A blog about making art and other things using cloth, paper, paint, colour, stitch, and all sorts of exciting techniques, some of which I'm sure I still have to discover! I hope that the joy all this gives me is visible in what you can see here.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Fun characters!

Mrs. Moocroak

Mr Moocroak and Junior

Characters with a sting in their tails!

Mrs. Frou Frou...(my alter ego?)

Liz Ebra

Mrs. F takes Liz for a walk!

Patchwork character for my grandson.

I've enjoyed making some fun characters in the past, there is something very satisfying about letting your imagination run riot and producing something truly unique.
All hand stitched apart from the last one, and easy to make on cold dark winter evenings in front of the tele.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Taking BIG risks.

I enjoyed another busy, mind blowing day on Friday at the Wet n Wild workshop with Claire benn and Leslie Morgan. Now, as far as I'm concerned, a workshop like this is all about experimenting, exploring new ideas, stretching  strengths, learning from mistakes and if needs be, taking risks! I decided to take along my recent piece I've called Lamination Blues. (see a few posts back), because I still had a niggle about a few areas, and needed some guidance and hopefully a few ideas as to how these niggles could be resolved. Some of the appliqued areas on the backing fabric were creating lines through the lamination, and I was finding them irritating. It was suggested that it may be better to make a feature of these, rather than to keep trying to camouflage them. Monoprinting was an idea that came up, in two contrasting colours, using the lines as the defining edge of the change in colour. Although I've spent hours already on this piece, I decided to go for it, and take the risk of making a very big mistake! I quite enjoy the challenge of putting things right when they go wrong, and so this was definitely a challenge I couldn't refuse!! I decided to use a dark sea green on the largest area, and a turquoise blue on the smaller section.. With a sense of trepidation, the printing ink was mixed, swirled onto the plastic printing block, and gently but firmly pressed onto the surface of my textile piece. Some interesting results were an added bonus from printing the image left on the plastic onto some silk/cotton fabric, but more on that later. I'm not sure yet what I feel about t the results, they are quite radical for me, and the sea green colour has dried darker than I'd planned for. However, I have absolutely no regrets about going ahead with this, I really do feel that it is what will eventually give me the confidence to fully explore my potential, and it's what workshops like this are all about.....don't you think?

Working from photos/art work.

In 2005, I photographed this prickly pear  while holidaying on Madeira. I loved the shape of  the plant and all the detail on the individual sections as they grow around the edge of the main part. Later, at home I decided to make some sketches of  the cactus and finally the watercolour you see here.                                                                       
Five years on, I've used the watercolour to experiment with paper lamination. I photocopied the image in black and white, enlarged it and then laminated it onto some polyester organza.

I wondered if it would be possible to use watercolour paint on this laminated piece, and here are the results!

Having decided that I liked the effect of the colour, I have started to stitch into the piece. This is still in progress, but I will post a final image when I'm happy with the end result.
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Using my sketches.

Another small landscape from last years sketching day on the South Downs. This one was constructed from different fabrics, cut to shape and bonded onto the backing. Again, I couched down black knitting wool to outline each section and then machine quilted detail in black thread.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

South Downs

Almost a year to the day, I enjoyed a walk on the South Downs in Sussex and made some sketches. I have at last translated one of these sketches into the textile lanscape shown here. I started by meshing some lightweight and sheer fabrics onto some wadding and then outlined areas by couching down black knitting wool. I also used black cotton to free machine quilt other areas for more definition.

The piece called Lamination Blues has had considerably more stitching worked into it. I didn't feel that it was finished, so quilted circles in various matching colours between the spirals and circles. I also hand stitched over more of the laminated areas, and am now happy that it is ready to be backed and bound.
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Saturday, 2 October 2010

Recent textile pieces.

 I started with some cotton wadding, scraps of mainly printed sheers, voiles and silk and meshed them into the wadding with my embellishing machine. I tried to stick to blues and greens, not sure why, but that was my mood. I felt very positive about what I was doing and why! Having covered the whole piece, I free machined with different coloured threads in a very crude, darning style around each scrap to meld them into a sort of 'whole'. My feelings at this stage became less clear, and my direction somewhat 'lost'. I just had to leave it for a day or two, pondering what I was trying to achieve.
Do you ever get to this stage and then find that inspiration leaves you hanging in space? Different ideas popped into my head, but then popped out just as speedily, and somewhere at the back of my mind was an idea that I needed to use black in some way. I started to read about couching threads and cords on another site, and this gave me the idea for using the black knitting wool to outline certain areas, creating this simple design.

I have been enjoying a more relaxed approach recently with the addition of some simple hand stitching, and decided that this was what this piece needed. I think the fashionable term for more hand stitching is called 'slow cloth'. I must admit it really is quite meditative, and just a simple running stitch, flowing in whatever direction one chooses to take can give some lovely results. Hopefully this close up of an area will give you an idea of the handwork. I'm still not completely happy with the way this piece has turned out, but hopefully this will change when I've had the chance to put it away for a bit, and then look at it with fresh eyes.

October Journal Quilt.  
This month I decided to use the paper lamination technique. Just some simple spirals, and once backed onto a plain light cream background, I free machine quilted yet more spirals!