Monthly SewCial: Inspired by Mandy Pattullo

Mandy Pattullo at Festival of Quilts 2013
Mandy Pattullo detail - Festival of Quilts 2013

 As part of our Autumn programme we offer a monthly workshop at Cafe Salvation where the activity is less project driven and more about using sewing techniques to meet a challenge. We call these Monthly Sewcial's. For our October Sewcial, which took place last Friday, the Applewood team decided to draw inspiration from the work of artist Mandy Pattullo as a basis for the challenge. We've been interested in Mandy's work for a little while now and it was with great pleasure that we got to study some of her creations in person at the Quilt Show back in August. 
We were attracted to Mandy's work not only for the quality of her stitchcraft, but also by her approach. Her interests and practice share something with our own; we are both drawn to fabrics which have had a previous history, often evident to see, and prefer to work with materials already in existence rather than new. Often these fabrics have been passed onto us by someone else. Mandy refers to this practice on her website as a, 'thread and thrift' vision. 

You will find a lot of quilted fabrics being used in Mandy's work, so armed with a very tatty, handstitched, vintage quilt which had recently been passed onto us, we thought it would be the perfect base for this month's challenge. Quilt pieces were chopped into irregular shapes for workshop participants to pick randomly from a bag. In addition to this they were allowed to pull three pieces of hexagon patch at random from another bag. The patches had also been given to us by a friend who had hoped to make a patchwork quilt years ago and had never completed the project. 

Each workshopper now had a piece of quilt and three patches of patterned or plain fabric (mostly green!) to cover with surface embroidery taking inspiration from Mandy's style. Participants had access to a suitcase of fabric scraps, wools, vintage buttons and a variety of embroidery threads. 
However, just incase we were making it too easy for them, the final piece of the challenge was revealed. Only straight stitch, or a variation of, could be used. After hearing a little wimper we also allowed a French Knot or two.   
Based on these 'rules', this is the piece we made as a sample for the workshop.
Armed with their base materials, the participants set to work; concentration faces on, needles flashing, brains ticking over as they considered what could be classed as a straight stitch!  All concerned rose to the challenge magnificently! Take a look for yourself...


If you'd like to take part in one of our monthly sewing challenges, the next Sewcial is due to take place on Friday 22nd November at Cafe Salvation. The challenge will be revealed on the day! 

If you'd like to see and read more about Mandy Pattullo's work click on the following links:

Thank you to Mandy for being our inspirational muse!


Mandy Pattullo said…
Glad my work could provide inspiration to your group of switchers. lovely results!
Murgatroyd said…
Thank you Mandy. I'm sure that everyone involved will be pleased that you've stopped by to take a look at what they were up to.

Sending you best wishes!