Art journalling and tea bag quilts

I have been enjoying experimenting with my teabag quilts. However, I fancied doing something a bit different. I made a collaborative quilt with Fran Halperin – she added text and pattern to my design and then I stitched a circle over it in white. I was really pleased with how it worked out.

I decided to have a go at using a quilt as the base for an art journal page. I do these usually on paper and build up lots of layers using mandalas/ printing and adding text.

On holiday in France a made a tea bag quilt that wasn’t doing anything for me, so I used that as a base

And I made a simple 3×3 teabag base.

I am afraid I forgot to take a few photos – blame it on the fact that I was away for two weeks and got over excited on the making front

I started by making a background using pen and paint stencilled through a couple of mandala stencils. I glued the lettering in place with Matt medium. Then added my white back stitched circles

I didn’t like the text it seemed too simple – so I added more – just stitching on top this time. I added a pale orange set of circles in between the white and drew on top of it with pen and gelatoes.

This morning when I got up it seemed too simple . So I attached the lettering

I attacked the other quilt which went through a similar process too

Details of the quilts – I chose the text flipping though a Psychologies magazine with soft eyes and picking out words that jumped out at me

Art making as enquiry

Jon has been writing a book for the last four years. It has finally been sent off to the publishers . During the last few weeks he has been reading sections to me, I have read bits and become immersed in the words.

He has written about ‘writing as inquiry’ ( Richardson1997 ) before and I reminded that I could substitute ‘art making’ or just ‘making’ for ‘writing’.

It’s how I think through my process. My art making could be an seen as an inquiry.

Recently I have been sewing into my mandalas this seems to form its self into definite, purposeful shapes, engendering in me a sense of solidity (Wyatt 2019, forthcoming).

Collaborative piece – my sewing into Jon’s writing

And there is a pulsing between the lines ( ibid)

The sewing, drawing, printing, making, seems to be an assemblage of times of day, space, bodies, objects, movement and more (ibid).

Another collaborative piece – we are working on ideas for the cover of his book

The pieces hold an imprint of that time of making, held within the layers of work- almost suspended -captured by the movement of my hands, my body, my inquiry.

References

Richardson Laurel, Fields of play (Constructing an Academic Life) 1997

Jon’s book will be – Wyatt Jonathan,’ Therapy, Stand-up, and the Gesture of Writing: Towards Creative-Relational Inquiry’ 2019

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 ……

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.

Simple colour/ emotion exercise (art journalling for self care)

I did a simple exercise today with a group today – it was surprisingly successful . There were some very powerful emotions evoked

so I thought I would share. There are no pictures I am afraid because it was so personal

Materials and kit

I provided packs of single coloured papers- filled with magazine pages, printed paper and coloured papers. Glue stick , scissors , words. Free publicity postcards

I invited the group to choose a colour and decoupage / cover a post card with different bits of paper as they wished, they could have scissors or rip the paper . It was attached with a glue stick.

As they worked I asked them to be mindful and think about what emotions were coming up for them.

I also provided of words used to describe emotions and a pack of words that describe emotions cut out from a novel.

After 20 mins , they had talk to the person sitting next to them about the process and then say something to the group.

Here are the words if any one wants to reproduce the exercise. (Taken from a hand written poster design on the wall where I was facilitating )

Emotions

joyful excited sexy playful creative aware daring fascinating stimulating amused extravagant delightful

Powerful proud respected appreciated hopeful important faithful confident intelligent worthwhile valuable satisfied cheerful

Peaceful content thoughtful intimate loving trusting nurturing

Pensive relaxed responsive serene sentimental thankful

Sad guilty ashamed lonely bored sleepy bashful stupid miserable inadequate inferior apathetic

Mad angry hostile hurt jealous selfish frustrated rage hateful critical furious irritated skeptical

Scared rejected confused helpless submissive insecure anxious bewildered discouraged insignificant weak foolish embarrassed