For centuries women have used cloth as a tool of comfort and as an expression of beauty within their homes. Creating cloth for warmth, cloth for shelter, our female predecessors embellished these linens with hand stitch using laborious and time consuming techniques thereby enhancing the functional beauty of objects which enveloped and protected their families. Inspired by these women I hope my creations pay tribute to and recognise the devotion expressed in cloth by our female ancestors .







''the use of traditional often time consuming process alludes to the devotion of a mother''. c K. A. Ruane 2007







Wednesday, May 26, 2010

patching, piecing and embellishing whilst chewing Thorntons toffee and mourning the demise of my iron!!

I can't quite believe that I am sad at the loss of my iron. I view that particular piece of household equipment as an instrument of torture. It must be the £30 it cost to replace it that makes me sad. My plans for a mammoth ironing session were scuppered last time I wrote so now I have been forced to part with my cash and I still have the ironing to come. Why do I feel as if I am being punished?? At least the iron has it's uses in fabric preperation, I will hold on to that thought instead. It's a good job I am not delivering this babble verbally too. My teeth are welded together with Thorntons toffee, a gift for my birthday. My son bought it for me. I am begining to wonder if it was a crafty way to shut me up, render me speechless! It is nice though, chew, chew, chew...... aching jaw.
You don't need jaws to sew though so there has still been plenty of that going on. I finished my latest crazy patchwork piece and it's now in the shop. The heads of the large round flowers are my painted cotton, you know, the one hand painted by moi, cut up and appliqued. This is truly a hand made piece now with the inclusion of that fabric. No vintage cut up or anything. I feel a kind of satisfaction knowing I created the decorative bit myself! and dont the tiny gingham beads look cute. (there was a time when I would have been horrified if anyone described my work as cute but it's o.k. if it's me that's doing it!!)

this piece is finished too, well almost finished. It's for an order for a purse and I await the arrival of my purse frames with more in the making as we speak. What do you think Ingrid?



I have been getting a lot of feedback/information/input about my books. I have been asked if I am selling the one I embellished. It has been suggested that people may want me to sell embellished books like the one in my mini show and tell. I have seen what some of you can do with my books. Look at this, Gina has really gone to town on hers and it's wonderful. There are two ladies in America on their second book. I had an e-mail from another customer saying that my book was the most beautiful thing she has ever owned and another e-mail saying that this customer was going to add to my book and give it to her mother for a special birthday. What can I say....well please don't be scared of my work. I don't create to frighten people. I create because I love to create, it's a passion, a truly great way to spend my time. I know that most people who buy my work get real pleasure from owning it so I really don't want anyone to be scared of it. If you add something to it you are putting a little piece of yourself in there alongside the huge piece of me that goes into everything I make. That brings me to the book I embellished for my show and tell. I don't know if I could sell it. For one thing it took such a long time the price would have to be high, then there is the way I feel about it personally. It is special to me, really special and I could also maybe use it again. So I suppose I have answered the question there, I couldn't sell it.
I would consider making a custom embellished book. One that started it's life for someone else, to their specifications but as I said it would be impossible to do ''on the cheap''.
As a last thought I want to say that buying a book doesn't bind you to doing anything to it. There is no pre condition that you have to go near it with pen or paint. It will be yours to do what you will. Whether that's nothing or something is entirely up to you. I feel another show and tell coming on on how to embellish in a non permanent way, without pen, pencil or paint. Watch this space.....better do the ironing first though!

9 comments:

Gina said...

Thanks for the mention Karen. As someone who owns a few pieces of your work now I must say each one gives me a lot of pleasure. There has been no more progress in my book but there will be!

linda said...

Wow, your stitching is wonderful...your work is so inspiring and just makes me happy! Thanks for sharing...going to check out your shop now!

Miss 376 said...

I think Gina has really complimented your stitching well in your book. Ironing is one chore I tend to do most days, I hate ironing and it would make me cry if I had a huge mountain of it.

Amelia said...

I can't bear to 'add' to your book i bought although I probably should. I, like others it sounds, like the idea of buying an artists book all ready made up and finished like the one's you've embellished . . . I want more . . . .

Hope you get things with your iron, ironed out ;0 and not too much toffee now - before it ends up in one of your books! :)

Amelia.x

deanna7trees said...

I spent a couple of hours with your little book this morning but I'm not nearly finished adding to it. Enjoying the process.
I own 2 irons just in case one dies. Can't be without an iron.

Rachel said...

Thanks for giving me a giggle - the idea of aching jaws from chewing toffee! - I know just what that's like!
And then someone always makes you laugh when your teeth are clamped shut!

meri said...

Lovely books, Karen! I hope you are well too. For now I'm fine :)

Kayla coo said...

Beautiful,delicate stitching.x

Tammie Lee said...

I love the piece you made for a purse.
I am just wondering, if you priced your book at a price that made you happy to sell it, well you never know, it might just sell. Or make another with this in mind....