Project unpacked

We are creating a textile artwork for permanent display in the new Blackheath Community Library & Reminiscence Space when it reopens later this year. We are working on a design that captures the history of 11 Blackheath Village, and what it has meant to users and residents, as it moves forward into this new phase.

Key images will be fitted into a design that can be constructed out of individually crafted pieces, using knitting, applique, embroidery and other techniques. These will then be brought together to make the complete picture.

Training and support will also be provided, and there will be opportunities to create, whatever your skills and experience. If you'd like to join us, email me: or watch this space for more details.

This project is supported by Age Exchange

Thursday 15 November 2012

On the Wall

It took a long long time to fix all those pieces in place!  I can't begin to estimate the person hours, but thanks to all the dedicated women in the group the stitching was finally declared finished at 1.10 pm today.  Within a couple of hours the textile was in place on the wall.  (Suzanne took an excellent video of its journey from the Bakehouse along the street to the front of the building.) Tomorrow it will be glazed.

Friday 26 October 2012

The whole picture

Without getting too ahead of myself, yesterday I could finally really see how the project will work.  We had the elements, we had the canvas and then Amanda added her artist's eye and we had a picture.  Still bits and pieces to finish, still all of it to be fixed in place, and then mounted.  But another important stage has been reached and it's looking good.

Amanda trying to get a view of what it will look like when its hanging up!

Sunday 21 October 2012

Nearly there....

With the end of October deadline looming, we laid out what we have got so far last Thursday.  A lot has been created, and it is looking really good.  But there are still some rather large gaps which we are rushing to finish before Amanda comes in on Thursday to help with the layout and practical things, like attaching the elements to the canvas.  So this will be a short post!

Saturday 25 August 2012

Sweet progress

...It's been a while, but we have not been idle.  Things are beginning to take shape, from the yummy liquorice allsorts, everton mints and gobstoppers for the sweet jars, to the tree which is the centrepiece of the garden.

Ivy's liquorice allsorts Hetty's treeMary's everton mints
The kite has been knitted and the dress appliqued; the basket has been wired along the top, ready to be filled with cakes. Jam and marmalade jars, porch windows and teddy bear are all currently being knitted, and the first metre of the edging (about 8 metres in all) has been completed. We have some maroon felt, just the right colour for the porch itself.

Mary's first yard of edging basket June knitting a window
On Thursday we made a start on the doll's house, which will be a patchwork of 70 x 6.5cm knitted squares, with windows, also knitted, appliqued on top. Next under the design spotlight is the film projector. I have some dark green, firm, shiny cotton yarn, which I think would crochet rather well into that shape, and be a light interpretation of the solid metal object.

If anyone would still like to get involved, there are more squares needed for the doll's house, knitted shapes for the people, pom pom bushes, yards of edging, as well as the more elaborate camera, dancers and record player to be created, so do get in touch.  The Knitting Group meets every Thursday 1.30 - 3.30 pm, in the Bakehouse off Bennett Park, Blackheath or email me here.

Saturday 2 June 2012

We had a really energetic and positive meeting with the designer, Amanda, on Thursday.  The twelve of us began to get to grips with how we move from line drawings on a sheet of paper, to knitted, sewn and embroidered shapes.  Amanda explained that the design is quite loose and flexible, so that there is lots of room for individual interpretation of many of the pieces.

 We were joined by several new people - some enthusiastic and keen to join in, others still a bit sceptical!  The design does look very complex, but is really a lot of separate elements layered together, rather than each given their own space, which is how a lot of other textile pictures work.

The full size of the design, at 1.2 x 3.2 m is so big that we couldn't display it as a piece, but had to look at the two halves separately.  But it did give us a real feel for how big it will be, and
Amanda had brought along full size cut-outs of some of the elements.  Although the shapes will have to be approximately the right size, they will not need to fit together with the precision of a jigsaw.

We also discussed the colours that should be used, and concluded that there will be a place for most colours.  This is a big piece of work and it needs to be bold and colourful. We are hoping to use mainly recycled and donated materials, so if you have an odd ball of yarn, or scrap of plain fabric that you can't find a use for, we would be very pleased to give it a home.

So how far did we get?  Individuals have started to say which shapes they are interested in - the tree and birds, the dress, the bear, the basket and cakes to go in it, the Reminiscence Centre porch, finding knitting patterns for the edging and the sweets.  There really is something for everyone: smaller shapes that one person can do, like the birds, or the dress, very small elements like the sweets that lots of people might want to do one or two of, and larger elements like the Reminiscence Centre itself, which will be the work of several people.  Amanda will be back on Thursday 14th June to continue this process of looking at the individual shapes and seeing how they could be made, and who is interested in doing them.  In the meantime, the Knitting Group will be meeting as usual on Thursday 7th, 1.30 - 3.30 pm.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Meeting Thursday 31st May

Well, we've all had a while to think about the design now, and overall the feedback has been very positive.   People liked the dynamism of the images, and the way they flow down the piece.  We're also trying to get our heads around the size of each of the elements - big and just a tad daunting!

There were a few suggestions for changes that I've sent to Amanda the designer, who hopes to have them incorporated by the end of the week.  The main issues were around the size of the basket and the lack of children.  We also suggested that the not very memorable back of the Bakehouse be replaced by the well loved garden.

So the next, and probably most difficult stage, is to work out how it is best to produce the elements of the design, given the size of the group and its talents.  I think these issues have been bubbling away underneath for me, and several others, so I think the next meeting with Amanda, on Thursday 31 May at 2 pm in the Bakehouse, should be very productive.

I know Thursday afternoons are not very useful to those who are working, but I could arrange a meeting for a Saturday if there are enough people interested and able to come then.

It would be really useful to know how many people are willing and able to take part in the project, so that we can make sensible decisions on how to proceed with the design.  So please let me know if you think you will be able to help at all, and if you are interested in a Saturday meeting. You can email me here  Thanks for your interest.

[Apologies to anyone who has tried to email me through this blog, I had put in the wrong address, now amended.]

Thursday 12 April 2012

Lots has been happening behind the scenes, and I hope this blog will bring together the design process so far.
The long list of themes that came out of the initial reminiscence session was Museum, Shop, Café, Exhibitions, Garden, Computer Suite, Theatre, Bakehouse, Reminiscence Training, History of the Building and the Village. Some of these were easier to find striking images to represent than others.
On 15th March we looked through a lot of possible images and came up with a short list. You can see most of them here Original Images
These are the original colour images that Amanda then used to simplify into outline drawings. These drawings can been seen here Sketches.
Amanda has now put some of these sketches together into an initial design for the whole piece, which you can see here Design.
Obviously, these are just shapes at this stage. These are Amanda's thoughts on how some of them might be achieved:
"I am imagining that some of the items are 3D (such as the teddy, people,kite), some of the parts are appliqued (the string and bows of the kite,Waylands signature) and some parts are printed onto canvas (the musical score).
"The border around the image is taken from the lace, that was on the cloth that used to be drapped above the black stove in the shop (could this be a crochet element?) in the design it is supposed to represent the lace edge of a table cloth, so if coloured in the edging background of the design could be red with white dots, like the table clothes that used to be in the cafe."
Now we need to look at the design from two points of view - does it include the main elements that we want, and how can each element can be made in practice. That's quite a lot to think about! All comments are welcome, and I will contact you soon about the next stage.