Sunday, 27 March 2011

getting ready for the season

Just a quick one today - my DH & I went to the local hotel for a free buffet lunch given as a thank you/encouragement to B&B & self catering people who send their guests down to eat there. It made us realise that altho Easter is at the end of the month the season starts this weekend coming. It's not a surprise but there's a LOT to do before then to make the studio into a presentable 'gallery' space.

I couldn't really concentrate on a finished piece this week but as I was pruning my Silver Birch I decided to draw it & make a collage using it. I stitched over the actual drawing but luckily I'd got a photocopy of it with the idea of doing some image transfer - I want to repeat the image up the side of a hanging with a large version of the drawing in the middle.....

Above is the sample using the drawing - I stiched with burgundy & gold on gold organza on top of the drawing.

The drawing, another thermofax screen idea?

The start of the collage, a way to go yet ;)

Helped along the way by one of our cats - thought it was about time I joined in with the cat pics! This is Sconser, named after a place up the road here, from a rescue place 16 years ago, my youngest was 6m old! She's laying right over the bits & pieces of fabric for the sample & some cuffs I'm trying to get finished & into the studio.

Once I've got my  work up onto the walls ready, I might have a clear enough head to make some more. Meanwhile I'm enjoying thinking about it!

I was weeding with a Skylark,  & bumble bees in the willow, delightful.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Not really a seed head

More a patch of sun bleached grasses blown in the wind. Every time I walk down the road I see these grasses, still standing despite a winter of ice, snow & strong winds. They're on the verge so I'll watch the new grass just push thru, the old ones dissapearing back into the ground.

Apart from the real thing there is so much inspiration to help me work out how to interpret the grasses. Altho this time the first image I looked at was mine from the printmaking class that I started at the beginning of the year. Our homework from the first class was to choose an image & draw it ready to cut out the following week. Well, panic set in & I didn't have months to procrastinate over which of the 50 thousand images I liked best. So I went into the garden & chose seed heads & these grasses.

Above is one 1/3 of the block I carved, the yellow ochre is the first color, (actually the second, the white is the first 'free' color) Then I would have carved some more out for the next color which would have been blue. Then I'd have finished with a thin line of black. This is called reduction printing... I think! If I ever invest in some oil based ink I'll finish them. Or when we restart the course. So, I was pleased with my first pull of my first propper lino cut. ;)

I was inspired by Angie Hughes while making squares (scroll down past the walk, check the top 2 rows) using scrim, open weave sacking then painting & stitching - I don't have her book Stitch, Cloth, Paper Stitch but I wish I did! Of course Jan Beany & Jean Littlejohn cover grasses in A Complete Guide to Creative Embroidery. They were using lines of masking fluid then paint then stitch mark making, lovely. I could have borrowed DH's masking  fluid but instead I got some recycled rich brown shiny fabric & finally got round to using the bleach that's been sitting under my desk for months & made marks representing grasses with a satay stick. You can just about see them.(forgot to say that I was inspired by Jackie at Stitchworks with her Highly Prized entry in the Sketchbook challenge, she gave a great tutorial, too) Then I machine & hand stitched. I had to add the teabag as it was, well, grass colored ;)

The second image is light sketching with a fine felt tip &  gold leaf on a ground of oil based printing inks (the bleach didn't show up here!) from the printing course. The tutor must have wonderd what on earth I was doing rushing about getting my fingers dirty taking 'prints' off plates before they got cleaned :0 Couldn't help myself; all that lovely ink!

                                                                A few simple sketches

 A small sample using 3 different strips of various grounds,
 grasses sketched & the 'leaves' cut out & backed with gold (chocolate wrapper ;). I enjoyed this so I made a bigger one for the studio below - 12cm x 21cm about 6" x 10" There are so many ways to do grasses, can't wait to do some more! day :)

& finally, ages ago, Ju North showed a pic of her porch so I thought I'd join in the game. I'm trying to show off the view, of course which makes the actual porch pretty dark....but you get the idea. The house walls aren't skew but the rug is ;)

A sight for sore eyes when I come down bleary eyed in the morning.

Edit: Linda over at Linda Stokes Textile Artist is having a giveaway promoting her wonderful new Thermofax Screenprinting service, shall I get one? But which design?!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Winter's back

I don't mind a bit of wind & rain, keeps me in the studio working. As soon as the sun is out & it has been off & on this week with beautiful rainbows,  inbetween the sleet showers I've been trying to finish some pruning. My it's a bit chilly tho! There's snow on the hills down to a few hundred feet. The weather has flattened the crocus but I enjoyed them while they were upright. Working in the studio in turn keeps me away from the news. It's not often it brings a tear to my eye but the latest earthquake is devastating. Possibly not helped by the fact the middlest is in NZ & it was put on alert for the tsunami. He's fine, he rang yesterday but who'd have thought he'd be away for 3 weeks & there'd be 2 earthquakes? That's selfish - I wish there was actually something I could do. So I work.

The honesty is almost totally shredded in the garden so I used some seed heads that I harvested in earliy  winter. A few practices for my sketchbook.

gold 'brown' paper, dressmakers tisssue gold leaf & a piece of lace from a top I found in a charity shop made completely of different lace strips. I was happy to pay the £4 or £5 as it was for my work & quite a find but I can't believe the day has come when I can't afford, well, justify,  the prices in a charity shop. Everyone's trying to grab as much as they can before all the money runs out I guess. Rediculous.

More dm tissue, chocolate wrappers gold metallic organza with pattern - remnant bin YEARS ago,slubby silky fabric. I looks like an alien the way I built it so I turned it upsidedown & I think I prefer it. I don't like 'seeing things' in my work, specially don't want aliens creeping in ;)

Haven't used feathers for ages, seem to only be able to use white seagull feathers against the color blue - this is potato sacking, I think, I meant to hand stitch along the stitch holes that appear when ripped open. Need to make some more rusted paper & the background is some papers I stuck down ages ago didn't like it so as everyone was doing, I covered it with a wash of gesso, much better. Very stiff to stitch in tho, need to use weaker pva maybe.

purple burgundy shiny fabric, Liberty print , text, gold organza, little windows thru to the layers beneath.

This honesty collage has a linen ground with the gessoed paper & burgundy purple  fabric, a little bit of text & gold organza. I free machined (yes, me!!!!) around the seed heads thanks to watching a Talking Threads program with Colouricious last year. This episode had Di Wells on who is a quilter, uses 3 or 4 layers of tissue paper & stitches thru honesty seed heads/casings with lots of different patterns - she carefully crumples the tissue paper, rearranging & softening the fibres which is similar to what Cas Holmes calls Momigami, a Japanese process that uses a little oil  to change the paper makeup.  I 'crumpled' some  heavy brown paper normally found at the bottom of a banana box, as you do; nearly broke my hands, wish I'd known about the oil then! Di Wells makes really lovley delicate work. I'm not a quilter, nor am I delicate! I just got totally involed in rewatching the video when I was collecting the links, fatal that! & I forgot about her  suggesting using Acrylic Wax to soften for stitching &  protect the seedhead, much like I was doing with gel medium & the Acer leaf a while ago. Hmm,  who minds a bit of shattering ;) I'm so grateful to Colouricious, too as they are sending out all the episodes so we can see them again........for free. Go check them out, It might not be too late to join in. Lots of video snippets too.

Linen ground, gold 'brown paper & gessoed ground with gold leaf flakes, stitched of course. Oh & that wonderful gold leaf pen. I dread the day when that runs out!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

More seedheads

This week I've attempted the fennel seedhead. I've just cut the old stems down in the garden, wonderful for compost & a delicious smell of aniseed. I do love chewing on the seeds but I thInk the birds got most of them this year. Bright green fronds already emerging into the light.

I had a look at my squares from last March - I'd drawn a rather forshortened seedhead - see there on the 3rd row

scribbled a couple more & stitched one on  some greeney fabric & black velvet with lots of beeds

 I'm so inspired by Cas Holmes that I had to buy her book 'the found object in textile art' - I've looked at a few pages & just feel I've arrived.

I'm a little fed up of buying books site unseen - the price of living up here but one worth paying - so I decided to wait to buy it until Lesley &  I went on an expedition to Creative Stitches at the SECC in Glasgow, well worth the wait. We left at 7.30 am & got back at 9pm ish with 4 hours wandering around inbetween being heavily inspired. Inspiration overload but I'll try & compile a list of who most caught my attention there later.

Even tho Lesley shared the driving I'm pretty tired so I haven't finished the stitching yet, but I think I feel this little stitched collage is getting somewhere.

I also love the seedheads of Angie Lewin & just adore Caroline's. Such generous inspiration out there!