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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In Case You Were Wondering...

...just what it is I'm going to be demonstrating at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate this weekend, I thought I'd give you a sneak preview. I'm going to be working mostly with transfer dyes, though I suspect that some of Colour Craft's other watercolour and acrylic paints might well sneak in there, too. I'll be working with transfer paints, but I've prepared some background colours using the powdered dyes. I'm much more likely to spill those, so I reckoned that doing that preparation work in the shed was probably a good move!

As you probably know, when you use transfer dyes, you first paint them onto paper, and then 'transfer' the colour from the paper onto the cloth, using a very hot iron (detailed instructions, of course, in the Lovely Lutradur book) (end of plug!). If you haven't done that before, you might not appreciate the incredible transformation that heat brings about to the dyes painted on the paper. So I brought one in from the shed to show you how it works. The first image shown is the dye on the paper; the colours are dark, almost greyish. That is completely changed in the next two images, both taken off that specific piece of paper. The colours are much brighter, and they show up beautifully, first on Lutradur, then on Evolon. I think that's part of the reason I love working with transfer dyes; you get such a lovely surprise when you transfer an image for the first time.

I say surprise, advisedly; if you work as I do, wet on wet, the dyes mix and mingle, so I can never be sure quite what the end result will be. I love that about dyeing in general, and this process in particular. And as you can see, not content with ironing my way through Festival of Quilts, this time, I'm going to iron my way through two days of the Knitting and Stitching Show. Most people go to these things to get away from the ironing!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Getting Ready...

to go to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate this weekend; if you're around Saturday and Sunday, come and say hello, as I'm demonstrating transfer dyeing with lutradur on the ColourCraft stand. As I was drifting through the fabrics, I came across some hand painted pieces that I haven't used; the one in the picture here is a good example. Something like that is ideal for using to work under lutradur, especially the lighter weights, as the marks will show beautifully through the lutradur layer. I think I may take some up dye painted pieces with me to sell at the weekend; I'll certainly take a couple of small pieces up to demonstrate with. This one, which reminds me of trees, somehow, is in my Etsy shop, and I'll be adding more over the next couple of days.

I will, of course, have ample supplies of the Lovely Lutradur CD with me at Harrogate, but if you just can't wait, you can find it here, too.

I'm slightly overwhelmed with fabric at present, still trying to work out where to put the lovely cloth that I inherited from my friend Lynn, so a little judicious pruning is in order, I think. Hand dyes, anyone?

Monday, November 17, 2008

You've Been Framed...

or at least, this particular piece has. It's a follow on from 'It's In The Trees', called 'Blue Trees', and it is sitting happily in a lovely wooden frame.

I have a love hate relationship with frames, but I have to agree with Robin, who said that he thought that a piece looks more finished than when it is hung without. I think that, as well as that, that there is an expectation that art work comes in frames. People know what to *do* with art in frames; I think they are less sure about textiles that hang unframed. Either way, I think that this particular piece looks good in its frame. I hope you agree; all feedback welcome as always! Find more detail shots here

And yes, of course, the piece is made from lutradur. Well, I suppose it would be... I'm obsessed with the stuff. Who wouldn't be, when you can get results like these.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Lovely Surprise

The things you learn when you're working. I used some thick thread in the bobbin and stitched from the back of the piece for the first time today, and WOW! what a difference! As you can see from the images above, I liked the effect so much, I quilted the whole quilt that way. The thread is Decora, made by Madeira, and I got mine from Myfanwy. Thanks, Myfanwy, it's just gorgeous, it has a wonderful sheen (several strands of rayon together will do that, I suppose...). So guess who'll be doing a whole lot of that in future?

The quilt is called Gestation, and it has turned out quite unlike I expected it to. Nothing new there, really. I'm just delighted by it. Yes, I know, I've always been modest... But joking apart, I have been finding it difficult to work abstractly with commercial fabric. It usually depicts something realistic, and I find it hard to get past that and into what the piece suggests. But this one seems to have taken me past that barrier, so here's hoping it'll stay down.

BTW, the quilt is all strong, rich colours, must try to get a better picture of the whole thing; the detail shot is very realistic. Bring back the sun, all is forgiven...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sixteen Small Quilt Tops...

waiting to be stitched... sing along...(to the tune of Ten Green Bottles!)...and if one small quilt top, was stitched along the ditch, there'd be fifteen small quilt tops, waiting to be stitched...

As you can see from the image, some of them are very small indeed. It started out as an activity with my friend Jill; with my scrap box, augmented with some of the fabric I was given by the Bunis family, we set to making small quilt tops. Jill made one single, complex piece; I went for quantity and simplicity. And then, while demonstrating at the exhibition, I managed to complete a few more. So when Jill and I met up for our regular Tuesday afternoon session (every second Tuesday), it seemed to make sense to get the quilts ready for quilting, along with some lutradur and evolon pieces that were ready to be worked on. So, sixteen in all.

I had forgotten what fun it is to work with random amounts and types of fabric, putting them together in the best possible way, stitching into them. Improvisational piecing, to give it its Sunday name. Believe me, I won't forget again! Working in a seemingly random way epitomises my approach to art in general... make a mark, make another mark, respond... It's a question of trusting one's judgement. And allowing oneself to have fun!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Summing Things Up.

I've been asked to run a short workshop on writing profiles, for one of my local WIRE groups. If you're a self employed woman in the UK, check out WIRE by clicking on the link in the last sentence. I designed the workshop, but thought I had perhaps better add my own profile, first, to see that the process actually worked.

It's not easy, telling the world exactly what you do in a few short sentences. Here's my profile, see what you think.

I'm Marion, a Scottish artist living and working in a tiny village in Norfolk. I have a portfolio of skills and experience, which I offer to share with you in a number of different ways.
I make and sell art of all descriptions,with a current focus on mixed media and textile art for domestic and commercial interiors. Start at my blog,, to get a feel for what I offer, and find a list of my online outlets on the right hand side column of the blog.

I offer workshops based in my studio, The Little Green Shed, for up to four people. These are bespoke workshops, but I also offer workshops for larger groups throughout the country by arrangement. I write and self publish instructional books for artists; my first has just been published (Lovely Lutradur with Dijanne Cevaal), and two more are in production. I am also happy to work one to one with artists on the theme of their choice, whether technique or process focussed.

I also offer coaching services to small businesses, based on my experience as an HR and Self Development Manager. I believe that we are all creative, and that we are all capable of self expression, in any part of our lives, and my coaching is tailored to help you find the answers you already have, but aren't aware of yet.

So there you go; me in a nutshell. You might be surprised by some of the things I do... sometimes I surprise even me! I think it reflects the different things I have done over the years, combining all my knowledge and experience in new ways. So, why now? I have, over the past few months, put Incapacity behind me, and become a fully fledged Small Business. I will, of course, try not to drone on about that here, but I did want to acknowledge a change in direction, somewhat. The demon depression is of course still lurking, but he behaves really well these days. Change IS possible, no matter how ill you might be. If I can do it, so can anyone else.

If you're interested in these services, please do get in touch, I'd be delighted to talk to you about what I do and how I do it. It costs nothing to ask questions... not the first time, anyway!! The image is my new logo... hope you like it. And wish me luck, won't you?

Monday, November 03, 2008


from a busy, busy week! If you missed it, my work has been on show in Norfolk, alongside another textile artist and some photographers. And look what you missed! I'll be putting up more photos over the next few days, but for now, here's a selection of my work. The first image is what you saw as you came in the door of the gallery, two mixed media pieces, 'Outburst' and 'Losing My Religion'. The gallery is structured into three recessed spaces. My work was mainly in the central recess, with more of my mixed media work on the ends of the walls. To the right, were photographs by Ray Arnold, Derek Roberts and Rosie Arnold (image 2 shows some of my mixed media work with some of Derek's photos). To the left of my work, was more textiles and collage work by Jill Arnold, as well as an installation; image three shows my remaining mixed media pieces, along with some of Jill's collages in the background. And yes, all those Arnolds are related; Rosie is Ray's and Jill's daughter.

Now, though, it's back to work with a vengeance. Paperwork, mostly, sigh... but also some creative work, which is balm for the soul. Though I did get a lot of work done in the two days I was demonstrating at the gallery. Great fun was had by all concerned! Thanks to everyone who came in to look over the week! Now to get stuck into work on the books, as well as some painting and dyeing...hurrah...