Thursday, 27 January 2011

Figures set in stone

This week I have been playing with the idea of my figures and how to get them onto fabric.  These have all been made using paintsticks, rubbing plates and self-cut stencils, on different background.  The one at the top is my favourite, although I don't see it going forward as this project progresses - it is a bit too decorative for me and also I think the figure needs some space around it, rather than being on such a busy patched background.  All the others are in order of my making them.

The first two were stencilled onto some old lilac shirting.

This was on another patched background.  The lines across are too solid, so this got altered for the next two.
There are no lines across on this one, and the stencilling on the large shape follows the painted shapes on the original figurine I am basing it on.  Not too sure of the colours and for some reason, it makes me think of one of the early 20th century Ballet Russe costume.
This one has the lines across again and no detailing on the figure.  I'm not too sure it still looks like a figure, but this is something I want to play with:  how far can you go in stylising a human figure before it loses the connection to an identifiable person?

This final one was painted with help from my daughter.  I'm really getting into the creative zone, which is great for my work, but I can see issues for the family over the next few weeks/months whilst it continues as I want to keep making rather than cooking/cleaning etc...  K decided she wanted in on the act when I was playing on the other figures when she was around and to have a go with my art materials, rather than her own 'boring' crayons.  I suppose I have to agree that my oil painsticks are probably more fun.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Snow Dyeing - the results

The snow here finally went on Saturday - a full seven weeks after the first snow fall, so it now seems a good time to show you the results of the snow dyed fabric. When I washed out the snow dyed fabric, the end results were a lot softer and more interesting, more crystallised patterns. I really like them. The children wanted to do something with their pieces of fabric and so each of them made a cushion for their Dad as a Christmas present. It was something to do in all the days they missed school due to the snow. More fabric shapes were added using bondaweb and then we quilted the fabric on my Pfaff sewing machine. Rather than making regular shapes, we made the cushions from the fabric pieces: two are small rectangles and the other larger and more square. They are filled with offcuts of wadding - that in itself kept them amused for ages!

Dad was very pleased with the cushions but hasn't much more to say about them just now - he's too busy on crisps and beer and watching TV (I had to say this as it is true at the moment and so stereotypical and so unlike R!)

I was so pleased with the fabrics that we have used this technique for dyeing fabric at our local school nursery/kindergarten.  I'm helping out with their current project which is a cross between Narnia and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Chinese New Year.  The fabric below, which the kids dyed last week is going to be turned into a Chinese dragon's body later today - with a little help from 36 pint sized helpers!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Drawing the Figures

As this is the start of a new project, it is time to get back to drawing.  Drawing is not one of my strengths, but it is useful spending time concentrating on the objects I'm using as a jumping off point.  All of these are from photos of things I saw at Quai Branly in Paris in October.  The top one is in pencil (thanks to Morag who gave me the box of muted tone Derwent Signature pencils for my birthday); the others are in watercolour. 
I really like the rounded nature of the first object, which I have drawn several times now.  I can already see how these will translate into fabric, but I'm trying to slow down and not rush straight to the first obvious idea.  Hopefully with a bit of restraint and creativity something more interesting will emerge!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Gemma's quilt

Here is another quilt I made in the latter part of 2010 for a friend's new baby.  A had a second girl and she loves pink and lilac - colours I would never ever normally use.  But she is a good friend and so I made the necessary sacrifice and bought pink and lilac.  It was meant to be in a rail-fence pattern, but I pieced it differently and was happy with the results so left it. 
It really is very simple - nine different fabric cut into 2in strips, joined into groups of three strips.  The same fabrics on the outside of the strip sets, with a different colour in the middle each time.  Each strip set was cross cut into squares, which were stitched together in rows and the rows stitched together.
For the quilting pattern, I cut out two sizes of hearts from freezer paper, which I then pressed onto the quilt top to use as templates.

I hope the baby gets good use from it.
From an extra strip of the fabric that I had practiced quilting on, I made a little case for my new mobile phone.  I am coming into the 21st century at last - when I can work out how to use it.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Logan's Quilt

C's piano teacher had her first child at the end of the summer and he wanted to make her a quilt.  This is the result.  I meant to post this earlier, but the photo was on the wrong computer and I didn't get round to it at the time.  All three of the kids helped and we used up scraps of fabric from my stash.  We sewed them together until we could cut 12in squares from them, not paying any attention to the grain of the fabric or any other 'rules' - it was very liberating.  Twelve blocks were made and stitched together and then C quilted along the joins of the different pieces of fabric using different decorative stitches on my Pfaff sewing machine.
We used a more gentle piece of fabric on the back from Ikea, with dancing mice on it in case it was just a bit bright for them, although I am a strong believer that babies need bright.
Luckily, Kirsty, the new mum is delighted with it and it was fun to do something fabric based with the children, if somewhat fraught at times!  They all want to do more and they all want results instantly!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Creating Again!

As you can probably guess from the lack of blog posts recently, I've been having a really fallow period.  However, it is time to break it and get on with making a new series of work, using Greek female goddess figures as a starting point.  I have been a bit scared of starting again and it has been building up into a big thing, but today I finally broke my duck and just stitched to make a sample.  I have to start somewhere and the whole point of samples is that they are not finished or completed or perfect, but a step on the road to the final piece. 
I know the starting point now, who knows where it will end up?
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