Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Next meeting

Just to remind everyone that the next meeting is the Christmas meet! Wow hasn't that come around quick!
But for our Christmas meet we have a present swapsie so don't forget to get a little something (to the value of £5) not much so that we can have a little mini raffle and swap of pressies!
Also if possible could you also bring a little something to use as prizes in our games and activities.

If anyone has any ideas or activities that we could make or do on the day then please let me or Mel know so that we can make sure that everyone knows if they have to bring something (like sewing machine and sewing equipment).

Can't believe it's almost Christmas, I had better do some Christmas shopping!

Beautiful finished canvas

Mel shared her gorgeous finished canvas on Saturday. She had made her base fabric from felt and added stitching and embellishments to great effect. I love the way she has presented the canvas, I love the stitching around the edge it adds such a dimension to her work. The colours are gorgeous too!
Take a look at the amazing details.

So beautiful, thank you Mel

If anyone has any work they would like me to add tot the blog please let me know! 

Making books

We also had a great time playing with paper and dyes to make a paper book. Thank you so much Pauline for a wonderful demonstration and the materials for us to play!

I loved the books that Pauline had made and she showed us how she achieved the colour effects on her paper book. I was surprised to see it was made from wallpaper lining too.

The Koh-I-noor watercolour dye sets were wonderful. They gave such wonderful vibrant colours. We all made our parcels (of paper and colour!). How did your books turn out??? Please let me know or send me photos as I'd love to see what colours and patterns were created.

I made a brown and a blue book. The dye was great at running into sections and creating lines and patterns as well as diffusing into the paper and making lovely grades of colour.

I have decided to combine the book cover experiments from Mel with my paper book and have made some hard covers (my gesso wasn't stiff enough) and am planning to make hard covers for my little books.

Here are some photos from the day. Please bring your books if you have finished or sewn them to the next meeting as I would love to see how they developed.

Would also be great to think about creating the pages

ordinary lining paper ! what a wonderful idea! 

Pauline's amazing books- I wonder what we could create for the inside.....?

These were how mine turned out after I had "unwrapped" them. I was really pleased with the colours they are so vibrant. 

The dye even took hold on the baking paper. I am sure that we can do something with this.

We also made some paper fabric using different papers, fixing them to the fabric with PVA. This forms quite a durable "paper" fabric that can be cut and stitched and applied to other surfaces. 

Angela added some tissue paper and the dye from the paper created a wonderful design on the opposite side! Lush! 

Using tissue and other "additions" to create a beautiful surface from Mel. How did this dry?? Is it soft enough to take stitching?

What an amazing day! 
We did so much and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am so pleased with my little books and am busy trying to think of what theme I can have to develop the pages.

Making book covers!

Thank you so much Mel for a great morning making very squidgy and texture-tastic book covers. I am looking forward to seeing how they have dried and if anyone has added anything further to their covers. I was amazed at how hard the cover was when dry (when made with the PVA). My gesso covers aren't that strong, they are still quite pliable and can be bent and manipulated a little more. I decided to paint some with black gesso and will add some metallic paints onto them with a dry brush or maybe mix mica powders with acrylic gel medium. This always works well with picking up textures. I am not sure what I will do with the other gesso pieces I made as I think they could work well as a background for something. I think I might need to make holes in the fabric first as I think hand sewing might be tough on the fingers!

But I was intrigued by the different things that everyone mixed their PVA flour mix with. Would love to have some "after" pictures to go with the following!

These were made with gesso and flour. The pieces were added later and pushed into the wet gesso mix.

This is the flour and PVA mix, not sure what has been added looks like some seeds and sawdust. The flour/ PVA created some lovely sections of smooth lumps and bumps!

Angela used some fabrics to create her page, I love the mix of colours and designs. Did you add PVA to this??

You can also draw into the wet flour/ PVA mix. This will look amazing when it's painted. Would love to see it! 

The above had different ingredients mixed in and on top of the wet flour/PVA mix. The poppy seeds and lentils were particularly good. I think the sawdust will prove interesting when it's painted too.

Drying takes some time! 

I thoroughly enjoyed this investigation into different textures and using a variety of materials to create different effects. I think it was great fun to have the time and space to just experiment and see what happens! 

Mel did use acrylic paints to colour her covers, the paint goes onto the PVA surface really well.

Never underestimate the power of PLAY !
Thank you Mel for this great activity! 

Monday, 31 October 2016

Make a paper book!

Just to let everyone know, if you would like to make a paper book that is totally gorgeous and inspiring then Pauline has volunteered to show us how to make them! The book can be used in any way, you can add pictures to it -drawings, paintings, collage- and you could also add stitch or applique.
Pauline has generously said that she will bring all we need - thank you so much! - but if you have any bin liners or hairdryers then that would be useful. Also if anyone has any large paper clips (I think I have some!) could they bring them.

So lots to think about and do on Saturday! An amendment to the book covers that Mel is doing is to bring something that you could use to add texture to your gesso and flour. She suggests sawdust, sand, old beads, pieces of fabric, tiny pebbles whatever you think will add more texture or dimension to the book.
Mel has also asked if anyone has a paper making screen she could borrow...????

Sounds brilliant, hope to see everyone there on Saturday! I'll leave you with the penguin of positivity~! I just love him!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

interesting link for paper and stitch

Have just found this on Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's blog.....
I like the basic idea, she uses stencils but you can create your own designs.
Just a few ideas for a week Saturday, there's plenty of room to spread out paint, stamp and stencil. Might be worth a go just to see how paper works with the machine, you could also use different papers bonded to fabric and then stamped and painted....

Have a look at the blog post


Inspiration Wednesday

I have been noticing that we are including much more mixed media in our work of late and I signed up for a course this year which has been quite interesting. I joined Donna Downey's Inspiration Wednesday course earlier this year but have only just got going on it. It consists of a new video every two weeks which is basically about playing with different materials and layouts for a journal. Some of the ideas probably won't translate to fabrics but most will. I have only just got going on this year's classes as well time is always a challenge isn't it! 
But I've signed up for next year as I think the different techniques that she demonstrates are quite fun and worth a look.
It isn't that expensive I only paid £29 for next year (it's in dollars so you have to pay attention to the exchange rate). 
Here's a link to her web if you want to see what she's offering. I do like Donna, her stencils are fab and her outlook and way of working are really down to earth and inspiring. If you want to do something on mixed media that isn't so intense but much more about playing and fun then have a look.

She also does a find out Friday feature which features different artists creating pictures using limited materials and the Artist's Gang is also worth a look. Both of these features are free. 
Just thought that I'd pass on the info, if you know of any good courses or exhibitions then let us know and I'll post them for you ! 

Friday, 28 October 2016

November meet - idea to try!

Further info on the meeting

Mel has a very intriguing idea about making a book cover. It looks very interesting and lots of fun. I sense a messy session or is that just me! I like messy sessions!

Here is a list of what we will need if we wish to have a go...

 you will need: piece of fabric the size you want to make, can be anything but cotton or calico is a good standby – it will be a good way of using up stained fabric.  Flour (Mel will bring some) PVA glue or gesso, hairdryer, table cover, newspaper to work on, bowl / container to make mix in, something to spread the mix with a credit card or flat knife that sort of thing.  Rubber gloves if you don’t like getting gooey hands, apron and paints.  Paper to decorate to make inside cover.  

That should be everything but apologies if anything has been forgotten- you can add your own bits and bobs I am sure! 

Sounds good. I'll definitely have a go! 
If anyone else has any project ideas then let me know! 

Image result for crafting gifs

Thursday, 27 October 2016

November meeting

Our next meeting will be on November 5th!

We will be looking at using paper or stationary to create pieces of delicious-ness!

It will be an opportunity to use different papers to create backgrounds or motifs to use within designs or to stand alone.
I am sure we have lots of different types of papers in our stash and don't forget you can get paper tape or yarn now too.

I have started a Pinterest board with some ideas on- just search paper in textiles on the site and you will come up with my board. I will try and add more to it before our meeting.

I have had a go at creating a paper collage to add to a piece- I am working hard on making faces of late. It is something that I enjoy doing and after many an online course- see the Life Book button on the right - I am hopefully getting better at it! I was going to stick my pieces down with bondaweb like applique but it was far too fiddly so ended up using the trusty gel medium and have stuck it all to a cheap canvas. I am hoping that I will be able to take it off the frame and sew it to a background which I am hoping to make a week on Saturday. I might break a few needles though! Best bring goggles!

Then again you could try finding some of Cas Holmes work on diaries and fabric books. Her work is wonderful if you look it up. She makes a diary or joins pieces together made out of fabrics and papers. Remember you can add and fix your pieces with different things- wires, string, clips anything we are not necessarily sew! There's also Becky Adams who is based in Penarth. She makes wonderful things from paper and might be one to look up for future workshops. We also have Pauline and her wonderful paper ideas and books that she showed us at the last meeting..... would you like us to bring anything Pauline to try things out ???

Hope that everyone will be able to attend. I'll bring lots of paper with me and I am so looking forward to seeing how we all take using this material. I have lots of ideas but putting them on or with paper (ha!) might be another thing!

I'll let you know if we need any further materials although this is a bring what you like day as we have the hall to spread out and help each other! 

Here's my face from paper although with the amount of gel medium I used it might take the machine out on Saturday !

Mash up!

I have finally finished my mash up of different pieces that I wasn't that happy with. I kept looking at them and thinking, well I like them but.... so decided to cut them up and mash them together. Have been thinking about the theme of cracks so decided to try and put spaces between the pieces as sort of cracks!

But it didn't seem to have any focus so made lots of circles out of wire and wrapped them with paper tape that I found in a bargain store. I spent ages sewing them on and that made it all go a bit wonky so had to readjust! 
I added some metal circles as well just to get different textures and sizes.

Then added some paper pieces and lots of texture. I added lots of jewelry findings, cogs, beads, washers- anything really just to add some interest to the places where there was very little stitching and it was quite blank. I used gel medium to add all the extra bits. I also added some texture paste through a stencil and covered the glue bits with art stones from Prima. I then made the scary decision to cover the entire thing with black gesso. This was pretty scary as I didn't know if I would ruin it all and end up having to just start again! I did leave some of the circles clear so you could see the stitching and shapes and also to provide a focal highlight going through the piece.

I then brought the textures back by mixing mica powders with a small amount of gel medium and with more or less a dry brush, brushing it over the black gesso. I love this technique it picks up all the textures from the metal pieces to the stitches and the fabric textures beneath. 

It still didn't seem to hold together or have any flow to it so I added some long stitches from all the circles to make them look more spiky. This I am much happier with. So all I have to do now is add something to the back to hang it up! It has lots of holes rather than cracks though! 

will have to get a photo of it finished now! 

If anyone would like me to document the making of their artworks then let me know or send me photos! 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

September workshop meeting

Some more info about the first meeting in September.
Mel has given a list of items that could be useful for our burning, heating, distorting experimental, fun workshop.
Mel says......
For Saturday September 3rd we will be concentrating on burning, so the following would be good:  we need table covers and a heat mat if you have one, respirators / Breathing masks (Amazon have whole face ones for £4.50 or half face for £9.50 -don’t ask me why).  Tyvek is good, Angelina fibres, fabrics that melt/burn organzas, kunin felt etc, fabrics that don’t burn or melt to stitch pieces to or to give stability.  I found that sweet wrappers (ie Quality Street) do not melt with a heat gun. Colourful plastic bags, embossing powders/paint (Stewart Gill paints are good) or acrylics, inks, whatever takes your fancy;  puff paint, expanding medium etc.  Heat gun, soldering iron,  glue gun and glue.  In fact all sorts of things that the imagination can think of.  Apparently Lutrador is good, but I have never used it.

I can say that I love Lutrador, it is a wonderful fabric to sew, colour and heat and gives a wonderful texture when heated. It is however quite dangerous for your throat and chest. If you are going to burn Lutrador then please use a mask and work in a well ventilated area. I had a dreadful sore throat after using it once and I learnt my lesson so I would urge you to make sure you use the right safety equipment. Most plastics will give off fumes as will acrylic paints if you add them to your materials first so again, use a mask.

I have set up a pinterest page on heated textiles so if anyone would like to join and add their own pins then let me know and I can send you an invite.
There is a pin on there about a course that uses laminated fabrics for a burning project. You could heat some fabric, stitch them, or add sheer layers to them (not too much) and then try putting them through a laminator. The laminator can then be reheated or embellished with a soldering iron.

Looking forward to having a fun experimental and investigative day in September, start collecting your materials now!

Also don't forget you will need to bring your sewing machine and associated items (extension lead, threads etc) and hand sewing items if you want to join or combine materials or stitch them first to create a resist. This works well with Tyvek.

Hope everyone is enjoying the Summer, we have had a few lovely days. The puppy below is just because I love him! He's so sleepy!

Adding embellishments

Not sure if I have posted this picture before and I apologise if I have but I decided to add some embellishments to my gelli  print background. I made the gelli prints during Sheila's workshop and decided to add organza as they were a bit bright. Then added the face and flowers on the top. I added the metal embellishments using gel medium. I am not sure if you are familiar with gel medium but it is super stuff for sticking down almost everything. If you don't want to have to stitch pieces down then you can use the gel medium. You can get it now in most craft or art shops and I think they also do it in some places like the Range. It comes in gloss or matt but this will not matter if you are only using it to stick down items. There is also a 3D version and a heavy body version (mostly from Prima or Liquitex- you would have to get them from an art shop online) and they are wonderful for sticking down heavier items or larger ones.
Anyways thought I would post the picture just in case there are any of us that don't know about the gel medium as it is a fab product. I can always get some for people if you would like to use it.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Have a look at the link opposite!

Just a quick message to ask you to look at the link opposite called Textile Artist.org. There are some very interesting articles on there and I found one by Anne Honeyman and her fabrics are amazing. She specialising in the fragile using machine embroidery. The work is very interesting and the link is here

There is also an article on Sue Hotchkis whose work I know has inspired Averil in the past. She does lots of lovely pieces on rust and .... cracks!

Also there are a few articles on Cas Holmes whose work I really like


Please check it out as there is some lovely stuff on there!

Themes for the next stitching year!

I am not sure if everyone managed to make a list of the different themes we would be covering next year so I thought I would put them onto here for people to have a think about.

The themes are

Texture with Heat - this is an investigation into how we can create fabrics through heating and burning or manipulating fabrics with heat. Obviously care needs to be taken with this as not all materials burn without fumes or hazards. Please if you are experimenting with heat this Summer break make sure you work in a well ventilated space and wear and appropriate safety mask (please make sure you use a good mask not a little paper one, invest in a proper safety mask it is worth it. I am certain that I damaged my throat through burning lutradur a few years back and now I have an alien looking mask- it's very funny but it is also very safe!).
It might be useful to start collecting materials that you can use- careful as some plastics do not manipulate - Mel says that quality street wrappers do not work but Tyvek is good, Angelina fibres, colourful plastic bags, fabrics that melt/burn organzas, kunin felt etc, plus lutradur and I think solufleece also works but I don't think you can stitch into it afterwards.  Don't forget that we will need fabrics that don’t burn or melt to stitch pieces to or to give stability. We could also try trapping items within fabrics before heating them to create some interesting sculptural designs (try putting buttons inside heat mouldable polyester and it creates a bubble effect when heated.
You can also add embossing powders/paint (Stewart Gill paints are good) or puff paint, expanding medium to add different effects.
Don't forget you can also use a soldering iron to heat and burn not just the heat gun.

I was thinking of setting up a Pinterest Board for heating and manipulating fabrics so if anyone wants to join it and add pins that they find of interest then please let me know and I'll invite you.
 I'll also try to find some links to blogs or interesting ideas on heating if I can.

Cracks - I have set up a Pinterest Board on this one! so again if you want to join and add pins of your own or just browse what I've added then visit pinterest and search for Cracks and it should come up or let me know your email or pinterest name and I'll add you.

This is an interesting topic and has so much scope. I was trying to think of cracks in terms of buildings etc but also cracks like lightning or cracks in the surface with emotions, things breaking down. Any good ideas or articles that would be of use to us all please let me know!

Paper and Stationary- I am so looking forward to this as I love stitching together paper at the moment! I also love the work of Becky Adams who makes paper books and pictures using fabric and paper together. I have seen some lovely work with strips of paper that have been painted with subtle water colours and then images stitched on top. I think that this just feeds my inner magpie and allows me to collect all sorts of papers - silk, banana, kozo, handmade paper, papyrus, parchment, rice paper, tissue.... ooo so many to collect!

Within these walls - I am not sure where to guide you with this one as I think it is very individual and open to interpretation. It could be literally inside the walls, or it could be whatever lives there like lichens and algae. It could also be creatures that live in there or holes. It could also be rooms or places within the walls looking at structures and architecture I think. Would love to hear your ideas on this one!

Beneath our feet- also a fun thin I think as this could be any walked on surface natural or man made. Could be earth, sand, water, wood, tiles, bricks, ice etc. Please if you are out and about this August don't forget to take photographs of what is beneath your feet as they could be used to create an individual piece or maybe even a group piece if we all found different surfaces like tiles or patterns within floors.

Barking mad- this is also a more natural theme looking at bark and trees. This is a wonderful opportunity to have a good look at creating texture through fabrics and threads. You could make a really deep texture through layering stitches and fabrics or combine some of the burning techniques to add layers of different materials and then stitch on top. Could also create texture through cutting back or burning through. Don't forget that layers can also be more delicate and sheer, so you could create a feeling of bark using thinner fabrics and adding paints or inks as well as fine stitches. Look at the knitted or woven wire of Anita Bruce as well.

Beaches - you can draw together some of the things you have already done such as the beneath our feet theme and use sand as a context, you could also go for water and the sea, waves, shells, pebbles, rocks. This is a lovely topic that again lends itself to textures but also scene building like the work of Sandra Meech and her art quilts but also look at the work of Cas Holmes

Holes- A popular theme in schools ! This could be stitching over (which I love!), drawn thread work, burning using the soldering iron. Manipulating fabrics around items making holes through felting. It could also be creating layers of holes or making fabrics through stitching and burning through to create a net of holes. I would be very interested to see your ideas on this one!

Obviously these themes are going to run over the year and you don't have to start work on all of them now. I wanted to make people aware of the themes so that if they are out and about this August they could start to collect ideas or take photographs of anything interesting that we could work on either as a group or individually. So if you visit an abbey don't forget to take photos of the walls and the floors and the pillars and the ceiling! Don't worry if people think you are very strange for photographing pieces of wall or interesting textures on doors it will all be wonderful!

If anyone has any ideas they wish to share please let me know and I'll add it to the blog. Also let me know if you are interested in adding to or creating more Pinterest Boards for inspiration.
I'll add more ideas as I find them which will be mostly texture through burning and cracks to begin with!
Happy photographing and collecting !


Update on the felting
Thank you everyone for bringing in your finished felted pieces. It was delightful to see them fully "shrunk" and so interesting to see how they turned out. I am always fascinated by how much the felt shrinks and the textures that it creates.
Here are some photos of the pieces that we finished. Makes for an interesting section of an exhibition I think !

Keep felting through the Summer break! I wish I had the space but it's a challenge for me and I get water everywhere ! I am still working on my nuno felted pieces and thinking about what to add to them or how to change them up a bit. Not sure if they need it so might end up posting the pieces as they are after a few investigations into what to put on them ! Never mind it's all fun!

oo here are some pictures of Mel's weaving over a stone. I really like this and think we could make up a rockery of different stones with different effects on. Would make a fabulous installation type display if we could think of different ways or decorating a stone and combine them all together....?