Monday, 31 January 2011

Drawing Dogwood

 At the bus stop, waiting for a 65 bus to work, drawing with 'Paint Pad' on my phone on top of a photo of red stems of dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) by the Palm  House Pond in the mist. Thinking of the possibilities.
Decided to join in  the Sketchbook Challenge ( a different theme each month, posting to a Flickr  site) . Hopefully not too onerous as sketch anyway and I enjoyed 'Take it Further Challenge' a few years ago January's theme is 'Highly Prized' - posted this image as my phone with its apps is indeed highly prized after years of a very basic mobile.

Grass Cuttings

 I took a quilt into work today and hung it on the wall - it looks at home above a spreadsheet of 140  threatened mosses needing conservation action. I moved desks a couple of weeks ago after nearly 15 years in an office that also serves as the tea-room. Somehow I never felt like hanging anything up there  but now, despite being  tucked into a corner of the main lab, it feels a more personal space. 
The quilt is  titled 'Grass Cuttings', companion piece to 'Grass Clippings' (below) which was selected for 'Fabric of Nature' exhibition at Nature in Art Museum and Gallery, Gloucester in 2004. It then went onto Festival of Quilts in 2005, and Yusa-Machi in Japan in 2006.
 They were both made from the scraps leftover from a double size bed quilt started in an Alison Schwabe workshop at 'La Maison du Patchwork'. Now I've got my Pfaff Grandquilter that may even get quilted and put into action!
I was so pleased with the effect of these 2 scrap quilts that I attempted the same technique when CQ had the 'Fissures' challenge. But it never got off the ground - far harder to manufacture scraps than you might think!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Rebinding Blue-Green Algae ?

 I've been taking photos of some of my older quilts  to include in my website , also to review candidates for a space I've got at work next to my desk. Surprisingly I haven't got too many  quilts that are plant related but I  used images from  books in Kew's library for these 'Blue-Green Algae' quilts from 1997. I entered them joined together for a quilt show  at the time and had them on my wall in my previous flat  but they've been separated for a while now - and stuck in a drawer.

 I love the hand quilting on these, all in silk buttonhole thread my mum bought at an NW Branch Embroiderers Guild sales table  - don't think I'd have the patience now. But the binding lets them down now - I've got so much better at it . So do I rebind them using the methods I use now ( I  prefer to use a facing on the back) or let them stand as evidence of the stage I had reached  at that time?

Sunday, 23 January 2011

A lick of Paint

 Of the wonderful peeling paint at Boxhill and West Humble Railway Station ( seen above in it's glory days), all that remains is fragments on the floor.
 It's been repainted in the livery of Southern Railway -green and yellow.

 At least the station has retained other gems like this 'Ghost House' a bit like the one in Lille I based a Journal Quilt on.

Box Hill

 The rain held off and we finally made it to Box Hill to begin building our walking stamina for Crete in April. A combination of the 'Short Walk' and 'Nature Walk' brought us to my favourite bit of chalk grassland  with views over the ridge we'd puffed up and distant vistas of Surrey vines.
 This spot has provided inspiration for a couple of Journal Quilts - in March 2005, and later in the season October 2008.
 Although I'd brought sketching materials, it was  too cold to draw so concentrated on taking photos.
 A few whimsical like the Tower with a quiff and the moss bird

But mainly rather blurry closeups of textures and shapes (the light levels were low)
I loved the white swirls of old-mans beard against the dark branches.
Then cheeks glowing back to London for a £6.95 veggie curry  buffet at Ravi Shanker's on Drummond Street. Now I'm ready for a bath and early night.

Silk Paper

 Another stimulating Thames Valley Contemporary Quilt session on Saturday. An interesting talk from artist Gabrielle Forshaw in the morning, discussion about our potential pieces for Slough Museum exhibition at lunchtime followed by a workshop with Vicki Chambers on working in 3d with silk fibres.
 Made silk paper (or laminations) using cocoon strippings which as they contain seracin, only need water and ironing between baking  parchment.  Draping over a mould such as a plastic cup makes  interesting structures. I was so taken with the simplicity of it ( and its potential to make translucent slightly stiff fabrics for my Taplow Vase project)  that I ordered online from George Weil before I went to bed! 
 A contrast to the other , bit more complex method (bit like feltmaking)  using silk hankies and fibres with CMC to stick it together which I had a go with in a mini workshop at Knit and Stitch in 2005 (and got incorporated into a Journal Quilt)
With a similar texture and lustre, a piece of birch bark found on our walk today.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Suitcase Collections

I realised that I'd forgotten to post picture of the final quilt for CQ  'Childhood Memories' Suitcase Collection although I wrote about in its earlier stages   I wasn't that inspired by the theme and I think that shows - it's not a great piece of work but it's good to be challenged now and again!  You might get a false impression of my childhood in the 60's and 70's as most of the photos from that time  are black and white . In fact it was very colourful (think of all those day-glo and flourescent colour combinations!). So I used a piece of vintage charity shop fabric as backing and stitched from the back with flourescent threads following the wild patterns

By coincidence I also used stitching from the back in my previous suitcase challenge quilt 'Figure it Out ', in this case following the patterns of an aboriginal screen printed fabric I bought in Australia . Rather more successful even if it was eraly days for my acrylic painting technique.
"Inspired by Australian aboriginal rock paintings of Arnhemland, particularly the spirit figures ’Mimis'. The act of painting is considered more important than the finished picture which results in layers of paint and patterns, where individual shapes are initially  difficult  to recognise .

Front constructed from ‘shot’ silks in blue green and orange ( colours of rock), turned at 90 degrees  to reflect light differently.  Screen printed fabric produced by the Injalak is used on the back. The ‘Mimis’ are  outlined by machine quilting from the back following printed figures then contour quilted. Acrylic paint in ochres applied by sponge over stencils of handprints. "

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Translucent Booklets

Results of  creative time on Sunday - inspired by pages made for Sketchbook Project, drawing multiple viewpoints of the 'Taplow Vase' on tracing paper and different cotton organdies , making them up into 'secret books'. Cutting holes produced interesting effects and I'll try stitched lines next and perhaps some different translucent papers? I can feel an expedition to Falkiners coming on......
Whilst taking photographs of the booklets yesterday morning  distracted by a glorious 'red sky in the morning -shepherds's warning' - well it did pour down in the evening.
Also on Sunday finally got round to taking a picture in situ of my stocking present to Ian - bunting made of alligator fabric above the bookshelf he uses for his Amazon Marketplace 'SNAPUPBOOKS' . Got enough fabric left to cover those folders.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Stop Press: Ring Found!!!!

Putting away the Ocado order and look what I found in the bottom drawer of the freezer!!!! It must have dropped off with the cold, the  ring that was lost . It's more than the Postal Gods that are with me today - we're about to celebrate with some Vino Santo that Sue and Peter gave us last weekend. Appropriate as we drank this at our engagement lunch at Osterio del Portico.

A race to the post

Just made it the post office before it closed today , the  Postal Gods on my side for once with a bus appearing when I needed it. I sent off two little quiltlets to Germany for consideration in the 4th International Small Format Challenge on the theme of Freedom (cross fingers!) and my sketchbook back to Brooklyn. I wanted to photograph them before I sent them off and today was the first opportunity in daylight. With that and packing them up having misplaced some vital bits of information , there was a lot of snarling going on! Poor Ian.
 I decided to cover the sketchbook with some African waxprint having referred to this type of fabrics a couple of times within - the residual wax makes a nice firm finish. Bit fiddly as I wanted to leave the 'Made in England' selvedge visible on the inside and had to cut around the barcode.
Looks good tho' and I'm quite sad to see it go as it gradually  turned into quite a physical object (although still keeping within the specified dimensions). I hope that others like handling it too - I'll just have to make another one for myself.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

In The Studio: Sketchbook 75%

As I'd hoped, the festive season was a productive creative time for me even if I didn't achieve all I set out to.
I spent at least some time in the studio every day and  while Ian was back at work between Xmas and New Year, worked hard myself , putting in 7 or 8 hour days with no interruptions apart from lunch watching 'Just William' and  'Wallace and Gromit'!! Even then I was snipping bits out of newspapers for paper lamination (although I didn't get round to doing any as I'd hoped). Ian was a bit disappointed the 'Weir' didn't get a look in but I did some practising with my new quilting machine producing 2 small quilts for a challenge. My main emphasis  with iminent deadline looming was to get stuck into my 'Inside/Outside' sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project. It only took a day for my table (and most of the room) to be overwhelmed with art materials and bits of fabric  - it took rather longer to do the artwork but I'm 75% there.

Now I know I should have started it ages ago (but that's me and deadlines!!) but having decided to summarise my year with a double page spread for each month, it's been a useful reflective process , working out what was important for me showing  indoors and outsdoors activities and thinking how to rerepresent it. I'd  already changed the horrid moleskine paper for coloured khadi papers - never used these before so that was a challenge in itself. Some months were action-packed -it was difficult to choose from several exciting things in August while at the opposite extreme, goodness knows what I did in October !

I don't really go  for New Year resolutions (athough Ian and I have pencilled in several weekends  walking on Box Hill to get the most out of Crete in April ) However  I like the idea of doing a similar sketchbook for 2011 but do it 'properly' throughout the year