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 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.

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 chance to learn a different set of techniques with rust dyed fabrics.

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!!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Dancing Fairies

I think I'm addicted to Inktense pencils. I've been playing with them a lot! I've been teaching using them in Art Journals so they are always in my bag. They suit so many styles of colouring and artwork and are so easy to use.

Next year I'm doing a workshop on Whimsical Illustration so I thought I'd show you a little drawing I did lately. A Dancing Fairy.

She started out as a black and white drawing. I wanted an image that was like a paper doll that I could experiment with, cut out and resize. So here is what I did with her.

I resized her to a tiny size and copied the image 9 times. I thought I'd have them dancing in a circle. When I put them on the page the legs were curling up a little bit so I decided to leave them unglued to add to the dancing effect.

There was the space for a flower in the middle and between the fairies so I cut it out and coloured the background with the pencils, keeping the colours  light and fading into one another.

I've been experimenting a lot with holes in my pages and letting them show through  to interesting things on the following pages.

Soooo... On the next page is this!

And this!

At the top of the page is the fairy at full size, about 4 inches tall and coloured in. Its good fun to try to get extra uses out of your drawings and doodles especially if they take a long time to do. 
Give it a go and let me know how you get on. 

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Oops! Inktense Part 3!

I've been teaching drawing and colouring with Inktense pencils this week. Every time I do, I am reminded that these are such a lovely product. I just love 'em!

They are so easy and effective to use with just a few top tips to make the effects extra special.

It reminded me that back in March I added two tutorials on this blog for using them and promised a third one. Life got so busy and I forgot to do it.

Part 3 was going to be about using these amazing, versatile pencils on fabric. Here it is...

It is a little known feature of Derwent Inktense pencils that when they are dry they become permanent. This makes them fab to use to colour fabric. 

Some artists use Fabric Medium to wet the pencils and it is great to experiment with this and see if it gives extra fastness but I have always just used water to fix mine.

The colours are also translucent which means you can layer them. This means that you can keep adding colour and blending it to make lovely watercolur effects.

Step one: I used a vintage doily and drew one of my  little crazy birds onto it. I probably used a 0.2 size Pigma Micron pen for this because it is permanent and can draw fine detail without the nib being ruined on the textured fabric, if it is used carefully.

I will have some workshops coming up soon,  in 2017 on Whimsical Illustration

Let me know if you are interested in these because lots of people have been asking about these and I think places may go quite quickly.

I then embroidered over the lines and details using 21st Century Yarns hand dyed thread. Then it was time to play with the pencils!

I drew around the embroidered contours on the doily with the pencils. I used 2 colours because I love the way they mix to give a blended watercolour effect. Here is a closer look.
Click on the photos to get a larger and closer look.

Then I added the water. Here is the most important bit......
This gives you much more control over the dissolving the pigment and spreads it only as far as you want it to go.
As soon as the area you have been working on is dry, it is fixed and you can add more colour if you like.

The area on the right of the photo above shows the effect with the water added.

I will probably leave it like this now. Sometimes, you just need a little bit of colour to zizz up a thingy! Finished!

These would be fabulous to decorate one of the pages in a 

Fabric Book. 

Workshop coming up in February for making these and I will probably include this technique in that action packed day.

Have a go! I'd love to know if you do and what you think.

PS. Try colouring on Satin ribbons and on threads too.