After our real life adventure at the Victoria and Albert Museum I was approached by a children’s author, Lucia Wilson. She was inspired by seeing Cedric on tv and wanted to write a book based on our story.
In story one, Cedric is having an exciting time being the centre of attention in the V&A Museum. When a young man called Troy decides to bear-nap Cedric, things take an alarming turn. Freddie and Julie, two young children who witness this crime, decide to play detective.
In story two, Cedric meets the Button Bear, trapped in a dark, miserable basement living with the meanest tailor in London. Cedric gathers a team of chums from London Zoo, Polo the penguin and a cheeky gang of squirrel monkeys, and is determined to rescue the Button Bear and to help him find his way home.
In story three, Cedric sets off to Paris for a long-overdue reunion with his cousin, Velours, a blue velvet cat. Cedric was shocked to see that Velours was now disabled; one of her back legs has been replaced with a rubber wheel after a horrible accident. Cedric’s sadness quickly disappears when he realises that Velours hasn’t let her disability hold her back, in fact, he was thrilled to learn that she was about to run in Le Grand Dash, the biggest race in the Pet Paralympics – and she is the favourite to win!
I created Cedric in 2012 after I graduated from a woven textiles degree in Norwich. The colours have been inspired by the colours of autumn. I just love the muted reds, oranges and yellows found at that time of year. He is entirely made by hand using traditional techniques. His fabric is handwoven using a super soft Tencel yarn with a twill based structure. He is hand sewn together and has cotterpin joints, glass eyes and a stitched nose. Inside he is full of tiny glass beads which gives him a mouldable, sturdy weight.
Just after I made him, Cedric and I appeared on BBC 2’s Paul Martin’s Handmade Revolution. As a winner Cedric was displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum where he was adopted.
Cedrics are available for purchase (please email email@example.com)
Today I went over to Prema Gallery in Uley, Gloucestershire, to see Carole Bury’s solo exhibition.
Carole works with drawings, paper and stitch to create beautiful artwork. Her work is subtle often using a monochromatic colour scheme and white on white. She is inspired by nature, countryside and birds. She works a lot with feathers exploring three dimensional structures of white paper and white thread, sometimes picking out detail in gold leaf.
I have always loved the tactile qualities of stitch on paper and Carole does this so well.
The actual gallery is an amazing space. An octagonal room with lots of natural light. Carole’s work makes it a calm space to be in. Her work is displayed almost continuously around the room telling the story of the seasons. Even though there is very little colour she has captured the soft, dense snow of winter and energy of spring.
She also has tables set out in the middle of the room where she is continuing her practise. I always love to see the work behind the final pieces. It tells a story of how the work is developed. There is always something raw, energetic and experimental this type of work.
We couldn’t help ourselves and purchased one of her drawings to take pride of place in our living room.
In 2012 I made Cedric, a hand woven teddy bear, who was displayed at the V&A after appearing on Paul Martin’s Handmade Revolution. After seeing the rerun in 2016, Lucia Wilson contacted me about writing a children’s book.
We now have three Cedric stories. These have been put together in a book, The Adventures of Cedric the Bear, written by Lucia Wilson, created by me and illustrated by Anne Bowes. For more information have a look at our Cedric website here.
A pique weave is essentially a weft wise cord. It is characterised by raised, wadded areas across the width of the cloth. A face cloth is woven, usually using a plain weave but doesn’t have to be, which is then padded to create a raised surface. At regular intervals stitcher threads, from a separate warp which has remained hidden behind the cloth, are woven in to the face cloth to create an indentation. In the example above the white ends are the plain woven face cloth and the black threads are the stitcher ends.
Two warps are used, one for the face of the cloth and on for the stitcher ends. These are usually at a ratio of one stitcher end for every two face ends. These stitcher ends are used to separate the raised wadded areas and are hidden behind the face cloth when not needed. A wadding thread, usually a thick yarn, is inserted in the middle of each section of face cloth to create a raised surface. The stitching ends are brought up at the end of each section and woven in to the face cloth for one or more picks. This secures the face cloth down and creates an indentation across the width of the fabric between weaving each section of face cloth.
The face and stitcher ends need to be on separate beams to allow the face ends to be woven at a lesser tension so that they are able to raise over the wadding creating height.
A non slippery yarn is best to avoid the weft slipping along the warp. A Pique can be woven as a loose backed cloth or fast backed cloth. This means that the stitching ends are either floating on the back of the cloth (loose backed) or woven into the wadding on the back of the cloth (fast backed). A loose backed cloth is fine when the back is not going to show. For practicality the back may need to be woven to stop it from catching. There are multiple ways to vary your Pique:
The raised, wadded areas can be narrow, wide or a combination of both. However if they are too wide definition may be lost and if they are too narrow they may not show up well.
The stitching threads could simply be brought up for one pick or for several in a more decorative pattern.
The wadding can also be varied. A small amount of wadding can produce something subtle or something thicker will produce a more dramatic effect.
Below are some example drafts.
This draft below shows how the raised area could be woven as either a loose backed pique (1.a.) or a fast backed pique (1.b.). The stitcher ends would be woven in before and after each section.
The face ends (white) are on shafts 1 – 4 and the stitcher ends (black) are on shafts 5 – 8. In the loose backed cloth the stitcher ends are left to float behind the face of the cloth which is being woven as plain weave. In the fast backed cloth the sticher ends are woven as plain weave in to the wadding thread(s).
The wadding thread(s) are inserted in each pick where all of the face ends are raised.
The number of plain weave picks can be varied to make the wadded areas wider or narrower. The amount of wadding can also be increased or decreased to vary the prominence on the raised areas.
This draft below shows two examples of how the stitcher ends can be woven. They are called stitcher ends because they act like stitches holding the farbic down between each of the raised areas. in the first example the stitcher ends would be raised for two picks between the wadded areas before lowering behind the face cloth again. I find that if the stitcher ends are raised for only one pick then they get lost and don’t show up. In the second example the stitcher ends are raised multiple times between the wadded areas in a diamond pattern. These ends can be raised and lowered as many times as desired to create different effects.
These stitcher drafts would be inserted before and after one of the face weaves above. For example you might choose the loose backed face cloth weave above and alternate it with the first of the stitcher drafts below.
The Winchester BA degree show is great and well worth a visit. Naturally I was drawn to the textiles and weave students.
Some of the weaves were really strong and I was intrigued to see that quite a few of the students used monofilament or silk filament yarn to create transparent areas contrasted with heavier yarns.
During my degree I was really interested in creating layers within my weaves. These weaves reminded my of this. I have never used silk filament. There aren’t many things that make me anxious but this seems easy to get into a mess with.
I love going to the different degree shows. They are so inspiring. There is always something new and experimental in the textiles.