Monday, 30 July 2012

I've started putting together my pieces of artwork for the Craftspace In:Site Graduate Festival of Creativity in Birmingham. My plan is to make a length of crochet out of crochet flowers connected with crochet chains. I tested it out on some trees near my house and this was the result...

I think it looks OK but not as exciting as I'd hoped, I think it's because there is too much of a gap between each flower so I am going to fill them up with more small flowers and hopefully this will look a bit better. Only a week to go!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

So on the first sunniest day we'd had this summer I spent the whole time in a stuffy studio dyeing all my wool ready for Birmingham, it was well worth it though as I now have all five colours again so I'm well prepared for crocheting my flowers.

To start the process off I had to spin the wool into separate skiens for each colour and wash and soak it in hot soapy water, this gets rid of the finish that the manufacturers put on the wool once they've spun it, it's important I get rid of this as if I didnt then the dye wouldn't absorb well enough.

Once I had let the wool soak for a while I was able to start actually dying it all. I mixed up each colour separately and cooked it on a hob. It's pretty easy and something you could do at home if you weren't afraid of getting dye everywhere. All I do is break up a fabric softener tablet in a large pan and add two litres of hot water, with another litre of water I mix up my dye from a recipe I have perfected over time and add this litre to the pan, now I can add my wool.

The mixture needs to rise to boiling point and stay there until the colour sets, there is a time you're meant to leave it until but I find the more haphazard approach works better for me as colours can vary and if you want some to be stronger then you need to leave it in for longer anyway. I usually let it get to boiling temperature then I will test how strong it is by removing a strand from the pan and dipping it into a jug of water, if it's not set yet then the dye will run and where the wool has been in the water it will look significantly lighter.

Once it's set properly I add a capful of vinegar for each litre of water I've used, stir together and then leave to cook for another 20 minutes to let the vinegar absorb into the wool. I use the vinegar so that it helps fix the dye to the wool which will prevent the colours running if they happen to get wet in the future.

Once I feel the colour is set I take it out of the dye and let it cool in a bucket, once it's relatively cool I wash it in warm water, this just gets rid of the excess dye that may run, I do this until the water runs clear. These are my final skiens, I think the green could have been a bit more yellow-ey but I thought it looked too light as I was doing it so added a little bit more navy blue and I went too far unfortunatly. But I compared it to the green I had already dyed previously and there wasn't a massive difference so it's not a disaster! All I need to do now is let these dry and then wind them back into balls of wool. A day well spent I think.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Getting the business going....

Had another busy couple of weeks recently which as stopped me from being able to post! I've entered a few competitions and got a place on the In:Site graduate festival of creativity in Birmingham next month so currently getting ready for that, I'll be busy crocheting flowers for the next 2 weeks! To get the idea of a business going I have set up a facebook page for my work and I'm currently trying to set up a website. Here is the link to the facebook page and the website will be soon to follow, please do give the page a like :)

Friday, 6 July 2012

Here are a few images from New Designers.

This is my space on the stand, I was greatful to receive floor space to occupy my footstools as well as some wall space so that I could add a bit more creativity to my space. I crocheted individual flowers and then nailed them to the wall when I got to the exhibition. I tried to create a flow around my mood boards so that they travelled up my wall and was really pleased with the outcome. 

I loved the diversity of the stand, even those of use who specialised in the same area created completely different pieces and this diversity caught the eyes of many passers by.

New Designers

I've had such an amazing couple of weeks, so much so that I've not been able to update since the exhibition at the university! I made it down okay to New Designers and managed to set up my space in time, hammering crocheted flowers into the wall until the last minute! I was so pleased and overwhelmed with the response I received, I really didn't think many people would be interested in my pieces because they are bespoke and not as commercial others. But I am happy to admit I was wrong and had some great feedback off people visiting the exhibition, I was lucky enough to get one commission, be invited to enter a few competitions and best of all invited to apply for the One Year On exhibition at New Designers next year. Right now I am gathering my thoughts and deciding where to start with all of these amazing opportunities, it's time to get my business head on!