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.

Monday, 29 December 2014

New Ideas for a New Year!

At the end of November, I spent a day enjoying a workshop with Maggie Grey. I bought her latest book, 'cut, shape, stitch' working creatively with cutting machines.  (Maggie Grey-Samantha packer-Paula Watkins) and was so inspired by what can be done with one of these machines, decided there and then it was going to be a birthday gift from my husband which just happens to be in December!

I painted up some rag paper, using my Gelli plate, and then passed it through my new cutting machine using an embossing folder. This gave the paper the lovely plant like shapes you can see in these photos. After cutting out the shapes for this triptych, I painted up some thin card, and then passed this through the cutting machine using a cutting die to give me the swirly shapes you can see on the two front panels. Some further embellishments using embossing powders, and some fancy gold stitching around the top and front edges, completed the look I was after. I hand stitched the two sides together, then inserted and stitched down one of my crows on the inside back panel. Just so much fun, and I have lots of ideas for further projects similar to this.

Now, the main reason I decided that one of these cutting machines was something I couldn't live without, had nothing really to do with the die cutting or embossing! It was the idea, that it could also be used as a small printing press for collagraph prints! I first experimented with collagraph printing on a workshop with Cas Holmes, and have really enjoyed playing around with this technique, but also found it frustrating that using the back of a spoon didn't always give the results I hoped for. Maggie Grey let us into her secret that using a cutting machine also made an excellent alternative to a small printing press for collagraphs, and apparently, pasta making machines also work well.

My new toy!

First, I decided to make a small collagraph plate using one of my crows. I cut out the crow perched on a branch with a blade, and then stuck him down onto some mountboard, using some scrim, bits of lace, and screwed up thread for the background. I also made some feathery marks on the crows body with the blade.

This was all given two coats of shellac, back and front, and then the fun began! I bushed acrylic paint into the plate, making sure it went down into all the spaces, then rubbed away any paint that was laying on the surfaces. I dampened the paper before putting it all through the press, and the results are what you see below.

Not perfect by any means, but I'm feeling quite excited by the possibilities that this machine is going to give me. I think I like the fact that it has a multi purpose use for ideas and future projects. I also used the negative shape left after I had removed the crow from the background paper.

So many ideas coming from this, and somehow, I don't think I'm finished with this ongoing bird project either!

Finally, I have also been using some of my gelli prints as inspiration for some small experimental projects using a simplified version of paper lamination. Another technique recommended by Maggie Grey on our workshop day in November. Below is a photo of one of my gelli prints, which I printed onto plain copy paper. Using white felt as a background, the image was laminated face down onto the felt using bondaweb, and when the back of the paper was dampened with water, it rubbed away to leave the image on the felt, ready to be further embellished with stitch, and a little paint. The result is what you see in the photo above.

Well, that's about it for now, I'm so looking forward to the new year, creating, making and generally having fun! Thank you so much for reading my rambles and I would also like to take the opportunity to wish you all, a very happy, healthy and above all, PEACEFUL New Year for 2015, wherever you are in this wonderful world of ours.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Last of the birds.....for now at least!!

My last journal quilt of 2014, and my last crow too. He, or is it a she? (I'm afraid I don't know the difference as they don't appear to have a plumage difference like some birds.) is sitting on a branch, and looking over his/her shoulder at ? Again, we'll never know!

This is just a small 5" x 5" piece, yes I know, another crow, but I do love these birds, and as a contrast, a seasonal robin below, also sitting on a frosty branch. Lots of thread painting on this one, I placed a cut-out robin from a collagraph print that I made, placed it on one of my gelli prints, photographed the arrangement, printed it onto some canvas and then stitched.

My 9 year old grandaughter decided that she wanted to make robin Christmas cards for her friends, so produced the image below on my tablet with an arty app, and then printed them off. I think it's just gorgeous, and I'm sure her friends will all be very impressed. Next year, I will encourage her to print on fabric and do some stitching. We must follow on the family tradition!

Finally, a small wall hanging for our youngest grandson, an extra present to be delivered by santa. It is our solar system, because he has a fascination with the moon, so why not introduce him to all the other wonders in our night skies out there.

This will probably be my last post this year, so I would like to take the opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas, and a peaceful, healthy and happy New Year, and a very BIG thank you for taking the time to tune in and read my blog. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Experiencing a different 'Art'

Yesterday, I went to the RA to see Anselm Kiefer's retrospective exhibition. I had previously watched the documentary presented by Alan Yentob, imagine...... Winter 2014-5 Remembering the Future, and I was so fascinated by this artist, that I couldn't wait to see these works for real. If you live in the UK, and missed this programme, you can watch on iplayer here, for another 8 or 9 days.

I hadn't come across Anselm Kiefer's work before, and I'm finding it very difficult to put into words my feelings about what I saw in this show, but to see how this man has explored his deepest thoughts, feelings and ideas on the Holocaust, religion, his own spirituality, and some of the most profound questions we all ask ourselves about our existence on this planet left me feeling completely awed and reeling with admiration for the dedication he shows to his art.

As I left the exhibition, the phrase going around in my head was, 'So, this is REAL art, this is what it is all about!'  However, 24 hours later, I am realising that the word 'Art', is just an umbrella word, and that art comes in many forms and guises, something which is very obvious really, and something which I have always realised, but not bothered to really think about, until now that is.

I found some of Kiefer's huge canvases in this show quite disturbing, and certainly not the sort of images I would want hanging on my walls at home. However for me, they have provided a window into the soul of a human being who wants to share with those of us who are willing to look, the emotions, ideas, explorations, questions, and the horrors as well as the joys that are all a part of being a human being.

Monday, 24 November 2014

'Around the World' blog post!

Something a little different from my usual post this Monday morning, an 'Around The World' blog post.
Janet McElroy asked me to follow on today from her blog post last Monday, and you can see some of her wonderful patchwork and quilting here

I have met Jan in person a couple of times at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, but we first met through a website sponsored by Popular Patchwork magazine, and from the start I just knew she was going to be a really fun, as well as
 talented and enthusiastic lady. Her quilting especially is just magnificent, and I am in awe of how prolific she is! I dare you to hop over to her blog, you'll not regret it, I promise.

Before introducing some of the blogs that I enjoy, here is a little bit about what I am working on at the moment. After buying myself a Gelli plate a few weeks ago, I am enjoying experimenting with paint and paper, as well as cloth, but I find that if I produce a paper piece that I like, it's easy to take a photo of it, and then print it out onto some canvas ready for stitch. Here is my latest, a robin in the snow! Brrrrr.

Although I started out with patchwork and quilting about 15 years ago, I soon began to investigate 'art quilts', and now I would describe what I do as more mixed media. I really enjoy using paint, crayons and fabric dye for surface decoration on my work, as well as plenty of free machine stitch. Mind you, I'm not too sure that my sewing machine is very happy about this!

Now that I'm retired, I have lots more time to indulge in my craft, and it has become so important to my life, that I can't imagine how it would be not to disappear into my sewing room everyday, and to focus all my energy into my work. I find I get quite grumpy if I go a day or two without it, so maybe it's become almost an addiction!

Last thing at night, before I sleep, I think about what I've been working on, and the following morning, I usually start the day by having a soak in the bath, and a good think about where I'm at, and the best way forward with whatever I'm working on.

The person who is going to be following on from me Next Monday 1st December, is Tessa Spanton. I have known Tessa for many years, mainly through our shared interest in art, and Tessa produces some really wonderful silk paintings, and also silk scarves, ties and jewellery. Click here to take you to her blog, and enjoy feasting your eyes on her beautiful works of art.
Tessa also regularly writes articles for Leisure Painter magazine, and teaches watercolour as well as silk painting.

I must also take this opportunity to give my son Ben a mention. He is an extraordinarily talented designer/maker of fine furniture, and restorer of antique furniture. He doesn't have a blog, but his website is a must, http://www.benstonardfinefurniture.co.uk/
I hope you have enjoyed this ramble, and the links to others blogs/websites I have included. 

Monday, 3 November 2014

Birds and Books!

My journal quilt for November is called 'Crow in a meadow'.  Same techniques as the previous two for September and October. I've really enjoyed doing these crows, so much so that I decided to make a concertina book which you can see below.

There are five prints of my mixed media crows, folded into the 100% rag paper cover which you see above. I have printed an image from my sketch book for the cover, and secured it with a black satin ribbon

I enjoyed making the crow book so much, I decided to make a few more!
This next one (above) contains butterfly images....

This one is all about robins, very seasonal of course,

...and this final one is a reproduction of some of the art I have made depicting the old boats on the beach at Dungeness.

All of these are listed in my etsy shop here

I hope you like what you see. I've certainly enjoyed making them, and thanks so much for reading!
See you next time.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Fish, leaves and grasses from my gelli plate.

Below is the fish I printed from my gelli plate onto some cotton fabric, and above is how it looks now, after stitching into it. The colours have changed, mainly because of the threads I have used, but I think it is more defined with the stitching.

These are a mixture of leaves and grasses, the little butterflies on the one above were printed from a stencil.

I experimented more by overprinting with a lighter paint, and I like the effect this has given.

Some of them are quite subtle, but I'm still playing really, and my next plan is to start printing more on fabric, ready for stitch. These have all been printed onto photocopy paper, so apart from maybe using them in collage work, there isn't really anything else I could do with them. 

I have taken photos of all of these, they need to be cropped, and then I could always print my favourites onto canvas, which would give me the opportunity to embellish with stitching, which is what I did with the seahorse in my previous post.

That's it for now, we've been away, and I have been busy most days sketching and trying to capture the sunrise over the sea in watercolour. Hopefully all fodder for future work with my textiles. You can read all about that on my Facebook page, Cath Stonard Textile Art.

Thanks for reading, and see you again soon!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Gelli printing, seagulls, crows and robins!

A day out at the Knitting and Stitching show at Ally Pally, (Alexandra Palace) resulted in my buying the book above, 'The Gentle Art of Gelliping' by Hilary Beattie, and naturally, a Gelli, Gel Printing Plate, so that I could have hours of fun printing on paper and fabric!! I did buy a few other bits and pieces too, but these were the two most exciting purchases!

I cut out a few of my own stencils, some shells and a seahorse, above on paper, below on cloth.

Then I experimented with leaves, bits of string, elastic bands, and some of my own stamps.

More of the seahorse.

Some of my more successful leaf prints.

Just so much fun, I'm looking forward to experimenting lots more with this brilliant new tool for printing my own papers and cloth.

I have also finally finished the seagulls above, and I decided to make some amendments to the crow below, so I feel happier with that now.

Two robins, I think I must be getting in the mood for Christmas! They were both printed from a collagraph plate that I made, and then embellished with machine stitch on the one above, and hand stitch on the cheeky one below.

Well that's all for now, but hopefully I will have some further work to show soon, based on my gelli prints! Thanks for looking in folks!