β€˜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 (πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚) 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 πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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 (πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚) luckily everything is water soluble

Finishing off my tea and home mini journal

Tea bags with white acrylic paint ready for stamping

Trial stamping of my cup and saucer stamps

Added the poem

I decided to add teacups to the two blank pages.

When the glue has dry- fold the joints and glue the two strips together only attaching the first and last panels. I use gel medium.

When storing you will need to add grease proof paper between layers. For some reason the gel medium stays slightly sticky on tea bags.

Tea and home

Tea is an important drink for me. I have been using it in my art . Last year I had a spate of dipping paper in tea to add layers. So using bags as a substrate seemed an easy step. I have been making collaborative tea bag chains with my friend Fran in California.

Where we sewed old dried bags together and then decorated them sending them back and forth to each other adding layers.

I am laid up at the moment with a sore knee and needed a project that would be a bit fiddly and keep me sitting still ….. I decided to have a go at repeating the zine fold mini journal – but by sewing old teabags together.

I used my hand carved rubber stamps of doors to decorate this one – keeping within my current theme of ‘home’

Preparing the tea bags is a bit time consuming. Fran in California can let them dry out side full of tea leaves. In Scotland I have to empty the leaves whilst damp, which means they can rip a bit , let them dry, and then remove the last dregs of leaves. (Jon is being very patient.)

When the bags are dry I sew 4 together using blanket stitch.

I found that I need 8 – 4 for each side of the mini journal and to give the opening of the ‘zine fold’ and strength to the design

I am having fun messing around adding my normal layers

These above are doodled on and then stencilled White acrylic

Below – I doodled with a water soluble purple pen and spritzed

The I added the white acrylic and spritzed orange ink through a stencil

The next stage is a layer of gel medium so that the seams and any ripped bags are reinforced.

Then I add a white rectangle of white acrylic to each bag/ page – I tried stamping on the teabag itself but my inks were lost on my mad backgrounds.

I decided to write a poem about my relationship with tea and Jon, I don’t know why it always tastes better when he makes it.

Tea and home

He brings me one in the dark

6am

Sometimes I am not ready

For the perfect cup

The correct heat

The right strength and amount of milk

It sits cooling as I check my social media

At other times I sip the almost scalding liquid

As it hits the right spot

Sigh -(exhale make the right noise)

‘That’s the best cup I have ever tasted’

It feels like home.

I thought I would add the poem to a tea based mini journal.

I hand carved a few tea cup rubber stamps to use as decoration.

I have given up trying to be too neat and tidy. Carving so small with my tiny v blade seems to create simple almost naive shapes that I quite like.

Home

In 2013 Jon and I were both writing about what ‘home’ meant to us after we moved up from Oxfordshire to Edinburgh after 25 years in the same house.

We merged our writing and added some photos because Jon had been asked to write an article

We are now going to deliver a paper at a conference …… I decided it would be interesting to look at what ‘Home’ meant now in 2018.

I have been enjoying making zine fold mini art journals and thought it would be fun to make a ‘Home now’ series

I am very influenced by the Georgian architecture of Edinburgh’s New town where we have a lower ground and basement flat.

This is the view out of my kitchen window – through white pained windows, the railings onto the street opposite

As you know I draw mandalas all the time so I decided to use these as a basis for my ideas. They have become a part of my daily practice on Edinburgh. At the moment I am still using water soluble ink and sprays to release the inks afterwards

The other day I made a series of notes to print out and use as text about what ‘home’ means at this present time.

‘Feeling torn watching the common wealth games – wanting Scotland to win

Diagonal crossing at junctions as a pedestrian

Walking up Dundas st to George st

Looking at the world from my lower ground and basement

The weather

Edinburgh airport

The grey sofa

The sound of a bus

Variety of independent coffee shops

Smell of coffee’

I have also been playing with layering handwriting, asemic writing

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asemic_writing

And street maps

http://www.old-map.com/Edinburgh.htm

I also made a couple of carved rubber stamps of Georgian doors ( they are not fine enough to be used on their own but are ok as another layer)

I had fun cutting out the doors so that they opened and then I made a whole street

My latest few are a bit more abstract and reflect the light and the frames of the windows/ railings l. I used a geometric stencil and white paint

A few more designs with Maps and text

I need to get cutting and folding these ……