#needleworkmonday | Andrew Wynne at My Sewing Group and Moving on and Letting Go

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Source Batik by Andrew Wynne, a local artist and teacher.

I made it to my Sewing Group this month, the first time since the inaugural meeting in September. It turned out to be quite a feat, too: I had work meetings in the morning; then a hairdressing appointment postponed from last Friday, when Storm Eunice was out and about, followed by a visit to the dental hygienist, also postponed, before popping into Slimming World for my weekly check-in and a drive down to Market Harborough. I didn't get any dinner!

It was lovely to be there, though, and see everyone. There was lots of chatter, the tea urn was bubbling and steaming, I got my badge and membership receipt, and made my way into the busy room. The Group had been meeting in a smaller room in the same building during COVID restrictions but now we were back in the main hall. There was room for all the work on show, a sales and donations table, the tea table with the urn and, thank goodness, a tin of biscuits (I ate too many and felt sick 😂 - not a good substitute for dinner).

The February meeting always has a local artist to speak and give a demonstration, I guess so there a fewer problems about travel when the weather might be challenging. This time it was Andrew Wynne who lives, literally, down the road from where we meet. Andrew is a multi-talented artist working in batik, mosaics and photography, and a talented teacher, working mainly in primary schools.

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Source Batik with mosaic frame by Andrew Wynne.

I love hearing from other artists, their journey, their thoughts, their influences. Even if their work is in another medium, I really enjoy hearing their experience - hence my determination to get to the Sewing Group, in spite of all the other distractions along the way. Andrew had a lovely, gentle style, and comes across as very relaxed. His work was beautiful and before I knew it, I was deeply engrossed in learning about batik - its history and about expertise from elsewhere around the world, as well as Andrew's own approach to creativity.

I've chosen a couple of the works he presented - all on his website, which has a lovely gallery. The first one, with the butterflies, I've chosen because I thought you would enjoy it, needleworkers 😍. But I also love the colour palette and that's why it resonated with me. I've become fascinated with green and purple, which I started to notice when I bought cut tulips in the Spring. The colours were so rich and I liked the contrast. In Andrew's work, I loved the delicacy and subtlety of the work and the addition of yellow, with the detail of the black.

Andrew explained that creating such works can take place over many months: the techniques themselves and managing the fabrics and dyes and the wax resists can take many days for each layer. Within the presentation, he had an example which showed the different layers and how the overall image was built up over time. Batik, like other dyeing techniques, can be unpredictable. Andrew gave a great insight into the interaction between mistakes, unexpected outcomes and creativity. I loved the way he seemed to become immersed in what he was doing, even when he was talking about it.

The second image I chose because of the print that has been incorporated with the image and, again, the colour palette, especially as this is one that I would not have selected myself. I like the abstraction, the showing through of another layer, without it being explicit or clear what the print is saying. I love the graphics of the blocks and different sizes of print. It reminded me of other artists' work that I like - Picasso's collages and Cezanne's monumental bathers with the paint scraped over the canvas, barely covering it in some places. I was also interested by the mosaic frame, I'm not sure how I feel about that.

There is lots in Andrew's work. One of my takeaways, though, is the use of colour. Some of the pieces use traditional colouring and techniques, with a very restricted colour palette, like indigo tie-dye. Some are very restrained and use a restricted colour palette with great impact - like the flowers and butterflies above. Others are a complete riot of colour. What I liked about them are how clean and clear and crisp the colours are. Although there are many colours layered over each other, they retain a clarity and don't become muddy.

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Source Batik by Andrew Wynne.

I don't think this final picture was shown in the presentation. There were some similar ones of dragonflies, but I especially like this one of fish which I found on Andrew's website. The use of colour is so joyful and so skilled, and I love the movement in the image. Beautiful for dark winter days!

At some stage in the presentation, I began to be flooded with ideas about my own work, with thoughts cascading and tumbling over each other. I started thinking of fabric sculptures, fabric and wood, with the fabric distorted and bound and knotted, torn or falling into holes from bleach damage, held in place by wire, twine and yarn. The ones coming into my mind were visceral and dark and burned, but thinking about them today, and reviewing the beautiful colours, they could be an outpouring of colour and regeneration.

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Of course, my thoughts turned to knitting, how I could use colour and shapes and start to build 3D sculptures. I fumbled for my sketchbook and captured a few passing thoughts while I was there. Back home, I felt inspired to continue with clearing out my garage to create a workshop so I have a large-ish space (3m x 5m, roughly) to build something and have plenty of room around it to work. I found a flyer in my sketchbook for a course I had wanted to go to. It was called: BIND, KNOT, LASH, STITCH, GROOVE AND PIERCE. That sort of sums up what I want to do.

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I've also made a decision about what I don't want to do: hand and machine embroidery.

I've tried again recently with the little projects that the Sewing Group was running, Birds on a Wire was one, and another was embroidered luggage tags. But I found them hard to get into, they didn't excite me and they were fiddly and I kept dropping the needle. Then I realised that, although I had really enjoyed hand embroidery in the past, I'd moved on and now I was interested in something else.

I collected together all my silks and cottons and scraps of pretty things and packed them in a large box to give away. I asked the Sewing Group if they would like first refusal: but I didn't want to see anyone rooting through the box and pulling out all the things I had decided to remove from my life. I told them that they could say no, if they were always being inundated with other people's cast offs. But they said yes, and suggested I put the box on a table out of the way where I wouldn't be able to see what was going on.

Soon there was a group of needleworkers milling around the box and dipping in. As I was leaving (I had to find a chip shop and get something to eat), one of the committee came over to let me know that nearly everything had gone. Ah, that was a nice end to the evening. All my little rejects had found a good home.

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Three things newbies should do in their first week and, for most things, forever afterwards!

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The people doing V2K want me to believe it is this lady @battleaxe Investigate what she has been up to for 5 years. Its the next step to stopping this. Make her prove where she has been for 5 years or where she is now. She is involved deeply with @fyrstikken and his group. Her discord is Battleaxe#1003. I cant say she is the one directly doing the v2k. Make her prove it. They have tried to kill me and are still trying to kill me. I bet nobody does anything at all. Make @battleaxe prove it. I bet she wont. They want me to believe the v2k in me is being broadcasted from her location. @battleaxe what is your location? https://ecency.com/fyrstikken/@fairandbalanced/i-am-the-only-motherfucker-on-the-internet-pointing-to-a-direct-source-for-voice-to-skull-electronic-terrorism

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I fully understand why you love the batik with the fish motive - its amazing. The multitude of layers, the bright colors and the patterned koi carps themselves create a very intersting dynamic. The fishes seem to reflect a bright sun above and the artists created a perfect idea of a pond without really showing it.
And I like your crafting group more and more and perhaps I am living in a backward and lame country regarding crafting (ok, I take this back and will write, perhaps not the whole country but I guess the city is boring) It is so rewarding to not only craft oneself, to meet likeminded people but also get some inside in other artists workflow. The sewing groups here mostly discus if its too complicated to sew curtains or a pillowcase, the pinnacle of creativity is when someone tries to are bag (yawn)

And how wonderful that you are creating a studio space for yourself and are full of ideas (and I am highly interested to see them coming into life)

And please forgive me, but i had to smile… I could not read a single word of your sketch.. ok, maybe I deciphered the words „free form knitting“ and „how“ and I could read the date. And I smiled, because my people always have huge problems to read my handwriting (if I am honest, if I wait too long, I also have problems to read my own writing).

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Hahaha ... "how" is "holes" 😂.

I love the sessions when we have a visiting speaker - no matter their specialism, they are always excellent and so, so, knowledgeable, and so generous with their time.

The sketch is not really meant to be read. It's more like an aide memoire - when I see the shapes and the date, it reminds me of my ideas.

That is a very special sewing group, the women are lovely, kind, funny, and so talented. Their work is exquisite, and they are interested in everything.

It is getting milder here so I feel more disposed to do more work clearing the garage. I will be so happy when it is empty 😍.

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Ups... I was so proud I could read "how" 😂 And good you understand your sketch/notes later… I really have the problem I completely forget what I wrote down. When I am working on bigger projects I now make lists with a to-do app and force myself to rework very fast sketches/notes in procreate, so that I have them at one place and make sure I later know what I wanted to do…
Do you have everything at one place? I am curious how you manage your ideas (or am I only exceptional forgetfully 🤔?)

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I have one battered sketchbook that I have carried around since 1997 (it is still only half full). I try to use it but I used to be very self conscious about it because I am not good at drawing. It is only recently that I've come to the idea that it's only for me, my journey. I also keep all the little exhibition notebooks and postcards of art works that I love and sometimes I take my own photographs, but neither my camera nor I are very good at it.

I have suggested that the Sewing Group has creating/keeping a sketchbook as a topic one time, as I am interested in how other people approach sketchbooks. The Committee is putting together a programme for the rest of the year, so we'll see if they have included my idea.

I have separate books for knitting - an exercise book for each project, that sits in the project bag until I have finished the item, then it goes back in the stash until the next time I need a notebook. They aren't in any order and I usually have several in use at the same time. It took me a while to realise I could have more than one book 😂.

I'm transitioning really from one life style to another, so instead of being an art appreciator, I'm slowly becoming an art maker. I would love to be like Picasso with everything everywhere in a studio, but actually that distresses me, and I'm getting much better at organising (yarn, for example), so I can see things and find them. I am happiest with a single box in a large white room 😍.

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Cool! Really nice.

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So glad you liked it 🙂.
How are you finding Hive? I see you like lots of creative things 😍

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Anything creative is great, it's a peak into the soul of another human being! Hive is a very cool platform, i'm powering up all the time as i can see it taking off quite massively in the future. I mainly share my music, poems etc, but it's a good outlet for the times i need to rant at no one in-particular too!

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it's a good outlet for the times i need to rant at no one in-particular too

😍

Lovely to hear your optimism!

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you made a very wise revision and I'm sure those who took your things were very happy to receive them! you wrote very interesting about the exhibition. beautiful work on batik indeed !!!!

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Wowza! Andrew's batik is AMAZING. I love learning from teachers that are so talented. What an inspiration. Those are pieces of artwork to hang on the wall. I do hope you will have some more posts @shanibeer on the batik process. It's the removal of the wax that seems difficult......and then the different colors not bleeding into others....well. It's a pretty amazing skill. :-)

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They're gorgeous, aren't they? So pleased you enjoyed the post 😍
Not sure about the batik process, I have half an idea about interviewing Andrew for a later post, so we shall have to see. The work Andrew does with children and community groups around the county is also pretty amazing. There is a separate section for it in the gallery on his website.

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Am sorry you missed dinner and felt awful with biscuit.

Its really a good idea to listen to those experienced in what we intend to do, it broadens our understanding and creativity.

I also tried some embroidery in the past but they didn't fall in properly, the best idea is not to only do things, but to do the things we love and am glad you have found your path.

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(Edited)

Thank you, that's so kind. I did survive 😍.
I agree, it is always interesting to be open to other ideas.
Yes, do the things we love, perfect ❤️💕

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Now we need to see the creation! I am sure it will change and evolve from the initial idea!

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Yes! 😍
Do you like knitting? I think we've had this conversation before 😂.

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I like knitting, crocheting, sewing... I also hold a degree in textile engineering. But my busy life leaves me with projects laying around and dusting 😅 I begun a Christmas Tree skirt, my other half hopes I can finish it by next Christmas. Then I begun knitting a doll, which is perhaps 30% complete. Bought yarn to knit a hat and a scarf for this winter... well, it is spring now and I have not started it yet. 😬

And garden season begun! ughhh, I feel bad but can't help it.

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