Saturday, 26 November 2011

The weeks fly by

I cannot believe how quickly the last couple of weeks have flown by. I seem to have been very busy doing nothing, with a few productive days thrown in.  
Last week I visited Hertford where my friend Sally was having an exhibition at the YumYum cafe.  This was not only a good opportunity to support Sally, but to also have rather nostalgic moment or two.  I was a student in Hertford.  I went to the memorably named Balls Park Teacher Training College. Although I went to a college re-union a few years ago, I don't think I have visited the town since I left in 1971!  I didn't have long, but the town centre is compact so I soon found my way around. I had forgotten what an attractive place it was - or perhaps I didn't notice in my youth.  
The Yum Yum cafe is in this old building which I must have walked past many times when I lived in this rather elegant Georgian terrace in my second year - I think we lived in the far end - at the bottom of Port Hill on the road to Bengeo (what a great name).  

The River Lea runs through Hertford along with several other small rivers.

I must have also crossed this bridge many times.

The brewery looked rather resplendent in the late afternoon sun. I do remember the smell of hops, which I found rather unpleasant wafting over the town.

I seem to remember spending many evenings here in the White Hart - a half a lager and lime and one vodka and lime was the most I could afford at a time!

Graveson's brought back many memories - it was a favourite for buying fabric - I made a lot of my own clothes as a student.

Over-looking the car park was this wall with plaster decorations - pargetting - a local feature which I remember learning about when we had to do a local study. Can't remember much else!

...and at Courtyard Arts I found a textile exhibition including some pieces by Marian Murphy.  These small hands were captivating.  Marian ran the first machine embroidery workshop I went too, which leads me nicely onto Gina Ferrari's workshop last Wednesday at Art Van Go.
I had a great day learning some new stitches and ways with my sewing machine which I would never have dreamt of.
Some fellow embroiders awestruck at Gina's demo.

We learned how to do 'cable stitch' which involves hand winding bobbins and by-passing bobbin tension - very frightening!!! That's my multicoloured sample along with a rather rigid and damp sample of fringe sewn on water-soluble film - another first for me. It was a treat working with Gina, who was great fun and an excellent teacher, I'm sorry I missed her earlier sessions at AVG.  
I've got lots to do the week ahead including taking Marvin the cat to the vet for a tooth clean and possible extractions! But I hope to fit in a bit of creative work too.
Have a great week.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

More pages from my sketchbook

Thank you for all the positive comments about the Mac, I'm getting there. Meanwhile I am loving my new amount of S P A C E and putting time in on my creative sketchbook course.  
I am working on collage and adding photographs to pages. Not quite happy with this page yet - may work on it some more.

Meanwhile I am enjoying drawing. Here are two studies I did of onions.  The first is done with Inktense watercolour pencils on watercolour paper, the second with the same pencils on cartridge paper.

Below is another double page spread from my sketchbook exploring the making of pickles and chutneys. I have integrated a photograph and the middle jar is a cut-out. 

I am still working on the page that will show through the window.
It has surprised me out find how inhibited I still am in working on these pages.  The course encourages you to go back and rework pages if you feel it is needed, to supplement one way of working with another.  I don't know why my inhibitions and purist ways are so deeply entrenched - but I suppose I was brought up believing that there was 'proper' way of doing something and that had to be mastered. Going back to rework a piece always felt like cheating for some reason - even though I know it isn't.  I am looking forward to reworking some of my other projects especially the 'Walled Garden' which started so well and fizzled out through loss of direction.  I hope that I shall be able to apply what I have learned here to revitalise some of that book.

Next week I am doing a day's workshop with Gina Ferrari of Fan My Flame fame which I am SO looking forward to.  It will be a real treat to use my sewing machine under Gina's guidance.  If you have never visited her blog please do so, she is a very talented lady. I have missed working on textiles for a while, but hope everything will come together eventually.  However I have to remind myself that I am only doing all of this for fun and no one is going to call me to account.

Thank you all who take time to comment,  I love to read what you have to say. It is great to be able to view all of my followers again, the number has been hovering around the 145 number for a while with people coming and going.  As it approaches 150 I feel a give-away coming on, so watch this space.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Testing testing...

As you can see my new iMac has arrived and I have spent the several days starting to get to know it.  Now I have bit of a stiff neck from sitting too long at the screen which I did have raised up.  Now I have put it back to desk level.  Loading a photo into Blogger seemed rather long winded, but I guess I will get to know it all better.  I have also bought a couple of Ikea worktops which has given me a full length work bench, more space to make a mess!!  I haven't disconnected my old PC yet or moved the printer/scanner, which will take up a lot of room on the desk. I am also finding new homes for 'stuff' and then not being able to find anything.  Sorry, this is probably really boring for you. 

I do want to take the opportunity thank John who spent some time helping with a trip to Ikea, ordering the computer and helping move furniture. 

 Hoping to have some sketchbook pages to share soon!   Have a good weekend.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

"Moon of Falling Leaves"

Just a quick up date after another busy week. However I did manage to fit in creating my  November page.
2011 is nearly through - it is unbelievable. 

 "Moon of Falling Leaves" is the Lakota for October, whilst November is "Moon of the Coming of Winter". There are still plenty of leaves left to fall . With no frost to finish them off the geraniums are still adding to the colour scheme in the garden as well as a few out of season miscreants like the companulas.
For the November background I used Derwent Inktense pencils with some cut-out stencils created for my creative sketchbook course. The squares are plain brown paper.

Here are a couple more pages pages I have created using Inktense and Karisma colour pencils. 

Cotoneaster berries - a detail taken from a photograph
and in my smaller book, an experiment making a rubbing from a cutout I made of a sparrow. 
 I am very pleased that over the last year we have cultured a fair size colony of House Sparrows that live in the shrubs in the garden - and kick up quite a din too. Two or three years ago we hardly saw a sparrow, it was once such a ubiquitous bird that we took it for granted but its numbers have declined over the last decade or so.

Hoping to get my Apple Mac this week, so fingers crossed,  next time I blog....
Have a good week whatever you're up to,