Friday, 3 October 2014

Northern light in paint and dye

Norwegian Flowers resist stamped and over dyed fabric

This summer I have been to Norway, right up in the north near Tromso on the edge of the tundra. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, the light so very clear, the mountains and the sea meet with the sky and the blues merge with the greys in the softest of colours and then it is all reflected in the water.....just poetry....

Tronso habour

As the mist lifted each day the view cleared and we climbed to the tundra to pick blueberries.... I had no idea they grew there so prolifically, we had blue stained trousers from sitting on them because there were so many...

Artic tundra in summer
On one day we drove along the fiord, the mist stayed, wrapping the landscape in a mysterious atmosphere 
sea urchin
the tangles of seaweed reminded me of the west coast of Scotland

and we walked on a silent and still beach...

Back in the forest, this was my first red squirrel ever and I was so pleased to see him

and wild reindeer, in pictures, 

in car parks, 

outside shops.... this chap stood very still....

There is the long history of Artic exploration, of whaling and fishing, of the huge sea mammals of legend and fireside story, of women waiting for boats and men to return...  

 I saw this quilt hanging in a cafe situated above the tundra line

quilt made of seal skins

Above the city the cable car took us up the mountain and someone had left their love a padlock, just like the bridge in Paris....

Paris of the North
Traditional knitting was everywhere...

This was my favourite statue, in the centre of Tromso. On the last night we saw the Northern lights move across the sky and  I was stunned by the beauty and magic of the colours shifting and dancing as if to music unheard by us....

Back at home in Lincolnshire, I have been on a course with Hilary Beattie, a textile and paper artist who prints her own fabrics and paper. This is her book and you can see her website here:

These are some of the papers and fabrics I printed on the course, with a mixture of dyes,  waterproof crayons and fabric paints. I was inspired by my trip to Norway, so kept a palette of blues, greens and greys...

fabric printed with dye and paint

printed stencilled paper

The light I had seen fascinated me and I tried to reproduce it

fabric stamped and overdyed

We cut stamps from sticky backed foam and mount board so the mountain shapes could be printed
stamped paper

It was lovely to make fabrics and papers with such a personal theme, without worrying about how to use them

stamped and dyed paper over stamped with a natural sponge
We used stencils to dye fabric with letters and written prose, I have always wanted to know how this was done...

fabric stencilled and dyed over fabric painted washes

So this is my final piece and I don't know what I shall make with it yet, but it is the product of a special holiday and a fantastic workshop with Hilary. 

fabric dyed, stamped with fabric paint and coloured with waterproof crayons

If you get a chance to read Hilary's book or go to one of her workshops you will come away inspired. Now I am back in the sewing room completing a Christmas quilt for a customer with a reindeer and Father Christmas theme, so I am still thinking about the north pole...

I hope you have all had lovely holidays too and maybe will be inspired to play with fabric paints and stencils,
Kind regards,