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.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Back to Front!

The back of the finished crow!

The front of the finished crow!

Backs and fronts showing detail.....

.........and, talking of de-tail, here is the tail!


Monday, 25 August 2014

This and That!

I decided to set myself a daily 10 minute exercise. The rules were to tear and fold, (no scissors) and make a quick collage. Stitch and paint allowed!

You can see the results above, it was fun, and a good way to loosen up and get the creative juices flowing again. I broke the rules on the last one as you can see below, but what are rules for, if not to be broken!!

Then, as part of my ongoing 'Birdsong' challenge, I decided to make another crow piece, and started with a paper lamination. The crows outline was free machine stitched before filling with black gesso, and then lots of free machine quilting on the background and the bird. I inserted some shiny fabrics behind the voile where there were gaps, and also overlaid some lace scraps on top of the surface for texture.

 I'm very pleased with my first crow, so decided to make another larger one. Here I have included some photos of the process as I've gone along. You can see the paper lamination with a coat of white paint, and maybe a hint of blue, pink and yellow. I've placed some lace and net in some areas, which is held in place by the paint, just enough until stitched.

I drew the crow onto some paper, then cut it out so that I could lightly draw the outline onto the background.
After stitching the outline of the crow with free machine stitching, I filled in with a combination of black paints, some silk, some textile, and some acrylic, but all slightly different blacks. This helps to stop the crow from looking too flat.

The last three photos show where I have started to fill in the bird and the background with very intense stitching, and as you can see, I still have a long way to go! No more photos of this now until it's finished.

Finally, my JQ for August, and the last of four for the wedding rhyme 'Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue!'

Our daughter had all the buttonholes made in New Zealand from Flax, and the ladies buttonholes were a woven and dyed green and blue flower against a green leaf. The mens were a very simple weaving of natural and green flax. They were really unique and very beautiful, plus we have them to keep as a memento.

Well, that's about it for now, but if the the rest of this week is as wet as todays Bank Holiday Monday, then I'm going to be getting a lot of stitching done!! Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, 15 August 2014

A playful conundrum.

I have a bit of a conundrum around altered books. I'm really not too sure what they're about, but I just love looking at the ones created by others! Because I find them a difficult concept, I find it extremely difficult to make/create my own. I'm never too sure where to start, and once I do make a start, I'm then not sure why I'm doing what I am doing!!!

This is one I started months ago, but soon lost heart because of the quality of the paper. It is a very old book, all about the human body, and I chose it because it had been stitched into the spine, (apparently better for altering than glued spines). I removed about half of the pages, to make room for my additions, and then started to paint over the printed pages with gesso. Well, the paper was so thin and absorbent, it almost dissolved, so I had to rethink my processes.

I decided to stick lots of pages together, and to bind the outside front edges with strips cut from magazines. Once I'd done this, and painted the surfaces with gesso again, I had a more robust surface for decorating.

I think this is where I come unstuck. What to do on these blank pages, and should it relate to the books original subject? When I first started on this project, I think I tried too hard to link everything to what the book was about. I gave up and threw it into a drawer.

Anyway, today I was at a cross roads with where to go next with my textile art, and couldn't seem to focus on anything, so out came this book again, giving me the opportunity to just play around. After all, I have nothing to loose, seeing as I've already given up on it.

I got rid of most of what I'd put into it previously, and then just went through my boxes of leftover papers and generally just enjoyed playing.

I have to admit, I've quite enjoyed feeling free to experiment with ideas, and to put some of my leftovers into the pages, adding more paint or doodles as the fancy takes me.

Certainly not a work of art, but there are a couple of areas that I think I might like to think about and develop further, so all is not lost.

There are still plenty of pages left to add yet more doodles and scraps, but for now, I think I'm going to treat it more as an ideas book, something between a sketchbook, and a scrap book I suppose.

The altered books I've seen created by others, have been more like small works of art, each page a treasure trove of colour, ideas, designs, and lots of interesting bits and pieces. I still can't seem to work out where my starting point would be, whether it would be a theme of my own, or something inspired from the book itself. Maybe I just haven't found the right book to alter yet!

I have a feeling that the best bit about an altered book is in the making of it, the process being the more enjoyable part, well at least for me anyway. On the other hand, I do enjoy browsing altered books created by others, and I also really love looking through artists sketchbooks. Thinking about it, maybe things like sketchbooks and altered books should be displayed in our homes for the enjoyment of others to browse, rather like a magazine.

Mine still has a way to go yet though, and at the moment I think one of the best bits is the cover. Just some paper that I painted and printed with leaves and stamps, but with some interesting textural areas, and subtle colour.

Happy weekend everyone.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

A mermaid for a water baby!

This is a small  wall hanging I have made for a friends little 2 year old daughter. She has just received her first  of five swimming badges, and her Mum wanted something that they could be stitched onto. As per usual, I photographed it, then added a few more details, but forgot to take another piccy! It's something I do quite often, but in this instance, it really was just a couple of very small areas that I added to. Below, you can see where I have placed blank paper circles, which is where the badges will go.

The little fish were fussy cut from some fishy fabric that I had in my stash, but all the other sea creatures, the turtle, snail, starfish, crab and seahorse were cut from my own drawings, as was the little mermaid. In fact the fabric I used for the mermaids tail, was a remnant that was left over from a real (pretend) mermaids tail that my daughter in law made for my grandaughter. These photos don't do the fabric justice really, as it is a gorgeous bright, shimmery turquoise, with a sort of texture that is just like fishy scales!

If my two grandsons decide they want something similar for their swimming badges, I will have to try and think of a 'boy' version....maybe some playful dolphins, or merboys!!!

Thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

A rather loooooong post!

I have just spent two very enjoyable days in the company of 15 very talented embroiderers from the Dorking area making paper laminations. I had asked them to bring along an A3 size black and white photocopy of a photograph they had taken, and after they had been laminated onto voile, they needed to dry. You can see some of them above, hanging in the sunshine.


At the beginning of the second day, we started by taking a look at all the pieces together, before continuing with the colouring up part of the process using paint and crayons. Once this part was finished, the final stage of stitching into the pieces could begin,  using either machine or hand stitch, or a combination of both.

Of course, colour photocopies could be used, but the results from colouring up a black and white copy give far more interesting results, and in my opinion make the work more personal and creative.

I have put a photo of each of the pieces on here, as they were by the end of the second day, although I know that most of them still had lots of stitching before they will be finished. As my memory for names is not 100%, I didn't want to put the wrong name to the wrong piece, so I have decided not to include names at all. I hope the Ladies concerned will forgive me, but you all know who you are, and I thank you all very much for giving me permission to include your lovely work on my blog.


As can be seen here, these are gorgeous examples of work, and I hope that at some point I will have the opportunity to see them finished! I really enjoyed teaching this workshop, and it was an absolute pleasure to spend two days in such good company.

I have continued to work on my 'bird' project, and have two more experimental textile pieces below. I decided to think about Owls, and their haunting night time 'hoots', and then went back to my crows. I had this funny little story going around in my head, whereby Mr. Crow, was having delusions of grandeur, and was seeing himself wearing a gloriously flamboyant coat of shimmering feathers, while his rough 'caw caw' call was transformed into the most rich and heavenly song!! Poor old Mr. Crow eh!

A few years ago I attempted to make a wall hanging depicting birdsong, but it never quite worked, and has been lurking in the back of a drawer ever since. Hey ho, never throw anything away, I rescued it, chopped it up, and it is now the cover for a concertina book that I have made up with all my bird samples, keeping them together, and easy to refer back to.

Finally, my journal quilt for August, and this the fourth in my series for the rhyme, 'Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.' This is the something blue, and our daughter chose to have the table decorations and buttonholes made from dyed and woven New Zealand Flax. These flowers were woven by a lady she knows in N.Z., and were dyed a rich ruby red, green and a gorgeous purple/blue, as well as natural. The buttonholes for the men were very simple strips woven in natural and green, so that element is represented here too, and gives me the 'line' from one edge to another which is part of this years criteria.

Phew! a busy week, and a rather long post, so if you have managed to get this far, thanks for reading, and I wish you a peaceful weekend!