Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Frieda Oxenham and Sketchbook Techniques

My attempt, using collage, stencils, stamps, paint and baby wipes

At the end of November, I had a special birthday treat a couple of days after my birthday.  Frieda Oxenham came to share some of her art journaling techniques for creating backgrounds with my Creative Sketchbooks City and Guilds Group.  
Student work
Frieda doesn't teach often at the moment, so we were especially honoured that she came and shared so much of her work with the Group.  Although I was organising the day, I managed to have a go at some of the techniques too, covering myself and the worktop in lots of paint, gesso and used baby wipes.  In fact, I don't think I've ever used so many baby wipes since we had three kids in nappies!
Frieda (bottom right) explaining her techniques

We added lots of paint and wiped most of it off using stencils.  We used stamps and print blocks on spare paper.  Precious scraps got glued into place and then covered in paint.
Student Work

Frieda showed us her most recent work in her art journal and talked us through the layers of techniques in great detail.  Two things I came away with as useful comments were:

  1. Don't believe an artist when they say they 'just throw things on a paper without thinking about the layout'.  What they mean is 'through years of experience, I can just place things in the right place by instinct rather than conscious thought'
  2. Don't stop after one or two layers.  It adds to the richness of the piece if there are many layers.  Sometimes Frieda has up to 20 layers of paint on a page.
Student Work

The day went incredibly fast and the students all worked so hard.  I know my head was buzzing by the end with some many possibilities and I have been creating even more mess on my worktop ever since, putting layers of paint on to several sketchbooks and loose pages all at once.
Student Work
You can see much more of Frieda's amazing work on her blog, friedaquilter.blogspot.co.uk

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Make it Personal: Inspired by the Coast

At the Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate, I was really pleased to get a copy of Hilary Beattie's new book 'Make it Personal, Book 2: Inspired by the Coast'.  I have Hilary's other books and I was interested to see what her vision for this one would be.  I wasn't disappointed.  
In this book, Hilary takes her theme of the Coast and shows four different ways of interpreting her source material in great detail.  It is rare to see this whole process and fascinating to see how the work developed.  It was also full of interesting tips and advice on how to make something personal and ideas for collage techniques.
The book is full of photos, showing each stage of the journey, and some diversions.  This is encouraging as it shows the work from the initial excitement, through the early stages, when many makers get discouraged, to the final reveal of the finished, exciting piece.

I will definitely be recommending this book to my students as it helps explain why you need to work through a theme rather than just going with your first idea, in a full colour, easy to follow format.
The book is available for purchase, along with many other goodies on Hilary's shop website at http://www.hilarybshop.co.uk/

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Catching up at the K&S Show in Harrogate

Hello again!  I can't believe how long it is since I last wrote on this blog.  Nothing major has happened to stop me from blogging, just, well, life gets in the way.  Teaching from home is going really well and I'm definitely enjoying it.  It has become a full time job, which is fabulous and wonderfully distracting, as I have to try lots of different techniques to share with students and I can see so many possibilities for each one that I just want to try... well, apart maybe from the suffolk puffs!
So when I have a spare moment, I'm finding myself creating in the studio rather than getting on with writing the blog.  Sorry!
In December, things quieten down work-wise and before I get overly absorbed in gift buying, card writing and fudge making, I'm hoping to get some blog posts written to catch you up on all that has been happening here.
Starting with one of the more recent events:  the other weekend I managed to arrange a visit to the in-laws in Harrogate for the same weekend as the Knitting & Stitching Show.  Lucky, I know!
The daughter and I had a great day at the Show.  She was particularly taken with the Quilters' Guild stand where we could stop, have a seat and make a little bird.  These are our attempts. 
 We also had a go at adding to the world's longest embroidery with the Embroiderers' Guild.  

This didn't leave much time for seeing the exhibits and as I was entertaining daughter, I didn't get as many photo opportunities as normal - in fact this is the only one I took of the exhibitions of the fantastic work by Ruth Singer and Bethany Walker, working together as 'Interlace'.

We also did a little bit of shopping and have many print blocks to try out soon.

As we were down seeing family, we were also able to give this baby quilt to the newest addition.  When it was in progress on my wall, some of my students thought I'd printed the fabric myself.  I didn't.  It is incredibly rare that I buy printed fabric, let alone a panel, but I knew I would need to make a baby quilt and this just seemed perfect.  Given that babies can only see in black and white to start with (or so I've been told), I thought the contrast would be really good and I brightened it up with some pieces from a jelly roll I bought last year.  The jelly roll was bought to make another quilt, which I've never got around to, so it was good to put some of it to use.

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