Thursday, 6 August 2015

Summer love

10% discount code at my Etsy shop for the next three weeks. Enter 'SUMMER15' at checkout!!

The crochet coral brooch above is my current blog giveaway. All those followers* who leave a comment in this or coming posts will be put into a hat mid-September. The lucky winner picked form the hat will receive this colourful brooch. 
* Blog, Flickr and Twitter

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

                                Quick peek at one of four nature studies I'm working on this week. 
                                                                     Thanks for looking :)

Monday, 20 July 2015

My Etsy shop is now updated. I'm happy to reserve items or make custom orders. Thank you for viewing!

The photo is a money plant which I had to clean a thick layer of dust off first and an old green hand towel draped behind.....I like to keep my costs down ;)

Monday, 13 July 2015

Ready to fly.

                                          Dark brown iridescent upholstery fabrics, linen, polyfibre filling, glass beads. brooch back.

I'm near to completing about 12 of these moths in various colours. I have yet to find a good way of making the antennae, button thread has the right thickness but even a touch of wax doesn't make them positionable.  I am going to try watered down pva and a couple of other things to see if I can make them perkier. Any suggestions for a fix would be much appreciated :)

                                           Hand painted linen, Joel Dewberry fabric, polyfibre filling, glass beads. brooch back.

I've reached a point where I'm starting to use fabric paint and adding more hand-stitching, the urge to embellish is overwhelming! This means I have to take a different tack from now on. I have just purchased some long entomology pins, the next batch of moths will be more elaborate but constructed specifically for wall display. I'll work to a standard Ikea box frame size which will hold two of these small moths or one larger. It means, I don't have to hold back when it comes to the details.

                                      Vintage Laura Ashley fabric, Joel Dewberry fabric, polyfibre filling, glass beads. brooch back.
All the 12 completed moths will be available to purchase next week in my Etsy shop on Monday 20th at 2pm. They will be listed at a special price in order to encourage their successful flight.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

More moths

The white moth represents the basic pattern I have devised. I wanted to make a really simple pattern, so have whittled it down to seven pieces (the two eyes and one thread for the antennae are included). The aim was to dispense with areas which would be far too time consuming i.e the legs, leaving me with the freedom to play with fabrics and stitching to create a play of colour, contrast and texture.

The mousy brown moth is the first go at making a finished moth. I am not overly keen on machine edging in general, not sure why, but as I am creating more moths I can vary the colour and add small hand-stitched accents that liven up the flat edges. The aim is to keep it simple, so I have to make sure the urge to embellish doesn't take over. I have a large moth pattern (with legs!) in development, where, in the future I can go crazy on the details.

The brown moth presents an interesting dillema in the creative thought process. One of the wonderful things about moths here in the UK is their modest plumage. We have many hundreds of 'little brown moths', it's not until you zoom in on them the amazing variations become apparent. Just making brown moths would suit me, but I'm lucky enough to have a large stash of upholstery fabric samples. This stash has been part of the inspiration for producing the pattern in the first place, I also have to justify hanging onto all this fabric!. So, I'm trying to do both, subtle moths and moths with eye-catching colour combinations. More pictures to follow soon....

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Cloth Moth

Working on prototypes this past week, developing a simple pattern for a fabric moth. This one has a wingspan of 11cms and body of 5.5cms in length and I think, it's about as small as I'm prepared to go. 

By far the hardest task is turning the body right side out after sewing from the back. I left what I thought was quite a large aperture at the side to keep the shape of the point at the tail and blip for the head, but still it was tricky. What the photo doesn't show is the gash left by the scissors on the underside. I know it's madness to use pointy scissors to push the fabric through, but I often fail to listen to that inner voice. Thankfully, it wasn't a finished piece :)

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

A plant out of place.

Above are a few of the errant plants growing along the pavements in my road.  It is incredible how interesting the pavements are at the moment, with such a diversity of plant and leaf types. A short spell of fecundity before the council sprays the whole place with weedkiller. I also discovered the 'June gap' which beekeepers talk about in relation to a worrying lack of nectar for the bees. The result is the verdant greenness of plants especially those classified as weeds, being much more noticeable as there is a lull between Spring and Summer blooming.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Nocturne #5

Nocturne #5
Indian and Acrylic ink on Paper
11.5 x 15cms

Friday, 12 June 2015

More drawing

It's always a relief to dispense with naturalism. My mind's focus falls repeatedly on the principle elements of abstract drawing :- line, contrast, spatial relations, tone etc. that is where my interest really lies, puzzling it out, playing. There are certain advantages to allowing drawing to become more stylised, despite the consequent problems of neatness and designs that can become over-worked and overly detailed. Using a botanical theme lends itself to playing with improvised forms which can exist purely to look peculiar rather than pretty. Luckily there is plenty in nature that fits that category.

The best way of countering this static quality is by keeping the composition dynamic. What works for larger, gestural drawings, serves also for smaller intense works - introducing strong elements that expressly refer to the edges of the white paper, which then require careful negotiation. A bold initial move also seems to thwart any reluctance in approaching the snowy wasteland of the paper.

As someone who loves drawing, I found this a fascinating watch!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Drawing mini-projects

I'm loving the process of ink drawing. I am a bit rusty but there is definitely muscle memory in my favour. It is all coming back to me, especially how if I'm trying to improvise it all goes off in so many directions....My thinking is to try and focus on three or four of the directions that 'come naturally' and make them into mini projects. As illustrated above, one of those projects will be plant based designs that nod to European ceramics and bold fabrics. 

I also remembered how vital it is to have a plentiful supply of paper. There is nothing worse than feeling you have to conserve one's paper. The tendency is to get neater as the session progresses, so having the freedom to use unrestricted amounts of paper keeps the gestures loose and direct. This is a difficult issue, as often you can produce the best work on your worst quality paper, in a moment of genuine flow. If funds allow, good archive quality paper should be the norm. I recommend Fabriano Jumbo Watercolour Paper Blocks as they have a healthy 75 sheets per block.