Sunday, 31 May 2009

New embroidered bag

New embroidered bag, originally uploaded by Joey 7.

I'm sorry that I haven't posted anything for AGES! Well allsorts has happened which I could have blogged about but didn't... did my first craft fair, ran my first workshop to make origami, saw "Synecdoche, New York" (which is a great film and I still intend to post about it because of that), etc etc. I think i've got to that age where time starts to go so quickly that I just can't keep up anymore!

Anyway, enough of excuses! I finished a bag today that I'm really pleased with. I've made a few bags before of various styles, but I set out to make a very simple lined bag, although it progressively got more complex as I made it, just because I was enjoying myself so much!

I've bought a bunch of lovely souvenir tea towels that I intend to make into bags, and so I wanted to test a simple bag shape. I've seen bags like this but couldn't be bothered to get hold of a pattern so just drew out a shape I liked, then added a strip of checked fabric to the centre.

This was going to be it, finished design. But then I thought it needed something else, so stitched on a crocheted motif I'd bought in a charity shop about a year ago. Then I looked through a bag of buttons I'd bought from Craft Haven in Sheffield the other week and thought it'd be nice to have those on... but the buttons by themselves looked a bit 'lost' ,so I was going to sew simple backstitched circles around each button. However, I do like to try to broaden my embroidery repertoire, so instead I tried out various stitches from the "Stitch Dictionary" by Lucinda Ganderton.

I finished the bag off with tips and instructions gleaned from a lovely book, "Making Vintage Bags" by Emma Brennan, because she tells you how to insert the lining and insert a magnetic clasp... things I know how to do, but I prefer to have instructions there so there's less chance of me making a massive mistake! Which usually happens when I'm making bags. Like stitching the bag right side facing the wrong side, or cutting corduroy out with the nap going up instead of down... yes, silly annoying things! From what i've learnt about making bags or sewing in general, is that when there are a lot of steps involved in making the item, it helps to write it all down first, to guide you and help you remember important bits! I tend to do this because it helps me feel more confident about it and takes away the stressful feelings (yes, bag-making can be stressful!).

Now i've made it, I can't decide whether to put it on Etsy to sell, or keep it for myself! What do you think?

more pictures of the bag:
See ya SOON!
Joey x

Saturday, 2 May 2009

To An Independent Listener: the Delia Derbyshire installation

I was a lucky child, growing up in the 70's and 80's, for many reasons. But what i'm thinking about particularly is Dr Who. Not the Dr Who of today, which can be entertaining in it's own way, but rather the Dr Who of the 70's, with the wonderful Tom Baker, the jellybabies, quarries pretending to be alien landscapes and perhaps best of all, the theme music. I never wondered who was responsible for this fantastic, other-worldly music when I was little. But now I know it was a lady called Delia Derbyshire, although she doesn't get much credit for it.

Delia was part of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in the 60s, where a few little studios in Maida Vale were the home to a bunch of people who chopped up bits of reel-to-reel tape and spliced them together to make 'music' which was in some ways ahead of it's time, but also very at home in the space-age 60s.

A few months ago I heard a feature on Radio 4 about the rediscovery of the 'lost tapes' of Delia Derbyshire. I was entranced. I had heard a little of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop a few years ago, but it's rare for any of the recordings to be broadcast, as far as i'm aware. So I was surprised and delighted by the few little clips that were played: beautiful, melancholic, dreamy tracks; electronic dance music; strange sounds that transport you to another dimension.

Now I've had the chance to hear more of Delia's marvellous music, at an installation at the Bloc Studios, Eyre Street, Sheffield, as part of the Sensoria festival. The installation itself was minimal; a smallish room with one light, a screen showing a film of Delia's actual tapes and various letters she'd received about the broadcasts of her music etc, and a speaker.

As soon as I went in and sat down my imagination was taken on a wonderful ride by the music; from ethereal, floating sounds to repetitive electronic beats; at times relaxing and restful, then haunting and unnerving. The recording was on a loop and because I sat there with my eyes closed, lost and enveloped in the soundscape I also lost track of time, but I think it lasted around 25 minutes or so. I stayed well past the bit "where I came in" and I found it difficult to drag myself out of what felt like some sort of hypnosis. I was truly relaxed and my mind was probably somewhere else. It really was a wonderful experience.

There is something particularly primitive and pure about Delia's music that I really love; to me, it feels like emotions represented in sound-forms.

You can listen to some of the music on the Delia Derbyshire site:
and there's more on the BBC site as well:

A very nice person has put up the fantastic BBC Four documentary from 2003, Alchemists in Sound, this is part one: but they have put up the rest of the programme in 6 parts.

Sensoria Festival site:


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