Saturday, 31 January 2009

Hanging around!

Well the deed is done. I have ordered my new computer and monitor. I have to be patient now and wait for its arrival. I think it will be a couple of weeks as the computer is a custom build. Meanwhile I will continue adding and expanding my old project with new techniques.

I have just finished two hangings. They are a compilation of numerous techniques. Each part of this hanging is a different technique and uses different materials. They all represent the different aspects, features, colours and textures of a place I visited.


The materials used include tyvek, Angelina fibres, fusible film, printed photograph, stencilling , wrapped and shaped wire. When you enlarge the image you will be able to see the different techniques that have been used. They all have work on the backs too so that it is seen when the mobiles spin.

The second hanging used the text. The letters are digitised and stitched onto satin. The back of each mobile is painted and stamped craft Vilene. I made the stamps from Funky foam.


I used the text mobile to create my image of the day. It is a composite of this hanging from two sides.


I did have one parcel arrive this week - some soy wax flakes which I bought after reading and seeing Tracy's blog. This is another technique to play with.


The beginning of the week was quite pleasant so we went for a walk along the river at a nearby market town. We saw lots of these handsome chaps swimming around on the river.


The end of the week has been bitter cold and we were absolutely knithered standing on the school yard waiting for our grandson who is sleeping over tonight. Looks like we are in for a very cold spell - I shall retreat to my studio until it warms up. Hope to get lots done before the computer arrives because then I will have quite a learning curve ahead. I am changing from a PC to a Mac.

It is getting cold now that the heating has switched off so to bed.

Cheers everyone

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Life just gets busier!!

Time for a new post. I am trying to write this while watching the ice skating - its the European championships which is slightly easier than trying to free machine and watch. Never could do one thing when I can do two at the same a time. Such a lot happening this week - my head is swimming.

Where to begin. Well - I have been toying with getting twin monitors and while researching this a computer friend of mine let me borrow a big wide screen monitor. Awesome. So much space to work in. Now I am thinking a single BIG monitor. I am also seriously considering going Mac. Whew!!!

I packed up my sewing machine and it was picked up by a courier to go for a service and to sort a couple of faults which have arisen. Horrible feeling seeing go off in a van. I took a photo of the boxed machine and made it my image of the day yesterday. I played with it a little in some filters to get something I liked.


I put a very big notice on the top 'Fragile Take great care'.

There were blue skies and no wind today so I went outside to take my image today. The sun is, at last, high enough to shine over the house roof and into the back garden. It lit up the jasmine. Some cheerful colour against a backdrop of last years dead remnants.


And here is some remnant of last years flowers in the hanging basket. I don't mind seeing last years dead tangles in the tubs and baskets.


I have just finished this piece to expand an old project. It represents the colours and textures of a place I visited but that is all I am prepare to say about the source.

The base fabric was sponged first, then covered with teased out dyed silk fibres.


These were covered with a black nylon sheer to hold it all in place.


I used the sweeps and curls of the fibres as a guide to free machining over the surface. I digitise a Celtic design and machined it over the patches of fibres. The surface was then zapped with a heat gun and embellished with beads and dyed baby pasta rings.

It is ready to be stretched over a frame to finish.


Another big decision made this week. I booked flights to go to our daughters villa for two weeks. It was only after it was all booked that I realised - TWO WEEKS away from my sewing and workroom. Planning ahead now. Trying to come up with ideas and prep for hand and finishing work to take with me. A friend suggested I take my machine as she does when she goes to see family in Australia but I will have a lot of heavy camera equipment with me so couldn't manage a machine as well even between two of us.

Hooray! my favourite skaters have just won!

My daughter has just arrived for her dad to to something on her car. Good old dad. How useful they are.

I can get on with the machining now that the skating has finished so bye all.


Monday, 12 January 2009

Busy beginnings

It has been a very busy start to the new year. I have been creating work to expand a project I did a few years back adding some new techniques and materials which were not around at that time.

Today I was multi tasking - machining the panels for a box while loading music albums onto my new iPod. I didn't realise how many CDs I had and had not listened to for a long time. Once they are all loaded onto the iPod I can listen to them in my studio while I am working. I just love all this new technology.

The other piece of technology is that of my embroidery machine which stitched out ten Celtic motifs for me today. I digitised the motifs as I needed so many of them. I usually free machine a 'one off'. However, after I had machined the first side I changed my mind about the colour and spent several hours unpicking it. I have a friend who manages to get her husband to do her unpicking or 'reverse stitching' as she calls it. This motif was a quadruple stitch so it was very difficult to unpick. Here's how it looked after unpicking and restitching.


There are four panels like this and a different one for the top and inside the lid.

At the beginning of the year I made the commitment to take at least one photograph/ image every day and began on New Year's day. I have kept to that commitment and have taken image number 11 today. They do not have a theme or anything - just whatever comes to mind each day. Today I did the washing and before I put the linen bin away decided to use the pattern on the front for an image.


I simply tipped the bin onto its back and took the photo. Pity I needed the light on as it has created a slight shadow of me taking the photo. There's a 3 dimensional textile piece in there -'maybe'.

I am quite surprised at the diversity of the images. Some are indoors and some outdoors. It depends a bit on the weather too. I did a still life study on a cup of coffee yesterday as it was so bitterly cold outside. Problem was that the coffee was cold by the time I had finished taking the photos. Turned out well though.

On Friday I had a special delivery in the post. The final layout for my book arrived. This one is how it will go to the printers. It will be sent for production today - Monday. I have to create the index for it now. The publisher has done a great job on the layouts. It looks very stylish. Can't wait to see the actual book.

My OH went to the NEC on Friday - he engineers for a rally team- and now I have a stack of photographs to process for him. They will have to wait. Too busy at the moment.

The conifer hedges will be getting their annual cut today. It is later than usual - they must be busy too. I wouldn't have been able to take this photo if they had come at the usual time of year.


This is another of my daily images. I got a bit wet taking this but... needs must.

That will have to do for this post. I need to do some more indexing.

Cheers everyone

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Well, here we are three days into the new year and already it is flying – sloooow down time please!!! How I wish!!

I didn’t make any New Year resolutions but I did make one commitment and that was to create an image journal of at least one image a day. I say ‘at least one’ as opposed to ‘one’ because when I start to take photos I always take quite a number and then find it hard to decide which one I like best so there may be days when there are several images although they will be on the same subject. I have just taken my third day image of the mahonia in flower and with lovely sunshine on it too. Not sure if I will be posting them yet. It depends on what else I have to post. They will probably appear as a weekly block or something along those lines. WTS

Back to the creativity which is what my blogs are usually about. During the ‘festive’ season I have managed to create quite a number of pieces (about 9 I think- I was on a roll and that cannot be suppressed for anything.)

One thing I was wanting to do was to use some of my serendipity samples which have accumulated over the year while painting other things. They were piling up - numerous pieces of both silk and hand made paper just waiting to be used.

I will cover four of them in this post. They were created very quickly.

The first one used a piece of serendipity silk.


I had been browsing a book about Asian art and some of the Japanese flower paintings caught my eye and so influenced the subject for this piece. I decided to create some delicate poppies using appliqued sheer fabrics. The flowers and leaves were cut out using a soldering iron and using a sketch like free machining drew the flowers and leaves catching down the sheers. then I machined the stalks etc and finally quilted the piece following the shapes around the flowers and leaves. For the backing I used a piece of recycled dress fabric and when the quilting was finished I realised that the backing toned in quite well with the piece so I turned the edges of the backing over onto the front to make the border. Et voila!!! quick and easy.


The second one used a piece of serendipity hand made paper. I made this paper years ago and had sandwiched a piece of net inside which gave the paper not only reinforcement but a textured pattern. It too was painted enough to use.


This time I rummaged through my left over bits box and found some mohair which I had dyed and made into a fabric. It was left over from making the lid of a box. I also had a length of the same mohair which I had dyed for a workshop I gave last October. It had the same range of colours so I wiggled it over the surface of the paper and held that down with some black nylon sheer. Next I free machined over the surface to hold the fibres in place, then zapped with a heat gun to remove some of the sheer. I placed the left over piece in the centre - well actually, I moved it around for a while first until I decided where I preferred it. I cut some red metallic mesh and put that underneath then decided it was all too red so I painted the left over piece with a gold leafing krylon pen. I found a large wooden bead bought many years back which I also brushed slightly with the gold and placed in the middle. It was couched in place and some red beads stitched into the holes/spaces. I also stitched more beads around the other couched red mohair to accentuate the curves. They were brushed with gold too. the next job was to decide on a background for it. Eventually the one which appealed to me most was a piece of pearlised metallic purple card. I attached it to one side of the card and voila, another quick and easy piece.


The next piece used up another piece of serendipity silk.


This one was not as easy to decide what to do as it had with the previous two. The colours were mainly green with some copper in there. Lateral thinking - green colour - green leaves, so that was going to be the subject. I had collected some samples of embossed papers from the local DIY store to use a stamps (picked that one up from Sharon). I chose two of them to stamp onto the silk which I ironed first - (can claim some domestic work can't I????)

Leaves need flowers so I used a wooden carved block and rubbed the design onto the silk with a copper oil stick. Then I quilted it using metallic threads to pick out the features. It still needed something so I decided to free machine an offset repeat of each leaf design over the top. A few copper sequins for the flower centres completed the piece. I mounted it on a kebab stick painted copper and hung copper sequins down some copper fingering for tassels. I also used the last of my sheet copper leaves which I had made for some of my jewellery ( which you can see in my book in September - plug, plug) and hung them along the bottom. Et voila, another piece.

The final piece used another piece of serendipity hand made paper.


Looking to do something different I decided to cut it into strips and weave them to create a chequerboard effect. Another rummage discovered some paper casts of the wooden block used in the previous piece. I painted the flowers red and the leaves a bright metallic green. I used just the flower of the block to stamp the daisies in the centre of each of the squares. Beads and stitching created the flower centres and I used some puff paint along the edges of the squares and after heating painted them gold. This piece too was turned into a hanging again painting a kebab stick for the hanger and painting four large beads which matched the daisies. Another completed serendipity piece.


I think that is enough or you will be suffering from overload.

I am ready for a cup of coffee now. My OH is at mt daughters trying to fix her oven door which won't close properly. If it is fixed we will be invited for a meal so an incentive there although he would fix it for her anyway.

While I have been writing this I have been thinking about the next piece I propose to do so while it is still in my head I will go and start or I may forget.

Cheers everyone.