A fabric digression.

During my breaks from stewarding the Art Textiles:Made in Britain gallery at the Festival of Quilts last month, I found myself buying patterned fabric. This was unusual, as I don’t use patterned commercial fabric, and I had decided at the start of the show that there was nothing I really needed to buy.

Well, the part of my brain that made those somewhat flimsy but sensible decisions, and the part of my brain that just changes all such plans and does whatever it wants to never seem to actually join up, so I came home with a small but satisfying stash of new fabrics. These will be used in conjunction with my acrylic painted and printed fabric, and now the maverick brain is enjoying itself and coming up with some ideas for new work.


So here’s a little run through of the fabric. It was actually wonderful and necessary therapy buying it, as was being at the show. These cottons above remind me of some of the rich jewel tones found in illustrated manuscripts, so that may be the direction in which the new work will move.


I also liked these linens. I’ll undoubtedly use them with my painted and printed fabrics; there’s some acrylic painted calico and black cotton here, and a tiny piece of green – grey acrylic printed cloth.


Some Swedish linen threads, also with indigo and hemp fabrics from the Burmese Aid Charity stand.


And some African fabrics from The Gambia, dyed with kola nut and indigo.


Trying out some combinations here. Linen and hemp fabric, gem stone beads, patterned Indian fabric from my collection. I love playing around with this sort of exercise, it’s both good fun and creatively useful.


More experimenting with patterned and painted fabric combos, with wooden beads and gem stone beads.


Trying out some mulberry bark too.


Black fabric printed with a thermofax screen, and some gorgeous African glass beads.


Some simple neutrals.


Cotton, gemstone beads, acrylic painted fabric and mulberry bark.


Cotton, painted fabric, wooden beads, mulberry bark.

So a sort of decision may have been made, in that I would like to use these in conjunction with acrylic painted and printed fabrics, using illustrated manuscripts as a stimulus. It will almost certainly be an artist’s book.

With that in mind, I scrolled through some images on my computer, just seeing what spoke to me. Here are some of them, starting with seven images of  Wales taken on various holidays. Don’t worry, I know they don’t relate to the fabric colours in a particularly consistent way, except for the red boat; it’s more about shapes, illustration and emotion.





Moms 109

Moms 117

Moms 092

I’ve used the beach and pebble images in pieces before, but have long wanted to use my other images of Wales; I have many more…

And a few other images I would like to work with, chosen just because they seem right. Still quite stoney, except for the plant at the end, which I like for its flower shapes.

IMG_0257 IMG_2095 IMG_0892 IMG_0656 IMG_0379

For images of the Art Textiles: Made in Britain gallery, click on the link in the list to the right.

11 thoughts on “A fabric digression.

  1. Beautiful fabrics Steph. I have bits of all those I think still waiting to be used. Just keep buying and loving. Now must use in beautiful ways. You have given me inspiration to get goiung.

    1. Thanks Vicki. It’s good and necessary to have gorgeous fabrics and threads around for inspiration and as a stimulus for new ideas isn’t it? I hope you can get going with some new work. I’ve nailed my colours to the mast now in this blog post, so I have to get going now, no excuses.

    1. Yes, it seems to be the nature of creativity, letting that part of the brain have its way. I have read an article, or it may have been a book review discussing our ‘multiple’ brains and their different functions. Unfortunately the brain that’s supposed to remember stuff is not as tuned up as it should be, so I need to read up on it again.

  2. Fabulous fabric and bead choices, I have loads of those glass beads and I know someone else who bought the linen yarns which are just beautiful. Love all your photos as well.

  3. Many thanks Debbie. I have quite a few of the beads, bought them a few years ago, and have never used them. They may be too big for a book page but I hope to include them somewhere. When I bought the linen fabrics I went into linen mode, so when I came across theSwedish linen stand there was no chance I wasn’t going to buy some.

  4. I would like to get inside your head and watch your thought processes bump into each other and spark off all these wonderful ideas. Illuminated manuscripts sounds like an intriguing area to develop. Lettering, typography and the chance to get graphic. Can’t wait to see what book emerges here!!

  5. Ah, thanks Lesley. I won’t have any real idea of the way things are going until I actually just get started, but I am looking forward to planning and making the pages, and thinking about the text. There are so many images on the internet too, so plenty to be inspired by.

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