Sunday, 26 February 2012

Resurrecting a disaster

A couple of weeks ago I made a screen print of iris flowers. My sister had drawn the design on the screen with soy wax. She finished printing for the day and because I'm so mean I felt obliged to finish up the last of the paint rather than throw it away! A piece of fabric was grabbed with no thought of colour or suitability. You know how it is when you just grab the first thing you find. The result was less than lovely but today I've been working into it and I hope it has possibilities. I'm thinking it might hang together with the two appliqued iris quilts I've almost finished.

I wanted to lose most of the unconsidered colour and introduce a flat gold background like you often find in Japanese paintings. I was also thinking of the lovely red ground you often see under gold leaf so I painted most of the pinky red out using artists' acrylic gold paint, working with a fairly dry brush so that glimpses of the original colour remained. Then I added detail and shadows with Derwent Inktense pencils in Chilli Red and Sepia. You can't tell from these images but the flowers now have very long stems - I shall have to decide if they need to be tucked into a pot or simply finish at the lower edge of the quilt. At some point I must find an iron - sorry it looks so creased right now!

What's everybody else up to? You've been a bit quiet for a few days! Linda

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Jamie Oliver's teapot.

I went to Jamie Oliver's for lunch today and ordered a cup of tea with my lunch.  Look at the teapot it arrived in!

Is it sad to take photos of what you're eating and drinking??  I'm not sure, but it was such a lovely oriental cast iron teapot that I couldn't resist; it made fabulous tea as well and had one of those built in strainer things so you didn't get a mouthful of tea leaves.

I asked if they were available to buy and the waitress went and asked for me.  She said that they weren't but were available from IKEA! Who'd have thought?

This is a preliminary sketch done in pen and ink of my still life from the other day.  I haven't got around to doing much apart from this and the sketchbook page (below) but  will do the Chinese Lanterns next I think.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

More books

I said I would never be tempted to more books yet here I am with two more!
Book cases are groaning, I've no idea where they'll go when I have finished gloating over them....
But, look at the subject, Japanese prints and patterns.

Here are a couple of pages........

Monday, 20 February 2012

Chinese themed still life.

Having watched DMTV's episode on drawing a still life (excellent btw!!) I thought I'd set up something using the little teapot my daughter gave me for Christmas.

I don't have a lot in the house that has an oriental theme so was a bit stuck but decided a few Chinese Lanterns were appropriate. Thought I'd go for Stephs minimalism, and lose one or the other, but couldn't decide which and will see what they look like when I've drawn them.

I'll let you know how I get on!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sushi inspiration

I love food! So what could be more fun than using a style of food relating to the orient. Sushi is so beautifully presented that I thought this would make a good starting point for at least one piece of work for our exhibition.
From my photographs I worked into my sketchbook emphasising the spiral construction of the sushi.
My next step was to load a chisel nibbed pen and needle nosed bottle with black dye and set to work drawing on some lengths of white cotton fabric.

 The lengths of fabric are still rolled up in the utility waiting to be rinsed. Once they are rinsed and pressed I will pin them up and stare at them for a while before deciding my next step.
The pojagi that I posted about before Christmas is progressing very slowly as I'm finding it difficult to hand stitch the dark blue fabric with dark blue thread in the evening - roll on the lighter evenings!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Rag Market bargains

Hi Marie,

I'm glad to hear you enjoyed your day in the big city - it makes such a change when you spend most of the time out in the sticks like us doesn't it? Your Rag Market finds look gorgeous. I thought you might like to see the bargains I found there last week - nothing as sumptuous as your brocade but lovely cotton jersey irresistible a £1 a piece!

The black discharged one is finished (actually I'm wearing it as I write this!) and the grey one with black feathers just needs its neck finished. Took about 20 mins to make each top up on my trusty overlocker.

Annabel, you have to go with an open mind rather than a set shopping list. There's an awful lot of rubbish there too but if you keep your eyes peeled you can find some treasures. And remember there's always the Fancy Silk Store opposite and Jamie Oliver's for lunch!

Love Linda

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Lace and brocade

After taking in the lace exhibition at Birmingham Art Gallery, so not what I expected, and truly wonderful, I went for a browse around the rag market and look what I found! Small scale brocade, it had to come home with Japanese is this! Fans and cherry blossom. Of course, any fabric I use in exhibition pieces will be my own, this gives a taste of the richness of the east.

Jiggery Pokery

Hi everyone,

I love it when the blog is so busy with everyone posting! It's brilliant to see what's going on in everyone else's workrooms isn't it?

This afternoon I have started on what I think will be my first quilt for Orientation. I did have a head start though:
Can you tell what it was in a previous life? It's the skirt from our 'Art to Wear' outfit from last year's Festival of Quilts fashion show. Needless to say I won't be parading down a catwalk again anytime soon, so when is the occasion to wear a such a skirt? I decided there probably wasn't one and have ripped out the back seam. Of course doing that doesn't make a flat or rectangular (quilt shaped) piece of work so some modifications are required. I have made quilts that could have done with a dart or two to get them flat, but I do try my best not to start out that way!

I had thought that I could 'make up' the sides to get it rectangular and then add a bit more fabric to the top edge. As you can see pinned to the right I have got some more of this parchment coloured cotton, but sadly not enough. It's been in this state, staring at me for about a week now, but today I thought, what would I do if this was paper? Well, I'd just cut out the good bits and jettison the rest before collaging to a new background - simple!
 Here it is chopped up. Obviously I was limited in the cutting up as some motifs were touching and couldn't be sensibly separated, but I've broken it up into four segments which has given me enough scope to rearrange the composition.
I've laid the pieces onto the rectangle of spare cotton, altering the angles of the strings that suspend the birds and cages so that they converge more steeply to, at this stage, an imagined point. There's more fabric folded behind the top to accommodate this but my pin board isn't big enough to lay it all out!
As I've cut up the pieces I've kept some of the edges that now form negative spaces where new cages will be drawn into. You can see one in the photo above. I think this'll be a useful way to bring the composition together. It's all just pinned together at the moment and of course I don't have any Bondaweb. I think that might make it all a bit thick and stiff anyway so I might just hold it all together with some temporary spray then quilt it to death to secure it all.

Bye for now,

Progressing pots

Sorry to have been quiet for so long (although those who know me, might well feel that is no bad thing). What is so good about this blog though, is that because there are several of us contributing, there is always someone busy and blogging. I have been enjoying following what the rest of the group is up to, and am having to gag myself to prevent me talking to Laura about that gorgeous printing beastie she has got.... I know that as soon as I understand it's (and her) capabilities, I shall be assaulted with ideas and inspiration, which will take many years, I suspect, to realise. And I haven't got a few years spare right now - definitely not! I haven't been idle - just had to do some work for other things. But I thought it was time I gave you all an update on poor old Oriental Pot 2 - who has been very gracious about being left hanging on the design wall, with no attention for a few weeks. I think when I last blogged, I had a first layout of the background, and a smallish blue pot - which will be receiving a bonsai tree, and definitely needed some help to compete with a typically busy background. Here he is ...

Definitley overwhelmed poor soul. So first of all I have added some lighter strips and am trying a couple of different fabrics to sit behind the pot ... pink ....

and blue ... which I like best. I know the bonsai will also suffer a little from the same problem, so I am planning to put a sort of moonish type of series of circles, behind where the tree will sit. I do not want this to be too dominant in itself, as I want the tree and pot to be my focal points, but I definitlely want it lighter and shimmering. I've decided to paint some bondaweb with pearlescent white paint - a bit watered down. I've then lightly foiled the resultant web with silver and oil on water foils. I've then traced and cut out the circles and placed them on the background ...

The outer ring - still with backing paper attached - it won't be as light as this ....

and the inner rings .... I think this might work ... fingers crossed ....

OK - not bad ... but not quite as shimmery as I wanted - the paint on the bondaweb has caused the foiling to be really subtle - this needs more bling .... so I decide to machine quilt the rings with silver thread and a very close stitch

closer up - just still too much white ....

You can see the stitching better from the reverse. The rings are in metallic silver and all the rest in two shades of shiny rayon - both greenish

And here it is from the front - hard to show the subtlety of the shimmering rings - but I think it is there ... you will have to come to the exhibition and judge for yourselves! All ready for the Bonsai now - which I have made a start on. I have a couple of other bits to do frst - but hope to be posting again soon - Hilary x

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

cherry blossoms and lions

Hi all,
Not sure I can shout anyone down with this but on the continuing topic of "not really relevant" here's what I've been up to!
It's been feeling an awful lot like spring here this past week, which is glorious! We have had a very civilized ( so far) winter here at this end if Canada and my thoughts are on cherry blossoms. Prodded there by the arrival of the Call for Entry for Cherry Blossom: a Textile Translation show which happens every spring.

The quilt is about 37 inches wide by 45 inches long ( and for some reason is sideways in the image- sorry ) so those blossoms are big! I know they look a bit weird right now but they only have their “base coat” of paint on. It's not looking like much yet, but I have great plans!

I did make a wonderful find this weekend! with a very oriental theme. I have been looking for some "interesting" chairs and these are what I found.

There are two of them and they aren't a pair but apparently they are the mans (which is a bit larger and the one in the image above) and the woman's chairs. They need some serious clean-up and maybe a bit of glue but I fell in love with them. There is some carving on the backs which I am slowly unearthing....

Not quite sure what this little creature is meant to be ( a lion maybe?) but he/she might make an appearance in Orientation?

Bye for now, Catherine

Monday, 13 February 2012

Lost week

Hi Laura and everyone,

A great painting, I love the colours, quite cold and dark.

I am back, last week was a washout for me, horrible cold sapped my energy but I did do something creative while sitting by the fire......lots of knitted egg cosies. A friend is making them for the charity she works for and asked if I would make some, just the job when your little grey cells are taking a break!

I also made a cup cake hat for my new great niece
and just for Linda, here is an ammonite, also knitted.

Now back to normal service......


Another step in another direction

This is just me thinking out loud again!  I've been drawing little houses and wobbly trees trying to get a Japanese feel.  I've got an image of a lacquer box which was taken at one of the National Trust properties, and have used it as a design source for my sketches.

I think, if I use this idea, there might be 3 smallish pieces framed together using a black background, some home dyed fabrics from my stash in one of the shades below, and some gold leaf. The stitching will be simple but dense as is usual for me, with a bit of painting to add definition.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

It's finished!

Hi everyone,

I'd vowed not to blog again here until someone else did to avoid it looking like a takeover, but where are you all? Obviously having far too much fun!

The painting is finished and here it is:

A Bird in the Hand
 And a detail:
Really enjoyed the process of painting and I've been mulling over some ideas for the next one. I'm aware though that I also need to crack on with some quilts. The deadline for EAQ VII is March and I don't think there's any way I can get something finished in time. I had planned to try for that exhibition this year and the deadline has snuck up on me again. No excuse really as I've had the posted pinned to my workroom wall since last August.

Edwina's already made a start on her entry for Festival and knowing she's the queen of the last minute that makes me think I haven't got much time on that either. After not entering there for a while I'd though it would be nice to join in again. After all, if we don't all enter there won't be so many quilts on display which'd be a real shame. Pity quilts take so much longer than paintings!

Hope you're all being creative.
Talk soon,

Monday, 6 February 2012

Day 2

At risk of monopolising the blog I thought I'd post an update of how the painting is coming along. It's funny you know, you put off starting these things for literally months and then when you start you just can't stop and end up working like a thing possessed.

Anyway, as you can see I've started to give some form to the hands. I've gone in with some lights and darks just to try to establish where the shadows should be. I'm using a Phthalo blue as the base of this shadow colour, which at the moment looks a bit odd but I think that strange greeny tinge will actually work OK under subsequent paint layers.

This is how far I got after last night's session. The bird is still floating over the hands rather than resting in them so one of the tasks is going to try to rectify that. It's 50cm x 70cm by the way, just to give some idea of scale. Not too big, not to small.

Talk to you again soon,

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Getting started

Hi everyone,

I've been meaning to make a start on this new work for ages. I'm doing a painting that I think will accompany a quilt or two. It's continuing on with my swallows theme which didn't start out to be oriental, but the quilt that's also on the go has lots of bird cages which do look just like the ones you see massed at Chinese markets. This painting also features hands which are the linking element to the other strand of thought for this exhibition - more on that when there's actually something tangible to show you.
Back to the painting. I've done lots of drawing of this subject, both in my sketchbook and larger versions on loose paper.

Drawing is great for getting to know your subject, but the way I draw is quite different to the way I'm going to paint this. Nevertheless it's good to have these on hand for reference. I've also got some photos to remind me of the colours as the painting isn't going to be black and white.

Having already done the drawings there's no point labouring over redrawing it onto the painting panel so I've made a square-up tracing of the largest drawing I've got. It's still not big enough to transfer 1:1 so I've scaled it up as I've transferred it to fill the whole panel.
I'm painting onto a wooden panel which I've primed with a couple of coats of acrylic gesso. I've tried to get away with the most sparing use of pencil lines as a guide. I just read a book by an artist who's painting I really admire and she says to try to avoid using pencil at all as often it's easy to fall into the trap of simply filling in. I agree wholeheartedly, but I also need to get the proportions right so I want the safety net of the pencil this time.

With the pencil lines down I've started blocking in with paint. I'm using fluid acrylic. Just on it's own at the moment, but in subsequent layers I'll add some glaze medium to keep everything lovely and transparent.

I know, I know, the flesh tone wouldn't look out of place in an episode of The Simpsons but we all have to start somewhere! This is just the base layer and the colour will be modified with lots of overpainting with glazes.
 Like the hands, I've blocked the bird in too, just to establish the lights and darks. There's so much detail on the feathers and I'm not sure at this stage how photographic I'll go.
Needless to say there's still a lot of work to go into this one yet. I'm hoping to do a bit each evening this week and if it goes to plan I'll post my progress. If you never see this painting again you'll know it all went horribly wrong!

Hope you've all had a great weekend.
Talk soon,

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Chinese Lattices revisited

 I've been thinking about larger and more abstract pieces over the last few days, and have pulled this book from the shelves for another browse.

It's a collection of various lattice patterns collected by Daniel Sheets Dye, and I've found it intriguing and inspiring. The patterns come from Chinese windows.

Lattice windows, which have been used in China for at least 3,000 years, began to give way to glass in the early 1900's.  Many of the paper ones were destroyed in revolution and wars between 1911 and 1949, and weren't replaced.

The windows had paper pasted on them to keep out the winter winds. Brrrr is all I can say as I sit snugly in my centrally heated, double glazed house whilst the temperature outside drops to -10C!!
 Here's the inside of the book. It's just a collection of outline drawings, but there are hundreds of them.

I've made 2 quilts so far in my Chinese Lattice series, and am thinking of a third, using a central panel as an opportunity to do an oriental feeling naturalistic scene of some kind...currently I like the look of cranes and moons!

Below is a close up of the last Chinese Lattice piece - just to amuse!  It's squares of made material (vilene, brown paper, gesso, gel, paint, antiquing wax) sewn onto a plain stitched background.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

For Marie

Marie in my spare time I trawl the auction house websites to see the treasures I could buy if I had the money to fritter. I saw this and thought of you after we had the conversation last week about Japanese screens. I could quite imagine your 'Valentine' design on one of the panels!

Isn't it gorgeous? The auction is today so tomorrow I'll be able to look and see what it fetched! I'll let you know. Linda - PS If you don't use that Valentine design in a quilt or a screen I think it'd make a great tattoo!