Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Sharne and I had a fun night playing

Sharne came round tonight as we needed to get the postcard work shop sorted out for school House Arts. I made these some months ago and needed to work out firstly how to do them again and secondly how long they were going to take. See how organised I am!

We took photos to record what we were doing and talked about using them to publicise the workshop for the 4th October on our blogs.

I then moaned as I did not know how to add the slide show which she has on her blog; so upstairs we marched and uploaded the photos we had taken whilst making the postcards and under strict instruction I managed to create this slide show!!!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Dabble Day - School House Arts

This was the first time that we had run something as adventurous as this, each of us designed a tablet which could be constructed in about one hour, using different mediums. The idea was that we would end up making a zig-zag book which the samples could be displayed in for the group to take home.

Timing was all important and the girls moved from one table to another and then back again as the previous pieces were dried (in desperation the oven was put to use for this, which actually proved very effective!)

We, the Schoolhouse Four enjoyed our day and believe that the group who we were working with did too - think they must have as three of them booked onto the 'Postcard' day that we are running on the 3rd October (this I made some months ago, so guess I better go and work out how I did it before then!!!)

These are close ups of our pieces which we designed for the day.

Debs bitSharne's Margaret's and mine

Girls working hard at their tasks in hand

Doreen enjoying herslef Managed to catch Deb  in the background Noella, Liz and Sue working hard at Deb's tableapplying masking tape bore adding boot polish!

and here are the samples of the girls work - we were very pleased with what they produced and that they were still smiling at the end of a very full day.

Copy of Samples of finshed Work

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Maggie Grey

Have just checked Sharne's blog and see that she had a link to Maggie Grey's blog, so have happily added her link to my site. It was Maggie's book which was titled 'Raising the Surface with Machine Embroidery' that first got me excited about mixed media work, it was from this book that the idea for my leaf came. And if I had to choose a selection of books to take to a desert island, this would most definately be one of them, that is as long as I could still get my orders from Artvango! otherwise it would be just too frustrating!!

Dabble Day Workshop

Tonight the girls came round to put the finishing touches on the Dabble Day Workshop which School House Arts will be running on Saturday 13th September, there are a few places left for those of you who fancy trying something a little different.

We will be playing with brown paper, boot polish, metal and lutrador to name but a few of the mediums which are not necessarily linked to textile work.

My cLeaf made using water soluble paperontribution was the leaf which will be made using water soluble paper, exander print and stitch, this is mounted onto a foiled tissue paper background. Finished piece

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Ploughed Fields Finished!

Last night the girls were coming round to colour their fields. We had arranged to meet at 7, this should have giveAll good things come to those that wait, or so they say!!n me plenty of time to get home and do all the necessary before they came.  Time management course seemed to have paid off as I had a spare 1/2 hour (not sure how that happened) so decided to take Ralph (dog) for a quick march across the fields.  Big mistake, arrived at the playing fields to find two horses careering about, instinct was to leave it to the boys who had call the Police and let them deal with it, so I marched on, mindful that I only had half an hour.  On my return to the playing field, the two boys stood patiently, no Police and two horses still charging about, another dog walker and Carol my friend had joined the throng.

On the radio earlier I had heard some one saying that the English were the nationality that was least likely to take ownership of a problem and would refer it to the appropriate authority.  This must have niggled me as I decided to sort the situation out ........ foolish I know, the horses were fairly big!

I use a lead rope to walk Ralph (left over from my daughter, Kirsty's horse days at home).  Carol took charge of Ralph (small dog and enjoys cuddles!) I marched off armed with lead rope.  Eventually got rope over the big black horses head, the pink one wasn't letting me anywhere near her.  And with a bit of coaxing got the black one back into the rightful field.  The pink one dutifully followed with a little encouragement.

Needless to say there was a gaggle of girls on my doorstep when I arrived home patiently waiting.  We all set too sorting out the bits and pieces that we were going to use and clearing the table, removing the bike from the dinning room and oh yes, making the coffee and opening the biscuits!

Lynda painting the sky Noella using silk paint to darken the rutts Sue used dark purple to paint the trees and bushesGill, still determined not to have her photo taken!Liz has obviously had too many biscuits as she is enjoying herself far too much! Markalls being freely applied to finish the field    Finished pieces - excellent

I had a really lovely evening , was very pleased with the end results, and a big thank you to Gill, Liz, Noella, Sue and Lynda for my pressies xx  Currently listening to Andrea Bocelli and the freesias smelt lovely when I came home.  And of course I had to make my own Wild Woman

wild woman - need to parctice my photo manipulation!

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Learning How to Take Photos

For a long time I have wanted to learn how to use my camera properly, normally I put it into automatic, point and click!  The pictures turn out sort of ok, and I console myself by saying you are not a photographer so you don't need to take good photos!  Unfortunately this answer never really convinced me and the niggling feeling still remained, there are lots of settings and dials on my camera that I don't know what they do - I have read the manual, put the dials in to right place and taken a shot to prove what it did, but that is as good as it got.................. I never really grasped how to put it all together.

But today I turned a corner.  'Arty' (real name Helen) who had attended Margaret's Bag workshop had kindly said that she would spend the day with us and teach us a few basics.  So Deb, Margaret, Sharne and I (the School House Four) arrived at North Fambridge armed with camera, instruction book and awaited illumination.  Arty patiently explained 'white balance' and 'bracketing' both of these functions were to be used together!  We were also introduced to a small white tent that you put your objects in and photograph - all a bit strange but it certainly cut down the shadows (needless to say, Sharne and I had to dash out a buy one - because of course this will make us take much better photos! nothing at all to do with skill or patience!)

We were then given a lesson in Adobe Photoshop and layers.......... she made it all sound very easy whilst she was talking us through it.  detail of bag

These are two of my pictures which I took under Arty's supervision, I have also edited them using Paint Shop, and must say I am quite pleased with the results.

detail of book cover



Thanks Arty.

Arty then showed me how to take a close up using the aperture settings on the camera, this make the main subject matter in focus and smudges the background matter.  This is the photo that she took - fairly appropriate as the piece of work which I have just finished was based on elderberries - photo of this to come as Arty took a 'proper' shot of this piece of work for me to use!

eldberry detail

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Octopus Play Day

I woke up to sunshine - today was going to be a good day, we could eat outside, so out came the under used deck chairs, cob webs removed and I was ready for the girls to arrive.

In came six sewing machines accompanied by Gill (the ring leader), Liz, Noella, Sue and Lynda and Linda, we were meant to be getting straight down to business, but Noella had made some wonderful beaded brooch people that we all wanted to know how to make (forgot to take a photo of these, so hopefully she will forward me one or two so that I can show you what I am talking about).

Today was going to be a busy day as we had planned to make a Stitch to Paint - Ploughed FieldPloughed Field Hanging. The girls had already dyed their fabrics so it was straight into ripping it apart to sew it back together again. First of all they carefully constructed the sky, very beautiful shades of blue, with a sliver of yellow for the sun, they were not happy when I said that these were then to be dyed black. Due to the time constraints I decided to use the All in One dyes, and these worked really well, three minutes in the microwave and we had black skies that were ready for bleaching!

Lynda with the bleachLiz - this will be done!

Lunch time arrived and Mark's head appeared over the fence (Long suffering Marklong suffering next door neighbour) he wanted to know what we Gill managed to avoid all other photos!were up to - think he could smell the food and it was just an excuse! so he bravely joined seven nattering women for lunch - that shows he was either very hungry or perhaps my cooking isn't that bad!

Lunch done and it was time to get on with the job in hand and get the hangings all stitched together and the lines of design transferred on to the fabric ready for painting. The day seemed to be going far too quick, probably too much talking and laughing. By 4pm most of the stitching was done, but had run out of time to do the painting, so rather than rushing it we decided that we would reconvene to complete our mater pieces Tuesday week.

Noella, was that the good side?!Marking work ready to stitchSue - thought this was meant to be fun!!!! Linda concentrating Lynda going for it! This is as far as we got......

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Belstead House - 15th to 17th August 2008

Summer School with the Embroiders Guild, Sharne and I were lucky enough to get a place on Gwen Headley's workshop, neither of us had a clue what we were going to be doing, thought it might be something to do with linking objects together but how this was going to be done remained a puzzle! So we packed to cover every eventuality, all the essentials, beads, threads, odd bits of memorabilia, papers, etc and of course the tooth brush......

Belstead is a wonderful place, I can imagine Miss Elizabeth Bennett having lived in a house similar to this. There is a lovely atmosphere about the place, there is calmness and serenity, it is a beautiful old building with rambling roses creeping around the arched gates, you are removed from real life, no need to worry about cooking or work or cleaning you just get on doing what you do best and in my case that is most definitely sewing.

What did Gwen have in store for us? Well, it could not have been more perfect for me, cutting up perfectly good pieces of material and sewing them back together to create a rhythmic organic background. This was achieved by slicing stitched pieces at an angle and sliding them up or down the cut edge until a pleasing line was found and then topstitching them back in place.

Pockets were then made to place our special memories in, objects were caught down with weaving, holes were cut to hang beads and stones in, the options we were given were many and varied.

I returned home happy, bursting with ideas to do, a perfectly perfect weekend.

Belstead House back garden Elizabeth's Gate? My piece based on New Zealand