Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A drawing a day ( almost)

Ok, I confess, a few days have slipped!  But my little book is filling up, nevertheless. 

My favourite drawing pencil is still my 'work' pencil, a Rotring pencil with a 0.7 mm lead. I did not buy this pencil, it was a freebie from somewhere. It has Kingspan printed on the side. Kingspan make insulation materials and I think I might have picked it up at Ecobuild. (There's an example of the day job impacting on my 'dark' side.)

I am finding that the easiest thing to look at and draw are other peoples drawings. So I am using the internet to find pictures that I then draw. Ok, so that's not so pure, but actually doing something seems more important than where I a source the inspiration. 

Mostly I am sketching tea or coffee pots, but I follow the blog by Clive Hicks - Jenkins ( without doubt one of my favourite artists, discovered through Steph and Chloe Redfern).  And Clive posted this lovely, lovely sketch on his blog. 

I just love this. Clive said that early on his career he drew a lot of Staffordshire characters like this. Well I don't have any Staffordshire pottery characters like this, but I do have the internet. It will have to do. 

So, here's the original - a photo of 'The Kiling of Munrow'.  I have no idea who Munrow was, but I guess he met a sticky end. 

And here's my first sketch. 

I need to try it again, but using crayon to add colour. 

Go and visit Clive's Blog http://clivehicksjenkins.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/gold-and-death/

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

A drawing a day for October (inktober?)

I promise, I am!! 

And I really loosened up this evening so I'm feeling bold enough to share ( though promise you'll keep this to yourself, dear reader!) 

Here you go. 

And here's the little sketchbook I am using (propped up against my 'work' pencil case - yes I have a pencil case for work!) 

It's a nice little soft back book with thin paper that would not be strong enough for wet media but is ideal for this. 

Ok, you've had a little peak now, and I've proved that I am at least trying, but that's your lot!! 

And as you can see I have not worked hard to stage the photos - sorry about that. 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Sunday morning

We are enjoying the last hurrah of summer - the weather is just the right side of warm though last night the evening turned decidedly nippy ( I am writing this on Sunday!) 

Still, we cannot complain. It has been a pretty good summer and September was just lovely. 

So if you read my Blog Hop post you will know that I lead a somewhat disjointed life going up and down the A34 between Portsmouth and Milton Keynes. 

This weekend was a Portsmouth weekend, so, as I always do, I called in on my lovely, lovely friends Rob and Andy of Rob Turner China (do pop over for a bit of tableware eye candy). 

Rob has been playing with new ceramic forms and glazes and this stunning beauty was on the dining room table. 

This is the underside. 

And this is the right way up. 

The glazes are just amazing, breathtaking actually. 




Then later, supper across the water at Gunwharf Quays. 
 Stonking sunset, but taken on the phone so a bit blurry. 

Meanwhile, I have almost, not quite, but almost, managed a drawing a day in a new little sketchbook acquired for the purpose. 

Laura and Annabel inspired me - so I'm giving it my best shot. 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Blog Hop


If this Blog Hop works then you might be new to this blog (and if you've been here before it might be worth introducing myself).

I'm Hilary and I am in the UK (we are still United - how much was the rest of the World aware of the very recent historic vote in Scotland?  They had the opportunity go 'go it alone' after 300 years Union of Parliaments.  In was an opportunity that, on this occasion, the majority chose to turn down, so we are still the United Kingdom).

My little bit of this island on the edge of the continental shelf is complicated.  Technically I live in Gosport, a small town on the south coast right next to Portsmouth. But I work in Milton Keynes about 60 miles north of London. And I spend most of my time here in MK (the company I work for rents a house here).  It is where I keep my art materials, so I guess it is more 'home' than Gosport.

And what are my art materials? Well, my sewing machine, but also my paints (acrylics mostly but I have just started dabbling with watercolour) my glues and mediums, my inks and dyes, my stencils and thermofax screens, my fabrics and my papers (lots of tissue paper!) my pens and pencils........

So what am I?  What is my 'genre'? I guess, if pushed, I would describe myself as a Machine Embroider, but more of that later.

But before we go any further I need to credit Sheila, 'The Idaho Beauty' who got me involved in this Blog Hop.  I love Sheila's blog - she writes really well - and I love her 'mission' - "I appear to have a calling to create art, but I flounder in my quest".

(And this is why I love the internet and blogging. Without this wonderful 'tool' how on earth would Sheila and I have ever met!?!)

So, back to the blog hop.  Basically, I was asked to address these questions.

1. What am I working on?
Really, the answer to this should be what have I just finished?

Because I have actually just finished three things - two have been hanging around for ages but the third I started a couple of months ago.

Lets start with the 'two'.

First up, another of the 'Garden' series.  This one in blue. These were worked on velvet which was bleached, printed, polyester organza was laid over the printed panel and then the whole piece was  embroidered. And then using a heat gun, some of the organza is burnt away revealing some of the velvet underneath.

This fantastic technique came from a class 'Exploring Velvet' with the amazing Angie Hughes at the Bramble Patch.

I should apologise for the photo. The glare at the top is from the glass, and the  frame is white, although it looks pink here (why?). The colour of the actual piece is pretty accurate though.

The second one is a piece that came from a prompt 'Memories in Black and White'. I blogged about it here  and here (I am ashamed to say that it took two years to finish this!  And its not big!)

The leaves are tiny individually cut pieces of painted nylon. The nylon was, I think, a bit of net curtain from a charity shop. The acrylic paint was applied very randomly with a roller. The leaves are stitched either onto the actual picture (held down before stitching with a dab of Pritt stick) or into a chain which I made by placing the leaves between dissolvable film, stitching the leaves through the film and then dissolving away.

And finally, 'Seizing the Day' is finished. I blogged about it here.

This is a great example of how I can end up wandering around the craft world! I got completely sidetracked into the world of beading and made a whole batch of paper beads to use.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I guess, if you start from the point that I embroider, then the two key things that make my work different are that I mostly use the sewing machine, and I use an awful lot of paper! The "Memories in Black and White" piece is a prime example - tissue paper adhered to calico with PVA glue, coloured with ink powders, incorporating mono printing and then stitch.

Many of the pieces I create are technically 'quilts', in that they have quilt sandwiches - but these sandwiches are not usually very conventional.  The 'quilt' for the Contemporary Quilt Gallery at FOQ 2014 was tissue paper (coloured with acrylic paint, printed and appliqued) sandwiched with acrylic felt.

As was my Horizon quilt at the 2013 FOQ Contemporary Quilt Gallery.

3. Why do I create what I do?
 Why do I create?

And why do I blog?

This is an easy question - I have come to art late ( really only in the last 10 years of so) but having arrived, like Sheila, I seem to have a 'calling'.  It can sometimes feel that there is masses of work bursting to get out.

And I blog to keep me on track.  Blogging 'tricks me' into thinking that people are expecting something from me.  And it works,  If I go for two long without writing a blog, I feel guilty.  I feel as though I am letting people down.  And I am then spurned on to write a blog, and to make the art to write about in the first place.
4. How does my creating process work?
This is a tricky question!

An idea can sometimes be taking shape in my mind for ages.  Sometimes I do a lot of background work in a sketch book; sometimes my preparation is much more limited perhaps with only 1 sketched idea.  Sometimes the work itself is the experiment.  The 'Seize the Day' book is an example of that.  I just 'went for it'.  (That was a great journey - and I am not sure if it is finished.)

So that is me.  I hope you found this interesting.

If you want to know more about how I created my backgrounds, let me know and I will try to put together a demo video or some such.

And now I must pass you on.

First of all to Iz, Threadnoodle to her friends.  She always makes me smile and she is a demon textile artist to boot (plus she is on a mission to find the perfect flap jack recipe - what's not to love?)

And to Felicity of Textile Seahorse.

And finally , please also stop by Slightly Triangle.   Chloe could not join in the blog hop, but she is worth a look. 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

So off I went, clutching my purse in hand...

And first of all I bought this selection of goodies from a local charity shop.

Not to wear, but to break up for the beads. ( I want beads for the 'Seize the Day' book)

And I bought this ( well the one on the right) from Winslow Vintage and Handmade Fair

And I treated myself to some earrings by  Penny Warren ( http://www.pennywarrenjewellery.co.uk ) bought from the lovely Boo Gallery at Castle Ashby. ( http://www.boo.uk.com/boo.html )

And now my purse is empty!

So, being frugal I made these ( for Seize The Day).

Friday, 12 September 2014

Art and Quilts, cogitations thereon: But I can't draw ( the dreaded Dword)

Bloomin' 'eck! 

The Misses Kemshall and Rainbow have been setting a challenge - a drawing a day for September.  

Well I've failed dismally. 

I have an excuse - my holiday. Ok, I took the iPad but the wifi was dodgy, hence blog reading slipped and so by the time I caught up we were well into September. ( that's my excuse anyways!) 

So, we started here - Avila, Spain. 

 And I did take a little sketch book so I drew this. 

And then we moved onto a castle just north of Salamanca. Really, a proper castle with a moat and everything ( and, trust me, the wifi definitely couldn't cope with those thick walls!) 

And I sketched this 

But since I've been back I have failed miserably to do any more. I've been full of good intentions, but somehow the execution of those intentions has foundered. 

And the draughtsman ship of Linda and Annabel is, well, breathtaking. 

But then I found this, which I am going to print off and frame.

Art and Quilts, cogitations thereon: But I can't draw

Best drawing tips I've ever come across. 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Seize the Day - Handmade book

But before we get there, here is the making process. 

I've been working away quietly on another little handmade book, again based on a bit of recycled packaging as the cover and starting point (but this time much smaller than the Boneo books from earlier in the year).

And this little book has been a long time coming.  I knew that I wanted to use words in this one but wasn't sure what and how.

And then, in clearing up, I found a little book of quotes.  You know, one of those tiny books that you see all around the place at Christmas time. And the title and the content were immediately apparent.

But let me talk you through the construction.

To start with, I wanted to use some new paper I had acquired - a lining paper from a DIY store ( you know the one, orange and black!)

I don't have the labeling as I shared this with Daughter No 1 but I can tell you that if you go to the wall paper aisles you will find different weights of paper, and this was one of the heavier papers.  It has a lovely, almost soft, texture.  Ideal, I thought, for a bit of mixed media. 

So out came the brusho inks. 

Sprinkled dry onto the paper and then spritzed (two colours - brown and aquamarine) 

Then I also coloured some pelmet vilene - trimmings from the display folders for FoQ.

The inks work a bit differently on the vilene. 



But they colour it beautifully. 

However, I wanted some texture too. 

So I mixed some Grunge Paste with my favourite fresco finish acrylic paint in Tikka (I am beginning to sound a bit like an advert- sorry) and applied it through a couple of stencils. 


I just love the way that the inks bled into the grunge paste, because when I applied the paste the pelmet vilene was still wet.  A lucky accident.

At this point, or at least after the pelmet vilene had dried, I got the sewing machine out. 

I decided on a zig zag format, and stitched some of the squares onto the paper to make little pockets.

Next I turned my attention to the cover.

So I first of all stiched a piece of canvas, and then gessoed it.  Then I added more inks.

But - I could not get the intensity of colour I wanted. Inks and gesso - not a match made in heaven!

So I tried adding paint too.

But no matter what I tried it all looked too washed out.  And in fact the colours did not match (which does not really come across in the pictures here).   Actually it was yuk! 

So I tried a new tack - ink dyed paper towels (previously used to mop up the original surplus ink - especially from the vilene).

Attached to paper with Golden matt medium.

That's more like it.

So more stitching (when it was dry).


Back to the pages, or rather the little tags to go in the pages, and I used snippets from that little book I found to create the words. 

Some are straight copies, some are adapted.

The paper was too white so I have coloured it slightly with Distress ink.

It's all coming together rather nicely. 

I was going to wait and publish this blog post when I had actually finished the whole project, but this has been going on over a couple of months now and so I have decided to share it with you in its current state, is without the book finally assembled, the cover completed and the detailing. 

You'll have to pop back later to see the finished article!