Lesley Brankin

Textile Artist

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and more Mark Making …


The mark making experimentation continues – this time I have tried layering painted muslin to give depth to the image. When I made this I had no idea of a title but ‘Marshlands’ seems appropriate. I am not so sure about the formality of the gridded tied background quilting but I  love the zing which the Frosted Matt fluorescent thread adds! The finished sample is just 9″ x 7″ in size.

The End

The End

The latest Art Quilts Around the World challenge had me stumped so I did as I often do and turned to Google for help. Searching for images related to ‘Film Noir’ I came across an picture which demanded my attention – it was the book cover for “Film Noir: The Encyclopaedia” (ISBN: 9780715638804)

I was particularly drawn to  it the figure of a man walking from the dark into the light and the strong vertical lines of the building. I tried to create a similar silhouette myself and failed dismally to get anything as satisfying as the book image. Being aware of potential copyright issues, if I was to use such an iconic figure, I emailed the author Alain Silver explaining what I wished to do. Within 10 minutes I had received a response generously giving me permission (copied to the publishers) and offering a copy of the original full size image. Thank you Alain!

I didn’t want to copy the entire image so needed to decide how to try and obtain a similar atmosphere but in a different setting. I liked the idea of moving from a dark edge to a light centre – this reminded me of some image manipulation which I had done based on photographs taken whilst visiting an installation called ‘The Hive’ at Kew Gardens in London.

The Hive, Kew Gardens

The Hive – Internal View

The Hive – Photo Manipulated Imagery

I overlaid these with the book cover to create my design. Using Gimp (an Image Editor) outline versions of the layers in my design were created and subsequently enlarged to A3 poster size using Double Take. (Both packages are available as ‘free to use’ software for Mac OS systems.)

I used black and blue florists fibre mesh (backed with Misty Fuse to stabilise and facilitate bonding later) for the foreground fabrics – these give a softer look than a solid fabric. The ‘holes’ and silhouette shapes were cut out using a craft knife. A commercial grey mottled patchwork cotton was used for the backing and the sun stencilled onto this using inktense pencils (later overlaid with a piece of orange fibre mesh for additional texture).

The mesh was heat bonded to the backing fabric and a ‘bagged out’ quilt sandwich created. All of the main edges were stitched down and any large areas of the black fabric free motion quilted to aid adhesion. Finally some free machine embroidered ground vegetation was added.

The End – Quilted Detail

Tea Time !!

When you go to make a fresh cuppa …

The Road Most Travelled

The Road Most Travelled

Even though the hand is better the mark making experimentation continues as, of course, I can now add stitch as well! This is a small (9 x 7 inch) hand stitched sample piece.

Magical Venetian Mosaics

San Donato

Should you ever find yourself on the island of Murano in the Venetian lagoon, Italy do be sure to make time visit the church of Santa Maria e San Donato. Although the outside of this building is stunning in its own right (and is itself a fabulous source of patchwork design ideas), the star of the show has to be the beautiful medieval mosaic floor. Sadly when I visited photographs of the interior of the church were not permitted but the delight it gave me wandering around remains with me today.

Santa Maria e San Donato, Murano

Having injured my hand at the end of 2017 and unable to do any stitching I did not want to miss out of doing the latest Art Quilts Around the World challenge. With Google’s help I found an image of a section of the church floor and drew up a sketch. Using a light box I traced this onto prepared for dyeing calico (muslin to my American friends) using a permanent marker pen. I then spent many happy hours colouring in the design using a mixture of Inktense dye pencils (painted with aloe vera to activate them) and permanent marker pens.

I have finally been able to complete the quilt by simply free motion machine quilting around the main motifs using a mid shade of grey thread.

Jaipur Memories

Jaipur Memories

My hand is finally mended enough that I can  begin getting creative again. One of the first things on my ever growing ‘to do’ list was to finish off my rag  journal documenting my fabulous trip to Jaipur with Colouricious Holidays last year. I made two smaller versions as Christmas presents but didn’t manage to complete my own. This includes fabric samples from all our printing workshops, photographs, drawings, embroidered block prints, journal entries and all sorts of other ephemera collected whilst away. Feeling very satisified with myself although it is still likely be a few weeks before I am back to full stitching mode.

Sample Page – Jaipur Memories

Sample Page – Jaipur Memories

Sample Page – Jaipur Memories

More Mark Making

More Mark Making

Making marks with simple tools is addictive!

Media used : acrylic ink and water on rag paper (with gesso underpainting)

Tools used : old store card, Japanese paint brush and pen tops.


Pods (commissioned by Janome UK Ltd.)

Specifically commissioned, ‘Pods’ is designed to showcase the features of Janome’s new M-Series computerised mid-range sewing machines. Although completed last year, it is only now that the machines have been launched here in the UK that I can publicly share some imagery.  Over the years I have created many quilted pieces for Janome but ‘Pods’ has to be one of my favourites and I really enjoyed making it. I particular liked using the serpentine stitch – stitched here using a thick thread in the bobbin.

‘Pods’ as featured in one of the new Janome M-series promotional shots – doesn’t it look great?

Janome Promotional Imagery featuring ‘Pods’ (courtesy of Janome UK)


Making Marks

A belated Happy New Year. Sadly no sewing for me so far due to injuring my left hand at the end of 2017. Thankfully I am right handed and so am taking the opportunity to explore some ‘mark’ making. Acrylic ink and water on Khadi (rag) paper using a Chinese paint brush, old store cards, pen tops and a cardboard tube…..

Mark Making

Pop Art Penguin

Pop Art Penguin

There isn’t really a lot of explanation needed for my latest Art Quilts Around The World challenge quilt! It is what it is – a Pop Art Penguin. Why a penguin? Well simply that I have a love of these characterful creatures, they always make me smile. The design for this one is based on a photograph I took whilst on a birthday trip to a local bird world last year. The design for the background flash and stripes was adapted from an image called “Pop! Goes the Mouse – Mickey Mouse” by Carlton & Reis.

My quilt is made entirely using appliqué techniques – invisible machine appliqué (for the stripes), reverse appliqué (for the flash shapes) and bonded appliqué (for the penguin). Raw edges on the flash have been stitched down using a small blanket stitch and a fine zig-zag was used on the penguin himself.

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