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Friday, September 30, 2011

Rats...


I wasn't able to cut any mounts for the pieces I stitched, all twenty of them...mainly because the mount cutter had been borrowed, and trust me, I wasn't going to attempt it without one! So, instead, I opted for the retail therapy option. I've enjoyed knitting my scarf, and thought they might well make good Christmas presents...so I went into a local wool shop and shopped til I dropped (three balls...I put them on the counter after that...). I ended up with the grand total of eleven balls of wool, a jaw dropping (for me) £45 worth. Still, if that gives me Christmas presents for all my female friends, that'll be okay... I might even stick a couple on Etsy, depending how they go.

Knitting, to me, is boring. However, knitting something like a scarf, which is relatively contained, isn't so bad... my boredom threshold isn't as low as all that, after all... so we'll see. Meanwhile, I am woman, see me knit...

The image of course, is my new scarf (that's the pink frothy thing in the bottom left hand side of the image), and my new knitting stash; gorgeous colours and textures. Might even stitch into some of these, or embellish them... watch this space. And of course, there's always felting... I've wanted to get back into wet felting for a while... I feel some scarves coming on that way, too...
Just what I needed, another obsession...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

KISS...


is the order of the day with these small pieces. It stands for 'keep it simple, stupid', and is good advice for anyone, along with the idea that less is more. This is a struggle for me...I do a lot of quilting on most pieces, though more recently, I've been aiming to give the impression that I'm drawing with thread, rather than quilting or stitching. I rarely ever stitch for pattern, preferring to create texture and/or line. I'm learning, though, that it's difficult to get texture out of canvas, so will stick with Evolon when printing for stitch. Whilst I have to prepare the Evolon, I much prefer the quilted result, though canvas is okay for line work.

This image, though, does show a bit of texture, which isn't really surprising given that there is a lot of stitch in a relatively small area. It hasn't distorted the canvas, one of the advantages of working with a stiffer cloth than usual. I did decide not to add any more stitch, though; I thought it would make the piece far too fussy if I did. See what you think. And I don't think I need to identify the flower for you...

I sat today and stitched a pile of these small pieces, no bigger than 5" square. Tomorrow, I'll cut mounts for them, and see how they look. If I'm happy, they'll go onto my Etsy shop, which I intend to reopen next week or so (yes, I really am feeling better!). And I'm thinking that some of the images, scaled up, might make nice tshirts, if just for me, so I've opened a Zazzle account, to try it out. Might make some personalised mugs for Christmas presents!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Up And Out...



I've been struggling with depression again for the past few weeks. One of my friends asked me if I had read my own book, 'Finding Your Creative Focus'. 'I've read it', she said, 'It makes a lot of sense. I just wonder if you remember what you wrote'. Of course, I could... albeit not in graphic detail. But I do know that one of the things I think I said in there, was the need to turn up to work regardless of how you feel. No waiting for inspiration to strike, or the muse to call; you just turn up and do the work.

I did that today. I worked on three small pieces, one of which is shown here. And I remembered; I feel sooo much better the minute I start to work. And the improvement in my mood continues for the rest of the day. I just don't seem to be able to remember that work equals happy. Which is rather a pity. But it only seems to be effective if I decide to work without anyone suggesting it to me. No idea why that is... perhaps it's just the habitual reaction of someone who has been told to 'snap out of it', and knows how impossible that is. Making beautiful things, though...that works. And that's how I got up and out of today's bad feelings; hopefully it will continue on into tomorrow. I've promised myself a day of stitching, though, so even if it doesn't appear to have lasted, it will soon come back again.

This particular thing is a manipulated macro image of part of a cyclamen plant, printed on canvas and then stitched into. I've added a detail shot of some of the stitching, and for once got the images uploaded in the right order. That's another thing I can't remember, the order in which I need to upload files to get them to look right... but that's another story. Meanwhile, I'm wondering if actually reading the book would help with the depression, too. I think that for too long, my focus has been too broad. Many moons ago, business guru Tom Peters suggested that successful businesses needed to 'stick to the knitting'. I've finished the scarf I mentioned in the last post, and will start another one, I think, but I don't see knitting in my future, just as I don't see other forms of art, like altered books, except for fun. I do see these manipulated images, lots of flowers, a few hearts and a lot more fun in my life. I think it's time. Now, where's my copy...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Colouring Up...



is always good fun. I did some dyeing last week with Gemma, my apprentice/slave, and finally got round to ironing it. As usual, I forgot to add the Calgon... we never had this problem in Scotland, where water is soft, but Calgon definitely improves the dye take up down here. Still got good results, though, so I forgive my vague self. I really must do some more dyeing; intending to put some of these pretties into the Etsy shop as soon as I get it up and running. Not sure whether to add them as they are, as 18" strips (the fabric is very wide...it effectively provides two Fat Quarters, a Fat Eighth and a bit extra, as I explain to people who are measurement challenged...), or to cut them into Fat Quarters. How do you like to buy your fabric online? All feedback gratefully received. Usually what happens at shows is that I take a lot of FQs and people ask me for larger pieces, and vice versa. I never seem to get the balance right...sigh.

I'm having a happy time making small things for Christmas presents and my festive Open Studios in early December, as well as getting ready for the second International Quilt Challenge challenge. Oh, and there's the little matter of looking after Judy's chickens, dogs and daughter on a part time basis for the next fortnight while she and Haydn are gallavanting around the countryside...they're in Bath today. Lucky them, I've never been, and would love to go. Meantime, though, all of this is keeping me Out Of Trouble, which must be A Good Thing...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sometimes...



I do things for fun, like the knitting I'm doing today, using Rico Loopy yarn. It's fuschia coloured, and very fast to knit up...it's a bit like knitting with a band of crochet, and it produces flounces. I love it...though it was a tad expensive... but hey. I'm thinking about using it in a quilt at some point, would be fun...

I made the above piece partly for fun, partly for the Dereham Town Quilt (not sure of it's official title, so we'll keep to that for now). It is being made to hang in the Memorial Hall in Dereham, which is being renovated at huge cost as an Art Centre. It is going to be very big, with blocks coming from individuals, groups and businesses throughout the Dereham area. I took a picture of a tulip in the churchyard at Dereham, and that has turned into this little piece of work, which I'm quite pleased with. The block had to have both red and gold in it, as those are the colours in the town shield; I ended up using gold metallic thread to define parts of it. I'm going to make some more of these little pretties to put into my Etsy shop. I'm starting to plan what should go in there. I want to cut back on the variety of things I do, and concentrate on the textile and mixed media work...we'll see how long that lasts... but I have been dyeing recently, so hand dyed cloth is definitely on the list, some gorgeous autumnal colours.

Now...back to the knitting...

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Changing My Mind...

is, of course, something I do on  a regular basis.  Now that I'm beginning to recover properly from the gall bladder surgery that knocked me sideways earlier on this year, I'm starting to review what I want to be making.  And to my eternal surprise, that includes at least one traditional quilt.  A very simple four patch, in gentle, pastel colours.  With flowers.  Hmm.  Not a style usually associated for me.  And this quilt is for me...to sit on my sofa, so I can wrap myself in it whenever I please.  It'll be called Comfort And Joy; named even although it isn't an art quilt.

Those of you who live nearby know that it was my intention to sell my commercial fabric.  Since most of my work is around manipulated photographs at present, I  figured that this was a good idea...it's only taking up room.  I looked through it this morning, and discovered that...well...I just can't do it.  It's lovely fabric.  It's my fabric.  And I can imagine using it, too.  I can even imagine teaching a scrap quilt class...  'Perfect Squares'... just exploring what can be done with this most flexible of shapes.  Fun, I think...

No, I don't know what's come over me, either.  But hey.  Change is a good thing.  And I'm ready for it.  The image is one I'll be working with soon, probably on Evolon.  It looks as if it wants to be very tactile, perhaps with beads...  hurrah.