Thursday, 29 March 2012

A Victorian Sampler

I have had the most fantastic day!!! We have been doing hand embroidery in the studio and I had an hours smugness watching my fellow students struggle with the art of bullion knots, french knots, chain stitch, couching etc
I have been working on a sampler of all these stitches (makes me think of young Victorian ladies sitting in their morning rooms working on their stitching) so just playing around with position, techniques etc- here is what I have so far...

 Here of course we have the couching, with some french knots, bullion knots, seed stitch and chain stitch visible.

 French and bullion knots..

And then I learnt how to make my own cord!! Very exciting! This cord is made from 4 different coloured embroidery threads- which have to be the same length and about 4 times as long as your required length of cord. Fold the threads in half and tie the loose ends together. Either loop or stick the tied end to something (I made Lucy hold on to mine) and then using a pencil at the looped end, start twisting the threads until it starts to curl up on itself.
Put the looped end and the tied end together, making sure to hold the middle (you may need an extra pair of hands for that bit) and it should naturally twist itself together in a cord-like yarn- tie off the loose ends to hold it all together.
You can experiment with colours, weights of yarn, type of threads used etc....Lucy got so excited we had to make another one just for her!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Happy Daffys

My little pot of daffodils on my desk have all bloomed and are all smiling and nodding at me. I was playing around with my camera yesterday taking photos of them, and came out with some interesting macro shots I thought you might enjoy looking at.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The First Day Of Spring

According to Google, today is the first day of Spring- and looking out of my window, seeing the gorgeous sunshine and bright blue sky, I am starting to believe it! My daffies are lighting up the inside of my room and look spectacular in the sunshine, almost as nice as the daffs in Abbey Park, to which I made a return journey this morning.

I returned to the park to get some drawings and photos of bark and trees- although ended up just taking photos and lugging all my drawings things around with me which wasn't so fun. Claire tagged along as well so it was lovely showing her all my favourite bits of the park.

I'll quickly show you some of my bark photos and then we'll move on to my cute and exciting news.

 Anyway, enough of this bark frivolity- the Pets Corner was open!!!! *Moves on to photos of very cute animals and birds*

 The birds on the left look like they are kissing, and the one on the right is just plain cheeky!

Ahhh, if only every morning could be like this one....

Monday, 19 March 2012

A Day of Heat Pressing

I spent several hours this morning learning how to use a heat press- sounds more complicated that it actually is. You basically lift a lever, slide your work between the two plates (covered on both sides by a teflon sheet), pull the lever back down and wait for it to ping at you (in this case we were heating it for 45 seconds to get maximum colour impact), then release the lever and remove your work- taking care not to burn yourself and the people around you in the process!
For those who have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, a heat press machine can be used to transfer colour onto fabrics by using heat transfer papers which come in a veritable rainbow of colours. You can work directly with the transfer papers, cutting shapes out and collaging onto your fabric, or throw some lacy fabrics, feathers and other flat objects into the mix to get some interesting resist shapes, or use photocopies. I like the photocopy technique personally, although it takes a bit longer than the other two processes.
(I will probably make a terrible job of explaining this without photos but I will give it a go).
You can transfer your image onto the heat transfer papers themselves by simply heating the photo and the paper together. The clever part comes when you peel off the transfer paper, place it onto the fabric and reheat, as the pattern on the photocopy will also be transferred onto the fabric. The fun doesn't end here however, as the photocopy you have used can also be put onto the fabric, and the part that was coloured will print onto the fabric as well, offering a kind of negative and positive print.
You can layer colours and prints as much as you like to build up a pattern- here are my samples!

This is my first ever one so please don't laugh. It has the coloured photocopy technique, which is what the lotus pod shapes are, as well as some stencilled resists.

 This one features the coloured photocopy, and the transfer paper used to colour the photocopy- the heat transfer paper is the stronger coloured side. Then over the top is a cut out transfer paper which has had a different pattern heated onto it-- see? Not that complicated really.

 Some detailing from the above sample.

 Using some leftover remnants.

So it was a fantastically fun day! The next taught technique is free machine embroidery (although I already know how to do that, so I will let you know how that one goes!)

Colour Chips

Afternoon all, sorry for being a bit lax with the updates lately- been a tad busy with various things! I have now started my mixed media pathway which is the final pathway in the first year of uni!!! I only have about 5 weeks of teaching time left and then I will be finished- the summer months are looming closer.
Anyway, we kind of started MM by collecting photos of our chosen theme (which vaguely relates to the Innovative Thinking project that I developed into looking at bark as well as seed heads), then choosing 5 and selecting 6 colours from each. I then went further and started sourcing fabrics, beads, buttons, ribbons, wools etc, along with more images that could relate in terms of colour or shape and have made them into colour themed pages...

It was quite fun actually, I really enjoyed rummaging through my boxes of bits to find fabrics and components that worked together. It makes a lovely starting point for projects too as you have something to go from that isn't drawing (although we now do have to do some drawing).

Sunday, 18 March 2012

A Quiet Mother's Day Weekend

Happy Mother's Day to all you Mums out there- and a special hello to my lovely Mum who is spending the day at my Gran's.

As most of the flatmates have gone home for this special Mother's Day weekend, I have spent most of the time in my room working alternately on a special secret project (all will be revealed in a few weeks) and on my mixed media project which I will talk about in another post when I have developed it a bit.
The four walls were closing in on me so I decided to go out despite the hail and rain, and managed to make it to Tesco where a box of daffs seemed to be calling my name...

The only 'vase' available was my Secret Santa mug from a few years ago. He's cute though and adds another splash of colour to my room, which is looking quite colourful at the moment (helps to counteract the disgusting colour of the carpet and the depressing grey counter tops).
They haven't bloomed yet and I can't wait for when they do! More pics will follow on that momentous occasion.