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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Colouring Up...

not from an overdose of sun, thankfully, though it has been hot here today... Dyeing is always somewhere on the agenda, and as I taught a dye class last week, and had some dye left over, I thought I'd use it up. And the time, too, yesterday, as my friend, fellow dyer Shirley Goodwin from New Zealand, wasn't feeling very well, so spent the day on the sofa in the conservatory, whilst I lurked in and around the shed. I'm particularly pleased with the results I had on some fine cotton, which the people I bought it from described as 'bandage muslin'. It has transparency, but it has a crispness to it that makes it very easy to handle. I have a thing about transparency, of course, and this just hits the spot. Not sure how I'm going to use it, or even if... I may well just pop it onto Etsy. As I keep telling people who say they can't cut into my cloth, 'there's plenty more where that came from'. The images show the finished cloth, and a snap of the green/blue one just after the dye went into the bucket.

The weather is ideal for dyeing, of course, and I've got a rust box dyeing happily in the sun, filled with Evolon. I'll be taking some of that with me to Festival of Quilts, along with my more conventional hand dyes, so that you can watch me demonstrate for ColourCraft and stroke the cloth at the same time!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Mummy's Little Helper?

There are lots of things you have to do if you run an online shop, and a blog, and are working up to a website...or even just if you want to keep a record of your work. So you take photographs... and there's lots of online advice about how to do just that. Nowhere, however, is it written that your cats will endeavour to take an active part in proceedings. This shows Merlin strolling nonchalantly over the green FQ I was photographing for Etsy. It's worse in winter, of course... then they have muddy paws, and you have to wash the cloth yet again... sigh.

I'm planning to do some dyeing next week; lets hope the little treasures will keep their paws, and noses, out of that... Wishful thinking? Yup. Andrew as small child was much easier than this...all you needed to get five minutes peace was to give him a new book. Merlin, sadly, doesn't read.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

I Was Leafing...

through the images I've taken recently, wondering what to write about, when I was struck by something. I showed you the rose petal image I'd taken; compare (and contrast, if you like!!) that with this, an image that I'm about to stitch into. It is a photograph of birch bark, which I manipulated in Photoshop. Somehow, the textures and some of the colours seem to be very related. It's often the case, of course. You do something, you forget about it, or at least put it aside for a while, then you do something else and discover that your unconscious mind hasn't forgotten it at all. It's probably why my favourite saying is 'Trust the process' (in life, as in art).

Just as well that's my mantra, as I'm about to invest in a second hand PowerBook, after what feels like a lifetime using PCs. I'm doing that for several reasons, mostly to do with Bertha. I played with it at the weekend, and managed to do bits and pieces but I've got a lot to learn (and a lot to mutter about under my breath..). Encouragement and advice from other Mac users will be frequently sought here! I am, however, looking forward to being a truly mobile computer user...Birmingham here I come!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Paying Attention

I've been trotting backwards and forwards to the Little Green Shed, down the rough concrete path beneath a long archway of rambling roses. They are amazing; they seem to start as yellow buds, but turn into pink and white beauties, lots of them. They just get on with it, seem to thrive on benign neglect (which is all a plant in my garden can hope for, really). I kept thinking that it would be good to take a photograph of them, get up a ladder and do close ups...but me and ladders? Not a good idea...and the plastic step I could have used is more stable but has a perished foot, and pitches me off at entirely the wrong moment, usually onto my nose.

And then I saw the petals, blowing about in the wind... and took several photographs, including this one. And realised that this was really what I was after; the petals themselves, scattered, delicate, wistful... And I will print them out on Big Bertha, probably on Evolon, and stitch into them... and we'll see what happens.

I wonder how many opportunities like this we miss, because we're not paying attention? Too busy worrying about what to have for the tea, when to go to the post office, how to promote the next book... Sometimes, though, the eye overtakes the brain, and photographs like this one are the result. Thank goodness!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Finishing Off...

lots of things. First, signing off on the proofs for the Evolon book (so if there are any typos, it's down to me...). Then, I thought I'd varnish a couple of mixed media pieces that I finished recently. As with much of my mixed media work, they sat around for quite a while before I worked out what they needed. What it turned out they needed, was some Brusho. I discovered that using the Brusho sprays made subtle changes to the overall colour, a bit like using a glaze, but with a textured result. I don't think I can improve them, but as always, feel that they might not quite yet be finished...but they are as finished as I think they can be. They are called Cavemark I and II. They are related in a way to the work on cracks and scars that I've been making recently.

Then on to taking a few more photos for the Brusho book. That was fine, the weather has been good, so working outside has been a pleasure. The writing process isn't finished, of course, but I'm a step closer. It's been a productive day.

Sunday, July 04, 2010


Probably. And at all kinds of different levels. On a personal basis, I have discovered that one of the touchstones of my life was a lie. So a lot of time has been spent thinking about that, redefining the past and myself, to some extent. Wondering what the other lies were, whether anything was as it seemed at the time, or seems like now. Confused.

On a professional basis, too, I'm confused. Having spent a brief spell back in the world of work, there would appear to be no opportunities around for me to rejoin it after being made redundant last year. This is on the surface, no bad thing... but it does mean I'm not actually making very much in the way of money. Nothing new there, really...except that I've had to face the fact that I'm not working very hard at anything at the moment. And I'm not really sure what it is I want. And I seem to think that it's not possible to make a living out of art (which is actually untrue; try reading Dijanne's blog, if you haven't already).

And I've been writing the Brusho book, and checking the proofs for the Evolon book. Writing is a demanding thing; it demands time, commitment and a lot of effort, much of which does involve art, thankfully, but not all of it. Because I publish my own books, I have to talk to customers, whether individuals or businesses, chase money, do the publicity (which I'm really not good at), and all the business related stuff.

Mostly, though, I've been making beads. Not an activity I ever thought I'd take up, but as you've seen from earlier posts, I've been playing with the idea for several weeks now. Fortunately, though, none of these things are the dead ends they might appear. All of them have come together to suggest new ways forward for me, and whilst I am still thinking, I'm working, too. I'm going to start selling materials, as well as my books, I'm working out a new workshop programme, and I'm setting up a website. I'm also working out the fine details of offering a printing service to textile artists with Big Bertha, my large scale professional printer (an Epson).As well as all of that, I'm writing a book with my friend Jill, on landscapes. And the work with the beads is suggesting all sorts of ways to move forward in my textile work, including the 3D work which has evaded me so far.

Not all that bad a sidetrack, really... I don't seem to have made much in the way of decisions, but I'm behaving as if I have, and starting to get things done. Wish me luck.