Thursday, 31 January 2013


A bit of a taa - daa moment first - such a pretty and feminine, piece I do hope the recipient will agree and that it pleases her.
The viral infection that husband and self are enduring is progressing apace. I feel pretty low today but these things have their own timetable and will not be rushed. An easy project is required until I'm back to my normal energy levels. It's time for a raggy! I first posted my ethos behind a raggy on June 18th 2011. Basically a comfort blanket for adults.

I made a sandwich of a lightweight vylene, some loosely made felt and laid scraps of vintage fabrics as a top layer. I tacked it all in place with invisible thread and realised that the blue embroidery was too strong for the delicate tone I wanted. I used a roller and some acrylic paint and went over the offending area a couple of times with a mucky white shade.

This piece can be bunched up in my hands and I can stitch with very little thought, to my heart's content.
I will stitch using a plain linen thread (no colour decisions to make) no expectations of a masterpiece, just some relaxing stitching for as long as I like. It may end up as a finished sample or I may do so much stitching into it that I end up cutting it up for other works.


Tuesday, 29 January 2013


I shall let the pictures do the talking today, not feeling too with it due to a filthy cold and chest infection. The lovely lady who who commissioned this has agreed to me showing some of my steps in the making the piece.The brief is to make a personal piece of work of all the lovely things that she finds pleasing in the world of textiles and some elements that speak to her alone. It is a detailed and complex piece that will be presented on a large plain white mount to emphasise the jewel like quality of it.

I try to use as little glue as possible in the making because hand stitch gives it a quality that enriches the surface in a way that over use of the glue gun destroys.

Friday, 25 January 2013

An Interim Project

Now I know I should be getting on with that commissioned piece of work but last night as I was clearing away from my last project I was struck by the colour palette of scraps . I had the background and layout finished by bedtime and completed the piece by lunchtime today. That's not really prevarication is it? More like an interim project or a warm up for the piece of work I'm putting off starting.

This is made on an 8" x 12" block painted with acrylics and then given a pearly coating, I have use painted scrim, netting ,organza, hand painted silk flowers, homemade beads, some little bits of cut work samples,vintage lace and buttons, painted doilies, ric-rac,glass pebbles and lucite rose beads. I finished it off with some beaded trim that I bought from the Harrogate show last year.
I laid it on the snow to take the picture, I think that is why it looks so saturated with colour, it is a bit more subtle than the image suggests, but not much!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Colour Hit

I need to get all the colour out of my mindset  today as I'm starting a commissioned piece of work that will be all  mucky whites, soft greys, palest aquamarines and very gentle pinks. I don't want any sassy colours sneaking in so I am playing with my coloured papers before I make a start (procrastinating as always).

Just layering up and finding little colour combinations to blow your socks off mm... loving those reds and lilacs in the right hand corner.

I love the 'dustiness' of these colours together. This palette is toning down to get nearer to the one I shall be using over the next few days.
I am also working on a post explaining how I made my 'Surface Details' papers as suggested by one of the comments from my previous post. To add interest  to the idea, I shall work on some pages using non art products at the same time, for instance - found papers - children's paints - D.I.Y. materials and such like. I'm well aware of the cost of all the wonderful products in my stash and would like to prove that you really don't need all this stuff to produce some interesting and pleasing art work - we shall see!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Surface Details

I've continued with my mark-making exercises/play for the past two days. I soon came to the conclusion that   mounting them on a board was going to give me storage problems at the rate at which I was turning them out. I decided to put them in a plain journal. I couldn't find one the right size in my stash so that meant making a simple binder. It looked so plain that I ended up making a cover and adding a little piece of driftwood.

These are some of the pages I have used, the good thing about this simple binding is that I can keep adding pages as I produce them.
The book is not an end in itself but helps inform ongoing work and provides inspiration for further projects.   It's also a lovely, messy, creative way to spend a couple of  days in the workroom.  

Monday, 21 January 2013

This and That

I finished off this latest altered book yesterday - late night photo does it little justice but I wanted to draw a line under bookmaking for a day or two at least.
 I have been inspired by the number of 'marks in snow' shots that are appearing online during this prolonged spell of the wintry stuff. Anita Bruce has posted some very beautiful and fragile pics on FB so armed with camera, an afternoon walk around the fields and lanes behind my house have given me some very inspirational images to play with.

These are from the road nearest my house, I have saturated and used a little boost in Picassa to enhance a very 'stitchy' looking image.

I love these colours together. I'm working on a way to incorporate these lines and patterns into a resolved piece of work.
 Just to get in the right frame of mind I started some mark-making exercises last night, I created some papers with no particular end in mind. I used matte medium and a little modelling paste, my elderly procion dyes, a sprinkling of walnut ink granules and allowed for once to let it all dry overnight.

Again light levels too low for good photography but trust me this looks very fleshy, I keep thinking of Slaughterhouse Five (years since I read that one) every time I look at it.

However, if in doubt, chop it up, add a few graphite marks and shapes and give it a black back ground. Honestly it looks better in real life! If only everything were like that.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Fiddling Whilst Rome Burns

I spoke too soon about the heating being repaired, a bit too jubilant. Last night was very interesting, evacuating the house around 10.30pm.  in -5c. temperatures is not to be recommended as a way to spend a Friday night. The house was full of noxious fumes and remained so even after the heating was turned off for the rest of the night. To cap it all, the close we live in was snowed in road wise so we couldn't escape to friends for the night. The engineer has just left and we are counting the cost, I think he almost rebuilt the system. A good guy facing a problem he'd never seen before, very complex, (fancy boiler).
The house is slowly warming up.

My workroom was the best place to be during all this manly stuff going on and another book is in the making.

Very delicate colours for me, I'll probably put a tiny hit of red in somewhere just to perk it up - oh look, just beside that little rose it's already happened.

This is a great way to use old samples, I can see lots of different coursework appearing in these books; some I've taken and some I teach, like the paper-clay I ran a couple of years ago.The background fabric in this last pic is the result of a Trident play-day with discharge paste and stencils, I didn't really connect with the process at the time but I am just seeing the samples in a new light.
I think an afternoon nap may be called for.

Friday, 18 January 2013

A cosy play day

I started punching out these little flower shapes yesterday using a heavy water-colour paper.It killed three punches but I was determined to realise my idea. It's not very original (what is?) but it was something  to do whilst huddled round the fire yesterday evening. 
We accidentally ran out of oil last week, it took six cold days for the truck to finally roll up yesterday. Just got the house warm again and the system crashed, currently waiting for the very busy engineer to arrive. Thank goodness we have a multi-fuel burner installed so one room is lovely and toasty the rest of the house is like an igloo. How did we manage before central heating?
I was slightly underwhelmed by the result of all my punching, the colours were not subtle enough for what I wanted  but the resulting waste strips that I dunked into my bin ends of procion dyes (which must be at least six months) old proved to be quite lovely.

I'm having a think about what to do with these.

The obvious outcome is to add stitch and make a book cover but they have such a tactile quality that maybe some thing 3d rather than flattening them with stitch.

Thank goodness the heating engineer has just arrived it looks as though we will be snowed in by tomorrow.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Not Everything Works

A lot of work went into this altered book, if I had remembered to photograph it during the early stages  I would have realised that the square frame on the bottom right doesn't sit well with the round and oval  apertures. A geometric mixed in with an organic shape looks uncomfortable on the page. In fact the whole piece looks as though I could write a three page critique finding faults with it. Husband disagrees, he says dreams are often discordant and the design reflects that.
 I never mind failing, it's all part of the learning process and already I have started on mark two with more regard for design.

A little play with picassa is pleasing.

Picassa Draw always makes me feel guilty because I know I could draw some beautiful patterns from this piece of work, I'm sure I will, one mythical day.
Social stitching day cancelled tomorrow boo-hoo! Snow stopped play! However it does mean I can push on with achieving something, from this less than satisfactory three days work.

Friday, 11 January 2013

A Working Day

I'm so happy to finally complete something, a full eight hours in the workroom has enabled me to put this altered book into the finished box at last. 
I have used procion dyes, inkpads, Inktense pencils, gel pens, my homemade leaf stamp, hand painted papers, machine stitch and my latest toy - the Cricut cutter to layer up those lacy looking frames.

The altered book page was inspired by an old Chinese saying - 'If you keep a tree in your heart, a songbird may come'.  That idea just resonates with me at the moment, particularly at this low ebb of the year when the light levels play havoc with my mood and general well being.

My reactionary brain is now insisting I do a totally monochromatic book next, I am visualising lots of  textured whites, matte against pearl, with maybe a little antique gold, pleats and folds, cathedral window patchwork, a little stump-work bee - 'Elizabethan England' - that's it, next project sorted! 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Getting Started Again

IT problems solved  (many thanks Ross) downloaded and installed Chrome and voila, there is my picture browser back. 
I've started the year with a new mood board to trigger off some work - I think I may need to refine it a bit more as there are two opposing strands going on.

I'm really drawn to the saturated colours inspired by the Scottish Artist John Lowrie Morrison whose work is mainly about the landscapes of the Western Isles. I also seem to have a vintage/paper/script/lace monochromatic thing going on at the same time, perhaps each theme needs developing separately rather than refining. Being surrounded by this imagery will spark off some work any time soon.
Trident meeting tomorrow, my turn to set the challenge which I will blog about in due course.
A belated Happy New Year to all!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Where is my picture browser?

I have not been able to post any pictures for several days now, I understand that it is a wide spread problem and that the blog team are trying to fix it, or am I being hopelessly naive and really should change to another blog enabler.
I'm still working and have all sorts of crafty things going on - about which I will blog once my picture browser comes back. Frustrating........