Fabric books with Frances Pickering

We have just had a couple of days with the guild and Frances as she led us through her process of making small stitched books.   Frances was very open in sharing her techniques and huge array of little books she brought with her which were incredibly inspiring. 

Along with Jim, they made quite an entertaining duo, and as our group is just a little bonkers…well you can imagine.  It was great fun.  Everyone made something they really liked which sounds weird but sometimes you come away  from a time like this and don’t feel that’s the case.  I think it was because people could use a technique but make it their own which is always what I prefer from a workshop.  And you know me, one of the few without bright colours and flowers etc!  

I had tried not to load the entire shed into my bags but it is SO hard when you are not quite sure what you will need.  There was just enough room for my giant chocolate buttons I’m happy to say.  I had copied some photos I had taken at Fountains Abbey last year and thought I’d do something ‘old buildingy’.  Along with them, I’d read up a bit and was really surprised to find that the lands of the abbey stretched as far as here at home and that there is the remains of probably the first water-driven forge on the river nearby.  For those of you living elsewhere, the abbey is about 95 km away!  Anyway, the plan is to do something inside that reflects the echoes of of life then.  No idea why really  except that I got taken by some of the ‘stories in the stones’.

These are the strips of fabric on Bondaweb and dyed with Koh-i-noir. 

This is the beginning of the cover taking shape.


Front and back finished, with lots of machine stitching, a little bit of fabric medium, and all the edging and fastenings done using old washing buttons and cord from hand-dyed thread.  Some of the fabrics and thread were from the dying I did on Ex Tex last year and some were left from the feathers piece.

And the beginnings of something happening inside…

Quite looking forward to steadily filling it, as I haven’t done a journal like this for some time and I do like a bit of paper!

Click here to see the brilliant array of books from the workshop!


16 thoughts on “Fabric books with Frances Pickering

  1. Oh I love these, they are gorgeous Rachael, I did a workshop with Frances and thoroughly enjoyed it, can’t wait to see the final piece.

  2. Beautiful! I love the way you’ve captured the colours of the stone and, as always with the things you make, I want to reach up to the computer screen and touch it! 🙂

  3. This is a lovely piece of work. I enjoy seeing how other people make their books. Books are my thing so I can appreciate the work in this one. Enjoy finishing it and I would like to see the finished piece

    1. Thanks. Hope your quilts are getting finished. Looks like you had a great holiday over Easter,

  4. I know Fountains Abbey, as l used to live up that way, when my family and then my husband, were in the Military! Your cover and then the inside, just brings back so many memories. You have captured the feel of the place beautifully. I look forward to seeing it fill up too! 🙂 Lynda

  5. Your book is stunning and I love the inside pages. Medieval designs are a favourite of mine and I love Frances Pickering’s work. I am going to Hawkwood College, near Stroud in September for a weekend course with her.

    1. She brought some great books with her medieval images and portraits etc. she has done so much research for her projects. I’m sure you will really enjoy your weekend.

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