Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Total contentment!!

I spent a wonderful afternoon in my refurbished, (newly named now it's all poshed up) Garden studio making silk paper pieces for the exhibition, listening to the rain hitting the roof with all it's might and being snug as a bug in a rug. What joy!!

I had another reason to feel delighted too as Karen very kindly awarded me the Excellent Blog award, the other day. I was very honoured to get this award for the second time, and am going to wait till after the exhibition to choose the bloggers I'd like to send it on to, as things are so hectic at the moment that I won't be able to do it justice.

Monday, 28 April 2008

New roof, at last!!

I haven't got anything exciting to show on the creative front on a account of having a very busy w/e being a builder's mate to my OH while he restored the roof on my garden studio to it's former glory. It's been an ongoing saga of decline, with huge leaks and an awful musty smell all through the autumn and winter of last year, resulting in me having to decamp to the house. Hmmm not a good idea.
We finally had a break in the weather on Saturday and my OH was out there at 8.0 am ripping off the old felt and wood. This made an incredible mess as you can see, and in the best traditions of the builder's mate, you guessed it, I had to clear this lot up. But not berfore I had removed all the old tacks that had been holding down the felt along the edge of the shed, no mean feat for someone who definitely doesn't have Popeye muscles!!

Anyway by lunch time the old stuff was off and I had been encouraged by my OH to get on the roof and hoover up the wood dust and mice nests. All this for someone who suffers from an extreme fear of heights. Oh well it was an 'an out of comfort zone' experience I suppose.

After lunch my OH put down some roof insulation and started laying down the new boards, and by the evening the roofing felt was in place!! What a little starlet!!

We were so lucky to get a window in the weather and now I have my lovely sanctaury returned , good as new, so for the rest of the w/e and some of today I've been hapily painting and generally titivating my little den!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Exhibition WIP

As the exhibition is now only a scary 4 weeks away on Saturday, Oops I wish I hadn't checked that!! I thought I'd better step things up a bit and stop procrastinating.

I've finally got the flyers ready for printing, which always takes me ages as I do it all on PS, which is not designed for DTP work, so doesn't have the nice text boxes all in line etc.
Anyway here they are. We're using our group name for the first time, so that's a bit exciting. It was derived from the area we live in and as we all work for the FC as well, we thought it had a nice ring to it.



An now on to the more difficult stuff, the work!!

I managed to sort out the size of the hay bales (so kindly supplied by Deidre) that I was working on in the this post. I managed to reduce them in size and then duplicated the layer twice so as to get a stretch across the width of the image. I finally put a pallet knife filter on them to give them a painterly effect. I put a frame of a bluebell wood around it to hold the image in.
This one and the poppy image will be professionally printed into a canvas mount, that's the plan anyway!

And now to the quilt. This is what I have so far, and as a rank amateur as far as quilting is concerned, I have to admit that all the different elements have been stuck down with Bondaweb, but my excuse is that I didn't want them to stand proud as I wanted to save that for the poppy image. I haven't attached the wadding yet, and my question is, if I stitch the quilt lines straight through Bondawebbed pieces, will I dislodge them? And also how much quilting should I do on this piece?
Decisions, decisions I just hate it!!
Needless to say I'm procrastinating again.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Special commission

Last summer my DS gave me a commission to make a triptych for his and his fiance's apartment, in the style of some stitch samples that I showed at my first exhibition, last August, just before I started blogging.

He's been extremely patient an so of course has had to wait a very long time for me to get around to doing it. He wanted the pieces to reflect the sea, beach and sky as they live in Cardiff and are very close to the sea at Cardiff Bay. Their apartment is very modern and has plain cream coloured walls so he wanted to add some colour, but nothing too overpowering.
I started with pencil sketches to get a rough idea of what he would like and worked to a scale of 4"X4"

Once these were agreed by my DS I finally started work on the embroideries. It took me a while to get going as I'm not a natural hand stitcher and tend to pick it up and then put it down again, quite a lot! Also I decided to do the sea first and use chain stitch to give it more of a feeling of rhythm. I don't find this stitch an easy one to do on auto pilot so it took a while.

Anyway after a few weeks of the 'on and off' it was finished, and this then spurred me on to start the second one, which I chose to be the beach as I love doing French knots. This also took a while as I'd forgotten how time consuming they are, but I was pleased with the textural effect when I'd finished.

The last one, sky , was the quickest to do as it was running stitch, as I thought this would give a feeling of moving clouds.

All the BG's were hand dyed open weave linen.

The work was framed in dark wood box frames to match the furniture in their home.

It was a steep learning curve as I've never done an embroidered commission before, but as it was for a family member that made it very personal and enjoyable. I don't think I would want to work for someone on a commercial basis, as I know from experience that I don't like working to someone else's brief.

I hope they like the end result and that it was worth the wait.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Exhibition experiments

I managed to get something into cloth on Tuesday, all be it only 2 PC's, but it's a start.

I made the heavy horse design that I wotked out on the prevous post into a PC format and printed it onto calico that had been treated with Bubblejet 2000. I thought I'd be really clever and back it with WC paper to make it easier to write on, but you've guessed it , once I'd stitched the satin stitch round the edge, the paper came away in my hand! So it had to become a card.
Having made one card the next PC had to go the same way, so please excuse the wobbly pics, they wouldn't stay flat to photogtaph.

This one is one of my snow pics from the other day printed onto print ready canvas with the words printed on acetate and stitched to the usual pelmet vilene.

Today I decided to try and get to grips with a bigger piece and start on some ideas for a small quilt. I had already dyed some cotton to look like thundery clouds and scanned it into PS to see what might look good with it.

I was very taken with an installation at the Arundle Wetland Centre that is called an 'Obscurer'. It's a thatch roofed hut with a hole and a mirror at the top, and it's completely dark inside. When the sun shines the light hits the mirror and an image of the waving reeds can be seen on a circular white reflector in the hut. It's really beautiful and I wanted to include it with the horse image. So here's my first idea for the mini quilt.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008


This is just a quick post to explain to anyone who may have noticed the erratic posting schedule I seem to be in at the moment.

My DD2 has been very busy with her baby carrier business lately and has promoted me from solely making the straps to making the whole carrier, hmmmmm! It's not a complicated carrier as you'll see here beautifully modeled by her DH!

It's not a difficult thing to construct but it's certainly taxed 'the little grey cells' a bit, and it's also shifted my work load up a notch, as of course it takes longer to complete the whole carrier than just the straps!

As well as this extra work I'm struggling a bit to get my head round the coming exhibition, which, as some of you will know, is based on a theme of Countryside and Wildlife. I'm very new to the world of exhibiting and I'm not quite sure how close I need to stick to the theme, and if it's very close then it'll have to be mostly new work, ooops!!

Anyway I don't want to curtail my blogging time too much as it's become an important part of my relaxation time, so please be patient if it takes me a little longer to reply to posts, and I'm not quite so pro-active as usual.

It'll all be done with in a few weeks, (the exhibition that is) and life will resume to normal, whatever that is :-)

BTW DD2 has recently set up her blog Snaps & Sewing if anyone's interested in having a look.

I couldn't bear the idea of putting up a post with no pics so I thought I'd include a couple taken at Wisley Gardens the first one being a bizarre, over-sized sculpture of a Charman Mao jacket!! which made me smile when I saw it !

I just liked the effect of the screen in front of the real cacti on this one.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Let the panic begin!!

It suddenly hit me at the beginning of this week that we're in the second week of April and I'm still no further forward regarding selecting/making work for our exhibition in May, so today I started my inspiration wall.
This is just a posh way of saying that I just throw everything on the pin board that might possibly have a link to what I'm trying to achieve.

If you look very closely at the top of the pic above you can see all my lovely exchange PC's,(nothing to do with the poject of course, just lovely to look at!)

Anyway having got confused with the dates of this event, I thought we were doing the Rural Life Show , but no , we're doing the Countryside and Wildlife Day. Just a small hiccup as I'd been madly collecting images for the former, still I suppose it's all connected.

Anyway my first effort has involved making a start with the heavy horses slide I discovered in my OH's archive, dating back to the late 70's, I should think. It was taken at a steam fair in Dorset.

Needless to say I didn't want the fair paraphernalia in the back ground so I pasted a nice sky over it and bought up the colour of the dry clay that they were ploughing that day.

Now this is one of my shots.


In this first composite (which is still a WIP) I tried incorporating all sorts of elements, including this lovely hay bale shot that was so thoughtfully offered to me by Diedre

As you can see the hay rolls are too big, something my friend kindly noticed, as it had completely gone over my head!

Having failed to sort this one out the way I wanted it I went on to the next idea, and this was to incorporate a frame of poppies from this image.

With much fiddling about in PS and a nice bit of frivolous playing, (the birds and the extra poppies) in Painter, I came up with a finished piece.

I'm now planning a textile version of this and have been dying fabric and coating other pieces ready for printing, so will update on this next week, when I have my 2 DCD's

Monday, 7 April 2008

Arte y Pico

I was absolutely amazed and honoured to be awarded the Arte y Pico award by Jacqueline and Sue yesterday and today, respectively.

This is a new award to me, I've only just noticed it in the last few days of surfing ,but it was very exciting to receive one with such an international flavour.

Apparently there are 5 rules, as follows.

1. You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone.
3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her/him the award itself.
4. The award winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y Pico' blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5. To show these rules.

It's always difficult to be fair about awarding these sort of things , as ideally we'd like to give one to each of our friends as they are all special in different ways.

I've thought about this one for quite a while and decided that as blogging is so international I would like to make my awards to people from different countries who are highly inspirational and supportive in the blogging community.

So I hope they will be pleased as I nominate the following people.

Fran├žoise from Belgium

Ro from Ausralia

Shirley from the UK

Helen from the Hebridean Islands of Scotland

Joanna from New York

Sunday, 6 April 2008

And then there was snow!

I wonder how many of us Brits had a surprise wake up call this morning with a layer of snow on the ground. I woke up at 7.0 am and it looked like someone had been out with the icing sugar shaker. An hour later and we had a full blown blizzard.
So I just had to take the camera out for a spin in our surrounding woodlands. I was freezing cold in about 30 minutes, much to my OH's utter disgust, he promptly shouted 'Wimp"!! after me as I headed home for a warming cup of coffee. To be fair I didn't have the advantage of Royal Marine style Arctic camo clothing. Come to think of it I don't think I'd want it!
Anyway here's a few shots I did earlier.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Total inspiration

What a great couple of days I've had for inspiration and encouragement.
First of all I received 2 amazing sheets of copper mesh to play with from Carol, and inside the package was this brilliant PC as well.

It's a holly leaf printed onto acetate, and the background of the postcard is painted brown paper with misty fuse and foil over the top. The edges of the PC have been edged in a multicoloured metallic thread. It's simply gorgeous.

On the same day I received another package from Shirley which contained samples of Viole Mache, spinweb? paper and a sheet of heat moulding paper. Fantastic!! No excuses for not experimenting now.

As if that wasn't enough I also discovered this morning that Debbi had awarded me the E for excellence award, for which I am extremely honored and touched.
I would like to pass this award on to so many bloggers that have inspired and supported me since September, when I started, and have made a huge difference to how I feel about my creative experiments. But in the spirit of this award I would like to pass it on to Carol, who I have recently got know better as a result of the CG group, and who has a wonderful varied and informative blog, and is also a very generous and supportive blogger.
I would also like to award the EB to Doreen as I think her blog is a lovely mix of excellent embroidery pieces and general interest topics.

And now for some divine inspiration!! We went to Bosham , a little village on the South Coast, today. It was a lovely sunny day, but a bit cold, so I decided to take shelter in the church and was delighted to find these two wonderful embroideries. One was hanging in front of the lecturn, as you can see, and the other was the main alter cloth.
Having looked up the history of Bosham church I think they depict the following:
"In the days of King Canute, a fleet of Danes sailed up Bosham Channel to plunder the village and Church."
If you are interested to know more of this lovely church's history there's a lot to be found on the link.

So as you can see there's no excuse for not coming up with something interesting in the coming weeks, no pressure of course!!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Carol's March PC

I just had to post up the CG March PC that I received from Carol I have it pinned to my notice board in my studio, which faces the window, so the light reflects off the copper mesh on the flower and makes a wonderful sunny effect even on a dull day. It's brilliant.