Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Now, where Was I?

Still managing to plod on with the coursework, life and a few other bits! 

I cooked another batch of Khadi papers. 

This time I soaked half in iron water.  Well I crushed up a load of my iron tablets and let them steep for a while before putting the papers in, but it worked! 

The other half I soaked in vinegar water.  Much paler which is lovely as they could still be written on.  

I have been pre cutting the pages to size using my decal ruler as I like the deeper staining on the edges.  If I make up whole sheets there is often a white line if I cut them post dyeing.  Can't be avoided sometimes though!! They will be make up into more books soon.

I have also been experimenting with some doggy portraits.  

Normally I run a mile from backgrounds and I spend an absolute age making sure every single hair is represented. I've taken a turn to trying much softer approach with backgrounds my old pastel tutor would cringe at!  All rubbed in and smeared, but I'm loving them!! 

It started with the Shona portrait I did back in March but don't seem to have shown you on here!!  This beautiful old lady was a much loved member of a group of Pointer owners we are in and she sadly went over the Rainbow Bridge.  I just had the urge to capture her for her mum.  I really liked the faded look I'd given her. 

This is of Willow looking out of my bedroom window.  

And this is a friends dog Hobbes.

They are on 9 x 12 inch paper but I've, again, done them very softly and loosely. I also want to almost make them generic. The thought is to see how they reduce into card size and, so far, they seem to do so very well.  Apart from really liking the effect the time taken is also a lot less!  As long as I have perfection in the eyes the rest can hang from them and I'm happy with that. 

On Monday I had a fabulous trip to London with my friend Karren to the Tate Modern to see the Georgia O'Keefe exhibition.  It was wonderful!! I really enjoyed it.  And there were plenty of her paintings covering all her styles over the years.  I had gone wanting to see her grading of colour and tone up close and it was everything I had hoped it would be.  Devine! I'm glad I bought the book to continue perusing at my leisure.  

This week also saw my interview on the new Workshop on the Web Tumblr site HERE.  Excuse the huge photo of me at the beginning, I think Fiona was a little carried away!! It coincides with the article I wrote for them on making the Forest Floor pieces in my last post. 

I've taken to writing a Todo list and carrying it with me.  It started quite long but I've managed to strike off a few things.  Unfortunately I keep adding so I think I will now go and peruse the list to see what I can get rid of! 

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Pleasing Outcome

Last Sunday I actually had a go at some Eco-Printing paper.  I was so pleased with the results!  I didn't want them overly coloured as I thought they would still be nice to write on or add things to the prints.  

As you can see I printed them as precut page sizes so then went ahead and stitched them.

They made the pages for the brown book.  The other has heavy cartridge paper inside. 

The centre panels were the results of the video I made and then showed for Workshop on the Web

I've had the handmade felt for ages and it was so nice to have a resaon to use it at last! 

The insides and backs are matching silk and I used a wonderful vintage heavy twist silk for the stitching from the spool in the photos. 

I've had a few enquiries about them already but I'm not ready to sell them just yet.  I'm in two minds about including them for the exhibition in March.  They are my art too after all! 

I had a quote for frames for the Rockpool pieces and a) it was astronomical for such small pieces and would add too much to the price once the gallery commision was added and b) the size of the frames were totally disproportionate. John and I went to our local timber merchant and picked up some finished battens and made some ourselves.  I think they do actually finish the little canvases quite nicely. 

The thin slither of wood is much kinder to the size of the canvases too. 

I personally don't even think the wood needs painting or liming either.  I may give them a clear wax for protection though. Apologies for the colour of the photos, it's tipping it down outside and the lights just do horrid things to the shadows. 

Willow is again 100% and up to her usual mischief! 

And I had a lovely visit from my beautiful Birthday Boy this week whilst his mum raided the garden for bits! 

Back in the studio today to carry on with the coursework.  Nearly there!! 

Have a great weekend. 

Thursday, 1 September 2016


Several years ago I did a class with Lisa Walton on some beading techniques.  I had several samples made up and I found one a few weeks ago and decided to take it a bit further and make these pieces. 

They're not that big at 20 x 20 cm and 10 x 15 cm but quite dense. 

Though they are all similar each has a few differences. 

I've even managed to use some of those beads that I bought and didn't know quite what to do with! 

All I'm working on now for them is to frame or not to frame.  I have a couple of thoughts and will work on that soon.  I hope they look like the rich diversity you find in rockpools and I think I will be putting them aside to show in Shaftesbury next year.

I also still had a bit of bead embroidery left in me after the bag and made a brooch up.  The centre cabochon is Peridot and bronze.  

I have collected lots and lots of beautiful stones over the years and I think I will be making up some more brooches. Nice to make and very wearable.  

Today is the launch day of this quarter's Workshop on the Web magazine.  If you don't know it, it's a quarterly online publication headed up by Maggie Grey.  This month I have an article in. I have also made a two part video to accompany the article which I found great fun to do.  Unfortunately you have to be a member to read and view but I must say it is a very good read and very much worth the £22.50 yearly subscription. 

Willow had a little incident last week seeing if she liked barbed wire earrings. Unfortunately they didn't agree with her! Here she is looking very sorry for herself as well as quite daft. 

She has now recovered and the plastic skin on the cut is holding together quite nicely thank goodness.  Ears bleed profusely and add to that a few head shakes and it soon looks like a massacre! 

We are now back to romps over the fields which are so much more fun now the crops are off. 

I am now finally attacking the last three sections of my Machine Embroidery course.  I won't be sad to see the back of it I can tell you!! If you remember it was a huge struggle to get any sense from my first tutor and I was in a constant battle with her.  I really feel the whole thing was tainted from that point on.  Remind me not to do any more long term courses again wont you, especially if a certain tutor from Norfolk is involved!!!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Genie's Finally Finished!!

After a few days of really knuckling down I've finally finished!

I learnt several little tricks and I'm pleased I've done it.

My fingers are now rather sore and the joints ache though.

It has been cloggin up my todo list so I'm pleased it's done.

There's about 200 hours of work in that and it's only 6 inches tall.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Catch Up Again

Well what an exciting couple of weeks I’ve had!! First there was a week of one of my dogs being very ill and needing emergency treatment including a big operation, he’s nearly 11 so worrying.  I’m pleased to say he’s almost back to normal after lots of TLC, just the hurdle of 20 or so stitches out on Monday!  Could be challenging. 

Then this week, as you will have possibly read on FB, my 50th birthday with the sudden and one week early arrival of my grandson on the same day!  Lots of cuddles for him and his now big sister have been in order of course.  

We also, finally, opened a bottle of port we found about 11 years ago when we first moved here.  We arrived at this house with two sofas and a mattress so visited a couple of auctions to try and fill up the space and this was one of the nice buys! It was decanted and allowed to breath for some time and it goes down lovely, especially with a bit of English blue cheese! 

I have managed to make up a quilt top from a kit I bought when we were in New England a little while ago and it’s now draped over the longarm frame waiting for the quilting bit. 

Kate Crane of The Kathryn Wheel was recently on Hochanda the crafting chanel.  I actually never watch these sell hard programs but as Kate is a FB friend and doing her techniques I thought I would have a go. I'm not likely to manage one of her classes so this was almost as good and she did a fantastic job. I had most of the things already so didn't need to actually purchase, which was a relief! Quite pleased with my result and adaptation of a Pink Pig book. I will now put this in the for sale pile I think.
Cover left and inside tabs right

I’ve also been working on some pieces for exhibiting next year so will only tease you with that at the mo.  We've been up to look at the gallery this week and work out our spaces.  I'm much happier now I know what I have to fill!! 

Aaaannnndddd in between all this I have been plodding away at the Sherry Serafini Genie bag!  It's been slow going for me but it is very intense beading of mostly size 13 and 15 beads.  Sore fingers and joints so gloves have been on! 

Today the weather doesn't look as though it knows what it's doing so I may just head down and try and finish the Genie bag.  I have things stacking up behind it and the panic is building!! 

Have a good week. 

Thursday, 14 July 2016

An All Round Catch Up.

Quite a busy couple of weeks here. Strange though looking back at it it never feels like it's much but I know the days have passed and they are days of doing things! 

I finished a piece from Workshop on the Web using the kit from the last issue.  It was using sand gel medium and a tree stencil.  An interesting effect but I'm pleased with it.  I used Woods in Winter a poem by Longfellow as a base. 

I have also written a piece for the magazine itself.  There is another one in the pipeline but I have to let that one stew for a while longer.  

The Sherry Serafini bag is growing slowly.  It's not a big bag but very time consuming.  Most of the fill beads are sizes 13 and 15.  Tiny!  

I have it here sewn onto a piece of cloth and in a frame to help try and lessen the strain it is actually putting on my tendons.  I seem to be having a bout of tendonitis in the wrist at the moment and it's very painful! The action of gripping the needle is causing it so I am icing it and using stretches to try and ease the pain as well as wearing a support glove.  Oh how we suffer for our art! 

I started quilting a piece I was putting together as a demo piece during the Art Weeks showing curved piecing. Unfortunately my sewing machine decided it didn't want to do any free motion and, where the pebbles and ammonite pieces are at the bottom, it has eyelashed to the extreme on the back.  A lot of pulling out to do and machine is now in Eastleigh being serviced!  That will teach it.  

I had a Couronne stick made for me too which finally arrived this week.  It really did take about 3 months for the chap to have the time to make it.  It has been done beautifully though so I'm pleased.  I've had the quickest of plays with some knitting yarn to show someone on facebook what it is actually for but that is all so far.  

And that yarn was from making this little cardie. 

It's a slightly larger size than newborn but he will be a summer baby so no point going mad!  I did knit this little waistcoat too which he might have the chance of wearing before it's too small. 

And, after 10 months of being with us, Willow is finally learning how to play a little with Ellie.  Sorry for blurred picture but it was such a nice surprise to see them messing around together with an empty kitchen roll tube.  These things take time!! 

Fingers crossed the sun that has arrived today stays for a while!! 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Beading by Numbers

Yes, beading by numbers, not something I would do as a rule.  If you've been here a while you will know I'm not adverse to a bit of bead embroidery, just click the Beading word in the cloud on the right hand side to see some.

Anyway the Queen of Bead Embroidery, Sherry Serafini, actually released a kit for one of her bags.  As I'm never likely to actually go to one of her classes I decided to treat myself to the kit.  This would be as near as I was likely to get to have instruction from her and to learn some of her secrets.  

The kit arrived from America and I've been working on it now and then through the week. 

Yes the base was preprinted and the beads counted out but I have learned several tricks already that I would never have known as they are certainly not in her books!  I'm thoroughly enjoying myself and even when there was a little hiccup with the pattern and I had to contact her directly she was so lovely and it was all sorted in no time. 

This week I also went to our village church to have a look at the altar cover.   I had been asked by the Church Warden during the Art Weeks if I thought there was anything I could do to salvage it. 

The panels along the back are from a silk wedding dress from a lady who used to live in the village in the 1800's.  When I find out more details I will let you know the story. 

As you can imagine the silk is terribly fragile and really not up to much handling. 

I have put forward a few ideas and they will be discussed to see if they are acceptable.  As you can imagine you can't just whip off altar covers and stick any old thing on.  There are certain things that have to be followed which I have been finding out about in my research.  Only linen, cotton and silks should be used and, of course, they have to be blessed.  I'm sure a solution will be found and I will keep you updated. 

I managed to sort the pile of books and magazines that has been growing on my footstool, I even managed to read through a couple, so I now know where I am for the moment, I think!! 

Everything else is ticking along despite our government going into freefall over leaving the EU.  You can tell Ellie and Willow were totally stressed about the whole thing. 

Have a great weekend! 

Friday, 17 June 2016

Normal Service Has Been Resumed!

I hope anyway.  

I've dived straight into a couple of projects I have to put under my belt sooner rather than later and been having quite a lot of fun with them! John has been listening to strange mutterings and goings on but I may reveal all at some point in the future!! 

The Art Weeks was a wonderful success and it was so much easier having it from home this time.  Thank you to those who made it, and let yourselves be known!! I also made contact with a couple of other ladies who are into stitch and relatively close to me which is always nice. Everything is now packed away until next time but I will have to pull my finger out and start creating as several of my large pieces went, all the handmade books and bags bar one and I couldn't make the notebook covers fast enough! I know it's not supposed to be about the selling but showing what you do but people do like to buy!! The charities are grateful I'm sure. 

Jan, who I did the Art Weeks with, came around yesterday with a lovely gift for me.  

It's of the DMC Library published 1884 and a real little gem.

There are 16 chapters on everything to do with needlework.  I've crocheted since I was small but now-a-days have hangups about following patterns as they are often American and the stitch types are all wrong.  I spend ages 'translating' the pattern back into English so often give up.  Reading the crochet section in this however could take me down all sorts of paths I didn't even know existed!  Look at those amazing trellises! 

There are even some colour plates.  Applique on damask anyone?  I think I could spend quite a bit of time dipping into this treasure trove.  I love it. 

I'm back in the studio today, weather permitting.  We've been having huge downpours and thunderstorms.  They don't bother me, though I would like to put the sunflowers out without them being beaten flat, it's just the noise on the roof of the studio can be phenomenal!  The lovely amount of light I have more than makes up for it though.  

Have a great weekend!