"I begin with an idea ... and then it becomes something else"
~ Picasso

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Surface Treatment Workshop - weeks 7 and 10

I got a little behind with the Surface Treatment Workshop last week

I did work on various samples but struggled with my fibro, headaches and asthma
and generally felt under the weather through exhaustion from preparing for Stitch St. Ives

it meant such a lot to me to be able to take part in the show and to meet people
and afterwards I felt I was ok at first but it caught up with me ... so I had to give in and rest

if you follow along ... you will be used to me disappearing without warning now and again
but it is my intention to push through it this year and get back to a working routine in my studio
and this project - The Surface Treatment Workshop - has really helped me
to get in the studio, to develop my art practice and work with new products



we also got a little out of sequence
because, sometimes, we have to order new products in specially
and have to wait for them to turn up in the mail
so you may have noticed that we skipped to week 8 to work with gesso
while we were waiting for gels and fiber paste to arrive

for these samples we decided to combine week 7 (gels)
with week 10 (making our own speciality gels)
as a lot of the prompts for gels were quite similar

and as there were quite a few ideas for using gels I decided to work smaller samples
and created a series of hand made tags to help me contain them


for the tag below I used Golden medium gel mixed with a little gold acrylic paint
to embed tissue paper and paper lace onto a collaged background

I covered the collaged tag with quite a thick layer of transparent matte gel
and added pressed flowers into the gel

the gel acts like a glue and a sealer in one
and after using it to secure placed paper or objects
the excess gel medium can be wiped away for a neat finish

it was a particularly good product to use with the delicate flower petals


you can see I have applied the gel really thickly on the tag / sample below
using the gel to adhere a green sweetie wrapper and some scrim to the tag

I also used the gel to collage a tapestry yarn wrapper to the tag
and sprinkled gold mica powder into the wet gel


the gel dried transparent and then I added a pressed flower
and you can just make out subtle hints of shimmery mica on top of the tag

I also discovered that gels over collage (when dried)
make excellent drawing grounds with pencil or artist pen
but we cover drawing grounds next week ... so more on that another time ...


gels can be mixed with paints for colour
and thick molding pastes for extra texture (below)

and here I'm using up excess paint from my palette
which I mixed into the gel and used on my tag backgrounds
and pressing more springtime flowers in the gel

I used a palette knife to apply the paint and gel on the tags


feathers embed in gel quite easily and lay nice and flat
I added an extra layer of gel to seal ... so I could paint over if I wanted ...
now moving on to speciality gels ...

these are really just shop bought textured gels or
hand made gels made by adding "bits" to the gel before painting and applying


I mixed up some gel medium to which I added turquoise acrylic paint
and then applied it to the little tag through a stencil
once dry ... I added ash (from the wood burner) pressed into the wet gel
then tapped the excess ash off before applying more gel to seal
and when dry I painted with h2o watercolour paints


this one below is broken egg shell pieces stuck down with lots of gel
and I also used fine sawdust for one sample


this is Golden glass bead gel below ... a rather fun product to try



Golden glass bead gel looks like quite a runny white / semi-transparent paste
which can be applied as thickly or thinly as you wish ...

it has tiny little glass beads already mixed in ...


as the gel dries it turns transparent but with a sort of wet look
which really enhances the shimmery little glass beads

before it dried out ... I sprinkled mica powder into the gel
and, because it is basically a glue, I embedded a shell and a little piece of lace


in summary I would say gels are a lot of fun to play with
and are useful for layering and acting as a glue and a sealer in one
that's not to say that there may be cheaper products out there that are just as efficient

also this week ... I got some transparent Powertex liquid to play with


it's basically a product that stiffens and hardens fabrics and threads
so that it can be moulded and sculpted into vessels or art forms

I've had my first play with it and created a small bowl
(which, I have to say, I'm not enamoured with)
and I'm not sure I'm all that keen on the smell of Powertex either
but that may be muted when the vessel is painted

however, I have also applied it to this piece of metallic lace
which did interest me greatly for the project I have in mind

I'm looking for a lacy fine art texture with distressed holes and threads
to which I can add some stitched barnacles and/or seaweed for vessels for exhibition


next up ... I will share week 9 - fiber paste samples (by way of catch up)
and Evelyn has already posted hers if you would like to see
then we are back on track again

hope you enjoyed seeing the samples
and following along with the Surface Treatment Workshop

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

golden moons with indigo and umber clouds

it was such a beautiful moon last night

the brightest full moon I've seen for a while
with occasional midnight blue and umber clouds passing over and shrouding it in mist

it was mesmerising and I watched for ages ...

I count my blessings ...
that I'm able to lay in bed and look up at the moon and star light over the sea
even if it does take me longer to drift off ...


the early morning shimmer is breathtaking too


I've had a very busy couple of weeks ...
with the Surface Design Treatment Workshop samples
a new erosion bundle, St. Ives Textiles and the cyanotype workshop

I put together this mosaic ...
which is a gathering of everything I managed to squeeze into my week
you can just make out a new collage there which I have been working on ...


it's inspired by that euphoric feeling that spring is just around the corner
that promise of bright spring days ... and longer, golden, summer days to come

when days are very warm in the sunshine but the wind is chilly and fresh
and when wet sand can be very cold between the toes ...


this charming old photo is one from my collection which I love
for the sheer joyfulness of engrossed sand castle building and smiling faces


I've used a mix of papers, sheer fabrics, silk, lace, netting and the old photo
decorated with shells, beads, real seaweed and pressed flowers (from my garden)

I added gold on the flowers and the mussel shell


I quite adore the natural organic edge of ripped and frayed fabrics
and tangles of loose flying threads finding their own place


also in the mosaic I included some rusty peeling paint found on St. Ives boats

I like the crustiness of the rust and the crackle of the aging white paint
with worn and rubbed layers showing the boats history

who chose to paint sunny yellow over blue layers?



I think yellow must be one of the most uplifting joyful colours in the palette

"colour is a means to exert a direct influence on the soul"
-Wassily Kandinsky-


this week ... I've begun to stitch seaside inspired hearts again
and subconsciously (or not) I've been favouring this palette
of spring yellows, gold and indigo blues


this one features yellow and gold moons and circles
inspired by that big ol' moon up there again tonight

at the moment ... I'm just layering up pretty fabrics and lace
and securing with stab stitches and running stitches


I have to say that I'm probably at my most happiest when I'm stitching hearts
and I'm especially enjoying a slower way of working at the moment
while I catch my breath after the show at the weekend


so over the next few weeks and months you will see more of my hearts developing
as I create a new body of work for exhibition in September
(Cornwall and seaside inspired ... beach scenes, rock pools and Cornish cottages)

I shall begin work for exhibition in earnest at the beginning of June
meanwhile ... I'm clearing the decks, so to speak, in preparation for that


Stitch St. Ives was a great success last weekend ... I had so much fun
mainly thanks to so many of my St. Ives friends popping in to see me
 and visitors, blog and facebook friends coming along to say hello and talk textiles

so a huge thank you to all of you who came to the show ... it was great to meet you!

many, many thanks also to St. Ives artist Angela Diggle
for trusting me with her grandmother's vintage sewing "notions"
everything is rather precious especially the well worn darning mushroom
but I will take care of them as the new "keeper" - thank you ♥


inevitably I made a few purchases myself ...
topping up my supply boxes for a few of my favourite nature themes

so ... now that I have recovered following the show
(these days my auto immune illness necessitates this!)
I will be getting my samples finished off for The Surface Treatment Workshop

we are combining week 7 (gels) with week 10 (speciality gels)
I hope to share my samples some time over the weekend
and thereafter get back to posting the Workshop on Wednesdays
and Snippets on Saturdays/Sundays

Evelyn has already posted her samples here if you would like to see
(always interesting and different to mine)

thank you so much for visiting ... take care ... see you soon x