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.
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.
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.