Saturday, 25 July 2015

Sycamore key

Some people aren't happy to have these in their garden but I love them. I used some lovely subtle shades from Weeks Dye Works for this piece, the small changes in shade are perfect for something that was always going to be tricky !! I am still trying to work out how to put veining into stumpwork without it looking heavy so I tried to suggest it with colour and technique. The wings of this seedpod I made in single strand corded brussels stitch so that it was very fine. To give a hint of veining I freestyled a bit with the rows as I went, sometimes starting mid row and then again in mid row so to fan the rows out.

This technique meant that I avoided stripes in the colour of the thread as it moved from one shade to the next and instead gave it natural patches of colour. 
   For the seed pod section I tried hanging the stitches off a pre-buttonholed strand so as to retain a ridge for the vein. It sort of worked!!!

I had to take the work off the cordonnet pad to flip it over and make the pod cases . I used the same stitch but built 'up' and around to make a small cavity for a real seed to fit into ! (this is to scale )

Before I sewed the last row I put the seed in ...

For the second pod I wanted it to look as if the seed had already fired out. I did some tiny ghiordes knots inside and then furred them out with a pin...

and then built up the open pod case as before.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Moth assembly kit

How to make a moth.......

 You will need: 1 undercarriage with wings in needlelace,
                          1 small wing in needlelace,
                          1 furry body in ghiordes knot stitch
                                      ( with feather antennae)
                          6 furry legs.

 Make the furry body with very dense stitches and learn how to tie flies.......

 Spend weeks making a wired segmented undercarriage with patterned wings,

                       Attach everything together and teach him to walk.....

One tame moth.

Release him to join his friends...

'feel pleased with yourself !

This is the last moth (and the largest at 6cm long) for this piece entitled 'Lachrimae Rerum ' ( The Tears of Things) . I'm nearly finished, only  a couple more things to make and add. Every time I think it's done I realise there is some more I can do.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Reeds, beeswax and steel

My next course at West Dean is about the different construction techniques used in making corsets. It will cover hand stitched boning channels for 17th C. corsets, how to wax and insert reeds for stiffening plus steel boning, making eyelets and lacing all the way to 1890!
The stitching will begin on the 17th of July and booking will close soon as there are limited places on this course.

p.s. website all sorted out !

Thursday, 11 June 2015


  This post may seem a little out of context from my usual...... I wrote a little while back about some boots that I had designed for my degree graduation catwalk show, hooves in fact. Well since that post I received an email from the V&A no less to say that not only had they got a pair in their new show, they were also pleased to say that they had accepted them into the permanent collection !!!!!! A huge honour for me, especially as I have always considered it to be my second home and temple of inspiration.
   The fashion collection that they were designed for was made to celebrate the power of feminine beauty without objectifying it. The height of the boots also gave the wearer superhero proportions (1:9 instead of 1:8) and did they look good when you walked in them! It is with some irony that I noticed that those that the museum have are one of the few mens' pairs that were made.
  The exhibition is on for six months.

(photo from Drapers Record 1991)

Sunday, 31 May 2015


'having an attack of the gremlins on my website at the moment but it appears you can still visit   'good old Dad !

update 1.6.15...gremlins being moved on and site getting an update in time for some big news !!!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015


  My desk has been full of equipment just so that I can see to embroider these clover leaves! I had some lovely embroidery silks which are no longer in production so I wanted them used on something special. I worked on a type of silk fabric called 'paper silk' which is very fine but robust because I wanted to make an embroidered page to slip into one of the books on this piece. After the embroidery I wanted dew on the leaves but it can be a bit tricky with something like this as the scale and shape of the beads can ruin it if they are wrong...I hope I got it right! I used tiny miyuki seed beads and a few of the smallest magatama beads that I could get.

 Here they are off the hoop and ironed (carefully),then trimmed down, a little edge stitching and then pinned into place with black entomology pins. As I put them in place I found that the page I had chosen gave a lovely description by Herman Melville of an elaborate tattoo of leaves.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Art Workers Guild

 This is a picture of the hall at the Art Workers Guild of which I am a member, or brother as we are known to each other !!! Under the busts at the top of the picture runs a name board with everyone's name from the start over one hundred years ago, my name is up there too! (William Morris is the man in the middle). This Friday we are opening our doors to the public as part of London Craft Week and I will be demonstrating...probably part of a big piece that I'm working on at the moment...


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