Tessa Spanton SWA Artist, tutor, writer


Welcome to my blog.
This is where I write about some of the things that inspire my work,
news of exhibitions and works in progress

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Can You Smell the Sea?

This collection was inspired by the wet felted and embroidered picture Can You Feel the Sea? (second column down and second in from the left) It was viltalakim's entry for the button challenge.

Monday, 12 April 2010

EST Challenge Entry and Monday Moodboard

The theme for this week's challenge is tulips. I have made some greetings cards from a silk painting. It is a lily tulip outlined with clear gutta. The background was done by adding salt to the colours while they were still wet. To get this effect it must be neither too wet nor too dry.
For more details go here

Monday Moodboard

Beadwoven freshwater pearl bracelet from Latvia alatvian

Ribbon embroidered sewing kit from Turkey giftsandstars

Angora shawl from Austria lovelycrotchet

more moodboards at fleurfatale

Friday, 9 April 2010

Mimosa and Cowslips

Both of these are in flower at the moment in my garden.
I bought the Mimosa tree ( Acacia dealbata) at Trebah gardens in Cornwall, about 3 years ago. It was quite small then and this is the first time it has flowered.
The mimosas at Trebah were really large and full of flower. I bought another mimosa (Acacia pravissima) there on the advice of the gardener at Lammoran House Gardens
at St Mawes. This one flowered after 1 year and does not grow so big.
Since walking through the wild mimosa woods in Madeira I had wanted one for my garden.
There they are in flower in January and February and the scent from all those trees together is wonderful. You can buy a bunch of mimosa from the market in Funchal for 1 euro.
Cowslips what a comical name, or in Latin, Primula vera, prefer chalky soil so will grow in my garden. I bought a plant a few years ago and it seeded itself. It is now growing in grass in an area of the garden that I have tried to make into a little bit of wild flower meadow. I have tried to grow ox eye daisies there but they prefer the flowerbed. The flowers smell lovely and are used by herbalists. When I was about 8 or 9 we used to go and pick bunches of them from a steeply sloping field outside the village where I lived. Local people used to fill sacks with the flowers and take them home to make wine.

Monday, 5 April 2010

EST challenge and Monday Moodboard

This is my entry for this week's European Street Team challenge which involved using a button somewhere in the design.

Lavender and cream pendant. corsage or hair ornament.
This is made from vintage lace, lavender broderie anglaise wired ribbon, hand painted silk, a vintage button and a pearl bead. It can be worn as a pendant using the ribbon or could have a brooch clip or barette added. More details

Monday Moodboard
All these pieces from my European team friends have lovely textural effects and are made from natural fibres of wool, cotton and linen with other embellishments added.

Felt slippers aldonasuneviciene Lithuania

Can you feel the sea? wet felted and embroidered wallhanging viltalakim Holland

Doll skirt brooch binkaminka Latvia

Textile necklace birribe Sweden

Friday, 2 April 2010

Conquest Art

On Wednesday I did a talk and demonstration on silk painting for a group of people who are tutors for Conquest Art classes.
Conquest Art runs art classes for people with physical disabilities, including people who are recovering from strokes, suffering from MS or visually impaired and even blind.
It is a charity that was founded in 1978 by Ursula Hulme MBE aiming to inspire inner vision, uplift spirits and revive confidence and classes are run by volunteers trained in her methods and techniques.
Many of the classes are in the South East of England and the group hopes to set up more around the country. They also offer training for occupational therapists and activities organisers in resource centres, nursing and residential homes.

We talked about materials and kit needed for silk painting and ideas for using with the groups.
One of the things I did was a demo of an easy way to paint a silk scarf that can be done by beginners and does not require pins and a frame.
The scarf was dampened then layed flat on a piece of polythene. It had silk paint applied with a brush, it had silk paint squirted at it straight from the bottle, it had doodles done on it with silk paint marker pens and it was sprinkled lightly with salt! As it dried the salt drew out some lovely patterns, it doesn't always work that well with iron fix paints so I was delighted that it obliged. When dry it had some more doodles added. With a bit of ironing it will be ready to wear and I think is destined for a fund raising sale. I wish I had taken a photo of it to show you.
I also showed about painting silk on an embroidery frame using gutta so that more precise shapes can be achieved.
I enjoyed sharing with this lovely responsive group.
At the top is the lovely bouquet that they generously presented me with.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

More Fibre Creations

Several posts ago I wrote about making fibre creations using Solvy and stitching.
Here are my two latest. The first one is yarns and merino fibre fairly densely packed. The second one has eyelash yarn , pieces of satin ribbon and whisps of merino fibre. the structure is much less dense and more open but the stitching still holds it all together