Friday, 28 October 2011

Leaf project.

The group I belong to has been asked to demostrate various textile techniques to a local art group. Only 2 or 3 of us will be needed to take part but we are each asked to contribute a textile version of a chosen leaf shape.
I was looking for an interesting leaf in the garden and came across this hosta leaf after the snails had enjoyed it during the summer. Above is a coloured photocopy - I love all the holes and made my version by layering a piece of fine Lutrador between two pieces of synthetic sheer fabric.

I had traced off the shape onto the Lutrador so that I had lines to follow, then machine stitched through all layers, following the lines. I cut out the leaf as close to the stitching as I could and then burned away the holes with a soldering iron.

I have to decide now whether to leave it as it is or pluck up the courage to paint in the yellow and green areas which appear on the original leaf. I am afraid of spoiling it with paint and quite like it as it is.

I'll take it to our next meeting and see what everyone else thinks!

It is a glorious day here today and such a contrast to yesterday which was grey, wet and dismal all day long. This morning I was watching little clouds of steam rising from our neighbours' conifer hedge where the sun's warmth was catching it. All along the pergola the same thing was happening. I tried several times to get a photo but they came out looking misty and unclear. The garden was still soaking wet and the sunlit raindrops sparkled everywhere like diamonds - so lovely to see, but very hard to photograph well. I should be out there doing more autumn clearing - hope tomorrow will be another dry day with better conditions underfoot.

Monday, 24 October 2011

The finished article.

Apologies for the draining board background but it was the only place with good light. This is the front of my book - it is roughly A6 size and made entirely from recycled bits and pieces. The pages were made from spent transfer dyed papers. The backing for them came from my unsatisfactory leaf prints and the cover is made from a piece of fabric formed by bonding cut up tangled threads between two pieces of organza. I had almost thrown this fabric away several times as I couldn't think of a use for it.

This is the back of the book.

My original plan was to work a variety of flower stitcher foot flowers all over the cover but that was not to be as it didn't like the shiny surface of the organza, but I managed to sneak a few in to decorate the spine but working them on kunin felt and then burning the felt away. I hand stitched it in place and daren't inspect the stitching in a good light as it was worked last night in artificial light.

The best thing about this way of working is that there is no need to line the cover as it becomes reversible.

Umm! what shall I do next?

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Work in Progress.

This is going to be the cover for my little flower book. I have a lot more stitching to do to cover the surface and found out very quickly that the flower stitcher didn't like working on this fabric. It is a sandwich of snipped up tangled threads bonded between two layers of crystal organza, and kept slipping so that the cirles went into untidy spirals rather than neat flower shapes. I had to resort to free machine stitched flowers, then had the idea for free machined leaf shapes all round the edge. These I worked over soluble fabric which I hope I haven't washed out completely to allow them to stay firm and a bit crisp. The light is poor today and the colours are much nicer than they appear here. The fact that it is still damp from washing out the soluble fabric probably hasn't helped!

Quite a bit more stitching required and general tidying up!

I am very irritated by Blogger right now as it won't let me leave comments on some blogs - even some which I have hitherto commented on regularly from the start. It is such a shame, especially when someone has left me a nice comment and I can't say thankyou or answer a question. I wouldn't like those people to think I didn't appreciate their remarks. So, if you are one of those bloggers and wonder why I have gone silent and uncommunicative, I have tried to reply but have been denied access.

I am beavering away on my coursework and should be ready to post again on my other blog next week.

The weather forecast led us to believe there would be all sorts of stormy conditions this week and I expected strong winds, lashing rain and frosty nights. I think we must live in a sheltered spot and often escape the worst of everything. It has been a bit windy and we've had the odd shower and a nip in the air, but nothing untoward. I could have done with a bit more rain and will now have to water the vegs and things I planted in pots for the spring. Some people are never satisfied.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Bird Brain!

This quite large pigeon tried to take a bath in our mini waterfall feature yesterday. It's antics were hilarious. He or she had just done a lot of feather ruffling before I took this photo but sadly each time I tried, I missed the best shots and they came out blurred. There is only about 2" of water in there, and inspite of almost lying on it's side and stretching one wing up in the air for balance, I can't imagine it even managed to get wet. I had difficulty getting a good view as I had to take it through a window and there are canes and strings outside which kept trying to get themselves in focus instead of the pigeon. Hence the not terribly clear picture.

The final four pages of my little book. I have lost count of which ones you've seen so apologies if these have been posted before.

I now have to make a cover and find a way of fixing them into it. I hesitate to use the term 'book binding' as I don't really know how to do it properly.

I have just posted my fourth chapter of work on my other blog and am exhausted. Trying to get all the examples and notes in the right order so that my tutor knows what she's looking at gets very complicated, and at one point I thought I'd lost it all and would have to start again. Luckily I had clicked 'Save Now' after loading all the pictures. Thank goodness there were only three to worry about for this post.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Is the moon tired........?

"Is the moon tired? She looks so pale beneath her misty veil".

I took these photos last night and they reminded me of a poem I learned as a very small child. Sadly, I can't remember any more of it, or who wrote it. Maybe someone out there in Blogland has the answers.

I've been working on my little book pages and here are two more. The one on the left is waiting to be stitched but I think the other one is finished.

I can't decide if these are finished or not. Sometimes a little tinkering does the trick and sometimes it just makes things worse! To tinker, or not to tinker. That is the question!!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

If you don't like flowers, don't look!

I grew these little zinnias from seed and they have flowered for weeks on end. The plants had begun to look really scruffy and have now been pulled up, but I just had to save these last few flowers and enjoy them a little longer. I love their bright yet soft colours and have taken off one or two dried heads to save the seed for next year. I hope I get the same colours again.

Don't faint with shock - I have been drawing!! I was looking at Frances Pickering's book - she creates the most delightful little fabric and paper books and is a very talented artist. I was thinking as I admired her work what an advantage she had in being able to draw so well and then I thought 'It's no use sitting there wishing you could draw, just have a go'. So I did and above is the first thing I tried. I copied it from a Gardener's World magazine and think is is a cone flower - echinacea - but mine isn't 'coney' enough. I drew directly onto a piece of the coloured paper left from the transfer dyed papers I did a little while back. I have heard that colouring pages before drawing takes away the terror of a blank white page and wonder if this is what helped. I then coloured my drawing with water soluble pencils and crayons before bonding the paper onto thin fabric. I used the fabric from my less desirable leaf prints so nothing has been wasted. Then after being so thrifty, I stitched simple running stitches to accentuate the petals using Stef Francis silk threads. I have a small box of silk threads which I look at from time to time and then decide not to use them in case I waste them on something that doesn't turn out well. This time I went for it and used them - because I'm worth it!!

I copied this little daisy design from our Portmerion dessert bowls. It looks rather flat as it is waiting to have stitching added to it, and there are more designs in the pipeline.

I think these little pieces are a breakthough and hopefully will see the end of my artist's block, which is a great relief as it has lasted nearly two years. During that time I have dabbled at various things but they have all been projects set out by someone else and not original ideas thought up by me. I am hoping to make enough of these 'pages' to become a fabric book. The title will be 'Earth laughs in flowers' and I have plans to use the flower stitcher foot to decorate the cover.

My tutor's computer is back in working order again so I have just posted another batch of work on my other blog 'Inspiripedia'. Poor Viv - it must have taken her days to reload everything and get set up once more.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

New Sparrowcote!

Many years ago I fell in love with some handmade dovecotes which we saw for sale at a princely sum of about £300! Apart from the price, they were far too large for a small garden, so my husband set about designing and making a much smaller affair which he called 'the sparrowcote' as it is too small for anything dove sized. Fortunately he loves working with wood and his prototype lasted for many years, being repaired and repainted from time to time. It finally reached the point of no return and he has just had to make a totally new model which is now installed. It is purely decorative although many birds from starling size downward seem to enjoy hopping in and out of the little archways.

I don't know about you but this heat is getting to me. I feel as if I have had no benefit from sleep for the past week and last night seemed to be the worst. I was leaning out of the bedroom window at 4am breathing in gulps of lovely cool air. To make matters worse, only just over a week ago I was so cold I put the thicker duvet on our bed! Our climate seems to have gone mad. It is another glorious day here and I am typing this by an open window, listening to the bees buzzing in the clematis which grows over the pergola - when our neighbour stops mowing every now and then. I might camp out on the back lawn tonight! Only joking - my bed is softer than the lawn.