Tea with digestives

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Friday, 4 October 2013

my sewing corner

my sewing corner

Earlier this week my knitting teacher popped by to drop off her old Venus adjustable dressmaking mannequin and check out my new studio space.

I've been thinking about getting a mannequin and she was planning to sell hers so it was win win for us both. This one was made by a company called Venus sometime between the 1960s and 70s. 
It is made up of pieces that create the form and which can move apart through an easy to use turn and lock system.

The original sticker show how the turn and lock system works 

The adjustments are easy to moniter as there is a tape measure with the turn and lock system 

There is also a hem line checker which helps to mark out the hems on dresses and skirts evenly.

I would love a new sewing machine but have to make do with an inexpensive sewing machine which I bought for some sewing classes a few years ago. 

It's fairly basic but does a good range of stitches and is fine for simple sewing.

It works but bits like the thread spool holder have broken off and it can jamming or the thread break. I have sorted out the tensions etc. so hopefully it has life in it yet.

There is an old  vintage industrial singer machine in the house, that is working fine that belonged to my mother but my sister is going to give that a new home soon.

Next week when I visit the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace  on from the 10th - 13th of October, I will be checking out the stalls selling fabric and haberdashery and ooohhing  the amazing sewing machines I'd love to own.

Currently my sewing fabric stash is low on large pieces but I do have lovely small pieces of Liberty Tana Lawn fabric left over from previous projects.

and some cute Hello Kitty fabric 

this is one of the Liberty art fabric Hello Kitty designs

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

my studio space

my studio space 

I am really liking my new studio space.  It's nice to have somewhere to work that isn't another room in the house. I do enjoy working from home but one of the problems is that it is difficult to stop working. It was easy to pick things to do more work on at all hours. It isn't good for a work life balance and neither for being accurate with costings for time and materials as that can get vague when we treat a business like a hobby. 
So what's in my studio : 

You can see the clothes rack with the freshly dyed yellow cotton t-shirts. 

In the next room, I have freshly washed dyed t-shirts drying 

the colours here are flamingo pink and some creatively coloured t-shirts in shaded of olive green

I dye all my t-shirts by hand. I add the salt and dye to a water bath and then put the white cotton t-shirts in and swirl them around, rinse and then wash in the machine with non bio soap powder. 

dyeing cotton shades of lavender

I try to get some patchy effects on purpose, because I like my t-shirts to look as if they have been hand dyed. Machine dyeing produces a uniform colour but feels a waste to me, as I may as well buy the t-shirt in that colour. 

I am however not too keen on the full tie tied effect. I like subtle creases and stains of colours, creating a striking or even subtle marbling effect. It makes my items individual and creates a one of a kind item. 

my market stall 

pretty t-shirts, skirts and leggings

here are some floral hand painted and tea time designs

crocodile and bird Indian block printed designs

The ready to buy t-shirts are then stored in a walnut coloured wardrobe to keep them clean and dust free.

My new t-shirts and vest collection for children will consist of colours which have been inspired by these autumn leaves.  From this photo, I have chosen to dye the t-shirts the following colours : mottled olive, golden yellow and decided the added vibrancy with flamingo pink  and lavender  would be great for this season. Autumn is after all a time to unwind and relax and also celebrate.

I am really  happy to have a studio space a few minutes walk from my home.  I like clutter free functional spaces, so although it is looking bare  it will pretty much stay the same apart from having a coffee table and some art on the walls.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

About me : my design portfolio


I am a self taught designer and maker. I have always been involved in some level of designing and making thanks to growing up in a make do and mend and be creative family. 

Following careers in medical science and teaching I am now following my passion to work creatively. I now sell my handmade items at local craft markets and on line and a gift shop.

examples of my involvement in creative projects 2000- 2012

(1)  between 2000-2002:  I exhibited and sold my mixed media at London's Spitalfield's Art Market and had 3 exhibitions of my work. The work involved hand dyeing my own tissue paper and using recycled papers and magazine pages to create art that has a personal development theme.

(2) I designed a children’s duvet cover, called “love to learn” for Fou Furnishing which has been sold successfully by them. This company specialises in luxury high end organic bed linen and uses certified organic textiles.  I approached my design with the view to pleasing children and also creating a design which would reflect the high quality of the fabric and embroidery workmanship which is part of the Fou Furnishings style. My winning design represents the things that fascinate young learners like animals, numbers and celebrates the way their enthusiastic minds make connections between things with their imaginations for storytelling. 

my duvet design from the Fou Furnishings website 

(3) I won a prize for my design for the Soil Association “design a T-shirt competition” My design is called "Organic adds up" My explanation for the design I submitted is as follows, "Supporting organic is about getting the balance right the way mother nature intended without the use of artificial factors. The mathematical logo idea came about of my science background and though fictional the equation works  it because it looks striking and makes you think about what it could mean. I choose colours which would have a broad appeal and could be used on t-shirts or bags"

(4) My entry to “The British Sari Story” competition run by Bridging Arts is in a  book published by the Victoria and Albert Museum called “British Asian Style”. There is a page about my inspirations my design based on dandelion flowers and seed heads. 

(5) I have also contributed several craft projects for a published book “101things to do with glitter” by Momtaz Begum-Hossain, published Autumn 2012. One of my designs for the book was used on the front cover ( blue lace paper notebook)

The book cover with my notebook design project

a popular project from the book  mini affirmations message board 

(6) In 2002, I won a Millenium award with which I run two workshops for local residents in Enfield which culminated in an exhibition of their work which was based on using creativity through art to aid personal development and achieve their goals.

(7) I have made several wedding bouquets from fresh flowers and also jewellery and beads. This one was made with broken jewellery and donated beads.

recycled jewellery and vintage button bouquet designed and
 created by Fatema Hossain
(picture taken Alexandre Pichon )

fresh flower bouquet designed and created by Fatema Hossain
(picture taken by Jolekha Shasha)

Cards , Children's t-shirts, art & accessories

tea cups greeting card hand drawn and painted greeting card

tea time treats collage and painted greeting card

hand drawn tea time greeting card 

hand dyed and hand drawn child's  tea shirt

hand drawn tea cup design ladies vest top

textile and fabric brooch with a cell design in a mini petri dish
this is one my science and art designs

paper flower fridge magnet made with recycled pages from old library books

paper rose fridge magnet 

adjustable bead and textile ring with mohair and beads

I enjoy drawing freestyle mark making in black ink as well as painting with a freehand style using mixed media, watercolour and acrylics mainly on paper and fabrics.

I am available for commissions to make one of cards, children's t-shirts, at work and accessories.  Please contact me via my folksy shop or twitter.

In case you were wondering "Rara Avis" is Latin for something special, unique, rare and can refer to a special person or a special item.