Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year

Review of Work.
Just thought I would take a look at some of the work posted to date, it helps to look back at this time of the year. Now I think I might be ready to look forward to 2009. I would like to wish a Happy New Year to all my readers.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

I've been tagged! Thanks Teresa. Never been tagged before, so here goes, first the Rules:
The rules of this Tag are:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write seven little known facts about yourself.
4. Tag seven people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is posted

Teresa lives in the Australian Bush and has some really interesting visuals about this part of the world and some wonderful feltwork to go with it, which is based on her environment. Do go and take a look if you haven't seen her work already.

1. I hate form filling and paperwork.
2. I hate waste, I am always recycling.
3. Yes, that means I also hoard things.
4. I love listening to Music when I am creating artwork.
5. I love ponds, amphibians.
6. I have fallen in a pond more than once in my life, trying to get a better look.
7. Oh goodness this has been hard, erm When I was 16 I was kicked by a horse.

Ok, that's the hard part over. Now I am handing it over to you lucky/unlucky fellow bloggers, depending on whether you like this sort thing. Don't feel obliged if you do not wish to take part.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Woodland Watercolours

Ok, now I know why I specialised in Textiles at art college.

Yes, I am quite rusty with the watercolours and I am working from photos, albeit my own. I have never liked working from anything but nature itself but needs must. I am hoping that once I begin to translate some images into felt the pictures will lose some of that stilted look that only working from photos gives you.
The main reason why I am making these studies is to find a formula for working with felt. I am exploring light and layers. I have made this decision in order to discover what is possible.

When I began to look at my woodland photos again today I realised that there are so many different ways I could work. Landscape is a very daunting subject, there is just so much of it. Choice is the hardest thing, when faced with such a subject, it's just so overwhelming.
You wouldn't expect that there could be so many
views in one woodland, I have nearly 100 photos that I took, well, some I probably won't find of use but I need to get a feel for the subject matter before I launch into felt.

Watercolour is the hardest medium of all to master. I have always known this, so why do I choose it. Well, it's a medium that you usually work in layers. In the next view I have taken a photo after the first layer, I waited for this layer to dry. When I work in felt I hope to work in a similar way. To put some abstract colours down as a background and then work on top with more felt. I hope to use all the different aspects of perspective such as those found in watercolours. Intensity of colour, more detail in the foreground, things becoming larger. All of these methods and more can be used in any landscape to provide perspective.

Well, after all this I think I am beginning to loosen up a bit. Here below is the finished work from the one above. I am beginning to really get a feel but it isn't easy. It takes a lot of concentration and I also find that I have to let things happen with watercolour, that's what I mean about loosening up. You need to have control over any medium but with watercolour it is a fine balance between being in control and allowing the medium to do what it needs to do to make the picture natural.
I have some more photos arriving next week but these I believe will offer me something else again. Must keep working. Lots to do. I'll be back soon.

Friday, 7 November 2008

The Weald of Kent In Autumn

It had to be done, all the native trees are turning here in Kent, long behind many non native trees which are already bare. So I had to get out there and take some pictures.

A couple of weeks ago I took many woodland pictures, which I have uploaded on to a new to me picture hosting site (Pixum) Well, I tried out there special offer and found them to be very good value. The pictures were sent pronto and at a very reasonable introductory price. Under £9 for 99 standard prints delivered to my door.
Anyway I went today in what was left of the afternoon sunshine and took nearly another 150 pictures and I placed them into another album, I will get these printed up too, I intend to use all of these photos as inspiration for a body of work on Landscape.

I have only put the first few onto here today, many of those I have taken have focused on the Kent hedgerow. Many close ups included.

Some, like this one above, and the last one below, are views from my rear garden. I am so lucky living in this part of the world.

These are just general scenes but as I say there are more focused ones in the album, like this one below, which are full of texture, light and colour.

I am quite happy to share these images if anyone would like to use them as inspiration for landscape work, all I ask is that I am credited with the source photo from which the work comes. If anyone would like to see the full album or indeed my woodland album, please let me know and I will post you an invitation. Obviously in the Albums you can view them all as a screen show and see much clearer on a larger image. I hope you enjoy them as much as I know I will when I begin to work on my sketches for the work I am planning to do. My idea, is to capture this little part of Kent for posterity.

P.S. here are the sheep from the field at the back of my house, that provide me with all my lovely fleece!!

Friday, 31 October 2008

What a lovely award I have just received! I do like the idea of an award that is called blogging friends forever. It's lovely, thank you so much Jean .
Well, it was very difficult to choose because there are some wonderful blogs out there, but if you haven't come across any of these before, do go and check them out, they are well worth a visit.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

From Little Acorns.

From little acorns, I have been meaning to do this for some time, since I first heard that pure wool sweaters could be felted in a washing machine. So I have machine felted 4 sweaters. These are all plain colours so I decided to add some colour with some multicoloured merino wool that I've had for some time. This is not going to be finished that quickly, as I have set myself a labour of love.

This will eventually become a large patchwork blanket. In the past I have knitted and crocheted blankets but this time I just get to join the pieces and decorate, I call this fun. I have sort of invented my own method of joining. I have done this by making a simple chain stitch around each square. Then I weave in and out of the sides of each chain stitch and this becomes a decorative stitch in itself but is also very strong. It also means that you don't have to turn the edges or worry about it fraying because the weaving stitch covers it all nicely. I am doing this weaving on the back too. When I have finished I will show the final piece on here and then I will wrap my self in it because it looks as though this year, we might be in for a bad winter! It's got oh so cold this week.

On that note, I have also been busy making my grand daughter a scarf. She did ask if I could make her a baby blue one. It's lately become her most favourite colour. I've done some blending of merino and some of my own dyed fleece from local sheep and it has worked really well. I wet felted it and then I realised that the shape of it didn't quite work because it was a too wide for such a little neck. Then I considered cutting it in half length ways and I didn't like the idea of having a join.

The final design then came to me. I did cut it up the middle but I left a section at the end which acts like a collar and sits flat on the back of the wearer, similar to a sailors collar. It worked better than I had imagined.

I tried to keep the designs simple as she is growing up, she doesn't want it to be over the top. The stitching around the edge is made up of blanket stitch, running stitch with a weaving stitch between the two. This is becoming a feature of my sewing, and although time consuming I do enjoy the rhythm of this kind of sewing. To finish it off I made some simple braids from thin rovings and slipped them under the embellisher to secure them. It's in the post to her and I do hope it will help to keep her warm because it is a lot colder up the North East of England.

Just before I go, I must share this next picture with you. This was the view this morning down one of our nearby Kentish lanes. The colour is still on the trees, and hedgerows, it was bitterly cold, the frost can be seen on the grass to the left. The sky was a beautiful clear blue. A picture worth recording, even from the car window. Snow is forecast, so here comes winter...

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Tif Challenge My Workspace

The Tif Challenge which Sharon set this month was to think about My Workspace. Some times I would rather not, lol.
It's just too small!!! I spend half of my time tidying, moving things around to make more room. It may look organised from this first picture but no, there is just far too much in one room.

The problem is that when I want to use something I normally have to shift something out of the way. You see this room is only about 7ft x 8ft and there is a cupboard taking up most of the space.

Yes, I have my lap top and two machines on one desk.

This is the opposite side of the room with the desk under the window. This is supposed to be my drawing desk, huh... hardly! Note the felt pieces laying in a tray at the back. So, does anyone out there have a magic word that makes a space extend??? If you do please let me know. Thanks Tricia

Sunday, 12 October 2008

A Round Robin, Some dye work and a walk in the woods.

Ok, I'm tryng to catch up. This is only a fraction of what I have been doing lately but it's all I've got pictures of as yet.
This picture below, is a felt background which has been made as a base for a Round Robin that is taking place on my challenge site. The idea was to make a felt background based upon the theme of Landscape. Once we have made the background we will post it to the first person on the list. Eventually our background will make it's way back to us after everyone has added their own bit of stitching etc.. I am looking forward to seeing how this works, it is the first time I have held one of these, if it goes well we will probably repeat it on another theme.

This next picture shows, not very well because of the light, apologies, but this is the big bag of fleece I have been dying. This wool is all from local sheep, infact some of them are in the field behind my garden right now. You wouldn't guess the dye is from a drink powder, Koolaid. I experimented and mixed the colours,
The reason why the colours work so well is because of all the citric acid in the powder, it helps it to cling to the wool fibres. Sorry the picture doesn't do the colours justice, as it was taken in artificial light. I've still more to do, but I have some silk to spin first.

It's been a really funny time lately for our family, we had some wonderful things happening with my Grand daughter but we also had some pretty awful times too. This has made it all rather stressful and tiring so today I decided it was time to take some time out. I went for a short but beautiful walk in the woods.

The colour is just starting to turn here in the South of England.

The light through the trees was so beautiful.
I took loads of pictures, I haven't had the time to go through them all properly, but I am hoping to use some of them for inspiration on my landscape work. That'll be on the next blog. Bye for now Tricia

Sunday, 5 October 2008

A Bronze for her country at 11 years old

SHE DID IT! Our little Rebekah has won a bronze medal for her country at 11, would you believe that!!!!!

Well, I could hardly believe it either. Her Mum said as she told me the news on the phone, "Mum, she can hardly hold the flowers and the medal, while supporters crowded around her all asking for her autograph. This is amazing, we have never had anyone in our family win anything like this before. Isn't she wonderful? Thanks everyone who wished her good luck, it worked! It'll be some time before we come back down to earth I'm sure. Speak soon Tricia

Saturday, 4 October 2008

How did she get this far?????

This is only going to be a very short blog, no needlework/art today. I just had to let you all know the progress of the World Championships in Glasgow.
Rebekah has made it to the finals!!!! How did she ever make it this far at the tender age of 11. I'm stunned!

The first round, yesterday, on the 3rd, Rebekah was obviously suffering extreme nerves and I'm not surprised. Representing your country is no mean feat at 11 years of age! She was not doing so well yesterday, she lost a couple of marks for small timing errors apparently. this sport is just so strict. We all thought that was it, we had been given the impression that she wouldn't be able to pull herself back even if today were perfect.

Well, I don't know how this judging thing works but today I heard the news, she is in 8th place. She goes through to the finals tomorrow and while we are wondering how on earth she got this far, we are feeling for her and her Mum thinking it must be awful having to go through it all tomorrow again. Now tomorrow they all start from scratch and basically it is all about how they are on the day. It could go anyway, so to speak.
Well, what ever the outcome tomorrow I think she is incredible to have got this far. I shall be glad when it is all over, my stomach is churning just thinking about it. So how must she feel, goodness only knows. If you read this, say a little good luck wish for her, she tries so very hard and deserves it so much.
GOOD LUCK BEX from all of us here. Love Nanny x x x

Saturday, 20 September 2008

I can't help but be proud!

This is Rebekah, my beautiful 11 year old Grand daughter, I took this photo when we went to the coast for the day, she came running towards me just like this and I snapped. This is so much a picture of how she is, always relaxed, happy and such a thoughtful and yet very modest person. I can't help but be proud though, because in a couple of weeks she is off to Glasgow to represent her country in her sport. She is the youngest I think that they have ever had. She is on the British Team and will be competing with gymnasts from all over the world.

She recently was asked how she felt about all this and they have quoted her modest words on the Durham City Council website which you can read for yourself here.

Rebekah trains everyday, she is very self disciplined and has to watch her weight, you see she is a top, that means in terms of Acrobatic Gymnastics that she is the one who has to climb on to her partners shoulders. She does sommersaults and allsorts from this precarious position. If she didn't watch her weight her partner wouldn't be able to lift her and do the very dangerous moves that they make together.

Rebekah has added problems, she is an anaphylactic which means she is highly allergic to lots of things including nuts. She also has other food intolerances which all in all make it really hard for her to watch what she eats. About a year ago she had another problem which affected her heel, quite a few young atheletes have this ailment but for weeks it meant that she had to train with pain to her heel and found it hard to land. She has exercise induced asthma too. All in all she has many problems but she overcomes all of them and carries on.

Now she has reached this very giddy height of representing her country. I just had to share this with you all. I'm just so very, very proud of her. Well done Rebekah and Nanny wishes you very good luck in your very special competition.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Struggling with my direction and some landscape work.

Even the title shows my muse has vacated. I just replied to a blog and this is what I wrote:

I have been reading your blog for some time now, I felt I had to reply to today's entry because I feel I am having similar feelings about my own art work.
The trouble with textiles is that there is the functional which is the everyday utility that everyone recognises. Then there is the conceptual. As well as this I have a real problem within my own art work in that I love decoration but always feel hesitant to use it.

Whilst I was studying towards my art degree in textiles we theorised on the use of borrowed images from other cultures and times. It always puts a big full stop in my mind to anything I would like to do; Gosh Art college has a lot to answer for.

Anyway, I also haven't been able to focus for some time, I flit from one idea to the other and I really don't feel that I am allowing myself the freedom I need. I am not sure whether any of this is the same or similar to the way you feel but I just felt I had to write and let you know, that if it does ring any bells with you, then you are not alone. Good Luck with your directions in the future. Tricia

As I said, I am struggling at the moment. I am wanting to make some meaningful artwork but the only direction that pulls me at all is landscape, I get so far and then I feel lost.

To that end I have been doing a lot of photography. Then I thought, why, it will cost a fortune to print all these pictures off in colour, even on a small scale. That made me think about something that I did learn to some use at college. We were taught that true sketching should be just that, sketching should just mean capturing the essence of a subject. We were always pushed to this end by making 2 minute studies of the life model. The model would pose and in 2 minutes the model would be told to change the pose. This way you were never able to get more than the essential down on paper. So I adopted that idea with my digital camera. After a couple of minutes it turns itself off when I am studying a scene. Below are my very early attempts at capturing the essence of some landscape photos I took recently. I know what the scribbles represent, and that's all that matters, I suppose.

It's the shape of the landscape I am trying to capture, not the detail.

It is harder than you think when you are on a self imposed time limit. Yes, I am rusty, I admit that.

Well, enough of that, here is a drawing I made of a photo I took sometime ago, not sure if I even know where the photo is. Anyway, the drawing was made in Oil crayons, perhaps I should move on to colour with the above drawings next.

I decided to try to make a small piece in felt from this piece of work. Here is the result:

I am not entirely satisfied with the result. I do feel my landscape work needs much more exploration and experiment before I will be happy with it.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Two Blog Awards in one day!

Two Awards in one day, Wow, what have I done to deserve this?
Thanks Jean.

Now that just leaves the difficult job of who to pass these on to.

I have some regular blogs who I visit because they are always a really good read. Then I thought, Ok whilst I am visiting some of these regulars I will take a look at a few others that I haven't looked at before. So the first few are my regulars and then I added a couple I have come across who I feel really deserve the award. So here goes:

If you haven't come across any of these before, do go and take a look, they are well worth it.
Well, thanks again Jean, now to go and let all the winners know.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

The Beauty of Silk

As well as all my landscape photography I have been working with some silk again. I spun and dyed some a little while ago. I just love the results that I get with this.. When you think that I start off with this:
Raw silk, It is actually a lovely pale cream/golden colour, it almost looks white until you look a little closer. The sheen on it is exquisite. As I say you start off with this and then after spinning and dyeing it you end up with this:
I wish the pictures were better. I love rainbow dyeing. I love working with colour in this way and it is true, silk does take dye ever so easily. These skeins were done in the microwave, a 3 minute zap and they are done.
Some of the photos seem to lose the brilliance of that shine, I don't know why.
The way I have been exploring colour with these skeins is through the use of the primaries. Difficult to beleive but I just have three colours, yes, red, blue and yellow. That way the colours that I am trying to find whilst experimenting are either the secondary: greens, purples and oranges. Also I mixed up some browns, in the picture below, I wanted to go from a warm chocolate brown to a tan, then a golden right through to a colder almost green/brown, it worked.

Here are the four skeins ready to use. I will be embroidering on to my felt with these. I love the contrast between the flat/matt colour of the felt against the shiny silk thread.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

As far as the eye can see.

I am rediscovering my childhood, about a week ago when my daughter came to visit I went down to the Isle of Sheppey. Now when I was a child I would visit there once a year with my family, I grew up till I was 11 in London. In a little row of Victorian terraced houses. My Parents were not that well off, they were buying their own house, so for the 5 of us to go away every year was quite an expense I expect, and quite an adventure too, for me. I only ever saw a green field when I went on holiday or when my primary school took us to the common for sports day. We didn't even have our own playing field.

Now I know that everything looks bigger when you are young, last week I realised this more than ever. My daughter drove me into the chalet site where I used to stay, I even recognised the chalet that we would stay in, it's still there!!! The campsite looked tiny and very overcrowded, many of the chalets are in poor repair but I think that they must have been sold off. Mind you they are goodness knows how many years old. We started to go there when I was a nipper so we are talking about late 1950's. It sort of brought a lump to my throat when I think back to how my parents managed that holiday every year. We would go by coach, my Dad wouldn't drive, even though he had during the war in the desert. In those days, we didn't have all the facilities that we have today. Clothes were heavier, wool and cotton, not so many light weight fabrics. My Mum often said I don't know how I managed those suitcases! Still we went every year.

So this week I went down to Sheppey to explore a part of it, that I didn't know existed. Along the inner edge of the Island, that part that edges the Swale River there is a fantastic nature reserve. Ok, the scenery to some people might be a little bland but I love it. You can see for miles and miles. It's mainly a bird sanctury on wide open marshes but whilst we were there, I saw my very first hare in real life. I wish I had been quick enough to get a picture. We saw allsorts of birds, Marsh Harriers, A beautiful Heron and other water fowl.

It really is hard to believe that all of this is on our doorstep. It took us just 45 minutes from door to door.

I just love the open spaces of this place.

Now this scene is along the edge of the Swale. The tide was well out as can be seen. We were trying to figure out what all these sticks were in the ground and then realised that they must have been from a landing stage of some sort. The mud flats were covered in some sort of algae/weed

Coming home we took the old bridge, the new one is to the right. I sort of recollect going across here, in my far distant memory way back in those very happy childhood days.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Inspirational Landscape Artists and my experiments in felt.

My inspirations come from all sorts of sources but there are two artists one of whom I met when working as a teacher in a secondary, the other a very well known artist, they both give me a taste of what I would like to create as landscape.

The first is a Russian Born artist who I met after she had been working in Ireland, having never been to see my own roots from Irish Grandparents I was fascinated by her take on a landscape that has always held a mystery for me. Her name is Varvara Shavrova, if you visit her website here and go to the past work, the work I was introduced to in a slide show held at the school was entitled Inscriptions. So was I taken with the work I rushed down to the Gallery where her work had been, even though I missed the exhibition itself, I managed to buy a copy of the exhibition catalogue. During the workshop which she managed with my students she showed techniques that would change the way I looked at how I work and what landscape is all about. We did some large scale mono printing directly from the art room desks/tables, they were fantastic. She described how she made some of her work with graphite and her descriptions fascinated me for a long while afterwards. She managed to create landscapes which for me were both abstract and yet real. A fine balance between in order to succeed with this.

This leads me on to my other favourite landscape artist. Ivon Hitchins. His work is also abstract and yet he painted in such a way that you feel you could walk into it. He often used elongated canvasses for example one entitled 'Garden Cove' measures 44 x 108. He said he often used this long shape because he found a square-shaped painting unsatisfactory because the horizontals are cut short. Garden Cove fascinates me, it is a landscape and yet there is a suggestion of a door in the image. When I say a suggestion, I mean just that. You could almost miss it. You scan his work visually and are looking for the tangible, it is there but you can't say for sure where. If you get the chance then take a look at his work, there are a few pictures on the web at certain galleries.

Now this all brings me on to a body of work I have been trying to create with my embellisher. I have been creating a series of samples in Postcard and ATC size from a larger piece which was made from scraps of wet felt that have been in a bag for sometime from larger projects. I joined all these scraps on the embellisher, my idea was to randomise the colours and shapes to see what is possible in the abstract. The only control I had over this process was when I was cutting the small rectangles from the larger piece. I tried very hard not to look at where the colours and shapes fell when I cut these out. My idea was to take it to the extreme, I therefore told myself to use all the fabric I had made and tried to fit in as many as I could from the large piece I had created. The results you can see below. As a series of rectangles which can be seen as abstract landscapes I hope. I am trying to work into these by adding some texture with stitch, either following the lines within the piece or by infilling the shapes.

the first few I have not sewn into yet.

Some of the rectangles work better in portrait than in the landscape format, purely because of the horizontal lines within.

The picture below shows how a scrap was embellished into the piece, this scrap was originally a little leaf that I had sewn around, it seems to work for me, but I can't say why, can you?

The piece below reminds me of geology and rock formations, where rocks have made abstract patterns where the different kinds of rock have been laid in layers and then moved and squeezed together.

This is where I start to add texture, in the form of seed stitches.

The stitches on the left hand corner of this were already in the felt before I embellished it together.

The texture, or should I say small motif in the piece below was just a scrap I had experimented on long ago before I put this together.

I was thinking of framing these, rather like I had framed all my atc's. I am now very unhappy with the result of doing this and I won't be continuing as I do not feel it adds anything to the work.

Below following the line of the shapes this time with a little seed stitching added.

Atc size below, again following the line of the shapes.

Before I finish this post I am showing some other felt pieces I have been experimenting with. Felt with machine embroidery below:

Below is some reverse pattern felting, well that's what I am going to call it. Working from the reverse, the first one is the front and the second shows the back and how the little circles of linen have come through from behind.

Some further scrap paintings as I think I will call them. Just putting scraps of felt together on the embellisher in order to see what can be made from them

Here to finish off this rather long post is a traditional landscape that I made last month, this is slightly larger than the other landscapes I have shown on my blog, it is nearly A4 in size.