'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
An even quicker post!
So I now have a laptop connected to the Internet and a new all-singing, all dancing mobile phone.
You have to realise that my previous mobile was very 20th century and didn't really do anything except send and receive phone calls - and this new one seems to do everything apart from cook the dinner. I have a steep learning curve ahead of me as I am dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Today's green image is one made with kaleido, which is very addictive. I can't remember what the original photo was, although I suspect some trees were involved ...
And I did post my 'Brave New World?' quilt on 'Around the World in 20 Quilts' and a doodle on 'Doodle Day' but you'll have to go over there to see them ...
Monday, 30 March 2009
Just a quicky ...
Despite a frost this morning we had some sunshine in the middle of the day and Quality Control has made the most of it. She hasn't featured for a while, and is muttering about too much attention being paid to dogs, so here she is doing her well known impussonation of a dead cat.
Today's green picture also features sunshine. This is a little garden hidden away behind Winchester Cathedral. There is no house attached so I don't know who it belongs to, but we always stop to admire it. There are the remains of several medieval fish ponds in the area so the pool [just visible under the waterlilies] may well be one of them, although I think the bridge [which goes nowhere] and statue are a little later.
Sunday, 29 March 2009
Ducks, warts and green things.
Birthday celebrations these days have to include a dog walking opportunity and baby entertainment - so tend to be outdoors. We walked by the water, played on swings, slides and climbing frames
and here are Babybel and her other grandad, Mr Cheddar, feeding the ducks. or 'Da' as she calls them - and swans, coots, Canada geese - anything with feathers, really.
Speaking of ducks reminded me that when we went to the farm for my birthday Mrs Cheese Minor suggested I include this photo in my yellow series - but I forgot. So here it is.
Adolescent ducks with their plumage just changing from yellow to white.
So that's the ducks. The warts?
I read a discussion on another textile blog about whether to show one's mistakes as well as one's successes. As you may have noticed I'm a believer in showing 'warts and all', to quote O. Cromwell.
So here is a wart.
The last time you saw it, it looked like this, since when it has gained some hand stitch - mostly chain stitch variations - and beads. For some strange reason Wensleydale likes it.
I think I learned from it that quilting and embroidery doesn't always work - but I do like improvisational patchwork.
This is its big sister - which was going to be cut up into smaller pieces but ended up being used to try out the quilting patterns in my embroidery software. I'm never going to achieve a perfect feather wreath any other way!
The next step will be to put it into a dye bath - partly as an experiment, partly because I don't think the orange bits work - so I will try dyeing the whole thing red. My reasoning is that I should end up with a range of reds and purples - we shall see!
Saturday, 28 March 2009
If in doubt -
What I should have been doing was carrying on experimenting with my embroidery machine - but although I tamed it at last on Thursday I wasn't feeling strong enough yesterday to resume the fight.
So I drew on some buttons. [Tutorial found on Craftstylish.]
The flash makes it a little difficult to see but it worked well within the limitations of my drawing skills. I wouldn't use these buttons on anything that was going to be washed regularly but if you have a lot of boring buttons, as I have, it is a way to make them more interesting.
I only tried permanent markers, not the other suggestions in the tutorial, but I may get round to the nail varnish when I can find it ...
Then I made a book. Looks a bit boring doesn't it?
As the pages were rather thick, I did a 2-section pamphlet stitch binding, sometimes known as 'two bound as one'.
The pages were some old design work, ripped up. Unfortunately as it has been rolled up for about 12 months, the paper is reluctant to lie flat, even after a night under my old Singer. So it went back under there after it had its photo taken. I have lots of ideas about tile embroideries in my head so I think this will become a design book for those - it's about the right size and roughly square.
I haven't forgotten my salt pan theme , though - this, below, is based on the first very simple ideas I had. It is discharged with bleach. When I finished discharging the patches were a lovely golden brown but with neutralising and washing it seems to have lost that colour so I may overdye it golden yellow. I intend to quilt it and then - lots of embroidery.
Friday, 27 March 2009
I wanna tell you a story ...
Thursday, 26 March 2009
A thank you, some experiments, and a flower
I am always proud to be nominated but like Lisette I have found not everyone likes it - so instead of passing the award on, I'll take it as an opportunity to point you towards some blogs I enjoy - and which I would have nominated if I did - if you see what I mean ...
The first is Lisette's own blog - textiles, food and cats! What more could you ask? And look at her list of influences. Clearly a woman after my own heart!
Of course. if you prefer just food, you could try her other blog. Eat your way up the High Street? I'd be waddling even more than usual by the time I got to the end - although here it would be eat your way from the station to Barclays, the High St restaurants being less - er - let's say - less individualistic. ...
Another blog I enjoy, although it's not a textile one, is Martha Marshall's 'An Artist's Journal'. Just look what she did with some of her luscious papers and Photoshop. Pity I've got Paint Shop Pro ...
Finally - if you like artist's books this blog will save you the bother of making your own. They have a generous give away of books which you can print out, as well as all sorts of other interesting stuff.
And now for something completely different. This is finished.
This is the pieces from the back, in the same order. I was surprised how well the felt took the dye, until I remembered that it is wool/viscose, and viscose takes Procion dye, being a cellulose fibre.
Below is what I thought was black poly organza with a scoobydoo as a piping. However the black was very reluctant to melt, suggesting it wasn't a man-made fibre. The cotton was beginning to singe before the sheer reluctantly went into tiny holes and then went shiny and hard.
Not sure why Blogger has put it vertical when the original is horizontal - but I can live with it.
The next one was a layer of sparkle organza over cotton. As you can see the dye went through the organza and dyed the under layer successfully - which is what I hoped.
And finally - yet more yellow - Christmas Roses at the Hillier Gardens. I love this pale yellowy green, it is such a bizarre colour for a flower! This was taken last January - notice the misguided bee.
I apologise for such a long post - not sure how I had the energy after wrestling with my embroidery unit which did not want to behave since the chief techie wasn't here - and dealing with the aftermath of Wensleydale's attempt to flood the house. All OK now but the kitchen floor is much cleaner than it was ... I told you we lived exciting lives.
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
We live such exciting lives ...
Last night we went to the Watermill Theatre again, with Mr and Mrs Cheddar, to see 'The Merchant of Venice'. I 'did' the MoV at school and a few decades have elapsed since then, so although I remembered the gist of the plot, the finer points had vanished from my memory. And some of the points made in this production were not those emphasised at a girls grammar school in the 60s ...
It is a very dramatic, gorious [no, that isn't a typo] production with some excellent performances, and as always with this company, excellent music and a set that made brilliant use of a very small space. Well worth seeing.
As we had to be in Winchester this morning we took the opportunity to visit a ceramics exhibition by Ashley Howard in the Cathedral.
It was described as an exhibition of ceramic 'fonts', inspired by architectural features including medieval tiles. So of course I had to go!
I was expecting something tall, highly glazed and quite elaborate.
Not something like this.
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Calling all Hampshire textile artists!
See you there - but I don't think I will be entering these, much as I like them.
Once again, Blogger doesn't approve of my para breaks so isn't including them. I feel like giving it a lesson on improving legibility!
Monday, 23 March 2009
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze ...
When I was going through my photographs looking for yellow ones I realised that although I have a lot of pictures of yellow flowers - I didn't have any of my favourite flower.
So this morning I rushed outside and took one.
Unfortunately it was quite windy so they were difficult to photograph.
And although I have been trying not to post any more pictures of the cherry tree - I couldn't resist. Aren't they beautiful? I love the little circle of darker pink dots formed by the stamens. I understand why the Japanese so love cherry trees.
And finally - another experiment. These are three explorations of adding black stripes to neutral, dyeable, fabric - or, in a couple of cases, polyester which won't dye. Some of the black stripes are piped.
They look pretty similar [if my sewing was more accurate they would have been identical] but one has felt underneath, one has cotton wadding, and one has cotton flannel.
Sunday, 22 March 2009
This week's colour is yellow
Every time I see this image I think 'French knots' ...
A short post tonight as we have had a visitor - Cheese Major came round and successfully introduced my new laptop to my sewing machine. Other activities my be suspended for a time while I find out what the embroidery module can do. Only a year since I first got it ...
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Our night with the great and the good.
This is a pillar in Fatehpur Sikri in Rajasthan, built of sandstone and so a bit orangey. I chose it because of all the wonderful patterns - enough to start a new round of stamp making! [Not.]
Friday, 20 March 2009
After the frenzy of production yesterday
Since I got home I have pottered about to very little effect. I think this is because we are going out again this evening, which we don't often do, and it's an odd time [6.45 - 8.30] and a bit open ended and generally unsettling to the ancient who are set in their ways.
Tell you all about it tomorrow.
One thing I have started is an analysis of what I like in art, prompted by this on Elizabeth Barton's blog, - all part of my attempt to develop some pretence to be an artist rather than an artisan - not that I have anything against artisans, I think craft skills in general are criminally undervalued in the UK. Perhaps I'd just like to be a better artisan - but I would like to develop a consistent style and approach to my work instead of drifting from one thing to another depending on what I've just read.
So I have been looking at some postcards I've collected at various exhibition and written down what I like about them. No real insights yet, but I shall collect a few more - and then move onto my own work as Barton recommends. I think that will be harder to analyse.
Here is today's orange image - a quick snap one evening from a moving car and then the help of the Hockneyizer.
Would that the M3 always looked like this!
Thursday, 19 March 2009
What I meant to do today was ...
Which is what I did in the end - although it had nothing to do with my design ideas.
I've had a birthday recently and as a belated afterthought present I got a lap top. Never had one before, never used one, all a bit scary.
Of course. it came without a case.
Well, I could have bought one, but where's the fun in that?
So I Googled around last night and found this.[PDF alert.]
Looks easy doesn't it? Two main pieces, made of felt so no finishing - won't take long to run one up, will it?
Of course, I wasn't going to do it today. Some time later when I had finished thinking about salt pans.
But, I thought, it won't take long, so I'll do it this morning and get back to the designing this afternoon.
Mmm - felt? I've got lots of wool felt but I've got plans for that and the colours aren't very exciting. I think I've got some big bits of Kunin felt at the bottom of the cupboard.
[Here you have to imagine me head down in a box of felt bits while Quality Control assists me by trying to get into the deepest recesses of the cupboard.
Unfortunately I didn't have one piece of felt that was big enough. So I'll use two colours! This lime green and blue look good together -[unfortunately I didn't have any suitable pink].
Mmm - decorative ribbon? Got ribbon in more or less the right colours but it's a bit boring - but I could put the narrow ribbon on the wide ribbon and embroider it. And I could embroider the contrasting band of felt and the bag itself... [I'm glad to say that I did not completely lose my sanity and do hand embroidery - though I did get as far as finding some suitable hand embroidery threads.]
But the felt seems a bit thin - so I could line it!
[Head down in a couple of different boxes to find some suitable fabric for the lining.]
While I'm at it, I could quilt the lining. [Fortunately the wadding was already out]
And there's lots of this lining fabric, I could add a pocket. Or two.
You get the picture. I eventually finished it about 4 pm.
This is the blue side.
And this, despite appearances, is the lime green side.
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
We were on our way to the Fairground Craft Centre, alerted by a reference on Jackie's blog to this exhibition. Nearly 180 pieces of art no bigger than a CD case. It was fascinating to see what an amazing variety of things artists could do with such a tiny canvas - or piece of paper, or fabric, or metal, or ...
Although I didn't know it was hers at the time, Jacki's piece caught my eye almost immediately we went in - well, it is a book - but a beautifully made and very original one. You can see it on her blog.
Most of the other pieces were actually displayed in CD cases - which make very good frames.
[Another bonus of this pleasant little gallery is that it opens right off the cafe. We recommend the treacle tart - very lemony ...]
Although I made a wall hanging for C&G which included work mounted on CDs
and although Cheese Minor's Best Man produces a calendar in a CD case every year - I had never thought of putting work in a CD case. I find it a very inspirational idea - so when I have worked though all the other inspirational ideas ...
One I have completed is this - except for mounting. Unfortunately it is a bit too big for a CD case. I considered a number of ideas for the border but in the end I went for more wheatear stitch, which I have become quite fond of.
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Silk purse or sow's ear?
- Sprayed with turquoise paint and embroidered with automatic stitches. It looks better than it did but I wouldn't bother doing it again!
- Cut into slices, rearranged, sewn together again, and then the whole process repeated in the opposite direction. Quite interesting.
- The same process but only cut in on direction, and extra embroidery added. I like this best - it makes me think of the sea, and the texture and shine help.
- Painted with white emulsion and free motion embroidered over the original quilting lines. It now looks like lumpy graffiti - so if I ever need lumpy graffiti in a piece ...
After I'd finished trying to rescue the blue mess I played around with some design work. Some of C June Barnes' shrunk quilts in her book reminded me of Yann Arthus-Bertrand's aerial photos. I bought his book 'The Earth from the Air - 365 Days' thinking it would inspire some embroidery, but nothing came of it - until now.
I picked a photo and began to explore it. I can't show the image, obviously, because of copyright but if you've got the book, it is January 6th.
It is a picture of salt pans in Morocco - a grid of rectangles of different sizes disappearing into the distance, in yellows, oranges and greys. Why did I pick something so geometric for such an organic process? Who knows!
My first efforts were a bid rigid - straightening out the grid.
Then I tried a couple of techniques from Sandra Meech's excellent 'Creative Quilts'. It, and her other book 'Contemporary Quilts', are two of the three best books on design for all textile artists, not just quilters, that I know. [The other is Dunewold, Benn and Morgan's 'Finding Your Own Visual Language'.]
The first exercise I tried was cutting chunks out of a scan of the image and adding my own drawing to fill in the gaps. One area I liked was these strong diagonals across the paper. This is a tracing, with added coloured pencil. Better - I see it in silk piceing with strong black diagonals, and added hand embroidery to liven it up.
I've Googled around looking at Moroccan textiles and some examples are woven with rectangles of different shades, with a similar feel to this.
Then I cut up a black and white scan of the image, rearranged it, stuck it down again, and used view finders to isolate interesting areas. These are the tracings, all on one sheet of paper which is why they are wonky. I like these better still - when I get time I want to try these out with Barnes' technique, but I think they could also be applique or canvas work, or curved piecing if I am feeling really masochistic.
So - quite a pleasing day, once I'd got the blue mess out of the way!
Today's orange image is really ginger. I couldn't resist taking this photo last summer. A team member, or waiting to make a complaint?
Monday, 16 March 2009
A bit of this, a bit of that ...
If you remember this -
this is what half of it now looks like. The top bit was painted with white emulsion, the bottom with turquoise spray paint. I am considering whether I think it is an improvement ...
These I am quite happy with - some more little books for Babybel, made with photos from her visit to the farm. She handled the first one very gently and it was lovely to see her sitting down looking at it. These will go in the post to her tomorrow together with the three hair slides she left behind. [They are not called hair slides for nothing!]
And today's orangeish picture - leaves from last autumn. The leaves are the only things that make autumn tolerable, as far as I am concerned.