Friday, 9 December 2011

Why I'm Looking Forward to TAST 2012

If you haven't heard that Sharon B from Pin Tangle is re-running Take a Stitch on Tuesday next year, then where have you been??!=)  Umpteen stitching bloggers have posted about it already, but in case you've missed it, then here's the challenge home page and there's also a permanent link to it in my sidebar.

So, there'll be a different stitch posted and demonstrated each Tuesday, giving a whopping great 550 (and increasing) stitchers the chance to learn new skills and find new points of departure for old ones.  For some, almost every stitch will be a new challenge as they're new to surface work.  Others will revisit old friends and make new and yet others will just join in for consolidation and fun.  I fall into the middle group really as I have a passable repertoire, but still have plenty to learn and discover.

What I'm really looking forward to about it is not actually the learning of new stitches - as I have a number of stitch guides and I learn stuff here and there when working new styles/designs etc and that's fine.  I suppose I learn what I need to as and when I need it.  For me, the big thing is a bit beyond that -more into creative design and usage of the stitches covered.  In effect, I'm looking at it as a sort of City & Guilds samples project revisited.  Throughout this posting, you can see some of the small pieces I did whilst working on the City & Guilds level 3 certificate in embroidery, (which I, sadly, wasn't able to finish) and you may have seen already on my C&G page here.

Working through the design module and samples project, we had five design elements and five major themes, broken down into smaller areas each time and a type of work and/or number of stitches learned with which we were to interpret our designs.  To make that clearer, the syllabus requires that you cover line, colour, shape, form and texture.  Our teacher chose big themes for each area, so line was living creatures, colour was gardens and flowers, texture was buildings, shape was Art Nouveau and form was landforms.  Each week we then had a smaller area to produce some artwork and a design from which we would then interpret in textiles and suitable stitches.  Here you see my shell as part of the line module interpreted in linear stitches.  Above are samples from the colour section, one topic being flower borders, which was then worked in knot stitches on painted silk and other was hedgerows being worked with broderie anglaise stitches.

What I'm trying to say here is that I would like to do something like that again.  I think it will take a few weeks of the challenge to see how well it can be achieved as I don't know how much can be done in this way with just one major stitch (although there's no reason why one can't use others to support it, as long as the main TAST stitch of the week is the central thing, no?), and I'll have to chose my own themes and topics, which could lead to less creativity in that I may just settle for the easy option instead of challenging myself like the C&G classes did.  The sample you see here is a section of snakeskin done in loom bead-weaving!  I was rather disappointed when I went to the local C&G micro-centre last summer to see their exhibitions and could see none of the obvious design inspiration that I was used to from my old course.  Everything looked like shapeless masses of stitches instead of resembling something and that just wasn't what I wanted...=(

I also want to use more of the lovely fabric colouring things I bought for the C&G course, such as these silk paints, fabric paints and dyes.  I also have watercolour paints, which Kit Nicol (amongst others) uses in her pieces to colour her backgrounds, and some Derwent Inktense pencils, which can be used in a similar way to silk paints and dyes.

Here's something quite novel that I thought would make an interesting fabric colouring method.  Can you tell what it is?  To the left is the matte palette and on the right are the shimmer shades

Yes, you're right!  It is, indeed, eye-shadow!  And look at all those useful brown and green shades!  I got these two palettes on e-bay and, aside from the feeling that they could have made more of the 88 shades they had (given a better spectrum, and certainly fewer greens!!!), I love them and am keen to put them to other uses than what they were originally designed for - although I like them as make-up as well.=)  Despite being quite cheap, Chinese made products, they're actually quite good and, with a layer of primer, last surprisingly well and have plenty of pigment so give a good colour pay off.  Not that I've been brave enough to use that vibrant emerald green on my eyes...

Speaking of things Chinese, I'll leave you with this wonderful example of Oriental initiative and multi-tasking.  Here's one of our Chinese friends, Yufei, selecting from the menu, whilst balancing her 4 month old son's bottle with her chin.=)  Priceless, isn't it??

And it's snowing.....

Of course, by the time I'd finished the fine-tuning of this posting, the snow had stopped and the sun came out!!!=)  Never let it be said that British weather is monotonous!

© Elizabeth Braun 2011


Rachel said...

You might find it worth selecting one big theme for your explorations, as I suspect that will increase the challenge with each passing week.

I think you must have had a particularly good C&G teacher as all the work I have seen has tended to be incoherent..

Jules said...

I'm looking forward to it too and hope it will stretch me creatively. It will be fun too! Yummy eyeshadows btw!:)

Maggi said...

I too am looking forward to it. Ingenious use for eye shadow. I thought at first that they were twinkling H2Os.

Rachel Cotterill said...

Sounds really fun - I'll be interested to see what you come up with, and what the different stitches are :)