Thursday, 31 March 2011

Needle felt

These are some of my latest needle felt projects. I began making the lady felt brooches as a continuation of my Bygone Veras.

The next project I have made is a needle felt rabbit which I made for a friends birthday. It is holding a balloon which is wire covered in felt.

I am really enjoying needle felt at the moment and am planning on incorporating it into my next module which is all about colour. The needle felt fibres I use are wonderful vibrant colours and it will be an interesting medium to use.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Assignment 6 -The Finished Article

This is the finished article for assignment six. I am thrilled with it ( even if I say so myself!!)

I can see all sorts of possibilities for this type of pattern - fabric, wrapping paper, bags, I am making lino cuts of forks, tables, whisks, bicycles, cups and umbrellas now.

The above photo is of the reverse view. I think this is quite effective too.

I really like the Machine embroidered chairs randomly situated as well. I think they add an extra dimension. They could be used if the piece was to be framed. But left out if it was to be printed up as fabric.

I would also like to see it produced in other colours too which I will attempt at some point!

All in all a good module where I have learnt some very valuable new skills.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 21 March 2011

Blocked up!

This past week has been difficult. It has been fraught with problems at home due to two teenagers at large! They have nearly finished their punishments and have settled back down as far as I can tell.

But this had all taken it's toll on my creative juices, I suffered a massive block of ideas and a crisis of confidence last week which was very unpleasant and unsettling - this may have been in part to do with my crazy family who took up literally all of my time. But I also think I was exhausted anyway without their 'help' and so despite a promising start with two friends at the beginning of the week ( making chocolate and admiring needle felt animals) once I arrived home I was devoid of all ideas and even doing relatively simple things which I usually enjoy as part of unwinding in the evening such as knitting and needle felt drove me nuts!

It was fairly stupid of me to try and start assignment 6 which is the final piece of this assignment and is a piece inspired by one of the methods previously used in the module.

I had really enjoyed the photo transfer method and have actually produced a piece which I have now framed of my husband and daughter. So I was confident that using this method it would all flow seamlessly.

This is the original photograph. I photo transferred it on to a piece of linen which is by Cabbages & Roses with the black Hatley, roses design.
The finished product looks like this :

Spurred on by this successful piece I decided to make my considered final piece using photo transfer images using my eldest son in 'photo booth style photos. I was then going to Machine embroider or make a lino cut print of a photo booth shape around the four photos which would be placed one under another.

I drew masses of sketches but none of them particularly leapt out at me. I wasn't deterred at this stage though as I was confident that once my pictures had finished transferring I would be away with the ideas. Then disaster struck. I had made several photo transfers of Hayden onto a White brushed cotton. Together with these I had staged and transferred several photos of two bears that I had knitted, they were posed in all kinds of ' photo booth' poses which had taken ages as they were most uncooperative !

Anyway, the disaster was not the misbehaving bears but the photo transfers them selves which just sort of dissolved and rubbed off of the sheet completely.

I was so upset and disheartened and together with all the other real life stuff I was dealing with I felt overwhelmed. Trying to work out logically why it had not worked I decided it was probably the brushed cotton so I fished out some linen which had previously been so successful with the other transfers including the one I had proudly framed of Matt and Anna. I was still undecided as to what form they would take next and was also panicking about the fact that large amounts of the module had steered us towards minimalism and simple abstract shapes. Would this photo booth idea be way off the mark? Was it neither minimal or abstract and so would my tutor think I had disregarded all that we had learned? I needn't have worried as this set of photo transfers was also a complete disaster.

They were extremely blurred and most of them had great lumps that peeled off. How disheartening. I had left them for well over 24 hours and had dabbed and dabbed so gently, reminiscent of an archaeologist, with a damp sponge which was definitely not too wet. It was so upsetting as I really liked the images and even though I was unsure whether they met the criteria I liked the idea of a machine embroidered 'booth'!

Well. That was my brick wall. I tried to console myself with some knitting but this just went all tight and fussy and made me panic inside about the insurmountable mountain I had to climb with finding ideas for the final piece. Finding ideas with a blank mind. Blank and black.

I tried to throw myself into needle felt but this too was becoming a chore. Maybe I should just forget the whole thing. Who was I kidding anyway? Was I actually pretty rubbish at this whole creative thing and had I wasted all that time and money when the elephant in the room was that I was simply hopeless and to top it all I had taken my eye off my teenagers and they were running amok now too.

So I took a couple of days off completely and waited to see if the creative urge would find me.

I was so fortunate that my sister and friend Andrea raced to my rescue on Friday. My sister took Anna off to play school and Andrea swept me off to Cambridge for coffee and an inspiring look round the shops. It was just the tonic I needed. I felt as if I had been on holiday for a week by the time I returned. Yes, I may have made a few little purchases, but it was mainly the opportunity to laugh and talk honestly with a friend without the distraction of my darling daughter! Before we left I did have a final wobble about going saying "I should be doing my college work!!" But since my mind was a whirling black hole it would have been a pointless exercise. It felt so indulgent having a whole day just wandering around the shops but it was exactly what was needed to spur me back into the creative process.

The city of Cambridge is very inspiring in itself with it's architecture and cobbled streets, not to mention the bicycles everywhere and the constant hum of vibrant people. The shops are full of inspiring new ranges for summer, the colours, patterns and shapes everywhere are wonderful and immensely cheering. I loved The White Stuff clothes shop especially for vibrant colours and inspiring patterns. Also Orla Kiely 'home' range in John Lewis was very welcome. In fact most of John Lewis was pretty uplifting - even the bedding department where Andrea and I sourced some new sheets!!

Following this wonderful day out I came home and did masses of needle felting which flowed beautifully and felt my confidence creeping back slowly.

Sunday morning dawned and I was struck by the beautiful image of a chair I saw in the style pages of a magazine. They were vintage Ercol Quaker style chairs and were just stunning. I decided there and then that they would be the focus for my considered piece. I also decided that lino cut prints would be the way forward. My tutor had been very encouraging about my earlier lino cut prints and I had enjoyed the whole process considerably.

I drew my Ercol style chair on to lino. And began to carve it out.

I printed lots of prints on paper. Slightly tweaking the lino cut at various intervals until I was happy with the consistency of the print.

I also made lino cuts of a cup, jug, window, brick wall, bicycle and teapot.

I also made a reverse transfer of the chair.

I then decided to incorporate some machine embroidery as I really like the look of it with loose threads hanging down. It made the chair shape have movement and look looser than the lino cut shape which is rigid.

That was as far as it got yesterday. I was really happy with how it was all going and felt very positive.

Today I began the printing process on White cotton and used black fabric ink. The gaps are where I am going to insert the machine embroidered chairs which I will embroider straight onto the cotton using black embroidery thread.

Hopefully I will finish the piece tomorrow and will post a final picture then. This evening has been another eventful evening but from the younger age group this time as Anna has an awful cold which is preventing her from sleeping. I am slightly apprehensive how I am going to fit in the work required for the degree course although she will be older then, and so will the wayward teens!!!! Deep breaths. Take one module at a time. Goodnight.

Friday, 11 March 2011

What happened to paper mâché?

I have also been enjoying needle felting immensely lately. I have started on a series of people following my tree

And my fox

I have created this little face which has a body and is actually much improved since this photo shoot. But I just wanted to record this now to keep it all in my creative journal.

I will post a picture of the finished one eventually. I am considering how to combine paper mâché and needle felt although I have yet to workout a strong enough method of joining the two together.

I have also immensely enjoyed machine Embroidery

I have several others in this series that are nearly completed.

And the photo transfers. These have been really successful and inspirational I will definitely be taking this further.

So far I have found this module very inspiring even though at first glance I wasn't sure. What a super find!!

Assignment 5 -lino printing

I have always wanted to try lino printing and so was very pleased to find that assignment 5 invites us to do just that. We were able to use any medium we wanted for the piece for example - rubber, polystyrene,wood, cardboard(varnished), potato or lino.

The initial preparation involved obtaining some lino and some cutting tools then I drew my first design onto the lino and begun cutting.

This was great fun, very smooth feel to it and quite easy to control the knife. However I soon became complacent and forgot the 'golden rule' -always cut away from you.

This was the resulting disaster which got steadily worse.........

Anyway the final first lino cut looked like this.

This is my attempt at a minimalist representation - this picture represents the picture of my father and his brother and sister sitting on a log pretending to be horse racing.

This is one of the photographs I used or the image transfer on to fabric as well. It is one of my favourites for various reasons, the people, the composition and the fact that I think it gives a funny indication of the characters of the three children in the photo. Very special.

This is the page of the printed lino cut print using black ink.

The second and third represent something that grows from the second assignment.

Flowers in a vase

This picture is upside down. My iPad won't allow me to rotate it so you will have to turn it yourself. Or stand on your head!

These are leaves on a stalk. I love the effect of the lines that were able to take the ink in the background. I am really really enjoying lino cut and even though I have kept the shapes very simple at the moment I have big plans for a more in depth scene.

Also, as I just said, I am really enjoying the extra parts that you learn to plan such as different depths of the cutting technique to get these extra lines and areas of interest.

The next one I did was a dog. I am slightly obsessed with dogs, this is a Scottie dog like my friend Rachels. I have even tried to add texture to his coat - without drawing blood! I like English Setters best even though our dog is a wire haired dachshund ( he is wonderful too, and given my husbands extreme indifference to dogs I am very happy to have Jumble!)

Both of those would make an interesting lino cut shape. I have not really included dogs in my work yet but they are a huge part of my life and so I am determined to get them in somewhere!! ( This is quite a good reflection on my real life!!!)

The final one is a piece saying ' you are my sunshine' my favourite phrase and one I used in assignment 2. It was quite fun writing back to front and the result was very pleasing.