Friday, 27 April 2012

Petroglyph-ish... closer to home

The petroglyph work I've showed you so far is inspired by glyphs in Kyrgyzstan and Northern America.. which I love.  But I really wanted to do some from closer to home, knowing  that we have some beautiful Celtic carved stones.  The stones that inspired me for this bag are not exactly petroglyphs.. they aren't old enough.. but I love them.  They are carved stone figures in Caldragh Cemetry, Boa Island, Northern Ireland.. I have not been there or seen the figures in person, but for years I have been aware of and very taken with these enigmatic monoliths.  I found lots of really good photographs and detailed descriptions online, which I used extensively.  This was a good one.. Irish Megaliths 

There are 2 figures in the cemetery and they are thought to be over 1000 years old.  This bag is based on the bigger one - the Janus figure.  Janus was a Roman all seeing God, said to see everything from sunrise to sunset, past and future.  He was represented as a two faced God, looking both forward an back.

The stone of these figures is so deliciously aged & weathered - pitted, discoloured, lichen spotted - full of character!  I have always had a thing for lichen; I can remember my nan telling me off when I was little (regularly) for sitting on her garden path to examine the lichen on the slabs.. (she really didn't want me to ruin my socks :)   And I have quite a few close up photos of lichen covered stones in my inspiration folder - I've been planning to make a piece of felt depicting lichen for ages.  SO, with this piece I got to knock 2 things off my wish list in one go!  

This bag is made mostly from Bluefaced Leicester, 3 layers of white inside and 3 layers of oatmeal on the outside.. then merino and silks to form the picture.

I cut  pieces of silk cap (dyed with Woad & weld by the Mulberry Dyer) for the lichen spots
chopped chunks of white, charcoal and darkest green and scattered them for a stoney texture
I carried the lines around the sides so they would line up.  What you can't see here is the interlacing hair in between the 2 heads..  you can see it a little bit on the finished photos.

The 2 sides are different same as on the actual statue.  One side is thought to be male (the side shown here) the other side female.. the female side is poking her tongue out :) 

Part way through
Bluefaced Leicester is, I find, slower to felt than merino.. but makes a lovely tactile felt, nice and tight and firm - perfect for bags!  I used resists to make 2 internal pockets.. which I doodled a curly pattern onto so the inside has a bit of interest :)

internal pockets

Got my eye on you..
I love this close-up :)
Male side of bag
Female side..
don't think you'd know she was poking her tongue out unless I told you though lol
The Janus stone has a hole in the top for votive offerings.. perfect for turning into a bag :)

I'm planning to make one based on the smaller figure too.. that one is known as the Lustyman because it came from a place called Lusty More.  Don't think I'd best call it a Lusty Man bag though... it might attract the wrong sort of attention lol.  


Monday, 23 April 2012

And my mystery resist project is.....

da-da-da-daaaaaa................... A HEDGEHOG :)     
Well 2 hedgehogs actually..  Here it is in pictures

Its a twin hedgehog resist :) nose to bum
Covered in 2 layers of white Norwegian then 3 layers of natural brown merino
and tan-brown merino for the face
Wetted, rubbed and ready to roll.. 
Cutting to remove the resists.. and separate the hedgehogs
Time to get physical :)
I worked them hard and shrunk them down well
Stuffed the noses with a plastic carrier bag &
the bodies with tea towels to hold the shape while they dry
I used a remnant of tweed wool fabric, cut into LOADS of small strips (300+) which I folded in half and stitched the middle of each strip to the body to make his prickles... much the same as with my lions mane, but the strips are wider and I figured out a more efficient way of sewing them on so it was quicker (thank goodness).  I think the hedgehog shape was simpler to cover too...

I stuffed him with local wool fleece and stitched a rice pack with a leather base.

Handstitched the rice-pack base in with upholstery thread
So named because his prickles are made from a remnant :) 
His eyes are black plastic shank button
 My first hedgehog is complete :)  The other one will have to wait for now..  

Following yesterdays post.. Unfortunately my friend Lindsey didn't get through to the live shows on The Voice last night.. I think that she should of gone through, as does everybody that I have spoken to.. but there you go. 

Anyway.. thats it from me for now, I'm off for a cup of tea and an early night - I am shattered today

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Resist project teaser :)

Can you guess what this is going to be...?

We have had a nice chilled out weekend.. sorting the pond out - the fish actually went in yesterday :)  will post pics soon - its too grey today to take nice photos.  Cooked a lovely (even if I say so myself ) Indian meal last night; tomato chicken curry, chickpea curry, rice and naan bread YUM.  Good news is I cooked 2 great big cauldrens full - so tonights dinners is sorted too .. yay - no cooking this evening!

Totally off topic now.. but I just gotta shout about a friend of mine who I am so proud of

One of my friends is on TV tonight and I am really excited to see her!  Lindsey Butler is on Tom Jones's team on BBC1's The Voice - its battle rounds tonight and I am soooo hoping she makes it through to the live rounds.  I think she will.. she has the most amazing singing voice! I have heard her singing acapella so many times & break out in goosebumps every time!  You can see her audition and see some of her videos (she's a song writer too) on her Facebook page Lindsey Butler - The Voice.  If you like her please LIKE her official facebook, I know the support will mean a lot to her and will help her self-confidence.  We worked together at Sandwell Museums for about 9 years .. there are scores of children who know her a Mistress Rose - the cheeky fun loving Tudor serving wench ;)  She is one of the nicest people you could ever meet and I hope all her dreams come true..  Tonight I will be yelling GO ON LINDSEY!! :)  


Friday, 13 April 2012

Finally finished...

My lion now has a mane!  I tried a couple of ideas which just didn't work.. and then got my lightbulb moment :)   I LOVE rag rugs... and I wanted my lion to have a nice chunky mane... so I decided to give him a rag-rug effect mane

I embroidered his facial features on, and added a couple of nice old
dark slate coloured plastic buttons for his eyes
Luckily I had a bag of Harris wool tweed remnants knocking around :)  I picked 2 nice brown based pieces and fulled them in the washing machine.  I have no idea how many tiny strips I cut from them, but there were a LOT.  Each strip was handstitched in to place individually - certainly the SLOW way of doing it, but I liked the effect of having them placed iggledy-piggledy.. I couldn't do it all in one go, the sewing made my fingers sore.. so I spread it out doing a bit every 2 or 3 days whenever I had an hour spare.

He is just what I wanted with his raggedy-ruggedy mane..

He is one half of a pair of doorstoppers I made for MARCH.  Last year my March doorstoppers were hares, this year it was a lion and a lamb.. from the old saying about March that it 'comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb'

Here he is with his 'other half'

I'm planning to make him a brother as soon as I am able to track down some nice suitable tweed.. I am totally kicking myself after missing 2 gorgeous pieces on ebay last night.. I was watching 4 yards (perfect colours in 2 different designs)  and I forgot that they were finishing! The vintage piece went for less than a fiver and it was lovely.. why oWHY did I forget to go bid?! 

Anyway, I'm planning to take progress pics next time and post them. 
Have a good weekend.. xx

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Progress in the garden.. and a felting play day :)

Yesterday saw a return of wintery weather here.. we had snow - with MASSIVE flakes and hail, rain spells and very strong winds all day.  The kids had pressing things to do inside (in the warm!) and Gary quite happily carried on with his project.. finished off this morning by adding the stone chips.  I am really happy with it.. think he has done a lovely job :)

I really should take the pegs off the line BEFORE taking a photo lol
We can't introduce the fishies to their new home until May, when it is warmer.. but that gives us time to set everything up, fill it and let the water settle :)

While all of this was going on I got to PLAY!!  I had been picturing a light, airy poncho.. slightly asymetrical..  the shrinkage has made the finished piece a bit less asymetrical than I had planned.. but I'm really pleased with it. 

Orange and pink (I'm liking this colour combo at the moment)

What I am NOT pleased with is how much the colour run out of the silk! This is a really lovely vintage silk sari - its so sheer its an absolute DREAM for nuno! But I have never had colour run out so badly.. it just keeps on coming out as long as its wet.  Even using cold water (my hands are still orange today - looks like I have been henna'd). I will wear this... and hope like heck that I don't get caught in the rain or I will be orange!  But I couldnt use it to make for anybody else..

At the moment I dont see how I can make use of this lovely sari unless I can find a way to fix the dye... if anybody has any suggestion or experience with this PLEASE, I would LOVE to hear from you..  I hate the thought of this lovely silk sitting unused in my fabric bag forevermore..


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Busy busy..

My garden is a hive of activity today!  Gary and the kids are re-landscaping an area of our garden to add a pond!

My 2 hard at work -
Gary and Rachael were taking grass up and Matthew relaying it
Just after I took this the 2 little boys from up the road came around and joined in too.  Gary rummaged and found protective gloves for them all to wear .. and the little 'un ended up wearing Garys hard hat too :)  It was so sweet watching them all working away (our helpers are 6 & 10 bless 'em).  Now Rachael has gone with the boys and their mom to feed their ponies, sheep and chickens.

This all came about because my lovely man rescued a pond full of fish last week!  He surveyed a house who's owner died back in December.. there was a pond in the back garden and its his employers policy to have ponds filled in before a new tenant is allowed to move in (incase they have small children).  Gary did his usual thing and checked whether the pond was occupied.. it was.  There was no family or friends to take the fish and they would of died when the pond was filled.. So next day he took our fish moving boxes, a bucket and a net.. and went fishing :) 

He emptied it to the very last bucket to be sure nobody was left behind - there were just 8 goldfish and they all came home to our tank.  Originally we planned to rehome them.. but Bob (the rescued goldfish from this time last year - abandoned in a tank in an empty house for AGES) has gotten pretty huge now and will need to go in a pond soon too.  It may sound silly but we have all got very attached to Bob, he's a very friendly fishy :) the idea of him not having to leave home is nice.

SO, we now have all the supplies.. Gary has a week off (and the kids are off for Easter) so my man gets to play with building blocks and sand out in the garden.. yes he is like a little boy, he gets excited when he has a nice creative building project to work on :). 

I cant wait to see it.. think its going to be lovely.  I'll post pics when its done

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Petroglyph inspired #3

My second wallhanging:

Laid out on my work bench
This hanging is felted from the same fibres as my picture & the pumpkin bag in the last post; golden pumpkin orange merino with deep cherry red at the edges. The design is drawn on with merino fibre in browns, burgundy and oranges, with lots of the hand dyed silk caps in terracotta and brown at the bottom and around the edges, with alpaca/wool blend boucle yarns for texture.

Shame the photos don't quite match up..

Love this silk cap!

This is a fair sized hanging.. it measures 33" x 20.5"

Kelly asked about the story behind my last piece.. so I thought I should explain this one :)  Not knowing the meaning the ancients attached to the symbols.. MY pictograph represents having an awareness of our place in the universe and being considerate of the earth, the creatures we shall her with and the people around us..

I decided not to mount this one.. I hung it from an iron rod suspended between 2 nice metal hooks instead.  Dont have any photos of it hung to show you.  BUT its now on its way to a new home in New Mexico and I am really hoping that its new owner will be kind enough to take a photo of it hanging for me..  I would love to see it in its environment :)

I stitched a cotton tube on my machine, pressed it flat and handstitched it to the top at the back to run the rod through.