Wednesday, 30 November 2016

This and that.

It's amazing what comes to light when you have a clear out.   I was sorting through a box of bits and came across these monoprints.  Nothing special, but I could draw into them to sharpen up the shapes and make them more interesting.   They might be useful for making collages.

The two top ones here are on fabric and have turned out quite nicely.  The ones on paper need help.

The paper napkin has no relation to the other pieces but was at the bottom of the box and too pretty to be missed out.  Again, useful for collage.

The three pieces on the left are the actual print blocks and might look good with a touch of gilding cream.

Perhaps the next book will be made up of collages.  Food for thought.

Keep warm on this beautiful, but very cold winter day.  There is obviously warmth in the sun as the fences and shed roofs are all steaming as it thaws the frost where it shines.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Another book.

I have always liked and admired the work of William Morris and did a project on it some years ago.  I have 2 or 3 books about him and recently looked through them after receiving a pack of 5" squares of patchwork fabric in some of his designs.   I decided to use some of them to make this book and in a few cases managed to match the border fabrics with my chosen designs.


Here I photocopied an example of his calligraphy.  He created designs for wallpaper, tapestries and furniture as well as fabrics.





I made the cover from left over pieces, many of which are the same design in different colourways.
It is edged with a soft blue fabric.

The lining for the cover has quotations from the man himself written on strips of plain fabric and stitched between the patterned ones.  'Have nothing in your houses which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful'.  And 'My work is the embodiment of dreams in one form or another'.

The backgrounds for each page are some of my eco-dyeing experiments which give the book a nice aged look, as if it has been lying in the back of a cupboard for 100 years, which is probably what it will do for the next 100!

I drew each design onto a separate piece of fabric which had Bondaweb applied to the back of it and gesso on the front.  I then added colour with Derwent pencils - Coloursoft and Inktense - before cutting out the design and bonding it onto the page.  Stitching was then added round each design and to hold and add definition to patterned strips sometimes matching the drawn design, at the edge of the page.

When everything was complete the pages were then bonded together back to back and then edged with an automatic machine stitch on which I worked raised chain band to give a nice firm border.

I just have to finish the cover, bind in the pages, and decide whether it needs a closure or not

There was lots of lovely relaxing hand stitching in the making of it.   The next one might be filled with ancient doors - I have found some lovely inspirational ones on Pinterest.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

And About Time Too!!

I have had these photos on my camera for about a fortnight and have only just got round to putting them on my blog.   Where does the time go?    Here are the remaining pages of my book started on Frances Pickering's late summer workshop.   Harebells above and barn owl below.

Poor old badger looks as if he is being clouted with a lump of wood in my clumsy attempt to make it look like a fallen dead tree, under which he has built his sett.
Gold finch on teasel.

Conkers.

A worm's eye view of mushrooms.

A fox out hunting - the page is much darker than it seems here.

Harvest mouse.

Wild strawberries.

Somewhat regimented bee orchids.

I had great fun making this little book and was brave enough to draw directly on to most of the pages.  For the more difficult subjects I drew on a separate piece of paper then cut out my drawing and stuck it onto the book page.  This was necessary for the birds and animals.

I am starting on a new fabric book working with the designs of William Morris.  Lots of hand stitching, which gives a welcome break from the on-going task of clearing the garden for the winter.  I am gradually winning, but it is slow work as energy is in short supply but I am keen to do it.

I hope you have all had a share of the glorious weather we have had recently, even if only half a day at a time.  However, the dew is so heavy that I am waiting for the grass to dry before I can cut it, even though we haven't had any rain to speak of for some days.  If it gets too long I shall need a scythe, or maybe a couple of sheep.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Nose to the Grindstone.

Last weekend I had a wonderful time on one of Frances Pickering's workshops.  This year's theme was Town or Country.  As you will see I chose Country.  It was held at Hawkwood College, near Stroud.  On Friday night I fell asleep listening to the owls hooting. 
On Saturday morning we awoke to quite a thick mist blotting out quite a bit of the beautiful views from the house.
These were the views from my bedroom window.

We started work straight away on the Friday afternoon and evening.  I made up a little book ready to be filled with drawings.  I was determined to draw on this weekend and to make the most of every minute.  Above is the cover.

And here is the centre spread.  I think it needs a bit more work to make it more obvious that it is an overhanging bank with a fallen tree in the foreground.

I made a hole in one page and then added others to create the view seen through the hole.



I have kept this tawny owl feather since finding it ages ago on our back lawn.  I plucked up the courage to draw what I hope looks like a tawny owl - again this page needs more work.

On my return home I spotted this little coronet of cherry blossom on one of the branches recently cut back on our tree.  Other little bits of blossom are appearing in several other places.  Poor old tree - it is supposed to be dying but still manages to surprise us.   Another lovely surprise on returning home - neighbours whose garden backs on to ours have got rid of a very ugly leylandii hedge and replaced it with a beautiful new tall fence!   It makes such a difference to the garden.

I have plenty of other pages to work on in the book and want to try out quite a few adventurous (for me) ideas for them.  I mustn't get carried away by my enthusiasm!

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Slow Progress.

I have finished all the pages of my book at last.





You have seen the other page so I haven't included it here.   I carefully decided in which order I wanted them and wrote tiny numbers in the top corner of each page.   The only trouble is that now I have completed the hand sewing round each border, I have covered up the numbers!  All I have to do now is make the cover - when I have made up my mind what sort of cover to make.  I must try to press my pages again before I bind them into the cover.   All that hand stitching has creased and puckered them.


Something else I have tried recently is eco-dyeing.   I followed instructions given in the current issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.   The artist who wrote the article dyed papers, but I wanted to try fabric.   Mine were all cotton fabrics of one sort or another.   The artist recommended putting torn up foliage in the bottom of the dye pan - I used comfrey leaves and I think they have dulled everything.  If I try it again I might leave out the layer of foliage.   Plant material was layered between each piece of fabric, then folded to encase everything, clips being used top and bottom of each parcel to hold it all in place, and string tied around the middle part.   White vinegar is added to the boiling water and the bundles are held down with a heavy stone while they simmer for 90 minutes.  I left them for 2 days after taking them out of the water and before unwrapping them.
When I first unwrapped everything it all looked so dark and rather like Army camouflage material.
Though I did get some interesting marks.
The colours haven't come out at all well in my photos,  I got some lovely blue/purple shades, and a few soft yellows.   I used fuchsia flowers, marigolds, elderberries, blueberries and various leaves.  Everything is greener than it appears here and some of the pieces might be useful on my workshop with Frances Pickering next month.
By the time I had rinsed, dried and ironed my fabrics they were beginning to look a bit more attractive.   I wonder if the time of year affects the colours achieved?   It would be interesting to try in springtime and see if I got lighter shades.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Chaos reigns!

As you can see, chaos reigns on my worktable which was beautifully tidy a few weeks ago.

I haven't got very far with my fabric book of memories of my grandmother, but here are the four pages so far completed.  I am not sure I like the handwritten text and may have to come up with an alternative.   It is so hard to keep the fabric smooth and write at the same time.


I have been very busy working on the garden which is slowly returning to a respectable state.  By the end of the day I am too tired to concentrate so have sometimes amused myself by experimenting with little collages.

They are all made on khadi paper about 5 inches square.

I have so many bits and pieces and am amazed at what I have kept, but much of it has been useful in putting these together.

They are really tottering baby steps in collage - I have probably broken all the rules, and I don't even know if there are any to break.

I have found them quite relaxing to assemble.

Some have worked better than others.   I am not sure about the one above, but do like the last one.

I must get back to Granny's book before I have another book to work on.  At the beginning of September I am treating myself to one of Frances Pickering's weekend workshops.  This year's theme is Town or Country -  I have chosen Country.  Already I have too many ideas buzzing round in my head.  I think I might work on paper this time as I want to make myself do more drawing - scary!  But who knows - by the time I have listened to Frances' opening talk I might change my mind completely.