Order and chaos.

I’ve been working with some of the new fabrics I printed and painted a couple of weeks ago during the Open Studio event at the Bramble Patch in Northamptonshire. It was very enjoyable to trawl through the fabrics, and I was pleased that the Setacolour I used for printing with my thermofax screens had become even crisper and more defined as it had cured over a few days.

The main problem is with some of these fabrics is that I don’t want to cut them up; this is a pest as my work is based upon cutting fabric and paper up, to basically make collage to which I add stitching. I’m working on a new way of treating these pieces, but one or two others have been sort of partially cut up. I have been making some new work that will be part of a new artist’s book, but in the meantime will also be earning its keep as samples for a series of courses I am teaching over the next couple of weeks, based upon pattern and the use of simple shapes, repeated within a space.

I love images of peoples’ messy studios, so here are a couple of my work area, when everything was out and being sorted through. I do have the habit of having several ideas [ which of course I think are all marvellous at the time ] as I go through fabric, and bundling the relevant pieces up, thus producing enough possible projects to keep me going for quite a few years. I’ll never learn.

DSC_0115The trouble is when you cover all the available surfaces, there’s nowhere else to go. There was stuff on the sofa, a chair and the top of a long box I keep quilts in too.

DSC_0116It took me ages to sort it and decide what to use. I had a good old de clutter of fabric earlier this year, so at least there is a bit of space to keep the new stuff, but room for more is at a premium. My daughter is getting into digital art and I can see the attraction. Below are a few of the new fabrics, they need ironing, sorry about that.











DSC_0111These two chaps seem to crop up in a lot of the work, and I thought I was using a big variety of screens. I think you just get paint left on the screen and carry on using it up, starting a new piece, then having to add more paint to finish that piece.

DSC_0114I chose this fabric, with some others, to make a page for the book, and as a sample in pattern, or at least the way I use pattern. It wasn’t the best piece to leave as a whole cloth, so cut up was an ideal background.

DSC_0127Here is the completed piece; I added applique birds and other shapes, and it will be machine and hand stitched. Its about 70 x 50 cm.

DSC_0125This is its companion piece, they will probably be opposite each other in the book, as a double page spread.

DSC_0129And this is another piece I made, putting appliqué shapes onto a whole cloth printed background. This is 80 x 40 cm.

I’ve just finished this piece too; its making and how I made it will be featured in Maggie Grey’s Workshop on the Web.

DSC_0086It’s 75 x 35 cm.

To finish, phew, there are a lot of images here, are some other sample pieces to take to the pattern courses. Some have been around for a couple of years, but I’ve backed them and will actually get around to stitching them next week.

The first, below, is a new one though, which is constructed on 20 x 20 cm squares of black felt, using a mix of printed fabrics and mixed media, such as papers and metal, so this will do nicely for the pattern course and a mixed media course that’s coming up soon too. Just need to get on with stitching it…

DSC_0120And these pieces are older revitalised work, or repurposed, as is said, these days.






Coming soon, more mess; I’ve just photographed the early stages of the construction of another double page spread for the book, before and after I sorted the pile of ‘useful’ stuff I had hoarded for such an occasion. Digital art, bring it on.

15 thoughts on “Order and chaos.

  1. I love love love the turtles and birds…and the studio. I try ever so hard to keep an organised space but chaos soon reigns. I love my shed. Nobody but me and our grandsons work in it and we all have a ball. Congratulations on achieving so much! Are you the old sock Hilary refers to?!

    1. I love it when it’s tidy but work and tidy don’ t go together around here. Your shed sounds like fun, I want one! I am that very sock Bonnie; thanks for the lovely compliments too.

  2. Wow seems to be an adjective I keep using when I see your work. It is so interesting to see the development of pieces that I had seen the “birth” of so to speak (at your open studio)! Many thanks for the inspiration and sharing your ideas. Love the chaos in your workroom, it is vey reassuring!

  3. Stephanie, love your blog! Do you fuse applique images in place and/or stitch or a combination of both?

    1. Hi Leslie, I use Bondaweb for most fabrics, and acrylic medium as a it’s a good fast drying and strong glue, for some papers, metals, and other media. I like everything to be in place before I start stitching.

  4. Wow .. you’ve been busy.
    I really love the star fish and spiral/shell design.
    I’m also delighted to see that other people work in the same environment as me! There must be something about being surrounded by lovely fabric that brings out the best in us all. (That the line I’m sticking to!)

    1. It is great to have fabrics that inspire you; I have a fair amount of failures that I can use in other ways too, cutting them up etc. I could use more space, to be truthful, but the mess would just spread further!

      I hope I’ve loaded everyone’s comments, we are having trouble with our Internet. We have had bt infinity installed, and quite frankly it’s been a very bad idea…

  5. Really interesting post Steph thank you! It’s always grand to have a nosey at a workspace! Love all the prints – such a vivacious mix, but you have now given me a mind worm, as I was pondering on a possible link between birds and turtles, then some of your appliqued birds began appear to me to have a piscine quality, so now I am deep in thought on evolution and the branches that birds and turtles share (if any) – Oh how I miss my Arthur Mee’s Children’s Encyclopedias!

    1. Hi George, a quick glance at the tree of life leads me to think turtles came first; I used to have a fantastic poster that made everything very clear, must look for it, it used to be on the wall in my old studio.

  6. Totally fabbo colourful pics old sock(just for Bonnie!) ……. It’s good to see you keeping the black back. Am sending this from iPad so may be dodgy … Hope Internet working props now xxxx

    1. Hi Hils, you’re there then, good, hope the talk goes/went well, depending upon when you read this, or not. Internet is rubbish, this is a rare window when it’s working, quick typing necessary. Good day out today xxx Old Sock

      NB to those reading, if your internet works ok, do not let BT tell you that Infinity is fantastic and you should have it. Unless you want weeks of trouble, that is, and the possibility they will NEVER GET IT WORKING PROPERLY EVER AGAIN .

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