Cloth, paper, scissors, pens

7 October 2011

I don't often treat myself to method books - but a couple of weeks ago two caught my eye.  Orders were duly placed (Amazon - really sorry to any local bookshops that might have helped but I did this from my desk) and they arrived this week.

The first one to arrive was 'Surface Treatment Workshop', a manual of 'how to do' on background decoration techniques.  These are aimed at paper rather than fabric (I was thinking of sketchbooks when I ordered it) .

On first glance, I was a bit disappointed.  But in fact I think it will be useful to have around as a prompt when I am stuck. (Sorry - this image is borrowed from Amazon so you cannot click to look inside here.  If you want to have a look go to the Amazon site.  I hope this link works for you and takes you straight there).

The second one I bought was the new Cloth Paper Scissor book.  It only arrived yesterday, and I snuggled up with it in bed last night, but it looks very promising indeed.  The introduction suggested that a blog is a good way to be disciplined about producing art, and I can't disagree with that!

Meanwhile, this week I committed to a quilt exhibition to be held early next year at Bletchley Park.  This is it!  I have prevaricated enough. Now it really is time to actually make a piece of art to put on public display. (Actually, it won't strictly be the first as I have two pieces hanging in the hall of friends who run a beautiful Bed and Breakfast in Gosport, Hampshire).

So, to get the juices going, I flew into Hobbycraft last night to get a new sketch book.  And while I was there I got distracted (they are re-arranging the store yet again!) and I found these.  They looked interesting and not expensive.

So when I got home, walked and fed the hound, caught up on work emails (it never stops) I settled down to a bit of swift creating.

First of all I tried a couple of techniques from 'Surface Treatment Workshop' - or rather, I used it as a prompt.  Here is a page from the Seville sketchbook (still a WIP) which already had a background of procion dye inks.  I used a candle as a resist and then put a wash of very dilute green acrylic paint over the top.  Here it is, still wet.  I like the background - it looks interesting.  I'll come back to this page as I decide how to take it further.

Then I applied a wash of the same dilute acrylic paint to a page in the new sketch book.  (I am going to try to keep it very monochrome - the theme is Bletchly Park and I am thinking of the frugality and drabness of colour that we normally associate with WWII).

To get texture I applied a piece of cling film, and left the page to dry for a bit.  Then I removed the cling film and voila.  Simple and effective.

But it gets better, in a two for one sort of way.  I  simply applied the still wet cling film to the opposite page and got this lovely subtle background effect.

I also tried some salt, but it all got a bit messy, so I won't share that with you.

Meanwhile, those pens were calling so then I sat and did a bit of doodling in Seville Sketchbook on a page I had already started.  Here the image has been applied over a background page (procion dye over gesso - the book itself is an old recipe book) using a shiva 'paint stick' and a stencil.  The image comes from an old tile in a house in Seville.  Before:

And after a doodling session with one of those new pens.  They flow well, they don't blob and the colours are pleasing, though the dye ink is not set (it needs a final covering of 'mod podge' to seal it) so it did blur the pen a bit in a few areas.  

I expect that I will share more of both sketch books with you as they progress.  Meanwhile, I have not done much more with the bigger pieces I am working on - I haven't done much sewing.  But sketch books are quick and easy to pick up during a busy week.

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