Monday, 28 February 2011

deviantArt & A Failed Squirrel Deterrent!!

Just thought I would mention this as I have some of my images on there. It's still a confusing process for me, and I'm not entirely sure how it works, but the basis is that if you are interested in any of my photos or works then you can buy them as prints on all kinds of things on deviantArt , or even set up your own account and earn some money through it (that's the bit I haven't worked out yet).
You don't even have to buy my stuff, it is worth a look just for inspirational purposes as there are all kinds of photos and artworks that get put on there- you never know, you may find the perfect picture to go on that blank space on your living room wall!
If you are interested in any of my images then click here for my page!

Moving on...

My Dad has been getting quite annoyed at our squirrels recently as they keep eating all the peanuts from the bird feeder. He doesn't normally mind but they are just burying them and going back for more which is getting quite expensive. Plus we don't really want a peanut grove in our back garden.
So he thought he would be very clever and make his own squirrel free bird feeder using two hanging baskets attached together. It worked for a while and the squirrels were flummoxed, spending ages trying to figure out how to get to the peanuts, but this morning, a highly intelligent squirrel finally cracked it!!! Choose the biggest hole and squeeze through it, then just sit inside the ball of hanging baskets and eat as much as you like! Genius!
(It also means they are safe from the cat which is a sort of double bonus for them!)

Cheeky!! :D

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Received Whip Stitch ATCs!

I wasn't sure that I had got the right end of the stick when the theme simply stated 'Whip Stitch' however, the ones I got back are so different from each other anyway I needn't have bothered worrying!! I think they are all fantastic and I love getting them through the post!

(By Becky)

(By Jo)

(By Paula)

Mini Patchwork

Having watched my mum make several hundred patchwork ATCs, I thought I would have a go myself to see what it is like. It was surprisingly harder than I thought it was going to be, I'm not used to doing really neat, tiny stitches so mine are a bit slap-dash. I quite like the blue ribbon on two of them though and I am very proud of my machine edging! (Although I realise the fabric edges needs tidying up a tad)


A Burst of Inspiration

Exhausted from chasing up and down the country for university interviews, I have spent the last two days working on my ATCs. I am being very prepared and have made my March alphabet ones already! They are basically using the same kinds of techniques as my previous ones but I have varied the colours and the backgrounds to make them more individual. Now that I have made so many using the embroidery technique I can't think how to make Aprils different!!! Maybe I'll wait and see what the others come up with for some inspiration.

Do they look vaguely sunset and silhouette inspired?

I also have lots of leftover bits and pieces so tried combining some of them together to make two more ATCs- this time I think they could have been inspired by rust, although the texture is a bit softer :D

I have also finally succeeded in persuading my mum that she should make some more ATCs. Taking her inspiration from the themes that we were using in my Yahoo group MixedMediaATC_UK she has made several mini patchwork cards, although these three are the only that she has completely finished. I think they look rather good, very cute and kitsch.


Thursday, 24 February 2011

Travelling with Scott

My Dad and I have been practically living in our car (Scott) for the last three days as we have been travelling around the country going to my interviews- one in Buckinghamshire and one in Falmouth (not exactly close together!!) It was quite nice really, packing the chocolate digestives and a few clementines and setting off on our travels- although I have to admit, getting up at half past four in the morning to get to Falmouth was not my idea of fun. It was raining and foggy the entire way there, with visibility next to nothing!!!!! You end up hoping the universities accept you just because of all the effort you went to to actually get to the interview in the first place!!
We ate out at a really nice restaurant in Falmouth, very posh food all beautifully presented and that kind of thing. Had some odd looks from passers by- although that may be because we were sitting outside...on our the cold... We were offered blankets by the waiters! The view was really lovely over the harbour which lit up when it got dark, and there was the fresh smell of the sea...somewhat tainted towards the end as the chef set the fire alarm off and a load of smoke wafted out from the window.
I hope the interviews went well, I think I am getting the hang of it all now, thinking of questions to ask (they always look disappointed in you if you don't have any questions) and how to phrase certain answers. Hopefully when I get to the last interview it will be a doddle and I will sail through it with no problems at all!!
I thought you might like to see some pictures I took along the way (in Falmouth) of a crow- who my Dad named Gerald- who sat on a sign in front of us as we took in the view across the harbour and just watched us, which was a tad disconcerting at times even though I know he's a crow.


On the way home we stopped off in a car park with the most amazing view down to the sea, across some patchworked fields with the sun shining brightly down on us, to eat our lunch. It was very spring like, the windows of the car were down with a slight breeze, it was warm....glorious!!!

By the way, I have now heard back from two of the Universities and have an unconditional offer for Bolton, but didn't get into Bucks :(

Friday, 18 February 2011

First University Interview!

I am currently sitting on a sleek, ultra modern Virgin train (with Wi-Fi!!!), racing though the English country side and Northern built up areas. A moody teenager is sitting on a luggage rack playing his guitar, having been turfed out of two seats already (he did insist on sitting in reserved seats rather then looking for an available one- maybe he just couldn't see through the enormous curly fringe which covers half of his face). Am I setting the scene all right for you?
I have just had an interview at the University of Bolton for Textile and Surface design. My Dad and I came up yesterday on the train (four different trains, one of them an underground- which sounds fine, until you add
an A1 portfolio, a huge bag of sketchbooks and two overnight cases to the mix!) and stayed overnight in the Tramways Hotel, which was quite nice after we got over the initial shock of it looking like a ghost town with
no one to greet us and no front desk or reception (we obviously have a certain way of doing things in the
South which doesn't apply up North). After we grabbed a security guard and got ourselves signed in we ditched the stuff and went for a wander- walking is no fun with a portfolio. We ended up eating in a gorgeous little Spanish tapas place, all you could eat tapas for just over a tenner each- some plates were a bit dodgy and some got re-ordered several times!
Hardly slept at all though, I think I have to settle into a place before I can properly sleep, the street lamps shining in my room and the constant noise outside probably didn't help. Still, luckily I had concealer in my bag which hid the bags under my eyes very nicely.
I think the interview itself went quite well. Dad and I got there very early, but needed the time to find out where the main reception was: 'Down that corridor, turn right, then left to the end, then right again, then through the two doors, take a sharp right and you're there....'
There were only two other girls being interviewed with me which was quite nice really, after a quick talk from Joyce, the course leader, we had a tour led by a first year called Jess which was interesting. The university has an entire room dedicated to embroidery- lots of machines!
We wandered around a third year room which was amazing!! They had all sorts of things, not only the customary textile stitching and lamp shades, but stitching into metal and printing onto ceramics etc. Fascinating!
After the tour we were abandoned in the main reception and called one by one by Joyce, who had by this time, gone through our portfolios and written notes about us. I think she liked my portfolio, although she said I had a lot of art and design influences- not sure if that's good or bad (:S). And she said she was glad she'd seen my sketchbooks.
So now I have to wait for a few weeks until I get a letter through the post saying whether or not I have been accepted there- a little bit nerve wracking!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Exotic Garden

A pretentious name for a group of ribbon ATCs, but I had to call them something and the colours reminded me of a garden somewhere hot.
I have somehow managed to fit these into my busy schedule of uni interview preparation- although actually they are recycled from a previous piece which I brought down from the attic a few days ago when rummaging for things to go into the portfolio. Cutting and sewing is much easier than fiddling around making the individual flowers and petals!!
I have finally persuaded The Mother (she reckons I bullied her) to start making ATCs- she was the one who introduced me to the idea a few years ago, it has taken me this long to really get into it! She never feels that she has the time to do all her stitching and creative things (mainly she looks into our family tree and brings out all the horrific scandals of living in ditches, popping in and out of the workhouse like it was a holiday they had to revisit, stealing eels from the landlord's lake and drowning themselves in village ponds, all lovely gory stuff!)
She hasn't yet joined my yahoo group though (MixedMediaATC_UK), thinks it would be pressurising for her or something- she'll come round :D I might post some photos of her new attempts (mini patchworks which she is currently embellishing with sequins and lace bought from the Brighton Show) later if I can sneak them on.

 I laughed when I saw the bottom flower, having rescued it from the attic...I think it was an unintentional mistake to have the darker purple petal at the top rather than the bottom....maybe it was dark when I made it. Still, it adds character. 

The Brighton Show, More Flowers and a Cat in the Doghouse!

I have had quite an eventful weekend this week- mostly involving stressing out over my portfolio. With four days to go until my first interview, it's all hands on deck!
I hope you like the title of this post by the way, I always find it difficult to come up with catchy titles so invariably they aren't- I am quite pleased with this one though, groups of three seem to work quite well.
On Sunday I went to The Stitches and Hobbycrafts show at the Brighton Centre- I normally go every year (although last year mum deliberately didn't tell me it was on so she didn't have to spend any money) and am very sad that card and jewellery making seems to be taking over this year. Several of our favourite stalls like Art Van Go or The Mulberry Bush weren't there but it seems that stalls selling ink pads and glitter pens are all the rage as they were everywhere!
I did manage to get a few interesting things though, thanks to Kim Thittachi- wonderful woman!- crushed lutrador (looks like crushed silk paper, very pretty) and something called Plastazote which to me looks like a sheet of white foam, but apparently when you heat it up it you can press objects into it and it will keep the shape of the object. A bit like clay but in foam form.
In the exhibition area there was a fantastic knitted tent thing which, when you walked through it, was full of knitted fish, octopusses (octopie?), sea urchins, sea weed, mermaids, divers, etc, even a giant shark with huge knitted teeth! It was amazing! Very atmospheric too once you were inside this big tunnel tent as the railings were lit with blue lighting so you really did feel like you were in some kind of bizarre underwater world.
The outside was just as impressive with knitted seagulls, puffins (with knitted fish in their beaks) and an old seaman holding a knitted lobster! It was fantastic! Quite the star of the show, my friend went through it three times!
It was a nightmare getting to the place though! The traffic was ridiculous! My Godmother offered to drive us there and it took us nearly two hours compared to the 45 minutes it normally is!

When we got back home, I discovered that the cat had taken a bit of a liking to my precious portfolio work which had been left in a neat pile on the floor waiting to be ordered and perfected, and had walked all over it with his wet dirty paws!!!

And he's outside now, bathing in the spring sun, looking so innocent. Butter wouldn't melt in this cat's mouth!

I am trying to work a bit quicker with this flower project for the portfolio so have taken to using my camera a lot. The laptop is getting completely clogged up with shots of these origami flowers so I will have to go through and edit. It's also costing me a lot in printing! 25p per colour sheet! They don't seem to understand the words 'penniless student' at college...
Anyway, as it is beautiful and sunny in the garden, and the spring flowers are starting to peep shyly above the soil, I thought I would stick my flowers in amongest real flowers! See how they fared. I think they look especially lovely I have to admit.

Unfortunately the cat took an interest in these too...maybe he just appreciates fine art :D

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Flower Sculptures

I have had quite a few flower themed posts lately, but this project has been quite inspiring! Following my little kusudama experiements, I have taken it a step further and have made them bigger!!

The lit up flowers remind me of work by Paul Villinski who makes scultpures from recycled metal and in some cases lights them up from behind so that they are silhouetted against the background. They look amazing! Mine possibly don't look as good but I had to light them using torches as we don't have any white fairy lights...need to get some of those...

Friday, 11 February 2011

My Lucky Week!

It is definitely my lucky week this week as I have had another round of gorgeous ATCs!!! This time they are from the Needle felted swap and they are soooo pretty!

(By Linda)

 (By Susan)

(By Wendy)

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Ribbons & Lace

Another package has arrived from the MixedMediaATC_UK crew!! This time it's the ribbons and lace ATCs. I am continually fascinated by the range of different ideas and treatments which people come up with- the ATCs are always so diverse! Anyway, here they are!

(By Liz)

(By Susan)

(By Paula)

Japanese Kusudama Flower

I have been having great fun at college lately with my flower project. Bringing you up to date since my drawings, I have tried my hand at marbling- didn't really go very well as part of the bottle of yellow ink (which isn't supposed to come off) EXPLODED in my face!!! It went EVERYWHERE! All over the sink, the floor, the window, the radiator, the window ledge, me!!! I looked like I was turning into an oompa loompa! It was quite funny for my friends I suppose, but I was wearing a white top....and as far as I know, it doesn't come out...Still, I suppose it could look arty.  Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of my little mishap so I can't show you what a sight I looked. The marbling wasn't even that good in the end as the paint which did manage to get itself into the tub was too thick for the paper and it still hasn't dried (bearing in mind I did this the other day and it has been sitting by a very hot radiator).
The technique which has been working well for me is a kind of origami, the Japanese Kusudama flower (click on the link to see how it is made). I think it is really pretty and although I was initially daunted because the pictures of the final thing looked quite complicated, it is actually really simple and can be made out of all kinds of papers and fabrics.
So far I have kept it quite simple, using papers...

...,fabric and acetate....

Apparently the original idea behind these flowers is that you put 12 of them together so that they make a ball, and then they were used for incense or pot pourri- now though they are more commonly used for decorative purposes and very pretty they are too! :D

(Half of a Japanese ball)

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Return of the Latex

Having enjoyed the sea urchin project so much, I have decided to make some ATCs based on the same theme. Took a while to get hold of some latex- the craft shop nearby had to order it in for me specially! I have named them, 'Under the Neon Sea'- is that a bit pretentious? Oh well, too late now :P I had to send one of them off in exchange for a book one of the lovely ladies in my group sent me. So as ever, I took some photos of them for you to view and comment on...

(I'm not entirely sure why the bottom photo came out in such a different colour but it certainly makes it seem very neon.) 

 I did make another ATC but for some reason the computer wouldn't upload it so I might have to tag that one on at a later date. For now, I hope you like these ones!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Flowers Galore!!

I have started a new project at college, inspired by...yes you guessed! It's probably a bit of a health hazard because our room is so hot and everyone has got their own bunch of flowers- we all got a bit high and headachey from the fumes today.
I managed to make my desk beautifully bright and colourful , and had to take a picture of it to show off my flower montage.

We had to start by doing some monotone sketches of the flowers we had brought in- I had to go and choose really quite complicated flowers (which looked like some kind of daisy or chrysanthamum(?)) with lots of petals. I tried using my left hand, two pens at once, not looking at the page etc etc to try and get different effects.

I think I should probably do some more detailed drawings to prove that I can actually draw, maybe in my sketchbook instead- but I need some time to do that. A lot of my work sheet drawings are quite messy and experimental, like my colour sheet, where I used the actual flowers to print with...

Above is my favourite drawing of the day, using fineliner and coloured ink.

I ended up simplifying the flower shape quite a lot and using cardboard stencils to print a vague daisy shape which I repeated across the page. Also, the technique of using the flower to print with interested me so I experimented more with that- gradually the petals fell off so the prints had less petals each time which was quite entertaining.


 (The negative version- a gorgeous, brilliant blue!)

The above image is using the flower itself to print with and then detailling some areas with fine liner. (Note the petals that got stuck!)