The Scrapbook collective was orgainised by Helen Birmingham , from Untangled Threads.
It was a big project, started in 2019, finally completed by me in 2021. Along the way there has been the pandemic which put paid to the exhibiton these books were to appear in November 2020 at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show. They may or may not have their chance to shine in 2021. From my point of view it has been a massive undertaking, probably bigger than I anticpated, and not helped by a house move and two failed house moves- but that’s life, it happens. I’m writing this post to try to order my thoughts and think about what next.
I had always wondered what the term mixed media means, and I certainly have a clearer idea with several of the packs introducing me to completely new things.
I also wanted to find out what inspired me, and yes I have a much clearer idea of that too.
There was the chance to undertake a second year of these projects, but after careful reflection I prefer now to try to find my own voice. Time alone will tell.
The project began with a starter kit , to get us used to slow stitching, and to give a flavour of the packs to come. Each pack contained full instructions and the materials needed to complete the work. Online videos were provided to supplement the instructions- password protected.
Slow stitching- right hand page.
Each technique has two parts- one where you are learning, and the second where you compose a piece using the technique, and building on the ones that have gone before. So the double page spreads- are left side, original work, right side practice piece. They are mounted onto a page which holds a pocket- either for other sample pieces, but in my case I shall keep the teaching materials that came with the relevant pack.
I enjoyed the starter pack enormously, especially making a collage using the materials provided- the sea is one of my favourite subjects for stitch.
The first proper pack for the book was called Texture, and we learned how to create texture using different stitches and threads. I really enjoyed this page.
I loved stitching the collages – my pack neatly divided into two colours- the top one was my reaction to the heather which blooms during August on the North Yorkshire Moors, the bottom one, sunsets. Heather and Sunsets never fail to inspire me. At the time I was really pleased with the two collages, now less so.. not sure why.
Next up was Pleats- I loathed this box. I don’t do well with careful measuring and folding, but I managed it, and consequently feel quite pleased with the results.
The second part of the pleats box was to create a framed picture- I went with a woodland scene and the sides looked so like a stage setting I added a pleated curtain- I’m still quite pleased with this page.
The next box had us dyeing fabric- this was my rust dyed piece. The rust marks reminded me of a Big Pit in South Wales, formerly a coal pit, now a living museum- I went with a death and decay look- still love this page.
I like the simplicity of the turquoise fabric- one of my very favourite colours. As a technique it was one of the scarier ones, involving chemicals and dire warnings, but resulting in a kitchen full of drying pretties.
The next box used mulberry paper to create a multi layered “fabric”. This box was not very popular with the group as a whole. However I have a big stash of mulberry paper and had a right good time splashing water and making holes. I may well try this again.
For all the fun I had with joomchi I’m less keen on this piece- too much is too much.
Next up was geli plate- universally popular with us learners. Take one ready made geli plate- loosely paint a back ground , wipe off a bit, press down fabric, brilliant back ground fabric- I kept going till I ran out of fabric- I’d do this again like a shot.
Love my geli print- it was hard to choose just two.
Next box was image transfer- very disappointing all round, including for Helen Birmigham- a lot of us didn’t possess the right computer printer to transfer photos to fabric, we had to rely on photocopies etc
Lets’s just say I did it.
I just don’t like the plastic butterfly. The background is ok.
I was really looking forward to visible darning, all that lovely running stitch. I hated this box almost as much as the pleating. Not only didn’t I like the colours, I was moving house, and so it sat around for months.
I loathed the colours of the sari silk in the darning box, and the wretched stuff frayed so much it drove me up the pole- but I got a grip and did it.
Tyvek- the white stuff the forensic bods wear to do their stuff on a crime scene. Well this was seriously weird, paint and melt. But I quite liked the results and the challenge of creating a collage. My paints are getting pretty old these days, lockdown etc, I just went with what I had, and actually I quite like the resulting collages.
In fact this tyvek collage is one of my favourites- I just love the bling.
Next up Kunim felt- a special felt to melt into flowers- very quick, and rather nice to do. I was at first appalled at the garish colours, but once done I quite like them. Sadly you can only buy this felt in the States and for some reason I forget now it’s not obtainable. Shame.
The background fabrics were included in the box- they just said garden to me- it’s ok.
Couching- I like couching- but here we were to use couching to produce writing. The hours I spent agonising on what words to produce- background fabrics were provided, but I was by now very hung up on the words needing to go with felt collage on the opposite page. Well I got there, but the result is somewhat clunky.
Part two of the couching box was to produce a tree using bayeaux stitch within a frame. Whilst some students got hung up on drawing a tree it was designing a frame that had me stuck– thank goodness for TV when a programme had a mirror hung on a wall to inspire me. Not sure I did the stitch right but I like what I did.
Next up is faux chenille- basically scraps of fabric ripped to shreds. What’s not to like- easy to do and very satisfying.
I even quite like the white faux chenille although I did sneak some colours in.
Finally weaving- again everyone loved this, even me- my favourite colours, and very very satisfying- good to go out on a high.
I even liked weaving over a hole- I might do it again.
The covers were all our own work, so for the inside I used up as many similiar colours to the weaving and as many stitches as I could think of that we had tried. I added the word stitch- but not with couching!
I wanted the covers to reflect the whole experience- rust dyed backgrounds- think I got a bit carried away as the rusty objects are now very clean and rust free!
Constructing the whole thing was very challenging- my two least favourite things- measuring and cutting fabric, but tis done.
I’m jolly glad I took part, and I mostly enjoyed myself -well out of my comfort zone! I ‘m not very happy with simple abstract pieces, I like things to mean something to me. Landscape and colours attract me, so what next I wonder?