Thursday, 28 May 2015

Design Day workshop in the Studio

Susan's piece from kitchen utensils
Last Friday I finally remembered to take photos of the class – hurrah!  It was ‘Design Day’.  It was a great day, painting and dancing at the same time; experimenting with different media and seeing which ones people preferred (not always the ones I expected); making completely random pictures and finding interesting patterns from unpromising material (kitchen utensils!).
Creating random pictures
Many of my friends think I’m a bit nuts, but for me it was a great way to spend a Friday helping to take away the fear of designing and I was really impressed by some of the pieces created.  Fantastic designs for new textile pieces. 
Scaling up and changing media

Tomorrow is ‘Stitch Day’, the last of this session as I need to then get the studio ready for Open Studios, which starts on Saturday 6 June.  I’m going to be demonstrating my working processes as well as having work displayed for sale, especially as I have a couple of pieces I want to get made.  As I write, I’ve got fabric sitting on the radiator drying so it can then be taken to the next stage.  Can’t quite believe that at the end of May it is cold enough to justify having the radiators on!  Still it does make drying my fabric quicker.  Photos of these pieces coming soon.
Louise's drawing from utensils

One of the random pictures

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

8 easy steps to a wonky-ish log cabin quilt

Friday’s class was all about Inktense and we had an interesting time exploring it on fabric and paper.  Yet again, I forgot to take any pictures.  Oops.  Must add it to my lesson plans to remind me!  This week is a design day, coming up with random ways to make unusual abstract quilts.  It’s going to be entertaining!

Apart from my classes and making new work, I’ve been rather occupied making a new baby quilt.  It is a while since I’ve made one and it was fun to be back making a more traditional quilt.  As you can see from the photos, the new baby is a girl (our great niece), which meant the quilt took a bit longer.  I have lots of blues etc I can use in a quilt, but absolutely no pink.  So a special shopping trip had to be made. 
Lovely view out of the window!
I love log cabin quilts and playing around with the format and this is what I did for this quilt.  It measures 36 x 48in and was made from only 9 fat quarters, including the binding.  Here’s how I did it (in a very quick 8 steps):
1.   Use one fabric for the centres and cut 12 3½in squares
Use one fabric for the binding and cut into as many 2in strips as you can get.  Join these strips together into one long strip, which can then be made into double fold binding.
2.   From the remaining 7 FQs, cut each one into a variety of 1½in, 2½in and 3½in squares.
3.   Choose the 3 lightest FQs and use these for the first two rounds of adding strips and use the remaining 4 for rounds 3&4.
4.   I tried to be organised so that no colour would end up being repeated in the same block, so each of the 3 lightest FQs were used on 4 centres each, varying the width of the strips.  Then each of these 4 centres had a different colour for rounds 3&4.  It sounds a bit complicated, but it is obvious when you are doing it.
5.   I made all the blocks at least 13½in square (I had to join a couple of smaller off cuts for the final rounds).  Some have two complete rounds, others three.  I then placed my 12½in ruler at an angle on the block and trimmed to size.
6.   The blocks were placed on my design wall and moved until I was happy with the arrangement and then I stitched them together.
7.   I followed the shapes of the blocks and free-machine quilted lines within them, before adding the binding.
quilt laid out on the floor
One very cute little baby girl now has her quilt to do with as she wishes, but hopefully she will have as much enjoyment as my kids have from theirs.  Even now, they are still on beds and are used as tents, rugs and princess capes!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Switching exhibition venues

Unsung Muses at Farfield Mill
Yesterday saw the end of my exhibition at Farfield Mill and whilst it was lovely to see it again, it was also sad to take it down as it looked so fantastic in that space.  As I had to be there anyway, I ran a workshop for them called ‘Print, Paint, Play!’ and I had a marvellous day with a wonderful group of ladies who worked incredibly hard using gelli plates and then adding paint on top with Inktense and Markal.  
Gelli plate prints from workshop
It’s great when you learn something on a workshop you are teaching (it happens virtually every time).  The lesson for me yesterday was that metallic paint can be used really well, without over-powering a piece.  I tend to avoid glitz at all costs.  I shudder at gold lame!  However, watching the students yesterday using the copper and gold paint was fantastic and I will definitely have to start trying to use it subtly. 
Great use of gold metallic paint!

So the Unsung Muses are now mainly on the tables in my studio, waiting to be put away until  – apart from the four which are already hanging in their next show.  As part of Forth Valley Open Studios, they are in the Pop Up exhibition at the Tolbooth,Stirling.  
Unsung Muses at the Tolbooth
The exhibition opens on Saturday and if you are in the area on Friday night, please come to the Private View from 6-8pm.  I’m intending to be there – three little monsters permitting!
Unsung Muses at the Tolbooth

Last Friday’s class in the studio was also on gelli plate printing and, again, there were some amazing results, particularly from using leaves.  However, I was so busy, I forgot to take any photos of their work.  Mental note for this Friday’s class on Inktense!  [small plug – there are still some places available on the next three Fridays if you live nearby and fancy trying Inktense or improving your design or stitching skills...]
Printing in action

More gelli plate printed fabric

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