Sunday, 27 November 2011

Winter at Last?

All of a sudden it feels like crochet time  - nothing nicer than sitting beside the fire on a cold Sunday afternoon and playing with colours by producing little gems of crochet. These pieces often end up in larger pieces of work combined with embroidery or will form a blanket should I feel so inclined.

I am definitely not a cuddly toy kind of person but when grand children come along you forget your prejudices and start thinking cute toys. This is the first one I did from a pattern. He was subsequently 'loved to death. It didn't take long to start designing my own little creatures.

Sadly grandchildren grow up too quickly.This year I have been asked by the boys if I can produce a Super Mario figure and a killer robot.......boys! 

Friday, 25 November 2011

A Little Creativity

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in London, Thursday at the Knit and Stitch show in Harrogate. All very enjoyable  but today I needed to ease myself into 'making' again. I dived into my saved papers box  and pulled out a wad of used envelopes that I collected a couple of years ago ( it doesn't take long to amass a huge amount of these with all the junk mail we receive). I save the ones with the printed interiors. I also had an old brown envelope from Hong Kong that felt like rag so I used that to make the cover. I always draw and doodle on my shopping lists so I thought a collection of these would be interesting to look at  in a few years time - a bit of a glimpse into domestic life at a moment in time. 

I sewed it together using the same method as I did for the Kantha book. I like the contrast of the used, creased papers with the considered binding. I also alternated the pages so that some have the printed side showing and some have the envelope fronts on view. Even without anything put on the pages it looks interesting with the advertising and addresses showing.

Very crude and rustic but quite pleasing, mmm... I wonder what other non - conventional papers I can use for background pages?

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Uproar in the Garden

What a pity that I had to take this shot through the sitting room window, it is a good shot but could have been a great one with a little more clarity (and cleaner windows).
I was still in bed when John got up to make us an early morning coffee and called me to the window. I was still a bit sleep fuddled and originally thought it was a huge thrush but as my eyes focused I could see it was a hawk of some sort. I ran down stairs, grabbed the camera and literally crept on all fours to the sitting room window the sparrowhawk was about four feet away. The collared dove was plucked and eaten in about ten minutes. Cruel, but fascinating to watch so closely. We have Red Kites flying around on a daily basis but I have never seen a Sparrowhawk up so close and personal before.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Not So Productive

When I last posted I was planning to get on with 'the next big thing'.  Thinking time was over and planning, sampling and exploration was about to take place, however this last week has passed in a non - functioning daze. Strange bug - no voice until about lunchtime,  a pounding headache and very little sleep - still struggling to get on top of it. Never the less a little bit of drawing has taken place, therapeutic colouring in really (just like an ill child). These are the watercolour papers left over from the pages of last week's Kantha book. I'm making a little book of imaginary landscapes, I think that these are heavily influenced by the Highlands.
We have taken some of the big storage units out of the workroom this week and put them in the under used dining room. This has raised the light levels enormously, John and I seem to spend almost all of our time in the work room because it is the lightest room in the house during winter.We are most definitely creatures of the light!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

After a Little Consideration

So - following on from yesterday I made the front and back cover attatched them to boards and sewed the linings on. Then came the fun part stitching the book togther. This is the method I took from the Kemshall ladies tutorial on DMtv. I was so pleased with how it came together - totally down to Laura's teaching skills.

Lots of stitching went into the front and back of this book so I'm really happy that the binding hasn't let it down.

I have filled the book with lovely watercolour paper and will enjoy thinking of what to put in it. It's always good to have a blank book or two around for a special project so I won't hurry to fill this one.

The back is plainer but the lovely kantha stitching has given it a beautiful and tactile texture.
I feel some painted papers coming on next,  my stash is getting quite depleted - a lovely excuse for a huge mess in the work room.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Desparately Seeking Colour

What a grey day (oh dear - that's a bit Larry Grayson isn't it?)
I can't make any of my colours 'Sing'. I'm stitching away at the cover for the next book I'm making. By mid-day I had been stitching away for three hours and realised I hadn't moved from my chair in all that time.  Twenty minutes on my treadmill and a few neck exercises thrown in for good measure and I'm ready to switch to my previous book and fill a couple of pages. 

I'm using the text as a link throughout this little book but other than that I'm just letting the pages flow in a seemingly random way. This may spark an idea for a larger piece of work. On the other hand it might not but I'm having fun anyway.

I will get back to my new book cover this afternoon as I want to start sewing pages to it before tomorrow's 'Calico' meeting.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Stitching the Woodwork

Great fun making this  - very labour intensive for a 10cm x 12cm little book, but the great discovery for me is that you can sew through balsa wood.  Of course this first book was rushed together on a wave of excitement and lots of things can be improved, such as using a ruler a ruler next time instead of eye, especially for the stitched binding.

It is pleasing isn't it? (in an eye candy kind of way).

I shall, over the next few weeks fill it up with painted papers and stitch. I will theme it round the little title on the cover - 'Unruly Passions' which for me is all about my need to keep making eye candy when I should be making things that I am already committed to, however I have already started to make my next book. I will post as I go along to give you an idea of the process.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Omiyage Pumpkin?

It was fatal looking in the Omiyage  book that I mentioned in my last post. Two days of demented stitching has produced this little bag that a Japanese lady might keep her tea making equipment in. It looks very seasonal - like a carved pumpkin .  I think this was down to the fabric I chose, a lovely print from South Africa which I bought from a visit to Beecrafty in Ellington ( thank you Sarah). I think the little fan print looks oriental -  anyway - its a Japanese bag made with South African fabric and it was a challenge to make.

This is the bottom view all squishy and puffy.

And this is some of the 150 pieces that went into the making of it. It wasn't until I started cutting that I realised just how complex it was and all hand sewn.
This week's Emb.Guild. was a fantastic mini workshop on Kantha with Libby Smith who generously shared some of her work with us. Kantha is lovely but I was also inspired by a little handmade book she had brought along. I am currently into combining it with a bookbinding method that Laura Kemshall demonstrated on DMTV last week and hopefully I can come up with a piece done in my own style but sparked off by two great textilers. I'm saying nothing about the work I should be doing, but I am going along with Gina's idea of  'thinking time'.