Friday, 5 December 2014

Where have all the leaves gone?

It's amazing the time passing thing, one minute you've got your nose to the summer season grind, the next you look up & all the leaves have gone & there's a sugar dusting of snow on the hills. That's why it's so important to look up I do

I so wanted to be involved in the Workshop on the Web sketchbook auction, a fundraiser for Teenage Cancer Trust but I had a craft fair or 2 to finish (& start!) things for. Every spare moment had to be for making, only because I'd left just a few too many things till the last moment......

 Then I slipped down the wooden stairs, only 4 of them, in my wooly socks.... bruised below my bum & bruised above my bum but I seemed to leave my arm behind & gave my shoulder such a good wrench! Missed my coxyx, which was good, didn't break my ankle in 3 places or my back, even better (the stories you hear... I carry my sock with me now ;)

 One week on & lots of pain killers later I got the 'coughing your guts up' leurghy, goodness, more painkillers for the splitting head & chest! & more reason not to make a sketchbook.

At last, a real day off no pressures at all! Inspired by the beautiful books I saw coming in to the WoW fb page & the fact that I wanted to be part of it, I started to make one.

I had to repurpose an already made cover - I would never have been able to start from scratch with 2 days till deadline...... I had thought I would need to make myself a copy, another impossibility! I found myself sorting thru bits & pieces in the studio, as tho I was really making a sample sketchbook, by tidying up, really. I thought, don't pressure yourself with brand new creations, use what you have & look at your own sketchbooks.

 & I'd always wanted to make a hairy messy dangly jangly fabric ribbon spine on a book. My fingers are starting to complain about even a simple pamphlet stitch so I just tied the pages in with a mix of ribbon, pulling the needle thru with pliers - it WILL go thru! Then & found & made a couple, of buttons & beads with big holes that big ribbon will go thru & tied lots of knots & I seem to have done it!

I colored a few pages, added a textile sample, drew some flowers. I found a gelatin print, stuck it in & drew some of the shapes I could see in the print. I'm always printing with Acer leaves - which reminds me, when the DH was in Ireland recently sorting our his lovely aged uncle, he sent me a pic of the Acer in his garden, just so vibrant & I asked him to bring me back some leaves. He kindly dried them out on a wood burning stove for a couple of hours, bless him & later phoned for advice ;)

on the fabric leaf print I stitched gold veins & on the paper print I drew black lines & stitched in an organza swatch. I found a 15 minute heart collage I'd made ages ago ( so much sketchbook stuff tucked away in my studio!) left a blank space boxed in with oil bar coloring & as I turned to leave the studio I saw on the floor, honestly! the perfect row of cut out hearts & thought that would fit nicely.

I've called this book 'things I love'' so I can put ANYthing I love in it & I couldn't do with out flowers. I carefully, just with straight stitch, made a shiny silky flower & on the opposite side drew 3 simple flowers in black & gold. I found part of a lino print which would only fit sideways, but that's ok,  thought about a piece I'd made before with grasses & drew a few strands. I filled a double page spread with a wildly colored circle piece - it could have been cut into lots of cards but I could spare it. then I found a little experiment of a commercial stamp on fabric, tidied one up with a thin marker & even tho I thought it might be too complicated & detailed I drew a version on the opposite page. Probably because I'd already made a mess with water soluble crayons I was able to do it, just simply

 hearts & birdies, I finally got to make a bird for this winter's craft fairs, really cheered me up after being in the wars!

There's nothing like the feeling of having no pressure, just for once, to get on & do something you love. I missed the actual auction but I might have my sketchbook  added to Maggie's blog over the weekend, what an honor that would be, to be part of something that helps others. Feeling better now.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

A Dyeing Day

Following on from my last post I finally drew the honeysuckle, the very last one of the year.

Quite subtle, a little tentative but I'm pleased. I asked the DH's opinion & he said it was very good but didn't know what flower it was when pressed, but he reassured me he wasn't a gardener. Does it become a bad representation if someone can't tell what it is or can they enjoy it anyway? I'll go with the latter I think.

 my very first dyed threads!

What a fabulous day I had last week at Jenny's 

When I mentioned at the beginning of the year that I'd never dyed anything, was terrified at the idea of mixing chemicals & how could I possibly manage it she kindly said we could have a go at hers.

Of course being busy peeps, its taken us this long. We live on the same island but being an hour & a 1/2 & about 55 miles away didn't help. Above is the sign to her wonderful patchwork & quilting shop, a real treasure trove.

What a view even on one of the wettest, mistiest day of the year!

Jenny had got EVERYthing ready, dyes, spoons, tubs, newspaper, pfd fabric (oh, hark at me!)

most importantly lots of bags in which to put the dye & the fabric in ready to agitate & stew...or is it batch?

above, Jenny's rich selection.

 No 4 left had better mottling on the underside so I cheated & turned it over ;)

Well, I was taking this quite seriously & was determined to keep a record of the 'Exchange Dying' session.We'd done wonderful some warm up exercises of scrunching, dripping & folding, random & so quick! But this was serious stuff, something you could repeat & I was determined to listen & have at the end of it the start of a sample book the same quality as Jenny's. So, exchange dyeing is starting with 2 colors - I just chose my favourites, turquoise & pink (Magenta Red) totally forgetting they'd make an amazing purple when mixed. What I wasn't prepared for was the stunning colors in between.

There are probably many measurement mixes but the first & last color is the pure color & you gradually add more of one & less of another & half way thru you add less of one & more of the it? Exactly, that's why I had to be shown first hand & taken thru slowly by an excellent teacher. So I numbered my pieces, just to be sure I was correct as to which they were when they came out of the wash the other end. Best way that I thought would really be pemanent was to stitch the numbers on ;) a nice rest from rinsing - oh, goodness, the rinsing , I'd heard about that..... The right hand side of the above 2 pics is the 'flat' color, the first in the bag that sucks up most of the dye then you put a second piece in & get the ghost color, well of course those are my favourites, delicious mottled resisted parts of fabric.

some of these are wipe up cloths & I promise I didn't nudge that pot over on purpose....!

I love how the flats & the mottles go together, one of the main points of the exercise, of course

I can't work out which is my folded piece but we did sprinkling, painting & more dripping after the exchange dyeing. Then I nicked some of Jenny's colors & got fabulous lime greens, quite delicious!

 I've long been inspired by a piece I won in a giveaway from Linda Stokes, some years ago & have been constantly impressed with the work of my blog buddies who dye & now I feel I'm nearing really making my own hand dyes! So exciting.

I couldn't let the 'spent dye' go to waste, as I poured the first bag down the sink I thought...paper!

I got flat color, drew with the lid of the containers & smooshed, patted & rolled the crumpled fabric & threads about (will I ever untangle them!)

saving some for later

My stack, my very own stack of hand dyes. Can you tell how grateful I am to Jenny?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Have the Swallows gone?

What a beautiful day - sunshine & showers ........twice, followed by sunshine. I will appreciate the light now that it's starting to get dark earlier, the gloaming drawing in. I love the Autumn but first I need to embrace it, get used to it & I have to admit the swallows have gone - it's October after all.


To hang on to the summer just a little longer I'll show you these shadows I came across a while ago, an Elder tree moving in the breeze, I was absolutely mesmerized. It was possibly moving about a little too much but I can see a screen being made out of one or two but oh, how to choose! Has anybody used a UK based screen maker before? I used the wonderful Linda Stokes all the way in Australia last time!

I haven't made much, working to live has got in the way a little but the season is calming down now so I may have more time to make hearts like the one above cut from a lovely tea tray cloth - I'm inspired to use vintage tray cloths by talented artists like Cas Holmes & Helen McKenna. I felt dreadful cutting it but I think it's worked well (& I don't really do tray cloths) & possibly birds & more trees for the Christmas (!) Craft Fair end of November & cards & 'gifts' & things. Will I make a Christmas Stocking or 2?

I did cut my peacock fabric, it was languishing in the corner & needed to move on a step.

I'd  already made the strips below & would stitch one or 2 of an evening when my eyes could stay open

I love edges
& rolls

& this above is vaguely what it will look like, as a small wall hanging

My New Dawn rose is over but there is one bloom hanging on delightfully high up into the birch by the front gate.

Honeysuckle thru the downstairs loo window, what a pleasure to watch. There is one flower hanging on there, too. I will sketch it before it goes.

Thanks for waiting for me to come back!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

a little bit more

First up, the Made in Sleat (not sure how long the site will be up) exhibition, held in the Duisdale Hall, the first organised by Visit Sleat but the second time for me to be part of a group of artists showing here - it's been too long! Maybe we'll do it again next year?

Lots of pics, just scroll thru as fast as you like.

That's me, above left, there's all the info in the Made in Sleat link, I don't have the energy to link all the names individually. An interesting thought, I'd like to have been under the Artists list, on the beaautifully made website, even tho I am an artist maker. 2/3 of my work is flat work, I've more in common with the watercolor & oil paintings here as I use watercolor pencils, oil bars, acrylic - I don't use ceramics, leather or precious metal. Where do I belong, do you think? Or am I being pretentious (moi?)

A different kind of produce here 4 delicious (if I say so myself, my family kindly agreed!) greenhouse grown cucumbers about a month ago. & that was it, where are the rest, did I miss something? Lovely sweetpeas from supermarket seedlings, being away in May would have killed all my efforts, that's my excuse ;)

Don't you love the perennial sweetpea the way it fades to that delicious blue?

Ready for another show? Again, just scroll thru as quickly as you like. Such a lot of talent.

 Mine first, so small compared to the amazing giants here! they were in a pretty dark corner of the church, too so they got missed when being photographed for the Skye Quilters Blog but I've been asked to send this pic so it can be added ;) All the credits for this wonderful work is on the link, too.

Great to be part of this group, even tho I can't go to any  meeting til I retire from the day jobs ;( but I enjoyed my day of stewarding. Our very own Festival of Quilts! I've  loved all the blog posts I've been reading on the FoQ - they do have more space than us tho. Great that Jenny's quilt was there, as seen on Julie's blog, 3 posts down.

Well, if you're not exhausted reading all this, I am writing it, see you!