Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Sunday saw a small group from our Branch venturing out into the wilds just outside Kinver to Heath House Studios, for a workshop with Pauline.  (and yes, for some of us it was very exciting getting there with Sat Navs that had a nervous breakdown and refused to direct!)

The project we were working on was to commemorate "The Unremembered" - the army of Workers known as The Labour Corps.  They are mostly unknown and unrecognised.  The members of the Labour Corps were drawn from all of the Commonwealth Countries and their individual sacrifices are to be commemorated through Wreathmaking Challenge Workshops across the country. From all of the Wreaths made across the country, 52 will be chosen to be displayed at The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London in April 2018.
Our challenge for the day was to create a group Wreath, using inspiration from the fauna and flora of all the Commonwealth countries.

Once we had all recovered from the journey we grabbed a handful of materials and jumped right in.

Lorraine getting started

Palbinder chose this lovely bird to make in felt. Very colourful. 

Jean decided to do some needle felting.

 Margaret showing off her butterfly making skills that she honed on the Kinver National Stitch Day project.

Ruth working on her maple leaves. 

Lillian and Carole worked together on making organza flowers (with artistically melted edges). They worked so hard Lillian needed a crisp break. 

Joy made a butterfly and Pat worked on some sweet little birds.
I decided to have a go at the Frangipani (not the biscuits but the flowers!) using cotton fabric, organza and beads.
Lorraine, Jean and I wrapped the plastic wreath in hessian to make it more attractive and so it would  show off the colourful elements the group had made.

We assembled some of the pieces but not all were finished during the workshop and Pauline will assemble the final wreath once all the pieces are completed. We wrote individual statements summing up our experience of making the wreath and Pauline will use these for the Supporting Statement that she'll send for the Selection Process of the 52 Wreaths. (My Grandfather was Harbour Master in Aden, Yemen during the war, in charge of keeping the Merchant shipping moving so this was a very personal project for me) 

A great day that just goes to show if you let a group of us loose in a studio we can make something beautiful in just a few hours. Fingers crossed that our Wreath gets selected.

The wreath has now been constructed and ready to be sent off.  I must say it looks it looks fabulous. Many thanks to Pauline for her hard work and the attendees for their brilliant work. Great day really worth it and for such a good cause.


Monday, 26 February 2018

Saturday the 24th saw us painting on Velvet with Meg from Parker and Arrol. After a quick talk through the process we used Meg's source files plus inspiration of our own to work out a design. We then drew this out on paper and went over it in black pen so it would stand out.

The template all drawn up. 
Then we had a go at making samples so we knew how it all worked.  next was painting the Gutta onto the back of the velvet. The Gutta makes the white lines and "holds" the paint in an area. It looked so easy when demonstrated but not making any blobs took concentration! 
We had a choice of making 2 square pieces (suitable to make cushions) or one long piece. Mandy bravely opted for making a hanging. Here she is marking it all out with the Gutta

Meg mixed up the dyes for us 
Then we made a start on the painting. 

 by the end of the day everyone had made at least one piece and some had more. Mandy got to the end of her wall hanging (well done!)

A fabulous and fun day enjoyed by all.
The finished pieces are being processed by Parker and Arrol and will be returned to me. I will add more pictures at that point so watch this space for the big reveal

Sunday, 4 February 2018

The great British Sewing Bee

We had a visit and talk on Saturday by Lauren Guthrie. Lauren was one of the finalists in the first ever Great British Sewing Bee (GBSB) in 2013. Following a career as a physio she changed tack to follow her love of dress making.

Lauren described to us the process involved in the GBSB. She saw an advert and applied and had to complete a questionnaire and send in pictures of her work. Next they asked spot questions over the phone for example 'what is a french seam?'. This was then followed up by a visit to London with 3 items and taking part in a screen test and a mini challenge. Eventually she was chosen to take part.

She told us as it was a new series it was an adventure for all Claudia, May and Patrick the presenter and judges. She found herself challenged all along the way having to make jackets and trousers for example for the very first time. It took 2 days to produce an hour long programme and was very much tied into Claudia Winkleman's schedule. The tasks were done to time but most of the rest of the time was taken up with walking in and out, retakes and interviews etc.

Her hi-light was her sister turning up for the final showcase to have an evening dress made and fitted. It was a well kept secret.

Around this time her and her husband were renovating a building Moseley to turn into a fabric shop and workshop space. Guthrie and Ghani. by sheer coincidence the opening of her shop coincided with the televising of the Series.

Introducing Lauren

This is the first Jacket she had ever made and had to do it on the show.

These are the first men's trousers she had ever made . She was marked down because she based them on her own trousers. She thought she was wearing ladies trousers and did the fastening opposite but she was wearing men's!

Lauren with the other competitors

Lauren with Patrick and Claudia

This was her final showcase item that she made for her sister

This was the crowd at the grand opening of her shop

photo from the Christmas special they made

Lauren and her book

These are some of the outfits that Lauren does workshops for

photos from the GBSB  live show at NEC

This was one of the items that had to be altered  on one of the shows.

Many thanks to Lauren for a very interesting talk. It certainly encouraged lots of questions.