Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Folk art

I follow a number of different blogs. Sometimes I am a regular reader (I never miss a post by Sheila).

Others, I confess, I dip in and out depending on what captures me.

And one of these is Poul Webb - and look what gems he has just found and is featuring!

I won't steal his thunder. 

You must pop over to his website to see the gems he has uncovered. Wonderful. 

Monday, 14 November 2016

Jessica Sporn collaged backgrounds

I love Jessica Sporn - her energy and commitment to her art.

And she is very generous, she shares a lot of techniques on her blog or on her Youtube Channel.

And I found this and thought it a very useful tutorial to make collaged and painted backgrounds.

Once I have cracked my latest project I want to try a bit of painting - or rather something without stitch. I wonder if I can?  This could be a useful starting point.

Hope you enjoy it and it gives you a few ideas too.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Excuses, excuses....

So, dear reader, yet again you must be feeling that I have neglected you. (Although you did have that little tour of London to enjoy). My blogging has been a bit sporadic!

But I have been putting my poor sewing machine through hell and back. And something had to give, and it was updating this blog. 

So where were we? (other than in London)

I was testing new inks in a previous post. Getting very excited about the possibilities that a bit of walnut stain mixed in with the ink powder would create. 

Then, wouldn't you just know, I reverted back to Brusho. Well for my next immediate project at least. 

I'm on a bit of a mission. Let me explain. 

Every year for as long as I can remember I have been doing the Workshop Sale with my lovely friends Rob and Andy. I have blogged about it many times. 

And last year I was brave enough ( some might say foolish) to jump in and do the sale off my own back. 

And this year I am doing the same. I have booked a space. 

And I want to test a new idea. 

Hence the radio silence here ( not because I want to keep it secret, but because I have been putting the ever faithful Pfaff through its paces). 

So, having tested the new inks I decided I needed a bit more pop - something a bit brighter. Hence back to Brusho. This was because I knew I was going to be using organza.  I needed something that could hold its own beneath the organza.

I used paper ( coloured book pages and gold foil) for collage. 

I backed the organza with Bondaweb. 

And I stitched and stitched. 

This gives you a flavour. 

Along the way we had a technical failure. The bottom stitch was failing horribly. Looping and jumping, I wound and rewound the bobbin, I kept re- fitting the bobbin casing but nothing worked.

In desperation I ended up on You Tube. I cannot even remember  the link, but it wasn't the bobbin at all. The simple message was 'if the bobbin is failing, look to the top' ( yes, I know, I know!!!) and the needle had dropped a fraction. Just a simple re-adjustment and all was sorted. Stress levels reduced dramatically!

Anyway, the finished product will soon be revealed so I will leave you here - which is incredibly annoying I know, but I am not sure if this is even going to work quite as I intended.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Time out - day trip to the big smoke

It's been full on in the studio and in the day job and there are family stresses to keep my grey matter churning and provide a lure to the dreaded Insomnia - and on top of that Gaz, my old dog is, I fear, sliding slightly disgracefully ( well it is Gaz, otherwise known as "Asbo Dog" and for good reason) into the twilight of his days. 

So, no excuse needed to grab a bit of time and head down to the big smoke to catch up with Son No 1 and partner. 

A beautiful Autumn sunny morning - very chillsome but bright. The train was packed! Why are so many people heading into London on a Sunday morning? The Arsenal shirts were a bit of a give away - a home game I am guessing, and like most Premier League teams, I'm also guessing that most of their supporters don't live within walking distance of the ground. 

It's amazing, but as I gazed out of the train Windows I realised that most of the fields, far from being brown after harvest and shutting down for winter, were already shimmering with new green shoots - Autumn planting. Anyone know anything about farming? What is planted in Autumn? 

By Hemel Hempstead the train was jammed - sardines springs to mind - and the sky was beginning to fill with ominous thundery grey clouds. (In fact, by the end if the day it was raining, but there's lot to tell you in the meantime.) 

First up, brunch in Soho. 

Princi in Wardour Street. Chaotic service but delicious scrambled eggs and coffee. It was packed and as we left the clientele was beginning to change over to lunchtime pizzas. 

It was good - not a destination, bucket list, "somewhere I should go before I die" sort of place, but good if you're in Soho and in need of breakfast. (For a bucket list breakfast you can't beat The Wolsey on Piccadilly, if you're wondering). 

Next up Christie's in St James. 

Now a high end art auction house is not my usual hang out, it should be said. But the reason for popping in was the BFC/Fashion Arts Foundation and Royal Academy of Arts fashion arts commissions pairing four fashion designers and visual artists to collaborate across art forms. 

The resulting works are on display at Christie's galleries in St James until 11th November after which they will be auctioned off. 

And one installation is a collaboration between Kit Neale and the sculptor Jonathan Trayte - a fully functioning cafe with free coffee and cake. The installation is called Milk. 

It was not busy. Sunday and St James is not really a throbbing London hub. It comes to life during the week and I saw pics from earlier in the week when it was really busy. 

I just loved the quirky furniture. 

And the stone and marble table tops. 

Some of the furniture has light fittings incorporated into it. 

 This tree (below) was by Alex Mullins and Amy Petra Woodward.

This rather industrial installation was by Agi and Sam and Joe Fraser. In truth I could not really relate to this, or indeed the tree. 

And then on the way out I spotted this little pair of figures "Maquette VIII The Watchers V" by Lynne Chadwicke. 

And then we meandered up to Mayfair. 

We cut up through Burlington Arcade - the Lalique shop caught my eye. Look at that vase! 

And the Jimmy Choo shop window - a vertical table top. (Difficult to see, but that's supposed to be a pile of little macaroons in the bottom).

And then into Sotheby's to see the collection of art belonging to David Bowie that is being auctioned.

Sotheby's was heaving. I'm not sure they quite realised what a visitor attraction they had unleashed. It was so busy it was difficult to see much of the work. 

A few highlights. 

This Cornish harbour by Bryan Wynter. 

A stoneware vase by Bernard a Leach. 

"Fatherland" by Ken Currie - a mixed media painting on a map of Bosnia.  The estimate on this was almost affordable. Ken Currie is still alive. 

Below, I loved this print by Wyndham Lewis. 

And finally there were a couple of huge paintings by John Bellamy. I could not photograph the whole thing so the images below are details from either end of a rather powerful triptych.

There was lots more - it was just too crowded to appreciate properly and certainly too crowded to photograph. 

One thing that did occur - My Bowie must have had a lot of wall space to enjoy his art collection. He really did have a lot of art work. 


Saturday, 22 October 2016

Birthday cards and sketchbook pages

I needed a birthday card in a hurry. 

So I assembled two cards using materials in my stash. The one on the left used a snippet of old map. The one on the right used paper textured with gesso and coloured with paints and inks. 

I used 'ribbon' made from snippets of fine fabrics sandwiched between dis-solvable fabric and machine stitched. 

And I have added colour using Inktense pencils to that sketch book page. I don't think I've showed you that. 

Quite pleased with the effect. I'm seriously tempted to get a couple of sketchbook pages printed up into some fabric. However, they aren't repeat patterns. Have you ever tried that? If so, how successful was it?

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Sunday studio day

What with one thing and another, it has been a while since I have had a proper studio day. 

So, Sunday was very welcome.

First of all, I had to unwrap presents to myself - some Infusion inks 
 and some new paints.

Both from Paper Artsy.

Now I love their paints. I really do, and just to make this little package extra special look - they are a limited edition set put together by Seth Apter.

Now purists might say its a bit of a cop out to get so many paints and that you should mix your own from the basic colours etc.

But you know what? Time in the studio is so very precious (as Kit Lang so rightly pointed out here), if someone else can mix the paints for me then why should I feel too guilty.

And look, when the paints land, they arrive with nifty little cards to tempt you even more.

What's not to love.

But lets get back to those inks!

Now, dear reader, if you follow this you will know that I am a bit of a fan of Brusho Inks. They creep into my work quite a lot. 

Hence, I was keen to try some new inks that work on the same principle.  They are dry powder and are activated when they get wet. 

First up - make a little hold in the top so that you can sprinkle the powder.

Sprinkle on paper, spritz with water and pure magic.

The difference with these inks and Brusho inks is walnut pigment (I think - anyhow it's a brownish pigment) so the effect is more 'vintage'.  You can see this clearly in the pictures above as the ink colours capture the water.

But I still went a bit mad on a bit of khadi paper - see below, captured while wet. The colours are so vibrant when wet.

Then I experimented by sprinkling the powder onto the paint while the paint was still wet - with a bit of a spritz to help it along.  (using an old dictionary page in this instance)

Quite liking that effect.

But then I just coloured some pages up to add to my stock - simply applying the colour with an old credit card.  These are using paints from the new set.

Here I just grabbed my paint trolley and went for it.

And finally a few pages with small amounts of paint and inks applied directly.

And last, but not least, inks applied directly to an old map.

All in all, a good day and mojo fired up. 

And a good supply of pages for collage etc. 

I will pop back and let you know what I think of the inks once they had dried.