Thursday, 12 February 2015

Running in Fermyn Woods

At the end of last year I took part in a Wild Networking day at Sudborough Green Lodge in Fermyn woods.  It was an enjoyable day despite my initial trepidation.  You can read about what I got up to here at the Apple Factory.

Due to the fact I had enjoyed the day I decided to sign up for the next one.  This time the theme was to be 'Running'.  Not being the athletic type I decided to side step the all too physical and do what I do best which is textile.  I've been looking at the Japanese Sashiko technique for a while and it has been on my research and development list for a while.

Photo by Kate from Mission Control
Sashiko: translated means "little stabs", it is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching or functional embroidery with its roots in Japan.  Traditional it would have been used as the equivalent to our darning where it would reinforce points of wear or to repair worn places or tears.  It is basically a running stitch technique which can also be used as a decorative stitch for quilts or embroidery pieces.  The white cotton thread on the traditional indigo blue cloth gives sashimi its very distinctive appearance, though often the reverse is used blue thread on white fabric and sometimes a red thread is used.

As a designer and maker it is often quite difficult to factor in time to research and explore new techniques and ideas to develop your work.  Earlier in the year I took the time to go on a workshop day to improve my box making technique but since getting back I haven't have the chance to put into practise what I have learnt.

Having a whole day of indulgence; meeting other artists, sharing food, sharing practice ideas, exploring an idea is just wonderful and I would recommend it to anyone.  I absolutely hate networking with a vengeance, I don't like the falseness and the uncomfortable feeling it gives me. Plus I don't like huge volumes of people in one place.  My normal happy, chatty approach becomes one of quiet reserve and watchfulness.

The proposal I had submitted for the day was to explore the landscape through using the running stitch, "Sashiko".  Using google maps I printed out an aerial view of the woods, then traced the boundaries and transferred them onto calico ready to stitch.