Sunday, 22 May 2011

Weekly post

I am in a good place and a bad place at the moment. Good because I can look at all I have achieved and I am getting ready for the Open Studio ( I hope you won't be sick of me mentioning it), but in a bad place as I feel lost in a creative fog which has been going on for some weeks.  To add to that, this week I have not felt too good and low in energy. However I do try to make myself 'do' something practical most days.  I'm not sure if it my age, but I feel every day is precious and I must make the most of it. I hate to feel I have wasted a day. I have tell myself that sometimes it is all right just to sit around, mooching, reading and drinking tea even when there are so many things that 'need' doing. Is it our natures that make some of us feel like this or the way we have been brought up? I am certainly not a 'good' housewife and my standards would not match up to my mother's although she was never critical, she just liked to pass on helpful hints. Such as, "If you wipe out the oven every time you roast Jill, it won't get so dirty" (Oh yeah! Mum). Perhaps there are others of you who feel caught in the middle - brought up to the adage that the wife's first duties were to her husband, home and family but educated (eventually) to believe that as a woman your own interests are just as important.  I cannot put any blame on Mr T who would never suggest I put anything domestic first, but perhaps he has been encouraged by me to expect that I will do. So it's my own fault. I also feel that may be all of this is also a wonderful excuse as to why I haven't pushed myself further. Well I have got that off my chest!
So this is what I have been doing. (Not all this week!)

 I am still working on my self directed textile line of study and I have a new book, "Drawn to Stitch" by Gwen Hedley, which fits in well with the others I have been using.  My starting point for this exercise was the peeling paint on the old door from the walled garden in the top photograph. I noticed that the knot in the wood was heart shaped, but it was the wood grain and peeling paint that appealed to me. 
After drawing the wood grain and looking carefully at the colours I experimented stitching grain lines in a piece of calico on felt.
I decided that the felt side up was more interesting

I then tried using two colours.  I could not match the beautiful silvery pinky grey of the old wood so I just concentrated on the textures. I used yellow ochre for the grain and black for the cracks.

Finally I repeated the last excercise but added three layers of blue/green organza which I then cut away with scissors and a hot soldering iron to reveal the ochre stitches.

I was very pleased with the effect.
Next will be trying to achieve that beautiful colour of old weathered wood.

On Wednesday, despite not feeling 'on top of the world' I spent a day with Sally at the studio she works in at Digswell near Welwyn Garden City. She was running a second day workshop on monoprinting using the huge old press they have there. No photos I'm afraid. This time I wanted to experiment with printing on fabric,  I was a busy day with five of us using the press whose wheel must be over five feet in diameter and takes some turning, however it is a lovely process. Printmaking cannot be rushed so I was very happy to come away with four pieces printed with found objects and shapes cut from corregated card.
This piece on natural calico has some lovely textures especially in the leaves which does not show up well in this photograph.

This was on  piece of  white cotton after using more ink and scratching into the ink on the plate.

This was achieved by rolling black ink onto the pieces of card and placing them back on the plate. The impressions left by the objects when printing the previous piece can be seen in the red ink. I printed onto some cheap polyester satin I bought on the market. It was a bit of an experiment, but it took the ink well and had a beautiful silvery lustre.

 This was the final piece on polyester satin again.

Not sure what I am going to do with them now, but they are very pleasing to look at.

It has been a day of bright sunshine and dark showers today - bit like my mood! But if you have made it to the end of this post, thanks for sticking it through.
I do hope you have a bright week,.