Sunday, January 21, 2007

I hate to admit that I still haven't started my C&G coursework, but I have been working on some trading cards I need to get out, and finishing up some fibre postcards ditto. I have also been leading a textile group here in kuwait.
I did tidy my studio space, which was the first thing on my to do list, ready to start coursework. Now if they could just offer a course in displacement activities, I would be a straight A honour student!!!
dh has kindly taken some piccies of the studio, although he said they are cheating because it is NEVER normally this tidy, and I'm giving you all a completely false impression of how I work - or not, as the case may be! anyway, here's a couple for you. Its down in the basement, with a door out to a patio where my daughter has a mini pool in the summ
er. big windows so plenty of natural light, and water outside not in, which is usually ok.

the pin boards in the background are fibre postcards from art2mail and fiberartists international the cupboards underneath are full of fabric scrap bags, the dresser on the right has boxes of threads, books, stash, and assorted stuff.
and this last one is, of course, the artist at work.
Out this evening to a KTAA meeting, a talk on the textiles and costumes of Oman, which should be really good, if others I have been to are anything to go by.
Tomorrow, I start C&G, promise....

Saturday, January 13, 2007

c&g certificate work

I think that I have finally figured out how to post photos onto this blog, and have now got the ones of my c&g certificate projects to show you.
First up is the three
dimensional piece. Based on Faberge eggs and my Phoenix design board. I made the phoenix feather on water soluble, which was really easy and great fun. the egg was a made fabric from scraps, threads, angelina, in flame colours, dark red at the bottom going up to orangey yellow at the top with fine wires stitched in on the top, stitched and stitched til it was firm enough to do something with. then joined to make the shape, and lined with some black sparkly fabric the same weight as fine interlining, ie light, that I got from a florist. the stand is not too successful as its just twisted wires, but not really strong enough to take the very little weight of the egg.

Whoops, this is completely out of order and should have come at the end. Its a pair of fairy shoes I made on a fabulous one day course with Annette Emms. We had to make them for a particular fairy and as you can plainly see they are for the sunflower fairy. My daughter had grown a sunflower from seed and brought it home from school, and these were for its fairy. No, she wasn't convinced either, but the lads at the pub humoured me! I have since made another pair of 'leopard skin' fairy shoes for a wild child fairy I know. They are great fun to make and everyone loves them.

Ok, back on track again. This one is my panel which was inspired by an amazing trip to Egypt. The whole thing is hand stitched on linen, with most of the stitching being couched, or made to look as though it was couched. The middle panel is 'or nue', a gold work technique, which I loved, but probably couldn't do now without a mega magnifier. I framed it in a black hinged tryptich type frame, which I had made at the local joiners and painted with blackboard paint. I wanted to have the effect of opening something completely plain and dark and finding this amazing brightly coloured panel. the duck and the sun near the bottom are my autograph, the duck being sa and the sun ra, and you read it left to right cos thats the direction the duck is facing. honest!
When the doors are closed, they are 'sealed' with this. Its a copy of the centre panel, made on coffee died pelmet vilene machine stitched, then backed with a second piece of dyed vilene, zigzagged round the edge and foiled with an old used piece of foil so that it looks worn and old. the thread is bundles of black and gold machine thread, chosen to look as though it had been gold thread that got old/tarnished/worn. the black bit in the bottom left corner is just where the stitching was too close together and the vilene fell out, so I coloured it black and hope/think it adds to the aged look.

This one is an extended sample. I got the idea when one dear friend, (male) after asking me after I had explained the course whether I meant 'like knitting', then told me about his mum's old pincusion - one of the old chinese ones with little china men with pigtails around the edge. Don't worry if you are all too young to know what the heck I am talking about, just ignore that bit. Anyway, I decided that if all else failed, I could always make a pincushion, and after a couple of glasses of wine that turned into a cushion made of pins, then into this. Alas dear reader, I confess, this was made in a state of mild inebriation. Its all metal;, metal mesh fabric, pins, washers and silver pan scourers unravelled.

This is my accessory, a muff to be used by the bride at a winter wedding instead of her having a bouquet of flowers. I saw the hedges full of old mans beard on the way to school with my sons one morning, and loved the way it was all intertwined, and that the leaves were almost heart shaped. Its velvet, with machine and hand couched threads, the leaves are black net, made on water soluble so that the residue when I rinsed them meant I could shape them before they dried. there is a machine wrapped twisted cord at either end, and a hand made tassel which you can only see the beaded head of in the bottom right of the picture.

And finally, this is my hanging. Its based on my daughter Mary's drawings which I had saved from when she was drawing tadpole people aged1 1/2 or so until she was in reception class at school, and the nursery rhyme Mary Mary quite contrary. This one I absolutely loved doing, sorry its not such a brilliant picture, but the close up at the bottom will give you a better idea. A mixture of machine and hand stitch, all from her drawings and doodling, on individual pieces of cloth, pieced together. The borders are quilted, and have a brilliant story. We had a stand in tutor for a day at college, who suggested that a quilted border could represent the loving relationship between her and me. All I had to do was find some motifs to quilt. When I picked her up from school that day, she had drawn a picture with a painted border onto which she had drawn hearts and stars and spirals. It was a real twilight zone moment, but they were perfect.

This is the centre part close up to give you a better idea of it all.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

A start

Well, I've finally taken the plunge and started a blog to help record my progress, or lack of, through my C&G diploma course. I've never done a distance learning course before, so not sure how I will cope with the lack of classroom contact. I have found a wonderful yahoo group of like minded souls, and I really think that they might provide the regular kicks up the backside I will need, as well as all the good stuff, cos they seem a great group of people.
Sian Martin, my tutor for the course has already proved to be wonderfully efficient at helping me get sorted out, and very supportive.
support at home here in kuwait is good. dh has absolutely no idea what I will be doing, bless him. When we moved out here I said I would want to bring all my sewing stuff, he imagined a work box, and visibly paled when he saw my workroom and the amount of stuff there was! But he is all for me doing the course, even though he doesn't get it. my darling daughter, 8 going on 18, just wants to join in all the time, which is great but.... hugely distracting, and she usually cuts a bit of fabric out of the middle rather than the edge, and uses the yarns I had put aside for a specific project, and, well, you know what I mean I am sure. I love it when she wants to have a go, but know that I may as well put my work away for the duration!
shopping here is also good, in parts. Fabrics and threads and notions in the souks are amazing and very cheap, which is fantastic, but you have to buy when you see (shame!) or you will forget which shop you saw something in, or it will be gone when you go back. Sometimes though, there is too much choice, so you have to be quite specific about what you are looking for, as it would be sooo easy to be sidetracked by all the other lovely things. I am not sure yet about mixed media type stuff, gels and powders and the like, as that has by and large not get here yet. Dyes may be alright, but not necessarily ones that I recognise the name of, and usually with instructions in a foreign language! Hmm! Watch this space, as they say!
That's it for today, I shall try and get some photos loaded in the next few days of my sudio and my C&G certificate work, and whatever else I can find so that you can see what sort of work I have done previously, and probably how totally disorganised I am.