Saturday, 22 April 2017

A Steampunk Angel

Quite often, when I'm demonstrating or teaching at a workshop, my sample pieces stay partly made or just in the first stage of the process. This is good because they show the steps towards a finished piece or act as idea prompts. But it is so lovely to finish a project, and when I have a little time to myself that is so nice to do.

A couple of weeks ago I started a Fabric Book cover with a Steampunk Angel. We were going on holiday almost as soon as the workshop ended so I took it with me to stitch whilst I was away.

The fabric had been painted during the workshop but it still needed stitching. My favourite part!

I'm so happy I took it! I packed a little bag with a small needle and pre-cut pieces of thread so I could stitch on the plane. I also included some vintage metal washers for her hair.

I was prepared for someone to tell me 'No needles on a plane!' and I could have thrown the needle away but nobody seemed to mind just a tiny little embroidery needle. And I was so happy stitching away!

So after a lovely week of sewing here is how my Angel cover girl looks now. She has metal in her hair, embroidered wings and sewn details for the features on her face.

Now I need to make some page for her book. 

I loved sitting on the beach in the sunshine, lost in my thoughts, with my art to stitch. I feel all new now.

I will be repeating the Fabric Books workshop sometime soon if you'd like to come and make a book or pages with me. 

The next workshop, in May, is Vintage Mini Quilts. This workshop will include using the most lovely vintage and painted fabrics and found objects to make tiny quilted pictures which can be framed or used with other artwork such as handmade and Altered books. More details in the post below.

Contact me to book or leave a comment below.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Workshops with photos!

February 11th: Mixed Media Fabric Art books. £65

Using hand painted Calico and mixed media we will make a handmade fabric book cover and learn how to fill it with textile pages and some beautiful decorations and embellishments.
You will have the choice of making a simple concertina book or a bigger, more involved version with the opportunity to continue learning additional techniques throughout the year to add to your skills and the beauty of your book.

I forgot to take photos at this workshop because we were all so busy we forgot the time but Tina has just sent me the photos of her cover, front and inside. It is complete and just waiting for fabric pages. Have a look at the details on these covers.

The photo above is the front cover. I love that she chose a metal drawer handle as her closure for the book. There is so much detail to discover such as the hand drawn embellishment, stencilled and stitched areas and the hand made metallic butterflies.

Above is the inside of the book cover.She has divided and painted the squares and decorated them with lace, drawing and embroidery.
These are her signature colours and she has used them so well.

March 11th: Scrap Stitching £65

We will use hand embroidery with treasured scraps of textiles, silk and vintage embellishments to make a little picture with exquisite details. 

This will be a lovely chilled out day with slow stitching, lovely materials and learning new ways to create surfaces and decorate fabric. Good for the soul!

Later in the year, in June, there will be a another chance to learn these and a different set of techniques with rust dyed fabrics.

The photos above are just a couple of my little samples for inspiring my Scrap Stitchers. It must have worked!

The photos below are some of their finished pieces and their works in progress.

These are mostly beginners! I'm blown away by what they've done. 

I will add more photos soon, but for now Look! Aren't they FAB!


Ilana's: Texture, colour and a riot of beautiful details to keep us all looking.

Jackie's: A wonderful mixture of texture and colour made with snippets of precious scraps and lovely decorative stitches.

Jill's: A beautiful little landscape work in progress with details of silk fibre and delicate stitching with hand dyed threads.

Kim's: A stunning textured heart. Work in progress. Beautiful layering that shimmers with lovely depth of colour.

Prue's: A billowy sky and landscape work in progress. Soft and dreamy layering of hand dyed silks and cottons. With fabulous tiny stitching and layering.

Tina's: A highly textured work in progress with cut organza flowers and scraps of fragile hand dyed silks on a hand dyed background.

And more stitching on this one.

Below is Alli's finished piece. Lots of wonderful stitching and details to find.

Alli's work in progress: Lovely textures again with very experimental stitches and yarns and couched found objects.

Tracey's: An exquisite shimmering dragonfly and pond stitchery.

The delicate dragonfly detail on a hand dyed background with scraps of silk fibre, dyed scrim and hand dyed threads.

Oh my goodness! You have all made me so happy. I am in love!

April 8th: Blanket Books £65

We will use beautiful vintage wool blankets, wool fibre and hand embroidery to make Folk Art inspired treasure books. An heirloom to inspire all who see and touch this very special textile book.

May 13th: Vintage Inspired Mini Quilts £65

We will use some fantastic vintage resources like antique lace, pearl and linen buttons, precious found objects and vintage photos to learn how to make tiny  hand embroidered fabric 'Quilts'. You will be able to take these home finished, to be framed or use them in a future textile project. You could also use them as pages in your Fabric Books if you are working on one of these with me.

June 10th: Scrap Stitch 2. £65

We will use precious scraps of vintage fabrics, lace, rust and metal with hand embroidery to make an exquisite textile panel.

July 8th: Folk Art Needle felted and hand embroidered picture. £65

We will needle felt and embroider a Folk Art inspired picture onto vintage wool blanket using merino wool fibre and hand dyed, silk and wool threads.

October 13th and 14th: 2 Day workshop. Altered Books. £150

This is a 2 day workshop which will introduce the subject of Altered Books from scratch and advance into adding doors with real hinges, niches and decorative 3D elements and mixed media techniques. You will leave with lots of ideas to continue your adventures with Altered Books.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Collections and Fragments

Do you collect all kinds of bit and pieces of stuff? I do.

I see the possibilities for artiness in all kinds of nonsense and although it doesn't make my house tidy, at all, it does make a lovely weekend of messing around with textures and fragments and the joy of just seeing what happens as I play.

This heart is made on a piece of card and has all sorts bits stuck on with glue. It has broderie fabric, lace, vintage adverts, lace, printed tissue paper and pieces of tea bag.

It also has a little fragment of fabric which has been embroidered with the word MEMORIES because this would be a perfect way of preserving objects from the past. 

Little pieces of cloth, fragments of letters or a poem, a family recipe, buttons from a favourite childhood garment, photographs.
All of these could form a collage such as this and would take us back to another place or time whenever we looked at it.

The heart has been mounted on a painted page in my sketchbook. Very roughly painted to give it lots of texture, I have doodled and written onto it in parts to look like lace. It is still a work in progress.

This is also a way to add your own words to a piece of artwork to make it more personal and meaningful. 

If you are a wonderfully tidy person who wouldn't dream of collecting nonsense just share my picture. BUT!
If you are as crazy as me and have some stash, get it out and play. It is no good hiding it in the cupboard! Have fun! x

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Chill out Stitching!

It has been so lovely over the Christmas break to have a bit of time to throw myself into some stitching.

I found some silk and wool threads that I had hand dyed and together with my favourite green silk thread from 21st Century Yarns, they looked so lovely. Like a breath of Summertime!

I put them together in a bag with some dyed muslin and silk snippets and over Christmas this slowly happened!.......

I embroidered a Summer Garden onto the front of an uninspiring handmade felt sketchbook cover. 

Last year my amazing, talented friend Suzanne was making all in one sketchbook covers using a resist and I thought I'd try the technique using some wool tops. Hers are stunning but I just used any old colours to try it out. It worked so well, but, because I'd used such dull colours it never felt quite right. It was just waiting...

So my dull old cover now looks like a Wild Summer Garden and chilled me out good and proper over Christmas. I think it will inspire me to do some nice colourful art in there this year. 

Isn't that a nice way to start a new year of Art? 
With a fresh new sketchbook to play in.
I wish you all a very Happy New Year
May wonderful things happen for you and those you love. xx

PS. I thought you may like to see a couple of photos of the dyeing process. This is from a blog post from June 2012 if you'd like to see the whole thing with before and after photos. 

Here are a couple of photos of the threads and other bits of silk, velvet and cotton I space dyed. The colours make me so happy.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Families Learning Together!

I have loved teaching Art Journalling in schools this term.

The workshops have been part of the programme of Family Learning and have been designed to teach children and their adults and carers to explore, together, art techniques, relaxation strategies and the use of their imaginations to create wonderful journals full of their own ideas and designs.

I really wanted to teach this in a way that will make their journalling a lifelong habit. Hopefully a passion. A place to go for quiet, where they can find peace and solace in a crazy world. This new generation are going to need strategies to help them cope with the pressures that their life will present. 
We adults desperately need it too!

The  way that children and adults learn together is so valuable because whilst they are sharing the closeness of an enjoyable learning experience they often each approach it in a different way, with their own styles and talents. 

They learn a great deal from one another and an appreciation of the others skills. I have seen family members look at one another with fresh eyes! Issues have been discussed, support given and friendships made. All whilst they are making art!

It gives families a new hobby to enjoy together. I feel this is essential in a time when children are often isolated within their own minds, playing or learning on gadgets and technology that only involve one person. Parents too, are so stretched and stressed that finding time to relax as a family is sometimes very difficult. And yet, we are not meant to be solitary beings. We sometimes have to re-learn to be together. And how to share.

The lifelong learning outcomes have been so exciting. 
Some of the children have changed their Christmas lists to Santa! They have asked for art materials instead of gadgets and games. Their parents are amazed! 

The adults have made their own lists! They have found the relaxation and thrill of journalling is addictive and just don't want to stop! 

And they have all enjoyed doing the shared activity so much that they think they will approach the New Year with a new way of spending family time together. I'm so thrilled! I really am!

As an added bonus, this year I have had families in my workshops who last had the opportunity to work with me up to 4 years ago. They are still doing the activities they learned all that time ago and brought their work to show me. This has shown me that this kind of learning lasts. Long may it last.

I LOVE my job!!