Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Thinking Time

Some journaling is taking place whilst I think of how to use my lovely dyed velvets - perhaps that is what they are meant to be, just something to think about. Meanwhile a few pages of work means that some kind of progression is being made. Did I tell you that I have at least five journals on the go, each with less than a quarter completed - I think I should make a smaller number of pages in each one but he excitement for me is seeing the edges of a really fat journal - hence dozens of pages to fill.

This is a page in progress which means that if it doesn't come together I'll paint over it all and start again.

 This one looks as though it needs some meaningful script in the blank spaces.

How can anything so small make so much chaos - of all my craft processes, journaling easily creates the biggest mess.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Well that went well.

I ran my embroidered bead course on Saturday afternoon at my local Guild meeting. I was optimistically expecting a turn out of about sixteen members and all of a sudden I was looking at about twenty four people. Very challenging to pass on what is essentially a very tiny but intense sewing experience to a very wide range of abilities and all in less than two hours. I didn't need to worry because everyone entered into the fun of it with the more experienced needle women assisting the 'newbies' and at the end of it all everyone was well on the way to producing a lovely colourful bead. The challenge is for everyone to produce their most beautiful bead by the time we have our exhibition in October and they will be displayed altogether as a joint piece of work.

Saturday evening was spent at a dear friend's 60th birthday party. All dressed in 60's style except for me, I dressed in 80's clothes claiming not to remember anything before that time. (Actually quite near the truth).  Friday evening was spent tie -dying t-shirts for dearly beloved and turning his denims into flower power bell bottoms. I must say that apart from less hair he looked quite the part as he easily fits into his 32" jeans (much to my envy).

Today was full on family - number 1 daughter home from London for the weekend and looking just like a young Cilla Black at yesterday's party. Grandsons and parents were here for the day. Most of the time, apart from a long lunch, was spent turning the boys into Harry Potter and Hiccup the Viking for a school dress up day next week. No bought costumes here, everyone joined in and made the boys some wonderful garments and accessories thanks to their mum's relentless scouring of charity shops for materials for us all to use. Great fun and laughter - a day to remember.
Another reason  to remember today is my Son's 36th birthday. The first one that I have not seen him in person. Thank goodness for Scype. A very confusing thirty minute call with us all trying to wish him happy birthday at the same time.

Shanghai feels along way away today.
He is as lovely now as he was when I took this photo some 34 years ago. 

Thursday, 23 February 2012

One to cut up.

Not every thing works - sometimes I can be so heavy handed. The idea for this was good but I over egged it by having too much going on at once. I usually say carry on to the end of a piece before you make a judgement but this is irredeemable,  so short of applying gesso over the whole thing I think I'll cut it up to make elements for some other work.

My evening stitching has been crochet in cotton perle, little two inch squares of sugared almond colours I think they will become separate elements to again use in  larger pieces. I like to top up my stash of made up elements because they feature in a lot of my work.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Films and Foils Finished

Stitched and mounted, a little glitzty piece of about 10"x 8". Angelina films, silver foil, acrylic paint and machine stitched with a variety of threads. Not a road I'm interested in going down but good to keep up with new products and techniques and enjoyable as a one off.
I'm working at ideas for using my lovely velvets - quite difficult to come up with something contemporary where velvet is concerned, all my ideas end up with a retro hippy/70's vibe to them (perhaps because I've been there the first time round it puts me off a bit).
I hope the weather here is going to be as good as they say it will be by the end of the week - I'm longing to be in the garden.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Films and Foils

Inspired by the jewel like colours of my dyed velvets I've been zapping Angelina Films with the heat gun all morning. Some very casual printing with acrylic gold paint first and then in with the iron and heat gun - oh and a bit of bondaweb to hold any layers together.  Colour and iridescence together wonderful - much more vibrant than these pics appear. My knowledge of photography is limited. I'm sure I could alter the settings to improve the vibrancy but alas I don't know how, I seem to remember Linda Monk ( the queen of foil surfaces) complaining of the same thing. So you will have to take my word for it these samples 'sing'.

This is Angelina film 'hot fix' violet bonded to ordinary kitchen foil and zapped with a very hot heat gun and the iron between parchment paper. The heat brings all the colours out.

I had a piece of hand dyed fabric that I had been using decolourant on (using a grid stencil). I took the film in two different colours and bonded it onto the surface of the fabric  and on little parts of it I used the heat gun. This piece really shimmers. I had intended to put these samples into my journal for future reference but a few minutes play produced a little design ready for stitch.

I 'm not sure how I will add stitch to this - metallics maybe, possibly  matt and glossy threads combined. I need to trial a few ideas. It will definitely be machined  as I'm giving the hands a break for a few days.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Velvet Dyeing

Amongst the purchases from Friday's day out was a roll end bargain of un-dyed silk/viscose velvet. Saturday was spent mixing up rich concoctions of procion dye. I actually dyed quite a bit of fabric and over-dyed some pieces that were just not doing it for me - but the star of the show was the batch of velvet. I can't stop looking at it and running it through my hands. I must use this fabric fairly quickly otherwise I'll just be drooling over it for the next few months and it will end up as another  'gonna do'!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Comfort Stitching

Last year when I started blogging I did a post about comfort sewing - I refer to it as a 'raggy' because it's akin to a child's comfort blanket,  No design - little thought on stitching or colour, just sewing with the mind switched off. This sample started when I was looking at some of the heavier cords I had made with thick wools, sari ribbons and torn fabrics. I cut out a rough cardboard loom and wove my cords together to make a piece of  heavily textured cloth of  about 10"x 8".  A couple of hours of random fly stitch produced a many layered end result - lots of depth and colour. Another sample for the little bits of stitch book.

Gardening season has started here in earnest - big project underway so I am going to be pulled in many directions over the next three months. This one involves a mini digger (which I so want to have a go on) in fact I'll probably want one of my own afterwards.

I have just got in from Textiles in Focus at Cottenham near Cambridge. A lovely day out with three good friends and as it's almost 'down the road' from me ( all be it 40 miles) I saw lots of other stitching friends.  There was a great atmosphere, lovely exhibitions and an excellent selection of traders making it my favourite show of the year.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Display of Little Objects

Very often when you you buy a tiny piece of craft from a shop it looks kind of lost or out of place when you bring it home  away from the backdrop of a shop display. For me it's the same when you produce a little gem of your own - it needs company to 'big' it up. It becomes part of a cohesive art piece in company rather than a collection of stuff.

My embroidered beads are an ongoing theme that I return to in between larger projects and when energy levels are low. They give me a sense of achievement whilst waiting for the creative part of my brain to drag me into the next obsession.

I've used entemology pins to display each 'bead' as I was thinking of those scientific trays of pinned insects or butterflies whilst making this. Each individual specimen is part of my need to ask myself about how to look and feel and make something beautiful. My curiosity with colour, texture and pattern drives me to constantly refine each little bead or button I produce, looking for some kind of perfection. This can be seen in the technical ability of this piece - my early beads were quite crude but had a vitality about them that my increasing skills find harder to capture  - this case is almost a personal history of my journey in colour and embroidery and technique. The wonderful thing is that there is still a long way to travel.
I'm teaching the making of my embroidered beads at the Peterborough branch of the  Embroiderers Guild on the 25th of Feb.
I may do one more class after that but I am am not intending to become a teacher  I much prefer the role of student.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Little Quilts

Carrying on with the little quilts theme I'm sampling the graphic line look that is so fashionable at the moment it suits my doodling way of drawing. Not sure where this is going ( probably in the bin) but I will follow it through to the bitter end  and hope that  something it sparks something a bit more original.

This is the UFO that I am going to finish this week ( birthday celebrations permitting). The exciting thought is that I am getting a new camera  from the dearly beloved , the only problem with that is - do I go for the Canon G12 or the Nikon 71000. Don't you think that with all the reviews and advice on cameras online that it makes choosing all the more difficult? Either way it is a big investment and the one item I use almost daily so I don't want to get it wrong. My five year old Sony Cybershot has been a good friend but somehow the imaging doesn't seem as vibrant anymore. 

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Resistance is Futile.

That show of resistance lasted at least an hour  - my excuse being that I'm... darn it  I can't think of one.

I really do need to come up with ways of using the million miles of cord I have made and this is a good start, so not a totally wasted day.
Blogger/Internet/PC seem to be playing up today I can't use the zoom function on my last post so I will publish my quilt pic again in case anyone is bored enough to want to look at it closely.

Quilt in the Snow

Second quilt finished!   18" x 15"indigo cottons, hand dyed and printed cottons, coloured kid leather, machine quilted and stitched. Looks better than the photo suggests, certainly better than my first effort. Not sure where this is leading but I will go with the flow and hope to impress myself a bit more than I am currently doing. I really just want to be making beads and buttons at the moment - I am resisting!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

One Down

First little quilt finished. 13" x 17"
Hand dyed and commercial cotton, silk velvet and voile, machine quilted onto a wool batting, hand embroidered and a bit boring!

Just laying out my next little quilt ready for stitching. I think I will use felt as a batting for this one, hopefully it will stop the backing pulling through as I hand stitch. 

Friday, 3 February 2012

Back in Gear

Some work is being done around here at last - my period of procrastination could be at an end. It turned out that I just had to work through producing rubbish  until my brain kicked into 'create gear' again. I was walking away from anything that didn't work or please me, consequently no real progression was being made. I'm starting with a series of small art quilts to get my brain working again . The first one is quite restrained and neat but by the time I get to number six I should have freed up my design sense. I guess this is the downside of dabbling in so many crafts it's almost like starting again when you go back to something you have not done for a while. 

I've also managed to finish a couple of ufo's that have been hanging around for some time. These are a Guild challenge - a Toltec motif to be worked in any stitch method. Just finishing two little things like this have helped me push on with some work. Now maybe I can finish another couple of pieces off in the coming week!