Monday, 22 December 2014

Happy Christmas!

I'd like to wish all my family friends and everybody a happy, peaceful and blessed Christmas. May the New Year find us all happy and  healthy, and be full of the best surprises.

Thank you for visiting my little blog, your inspiration, your lovely comments and for sharing in the fun of artyness. xxx

I'm looking forward to sharing more art with you all in 2015. 

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Hey Gelli! What's next?

We had such a lot of fun at the Gelli Arts printing workshop. Thank you so much to all who came, I enjoyed every minute and didn't we make hundreds of prints!

Some of the  people who came to the workshop were new to Gelli and some had their own plates but hadn't used them much. A few people were already Gelli addicts and wanted another chance to play and learn new techniques.

That's the fun of Gelli plate printing though isn't it? Every time we play we learn a new way of making prints and find new effects that can be made by trying different tools and different combinations of layers and colours.

Here are a few photos of a few of the prints.

I didn't take many photos because I was having too much fun but these show a few of the many techniques we tried including printing with real leaves, using stamps, stencils, hand cut masks, hand cut printing blocks.

All these lovely prints can be used for backgrounds, card making, paper patchwork, collage etc but sometimes people ask...

'What next?' 'What else can I do with my prints?'

If you are addicted to making prints you can end up with boxes full of original, unique prints that you can't bear to use because they are too beautiful, and probably unrepeatable. Or you may be so busy making new works of art to think about using the old ones.

Well, lets use them! The next Gelli workshop, next Spring will be all about using our prints as a starting point in design!

This will include learning to draw into the patterns to make unique artwork which we can develop into fabric prints etc.

Below are some of the drawings that I have done on the prints I made from the demonstrations I did at the class. Some started as hopeless failures because that is what happens when people are watching a demo!
Ha ha.

Doodling has rescued them!

Watch this space to see what's next for these prints and drawings. And if you'd like to join in, I will be adding next year's workshop dates to the blog soon.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Books! wonderful BOOKS!

Keep a look out everyone! 

On the 5th December Maggie Grey and Workshop on the Web will be announcing the start of the  online  auction for the Artist Sketchbooks in their charity Sketch-aThon. 

This will be in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. The WOW team are hoping to raise as much money as possible from the sale of these wonderful books and are hoping that people will buy them as a Christmas treat for somebody special. 

You will be able to see them on Maggie's blog:  and the Workshop on the Web facebook page on the 5th December.

Here is a little sneek peek  at 2 of my books that will be in the auction. There are some more photos of the first book a few posts back if you'd like to see them.

This first one is done with a hand cut original stencil mask. There is one of these in an envelope, included in the book, so that whoever buys it can add their own artwork to the book.

These next two are a textured 'rubbing plate' and the rubbing made from it.


This is the second Sketchbook. I seem to have a fish obsession going on. This book is fish shaped

The cover is made from painted and textured and hand stitched heavyweight watercolour paper. The pages are Gelli Plate printed like the ones in the previous post and ready to be decorated or drawn upon by it's new owner.
The eye is made from layered vintage Mother of Pearl buttons

There are books by some amazing, inspiring artists in the auction. Please look, admire and pass the word around. This is such a wonderful cause. The Teenage Cancer Trust does such amazing work.

UPDATE! The auction is now over and the books raised  a fantastic total of £1337. Such a brilliant idea and such great support from all the sketchbook buyers. Thank you so very much. xx

Friday, 17 October 2014

Booking NOW! Gelli Plate Monoprinting

Do you know about the BIGGEST most addictive new printing craze? You can print your own papers!

Gelli Arts have taken the old ways of mono printing with a tray of home made gelatine and made a fantastic Gelli plate that enables us to make fabulous printed papers and fabrics without the need for a printing press.

The results are always surprising and the colour combinations and patterns that you can produce are simply amazing!

On the 15th November we will be having a Gelli Printing workshop in Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead. We will be experimenting with lots of lovely colour and many different ways to make pattern on paper and card. We will even make some prints on silk.

You will go home with lots of prints to play with but during the day I will also show you how to go further with your prints by learning how to embellish them with drawing, how to use them in Art Journals and for collage, and we will discuss how to use them to make repeat patterns for greetings cards and fabric prints.We will also use some of the techniques from our new Cut Shape Stitch book!

Sometimes the prints are vivid; a riot of colour! You can also choose to make them subtle and gentle.

These ones below were very muted. They were actually the last prints from a session when the plate was almost clean. I have used the suggestion of the subtle patterns  and colours to guide my  doodles into unexpected fantasy scenes.

Even the smallest of torn snippets are lovely enough  to save for using as woven strips or landscape collages.

So do you fancy having ago? It is easy and such a lot of FUN. The day costs £65 and includes everything except lunch and an apron! Contact me through my website:

Places are limited because I have only 10 Gelli Plates. Hope to see you there x

Monday, 29 September 2014

Monthly Workshops

The monthly workshops are finally up on my website but without the Paypal button (yet)!

The Monday Folk Art Blanket workshops are on the 2nd Mondays of the month with the first one on the 13th October. We will be making a stitched sampler using  hand embroidery stitches and gorgeous hand dyed silk and wool threads. 

We are going to be stitching on beautifully soft vintage wool blankets which I have found in the most delicious range of colours.  They are my favourite surface for stitching on and the relaxed rhythm of hand sewing is the perfect gentle way to start the week.

We are also going to add some lovely found objects to our samplers. Beading, mother of pearl buttons, jewellery findings.  We may also make some handmade felt with merino wool and silk fibres to add some texture to our work.

The day starts at 10am and we will finish in time for the school run at 2.30. Refreshments and materials are provided but bring a packed lunch.

The cost is£45 for the day.

Please contact me through my website to book.

The monthly Saturday workshops start on October 18th. The cost for the day, 10-4,  is £65.

The first one is Altered Books. There are examples and explanations about  Altered Books on this blog and also on my website if you would like to get some ideas of techniques or themes. 

This workshop is suitable for absolute beginners and those who have made books before. We will be starting our book from scratch and learning all kinds of mixed media techniques to make them special.

The November workshop is Gelli Plate Monoprinting. This is a totally addictive way of making unique printed and patterned papers and fabrics.

 If you have wanted to try out Gelli printing before buying one this is the perfect way to start and when you  are addicted you can buy your plate for a reduced price at the end.

If you have a Gelli plate and want to bring it, that is fine too.

In January the Saturday workshop will be beginners Handmade felt. A flower brooch and a felt panel.

February will be more advanced  Handmade Felt techniques; A picture in wet felting and also learning how to do Needle felting.

Following on throughout the year there will be workshops on resin jewellery, rust dyeing, fabric and thread dyeing, journals and sketchbooks and more...

Contact me through my website to book. Let's get arty!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Art Saves Lives

We all know that there are times when the gentle task of stitching or doodling or playing with colours has kept us calm and soothed our minds when times are sad or stressful.

And we know that having friends who are behind us with kind thoughts and quiet support is so reassuring when times are tough.

Now there is another way to be a quiet friend through Art and it is a way to help save lives and let somebody know that we are thinking of them.

Maggie Grey and Workshop on the Web are holding a Sketch-a-Thon in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. They would like to help this fantastic charity by asking us, everybody who would like to join in, to make a sketch book and send it to them to be sold to raise funds.

Even if you are new to working in sketchbooks or don't have time to  completely fill one I hope you will think about having a go. You could just make a beautiful cover on your book or work on one with a friend. It can be a bought sketchbook or one that you have made yourself. You could make one from recycled cardboard and junk mail or maybe old envelopes.

I am going to make two. They are going to be on the theme of fish! I have been having fun thinking about fish shapes, colours and textures. All things fishy!

I have just sent off my first book. It is a bought sketchbook with black card pages. It is not completely filled because I'd love to inspire the person who buys it to finish it in their own style. It will be a collaboration!

Would you like a sneaky peek at some of the pages?

This is the cover...

The background is painted and stencilled card. The blue fish and lettering are card which has been collaged and painted with shades of blue to show up the texture.

This next page is collaged with fishy patterned napkins and stencilled with acrylic paint.

This one has fish cut out from the same card as the background on the cover but has had decorative papers added. I cleaned my brush on the black page; dry brushing for a background. 

These next two pages go together because the  top one has been cut to reveal the fish and colour below.

This took a while to do but I was really pleased with it. 

Below is a fish shape made with an original hand cut stencil/mask.
I just liked the dramatic black shape against the swirls and blue.

The last sneaky peek is a glassine envelope which s attached to one of the pages. It contains an original hand cut mask of a fish. I am hoping the new owner of the book will use it to finish the book in their own way if they would like to.

I hope you will think about joining us in making and donating a sketch book to Workshop on the Web and the Teenage Cancer Trust. It felt good to do a little something to help and it got me making art too! :o) xx


Saturday, 13 September 2014

Hertfordshire Open Studios

It is time for Herts Open Studios again!  I love it!

I am exhibiting with 6 other artists at the Heritage Frogmore Paper Mill in Apsley.

It is a great chance to develop the experiments and doodles in my sketch books and make them into full sale artwork. It is also so lovely to meet so many people who are interested in art and textiles and share experiences and techniques. It is always a very happy couple of weeks.

This year I have been getting even more addicted to lace. After my Birthday visit to the lace exhibition at Waddesden Manor in May I have been looking more closely at the way the patterns in lace link together and the shadows and spaces in between.

This year's work for Open studios is 21st Century lace.

I have used my drawings and  doodles to make resists on very modern materials and dissolved away the backgrounds to make textiles with textures and shadows which change with the light of the day.

Below are close up photos of the panels. The lace patterns look more detailed in the shadows that they cast on the wall and actually needed to be mounted further away to get the full effect. The lace image on the bird panel is flowers.

And the lace pattern surrounding the Hare on this panel is grasses and foliage.

You can see the bird and flower motifs which are on the lace more clearly  on this silhouette painted with acrylic on black linen.

I have also got some of my Altered Books, Textile books and embroidered blankets on show in the cases to show people what we will be making on the upcoming classes. Of course the book is for sale there too.

I'd love to see you if you can visit. The exhibition is open from Saturday 13th till Wednesday 24th September from 11am -4pm. 

It is at Frogmore Paper Mill,  Fourdrinier Way,Apsley, Hemel Hempstead. HP3 9RY

Monday, 28 July 2014

Workshops coming soon!

Now that the book is finished I will have time to teach some more workshops.

These will be once a month on  Saturdays and Mondays. Starting in October.

These will be in Boxmoor, in Hemel Hempstead, 3 minutes walk from the train station.
Hemel is just 30 minutes from London Euston on the train.

I do of course travel all over to do workshops for groups and Guilds.

The Saturdays are all day workshops on the third Saturdays of the month which will feature all kinds of different techniques. These will include:

Beginners and Experimental Handmade Felt,
Gelli Monoprinting

Rust dyeing with a hand stitched piece of work,
Hand stitched Vintage inspired brooches,
Altered Books with Mixed Media,
Christmas Decorations and gorgeous wool felt bunting,
Family Fun Artist Trading Cards,
Family Fun Stitched Pictures,
Family Fun Felt,

and more...

The Saturday Workshops will be from 10 till 4 and cost £65 per session. The price includes materials and refreshments but not lunch.

The Family Fun will be for 2 hours am and pm and cost £35 for one adult and one child per session. The price includes all materials.

The Monday workshops will be the second Mondays of the month and will be the Monday Blanket club.

Nobody likes leaving their cosy beds on a Monday morning. So once a month we will get cosy with stitching on beautiful soft Vintage wool blankets. We will be making fabric books,
vintage inspired brooches, and wall hangings. We will also be adding some handmade felt techniques, beading, and vintage and modern treasures too.

Have a look at some of the book pages on this blog and my website to see the kinds of art we will be making.

Each month there will be  a little bag of treasures waiting for you and yummy cake and refreshments will be a plenty.

The Monday Blanket Club will be 10am till 2.30 and cost £45 per session which will include  materials and refreshments but not lunch.

More details and photos to follow soon but let me know if you'd like to be on the list because places will be very limited.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Cut Shape Stitch! The book is here!

The book has arrived!

I have the first one in my little hot hands!

It has been so lovely to look through it and see all the projects come together in print.

Maggie, Sam and I hope that we will inspire people to use all kinds of cutting techniques in their art; from good old scissors, hand punches and die cutters to amazing electronic machines.

Everyone who has ordered one from me will get them as soon as I have picked them up.

Anyone else who would like to get their hot hands on a  copy can contact me on my email to order them.

They are priced at £16 which isn't too bad for 70 pages, 130 images, step by step instructions and extra  online tutorials to come very soon. We hope you enjoy it! 

I have listed the book on my website too.
 It can be bought with Paypal even if you don't have an account. There is a little button 'New Book' at the very top of the homepage.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Mother Nature's Woolly Book

The world around us is so beautiful. Even the tiniest details of the birds and beasts, the flowers and the colours can fill us with joy if we take the time to look.

Luckily I have had more excuses to look closely at Nature recently because we have had 3 lovely Nature Embroidery workshops at the Hertfordshire branch of the Embroiderers Guild. We were led by Trish and Viv who make the most beautiful pictures with collaged stitcheries  that include all kinds of techniques. We have been so inspired with the little embroideries, that we have made them do 3 workshops for us so far!

I have made mine into a book of course and mounted all the little samples on  lovely woolly surfaces like vintage blankets, and handmade felt. The cover was kantha stitched handmade felt made to look like moss on the forest floor and the red behind the holes reminded me of toadstools. 

Here are some of the pages.

This first one celebrates the humble little beetle. Some creepy crawlies are gorgeous! I had fun with the colours on these and learning some basic stump work.

Here is a closer look.

The background is cotton sheeting which has been scribbled with Derwent Inktense pencils which permanently dye the fabric when they are dampened and blended.

This next page is embroidered rabbits. The sample is stitched to a vintage embroidered doily and the page is made of an old wool blanket. The edging is couched hand dyed wool.

Birds next! I have to have birds on everything! The first one is canvas work with added needle felted blobs and star stitches. Shame it looks so crooked ha ha.

And this one is a drawn bird with added hand stitches on another doily. Coloured with Inktense pencils again.

It has got velvet flowers added. I love using these!

Ready for more bugs? These have grass stitched around them in hand dyed silk thread and a round border of silk and wool fibres which are held down with hand embroidery to look like lichen and moss. The bee is velvety! It took ages but he is so sweet!

Here is a closer look at the stitching!

More bugs!

Each bug has Trapunto quilting beneath it and Kantha stitching around it.

A pretty butterfly now just in case you are feeling itchy... Embroidered with variegated threads from 21st Century Yarns. My favourite!

And seed heads. I am in love with looking at seed heads! This also has snippets of vintage fabrics and lace.
It has all been stitched to a lovely soft blue wool blanket.

A little nest. With eggs! It has a real twig and teensy handmade organza flowers. This one has all sorts of bits and bobs to give it texture. See what you can spot in there.

It has been joyous making this book and doing the workshops. Trish and Viv were so generous in sharing their techniques and making the days perfectly relaxing and inspirational. And it was the perfect reminder for me to take time to look at and rejoice in the little things.