Thursday, 24 May 2018

Wild Nature II

With the wonderful weather we’ve had the last few weeks, I’ve been inspired and more energised to create more textile pieces. I’ve been working on another version of my Wild Nature wall hanging; the one I made before was a bit too small so I had to make it again to my satisfaction. It’s still in the work in progress stage, but here are some shots of its development.

As with the Wild Nature no.1, it began with strips of satin in varying shades of green:

Then I printed organza with a leaf pattern and layered it on top:

And now I’m hand sewing swirls through all layers:

It’s important to me to get this right because

1, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I like to make sure everything is done to the best standard I can achieve, although I’m aware that being a perfectionist can have its downfall in that you can sometimes not want to let something go, to believe that it’s done and done well. I’ve mellowed a bit in the last few years and I’m happy if something is “good enough”. I’m also more inclined to see a problem as a challenge to overcome rather than immediately thinking “it’s not working!” and having a meltdown. But if a line of stitching isn’t straight or isn’t going the right way, I’ll unpick it and do it again, otherwise it will be on my mind all the time. Someone else might not notice, but I’ll know it’s not right!

2, It’s all part of the goal I have for this year. I know I keep mentioning this goal then not telling you much about it, but I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to shout about things until they’re definite. It seems to be coming together at the moment though, so hopefully it won’t be too long before I can tell you everything.

Meanwhile… the flowers are continuing to grow and bloom. The bluebells have chimed…

 …and the tulips have shone with bright colours.

 My aquilegias have unveiled their glory…

 …and this beautiful flower appeared nearby.

I think it’s Cuckooflower, also known as lady’s smock and it’s beautiful, but then I think all flowers are beautiful. 😊🌺🌼

Enjoy the holiday weekend. 

Friday, 18 May 2018

Rusting Away

As promised last week, I spent the weekend preparing an experiment in rusting. If you’ve seen my blog before, you may have seen my trials in this a while ago but this time I’ve used tin cans. I cleaned them up first, of course, then dunked the fabric in vinegar and wrapped it around them.

I also put a few leaves in between the folds of fabric to see if they’d leave an impression or some colour. Hand-picked from my garden, I used the leaves from dandelion, honeysuckle, herb Robert (Geranium robertianum), sycamore, ivy and lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria).
This is how they looked in the middle of the week:

I’ve kept them wrapped for a long time to try to get the best transfer of rust I could and to give the leaves time to do their thing.

After leaving them to dry on the cans, I unwrapped them, gave them a wash and hung them on the line to dry. This is how they looked then, bringing to mind the song about green bottles: “there were six rusted fabrics hanging on the line…..” I just hoped none of them would blow away! With the warm weather, they dried quite quickly.

Here are a few close-ups:

I love the colour that the rust produces on the fabric. It’s colourful yet subtle at the same time and the patterns it creates are unpredictable but always pretty.

The question now is, what am I going to do with the fabric? I’ve got a few ideas floating around in my head and some lovely lace to go with it, some embroidery thread, ribbon and maybe some printed fabric to layer it with.

I don’t know if I’ll have anything made by next week, I’ll have to see how I go, but I have got other works in progress which I’m going to share.

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, 11 May 2018

A Profusion of Flowers

I’ve been absent from my blog for a while. When did I last post? Anyway, I return with lots of things.

First of all, if you remember from the beginning of the year, I was planning to do a drawing every day. Well, I managed for a while but then failed completely. Life just took over and I didn’t have time. Sometimes I didn’t have the energy, sometimes I just didn’t feel like drawing. But that’s ok. I’ve learned in recent years not to be bothered by little things that don’t get done; it’s not worth it. I’ve also learned not to force myself into something because it never works; it ends up being my worst work and something I’m really not happy with.

I’ve been doing a bit of quick sketching in the last few days though and here are the results.

I’ve also been photographing like mad with all the flowers finally coming into bloom. You may have seen them on my social media. At the moment it’s like a cherry blossom explosion! 

The blooms are starting to fall now though and the petals slowly fluttering down are like a snowstorm. They’re carpeting the garden in a profusion of pink. (And the neighbour’s garden too probably.)

I’m extremely proud of these little flowers in particular.

I sowed some wildflower seeds two years ago but only a few actually grew. They didn’t bloom last year so I’m assuming that they’re biennials and it means I’ve only discovered what they are this week. I think they’re Red Campion; I’ve looked in my wildlife book, compared the pictures and that’s the nearest likeness I can find.

I’m going to be doing some experiments in the next week and will be posting the results on social media during the week and here next Friday, so if you’re interested, come along and have a look.

Have a lovely weekend.  

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Flowers of Spring

We should be heading into Spring now that the Spring Equinox has been and gone and I’ve got some flowers to herald its arrival.

You know how much I love flowers; they bring joy and colour to days when you don’t feel so great – and I have plenty of them.

So, I’m just going to show you my photos and let you enjoy them. I hope you do and they bring a bit of cheer.

I also found two feathers with rain droplets on them and couldn’t resist taking photos.

Have a lovely weekend.

Friday, 30 March 2018

The Best Easter Egg

I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been feeling ill; tired and fuzzy headed and I still feel a bit like that now, but this has cheered me up:

I’ll explain in a moment.

Over the last few weeks I feel like I’ve lost my artistic mojo a bit. Because I’ve been feeling ill I haven’t achieved as much as I’d hoped to in the art side of things and there’s also the fact that it’s been freezing cold, the days have been gloomy and things keep going wrong. Have you ever had a run of things going wrong? Things not working, breaking or situations you hadn’t expected? You know what I mean.

It means that my ideas have been set back, but they’ve been started, so that’s a positive!

As you may know by now, I love snow: it brightens up the grey winter days, but at the moment, I’m ready for spring to come bursting into life. Winter is, for me, like being wrapped up in a cosy cocoon; the warmth inside and wearing layers of clothes. Then when spring arrives it’s like cracking open the cocoon and stepping out to new life.

I love opening the windows for the first time of the year and letting the air flow through, like the spring breezes are blowing away the stuffiness and lethargy of the winter months.

Have you heard the song Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up) by Florence & the Machine? In it is the line:

“And in the spring, I shed my skin

And it blows away with the changing wind”

That’s how I think of spring and how I hope to feel in the coming month or so. I’ve actually, for once, had enough of winter and I’m hoping the spring will blow away the fuzziness in my head, because although I’ve been set back in my textile art, I have made progress with research on something I want to do, a goal of mine for this year. I hope my head will be clear enough to see it through. I’m not going to tell you about it yet, but you may find out in a while.

The signs of spring are already around as you can see in my photos. Primroses are flowering, deciduous trees are starting to come into leaf and I found something wonderful the other day:

I found it under a tree at the bottom of the garden; a tree which I know woodpigeons nest in because I see them flying in and out of it all the time, so it’s a woodpigeon eggshell. I also know because I found the top a shell of the same type and size a year or two ago and tweeted a photo of it to Chris Packham asking what it was. He actually replied (I nearly fainted) saying it was a woodpigeon shell. This time it’s the whole shell so it’s like finding a little treasure and is the best kind of Easter egg to have.

I hope this means there’s a new little life up there in the nest and the little chick survived the recent cold weather tucked up under his/her mother’s feathers. As I write I can hear a woodpigeon cooing outside. He and his partner and all the little birds – robin, blackbird, sparrows, etc. – are being very vocal now.

I haven’t been completely out of my creative mojo the last couple of weeks. I’ve done a few things for Easter; some decorations to brighten things up. Here are my Easter eggs filled with fluffy chicks.

I painted the eggs, then stuck on the flowers and the shiny bunny.

I’ve also made pom-pom bunnies.

There may be more before the weekend is over…

So, with the hope that I’ll be back next week with more to show you, have a Happy Easter, don’t eat too much chocolate (I may ignore my own advice there) and enjoy the holiday.