Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The first show of the year!

We are off to Ardingly in Sussex tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn. This will be our first show this year and one we haven't done before. It is about 298 miles in total. A long way in a mobile home. There will be no dashing along at 70 miles per hour and overtaking everything in sight! Oh well a slowish journey but I will be able to take in more of the countryside.

I have been to Ardingly before as in a previous life I used to show dogs and the show at Ardingly was one I went to. However this was so far in the dim and distant past that I don't remember it. Caroline was two at the time and she is now into her forties! Doesn't time fly! It will be fun living in the mobile home as opposed to a Travel Lodge...well I hope it will be! 

One thing I have found out from experience is that lists are a good thing. I have lists for food to take, clothes to take, things that we need for the stand and stuff that we are going to sell! I can then tick off and know that all things are covered. I have found a good site that allows one to print out daily and weekly lists. Very useful when one has a project to get done in a specific amount of time. The site is here. One of the best sources I have found for planners.

Another thing I have found out recently is that if one is storing fabric painting pens or dye pens that it is a good idea to keep them horizontal. If they are stored vertically then they dry out. Ask me how I know this! :-) I love dye pens & watercolour pencils for adding a hint of colour into some of my applique shapes.

So for the next four days it will be all systems go. I'm going to see if I can find a Simplicity bias binding maker while at the show as it looks amazing! I watched the video on the Creative Grids website and was well impressed. I do love gadgets!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fabric and silk ribbons

I have been having fun dyeing fabric as backgrounds for silk ribbon embroidery. We have finished dyeing nearly 1200 metres of silk ribbon and now I want to start using some of it. Most of it will be for sale but I have earmarked some of it for myself!

This is a small notebook cover that I embroidered using small pieces of left over ribbon. I love the browny green ribbon!  Below is an embroidered coathanger in silk which I made for a friend. 

And I have finally finished the Bird Sampler. This is the latest in our line of cut out adhesive shapes for appliqué. It was great fun to do. Not the best picture unfortunately!  

Monday, January 09, 2012

Consolidation and concentration

Consolidation and concentration! These are my two words for this year. I am determined to bring all my craft interests together and to focus on them constantly! There are so many things I do, from dyeing fabrics and silk ribbon to making appliques and teaching. Each and everyone of these activities impinges on one or more of the others so it makes sense to see them as a whole and  concentrate on the whole instead of having bits of this and bits of that being done. I shall take the step by step approach after seeing the whole thing. So a project will be researched in it's entirety and then be broken down into it's component parts. This way I am far more likely to actually finish something! Whereas if I do a part of something without really having a finished object in mind there is every liklihood that I will in the meantime move on to something else and there is another UFO taking up space in the workroom! A staple resource of this method is THE LIST! I am a great believer in lists. They work for me! I love being able to tick things off as they get finished. So this year I will make the effort to actually write the list and pin it up and design the finished project before breaking it down into manageable chunks instead of doing something and working it out as I go. This time next year I might have achieved a lot of well thought out pieces of work! All finished! We'll see!  Now I must go and finish the crazy patchwork waistcoat; the applique bird sampler; the landscape quilt;dye some more silk ribbon; the article I'm writing for a magazine and the notes for my class on Wednesday!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Sunday afternoon walk!

We walked over the cliff path from Durgan to the Ferry Boat Inn at Helford Passage on the Helford River, to have lunch. It was quite exhilarating even though it was misty with occasional drops of rain. The paths were very muddy and quite hard going at times. 

But there was a roaring fire in the inn and the meal was delicious. There were a fair number of other folk, mostly walkers complete with maps and walking sticks. The long thin poles like ski poles which are supposed to help one's knees! 

Durgan is a quaint little hamlet with several cottages and a few larger houses. Most of which are now holiday homes. There was a school, built in 1870 something, but which is now a house. It is interesting to think that there were sufficient children at one time to warrant what seems to have been a fairly large school. Now the hamlet is quiet in the winter months and it is not until the influx of summer visitors that it comes to life. There is no shop just a telephone kiosk! 

  The white blobs are rain drops on the lens of the camera! It must have been a fishing village at one time as the jetty and boat launching area are quite large and impressive. There are still boats so someone must still be fishing! The view up the river was not as far  as it could be due to the mist. A very different view of the Helford in the winter than the view in the summer!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Why am I doing what I do?

I unexpectedly came across something I'd written in 2005 on the blog. It was very thought provoking and I thought it wouldn't go amiss to include it again with a few additions having moved on in the intervening years! I was interested to see though that my thoughts on the subject today haven't changed very much in six plus years!

'What drives you to create......' At the time I got involved in researching Artist's Statements as I needed to have one for my work on site. My knowledge on this subject  multiplied fourfold. In fact on one Site I was able with the judicious inclusion of a few well chosen adverbs to get an artist's statement written for me.

Valeri Bennett's work investigates the nuances of modulations through the use of slow motion and close ups which empathise the generative nature of digital media. Bennett explores abstract and liberating scenery as motifs to describe the idea of infinite reality. Using fulfilling loops, non-linear narratives, and interactive images as patterns, Bennett creates meditative environments which suggest the expansion of space.....

Sounds good doesn't it but what the hell does it mean? You can have four guesses as to the words that I suggested! Grin

Anyway after a good time was had by all playing with the concepts I actually got back to the subject in hand. Firstly I chose my five words to describe creativity. They were: colourful, satisfying, meaningful, necessary and liberating. This is the order that they came to me but if I had to put them in order of importance then I would put them in this order: necessary, liberating, satisfying, meaningful and colourful. Its interesting (to me anyway) that my first thought was of colour as colour rocks my boat and yet it came last in order of importance. From a very early age I was encouraged to be creative. My grandmother was a milliner and it was she who taught me to make silk ribbon roses and other 3-dimensional designs. My great-aunt had been a court dressmaker and she was the one who gave me scraps of delicious fabrics and started me down the road to ruin! To this day I HAVE to have fabric to look at and touch! My glee when at the age of six I made a doll's jacket in green velvet, complete with tiny set in sleeves, knew no bounds. I was hooked! My mother let me use her old treadle sewing machine to make dolls clothes and then clothes for me. Dolls were a pain to me and only good for clothing. I was forever cutting their hair off and expecting it to grow so they were always bald manniquins. Lucky for some that I didn't have designs on being a hair-dresser! From this early start came my desire to create. I couldn't be doing with bought patterns and made things up as I went along. And then I went to Art School. My eyes were opened, my cup ran over! One of my subjects was woven textiles and that streak of indepence was still with me. I didn't want to buy already dyed wool for weaving, I had to dye my own and I never looked back. That first rya rug I made is still on my floor forty years later - a bit worn but still looking good and the colours are still bright and strong. Orange, blue and green and bright at that. I dyed several shades of each colour and then blended the wools together so as to get a mixture of colour. From that time on colour has been the engine that drives my creativity and yet it isn't the most important aspect. It is absolutely essential that I am being creative even if its baking a cake or making up a salad. It is also essential that the process is liberating. It has to free me from this mortal coil....allow me to get away from everyday hiatuses and yet at the same time be satisfying and meaningful. This can apply to anything creative and I would get the same buzz if it was in black and white but colour adds the icing on the cake for me. My preferred medium is fibre because I love the look and feel of fabric. The way it can change depending on what is done to it. How one moment it can be ethereal and the other down to earth and heavy! It can be cut, stitched, folded, pleated, draped, etc etc. And fibre can mean fabric, ribbon or yarn. What I do know is that if I was deprived of all my 'arty' things and my sewing machine I would slowly die inside unless I was able to channel my visions into other mediums. But they wouldn't be the same. It is very nice to make money from one's art but on the other hand the art comes first. Commissions are great but I have to identify with the subject matter. In my case if I try to create with money in mind it doesn't work! This is why I teach because I like to pass on what I have learnt in a life-time of 'sewing' and get paid for doing so. This enables me on the whole to make things because I want to and enjoy the process. The 'what if ' factor is always strong.  This  has made me think deeply about why I do what I do.It liberates me!

But I'd be much happier if I had a bigger workroom and could see all my fabric at once! Grin!

So let me ask all of you who read this blog...why do you create?

Monday, January 02, 2012

An Outing!

As it was the last day of my holiday before I go back to work tomorrow we decided to go to Penzance. It was a lovely sunny day when we left Falmouth and we had a great time, with lunch at the Admiral Benbow and a long walk along the front battling the very strong wind. Then just as we were deciding to go home the heavens opened and a mad dash to the car was made. 

It was a lovely day out but it is even nicer to be home in front of an open fire! I have a crazy patchwork waistcoat to stitch so I will sit and sew a fine seam. Pictures when I've finished!