Sunday, 20 December 2009

A steep learning curve

my first online workshop page (see below)

I've finally begun work on the first tasks set by L.K.Ludwig in her fascinating 'Printed Patterned Painted Journal Making' online class. The pic above and the one that follows do not do justice to her skill as a teacher: take a look at LKL's blog when she posted an outline of what is on offer, and what is possible.

I really need a whole day to get to grips with all this; the techniques are simple yet ingenious; but collecting everything together and learning how to view LKL's videos without them continuously stopping and starting (my own incompetence) have left my brain in a whirl. And then there's the steep learning curve of Flickr and how to load photos onto a group site so all participants can share their efforts, if they want to. My examples are poor but scraping acrylic paint and spritzing it with water has been an eye opener. I would never have thought of doing that. My photos show my very first sheet (above), which to me seems like sunlight filtering through dappled leaves, and a further one using a feather-grass stamp that blobbed a bit. I am behind with the schedule already after only one week! 

and another page (click on the image to see it enlarged) - I learned what NOT to do when attempting the stamping technique; and need lots more practice

Stencils were called for yesterday and I could not recmember where I had stashed some away, at least ten years ago. Glancing up at a bookshelf-cum-cupboard in the laundry room, lo and behold, a box labelled 'stencils'. Reaching it with all the clutter now stored in front of the steel structure involved climbing on steps and then onto the table of my industrial sewing machine (in itself a storage shelf) and then reaching forward and up, grabbing the box ... (no I don't want to land back in hospital, so caution ...)

Working spasmodically on L.K.L's class has not been the only creative project on my mind this last week. I will be using the pages I create - or at least some of the techniques - in my fabric-and-paper garden journal (see post of 21st November for my initial notes on that topic). Then I have another winter creation on the go which will involve muslin and patchwork, lace and stitched artificial flowers. 

sprays of artificial flowers and leaves, ready to be plucked apart and applied to paper or fabric pages - most are obtained from up-market garden centres, but the most beautiful for creative purposes come from my dear friend, Kristin Steiner, from South Carolina, USA

I revel in my growing collection of these sprays; they brighten a dark space in the work room and yet are there awaiting the plucking of a leaf or flower, which is either attached to a page with a central brad, or free-machine stitched into place for a flattened effect.

this 'sea-foam' flower is soft and velvety; a complete composite flower head was given me by Kristi when she came to stay earlier this summer after teaching at the brilliant Oxford Summer School, to which she is returning in 2010

This particular project will also include poems that have been writing themselves all week. I print them as a kind of transfer onto fine muslin or cotton lawn; they will be superimposed on the patchwork lacy page together with wintery photos that I have been sourcing from various files on my computer in spare moments during the week. So I have much to busy myself with in the Christmas break, apart from catching up with other people's art-making blogs that I have missed since the hospital debacle.

I will close tonight, in this week that will end with Christmas Day, with one of the poems that landed on the page for my 'Winter Observed' keepsake:

I have no idea why these words should have sprung into my mind and onto the page as I planned the keepsake. They just happened; and now I have to take a suitable winter woodland photo in pine woods - and the temperature the last two days has been -9C (15.8F); too cold to hold the camera let alone find a suitable ride of firs. Maybe a Photoshop experiment with a photo from the last icy winter ?


  1. Your poem is wonderful, and so sweet that you feel so romantically about your love after 50 years together. That is really warming.

    Happy Solstice, Christmas and beyond xx

  2. Learning new techniques is fun. There are no mistakes. I love to layer things like a forest floor. Your words are beautiful. I wish you inspiration.

  3. Gather your woodland potterings, photographs, poetry, word wonderings, crafting inspirations and publish a book. We would be blessed, and money for your coffers. :)