Monday, 16 February 2015

studio inspirations

last week was a very good week ...
my decorating got finished ... hall stairs landing and a bedroom
I finished up the five day art challenge
I got my wreck this journal pages done
I got my tag Tuesday tags done - here and here
on Wednesday I had a Crow Day with friend Jo
to make plans and work through ideas for The Crow Show
and I began some more mini landscapes ...
I'm very excited about these colours and textures ...
and I quite surprised myself by introducing pinks and purples
as I wasn't planning to ....
I love them already ... even before I've begun to stitch them
the shimmer of the silk with the added gild and metallic paints
what rich little landscapes they will be when they grow up
I have the beginnings of twelve new mini landscapes in all
and as promised in my tutorial I am going to use them to practice new stitches
I will begin to show them soon ...
also last week I "fished out" my shells and pottery pieces and began work on new hearts
I haven't made any in quite a while
it was exciting to dig out my seaside fabrics and dream of stitching beach scenes
frothy sea foam, sand and sea ...
to handle the shells ... and dream of spring rock pools
also last week I had an art day working in my Dionne Swift sketchbook
with friend Margaret (St. Ives Textiles)
we both took Dionne's sketchbook workshop a couple of years ago
but it's a project that never gets finished as one thing always inspires another
here we are working on drawing exercises
continuous drawing without taking the pencil off the paper
drawing with the left hand and drawing with the intent of cutting negative spaces

exercises designed to free up the idea of drawing
concentrating instead on lines, marks and shapes
mainly ... letting go ... being free ... having fun
yesterday ... I enjoyed being inspired by little collections
little things I've gathered in my new studio room ... which I am loving so much
I'm looking forward to spring more than ever this year ...

these little collections bring me so much pleasure
I love a little bit of the seaside on my windowsill
and things found in nature
especially seeds and pods for St. Ives Textiles
this is a snippet from my current mood board on my studio wall
I'm loving soft tones of spring yellow, seaside blues with winter greys
that in between the seasons feeling
and always inspiration from St. Ives

more gatherings in my studio ready for the week ahead
these materials will be used to make my art tag
(with the theme of "text" for Tag Tuesday)
I've enjoyed sharing a glimpse into my little studio world
this coming week will be a good one too
there is a meeting of St. Ives Textiles tomorrow morning
and my mum is staying with me for two weeks
so we will get out and about ... weather permitting
any spare time I get I will practice my stitches on the little landscapes
and share soon
thank you always for reading ♥

Monday, 9 February 2015

art challenge day 1 - St. Ives and it's many moods

I've very kindly been invited by five other artists on facebook and twitter
to take part in the art challenge that is going around at the moment
I am supposed to share old work for five days and nominate other artists to take the challenge.  As, I believe, the art challenge began while I was taking my break ... I have no idea who has already taken part in the challenge already ... so I'm going to say if you would like to take part feel free to share your old work on facebook.  I will be sharing mine on my facebook page if you would like to follow along
last evening the idea came to me to share some old work in the form of a mosaic
so here we are ... and all images are my own
this one is inspired by the many aspects of St. Ives that I love

also sharing today a couple of little mixed media collages
a melancholy for sand dunes and dreaming of childhood holidays

and this one is inspired by the lighthouse on Smeaton's pier, St. Ives

have a very happy Monday ♥

Saturday, 7 February 2015

textiles - free fabric collage tutorial

the tutorial
materials - click   here   for the materials list
introduction - in the last post I listed the basics that you will need to have a go at my little fabric collage project - please know that you don't need all of the fabrics.  For example, some of the things I listed were prompts/ideas for using up old pieces of work ... it's exciting to use up old projects and clear the decks a bit ..... so here we go!
inspiration - you may have given some thought to your theme or colour scheme ... if not it really doesn't matter.  This is a very freeing and very personal project ... you can copy my colours if you wish but better still if you have your own project in mind.  If you have no particular project in mind then using a variety of colours with no particular theme means you may end up with some very lovely abstract pieces, which is exciting!
prepare your base layer - get your piece of stiff Vilene or stiff calico or cotton and cut your piece into approximately 9 inches x 12 inches.  It really doesn't matter at all if you go an inch smaller or bigger either way
layering - from your pile of gathered fabrics and paper  ... tear, rip or cut pieces of fabric and paper and glue it straight down on the base layer ... work in an abstract manner and work quickly without thinking too much about placement.  Don't be too fussy at this stage and you will get some good results
here I have glued some paper and some chiffon with stitched pleats
some wool tops and some cellophane wrapper
as well as very small bits of metallic fabric with fraying edges
glues - I use a glue stick ... but you can also use pva glue if you wish.  Glue stick dries quite quickly.  Whatever you use, you will need to leave your base layer to dry out thoroughly before moving on to the next stage.  If you have a hair dryer you can use that on a medium/gentle setting to help it dry a bit quicker ... but I would not recommend using a heat gun as the heat will be too intense and may burn some of your fabrics and papers
working fairly quickly, glue all your pieces on ... overlapping if you wish
until your base laver is covered completely
like this ...
above you can see some of what I've used - the green fern and the pumpkin fabrics are shop bought, there is a piece of old cross stitch, two cellophane wrappers in orange and yellow, assorted torn papers from paper bags and distressed magazine papers, the bee and hive image were torn from a magazine, there is also some hand dyed sari silk ribbon and some little torn metallic sheer fabrics dotted over the piece
before moving on to stage 2 - please ensure your work has dried out sufficiently (see above)
blending - using your paints/acrylics or other colouring medium ... use them to blend the fabrics and papers together.  There are no rules ... it's up to you.  You can use your paints or colouring mediums to either enhance and draw attention to areas you love or to disguise areas you don't like so much.  If you don't like what you've done with the paint ... wipe it off, let it dry and paint over with another colour or glue a piece of fabric or paper over the top.  You can see in the photo below I've added some burnt umber, gold and sap green ... blending all the colours together.  Then let your piece dry completely before the next stage
in the picture below I've worked burnt umber and gold paint into a piece of wool blanket
and it's optional but, if you wish, you can press your gilding flakes into the paint
before moving on to stage 3 - please ensure your work has dried out sufficiently (see above)
stitching - after the paint has dried you can further secure your fabrics and papers by stitching through the layers.  If you have a sewing machine you can use free motion stitch if you are happy with the technique.  If you prefer to do simple stitched lines, running stitch or zigzag then that's fine.  Perhaps alter the size of your stitches by adjusting the length and width while you are stitching ... that can add a bit of interest.  If you are not happy using a sewing machine (or don't have access to one) you can hand stitch through the layers ... long lines right across your piece in every direction ...
I've used a simple running stitch and zigzag stitch below ...

 then turn your piece over (mine looked like this on the back) ...

 on the back divide your piece into six smaller pieces by drawing lines with a pencil
(divide into as many pieces as you wish ... any size ... it's up to you)
 then be brave and cut them up with scissors


add texture - your pieces should now be a bit more abstract and have some interesting lines and areas of colour.  The next thing is to select just one of your small pieces to work on. 

work on your small pieces one at a time personalising them and adding texture and interest.  You can add texture by building up more layers of fabric and paint (in the same manner I mentioned above).

further texture can be added with 3D elements such as the "emeralds" I've added below.  Position your bits and pieces on your little piece, then glue down to keep them in place, then over sew to further secure.  I would add my 3D elements first before doing a lot of hand stitching.  I tend to hand stitch or sew on small beads as the final stage ... but, of course, it is up to you

I added the chiffon and emerald strip
which I glued down to "place" it, then stitched it to secure
afterwards, I worked some french knots around the piece
to help blend it in with the surrounding fabrics and papers

at any time, you can also apply more paint if you wish and remember those gilding flakes, if you have some.  Press your little shimmery flakes into the paint and leave to dry thoroughly.  Cover the gilding flakes with a piece of plain paper and carefully press and smooth the flakes to burnish them into the paint.  Gilding over pleats, lumps and bumps ... even little stitches ... will enhance the raised areas.  If you don't have gilding flakes ... you could gently rub some treasure gold (or similar),  metallic paint, markel sticks or metallic oil pastels over any raised areas you wish to enhance and draw attention to
(if you want to go the whole hog ... there are a variety of products out there for adding texture to your piece ... by adding texture to paint as well as texture pastes and 3D paints that you puff up with heat products ... this tutorial does not explore all those possibilities ... but if you are familiar with them ... they are suitable options for adding texture to your pieces.  It's just not possible to explore everything in one tutorial within a blog post)

gilding on pleats to enhance raised areas
hand stitching - when it comes to adding little stitches to your piece ... it's nice to use a variety of different types of thread, use a variety of thicknesses and a variety of colours or toning colours.  Stitch your biggest stitches, with your thickest yarns, first ... then fill in around with smaller stitches and blend your colours.  I, personally, like tones of similar colour all blended together ... but you don't have to do what I do.  Do what pleases you!
different stitches - you can use your small pieces to practice new stitches.  I'm a terror for always using my favourite french knots ... so next time I do this technique (which will be on Wednesday as I have a Crow Day) I promise to use new stitches.  I recommend any of Jan Beaney's and Jean Littlejohn's books for stitch inspiration and I also have Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches which is useful.  Online ... you can visit Sharon B's dictionary of stitches for hand embroidery and needlework for beautiful stitch ideas.  Be creative and use the stitches out of context to add texture and interest.  In addition, you could consider stumpwork or raised embroidery.  The possibilities are endless ...
stitching through painted areas
after working on all six of my little pieces I found that each one took on a new personality
they spoke to me and let me know which type of "allotment" they would be ...
... like a story unfolding
and I hope that yours will too
I hope you have fun with the basic ideas contained in this tutorial
work into each one as much as you wish ... until you are happy with your little pieces
it is up to you
 you can refer back to my last seven or eight posts for more detail
thank you for reading today and for following along
the tutorial will stay on my blog forever ... so don't feel under pressure
have fun!!  ♥
Posted by Carolyn Saxby