Sunday, 25 August 2013

Getting back in the saddle

You may wish to skip the pre-amble and go straight to the pictures...

As many of you may know I finished my City and Guilds way back at the end of May and it has taken me all this time to really get the creative juices flowing. I have been dabbling at all sorts of things, but nothing has really grabbed me. I felt empty and everything seemed like too much effort, mind you the heat wave didn't help. I filled my time reading a lot of books, something I haven't done for ages, many of them rather fast moving, best seller,  detective novels bought on the spur of the moment in charity shops. Not my usual genre. (I really enjoyed Philippa Gregory's "The White Queen" bought while  watching the TV series and I now have the rest of the series of books waiting to be read.  It was a period of history I know very little about, but found totally fascinating). But this wasn't helping with my lack of fulfilment on the create front. I had no energy.
One of my traits is that I am like a sponge always soaking up new ideas, techniques and styles. So over the last year having done several workshops, bought books, seen exhibitions and so on, I felt that I wanted to emulate all the work I admired, use colour like Ruth Issett, print like Bobby Britnell, use discharge techniques like Clive Barnett as well as quilt like the Kemshalls, but not being able to do it. All the while forgetting that the purpose of all of this study was to find my own voice and apply these techniques to my own purpose. Positive action was needed as I was beginning to feel seriously fed up and perhaps verging on not wanting to get up in the morning.
Firstly I joined the local branch of the Embroiders' Guild.  Gina Ferrari is a committee member and I have met  members Gill before, as well as Pam at an Art VAn Go workshop, so I shall be in very good company. This will give me regular contact with other like minded ladies.
Next, after feeling disappointed that I didn't get to this year FOQ, I took myself out and bought a new car - well not a new one, but a newer one, something I have promised myself for a couple of years.  My old faithful was beginning to need money spent on it regularly and like every single-motor household I wanted something I could rely on, so after a couple of weeks of self imposed stress, it is accomplished.  I now own a shiny black nearly new Vauxhall Meriva. I have also changed my energy supplier and managed to fit a new front door bell!!! Things are beginning to look up. You may ask, where is Mr T in all of this?  Well, he is right behind me, but being a stroke victim he finds it very difficult to be up front in the big household decisions. This is an endless source of frustration for him as he doesn't want to leave all the responsibilities in my hands, but it is something we have to accept. So with my self esteem feeling bolstered is was time to get back to the creative stuff.
Finally, to get me going I made a list.  These are always useful, although often I don't get beyond the first couple of items, especially if they are none essential. I thought back to what I had enjoyed making right at the beginning of my quest, what I had started selling and what had brought me confidence. So I thought if I went back to these things it would get me going again. So on my list went:
 A purse 
A book wrap
A bag
A brooch
A box
A wall hanging

Over the summer I had enjoyed drawing and painting in my sketchbook the poppy that had appeared in my garden so that was my starting point.
 I started with a couple of purses and a book wrap, so I raided the fabric stash for suitable colours and bonded them onto a couple of pieces of acrylic felt.

Meanwhile I had a created another sketchbook page. I had been looking at some work on line - although I cannot remember what or where and I had the idea of an image appearing out of an abstract arrangement of colour, or an imaged disintegrating into its component colours. I was rather excited by this and got out one of the three 8"x 8" ready stretched canvases that have been kocking around for months.

The sewing got pushed aside, meals were late and after a day and a bit intensive painting I ended up with this. I had some Golden acrylics which I have been using on fabric, but I hadn't actually painted with before. The colours are so beautifully intense only drop seems to go a long way and produced glowing colours.

Now I was on a roll so I had to paint the other two canvases as well.

 Here are the three of them on a radiator. I haven't really got a good spot to photograph them and I'm too busy (yippee) at the moment to set up a photography session.

The paintings got a lovely response on my FaceBook page and I can't tell you how delighted I am with the comments. 

I am taking part in the ANB Beds Art Trail in September and although I shall exhibit my C&G quilts I think these will fit in too. After that I may put them in my Etsy shop which is empty at the moment.

Back to the list...

Two purses finished and one book wrap on the way.

What next ... well I have several ideas!
Fingers crossed the momentum will keep me going. Whatever you're doing, have a great week.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

August - just

Here you see a picture of Marvin with four teeth...
... and here he is Friday with no teeth. A runny nose and a visit to the vet confirmed he had an abscess on one tooth and the other three were pretty poor so rather than put him through another anaesthetic in the future, it was decided to take them all out.
He has recovered amazingly quickly and is just about back to normal, just sleeping a it more, which means about 22 out of 24 instead of 21!

The weather has been a lot more comfortable and the garden is bursting. There have been lots of bumble bees, couldn't resist snapping a few.

The poppy has finished blooming and the seed heads are drying upside down in a paper bag.
They are irrestistable as subject matter, but I wanted to try to put my own take on them.

I made a card rubbing plate and used candle wax as a resist. In the enable above I colour washed the paper first.

Of course I had to create a few sketchbook pages too.

I bought myself a packet of TAP Transfer Artists Paper, it is like Tee Shirt transfer but you can not only print on it with you ink jet, but you can paint and draw on it too and you can use it in fabric, paper, wood, metal and glass.

Here I have used a photo I took of an old door, it has transferred perfectly. However the fabric is stiffened by the transfer. I thought I'd try a small whole cloth journal quilt and made a start, but now I need a bigger range of threads. Not sure when I shall get to the shops. 

I still haven't made my mind up about visiting the Festival of Quilts this week. I shall regret it if I don't go, but my back has been giving me a bit of trouble so I'm dithering.
Whatever you're doing this week, have fun.