sketch book

Nothing new under the sun 1!

A chance remark by another blogger sent me to this link.  I was really surprised by what I saw.

About 30 years ago (I really can’t believe it was that long, it seems like yesterday) I was lucky enough to be mentored by Vicky Lugg, sadly no longer with us.  She was inspirational, encouraging and a lovely person.  She was an innovative stitcher, and her work, even now, was ‘of the future’.  Unlike many tutors of that time she was trained in fine art, and therefore her design teaching was of a very high standard.  One of the techniques she used was called ‘Blind Flowers’.  I’m not sure if that was actually the name she gave it, or the one I chose to call it as that was the result.  Here is a quick design from that time.  I emphasise ‘quick’ because it was created as one of several in a short timed session.

The materials used are different, but the concept is the same.  I’ll revisit this technique sometime next week on the journal blog.  It might give you a few additional ideas.  It’s always fascinating to see techniques revisited.  There are a number going around at the moment.  I’ll have to see what else I can find in my old sketchbooks.

Paper, paper, paper, book

I love making little books almost as much as I love dyeing.  The wonderful thing is – I can combine both skills quite easily!

These little books were made with hand dyed paper, which is a by-product of the dyeing.  Colouring the paper is half the fun of making them, and I’m prepared to share a few secrets with you on this online course.  You will learn how to colour the paper, make and decorate the covers (without cutting mountboard if you want), and also investigate a few easy techniques to make some little bookies.  They are quick, easy and seductive!  I bet you won’t be able to only make one.  Here’s one of the really easy ones

I said you could personalise your covers

And sometimes, that is as easy as deciding which bookie you want to make!

More information here.

Blank Page

Today I started a new journal.  I usually leave the pages blank, but this time I decided to colour the pages of the book before I start, so I have ‘scrubbed’ a quick coat of dye onto each page.

It takes a while to dry when the whole book is coloured at once, but it does give the opportunity to lift off some of the colour if I feel like it, or stick another one on top to create texture.

It also means that the background is all ready when it is time to put something onto it.

I was reminded of the blank canvas that we have as we start each day .  We colour the world around us according to our actions.  Thank you for that blank canvas.



Inspiration comes when it will….

An unexpected message arrived this morning.  It was from a customer of one of my Etsy shops and included a link to an item that has been made using some of my hand-dyed paper.

Not only was I very pleased to see the lovely item (click the picture to find it) I was also interested to read the description.  I quote: ‘when it arrived I knew it was perfect for my ‘Winter Beauty’ aceo (truth is I was stuck for inspiration until then)’

I know this feeling so well.  Inspiration strikes in strange ways.  Sometimes the finished item is there, in you head, and all you have to do is grab the bits and pieces to put it together.  Sometimes a blank canvas is all that’s needed to allow colour and design to flow into a work of art.  Sometimes… yes, sometimes there is just nothing there…..

Suddenly, however, ‘something’ happens, it could be a thought, a word, a chance comment, maybe even a headline – or just THAT particular piece of paper or fabric.  Suddenly everything comes together and the piece is finished.  I had a similar experience recently.

Pencil and paper are always to hand, and I try to sketch every day.  I don’t manage that exactly, but I do try.  On my table is a pot which holds some ancient seedheads.  They are well past their ‘sell buy’ date, and I suppose I should dispose of them, but they have been a constant source of inspiration.

They are not beautifully arranged, in fact some of them have been removed and just ‘poked’ back in, but that is good – it gives me permission to remove something else and draw it, then replace it wherever it goes.  I never need to search for something to draw – it is always there.  I don’t get bored with the subject because they almost feel like friends, and who gets bored with friends?  I have masses of drawings of the poppy heads.  I have added colour to some, but others are detailed drawings or quick sketches, some in pencil and others in ink.  Some in books, some on scraps of paper stuck or clipped into books, and others on pieces of abaca tissue which are patiently waiting for their next destination.

There are roses too.  Small flowers that started life as a gift from a newborn grandchild.  These have not been professionally preserved – just hung upside down in the airing cupboard  and left to dry out.  I have watched them turn from pink to this beautiful caramel colour.  Who says that decay can’t be beautiful?

This teasel came from the garden of my late mother-in-law.  She died more than 10 years ago, and this was picked before that.  There are a few in the pot, and they are a constant reminder of family and how things must pass.  Don’t put off something that you can do today – you may not be able to do it tomorrow.  Our children would love to play in her garden, full of cottage flowers and very old-fashioned.  It was a delight.

What strikes me most about this collection is the wonderful colour and  texture that it holds.  Even the colour of the leaves has turned to this beautiful dark cream.  No enhancement at all, nature has done its work and continues to do so.  But where is this leading?

Every day I work with brilliant and exciting colour.  Fabrics, fibres, yarns, threads, paper, all are transformed into new colour combinations, but at the end of the day I return to my desk and the quiet calm of neutrality.  There in front of me is my pot, and my sketches continue to overflow!  Last week was no different, I had papers to make and colour, and lo and behold, one really spoke to me.  It was, of course, created by accident!  The finished design was unintentional, but as soon as I saw it I wanted to use it with some of my sketches.

The background ‘spoke’ to me of winter and bare branches.  I was able to do a small series of 4 tiny ACEO’s, but that’s it – no more paper, so the other sketches must wait for more inspiration.  Thanks for sending me the link to your lovely ACEO, SunshineShelle, it provoked this post!

Sometimes it is good to have a large piece of art on your wall, but sometimes, it is perfect to have a piece of art you can hold in your hand.

The three d’s

Well, it’s Monday morning.  It’s dreary, damp and dismal.  That’s just outside, though, inside I’m working with colour, so none of the above words apply!  (Not quite true, some parts of what I’m doing are just a little damp..)

I’m sloshing colour in a profuse manner.  It’s the best way to do it, and it’s how this was produced.

I had great fun creating the paper from which this was cut (more so as I did it at 2.30 this morning!).  Now it is dry and adorning another little book

Of course, daylight would have made a better picture, but it will have to do for now.  My next job is to pop over to Etsy to list it, then I’m back to the dyes and paints and powders.  Today is a day for having fun.  (Although as I didn’t actually go to bed until after 4.30 this morning I may just take a quick nap during the afternoon, ssshhhh)

Just a little bit of fun

I haven’t been well.  I’ve had bronchitis, and it has been painful and irritating.  However, thanks to a dose of antibiotics I am now on the road to recovery.  I should have rested during this time, but unfortunately I had to work.   Today, however, was different.  No alarm, no reason to get up, so what happened?  Well, I expected to wake at about 6 am, the time the alarm usually rings, however, I slept on – and on – and…..  It was after 9.30 when I woke.  I’m sure it has done me good.

I recently re-opened my paperpatches shop on Etsy.  That too had been lying dormant (for over a year) and have been having a little bit of fun restocking it.  As far as I am concerned it is an easy and quick way to be creative.  I love using paper, it stitches so beautifully, and it can become so many things, but I don’t have time for that at the moment.  It is so frustrating to have to quash the creative spirit, so to find a little outlet is great.  I have been using papers made during various dyeing processes to decorate some cards and books, and I have to say that they look much better in real life than they do onscreen.  However, they have started selling, so that’s good too.

This morning I started sorting some papers ready for a few more which I will make during the week.  (I need to feel stronger to punch the holes.)  In so doing I came across this little piece..

Now, here is a quiz.  Can you see the cow’s face?