City and Guild work

I have, for years, longed to document the time spent doing Part 1 of this 4 year course, as I had to finish after only 2 years, due to family pressures, I only completed Part 1 – a two year course, complete in itself, and externally examined. I wished to document why and how the course came about for me.

Back in 1994 hubby and I were asked to do a whole houseful of artwork for a newly established mission centre. The aim of the centre was to help any course participants to understand how highly valued they were, how God regarded them. So, rather than go to the shops and buy ready made pictures for the walls, we were asked to produce work to fill the house. Hubby set to and produced 14 scraperboard pictures of animals, birds, butterflies, and a lighthouse, plus some oil paintings. These filled the stairwell and the entrance hall. I produced lots of large cross stitch pictures, and then went on a college course to learn silk painting to finish one of the pieces. Having learned this one new skill I was eager to learn more… so, in September 1998, having seen both our daughters married the previous year, with all the attendant dress making, cake making, and arrangements that were involved, I registered to do a C&G course in Design with Embroidery. A fantastic time of meeting new friends, learning many new techniques, and working extremely hard to complete all the pieces, ensued!

There were 6 areas of study – Man made structures, Folk culture and religion, Landscape and geological formations, Water and sky, Living forms, and Media. In addition we produced samples of each new sewing, art and paper technique we learned, made a colour book, a work schedule book, a needle book, plus design or mood boards for each topic studied. Four of these were then translated into finished pieces and the remaining two into boards for “clients” including costings, time, etc., with books of samples, ideas, notes, etc., for every topic.

Stitched techniques were learned throughout the course, so any early finished project didn’t have the same variety of techniques as the later ones. The lecturer seemed to have a horror of white! Fabric used needed to be space dyed, coloured with Markel pens, made by ourselves… We learned how to make silk paper, how to produce a sample of “hand-made fabric”, by placing threads across an aperture in card, making a woven look, then sewing onto it. We dyed our own threads, we distressed fabrics, tore them, stitched them, cut them. We hand stitched, machine stitched, made our own buttons in a multitude of ways. Pieced work, applique, pulled work, canvas work, were all attempted and documented. We made cords, and tassels; used dissolvable fabric, thus producing stitched work which seemed to hang together on nothing. We had to produce three experimental samplers. These could be made from among any of the 6 design areas, experimenting with different stitched techniques.

It was incredibly hard work, extremely time consuming, but such a fantastic opportunity to learn new things, new skills, new techniques. I was sorry not to be able to go on to do Part 2, but being fulltime carer for hubby as he became worse and worse meant there just weren’t sufficient hours in a day!