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.