Friday, 28 January 2011

Underneath Latex

If you have been reading my blog then you will know that last year I discovered the wonders of liquid latex and made a whole project on it.
 Well during my shoe project (also on a previous post) I again experimented with the latex- not sure it worked as well because it was slightly overpacked with random materials and was also quite thick. When it had partially dried though, I noticed that the underside was also very interesting. Looked almost like a marbled floor or something...


The latex underneath had not quite dried yet which is why there are white marks, the really dark brown stuff which appears to be inside is actually a sheet of textured paper. The lighter photo is the mark the latex left on the lid I moulded it in. I think both look equally interesting! (And the marks did rub off)

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Recieved ATCs!!!

I have been so excited this evening, after months of creating and sending them off, I have finally recieved my first ATCs back!! These are from the acetate swap (which incidentally, I made another card for as I had some flowers left over...)

Anyway, I thought I'd post up the gorgeous ATCs I got!!

 (By Amanda)

 (By Jo)

(By Sue)

I think these show the range of ATCs being made!!! And all with the same beginning theme! So excited, cannot wait for my next parcel!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Frances Pickering

I've had a weekend off from my college work (although I can't really afford to) and instead looked up some of my favourite artists.
I don't know if any you have run into a lovely textile artist called Frances Pickering who makes the most amazing textile books. She is quite often at craft shows like the one at Alexandra Palace (which for those of you who don't know about this show, is absolutely amazing. I have been twice and each time there is a huge variety of stalls: three giant rooms full of artists, shops, inspirations, exhibitions etc. I thoroughly recommend you go!) and the quality of her work is quite astounding. I wonder if she does ATCs? :D

(One of Frances' incredibly detailed books)

I really enjoy finding out about new artists, and also meeting them in person. One such artist is Maggie Grey, who is the proud author of several books (which are worth getting just to look at the pictures!). I met her at the Alexandra show and she gave me a little experiment she had made using magic mould and metallic/acrylic paints- now one of my treasured possessions. I would link up her name, but if you type her into google, so many different pages and websites come up that it is impossible to choose the best one- she is on blogspot though so you can follow her on here.

Some more of my favourite and notable artists:

Kathleen Laurel Sage- also a regular at the Alexandra show (have I convinced you to go yet?). She does the most amazing things with plastic and organzas and has been really helpful to me giving little tips everytime I meet her.

(One of Kathleen's amazing fans, which are huge and in such gorgeous colours!!!)

Jane Hall- Incredibly inspired and dedicated to nature, she also has written a book which I think is worth getting just for the pictures (boy do I want her study area!!). I have referenced her in many of my projects because of her intricate details and use of layering fabrics to create textures.

Sue Rangeley- I only met her last year (I think you can guess where!) but have fallen in love with her work. I got her book for Christmas which she had signed for me (how exciting!! It's addressed to me and everything!!) and the colours are fantastic.

Kim Thittichai- This is the woman who introduced me to Lutrador, Tyvek, Evolon and all those exciting materials and to whom I will be eternally grateful to for it. Her work is amazing and always has the most exciting textures. (She has also written several books, all of which can be found on Amazon (I should probably be getting paid for all this promotion :D))

Well I think I will leave you to mull over these artists and hopefully fall in love with their work. I totally recommend the books they have written

(Can I just say that the photos I have used in this post I do not personally own)

Friday, 21 January 2011

Deconstruct, Reconstruct

Currently I am working on a project called Deconstruct, Reconstruct whereby we (my classmates and I) are allowed two garments of our own choosing each, which we then have to change somehow- either to make something completely different or to change the function of the existing garments. Now I don't know about you, but I consider this to be a fashion project- except that all the tutors keep banging on about it being a project for everybody (not sure the stylists and fashion promotion kids agree but there we are). I chose a summery shirt and a little dress- modelled below by one of my very obliging friends...

(She had a very Heidi-esque look here I think...)

I decided to just get stuck in and start unpicking them to see what bits I could get out- the tutors wanted us to design a whole load of outfits just by looking at the garments but how do you know if they are feasible designs or not without seeing how much material you have in the first place?
I unpicked the dress first and the pockets were surprisingly large- when turned upside down, I discovered they made fab boob holders!
Cutting a long story short, I ended up with a dress design which was a halter neck, with a kind of heart shaped top section, a smocked middle section and a tiered skirt. I think in practice I will keep it as a skirt and a top to make it easier to get in and out of because...horror of horrors!!!!....the tutors are forcing (forcing!!! as in we don't have a choice!) us to go on a catwalk in front of hundreds of people, modelling our own design to raise money for a charity I have never heard of and can't remember (although I'm sure it's very noteworthy). I really don't want to walk this catwalk as I will likely make a numpty of myself, but here is my design pinned onto a mannequin...

 (Front View)

 (Side View)

(Back View)

Unfortunately, I'm not the same shape as the mannequin, nor am I as skinny, so the smocked back panel is going to have tabs sewn on to it where the pins are visible, and then I am going to put in some lacing (like on the back of a corset) for extra decoration and to make sure the band is nice and tight.
Originally I wasn't sure if the colours and the patterns would go together, but I think when all jumbled up like this they do look much better. According to my tutors, my inspirations were hippies and tribal things... 

As little accessories (what would an outfit be without accessories?!) I have made arm and wrist warmers out of the leftover scraps...

 (This one is using pleating which has been stitched alternate ways to create a kind of wave effect, and I have also added one of the cuffs of an original sleeve, complete with button)

(This one is much longer than the first, with a thumb hole and straight pleats on one half, and then little flowers on the other side- it's also my favourite one!!)

The fashion show is not for a while, presumably there will be more photos on this project so I will post them up as they come!

Whip Stitch, Ribbons & Lace

Thankfully I have just finished a really busy week! Not only have I had to start a whole new project at college, but work more on all the other ones I have done ready for assessment and portfolio, and I have had two ATC deadlines to meet as well!!! I think for everyone's sanity, I will keep this post for my new ATCs and do another one for the new college project.
The ATCs this week were Whip Stitch and Ribbons & Lace. The whip stitch one caused a bit of controversy in my house as mum thought that it was a stitch which somehow wrapped around another one (eg, chain stitch) and I thought it was simply to join two pieces of fabric together- the might of the Internet seemed to agree with me so I went for that one, hope it was right (suggestions in the comment box please). I started in a bit of a panic quite late at night so literally grabbed the materials in the top of one of my boxes- which just so happened to be handmade paper (although not handmade by me), a few threads (including gold) and some fabric scraps- luckily the colours all went really nicely together.
When they were finished, they kind of reminded me of wheat fields with poppies in...abstract ones...what do you think?

I realise that my blanket stitch around the edge needs work (if you hadn't noticed how bad it is then you could skip that confession and move on :D ), how do you turn corners doing this stitch?!?!?!

The next lot of ATCs went quite well, I already had a fair idea of what I wanted to do and the title made it quite easy. A few years ago my mum gave me a few kits detailling how to make flowers out of wired ribbon, so I dug these out again and had another go as they are so pretty!

I might make a few more of these- maybe try different flowers (the one I have used here is a pansy if you hadn't guessed). If you are interested in getting one of these kits for yourself or for a friend (they are really good for a crafty person as they are really quick and easy to make and can be put onto almost anything!) then you can get them from Ribbonbox along with lots of other cute crafty bits and bobs.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Textured Bark

I have been frantically trying to pull together loads of different projects over this weekend for an assessment next week (very important, if I fail I may get kicked off the course, so fingers crossed I have done enough!!), and have been making textures to go with my paper shoe. I used lots of fancy yarns which when all put together look fantastic! I didn't want to just stick with different browns to represent the bark- if you look closely at it, it generally isn't brown anyway- so some of the yarns I used have got green, gold, blue, red, orange...a whole variety! I think they look quite cool and they are certainly very touchable! Not sure how suitable they would actually be on a boot though...might get a bit messy in the winter or if they got wet.

 My first experiment before I added all the fancy yarns to it. Thought it might be interesting to actually put it in the place it was inspired by...

The one above is actually a load of the yarns stitched onto a big photo of bark which I think adds a really nice dimension to the whole piece- as well as adding depth...

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


Just before Christmas I went to Amsterdam on a college trip- supposedly to look around the museums, of which there are numerous all within walking distance. I spent most of the time walking- but not necessarily around the museums. Did you know that on practially every street there is part of a canal, it's incredible! And there are no proper road markings, just dips in the 'pavement' so at any moment you could get attacked by a tram or run over by a manic cyclist! It made for entertaining walking.
Quite a few of the big galleries we went to as a whole group were more for the fine art people- empty rooms with a blue light, empty rooms with a purple light , empty rooms with no lights (are we sure this is a gallery?), empty rooms except for something ticking ominously in the corner (are you sure this isn't just some kind of bizarre hoax?)- the fashion/textile people ended up wandering around drawing bits of the staircase or looking out of the windows sketching the buildings opposite- saying that, there was a quite interesting window in one of the buildings which had a really cute teapot in it is:

One of the big galleries was good- but not for textiles. I have a massive thing about ceramics and pottery though so this was definitely a good one for me. Check out the textures in these bad boys!!!

Aren't they gorgeous?!
Still, again, not many textiles- I don't count someone's old clothing as my kind of textiles although the fashion people might like it. However, sitting in the cafe mulling over where to go next in the anthill of a gallery I happened to look up and notice the light....

I'm probably making the galleries sound really boring- but honestly they're not, they just weren't for me. The one that was for me was a really cute handbag museum where they had fantastic bags there! One of them even had an inbuilt working telephone!

Or how about one that looks like a champagne bucket?

On the very last day, it very prettily (and quite scarily!) snowed- the canals looked particularly magical...

All in all, a fab week!

Paper Shoe

A project I am currently working on in college- we started out drawing kitchen utensils, and then from that had to design shoes (not necessarily to fit on the foot- weird I know) and develop it in our own way. I have been looking at bark and ploughed fields- very linear and textural, but I thought it might be fun to try and make a model of my shoe design from paper and masking tape.
Considering I've never made a shoe before I think it turned out quite well in the end. Maybe I should now paint it or papier mache it?

Detailing of the top- basically screwed up balls of paper attached with roles of masking tape. Spoils the illusion a bit but there you are.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Acetate ATCs

Just finished off my acetate ATCs- Not so sure about the first one I made, I think they get progressively better as I got more practiced (as is the way).

The background is poster paints on the cardboard, covered up by very thin acetate which I ironed- produces this really nice crinkled effect, almost like crocodile skin. The flowers are made of a thicker acetate which I machine stitched onto then cut around and stitched onto the backing along with some beads and ribbon for decoration.

Monday, 10 January 2011


Recently I have been making quite a few ATCs. Artist Trading Cards for those who don't know- they are little cards, only 3 by 2 inches, which you decorate one side of and swap with another artist. The idea is that you collect a wide range of other people's work- but you can only swap or give them away.
There are lots of different groups around so have a look on the internet to see if there are any that suit you- I like using lots of different materials so I have joined the MixedMediaGroup_UK group. You don't even have to be particularly arty to have a go!
I have several swaps on the go- acetate, ribbons and lace, felting, whip stitch...but I have been concentrating on the felting one lately. What do you think?


And here's one The Mother made! Getting into the spirit of things.