Sunday, 26 May 2013

Next tutorial..

I have FINALLY just finished adding the 2nd flower tutorial to the TUTORIALS page.  You need to scroll down past the first tute.

 I don't know whether Blogger in general is playing up this morning or if it has been saving it up for me.. but it's been a NIGHTMARE this morning!  Just when I though it was finished and perfect I realised I'd lost some photos and whole chunks of text - for no reason!  Then all the spacings went crazy.. Then it scrambled the order up..  After nearly 4 hours it's relatively ok.. at least all the info is there (I think and hope - please let me know if things appear to be missing or scrambled.. they look ok here).  The spacings are a bit off, but it's the best I can get it at the moment.

This tutorial is for flowers with petals:

I just need to find time to write my other tutorials now :)


Friday, 24 May 2013

An exciting project

I was recently asked to create a tutorial for a local magazine, which was completely out of the blue and very exciting!  It's a one off magazine about female community artists in my area.  The area is known as the Black Country, a name stemming from the Industrial Revolution when there was so much industry here; mining and burning of coal, that everything was black with soot and coal dust.  Thank goodness that isn't the case anymore :) but the name stands.  This is the Black Country Womens Community Arts Project magazine.

They wanted a craft project to include in the magazine, one of the writers found my blog and shop and liked my felt :) so asked if I could help.  I love being involved in things like this, and it's an honour to be asked.  So  I wrote tutorials for felting flowers and making them into jewellery.. I think they are a little longer than they realised they would be..  But you know me, I do like to explain :) (waffle on).

They sent international documentary photographer Martin Parr around to photograph each step.  This was a very novel experience having someone else to take the photos!  I usually have my camera set up on a tripod and have to keep drying my hands to take each shot, and beat the timer for action shots :)  

To speed things up I had 4 flowers (for each style) at different stages of the making process.  We ended up having quite a laugh during the photo shoot, and Martin was quite intrigued with the magic of felting.  I'll keep you informed about progress.

I've been wanting for ages to add some tutorials to my blog but not had the time to actually write them..  now that I HAVE, I am adding them on a new page TUTORIALS Felting Flowers .  I have only put the one up today as it takes time copying it from my Word doc. over to blogger.  (I can't just copy the photos in with the text, so have had to do the text in between each pic.  add the pic. then copy more text.. then the next pic.  etc. -  stupid really, but it's the only way it'd do it without scrambling it up).

ANyway.. the first tutorial is for making flouncy flowers with a stem :)  hope it's ok

Have a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend folks!  Wouldn't it be great if the weather was as nice as last Bank Holiday?!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Something new.. a nuno landscape

I am getting behind with my blogging again.. I really must try harder to keep up!

This is a recent project.. an bit of an experiment.  I wanted to have a go at a landscape picture, a nuno collage really, using lots of lovely different silk fabrics in intense and not necessarily realistic colours.  

This is my first one:

Decided to use this photo as my design..
I love this tree, it is a couple of fields across from our house.. the trunk has turned as it grew
so the bark spirals round and round

I laid a base, with some pretty hand dyed curly locks along the bottom for a fringe
Started laying pieces of silk sari fabric for the fields
After laying the picture out I outlined everything with very thin strips of dark navy merino.
The tree trunk and a few branches are brown merino.
Unfortunately my photos were taken on a dull day.. the colours glow more than they do on the pics.
Close up
I'm really pleased with it :)
Fringe detail
It reminds me of stained glass windows.. I'll have to look at beautiful stained glass windows and artwork from medieval manuscripts or books of hours to inspire my next one.. I think that could work really well.


Thursday, 9 May 2013

A long weekend in the sun :)

We had a wonderful May Bank Holiday weekend!  We started off with some gardening.. planting all the veggies and herbs that we are planning for this summer.  Spent a very enjoyable day pottering round the garden together doing this, and finishing off with a lovely long walk over the fields visiting the lambs and calves :)

Then we headed off to Glastonbury - I do love Glastonbury!  The weather was absolutely beautiful, blue skies with high fluffy clouds.  After our looong winter it seems like everything is in a rush to burst into leaf or bloom, Spring is happening at hyper-speed.  The colours were so intense I couldn't help taking lots of photos, I've picked some of my favourites to share here (there are quite a few :)

Walking along the lane leading to the tor
This might find its way into felt one day..
Still walking
Welcome refreshment!
There are 2 healing springs which come up only feet apart.. this is Chalice Well, and  is rich with iron
on the opposite side of the lane is the White Spring which is rich in calcite.  They taste very different and distinct from each other 
Lambs always look so cuddly :)
Letters carved in the stone of the tower on top of the tor..  makes me wonder who carved them and when?
Lovely lichen on the outside of the tower
So cool and shady inside the tower..  Outside a man sat strumming his guitar and singing, beautiful to hear and so perfect in this high and peaceful place
I found myself focusing on small details in stone and wood..

This bird and grapes is carved over a pub on the high street
Walking along the High Street we heard many musicians.. harpists, guitar and flute.. people dancing.  Wonderful.. free spirited..

We ended our visit in Glastonbury Abbey.. now in all the years we have been going to Glastonbury, and even had family living close by, we have never been in before.  I am so glad we did, it was lovely!  Made even more so by the weather of course, we explored the ruins and meandered around the grounds for hours (which were absolutely beautiful!)

Inside St. Patrick's Chapel
So high..
Gary spotted ammonites in the stone

The Abbotts Kitchen
This is the strangest kitchen I have EVER seen, the next 3 pics are from inside
Roof beams.. there is something quite yurtish about them.  
Massive fireplaces in each corner (plus bread ovens in the side walls)
Huge chimneys in each corner above the fireplaces..
This was soooo high
Right at the top, and on the other side..
See how tiny the people inside it are?
An idea of size.  Gary and the kids are sitting in the middle of this wall.  The information says that these three window bays are all that remain of a run of 9 window bays..  it must of seemed IMMENSE back in the day.  Can you imagine being a medieval peasant living in a tiny cottage not much taller than your own head and encountering a stone giant like this..? 

Willow woman in the grounds
The torr just visible on the rise above the trees
So many majestic trees..

The Holy Thorn
Excavated shell palattes used to mix pigments for illuminated texts, found with pigment still in - that blue has kept its' colour beautifully
13th century wooden door
You can see where the nails were bent over on the back. I love things like this..  These nails were hammered in and bent over by a carpenter 800 odd years ago..
This funny fella was in the museum area.. :)  Isn't he great
I love going to Glastonbury, it has good energy.  I've come back all fired up and enthusiastic.. like my creative battery has been recharged - or maybe the nice weather just burned off the winter gloom :)  Whatever it is.. it feels good.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Catching up..

Oooh it's been a while.  I was pretty out of it last week suffering from migraines, I couldn't stand looking at the computer much all week.  The first migraine struck the first day the weather went lovely!  Typical!  All week was gorgeous and I spent it skulking in the shadows like I was playing vampire :)

I did manage to make one bag last week.. took me three times as long as usual mind you.. here it is :)

 Inspired by Gustav Klimt's Wildflower Meadow painting..

A few flowers for the internal pocket design
Piles of fibre which will become integral pockets
 the resists sit on top of these after wetting
This bag is all merino - 22 micron so it is tough enough - especially with how hard I work it :)
Vibrant pink inside, with a black core
Magenta and pink outside, then simple flowers added.
Some are cut from prefelt, others are swirls of merino and silk fibre
Covered with thin plastic before rubbing so the design doesn't shift
 Then I worked it HARD.

Cutting the pocket resists out.
The golden tussah silk on the inside glows a treat against the pink
 And worked HARD again.. 'till
Stuffed with tea towels to round out the bell-bottom
It took me 3 or 4 days to get this far..  slow going.

Made matching felt and cut the reinforcing to fit the top of the bag
Blanket stitched with a lovely gold silk thread
A week in the making.. but oh my I was pleased with how it turned out!  And it's on it's way to a lovely lady in the US who wanted a tote in these colours, possibly with some free form flowers on :)  Hope she likes it.

This was the back

I did also have a new neighbour for the week!

About 50ft from my living room window.

I kept hearing this little beauty in the undergrowth right by the house.. I think he was looking for a lady, but I don't think he found one 'cos he has moved on.  

Hope you all have a wonderful May Day weekend whatever your plans :)