Saturday, 5 February 2011

Collage week 5

Got some lovely fabrics from last weeks Rag Tag jumble sale. That's what I love about helping out at these things, we get one or two new items for our wardrobes at very affordable prices & help in looking for silky shiny bits & pieces for your work. The trick is to get them washed ironed & cut up so you can see what you have - if I see it as a piece of clothing I get distracted.


This week I am inspired by Ruth Rae who makes little piles of fabric, paper & treasure & stitches them all together making beautifully messy soft lacey gorgeous collages. I'm working from her article in Cloth Paper Scissors Sept/Oct '07 called "whispered words, ethereal fragment squares" Each part of that title appeals! My challenge is to work in pale creamy fabric - Ruth has used lime green lace & scrim but I thought I'd stick to pale.

Feel free to skim or just look at the pictures! I'm put off by great blocks of words, too & I can see a couple here!

First I gathered together my fabrics, I never realised I had so much pale stuff!


cotton, calico, builders scrim silky & lacey bits


And my papers (lots of those!) - sheets of music, book pages & I added a rusted piece & a tea bag (sans tea).



then the treasures



These are what I could lay my hands on quickly, Ruth had twigs & broken bits of jewellery, too. She'd added words to dominos & had starfish, rusty keys in the mix. She gets her words from her vintage books so you can cut out from books or magazines 'meaningful' words or stamp them yourself & add those to the pile.

A few stamps; I used a butterfly &  a celtic heart & would have used my own carved spiral but I couldn't find it , drew it instead. I stamped them on watercolor paper & tore interesting edges. I tinted these with terracotta stamp pads, gold on top. Gold edged some of the book papers too. Note to fingers - use thinner paper to stamp on if you're hand stitching later! Ruth suggested stamping organza but I forgot that & did the paper instead!





I made this one above first, as a sample & my DH, bless him said it was great, mount it & frame it! Oh! So I added the lace at the bottom & the linen backing to make it more substantial.

Ruth advises 2 ways of coloring your fabric & paper. coffee stain - 1/4 cup of instant coffee (not sure how many teaspoons in there) to 5 cups of very hot water. Wet fabric first then steep in mix for 30 mins. Blot papers & for added effect, sprinkle both with a few coffee granules for a 'spekled' effect, add some coffee water to deepen stain. Dry.

The other way is with acrylic paint - wet fabrics, one part paint  to 5 parts water, mix & dip, blotting the papers. Keep going till you like what you see.




This is the sample - I can add bits or stitches from time to time. There's my trusty washer & the spiral hidden behind the gauzy fabric

Well, my coffee didn't work, not enough coffee, I'd drunk it all! So I tried tea, instead, just dunking & blotting as above. It affects each fabric in different ways - this is where I need a dyeing sample book! I actually also need a fabric sample book, I could put both kinds of samples in one book of course. I know what some sik is, might spot a Habotai but there must be hundreds of silks! then there's scrim, muslin, tulle, cotton this, cotton that, fake, real! it goes on & on, as you know. That's one problem with recycling, you see what you like & it's either smooth, rough, seethru or just silky. Some of the fabrics used here are recycled but I can never resisit those sample packs of a mix of fabrics at shows, so some of this is new!



Well I had to use a key, didn't I! Shame I didn't straighten it but I do love that these things are loose inside.


Ruth says to cut/tear some fabric 7x7. place on top of felt or batting. Add book text, then lay out 'elements' you want to trap under fabrics, add layer of cheesecloth or organza, add layer of 'altered' & stamped paper or fabric or lace. Pin if you need to & sew a running stitch along edges & around the treasures to keep them in place, adding 'hidden' elements & snippets as you go, making little pockets. You can machine quilt a little design here & there.




I found that things fell out all over the place but with this way of working you can start from the bottom & lay everything out or stitch down bit by bit, or you can start from the top & make a few 'pockets' & then lay those out on top of a half made piece. Practice, play! I decided to do more than one as I might as well while I had the spare double bed covered in everything (or is this what sensible people usully do?) I do enjoy just making little squares, I mean thumbnail size or inchy size without really knowing where they will end up. That way you make your own 'treasures' or embellishments or medallions, whatever you want to call them - my favorite word for them is jewels, lovely, fires my imagination.  This is where Ruth stopped but did suggest you/we could add further beads & embellishments. I did on some of them untill my eyes started to fall out!



The above collage was inspired when I went to Ruth's blog - she's doing a heart swap so I couldn't resist. I wrote the word with the darning foot - it is so much slower than fme! Glad to have got a little more delicate & 'girly' with all this lace & 'ethereal' inspiration, thaks to Ruth.

 My next problem is framing. I've said before that my DH thinks my creative mess needs to be contained neatly in a 'propper' frame. He's right, they do look good if I say so myself. I'm having an exhibition in September, have I already said that? So I applied to Hi-Arts for a grant towards framing but as I am 'self promoting' ie not under the wing of a reputable Gallery & not having it in a 'real' gallery - it's in a lovely L shape of a room which leads into the village hall of Plockton 6 miles into the mainland, where many artists have shows - I didn't get the grant. I'll try other places - I was a 'visual artist' for this grant but I can turn myself into a Maker for say, Craft Scotland. Any ideas? Or more importantly, any ideas for innovative framing?! I can think of rods - bamboo, chopsticks, driftwood 'twigs' or lengths of driftwood, wrapped wood, brass or wood stair rods (both of which we found in Granny's attic!) using hooks or machine cords to hang............

I made 2 cuffs - I need to keep the numbers of those up, so while the mess is out....!

edit - when I went to Ruths blog it was at the sun Jan 30th post, honest - just checked now for the link & she's talking about cuffs! Is that a case of "great minds" ...?




Not the 'squarest' creations in the world - they do look better rolled up. Even better on a wrist ;)

Now I need to clear that 'spare bed' it's in the eldests old room where my sewing is taking over more & more ( why waste it) but where we need to move into as we've got a few nights B& B next week, wonderful!

27 comments:

Suztats said...

Lovely creations, Emma! I like the collages and your cuffs. Isn't playing so much fun?

Beverley Baird said...

Ohhh- love these creations - all of them! But especially the heart! You are always so inspiring! Wish I was a better sewer!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

These turned out AMAZING!!!
I popped over to the other blog and oh, between the two of you, the eye candy! (and I'm supposed to be doing a tutorial....ack!)
Great work~~~Keep going!

XXOO~~♥
Anne

ju-north said...

What an amazing amount of beautiful, varied work!! I love it all! Next time we are passing, I must call in!

NuminosityBeads said...

These are awesome and you've amassed a cohesive collection. I'd say you were on a roll! Good stuff and it looks like you had fun in the process.
xoxo Kim

artymess said...

WONDERFUL Emma .....in fact stunning .....great work thanks for sharing ...x

JP said...

fantastic - I just love them all - clever you

fibrefrolics said...

Ooh Emma, youv'e excelled yourself! Gorgeous collages and the cuffs are brilliant! Love all of it. Hope the stormy weather has passed you by over there.
Penny

dosfishes said...

Spectacular stuff Emma, wow, these pieces ARE really great. Love to see this work from you. xox Corrine

Jan said...

I love these! love the papers and all the little pockets with secrets inside, the lace, the neutral color scheme. I will have to look for that article, I like Ruth Rae I bought her book too and it is inspiring. Tattered Layered Stitched i think is the title. Your pieces look as though they washed up on a beach with the color all washed out and bits of flotsam caught in the tattered fragments. Please take that as the compliment it is meant to be! I love them.

Aileen Clarke Crafts said...

Fantastic work Emma! I have been a fan of Ruth's on Flickr and enjoy her work. Your pieces are really exciting and I can imagine they are great fun to make and very absorbing. I have a collection of creamy white bits and pieces waiting to be used but I'm just not getting any spare time. I love the rusty bits you have incorporated : )

Lesley said...

These are absolutely gorgeous.! Want, want want! ;-) xxx

Jenevieve said...

They look fantastic! I love the one with the key best and I think it's great that it's loose and not straightened up! :) x

Connie Rose said...

They're all wonderful, Emma. I love them!

mano said...

wonderful work - I love your treasures, the papers, the fabrics and your pieces very much.
have a good week, emma!

Lorraine said...

like all these they go together so well

Jill said...

Love your pieces Emma - you always may it seem so 'easy' but my collages just seem to end up a bit of a mess. I think the idea of working to a 'method' might get me started, thanks for sharing.

Sue M said...

Great work Emma - you are inspiring me to get my machine out soon...

maggi said...

I love these pieces and agree that they deserve to be framed. Perhaps your B&B customers will be tempted to buy. Thanks for sharing the process with us, it makes for very interesting reading.

liensdingen said...

What a lovely pieces you made, Emma, so delicate.

LauraX said...

emma these are wonderful! I love the simple palette you've chosen...just like the view through my windows:)

Mariann Johansen-Ellis/Cascada Studio said...

what a super fun post..... not being a collage artist, it made me ant to become one!! Thanks for sharing....:o) Mariann

jackie said...

Your DH sounds v. supportive - I'm not a great fan of traditional frames, and I think they may spoil your delicate pieces. Coffee is great but it never seems to lose its smell. I really like minimal colour, but always seem to use lots of colours. Thanks for your comment.

layers said...

it is amazing how you started with old fabrics, and added wonderful vintage papers and odds and end objects and created beautiful layered collages.

Christine said...

i love the crooked key :)

ArtPropelled said...

A lovely post packed with creative inspiration. Love the shades of pale and the key piece is my favourite.

Linda said...

Emma..these are absolutely lovely. I think my fav one is the first (with the butterfly) but I'd be happy to buy any of them.
Inspiring stuff - thank you!!!