Thursday, 28 November 2019

Enthralled by threads and fabrics

Rediscovering working with fabrics and threads has been a joy over the last few months, and the latest piece has some pretty threads knotted to make a macramé chain for the painted silk centrepiece. The colours are inspired by a vintage china vase I keep my paint brushes in and  it has rather an oriental feel to it. Working in mixed media gives me the freedom to achieve some interesting surface textures, in this piece it’s a look of cloisionne enamelwork that I wanted to imitate. Working the intricate little knots proved a very soothing and pleasurable distraction from all the tidying, cleaning, reorganising and gift buying that Christmas demands.

My love of threads and fabrics started when I was about 11. My nan took me into Norwich to buy some sewing supplies. I’d been given my first workbasket not long before and had told her that I was keen to have a go at some cross stitching. We went to a sewing shop called Aldertons (closed many years ago sadly) and I well remember my excitement as we walked in and I saw the vast array of pretty threads and bewildering selection of fabrics. The old fashioned shop seemed to be bursting at the seams with crafting goodies.

Nan told the lady what I wanted to stitch (a needle book) and we were told that we needed a fabric called ‘Binca’. We thanked her and started to select some brightly coloured embroidery flosses – Every so often as we browsed though the shop she sneaked up behind us and boomed in our ears ‘Binca…… Binca….. never forget, you need Binca! Anyway we did indeed get a piece of Binca, as well as some lovely threads and as we were leaving the shop the lady followed us to the door and boomed after us again ‘BINCA…. Yes it’s Binca you need, don’t forget that will you!’ As we walked up Swan lane nan turned to me and chuckled ‘We never will forget that stuff is called Binca will we!’ And of course I never have.

I have a different more grown up workbox now, a treasured gift from my sister, and it is as delightfully full of crafting treasures as ever….. but not a single scrap of Binca. I’ve recently added a full set of DMC metallic threads and a beautiful brand new book of embroidery stitches to add to the vintage ones . The 11 year old me would have loved experimenting with those!