Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Stitched Leaves.

I do some work part time as a childminding assistant for a pretty large setting. This gives me lots of opportunity to devise and try out lots of creative, textile-based activities with a fantastic group of children aged between two and eight. I'm always suprised how well young children respond to being introduced to new skills that we would normally try to put them off for as long as possible due to sharp, hot or mechanical elements! Last week I was amazed at the skill shown by a little girl who isn't two for another month as she used a huge needle to thread beads, accurately and rapidly until she had a six inch long 'necklace'.

This week we have started our autumn projects and I thought it would be a good time to introduce the children to using a sewing machine. We used appropriately patterned fabrics and the children chose their threads and stitches from the sewing machine's menu and created these fantastic leaves for our display.

Paula x

Monday, 11 October 2010

Wychbury Poppy Campaign 2010

We are one month away from Remembrance Sunday and you might remember my blog post of last year explaining my reasons for getting involved with the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal and making a donation from the sale of my poppy corsages.
This year, my local area has seen the funerals of several young men killed in action abroad. My husband is a registrar at our local cemetery and helped to teach several 18 and 19 year old soldiers how to correctly and honourably carry the coffin of their friend into the chapel. In my last post I drew attention to the soldiers of the last century who weren't given a choice as to whether or not to fight, but through their sacrifice earned a choice for the generations that followed. I can't help but wonder how capable some of these young men are of making the right choice when they join the armed forces, I wonder where they find the drive to leave their families and friends, babies and young wives - then I wonder even more what would happen if they didn't.

Last year we raised £70 for the Poppy Appeal and have already raised £10 for the 2010 campaign from sales from our stall. This year I have repackaged the range and added some new items too, hopefully they will sell just as well and we can raise even more money. The items, prices and donation amounts are:

Classic Poppy Corsage - £9.00 (donation of £1.00 for each one sold)
Tiny Poppy Pin - £5.75 (donation of £0.70)
Pair of Hairclips - £8.50 (donation of £1.00)
Single Hair Clip - £4.50 (donation of £0.50)
Limited edition Fascinator Band - £16.00 (donation of £2.00).

I can also make custom poppy items such as chokers, bridal hair accessory sets etc and will donate 10% of the sale price of all custom items.
The Poppies are also available in our Etsy shop priced in US dollar$ and will soon be available on Wychbury's website. I will continue to recommend fabulous Folksy though, for it's ease in ordering multiple items.

If you bought a Wychbury Poppy last year and plan to wear it again (which we would strongly encourage in the name of sustainability!), please, please still donate some change to a Legion Poppy seller.

Paula x

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Indigo, Elderberry and Madder.

A quick post today, in celebration of the wonderful birthday present I received last week. My good friend Claire knows me very well and sent me these beautiful bundles of fabric scraps dyed using natural plant dyes. You can read about Claire's work with natural dyes on her personal blog Clarabella and her project of sustainable creative activities the 'Out There' project.
When I finally manage to spoil the lovely bundles and unroll the scraps I will post about what I use them for - although I doubt anything I make from them will be for sale on Wychbury as I am far too selfish!

Thanks again lovely Claire

Paula x

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

I Can Type!

Well ok, I can't - not on a typewriter anyway. I recently freecycled for a typewriter and got a fantastic 1980s gem. I stab the keys with my index fingers, then when I realise haven't pounded them hard enough I backspace and stab again! I over-type with xxxx when I make a mistake or simply slam the correct key over the top of the typo without a care. There is something very beautiful about having all your mistakes on show, etched indelibly into the paper like tattoos. The uneven, unpredictable quality of the lettering is unique to the typewriter and the typist and personalises the writing almost as surely as handwriting.

Recently I have been thinking that the medieval style of a lot of our packaging wasn't really working with some of the work I've been producing recently. I've been working with vintage fabric and buttons and have been deliberately choosing materials for the story they can tell, marks, holes, wear and tear, a manufacturer's mark on a discarded selvedge and I felt the packaging needed be a better continuation of the idea.

I love to use rubber stamps, especially lettering, our usual cards show the font from our Wychbury logo, it's called Scythe. It's flowing, inky and renaissance and the stamped version takes on a woodcut feel. It's such a strong look that even when I added 'England' in what would seem to be a completely incompatible 1950s font from the John Bull set, it still keeps the 'I should be sold from a basket of straw' vibe. It's perfect for Tudor clips and herb garden earrings but wasn't hitting the spot for my button pieces.

So, I've come up with new cards that use a combination of letters from my John Bull printing outfit, typed text and a button graphic from my own linocut. I've stitched through the stamped buttons with thread to finish them off. The results are still unpredictable, the typewriter is temperamental and the rubber letters of the stamp are old and cracked but inked on to clean, cut card seems to work perfectly with my new pieces.
I have no clue about fonts, I'm deciding what's aesthetically pleasing through what equipment I have available, trying it out and screwing up my eyes to see if the look works. If I'm honest I wouldn't know an era-appropriate typeface if I was served one in an envelope with a portcullis on it and I really don't know why I choose the lettering I do (she says, changing body of blog into verdana as usual!). So I am very excited about the imminent new book by Simon Garfield, 'Just My Type'. You can read the introduction to the book on Simon's website and my picture of the John Bull set is going to be in it - Wychbury stamp and all!

I think my fascination with lettering will accelerate when this book is released but in the meantime I've started wearing it! This BACK SPACE typewriter key ring is from Zincwhite and it's temporarily adorning my wedding finger, make of that what you will!

Paula x