Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Getting Started!

Well I think I achieved more or less everything on my list which is very pleasing. I managed to get started on the Reflected Moons project. This is a piece which has been percolating in my brain for a while now and I have lots of ideas which are firming as I type. I know exactly what I want but not too sure as to how much I am going to work into the moons. They won't be as worked into as the apples as I am going for a different look. Now its started I will be motivated to continue with it. I haven't got a very big workroom. Its about 7 x 6.5 which is minute but I manage to make every inch work. This piece is going to be quite long but I'm keeping it fairly narrow as it makes it easier to manipulate in such a confined space. The background fabric is 20 x 60 but it will not be quite as wide as that and not quite as long.

I also found time to do some stamping. I love playing with inks and paints. I used Stewart Gill paints for this, mainly metallica with some colourise. This is just the first layer. I shall work into this with permanent markers but I didn't have time today. I have two pieces of glass plate which I keep especially for doing mono -printing on. Could I find either of them? No! So I had to use a piece of ordinary picture glass which was quite fragile as I explained to Martin when I was cleaning up! Making quite a point of this in case he moved things while I was at work. Having said all that I placed it against the window ledge and minutes later it fell down! Whew! Lucky me! It didn't break! Martin was all ready to make a few well chosen comments but was foiled at the last minute. He had to content himself with telling me how stupid I was to stack it up anyway! Oh well par for the course! If it had broken he would have been there clearing it up for me. He's a sweetie really! But where are my pieces of plate glass? This is what major clear outs do!

Must do more hand outs. Oh and I've lost the time thing at the bottom of blogger. Is this me or have they made changes?

And then I did some stamping on some sample pieces. This is just the first layer. Didn't get time to do anymore. I do like spirals! These are all hand cut blocks so are not exactly even which gives a lovely effect. The green piece is mono printing.  Posted by Picasa

Long view of the piece. I have so little room to work in that I have developed lots of tricks to getting things done!  Posted by Picasa

Cut out the shapes in fused fabric but haven't fused them to the background yet. I like the placement but think I want a brighter yellow...more lemony and also a better orange. This one is too red. This will give it more bite. And I do like bright primary colours.  Posted by Picasa

This is the background fabric. It is 20 x 60 approx. And I've cut out the shapes in paper to try them for size and placement. Also picked out some fabrics to try.  Posted by Picasa

'Moon' project revisited! Remember this? Posted by Picasa

Loose end!

Well I'm at a bit of a loose end as I have nothing boiling on the stove at the moment. I have found the ideal background for the 'moon' project and will try to make a start on this as I am keen to see how it develops. See picture above. I hope that the new SSL challenge will spark my creative juices as well! So today I will do the following I hope:

1. Audition fabric for the 'orbs' in the 'moon' project.
2. Give this a name so I don't have to keep calling it the 'moon' project!
3. Find the art work for a house I designed for a Baltimore block so that I can copy it for my students to work round this week.
4. Print out hand outs for students.
5. Take some yucky pieces of dyed fabric and stamp/print/discharge/burn etc. In fact have fun!
6. Prepare paper work for a Session Observation I have to do this evening. Should be fun as its a jewellery making class!
7. Take time out to have coffee with Mum and Martin!

So my day is going to be full and I should get off the computer and get going. If we're lucky there could be some on-going pictures later! Much later!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

In my postbox this morning were two lovely cards. The top one is from Fabienne and the bottom one from Karen Holt. It is such fun finding treasures like this in the post! Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 28, 2005

Playing in photoshop had a brilliant idea as to how I could have done the edging. I might even take it all off and start again! Martin's gets weirder all the time!  Posted by Picasa

Apple project finished. It is square but I had to put it on the bed and then stand on a stool to take a picture looking down and the perspective is all awry. Martin thinks it looks like the corner of something! Which gave me the idea that I might make three other pieces to make the whole. A series! But then again perhaps not! I'm pleased its been a good exercise. Why the green? Well brown was too dull and I wanted to make the piece stand out which it does. Greeny/blue being complements of red and yellow seemed the ideal way to go. Its different. I like it!  Posted by Picasa

Not an artist!

Well I've been thinking while finishing off the apple project. I really can't call myself an artist as I don't have the angst and self doubt and continual searching and striving; and I certainly couldn't live in a garret for my art! And I'm not single minded enough as I love playing with all different things to make up a piece of work. I don't mind using angelina or tyvek if these products will produce the effect I want. But apparantly this isn't being a true artist! So I'll pass on that one and revert to what I do best. Which is being a machine embroiderer! This is such a wide umbrella that it covers all that I do and enjoy from applique to free machining! I have a natural aptitude for colour and I'm not going to hide my light under a bushel but will admit it freely. Having ideas has never been a problem though getting them into a solid format does sometimes hang fire as I am a born again procrastinator. So I'm never going to be famous or rich or thin! But I am going to have fun and continue with the way of creating that I enjoy! I'm not going to beat myself up about it. And I'm going to continue teaching as I love passing on what I know and seeing the light bulb go on in a students head! Not teaching City and Guilds any more has given me more time for me but I still do the same number of classes, just not with so much paper work! That's the killer! And I have always been choosy about which commissions I'll do as I know my limitations as to time and inclination. I want everything done yesterday! So when I'm bemoaning my fate at any time remind me of this post and tell me to get my a*** in gear! Now I'm off to do my 'normal' job! This I look upon as my thinking time and it keeps my feet on the ground!

I did it! I did it!

Well I did it. I bit the bullet and posted an audio clip to the blog! Now for anyone wanting to do this from the UK there are one or two things you need to do. Firstly find your way to the sign up for audio blogging from the blogger home page. Then when you have the form in front of you put in your phone number. This will throw you or at least it did me, as there isn't enough room for all the numbers. Leave off the first 0. Then the rest of it will be as smooth as ice! Now when you go to call the number they give you put two 0's in front of the 1. And then you're cooking. It is just like leaving an answer-phone message so if you're like me and immediately forget what you're going to say then write it down first! I could wish I'd done this. I sound very peculiar! Well to me I do! grin! Go on! Try it!
this is an audio post - click to play

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Time Warp II

I feel I've slept through a month and its New Year's Eve. There are Gabrielle and Melody Johnson re-inventing themselves as if it was time for New Year's resolutions only they arn't calling them resolutions. They have become transitions. Well that is Gabrielle's name for it. But isn't it a bit early to be looking back? And Terry Grant is taking stock of her life having read the previous two blogs. So heaven alone knows how many people are now doing this. I just feel I've been cheated of a month. Not only is Christmas being pushed in my face by every shop keeper in the land but now its New Year's resolution time as well. OK so I'm weird. I'm not denying it! To me December is a month to let my hair down in. To stop worrying about all the things I didn't get done; to do the things I really, really want to do and make lots of plans for the holiday of which only about 20% will be actually done! But I won't stress over it as life's too short and it ought to be fun with a capital F. So I don't want to lose this month by leaping ahead into 2006. When it comes, yes I'll look back and see if I can tidy up my life as well as my cupboards. I have lost just about everything I had in this life and it taught me lots of lessons. Now I have a part-time job so that I don't have to rely on selling my art. I make things because I enjoy doing it and its part of me but I am controlled by the driving force that's me not the money aspect as I've been down that road and it doesn't work. Each project I do is different. I used to think this was bad and that I ought to have a style of my own but now I don't care. If I like it that's good. If anyone else like's it that's terrific but not necessary! If it sells then it's icing on the cake. I would die if I couldn't dye! (Sorry! grin) So its lucky for me that my fabric sells so that I don't have a house crammed to the gunnals with dyed fabric. But I'm not going to make any resolutions or transitions until after Christmas. This isn't the time for clean linen as far as I'm concerned but I wish those who are taking the leap a soft landing! What will you do for New Year's resolutions?

Christmas? In November?

Now that Thanksgiving has been done and dusted everyone is suddenly into talking about Christmas and decorations. For heaven's sake it isn't even December! Its bad enough that the shops have to go Christmas mad from September onwards! When I was growing up the tradition was to do the tree and decorate the house on Christmas Eve. And then the decorations stayed up until 12th night. It made Christmas very special! Whereas now because of the deadening effect of decorations from the end of summer onwards it doesn't have the magic anymore. Well not for me anyway! I can hardly be asked to do any decorations in the house unless the kids are coming home for Christmas. I certainly won't be doing any for just me and Martin. OK so my middle name is Scrooge. I can live with it! And this year we get a whopping ten days holiday. Oh I have plans to do so much. This is the year I have to make Christmas puddings. I make them every other year and do a whole batch so that I can store some for next year, give some away to friends and family who don't do their own and turn one into Christmas pudding icecream. Hopefully I can lay my hands on the recipe. It is truly scrumptious! The pudding recipe is a Delia Smith one and again is scrumptious. But I don't make a Christmas cake as it never gets eaten until March as we are always so full with all the other goodies.
For my English readers and I know there is at least one...hello Liz!.....and Scottish reader...hello Frances!......I am searching for a source for rye flour without having to pay an enormous postage fee to get it to me. I adore rye bread and would like to make my own. Also I have a recipe for a gorgeous cake made with rye flour which I am dying to try out. I have had a quick Google search but all the places I've found charge a fortune for delivery and unless I buy enough flour to start a bakery this isn't worth it. So any help, advice, comments etc would be received with the deepest joy!
I've spent most of today ironing dyed fabric and trying to get an exact shade of teal that a student wants a repeat of! Well I think she is going to be out of luck as this particular shade must have been made as an end of dyeing session using up the oddments as none of my recipes are giving me this exact shade. I have a wonderful recipe book with over 1000 sample swatches so that I can repeat basic shades and on the whole it works really well but there is always the odd maverick that won't be tied down to a specific recipe. In the meantime I have more shades of green and teal than ever before. But then they are useful colours especially in applique. I am stupid! I needed to dye some brown for the border of my apple project. Knowing that the piece is approximately 20" square I reasoned that I'd need more than that and so dyed half a metre. 20 x 40" Well this is fine in one direction but as I don't want a join in what I've planned I really should have dyed 40 x40" Stupid! More haste less speed as my granny would say. So now I have to do another piece. Never mind brown is good for trees, boats, roof tops, dogs, and backgrounds. And it discharges well!
I'm now going to make myself miserable by reading the Sunday Times. It will take me nearly all week to get through it all but I shall read the interesting bits first. Coffee and delicious Dutch fruit cake. This cake also is made only with rye flour which brings me full circle!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Simple Still Life: Beginning to (almost) End!

Simple Still Life #3

I've been running with this one all month and having a lot of fun. The first pictures I took were:

I did some changing using filters in Photoshop and had a lot of fun. I really enjoyed liquifying them. Here are some of the results.

Ripple effect. Looks just like carved wood.

However I liked this effect (below) and decided to use it as a starting point for an actual piece of work which you can see the creation of in a step by step account in previous posts in the blog. The final piece has yet to be photographed and posted because it isn't finished yet....but hopefully this weekend or early next week!

This effect is 'shrink-wrapped' and although I have gone a long way from the look it was the starting point for me. This is how it is looking now!

Friday, November 25, 2005

I loved the composition of this picture. Snowy snowy night!  Posted by Picasa

Now total whiteness. Poor flowers!  Posted by Picasa

Fuschia's and Rose of Sharon still flowering. Posted by Picasa

This is how the back garden looked when I left for work!  Posted by Picasa

When I came home the back garden looked like this! Snow still falling!  Posted by Picasa

Snow, glorious snow!

We don't very often get snow here in Falmouth having a fairly mild climate. We used to be called the Cornish Riviera because the weather was so equable. However today it is snowing and the world has gone mad. It is nigh on impossible to leave Cornwall or get into Cornwall as the snow has blocked the roads across Bodmin moor. There are queues of traffic, accidents and the army has been called in as they are treating it as an emergency since loads of people have been marooned in their cars since this morning. In Truro it was all OK and then within twenty minutes it was total chaos and impossible to drive anywhere thanks to the heavy snow falling and the idiocy of many drivers. I only live five minutes drive up the road to where I work but it took me twenty minutes to actually get home thanks to the antics of others on the road! And the traffic going in the opposite direction was queued back for miles! Its mad! And compared to the rest of the country we haven't had that much snow! Poor Martin has been trying to get home from Redruth for the last couple of hours. This is a town 12 miles from us! He reckons at the rate he's going he'll be here by 9.oopm. A lot of the trouble is that we are hilly here and there are hills to go up and hills to go down and thereby lies the trouble. If I'm cosy and warm indoors and we don't lose the electricity and gas I can quite enjoy the snow. I have lots of supplies and a coal fire and oil lamps if necessary plus a good book! And I can always get the ski's out and ski to the shops! You may grin but I have done this in the past when we have had one of our bad years of snow and ice. Happens about every twenty years or so! Martin used to live in Norway so he's had experience of being totally snowbound so it never phases him. And I was brought up in the South East when I was young and it is much colder there. Also in the fifties and sixties the weather was colder. And to think the sky was blue this morning!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The end is nigh!

Well I can see the end of the apple project. I've been working on it in every spare moment as I get quite excited when as much as this is done to see what its going to end up looking like. After hand stitching into the net shadows I decided that it didn't need any beads. There is enough of the gold showing through to give it some glitz. It was hard to know what to do with the surrounding fabric. On the one hand I didn't want to detract from the apple shapes that I dyed but I did want to put some structure into it. So at the moment I am quilting the lines which radiate outwards using a brown perle cotton. It is quite strange to be doing it by hand. I am definitely a machine quilter. But its very restful and I can pick it up and do it in odd moments. Most of my moments are very odd! Then I will have to decide what to do with it. Whether to put a border or borders on and if so are they to be symetrical or assymetrical? Or just to bag it out and put on a hanging sleeve. Hopefully it will speak to me. I'm going to have to dye fabric this weekend as I didn't do any last weekend and I am now low on stocks. So I will dye some specific colours and audition them. So I should have it finished by the beginning of December which is good as I want to start something new now.

I'm glad that so many of you have found it interesting to see my thought processes at work and to watch the project grow. I have been having so much fun apart from the fact that with all the layers on the apples it is like sewing through canvas and at one stage I had to get pliers to help me pull the needle through. I'm possibly going to call it 'It Started with an Apple!' But if you have suggestions let me know.

Also I hope you are all enjoying your Thanksgiving and that those who like us in the UK don't celebrate, that you are having fun anyway!

Cutting through with the soldering iron.  Posted by Picasa

The blue is actually the lime green!  Posted by Picasa

Machine and hand work.  Posted by Picasa

I have been working on this like a woman possessed. The need to get somewhere fast has been great. On deeper reflection, when I'd finished stitching into the shadows I decided against beads. There are subtle hints of gold under all the stitching on the shapes and this is sufficient glitz. I did put some more stitching into the front shape in lime green which has broken it up more. Now I am quilting the radiating lines using brown perle and doing it by hand! I don't think it needs a lot else. Then I'll have to see whether it wants a border or borders. Or just to be bagged out and a hanging sleeve put on. Hopefully it will speak to me. I'll put some close ups up.  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Nothing Day!

Today I have done nothing of any note. It has been a non day. I did clear a couple of drawers though and found a few treasures; some of which I've posted below. But on the whole this has not been a productive day. I have read a book! What more can I say!

It has been most enjoyable and educational as well to read on many of the American blogs that I look at about the way you celebrate Thanksgiving. This is not the big thing over here in the UK as it is in the States. We don't get a holiday for a start, nor do we have the big turkey dinner, saving this instead for Christmas. I like the thought of actively thinking about the things one has to be grateful for and giving thanks though I also feel this should be a daily activity! One of the things in the last year which has given me great pleasure and I'm grateful for is the finding of so many kindred spirits via the internet. I have made so many friends and learnt so much and done so much that I can honestly say that the last ten years or so of my life have been much fuller in many ways than the years that have gone before. It has been a time of enrichment for me both creatively and mentally. So I'd like to thank you all for just being there and being computer savvy so that you felt the need to communicate via the web and break the global barriers. May you all have a most enjoyable Thanksgiving and the year ahead hold even more joys and growth for you.

And a small bookmark which was never very useful as it flopped about but I enjoyed doing the embroidery. Perhaps I can convert it into something else.  Posted by Picasa

I also found a silk covered box I made with silk ribbon embroidery on the lid. At one time I used to make lots of boxes as they were good for presents. Perhaps I ought to do some more for Christmas.  Posted by Picasa

In clearing out yet more cupboards and drawers I came across this net purse which dates from circa 1840. It is very faded now but originally it had turquoise silk lining which showed through the gilt netting. The netting is gilt and some kind of yarn and has a really fascinating centre design. The fringing on the edge has gone and is all tangled together but I can imagine it in its hey day dangling on the wrist of an elegant Victorian or even Regency lady. And I actually have the Pelisse which went with it made in a matching turquoise silk moire complete with tassels and braid for decoration.  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Wow doesn't say it all! I've had over 10,000 people look at my blog since I started in May. I am amazed. In fact gob smacked would be nearer the mark! When I started little did I think even in my wildest dreams that so many people would be interested in what I had to say. Thank you all. A few more comments wouldn't go amiss! Grin! I like to know what you're thinking.

I've worked out ( I think I have anyway) that the 10,000th visitor was from College Station in Texas (204.56.144). Now if that is you and you care to email me I'd be happy to send you a couple of pieces of my hand-dyed fabric just to mark the occasion!

Even closer close up. I shall be very sorry when I run out of this yarn - I have it in several colours - as I can't get any more, and it dyes beautifully with a shiny look from the acrylic which doesn't dye.  Posted by Picasa