Saturday, 30 March 2013

A Busy week flying by

Happy Easter!

It's been a crazy week of getting ready for the season starting this weekend. Not much art work done but lots of B&B prep, including washing down most of the windows of salt blown in by the Easterly & not a drop of rain to wash it off! Also an extra shift at the 'day job' & my poor elbows are about to fall off ;( Our lovely B&B guests asked if the studio was open & as all my work was still in the warmth of the house I said maybe tomorrow. I slowly brought boxes & baskets in one evening & placed a few items here & there the next evening & before they left all the hard work had paid off as they bought the first collage of the season, the Poppies above. It looked more finished than this pic, beautifully framed even but it was the only one I could find! I shall miss it.

 I had hoped to get further into the Gwen Headley book this week & altho I've emptied & ironed a few more tea bags - a theraputic if time consuming practice - I've only managed to collage a couple of Curlew prints & a flower mono print with tea bags as a background & then print a couple of Curlews using a stamp pad straight onto the tea bags & made them into cards. After I took the photo I added a little copper pen to the plain birds & flower.

I've had 2 CD racks laying around waiting for a use & I unburied them moving some stuff around the studio, tring desperately to sort another inch out & I thought right, no use, in the fire! Then i made some cards, looked at them, dusted them off & used them to dry these cards, keeping the ink from the front of one away from ruining the inside of the next one. I mean how obvious is that?

I realized when I finally got to visit my actual blog page that some of my comments haven't come thru as email to my inbox where I look every day for B&B bookings & important tomes from the kids. I haven't forgotten you, now that I know that you are there, I promise, there aren't enough hours in the day or spare elbows I guess - boy does it wear them out scrolling & clicking & typing, lucky I've got 2 of them - I'll visit soon!

I'll leave you with Willow enjoying the sunshine in the garden - she was flipping about so much I've assembled the pics with a convenient beginning middle & end!


Saturday, 23 March 2013

End of Term

Last morning at college yesterday, I shall miss it! What will I do with myself?

We were encouraged to hear that we'll probably all pass (teach is marking the pieces over the holidays.) If I do pass I'll get a certificate for Level 5 which is an Intermediate 2, one down from the Higher exam that gets you into Uni up here, something like an AS Level so I'm deLIGHted! Above is the 'highly finished' piece one, Lino cut print on collage with stitch. I only had one go having made up the torn paper ground at home then printed at college, a little hairy in the stitch area - this was printed without a press using a roller on the back of the ground over the lino block. The papers were a mix of monoprint, collograph, clean up from the collograph & the registration sheet I ruined by using it under my block when inking, what a useful mess I made ;)

 Above was the 'highly finished' piece 2, (a different version to last weeks pic) Mono printed ground with lino cut Curlews, a collage of monoprinting & again printing without a press. Very accessible.

 Louise's wee man

Fiona's mono printing

 the cat's are Fiona 2's etchings & Lisa's Old Man of Storr collograph

 Abigail's etchings
 & as a thank you to Teach I couldn't miss the opportunity to make a card out of my curlew block. It just goes to show that altho I like the different textures here using gesso or screen printing ink instead of releif printing ink which would stay here you put it, doesn't cut it! I will invest ;)

 one of my favorite parts of college, drying the inky scrim on the struts under the table, lovely.

Went for a wild walk in the Easterly, North Easterly biting wind, fabulous, exhilerating, so loud! I'm always fascinated by the way the tide going out leaves seaweed in such 'arranged' positions across the whole beach, evrything facing the same way. Then there are the slices of thin seaweed left cloaked over rocks & sand, delicious. I must try some Nuno felting.

Reading Gwen Hedley's book, the first thing that is suggested is to make backgrounds alternative to pristine white which if you've been reading here for a while will know that suits me down to the ground....which is why I bought this book, Drawn to Stitch ;) Above I'm almost embarrassed to say is a pile of B&B tea bags drying...since last summer. cough.

 Luckily I have been encouraged by Gwen to make a surface out of them, (just hadn't got round to it yet!)

Can't wait to use the pink fruit tea bags, what a color.

& last but not least, a little pheasant under the bird feeder, taken by the DH early in the morning (see the sun?) the colors don't look real, do they?

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Lino cut birds

Had a wonderful Mother's Day last Sunday, despite there being no kids at home. They rang in reverse age order, the Youngest all the way from Australia! The Middlest sounded like he got up specially & when the Eldest rang, asked if I'd received my card & as I hadn't he thought it might be the fact that it had a 2nd class stamp, hmmm. (Wondered how the youngest knew it was mothers day in Australia & discovered it was the sweet DH sending out texts ;) I thought I'd chat to my dil to be too, as altho she's not 'in law' yet she is 'daughter' So I was specially delighted the next day to find her name on my mothers day card  too, next to my son's. I was absolutely over the moon when he called that evening to say they'd chosen a date to get married, May 3rd 2014, next year, plenty of time to plan! It'll be down in Eastbourne, near my dil to be's parents. A real happy focus on the horizon.

 So, college yesterday was my most strenuous as thru the week I compiled backgrounds on which to print the lino fish below & the Curlew birds, above, only I hadn't carved the lino birds yet. I've been looking at Curlews till my eyes watered trying to draw them,to get them 'right'. I ended up carving more quickly than I'd have liked, they just had to be done as we mount up our work next week & then that's it. Which is why there is a rather naieve look to the little birds. I'd wanted some 'serious artful' birds, real art, but really I find these little sweeties quite endearing after all. I'd pulled 2 collographs with a pale middle bit so the birds would show up well 'on the waters edge'

The fish above was printed on watercolor grounds which I sprinkled with silver acrylic powder then smooshed together in a mono print type way & pulled apart. The purple doesn't really show up here. The 'real' piece with the fish was a collaged ground of collographed strips of paper then stitched. I only had one go & there was a little 'pouncing' needed where the stitching had resisted the ink too much but hopefully it'll pass, gulp.

 These birds were printed on a clean up sheet you've seen before from the collograph but it works for me. The 'real' birds piece was on a collaged mono print ground shown a couple of weeks ago but i think that post mysteriously disappeared.... left behind along with the fish to dry. The most difficult thing will be to write up the stages taken towards the final print, I think, but now I've done it I should know what they are, as for the annotations on the back of the print or in the sketchbook, well........! (I had to ask, Teach said write your observations of what worked, what didn't, the dictionary said annotate means 'to add notes of explanation' oh, I'm constantly writing notes, is that what I've been doing!) So I can sleep easy now knowing all that needs doing next week is mounting.

My sample from Wendy Dolan's 20 mins workshop last week. she kindly prepared the ground for us & at high speed we added toning organzas onto bondaweb to stitch later.

 Above are my purchases from the show, stitch & sew & lovely screen printing inks & purple thread from Wendy, solufleece & sticky 'Vilene' for a book cover from Kim T, a beautiful card by Helen,  just below them on the book some metal templates from Margaret Beal, below them spare bobbins, needles, (there were 2 packs), you can never have enough needles, an old Flair Mag from the Quilters, couldn't resist that butterfly, a lovely card from Kerry Mosley & a card the DH got me from the Hunterian museum by Whistler of 2 peacocks fighting, a wonderful sketchy sketch for a big piece. at the bottom a felting mat of a controleable size from Val Hughes (See all links on last week's post)  Last but not least a book by Gwen Hedley that I've been dipping in to each time I went into Waterstones in Inverness until they stopped carrying it - the mixed media department doesn't really exist now with only half a meter worth of 'craft' books, shocking really. Anyway, bearing in mind I'm making a mark book, hopefully among other things,  & this book is called 'Drawn to Stitch; line, drawing & mark-making in textile art' what about it is not to have? Join me while I work my way thru it. (now there's a challenge to myself!)

Willow is settling in nicely, thanks for asking. (a little blurry. sorry) Tam wouldn't move his head, not usually shy of photos but his nose is a little put out of joint, lots of extra hugs needed around this confidant cat. I had to put her out while writing this as she walks over the key board or constantly demands one hand for scratching her chin.

A refreshing walk on a  beach near Broadford at Ashaig, such different rock formations than ours down the road. We were in the area,  looking in the Byre, an Aladins cave of bric a brac, for a door to make into a table under the window in the studio for my sewing machine  but he only had 4 paneled ones, too many dips. I wanted a door made up of lots of lengths of wood, can't remember the name, a Z door turned over, like the one I've have as my desk for over 15 yrs. We have a 'shared' MDF table, nicely painted as well so it looks like a trip to Jewsons much to the DH'd relief for more MDF, he didn't fancy struggling with old warped doors!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

A trip to Creative Stitches

Last night I spent a good hour or 2 sorting photos, writing a post about my wonderful trip to the Creative Stitches show in Glasgow & adding links to great artists - I was obviously too tired to notice that it wasn't saving properly & when I went to post it said 'oops there's a fault' or some such & that was it, all my chatting, gone!

Just seen it save, woohoo! Anyway, luckily I was given the gift of the gab, so here we go again ;)

Welcome to my new followers, one day I'll get round to saying hi & replying to all my lovely recent comments.

Below are manhole covers on my walk from the perfectly comfy Travelodge 15 mins away from the SECC - I don't get out much! I'll hopefully ink jet print them onto fabric & stitch, possibly make a raised template block so I can take a rubbing &/or print with it.

 Interesting balcony shapes

In honor of my stitchy visit I decided to alter a cardi bought for £3 in a Charity shop earlier. The sleeves were a little short for my scrawny wrists ;) Below is  before

& here is after....can you tell? ;)

 OK, I'll never be a fashion photographer or hand model, the white paper ground is obvs meant to be under the whole arm. It covers up my 'old before time' wrinkly veiny hands nicely. The slightly swollen joints is another matter but hey I'm still me under all the aches & creaks!

 So, the first layer next to the sleeve is a strip of ruched black silk. Next is a piece from something  I've had for yonks solely for the purposes of the black lacy bits you understand, a sexy black number which would barely cover a nip.... let alone the rest - I knew I'd kept it for some reason! So I cut a couple of inches off the sleeve bit, lovely beading by somebody else already on there, then some more ruched silk, I just put some thread thru pulled a bit as I tacked it down. I also had only one piece of lace edging & knew that if I cut it in 2 I'd have to add a piece to make it long enough at each end..twice. Having never done this before I didn't know how wide it had to be & as I was taking it with me to justify an arty lunch I just went with what I had, tacked the strips down onto some soft black pre shrunk cashmere, while chatting away - if I'd thought it thru too much I wouldn't have bothered with it. When I got home I machined down the strips & had to work out where the seam should be keeping in line  with the rest of the sleeve & - you'd be proud of me - took the precaution of drawing a template for next time. I'm inordinately proud of myself!

The show. I made a bee line for Helen McKenna  as last year I only managed to walk past her stand, forgetting to go back - I did notice she embellished shoes ;) You can see one jut peeping out on the back of the table by the wall. Delicious. She's a woman after my own heart as even tho my inspiration is not Mexico or Freda K I can see similarities in my garden pieces.

 A gentle purpley clutch bag, not too far removed from my purses, Helen was very encouraging to have a go.
Below, detail from the gorgeous dress that she made specially for the show, you could get lost in there, so glad I met her this visit.

 I went to a great talk by Lorna Bateman who makes incredible flowers out of silk ribbon embroidery. You just wouldn't believe they weren't the real thing. She very kindly showed me how to couch down a length of ribbon first stitching then gathering/ruching then stitching it all down. Very grateful & can't believe I forgot to take a pic of her beautiful stand!

 Val Hughes makes lovely nuno felted dresses & mixed media pieces - she preferred me not to take a pic of the dress & I've just got a low res pic of the canvases, above, with permission. (I got permission from everybody, of course)

This is Kerry Mosley above & below who was taught by Val H. Amazing work, she knits fine wire, then lays it down in between 2 pieces of soluable fabric & stitches. Her faces are fabulous & she'd brought sketchbooks from uni work, too. I hadn't realised that she was part of Reveal who I saw at Knitting & Stitching last year.

 I went to a talk by Wendy Dolan last year & saw that there was a mini 20 mins w/s with her this year. I was keen to join as Mixed Media Julie had just been on a really good w/s with her. I succumbed to some screen printing inks at her stand as they are the correct consistency for painting after stitching, you could also dilute for a background wash & well, screen & block print. She is very generous with info on her stand as she shows us samples of her work in stages so you can just about get your head around her unique technique.

Below is Margaret Beal   Couldn't see a direct website so here's a video instead. I went on a w/s with her 100 yrs ago, facinating to be able to fuse, pierce & mark acrylic organzas with a soldering iron. Wonderful work behind her head there, hopefully you'll be able to see clearly.

 Last but not least was meeting  Kim Thittichai again. Went to a good talk about her latest work using painted newspaper & bondaweb - she has a great sense of humour is passionate about sharing her techniques & has plenty of time on her busy stand to answer a load of questions. It was her 'Experimental Textiles' that inspired me at college, made sure I got a chance to read every word.

 I had a go at adding my mark to the 'Worlds Longest Embroidery' on the embroiderer's Guild stand - mine is bottom just off middle right, some fly stitch seaweed with a couple of knots inspired by Alex at underatopazsky

 as I left I bumped into an old friend on the Quilters Guild stand, our very own Maggi
Lovely to see her beautiful work in person (sad not to meet her!) prominently displayed, such precision & detail, contemporary meeting traditional. Just my colors, too.

Luckily I'm off 'real' work this week - walking around & buzzing with info for 2 days & a 41/2 hr drive each way plus coming back to a nights B&B guests (yay the season is slowly starting!) is a little tiring but well worth it. I haven't unpacked my purchases, I didn't go mad but I'll show you next week. The sun is shining in a blue sky, therefore it's baltic but I can't wait to get out into the garden. I might even drag Willow out with me!