Saturday, 26 April 2008

Essence of Kent

Helen and I seem to be on a similar wavelength at the moment. She has inspired me to put some of my pictures that I took recently of old buildings/outhouses. It is the one thing that makes me think of my part of kent. I am wanting to make some studies of things that make me think Kent as I remember it when I was a child so I went with a friend to her friend's home to help her feed her donkey and cats whilst she is away. I took my camera because I know the land around which used to be a small holding/orchard held just what I wanted.This is a little house for the goats to go to in the rain.
Disused hen houses
I love the old shallow tin bucket with handle on the top of this pile, I have one of these myself at home that we use to take out the ashes, it was my mothers. I wonder what it was used for, probably animal feeding or such like.
Yet another view of an animal shelter.
I'm not sure exactly how I will use these images as yet. I have made a couple of quick sketches but I think that I need to only use part of these and concentrate on the ageing process when I do make further studies.

Monday, 21 April 2008

TIF Challenge April - The way I see change

Well, here are the different views/studies that I made from the picture to insert into the wheel. I know that they don't look much on their own but once they go between the spokes of the cart wheel, I believe they come together as a whole.

I had to start with the horses head at the top of the wheel.

I know that the studies of the people in the picture are not really portraits, in other words I couldn't get their likenesses but it's on such a small scale and it is felt after all, not making excuses though, I just wanted the essence of the picture.
The bow top wagon is in the picture but only a little is showing behind my grand mother so I have looked at other images, it is only a simple study.
The picture of my Grand mother here, I was only trying to capture a little of the period dress, they always wore pinny's on top of their clothes in those days,
I couldn't get a likeness here either but I have tried to capture my grandfathers swathy/darker complexion with a darker, natural fleece.
Ok, this was not in the picture but I did research from a book I have and it is such an iconic symbol for the travelling way of life, I added/lit the fire after adding this element to the wheel.
This was just a scene from the same book as above.
I had to include this figure, with his cloth cap, even though I don't know who he is.
The finished piece I beleive works well, and I am so pleased that I chose to keep to the monochrome as I have been promising myself I would see what was possible with natural fleece colours. I have give the piece a wavy edge with blanket stitch as it reminds me of the mud that would be picked up on the wheel as it travels. Below are a few close ups.
I have really enjoyed doing this challenge, especially as it means somuch to me and I expect that it is a piece of work that one of my children will enjoy in the future to remind them of their travelling heritage.
One more close up here
Well Sharon, I am waiting for May now to see what you will come up with, I hope it will inspire me the same way this has. Thanks for a great challenge, keep it up.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

TIF Challenge for April

The TIF Challenge for April is "How do I see change" Well, whether this is good or bad it is debateable but I see change as moving house, not staying in one place as I rarely have. I think that travelling is in the blood. My mothers parents were from Ireland but although my Grand mother was what you would expect from a true Celt, my grandfather's side were romany people. I don't draw very often from my head because I nearly always use symbols in my thought processes but it was a starting place. The wheel is a very strong Romany symbol which is often used by the travellers so it was an obvious choice. I then thought of the people walking besides the wagon and also the idea of putting down or pulling up roots.

I was going to work with Sun dye as this changes the fabric. However, we don't have much sun here in Britain at present and I was not completely happy with the way that all this was going.

Then purely by chance I came across this old photo of my Grand Parents and
my mother. The back ground is, My Grand dad who is sitting in the foreground, his mother came from Spain and they were horse people. My Great Grand dad on that side was a horse doctor and bearing in mind this takes you back many years to the time of the great famine in Ireland, he was quite an important rural visitor as he would travel around all the farms and help to cure the livestock with his herbal cures. They lived in bow top wagons. Well, because of the potatoe famine my Great Grandparents came over to England in the mid 1800's. There have certainly been many changes since their time, there have also been extreme changes even since my mother's time. She was born in a wagon in 1921 around the time of the great depression, times were very hard but they were survivors or I wouldn't be here. The two gents in the rear of the picture I believe were just friends of the family. My Grand dad who is sitting in the front of the picture died just after the picture was taken. I believe he died of the effects of mustard gas he had inhaled during the first world war. My Grand mother is also sitting in the front and my poor mum who looks thoroughly fed up is standing in the picture, she is only 7 years old. I suppose they had to stand still for a while in those days for pictures to be taken. The picture was taken, I believe, because they had just won a race with one of their horses, I think that there is some sort of trophy on the table. Well, this is where my challenge starts:

I have decided to work in monochrome as the original picture is and it seems so appropriate to show yet another change in the way we look at photos today. This piece I have needle felted in natural sheep wool colours.
My idea is to take parts of this picture and place these in the wheel. Look back to see how I get on.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Miniature Art, buttons and brooches

The Image above shows the size of these brooches next to a £2 coin.

I've been working very hard due to the inspiration I have been given by Helen, it was something she said about my Celtic wallhangings which made me realise that an opportunity had been staring me in the face.

Well, to cut a long story short, I was about to make some of my felt buttons and then I decided to make some brooches too, the latter being with a Celtic theme/flavour. Some have got miniture landscape pictures in them, the others are purely decorative motifs that I have been studying for some time. There is a wealth of inspiration in Celtic Art.

I also decided to try some thread painting and this time I managed to do exactly what I wanted to do. I bought some little tubes of microwave dyes called Quick Colour. I only bought the primaries and it is so simple to get the effect. You don't need many drops to dye some thread so it works great to get the variegated thread that I have been trying to get for some time. Here are some of the examples: the picture does not do it justice but believe me the colour combination I acheived was just so rewarding.
Well back to the brooches:

I am obviously happier with some of these than others but each one is very different either in colour or design.

Here are a few of the other more decorative brooches:

I am now sewing a backing on to each of these brooches with a brooch pin included like this:

The last of the pictures I am placing on here today show my felt buttons, these are great fun as you can see and are useful for knitted jackets but can also be used as an ornament to a textile piece of any description. They often remind me of sweets, depending on the colours I use. Each button is secured with an embroidery method I invented myself based upon a minute cord made on the fingers which is attached to the back so that attaching them to the textile piece is made simpler.

I will probably be putting some of these items for sale on etsy once I have finished them all. I hope that you have enjoyed looking at these as much as I have making them.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

April in Kent - It's been snowing!

Well, it looks more like December doesn't it? This was the view out of my window this morning and by all accounts I hear that it has been worse in other places where the ground is higher.

I just had to share a couple of photos with you. These next two views are taken from the back of my house this evening.

What a sunset it was.

The next photo is very strange, I don't know where the flying saucer came from, lol?

Well, it's been a funny old day and these pictures confirm that. It's not the first time we have had snow this late in the year, apparently back in the 60's we had snow in May. So there you are. Roll on Spring.

Green Man

Well, as promised, here he is in all his glory. He's a doleful character, benevolent, He is needle felted in a slight relief.

He represents my love and trust of nature, trust, yes, because I do believe even with all this talk about global warming mother nature will see us through and hopefully correct the worst of the man made effects we might experience.

Having said all this, we should be doing our part, I was listening to local radio last night and they were talking about the low energy light bulbs. Apparently we should be very wary of these because they can be quite a hazard. There was some serious research done in Australia and it is said that they can be difficult to dispose of. They have warned us that down under they are not allowed to put them in the normal bins. That they need to be taken down to the local authority disposal to be put in a special bin. How many road miles is this going to cost the planet? Also that if a bulb breaks you are meant to ventilate and leave the room for at least 20 mins and they pieces must be picked up wearing rubber gloves and on no account hoover the floor. This does not sound eco friendly to me, does it you? The bulbs contain mercury and phosphorus. It was said that none of these hazards have been printed on the box, great isn't it.

Well, there must be other ways to keep this planet turning. Personally I would like to know why our governments have not issued everyone with solar panels years ago, it will be as at least sustainable as our planet is. After all, if the Sun isn't there, we won't be anyway! When these low energy light bulbs are forced on us in about 5 years when they will become compulsory who will gain from it? The planet, the people or the manufacturer's. Does our government really believe in these products or are they just paying lips service to the idea of being green?

Well, I couldn't put my green man on here without having a moan about green issues. It was the theme of my dissertation whilst I was studying for my art degree. Many artists feel the same as I do and there are many artists all over the world who are either campaigning or making art about green issues, there are even some who are really getting involved in the whole process of recycling.

In our household we do our bit. We recycle all our kitchen waste for our garden, we even tear up cardboard boxes and put them into the composter; it all goes back to the earth, it just takes a little time. We are quite aware of how much difference it makes as we don't have wheely bins where we are and we have to put our rubbish out in black bin liners so we try to limit how much goes into them. You would be surprised at what a difference a compost can make to the quantity of rubbish you throw away in the bin. Try it and see and watch your garden grow at the same time. Oh well, must get on, pop back soon and see what else I've been up to. Bye for now.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Busy, busy, busy!

Yes, I am being very busy at the moment. Since joining the blogging community as well as the fiber arts site I have been spurred on to work more and more, it's great. I feel I have been trying to work in isolation for so long but now I feel part of a great textile community where I can get feedback I have a real purpose it seems to keep working.

I also would like to get enough of a body of good work together to take to a local gallery to see how my work would be received by the public.

Well I don't want to spend too much time on here so I will just add a few more of the pictures and then I shall carry on working.
The piece above is needle felted and it is designed to incorporate a theme I have been wanting to work on for some time. The idea was to make a series entitled Celtic Landscapes, this landscape is based on a drawing I made whilst visiting Robin Hood's Bay. The Celtic shape was drawn from a Celtic brooch and the idea of having it as a frame, almost like a window looking through to the view beyond has been something I have been experimenting with but until now it hadn't come to fruition. I can thank my felting needles for this one. It allows me to work very small and detailed.

This is the same theme but with a different view, the view is taken from a drawing I made when I lived on the edge of the Peninnes in Weardale, County Durham.
This was another Celtic design with a picture taken from a drawing which I made of the Wear river. These designs are still in the experimental stage and I feel that given time I will perfect the theme to do exactly as I visualise it. Well, that's enough for now. I will probably add my Large Green Man piece next time. Do come back soon.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Helen's beautiful ATC

Thank you so very much Helen for the beautiful ATC that you have sent to me. It far surpasses my first little attempt, but perhaps I'll improve with time and patience and practice.

You've got me hooked now you know. I just want to do swaps, if they are all like yours I want to swap more. It's so delightful seeing how others work, especially on such a miniture scale.

I took one look at your piece Helen and felt as though I was beachcombing and that I had just found treasure. I'm not sure if that's what it's really about but boy does it remind me of the shore.