A blog about making art and other things using cloth, paper, paint, colour, stitch, and all sorts of exciting techniques, some of which I'm sure I still have to discover! I hope that the joy all this gives me is visible in what you can see here.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

A Pembrokeshire Break.

I have just returned from a short break visiting family in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. We spent an afternoon in St. David's, and of course couldn't miss the opportunity to go into the Cathedral which makes St. David's  the smallest city in the UK! The original building, now a ruin, can be seen below, and stands just behind the more recent building, above.

Above is a photo that I took of the wonderful embroidery stitched by Amanda Wright, depicting the life of Saint Caradog, and below are a couple of  closer details.

The gate above took my eye one afternoon while we were walking along the seafront in Newport., and below I just loved the way that the stones and rocks had been placed to strengthen the shallow incline that was supporting the garden above.

So many Canadian Geese were milling and swimming around in the estuary of the river, I don't think I have ever seen so many in one place like that before. I took many photos of them, and am hoping to make some stitched pieces using them as inspiration.

We visited Picton Castle Gardens which are also beautiful, and where there are  a number of sculptures to be enjoyed, including a dragonfly with gorgeous bright blue wings. I thought the reflection in the water of the small lake made an interesting image.

Armed with plenty of inspiration, I'm hoping to get back into some stitched artwork very soon now. Many thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope your summer/winter breaks will also inspire your creativity. 

Monday, 21 August 2017

Lucy's Birdfest!

Lucy Dean, an ex colleague, and very good friend of mine, decided to put on a Bird Extravaganza in her garden last weekend. We were welcomed by the site of these amazing rainbow coloured birds dancing around her rotary drier, and gently swaying in the breeze. Lucy had created them by twisting willow into bird shapes, and then covering the frames with coloured tissue.

As we wandered through her and her husband Graham's lovely garden, there were lots of bird related works of art to discover, from the large printed sheet you see above, where the crows are soaring on a cloud of white cotton, to the amazing milk bottle Gulls below, being cleverly reflected in the round mirrors, where the Gulls could be seen against the reflected sky!

One of Lucy's many specialities are crows, and they were perched on fences, and trees, scarily peering at us from above. The old crow in the photo below, even has his specs perched on the end of his beak, (to see us more clearly no doubt)!!

Again, I think Lucy bends and manipulates willow into the desired shapes, which she has then covered with black plastic. The crow head below is a work in progress, and so far has blue strips of plastic tied around the frame. I will make sure that I give a progress report for this one, as I believe it is also going to be part of a future exhibition.

The ceramic tiles above were also designed and painted by Lucy, forming a very colourful peacock. I'm not sure about the parrot below, but I took his photo anyway, as I thought he was rather gorgeous.

Below is a rather wonderful fantasy mask, with two bluetits facing each other just above the eyes.

Now this Birdfest was also a collaboration of bird related arts and crafts by members of Lucy's family, and some of her friends. Graham, her hubby, is a talented potter and ceramicist, and he decided to craft the two birds below. They are still to be fired and glazed, but looked great just as they were in the photos below.

Above is bunting that Lucy made from painted felt, and below a glorious pink flamingo made by her niece Emily Webber. I love that his/her body was made from an old discarded light shade!

Karen Moser printed the black and white birds above and below from a lino cut, and then stitched them onto some hand dyed fabric, giving the background a lovely impression of a summer garden. She also made the nest below, filling it with some small eggs lying on a bed of soft feathers.

Jackie Harford constructed the bird boxes, decorating them in some delightfully witty ways. The box above had a peep hole, lovely to peer into, especially after dark when the light underneath shone into it. Below is 'Birdsong',  and below that the words to one of Paul McCartney's songs has been written on the front.

The box below has another world inside, filled with a whole family of birds.

My contribution was the hand stitched bird bunting below. I'm having work done on my house at the moment, so can't get to my sewing machine! Anyway, it has been fun to sit of an evening and use scraps to create the fantasy birds below, decorating them with plenty of hand stitching.

I was unable to stay until darkness fell, but Lucy had arranged for plenty of candles to be lit, and placed strategically, giving a magical twist to her exhibition of bird art. I hope you have enjoyed seeing these photos, and I hope that wherever you are in the world, you are enjoying some creative time too.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Mainly paint, but some cloth and stitch too!

Last year, while I was visiting my daughter in New Zealand, I took lots of photos of some of the more tropical plants and flowers, with the idea of using them in some way in my artwork. After watching DMTVlast week, I decided that  I would make a painted concertina book, using six images from my collection, which I also printed off, so that I could cut a small section from each, to stick on each page to match the colours more accurately.

I just need to make a cover now, one for the front, and also for the back. These little books make a nice reminder of a holiday, and I will hopefully be making more in the future.

Above is another sample from one of my art classes, where I used a combination of clingfilm and string/wool to build up a textured background. Not quite sure where this one is going yet, but I see an old stone wall, with a bush or tree growing up from behind it.

The art group I belong to have at last arranged to hold an exhibition in Eastbourne later this year, with the theme of birds, a project we have all been working on for a number of years now. I decided that I needed to get all my 'bird' stuff out, and finally finish it off so that it will be ready. These two pieces have now been finished off, and are ready to be presented as wall hangings. There is such a lot of tactile texture on the surface, because I have used a combination of free machine stitch with lace scraps, and paper lamination to build up the surface, and I feel that to put them behind glass would detract from this quality.

I will give more details about this exhibition as and when they become available, but in the meantime, enjoy your summer/winter, depending on where you are in the world!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Using the watercolour backgrounds.

I have been adding bird paintings to some of my experimental watercolour backgrounds. These backgrounds were produced in one of my art classes, using clingfilm, or other cellophanes by pressing them into the wet paint, and leaving them there until the paint is dry.

I have added the birds to the examples that had a more tree or plantlike pattern, but also further accentuated by adding more colour into some of the negative spaces.

Oh dear, this poor Jackdaw only appears to have one leg! I will have to help him out by adding another!!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

More art class results.

This week we were given a very colourful still life to explore with our watercolours, and a very large sheet of paper to work on. It was easier to stand for this one, something I don't usually do, (too lazy), but it was surprising how it really helped when working large.

I didn't get to finish it, so worked on it a bit more from home. I had taken the photos you see above as a reference. I decided to have another go on a much smaller scale, re-arranging just a few of the elements that I particularly liked. There was something about the large blue jug that attracted my eye, plus the contrasts in the fabrics colourful stripes, and the flowery scarf.

A couple of sketches where I was trying out the new composition.

A much smaller piece, and I've also changed the colours in the scarf.

Another sketch, this time using a paintbrush and paint, instead of a pen/pencil.

I've stopped here, I think I preferred it before painting the jug!

I have also been playing around with one of the experimental landscapes from my other (Wednesday) class, I won't be doing anymore to this one either, but I do feel that I'm learning more each time I put paint to paper.

Finally, the view from my spare room window where I do my artwork, and I think summer may have arrived at last. Gorgeous blue skies, and wall to wall sunshine, long may it last!