Wednesday, 25 June 2008

From HOC to bag!

This bag started off life on it's journey into being a pillow (HOC) but really the colours were not diverse enough for a true Harem of Colour. So, decided that a bag would fit the bill! Some batting and a lining added and here it is!

Saturday, 10 May 2008

The Magical Forest of Good and Evil

Here it is, my Magical Forest of Good and Evil pillow. The light and dark sections of the base are the punched pantyhose-amazingly easy to work with once you get going!
If you look carefully you will see the spiders' web and this has a black swarovski crystal attached for the spider. Watch out!! There is also a snake about!
Sadly, I didn't quite make the top 3 but came in 4th so not too disappointing, especially when I finally got to see the top 3! Well done to the 3 top winners-some great prizes won! You can check out the winning pillows on

All 9 pillows were wonderful and unique and showed that we all approached this task in different ways. Well done to all the entrants- we are all winners really as we have learnt so much and come a long way since those early days of punching. Please check out the other certificated Christopher Nejman educators to see the pillows created by my fellow punchers. I am sure that you will gain ideas and inspiration from each one.

So, the question is- how is your adventure in punching land going?.......

Monday, 28 April 2008

The competition!

Competition time was here-finally all would be revealed!

This was to involve working in a slightly different way in that we were to be given a title to work from with a list of what could and couldn't be included in our creations. This meant allowing our own ideas and creativity to be more involved as there wasn't a photo or picture of a finished product to base our work on. Could be exciting, could be scary but what was the title?

The Magical Forest of Good and Evil : This pillow was to made using a special product in the base punching; I wonder, did I have the correct thing? Well the surprise was that we had to incorporate pantyhose ! Yes, you did read that correctly!!
The pillow should also show Christopher's signature technique of free motion stitching as used on the Harem of Colour, as much or as little as suited our theme.
3 days to create a pillow, take 14 beauty shots, step by step photos and notes, and turn this into a PowerPoint presentation. No stress then!! I wish!
Life was hectic in this household whilst I was undertaking my task-threads seemed to be everywhere, on the cats, on the dog, on the food! It's amazing how the little bits seem to stick to your clothes and unaware you distribute them around!!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Well, here we are-the 9 graduates eagerly awaiting the competition day!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Graduates, competition and more punching fun!

Well, all 3 pillows completed for the certification process, photos uploaded and Power Point presentations completed! Phew, so much to get through but pleased to say that get through we did and 9 people made the grade!
The next step was to wait for the Punching Idol contest in which the 9 of us would be able to participate.

What would we have to create? I was thinking, most likely a pillow of some type but what would it be?Hmmm, what things were needed, what supplies should I get?...

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Maestoso.....enter the RA!

Majestically he enters- the great sun god RA......or at least the pillow inspired by him!

This is indeed a majestic pillow, in royal purple tones with gold sun rays and decorative stitching to symbolise the geometric architecture of Egypt; the sun rays glisten in the light and the night stars twinkle against the black sky. It is also a majestic pillow in terms of size and weight, all of which help to portray the grandeur of royalty. Not an easy one to photograph well but then "beauty " shots of gods are hard to achieve on the best of days!
Lots of new techniques were employed in creating this pillow and also new presser feet for the sewing machine. One of the amazing things about the punching technique devised by C. Nejman for this pillow, is the transformation of heavy satin into suede, well into suede look alike- you need to try it to see for yourself!
The embellisher or punching machine is indeed magical in the way it transforms fabric into something else- each fabric reacting in it's own way. As they say "You've got to try it to believe it!" I do hope that by coming along with me on this adventure in punching land you are now tempted to do that very thing-give it a try!

New Harem of Colour now revealed!

Things are hotting up and lots to do!
I have now completed my new HOC pillow so am revealing that today- I hope that you can see the jewel tones present and almost "feel" the luxurious feel that this pillow has? It catches the light beautifully - glistens and gleams- very opulent.
The third and final pillow needed for the challenge is the RA- based on the Egyptian sun god himself. This pillow is the "grand" one with it's stature and regal lines. Lots of punching, decorative stitching and more!
My RA pillow is ready and awaiting it's final "beauty" shot to try and capture the majesty of this creation. Get ready for the grand entrance.....

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Tropical Winds are blowing!

Well, the forecast is that Tropical Winds are soon to hit these shores!.....
Don't worry, we are not talking about the hurricanes, but the pillows created by Christopher Nejman and given that name... this is the first shot of my newly completed Tropical Winds pillow following the techniques from the book (page 119). This was a hard task and covered new techniques but from wondering where this pillow was going in the early stages of the punching, I now love the colours and the flow.
I hope that I have captured some of the spirit and feeling intended and am pleased to launch this Tropical Wind to these shores! Can you feel it?......

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Fine tuning of the HOC and the next challenges!

So, here I was - FCA in the making and now came the real hard work!
Although my first attempt at the HOC pillow worked quite well, the fabric choices did not really reflect and portray the image of the jewel tones of India so my first pillow was renamed by C. Nejman as "Out at lunch on the sea" and I was back at the start with my HOC to redo.

This was all good practice for me to perfect the techniques that are essential for this signature pillow designed by Christopher Nejman. I was more confident about using my embellishing machine and also trying new presser feet and sewing skills. Version 2 of the HOC is now a work in progress, so watch out for its release soon!

Meanwhile, further challenges had been set- the Tropical Winds (TW) and Ra pillows. Now, they looked amazing in the book but I could see much hard work ahead of me if I was to get these correct. Sourcing and choosing fabrics and trims was the first challenge to be overcome, and that certainly was a major one!
Whilst working on the TW pillow I had the great fortune and honour of being invited to join the master teacher certification online group. This invitation I accepted not knowing fully what I was about to embark upon...Little did I know!

There is much to learn in order to become a master FCA and sometimes things don't always go the way that I hope, but slowly I am working towards my certification, with 3 pillows now under construction. I am also learning to use my eye for colour and photography and keeping a digital portfolio of my steps along the way- the ones that work and the ones that don't!

This is certainly an adventure, not knowing what challenge is around the corner. Sometimes the ride is bumpy and sometimes smooth but it is SO exciting to be here and I will certainly be a different person when I get there...wherever that may be!!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Arrival of the book and the first challenge!

Exciting day when the parcel from the USA arrived containing my copy of Christopher Nejman's book "Pillows- Designer Sewing Techniques" and DVD finally arrived!
I eagerly opened the parcel and looked through the book- the pillows were amazing to see but I thought no way can I do that! Not the correct mind set at all!! So, panic over I went shopping with book in hand to see what I could find to start the first challenge that had been set- the Harem of Colour pillow on page 25, soon to be known as HOC.
Punching was fun using fine exotic fabrics such as satins,silks, lame and eyelash fabrics. The sewing techniques were hard at first, but practising paid off and they were completed. Other steps were incorporated to add the glitz and shine of the jewels to portray this Harem of Colour.

I learnt many things whilst doing this first pillow:how to look at things from a different perspective, new techniques which stretched me, the joy when it worked and all done with the help of the patient teachers on the entry group and many helpful suggestions from the very patient man himself, Christopher Nejman, who was kindly giving his time to help myself and others out along the way . I was now becoming a FCA at last- A Fibre Construction Artist!

It is amazing to think that I am able to participate and learn in a group that is based in another part of the world but we are becoming unified and all pulling together to develop this new exciting way of creating. I am so glad that I am able to be part of this adventure in punching land!
The challenges are difficult at times, but this is an adventure and who knows where it may lead...

Thursday, 31 January 2008

The Next Stage
Well, FCA? Got it yet? Soon.....
Here I was waiting for my, or should I say, THE book and DVD to arrive and guess what happened?? The postal service in the UK had scheduled postal strikes! I had read with interest the reviews by other people in the entry group about the book and kept hearing the messages..."Read the book, watch the DVD". What was a girl to do in these circumstances?

A book and DVD were somewhere between Nancy's Notions store in the USA and the south coast of the UK, and who knows when they would arrive?.....So, what the girl, aka Ann, did was to look at the website and read what other people were getting up to on the group. I had a go at punching fancy fabrics I already had in my stash, organzas and dupions to see what happened. This was fun - shimmery fabric, glitter and lots of pink. WOW! I was in heaven. Then to add some extra glitz and ....sorry, got sidetracked there by glittery things!
The next challenge whilst waiting for the book/DVD to arrive was to try and source some of the supplies needed and this was, and is, still a challenge due to different names for things and the sadly diminishing shops available.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Watch this space for the next chapter in the story of how a FCA was born.
FCA?? You will soon find out...

The adventure-the beginning

My adventures in punching land or the story of how a FCA was born.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin....
One day, during the summer of 2007, I was surfing the web in search of something new, interesting and different to view, when I happened upon a picture of a needle felting machine or should I say a needle punching machine? It was called an embellisher! So, what did this machine do? I read with interest and thought, wow, this sounds intriguing and without further ado, and I add, without seeing one in the flesh, I decided to buy it!
"Was that wise?" I hear you ask. Well, maybe not at the time but it felt right to do and so I eagerly awaited the arrival of the embellisher.
The embellisher arrived and I thought " What now?" So, I had a go and punched some felt onto some denim in the shape of a basket of flowers. Very pretty, but not state of the art and awe inspiring. However, it was early days and I was happy to think this machine had possibilities. Little did I know what was to come!

Not long after this chapter in the adventure I was again surfing when I came across a link for punching fabrics with designer techniques and a link to an online teaching group. I was intriqued. What was this and could I do it?.......

The link was to the entry group for Christopher Nejman's designer techniques using the embellisher in conjunction with fancy fabrics. I decided to join and see what this was all about as it sounded inspiring. This came at a very good point in my life when I was in need of inspiration to get going again in the sewing/craft world after a difficult few months in my life, so it seemed it was "meant to be". I read the messages and decided that, yes I could try this, so sent off for my book and DVD from the USA as they were not yet available in the UK.