas ideas, I was going to research lots of little things to put on your lists, but sadly my ability to sit at a computer was restricted, so here are some more books I fancy.
Textiles Transformed. Mandy Patullo uses vintage textiles and stitch to create gorgeous little pieces to treasure. I’ve done several classes and even been on a week’s retreat with her in France, enjoying the pleasure of slow stitching. I know I will love this book and all the images.
How To Be Creative in Textile Art. I don’t know anything about this book, I’ve not seen a copy, but I love Julia Triston’s work, so that’s good enough for me. I have attended one of her talks and done a workshop with her and she is a creative and inspiring teacher.
Last year I subscribed to a treat from Aurifil Threads. Each month I get a box of three 50wt threads on their 1300mtr cones in toning colours. I also took the plunge and subscribed to the 40wt threads too. I intend to phase out most of my other threads as Aurifil are just so yummy and have a huge colour range. The colours glow, the thread doesn’t fluff and it moves through the sewing machine like a dream.
I get my subscription from debsfabrics.com but they are also available from Cottonpatch.co.uk and other fabric and thread retailers. 2022 also features a variegated version, but I like Superior Threads King Tut or Wonderfil for variegated machine threads, as their colour gradations are so subtle.
Date for your diary:
Living Threads Exhibition, Trent College, Wednesday 30th March – Friday 8th April 2022. Start spreading the news…!
Any more reviews or New Year suggestions are very welcome, as I’m sure readers would appreciate some ideas and inspiration for 2022!. Please send them to me via the Living Threads email address: email@example.com or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone please enjoy the season and keep creating.