Art journalling weekend near Witney Oxfordshire

I had a fab weekend art journaling with my friend Debbie – she has a small conservatory set up to work in – I do like working in the light after my lower ground kitchen.

Debbie is a certified Brave Girl instructor and we worked with two of Melody Ross’s short courses. These are such fun to do – the workbooks are full of great ideas, images and text- check out http://bravegirlsclub.com/ for more info

I Worked in a journal that I had previously decorated with lots of watery mandalas. I am having some respite from drawing these with all my hand quilting. I found that if I add a layers of white acrylic with a credit card they make great backgrounds that I can add text and images to.

The first work book gets you to look at concepts around being true to yourself

I had fun layering up paint and collage (the tree was in a Psychologies magazine) and adding text using various stencils and found letters

We were quite prolific – having the backgrounds started already makes a big difference.

Saturday night we went out to Blenheim Palace and walked the Christmas light trail.

On the way home I thought I dropped my phone and left it on a park and ride bus. My calm thoughtful journal pages were disrupted by a bad nights sleep and the need to let out a lot of frustration.

However – after getting my daughter to hack into my iPhone account the phone was discovered in Debs car!

So my pages based on ‘flying free’ resumed at a calmer level

Lots of swallows, cages and let it go stuff for this one.

Living by and working with ideas around water

During my life I have lived by water. I am fascinated by how the light plays on the surface, the movement and the patterns that are created.

I grew up near the Thames at Wallingford and as a child we used to visit Abingdon where I ended up living for 25 yrs. During uni a I was in London and up in the North East at Newcastle upon Tyne. I suppose living on a small island you are never very far away from water…

Now in Edinburgh there is the water of Leith that winds its way through the city. I travel over the the Forth of Firth regularly for work and visit the North Sea at North Berwick.

Recently in Bristol I was interested to see that architects had incorporated elements of water into a foot bridge in the quay area and some railings on Temple St.

My latest ripping/ hand sewing into a mandala/ blue abstract on paper is reminding me of water this morning

I wrote into it today about mandalas, their cultural significance, how to draw them and their meditative values with Hindu and Buddhism.

I started weaving in some text from yesterday’s writing about art making

And watery concepts popped into my head. I have been making lots of layers using digital imagery this month so I needed to attack this in the Image Blender app

I attached the piece to another mandala which peeps through the gaps – I’m not sure about the text and patterned strips they might come out.

more Image Blender stripes

Sewing paper mandalas

I have always sewn things. I can remember living with my biological Dad before my parents divorced. I used to go and knock on my parents bedroom door and ask for a needle to be threaded before they were up. My parents divorced when I was 5yrs old. About that time my mum made me my own sewing basket. It’s only recently I can’t find my felt pin cushion that she made.

So I have always liked sewing. Sometimes I forget. Making tea bag quilts reminded me. I am saving tea bags to make a bigger quilt and my hands get bored of drawing mandalas so I decided to sew through one on paper.

I worked on the back- the stitches didn’t photograph well – so I dipped the paper in a tea vat that was lying around

Sitting in front of the TV I sewed some more – this time I crumpled up the paper until it felt more like fabric – it was easier to sew circles at the at the beginning in the middle of the paper.

After sewing on the teabags these seemed a bit dull – I enjoyed the sewing but the end product wasn’t doing anything for me.

I decided to see what would happen if I tore it.

The thread did fab things and the paper was so soft …..

I decided to play with the other piece too – I had sewn the second mandala with black thread.

I like the way the ripping and the thread disrupt the drawn lines of the mandala and the way you can see through it.

I attached the blue piece to another mandala. I went to bed thinking about the words I could weave through it.

This is what I wrote this morning. I was thinking it would be more poetic about being stuck drawing mandalas ( lol)

‘Sitting still art making my back seizes up drawing mandalas my safety net protecting my stomach from stress watching the tv Round and round in ever increasing circles trapped in the patterns sewing and drawing until my hands ache trapped in my endeavour my art evolves through making experimenting – what happens if I do this how does that material react if I do this which ink is water soluble try fountain pens they are better for the environment what happens if I crush that paper, sew with black rather white stamp that paint through a new stencil

sew that tea bag on to this fabric carve that stamp change that pattern dip that paper use that floor wipe that colour run panel use that as a substrate collect that bumpf stitch that teabag read that book go to that conference hear that seminar write some words drink that cider think about that concept’

Has

‘Home sweet home’ teabag quilt

I have been enjoying hand sewing very much recently, so I decided to make another tea bag quilt. A few people have asked how I made my first one so I thought I would do a step by step. My friend Fran Halperin and I have been experimenting with joining techniques. Fran has been using her sewing machine.

On the left zigzag stitch, on the right she has straight line stitched along the edge of the teabag and then jumped over the gaps.

On the left I used blanket stitch on the right for my new quilt – I back stitched the tea bag onto material. NB try and use something with very little ‘give’ – I used an old linen nappy and it’s very difficult to sew neatly on top of.

I decided to make my ‘ Home sweet home’ quilt have a more quilt like feel- the last one was a bit abstract. I printed some tea bags blue/ purple and others pale blue/ white. With my doors and window hand carved stamps .

The tea bags were a bit higgledy piggildy on the linen so I decided to add some strips of kitchen towel ( dyed with tea during the drying of teabags process) with writing on between the rows and buttons at corners. This stitching held on the back piece which is a white tea towel

I am edging the quilt with a sheet of used colour run paper/ fabric that goes in the washing machine. It needed 3 rows of running stitch to keep it flat. I used white sewing cotton throughout. I think I will print over this again when it’s stitched all around

Nearly finished. It needs a few more buttons and I haven’t stitched the edging all the way round but you get the idea.

I wanted this quilt to be a bit more obvious that it was teabags. I haven’t used any glue on the joints so that it feels much more like fabric

I think I need to do a bigger one ……

Teabag quilt

I have been working on teabags for the past few months. I am getting very tired of the tea leaves and soggy bags hanging around my kitchen drying.

I have been making small quilts A4 and 9 teabag sized efforts as part of my #teaandhome project. This looks at what ‘home’ in Edinburgh means to me after living here for 5 years. Drinking redbush tea is a big part of that. Jon drinks builders tea. The juxtaposition of the circles and rectangles has been interesting to play with in terms of teabag strings , mini journals and now quilts.

I had been playing with my hand carved stamps and layering the teabags with mandalas, text, hand written and printed. I was thinking of sizes in-terms of mounting them. However it struck me at 4.30am the other day that they might make a nice larger piece.

So I laid them out on the table. This configuration was too long and thin.

This felt a bit abstract and the fill in bags looked a bit out of place. So I printed sections of mandalas on the blanker bags and then added circular bags to the design.

All the layering and sewing has made some of the joints a bit fragile so I am wondering how to proceed.

Idea one- is to quilt it with padding and a back.

Idea two – to use an iron Vilene (interfacing) on the back

It is for a seminar that Jon and I are presenting in September and it would be good if people can touch it – without making holes in it.

I am leaning towards the Vilene and maybe a trim around the edge

I will keep you posted

I seem to have forgotten to post pics of my hand carved rubber stamps – here is the set I used on the quilt

New Moon Meditation illustration ( attempts)

We are staying at the Omassim Guest house in Portugal again. It’s a surf and yoga retreat on the Atlantic coast near Ericeira. We visited last year too. The day is divided into food, yoga / surfing. In the evening there is a Yin yoga session and a meditation – which I have been doing to the best of my ability with a twanged ligament in my right knee.

Omassim has lots of fab Buddha statues …..

Last night was a new moon and the yoga/ med teacher Bella did a fab meditation which ended with us all lying in a circle, thinking about light coming down from the moon into the top of our heads and lighting up our bodies.

The weather has been a bit miserable this year and I haven’t felt like making art. After the meditation I had a picture in my head of what I could do in response to the session. I only have limited art supplies so it will be a challenge.

My first go is too dark and I didn’t leave enough lightness around the moon. I also over sprayed the image with water .

I wanted to use a moon that was similar to one I remembered as a child. I found something on Pinterest

I liked the way this one showed a bit of the dark side too.

Above is my first layer. The figures look as if they are robots from a Sci-fi movie attached to a central flower/ moon – the circles on the bodies are supposed chakras with lines of energy swirling around.

I used this image as research http://michellespalding.com/following-your-souls-calling/body-filled-with-lifht-depositphotos_9140952_original/

I made three figures, a male, a thin female and a chunky female one to represent the mixed shapes of those present. I made little stencils so that I don’t have to draw them from scratch every-time. ( I might have to do a few more copies before I get it right)

In my rough – it looks a bit like a dissolving mummy (😂😂😂) but I quite like the effect

I sprayed the first layer with water, because it’s what I am into at the moment. Hopefully it won’t all disappear . It’s got to dry over night, so we shall see. I like the way the water disrupts the lines and adds interest – the figures are still a bit robot like and don’t really fit in with the cartoon moon…….

Sometimes things just go wrong ……

I decided to go over the design in turquoise rather than black. When I started to draw the mandala design again it didn’t really show up. So I got my child’s brush pen out

Not really liking it so I sprayed it and then ran it under a tap ……

I took a print- before I washed it and smudged the moon

I quite like the print

Loosing all the details on the 2nd attempt in the process ……

I think the paper is too over worked by the pen ………

I like the effects but will need to work on these two back home with acrylic paint 😂😂😂

What have I learnt?

Fountain pens seem to damage the surface of the paper ( trying out fountain pens in an attempt to be more environmentally friendly )

Turquoise over turquoise fountain pen is not going to work if there is too much detail in the first layer

Cartoon moons and robot figures are a bit dogey

Child’s brush pens are fine if you just stick to brush pens – the colour doesn’t really go with Lamy ink

Brush pens make fab prints if you spray them

Pencil lines with cheap Argos pencil are hard to rub out

Should have brought water soluble pencil crayon

I like making mess and taking risks with my art in guest house rooms because there is – a danger that you get blue ink everywhere (😂😂😂) luckily everything is water soluble