I’m involved in a couple of things right now which, on the face of it seem fairly straightforward but closer consideration reveals rather more than was immediately apparent. In some cases, that means more work.
In others it opens up new challenges, new opportunities and a whole lot more fun!
I was hoping to create a bit of quick “bobbin lace” on my Bernina the other day. When we were out judging a few months ago, one of my colleagues came across a beautiful lace bookmark which we all admired. It was so perfect, each thread carefully managed to a well balanced tension and not a single join in sight. Certainly made by an excellent lacemaker – or? Only on the way home did the thought strike us that it possibly wasn’t bobbin lace at all, but some well managed machine embroidery worked on soluble fabric.
With the 2014 Craft Judges training in my diary next week, I thought I’d create a sample to take along, to raise awareness of such things and to give them an idea of what’s possible. Of course, I wouldn’t dream of trying to fool them into thinking it was real bobbin lace
(If I was, I wouldn’t have blogged about it, would I?!)
Actually, this would fool no-one, because having pinned it out and sprayed with water to dissolve the “fabric”, the threads don’t resemble bobbin lace in any way. I need to learn how to discriminate when buying off-the-peg commercial machine embroidery designs to find one which looks a bit more authentic when stitched out.
It’s all in the detail.
I suspect the participants in the new WI/Kingston University collaboration will agree with that as they begin quite an exciting project. I was there at the briefing day on Monday to learn more and to identify how I can play a useful role – how lucky is that? The project is intended to promote the sharing of traditional and contemporary craft skills and is most certainly something which “floats my boat” (spoken in the best Hull accent, of course!) The idea is that each fashion student will work with two WI members to create an outfit which celebrates the rich history the WI in its centenary year. The students bring a wealth of creative talent, innovation and modern craft techniques and the WI members were selected for their outstanding technical skills in a wide variety of traditional handcrafts.
Put all of that creative energy and enthusiasm into one room and you can imagine how wonderful it was to stand back and watch! Students and members had brought along pieces of their work and having been assigned partners, spent the day getting to know one another and exploring the potential of collaborative working.
There was a lot of “ooh” and a fair bit of “aaah” as the heirlooms got another airing and portfolios were opened up.
Hopefully, over the next few months there will be progress to report, but for now, it was enough to sit and observe as people who had arrived as strangers discovered they had rather a lot in common.
There were some rather nifty details in the clothes many of them were wearing too.
Not quite the same elegant touches to observe in Cheltenham last evening, sadly, when (we estimated 1500) festival goers and Radio 4 fans found their seats in a huge marquee for the event entitled “Just a Minute”. We thought we were going to a recording of the show, or at least a genuine game but we were mistaken. Instead, Nicholas Parsons introduced three women (the first all-female panel, we were told) Pam Ayres, Shappi Khorsandi and Jenny Eclair rather than the usual combination of four regular participants (we were hoping for Paul Merton) After a short and rather more polite game there followed a discussion and book promotion which shouldn’t really have come as a surprise but which was not quite what we were expecting.
Of course, had we but looked at the detail in the programme, we’d have known what to expect.