Friday, 18 October 2013

More Fabric Books

Here are some more fabric books.

This one is painted and printed calico 

 The inside cover and first page.

 Some of the mini quilts which fit in the fabric pocket pages

Pages made with vintage linens and embossed metal sign in plaque.

A felt book cover, a jeans book or two, a wool felt needle book, and a book about RED!

Inside the recycled jeans book.
 Paper and fabric applique.
 Inside the little RED book!
A page about Lurrrve!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Fabric Books

 Next week I am going down to Liss in Hampshire to teach a class on fabric books. 

I went there in the summer to do a talk for them and show them some of my books so that they could be thinking of some ideas for their own special books.

There are so many ways that fabric books can be made and decorated. Each one inspires us to make another and to try new mixed media and stitching techniques. 

I thought I'd show you some of mine to hopefully inspire you to try to make one of your own.

Disperse printed covers.

Dyed pages with pockets 

Canvas with hand printed pages. 

Playing with vintage crochet and printed clock faces. 

paint effects. 

Painted found papers and felt. 

More to follow tomorrow.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A Bird in Hand

I love making and teaching Altered Books.

Do you know what they are? 
This is the explanation that I have for my learner info when I do Altered Book classes.

An Altered Book is an art form in which which an old unwanted hard back book, destined for the recycling box, is taken and changed into to a new work of art!
We will be using all kinds of mixed media and I will have lots of ideas to help you to choose how to alter your book.

Altered books can take the form of a sketch book or journal which you can use for experiments or in which you can record your ideas.
They can also have a theme such as a travel book about a country which inspires you or be about flowers or birds or the 'Art of Sewing'...
We can stitch the pages, fold, tear and glue them. We can make pockets and tags, texturise them and paint or print them. The choices will be yours but we can experiment together.

You will need to find a sturdy hardback book with stitched in pages. The size is your choice but not too big nor more than about an inch in thickness.
Instructions and requirements to follow but I have lots of things for you to play with.

I have got quite a few classes coming up in the next year  so I have been looking through some of my books and adding to some new ones. I think a new favourite of mine is going to be the one about Birds.

I love drawing birds and using them in my art in lots of ways so a little book with some of my favourite techniques is going to be such fun to make.

Would you like to see the first couple of pages?

These are black and white drawings straight onto the printed pages. I really like the way the printing shows through the drawing. but I'm glad you can't read what it says. It was a very boring book. Hopefully not any more. Ha ha.

Some photos from some of my other books.

 Paper collage and rubber stamping with mixed media colouring.

Brinton's Carpet advert collage with fabric and drawing onto book page. 

Drawing in lovely Inge's book with cut away 'holes'
peeking through to next page.

Pages in 'Japan' altered book. Fabric and paper.

Double page spread in Jean's book. Featuring a magazine photo and mixed media painting and texture.
Peek through cut out shows the following page.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Stencilling for Journals and Textile Art

I have uploaded my first video to youtube of a stencilling tutorial. It is a good way to add pattern and colour to journal pages and to fabric before stitching. 

I found it so difficult  to watch myself on the video but I suppose I will have to get used to it because there are some more coming up soon. ha ha. Hopefully I will get better at it!

I have used the wonderful Crafters Workshop stencil 'Spring Fling'. There are so many ways you can use them and they come in so many fab designs. They are very addictive!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Happy Easter!

Bunnies and Buttons

I sometimes crave a trip to London just to mooch around and look at beautiful things! I don't get to do it very often these days because I am so busy with teaching and making class samples but when I do do get one of those magical days I have to visit my favourite shops!

You can see from one of my previous posts that Liberty is very special but there is also another shop that is completely divine!

It has the most innovative displays of wonderous art made from recycled hardware, vintage type face blocks and crazy amazing things hanging from the ceilings. And those are just their shop displays!
It is just nectar for the creative soul!

Look at this little Easter bunny tray that I found at Anthropologie! So perfect for guarding my buttons.

 They have a really inspiring range of merchandise including clothing, household, jewellery, shoes and lots of  little gorgeous things! All really quirky and fun!

So although I do know that the true message of Easter isn't  about bunnies or chocolate eggs I do want to wish you all a happy and blessed and healthy Easter and I hope that Springtime and lots of sunshine will come very soon.

Button Box LOVE!

The last couple of weeks have been a horrible coughing fest! Having dodged the lurgy for nearly a year, it finally caught up with me and got me good!!

When I was a little girl and I was poorly there were always three things I wanted. My darling Mum, a bowl of home made chicken soup we used to call 'Pishpash' which had all kinds of little vegetables and chicken and rice in it (very yummy and nutritious!), and my Mum's button box.

Well, today I started feeling a little better and although my darling Mum is gone and I had grown up home made Chicken soup last night, I did get to play with my button box! 

Don't you just love, love, love a Button Box???

I am slightly crazy about al kinds of buttons and love collecting beautiful ones. Just sorting through them is bliss. Whenever I get too many I take some to work and we have a lovely time making  bracelets and jewellery with the kids and adults and I have noticed something over the years...

That adults who have never had a button box to play with as a child are mesmerised when they start to look through them. Choosing colours, seeing which ones they like best, making piles and layering  with them. some people can't bear to put them back in the tin afterwards!

There are parts of growing up, like making mud pies, blowing bubbles and  climbing trees that make lovely childhood memories and I think that playing with a button box is just like those.

The buttons that I love most are vintage Mother of Pearl shell buttons. They are so hard to find but some of the old ones are hand carved and even in sets they are all slightly different. They have a beautiful iridescent sheen and are little works of Folk art!

I do use them to make things with and I will post some pictures soon of some of those things, but mostly I just keep them for making me happy!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Love Art?

Then you are going to love all the wonderful new art techniques that are just waiting for you to play with. We have been developing some new ideas, products and courses for the Spring and Summer.
Are you are a textile lover or you dream of wallowing in felt and fibre? Does yarn drive you crazy or playing with paper crafts makes your fingers tingle? We have got some great courses coming up after Easter!

More Fabulous Felt: Beginners and  Intermediate. There is also going to be a Family Fun Felt day in the Easter holidays. This has been requested for years and I have never found time to do it but we have one on the 4th April in Watford. Contact me and sign up quickly if you are interested.

 Paula's Paper Crafts: We will be playing with all kinds of exciting paper crafts including making our own backgrounds using all kinds of paints and techniques. We will be using the wonderful Crafters Workshop Stencils too. We can then  use what we have made to make our own cards, boxes, collages and pictures.

CLP will also be running Patchwork and Crochet courses at our Heavenly Arts and Crafts Cafe in Watford.

I am putting together some wonderful Mixed Media Mixage resin jewellery courses too. We will be using the  newest, lovely, products which have just been released in the USA. I am just waiting for supplies to arrive and then I will show you some photos.
There may be some tasters during the summer so let me know if you are interested in being on our waiting list for these.

So I am going to be busy all through the Easter holidays  making samples and gathering  materials for a season of exciting new art making.

Monday, 11 March 2013

My first Blog Award. Hooray!

My first Blog Award Hooray!

I would like to thank Dawn from www.dawnthe who has very kindly given me a Liebster Award which my very first Blog Award and has made my day!

It is so nice to know that people read my blog and enjoy reading my posts. It is also very nice to be able to pass on the good will and have a chance to give recognition to others.

Indeed it is a condition of an award acceptance that you pass it on to five other blogs who have less than 200 followers who you regularly visit and that inspire you. It is designed to encourage others to visit, comment and hopefully follow new blogs.

So here are two of five of my favourite blogs that I regularly visit. They are fun, beautiful inspirational informative and a very good read. I will add the others soon.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Crochet and Felt

At last week's Fabulous Felt course one of my learners was our Elizabeth, Director of the Community Learning Partnership. I have been running the course for a few years and she loves to see all the learners work but she has never really had the chance to make any felt herself. She is slightly addicted to wool though; the colours, its softness (its SMELL!!??) and all the amazing things can be made from those lovely wool tops! 

However, Elizabeth's greatest current addiction is Crochet. Whenever I go into the office she has crocheted something new or bought more delicious wool for our learners to use on our crochet courses. So it shouldn't be a surprise that she had been wondering if you could combine crochet with handmade felt.

The answer is, of course, YES!

Felt making is such an amazing adventure that we never stop learning how many different things you can do with it. The wackiest things work if you know the basics of how felt is made  
and you can embed all kinds of things into the fibres as they felt.

So this week, on part 2 of the course, she is going to bring some pieces of crochet to experiment with. In the meantime I had a little experiment of my own.

I found some gorgeous space dyed merino yarn in my stash and crocheted some circles of different kinds and sizes and added them to the bottom of of my seascape panel that I was using to demo felting to the class. As the felting was barely started the crocheted motifs adhered really well to the pre felt and moulded the bottom of the panel with some lovely curves.

I added shells and some stitching to finish it all off. I love adding crochet to felt! Thanks Elizabeth and lets see how our experiments turn out on Saturday. I'm really looking forward to seeing how everyone's felt turns out. It is always wonderful to see beginners turn into Fabulous Felters.

I will post some  photos of the class work next week. 

Friday, 1 February 2013

Coming up for the next 2 Saturdays. 2nd  and 9th March 2013 
All materials and refreshments included.

I think there may be a couple of spaces left!

Monday, 28 January 2013

The Liberty Best of British Open Call 2013

Since I was very young I have loved visiting Liberty in London. It isn't only the most beautiful shop, with gorgeous architectural details and a wonderfully serene atmosphere but it also has a bedazzling array  of luxury designer merchandise in its many different departments. It is food for my creative soul just to visit and to wander.

Even when I have been almost broke its been such a treat to buy a little something scrummy and take it home in its distinctive, gold lettered, purple bag.

So after many years of admiring the work of the other designers I thought I'd register to show mine! Being BRAVE remember!

I registered in the summer last year and before Christmas I got a letter inviting  me to join the other 2,000 designers and artists to show my work to one of the panels of experts from Liberty. 

January 12th arrived! The day  for The Liberty Best of British Open Call 2013!

It was a freezing cold winter's day. The doors opened at 10am but people were queueing from about 6am. By the time we got there at 10, the queue reached around 2 sides of the store.  We would waiting for hours in the chilly British weather so we wrapped up well. We were asked to bring only what we could easily carry and to have protection from the rain.

I took my DH with me for company. He is such a great support but he hates queueing! However, it was lucky that he promised  not to complain as we eventually had to wait  for 5  1/2 hours!! (2 hours outside, the rest going up 4 flights of stairs and in the waiting area) We did get to go away and have lunch at a lovely little patisserie for a treat though. 

The great thing that made the time go faster was that there were so many interesting people to watch! All kinds of artists, all ages, all kinds of products. It was fascinating to see some of them practising their pitches, revising their prices and talking about their inspiration.

We did get a peek at some of their designs: Gold jewellery, screen printed scarves, and lots of different designer cushions.

I took 3 different kinds of things and was registered to see the buyers of the Home department. When I got into the room where I would be doing my 3 minute pitch I was so thrilled to be told that I would be seeing Julie Hassan the Senior Buying Manager for Home, and Harriet Patterson the Style Director of Living Etc Magazine.

The lovely thing about the Liberty Open Call is that although they only take about 10 out of the 2,000 designers they see on the day, everyone is treated so nicely. It isn't scary like Dragon's Den at all!  The staff are so friendly and helpful throughout the whole process.

This is a real chance to have your designs seen by some of the top professionals in the industry and get an honest and constructive appraisal of your work. They were so interesting to talk to and gave me some great feedback. I was there for longer than 3 minutes because they asked me lots of questions but it went like a flash! What a great experience and well worth waiting for.

The youtube video link below will show you Liberty's own clips of the day.


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Happy Brave New Year!

A couple of months ago I was having lunch with two of my lovely friends and we were discussing New Year resolutions. They are SO hard to keep and in the last few years I have only made 2 in the hope that I could keep myself firmly stuck to them!

One of my friends said she was going to make just one! Be Brave!

It was such an amazing moment because we could see, in that second,  that for all of us this meant really different things but to each of us this would be such an important resolution. We all decided right there that this was the one for us!

As we talked about it we realised that that we all feel scared about some things and that everyone needs a little bravery in their lives. Not only to cope with some of life's challenges with things like health or family worries  but also because we all choose the easy option sometimes, rather than challenging ourselves to take risks. Without stepping out of our comfort zones a little bit every day (or even from time to time) we don't know what wonderful things could be waiting for us, what talents we could find, and which new friends we could meet.

I have mentioned this to quite a few other friends since then and each time it made such an impression that I think many people will join us in being Brave!

We have decided to have a Bird as our Badge of Bravery! because they are beautiful, brave and have wings to fly! The bird in the picture above is a doodle I have started in my journal. It isn't finished yet but I may leave it to show how the doodles are formed for the journalling classes which will be coming up later in the year.

So I wish you a very Happy New Year and if you wish to join us in Being Brave that you will find that surprising and wonderful things will happen for you this year. And that you will find your own wings!