Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Finished Project!

journal cover
For once, I have planned and executed a project in 48 hours. A miracle for me, as I usually spend more time planning and making notes, experimenting and recording the results, than actually DOING. The catalyst this time was our youngest grand-daughter's 7th birthday (today). She evidently wanted felt pens, scissors and glue-sticks, which I bought a week ago. And then I was shamed into MAKING her something; for her grandfather was giving her the most beautiful chest of drawers  he had made for her - hours and hours and hours of work ...

inside cover (paper-fabric as described in last post)
and removable pages
So I decided to make her a journal in which she could write and draw with the pens, and a bag to hold that and the other things. I've only just posted how I made the fabric-paper / paper-fabric lining, but the finished book and bag were completed today, wrapped and given to this bright little girl at her birthday tea this afternoon - before she and her brother and sister went off for evening swimming training.

I am not proud of my creation - not my usual standard: sewing machine played up (now sorted) and thus abysmal satin stitch (ugh - don't look), lost - and found - my Japanese screw punch, so at least the holes in the spine were perfect, but then couldn't find either of my eyelet-setting 'Cropadiles' and so had to seal the fabric with gel-medium. I will compensate at the weekend by making another journal, as a congratulatory gift for K. who is swimming the final leg of her simulated cross-channel fundraising challenge next Tuesday (see reports in my other blog). Her book will be made from flimsy 'floaty' fabric (chiffon), the cover simulating sea waves, the inner cover using that pretty charity-shop blouse I wrote about in an earlier post. The colours remind me of K's swim-suit, the double-layered one that induces drag and thus makes swimming 5.5 miles x 4 that much harder. Then K. can record all the kind and supportive messages of goodwill she has received over the last two weeks. If she can manage such a challenge, surely I can make another book over the weekend?
Bag, journaling book, scissors, felt-pens and glue-sticks -
a gift for a 7-year old birthday girl
I grieve to think how my sewing skills have left me: 15 years ago, I designed and made my daughter's wedding dress; for her two girls, all I can manage are badly-stitched journals!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Paper Fabric - or Fabric Paper

maps, printed text, wine labels and images torn from a travel brochure are combined in this collage, intended as a base for further work. Double-click to view detail.
Being short of time, I have found a new use for collages that I made at least five years ago, intending to cut them up as a part of tiny travel journals. Each collage takes quite some time to assemble the necessary components, and then to prepare the surface on which to mount the pieces. I use a 12"x12" scrapbooking foam board (can't recall it's name). I cover it with two layers of cling-film, and then wash over it a layer of very dilute pva glue. Onto that I immediately lay a piece of acid-free tissue, brushing it into the surface with a decorator's paint brush.

When this is dry, I apply the collage pieces, again using very diluted pva, until the whole 12"x12" square is covered. Once dry, I think I may have given this a wash of tea or coffee or very dilute acrylic ink. You really need to double click on the image to see the complexity of random pieces - they were obviously laid out in such a way as to allow a book title to be stencilled on top of the less busy area; or I was going to cut the paper into smaller pages. Discovering it in my stash, and wanting a fabric lining for a new journal, I photographed the piece, manipulated it in Phootoshop (constraining the proportions so it became A4), and printed it 'best-quality' on very thin but tough layout paper = 31lbs / 45 gsm.

Once dry, I fused it with Bond-a-Web / Wunder Under to very open weave cheesecloth, and then fused it again to back the fabric book-cover I was making today. Before this second fusing, it has the feel and appearance of soft suede. I intend to try a similar piece using this same image but scrumpling the paper into a ball and then ironing it flat before fusing' it takes on quite a different appearance and feel but you have to select the image carefully or you loose all subtlety. 

I don't think my technique is new by any means (in fact it probably emanates from Cas Holmes' book ('The Found Object in Textile Art') but it does mean I can now crate my own fabric papers using photographic images of trees, grasses, bark, stones etc, to incorporate into other artefacts. I'll post pics of my grandchild's gift when I have bound the pages into the cover tomorrow.

Monday, 20 June 2011

My quilting journey continues

a marvellous clay panel made by school children, with intricate decoration

I was back at Malvern again over the weekend, this time reporting on the Three Counties Show - food, farming and countryside; and once more attempting to blog live. I've had no time to prepare for personal play-time and possible sketching and journaling; although I did snatch my mini-watercolour box and a sketch book as I left home at 6.00am on Friday morning, just in case. It didn't come out of the bag.

enlarged and transferred to fabric, then stitched and quilted, these will add an extra dimension to my quilted journal

 I knew I would be busy and in such spare time as I had available after our arrival and before the show started, so I planned to organise all my stitching and journaling references into a single notebook. My thoughts and sketches are scattered around the house, in rooms on three floors, and within those rooms on numerous pieces of paper and notebooks out of number. Well, I've begun at least.

so simple, yet so effective - this is the third of the three panels that adorn the outside of the TCAS education building

But walking around the Showground on the final day of set-up, I had my camera ready to catch intriguing shapes, as I did at the Spring Gardening Show. I just loved these 2ftx2ft clay panels, made by schoolchildren who use the excellent educational facilities the Showground had to offer. What marvellous stitched panels these would make - and I know just how I will use them. But that's a story for another day; my WiFi time was limited and I had other posts to write.

How fortunate are all the local school within the Malvern catchment area  - to able to use the inspiring education facilities on offer at the TCAS showground.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

More journaling finds

my latest finds - to add to my stash of journaling materials

I'm a sucker for charity shops, and have a favourite in our nearest local town. Almost every visit (about twice a month) reveals new treats: artefacts that I can turn into something else; curtains or books or bracelets or clothes. Such low prices - far cheaper than buying new what will in fact be ripped apart - and of course helping whatever charity the shop represents. I've unloaded precious stuff there, too, glassware and crockery that we no longer need (so I feel I am helping both ways, though that isn't the reason for a visit)! Do I really need more journaling materials? Well, assuredly not, but I can't resist something that 'speaks' to me of  "this would be brilliant for ..."  - and so my collected textiles and papers and curious odds and ends fill the house and I never find enough time to use everything. But one day?

My latest finds were 1. an old linen tablecloth - to cut up for lining my folding map journals (a long strip is machine-stitched with something representative of the journal subject; so the Malvern diary shown in the last post will have a thread sketch of the hills on the back). 2. an old dictionary, very faded and in an old typeface; useful for collage or journal backgrounds - I'm creating my own themed papers again, made from collages using maps, photos and text pages. Maybe I should post about the technique I use, as once made, the 12"x12" papers can be photographed and printed any number of times, or portions manipulated and even reversed.

abstract art - maybe even useful for print-making

Find no 3. was a curiosity: a metal pot-stand shaped like a daisy! It's the time of year when the lanes are a mass of ox-eyes, and I love them so, not only for their pristine whiteness, but because so far, they are the only flower I can machine-stitch freehand without drawing them onto the fabric first! This particular shape seemed so perfect; I could draw around it, reduce or enlarge it, collage, stitch, stamp or whatever; and it was only 50p.

this is so pretty - I don't know if I can bear to cut it up
Find no 4. also 'spoke' to me: such a pretty blouse; thin see-through fabric trimmed with lace and floaty bits. Clothes are another source of wonderful fabric that I could never afford new - the cloth or the clothes; and sometimes I am tempted to wear my finds. But it would be mutton dressed up as lamb; so the blouse, or skirt or trousers sit in the closet awaiting the scissors and the time to take it to pieces. Always it is the fabric that catches my eye, regardless of the item of clothing. Charity shop hunts lift my spirits; rarely do I come away without a little something, and I never know what will catch my fancy, or what my finds will inspire.

Next weekend we are back at Malvern (the Three Counties Show). Food and Farming ... what treasures might I find that will inspire more creative endeavours?