Tuesday, 4 October 2016

And there was cake...

By popular demand the 'and there was cake...' feature returns to the InStitches blog!

Chocolate fudge cake

A real 'can't go wrong' cake - very moist, and rises well.  For workshops I double the recipe and split it between 3 loaf tins and spread the fudge icing over the top.

For the cake:
6 ½ oz {165 g) plain flour
2 level tablespoons (30 ml) cocoa
1 level teaspoon (5 ml) bicarbonate of soda
1 level teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder
5 oz (125g) caster sugar                  
2 level tablespoons (30 ml) golden syrup
2 large eggs       
¼ pt (150ml) salad or corn oil
¼ pt (150ml) milk

For the fudge icing:
2 oz (50 g) butter
4 level tablespoons (60 ml) cocoa
3 tablespoons (45 ml) milk
5 oz (125 g) icing sugar, sieved

You will need a food processor and either 2 8 inch (20 cm) sandwich tins or one 8 inch (20cm) deep cake tin, lined with baking parchment.

1.       Heat the oven to 170 deg. C. Gas No. 3. Grease and line the bottom of two 8 inch" (20 cm) straight-sided, sandwich tins with silicone paper.

2.       Put the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, and baking powder into the food processor bowl.

3.       Add the sugar and syrup, and the eggs, lightly beaten.

4.       Put on the cover and remove the white plastic pusher: Switch on, and pour in the oil and milk, mixed, down the funnel into the bowl. Mix for about 5 seconds (count 5 slowly) after all the liquid is in.

5.       Remove the bowl and knife from the machine, lift out the knife, and scrape clean. Turn the mixture into the prepared tins, and bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes, until the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with the fingertips. Turn out on to a wire rack to cool.

6.       To make the icing: Melt the butter in a pan, add the cocoa, stir to blend, and cook for 1minute. Stir in the milk and icing sugar, and mix to smooth consistency. Leave to cool and thicken, Spread half the mixture between the two cakes, and the remainder on top. Decorate with broken chocolate flake, or grated chocolate.

Words are not just for reading

We were really excited to be able to offer an Exploring abstract letterforms workshop with Simon Sonsino last week and not only because we want to do it too! The textural qualities and sense of freedom from the conventions of calligraphy in his work speak to us and relate to our own textile work, where words and text are there for texture and interest but not necessarily meant to be read.

It wasn't long before everyone was busily working away - Simon took us through a series of short exercises creating marks with different writing tools and objects.

Who knew half a balsa stick could produce such exciting marks?

Fortunately this was a calligraphy workshop was for the non-calligrapher, and didn't rely on straight lines, neat handwriting or legibility,

It wasn't long before every available flat surface and notice board was covered with paper.

It wasn't just sticks, we did get to try out a variety of different nibs

 and tried out many different alphabet styles

and in different colours of ink.

 Even the dip water became an inspiration!

The two days were fun and inspirational, here are a few of the resolved pieces.  I am sure that over the next week s and months several of us will be using the techniques on fabric too.

To see some of Simon's work you can visit his web site by clicking here

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Make your mark!

It was such a delight to welcome textile artist, Clive Barnett, as our very first guest tutor to the new studio.

Throughout the two-day workshop Clive encouraged us to experiment and explore our own style of 'mark making'. The first day was spent printing with a discharge medium - who knew Finish dishwasher liquid could do that!

 We used a variety of techniques including masking tape resists,

freezer paper stencils with a screen

and monoprinting with acrylic sheets.

We were hooked - and very busy!

We needed to dry and iron the fabric before washing and ironing again to reveal our designs.

Clive is a very warm and generous teacher and

was always on hand to offer advice and inspiration when needed

and when I found him ironing my samples I even asked him to come home with me!

No InStitches Textile Adventure is complete without lunch

and the studio has plenty of space for us to all sit down together.  But  as much as we'd like to go with Clive's suggestion of a small glass of wine to accompany lunch, we do need to have a productive afternoon!

I think we managed that - judging by all the fabric flapping gently in the breeze!

 We were back the next day eager to get going with a bit more discharge before Clive managed to finally tidy it all away and start exploring stitched marks!

It was inspirational hearing about and seeing Clive's own work.  There was such a lot of stitched mark making ideas for us to try out.

These are a selection of Clive's pieces

and I'm hoping the students will send us images of their work once it is completed.

I used a leaf cut out on a couple of pieces, so I definitely want to try this stitch idea out on it.

If you fancy a creative day out why not take as look at our web site and see what is coming us soon?  We would love to welcome you to our new creative space!


Friday, 23 September 2016

Dreams can come true!

For a long time we have dreamed of having our own textile studio one day and finally this week that dream came true!  Sunfield Studio opened for business this Wednesday after a manic summer getting everything ready. 

If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook you'll have seen the occasional teaser photograph, but come and have a tour right now!

We have padded height adjustable tables which are just the thing for printing and sewing on (and great for ironing on too), lots of light, big windows, air conditioning plus a door outside for when the weather is nice and we want to indigo dye!  Look closely, see the half wall, well behind there, for when it's not so nice out, we have a great wet area just waiting for dyeing to happen...

We have made sure there's lots of equipment available for use,

that's easy to find

and don't you just love all the brayers hanging neatly on their hooks waiting for you?

There are comfy chairs and brightly coloured stools,

and of course the kitchen is well stocked and we promise there'll be something home baked in the tin too!

We have added a library for you to peruse

plus interesting things to stimulate the creative juices

So what are you waiting for? - Come and see us soon, we can't wait to show you around our lovely new home!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Moving on

For the last three years we having been teaching from Yateley Cricket Club and whilst it worked well we have always hankered after a studio of our own. 

Finally our dream has come true and this week we moved in to Sunfield Studio!

We've been building print tables (thanks Ben!),

painted shelves,

and, amongst many other things he's done for us, Chris installed our bargin sink units - which had come all the way from Southend, care of Gumtree!

It's not looking very tidy just yet and

we have stuff piled up everywhere until we can work out the best place to put everything but

at least we know it works as a creative space!