Sunday, 31 August 2008

Beautiful Blue!

Blogging brings you some lovely friends, not the least of which is Gina . After I blogged about felt making the other week Gina said she would search out some instructions for an easy method of felt making. Not only did she send me the instructions but she also sent me some beautifully soft wool and a piece of felt which she had made herself. The blue felt has woollen yarns trapped in the layers and is the most gorgeous colour. Thank you, Gina! It may take me a week or three but I will be having a play with these beautiful fibres - you must know that I have a weakness for blue.
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Friday, 29 August 2008

Take it Further

Well, it's August and I am somewhat amazed that I haven't completely fallen by the wayside in the Take it Further challenge. At the beginning of the month Sharon said "I my chaotic and hectic life I often admire people who are able to maintain balance in their lives. What is balance to you? Do you maintain a balanced life? How do you balance aspects of your life? That is the challenge this month - balance."
You may remember (or probably don't) that at the start of the year I chose three words to be my guide this year. One of those words was "Balance" so really I should have had this thought in my head all the time. If you take a look at the dictionary definition of Balance you may be surprised at the number of interpretations.
There have been times in my life when things have got seriously out of balance but currently (at the risk of tempting fate) life is well balanced. Of course, as you might expect, my version of "balanced" is a life with lots and lots of creativity. This is probably at the expense of what anyone else would accept as a "normal" lifestyle. Housework and the Rat Race are a long way out balanced by a huge chunk of creativity. It is this "balance" which helps me maintain my feeling of balance in life.
In terms of art I have been taught to consider balance when constructing a painting and to work all over a painting so that it is brought to a completion as a whole and no one area is completed in isolation. If you check back here (you'll need to scroll down a bit) you will see a piece of crazy patchwork that I started earlier this month. I am intending to take this on holiday to keep me occupied in the evenings but I could not resist making a start on it this week.

Although I didn't consciously set out to do it I found that I was working across the piece. This crazy patchwork is obviously in its early stages. This is the first piece of crazy patchwork I have done and I am hoping to stretch myself by bringing in lots of new(to me) embroidery stitches. You can see my start in the collage below.

I am sure that while I am working on this piece it will come in and out of balance but hopefully while I "Take it Further" I will end up with something harmonious which will have helped me maintain the balance I have in my life. I have to say that without my very special DH who tolerates my obsession with creating there would be no balance! :o)

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Monday, 25 August 2008

Fibre & Stitch

I should be on my way to bed but I had to pop in here and let you know that Issue 5 of Fibre & Stitch has just been released. If you do not already know this is an online magazine which is available quarterly by subscription and which has articles by many gifted and well known artists and bloggers. I have had a quick skim of Issue 5 and it is a great issue! There is something for everyone and you can go here for a link to the index page. I am thrilled to see an article by the very talented Elis Cooke who blogs as Into the Blystic. I have long admired Elis's paintings and mixed media work and now she is generously sharing her techniques. The lovely Digital Gran otherwise known as Margaret Roberts also has an article on bag making inspired by Ton Shulton. I have to get to bed but I shall be inwardly digesting my copy tomorrow.
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Saturday, 23 August 2008

Play day

I don't know what I had in my head to do today but I don't think I did it! Instead I have been catching up with the TAST stitches from StitchinFingers (3 weeks behind as we speak) and playing with some of the fibres in Helen's stash bag. Gina is going to sendme some instructions for making the very fine cobweb felt but in the meantime I have been having a go with the J-cloth method that I learned at Westgate Crafts.

The sun was a bit fickle today so my picture doesn't do it justice as the white piece is quite sparkly. The white is some wool that I had already but I used some of Helen's threads in it and the brown is some gorgeous wool from the stash bag. I think I will have to practise a lot more to get Helen's beautiful results.

New shoes!

This is the other thing that distracted me today! I was having a little stroll through my bloglines and went to see what Elizabeth had been doing. This!! Wow! I couldn't resist. I have a lovely comfy pair of shoes that have seen better days and that I keep for the garden and the studio so I had nothing to lose.

No, they didn't come with black lines on, I forgot to photograph them before I started. Doh! and here is the finished article.........
Excuse the fluffy bit of sock! I've painted the shoes with Jacquard Lumiere Metallics and I will seal them with some beeswax as I don't have anything else.
Aren't they great! My DH has dared me to wear them when we go round to our friends later this evening - it's worth a bar of chocolate so what do you think?!? No brainer!
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Friday, 22 August 2008


Helen has been de-stashing via Etsy and look how I have benefitted!

My photo doesn't do these beautiful felts justice. If you check out Helen's blog you will see just how wispy and delicate these cobweb felts are.
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And just look at all these beautiful beads, buttons and embellishments. I am really going to enjoy working with all these fibres and beads. Thank you Helen, I'm delighted!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Synchronised sitting update and postal goodies

Did I say the winners of Bob T Bear's Olympic Synchronised Sitting competition had been announced? You can see who the winners were over at Bob's blog. Unfortunately my bears didn't win but the winners well-deserved their wins. My brave bears did receive a certificate today, though, for their pyramid attempt! Thank you, Bob's mummy and daddy, for giving us all a bit of fun and for your generosity in sending us all certificates!

Yet more goodies in the post today, this time from Kate who has set up an ATC challenge on her blog. Kate offered 5 ATC backgrounds and a selection of embellishments as a giveaway in return for one of the ATCs to be worked to a completion, in any manner and with or without her embellishments, and to be returned to her. (Sorry, all the ATCs have been sent out now).
Her package included the instructions on this very stylish notepaper and a very pretty parcel wrapped in sparkly paper and tied with a feathery yarn.
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Inside were these lovely ATC backgrounds and a packet of goodies. I'm a bit spoiled for choice but I have one or two ideas so I'm going to have a play and see what happens! Let's just hope I end up with at least one that isn't completely wrecked as Kate does want a glimmer of the original base to show through! Play time!
Did I say I was going to see Mamma Mia again tonight? I lied! Sort of, I've had to call it off as I'm totally shattered, hence a short post. The spirit is willing but the body's said "You must be joking, kidder!" Actually the spirit's pretty spark out too.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Festival of Quilts

Well, that's it! All over for another year! I think this year's show was bigger than ever but it was easier to get round. I really enjoyed it and I think it helped splitting the visits over 2 days as I was able to pace myself and not run round like a headless chicken (sorry chicken friends) trying to squeeze everything into one day.

As you might expect the shopping aisles were busy and I spent some time looking at all the goodies on offer but not too much. (I'll get to the shopping shortly).
I had a lovely time meeting lots of imaginery friends who are now real live people! While I was standing admiring her quilt I found myself almost shoulder to shoulder with Mai-Britt who lives in Guernsey and blogs here . Her quilt had been selected as the Judge's Choice by Lesley Morgan as her personal favourite! It's in the Small Innovative Quilt section but is actually quite large at 60" square. As it is on her blog I think she will forgive me if I show it here.

The quilt is cleverly pierced with holes, which give it an added dimension.
Through the course of the day I was also able to have a chat with Sandra Wyman who was stewarding on the SAQA stand and a brief word with Margaret Cooter and Mags Ramsey. I've been particularly interested in the techniques Mags uses so it was good to meet her.

As you can see by the photo above Marion of Artmixter fame was extremely busy on the Spunart stand enthusing about the versatility of Lutradur so we only had time for a quick hello and a hug with a promise to meet up before too much longer.
Last but not least Guzzisue and I were able to have a well earned cuppa together while we gathered our energies for the afternoon's onslaught. It was great to be able to put flesh and blood faces to the people whose blogs and works I have enjoyed over the last year and who have given me support in my creative journey. Sue very kindly gave me one of the Celtic ATCs she has made recently.

Needless to say I did a little shopping so I'll share that with you before I go any further:

I know I said I wasn't going to get deeply into dyeing but I just thought I'd buy one or two Procion Dyes so I could have a go with some other colour combinations.

These glorious batiks were from The Bramble Patch in Northamptonshire and I couldn't resist them having seen how some people had used them in their quilts. The printed piece of muslin is from Els van Baarle, don't tell her but I will probably cut it up! I loved the marks she incorporates into the surface of her work but unfortunately photos were not allowed.
I have to admit the shopping didn't quite end there. when I got home I found 3 books had crept into my bag! How did that happen?!
This one

and this one

and a booklet by Bailey Curtis about dyeing (which I've put somewhere and can't now find. Hope it's not on the coach!)
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PS I should have said that Maggie Grey's Lecture was very informative and entertaining too. Her book "From Image to Stitch" gives lots of hints and tips for converting digital images to textile art and her talk made me want to rush home and start playing both with digital images on the computer and with printing them onto fabric. Thank you Maggie for so much inspiration.

A flavour of the Festival

Barbara Weeks stand. She had some lovely coastal theme quilties. The quilts at the top of the photo are part of a Button Up Quilt Project which extended all round the hall reserved as the "European Quilters Cafe". The total length is almost 220 metres and each quilt is attached to its neighbour by buttons and loops. The project was designed to bring quilters together from all over the world.

This is a detail from a Lutradur based Innovative Large Quilt by Brenda Boardman. The surface is covered with scattered pieces of fabric and machine embroidery.

These bodices and jackets above were in a section titled "Quilt Creations" as was the exhibit below which is entitled "Concertino" and which is by Jutta Erner of Oberhausen Germany. The individual books on each stand each have 3 layers of self made fabrics.

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And still more

A beautifully embellished quilt by the children of Kingsbury Primary School Tamworth.
One of the beautiful parts of "Concertino"

This glorious cockerel is part of a larger quilt which was in turn part of an exhibition of the work of Russian quilter Irina Voronina. Her work is very detailed and each tells a story.
There was so much to look at in the surface of the works by Bente Vold Klausen.
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I could go on all night - I've got enough photos! The work of Susan Brandeis was particularly impressive for me and I really enjoyed her exhibition.
Please respect the copyright of the artists whose work I have shown here. All photos were taken only where photography was not forbidden.

Susan Brandeis

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This is just a flavour of the surfaces Susan Brandeis produces. Much of this work is inspired by aerial views and comes through experimentation with "combinations of Patterns, colours, textures and images". I am very interested in her journey form start photo to finished quilt. (Sorry not the best collage in the world!)

Friday, 15 August 2008

Synchronised Olympic Sitting

Health and good taste warning!! -You may not wish to read this post if you are of a serious or delicate nature!
My friend Bob T Bear (Esq) is having a little competition for bears in honour of the Olympic Games. He felt that bears were being left out of all the excitement and so has developed a new event "Synchronised Sitting for Bears". This is a highly technical competition requiring a high levelo of skill and bears all over the world have been practissin, I mean practising! The event has a gold. silver and bronze award so there is everything to play for!
Tonight, in the Mixed Media household the bears have been limbering up and practising their balancing skills. Even the bedroom bears have been joining in! They made a valiant first attempt.............

Poor polar bear mummy couldn't quite get her head in the right place and had a wobbly Fred bear sitting on her head! The tiny bears at the top couldn't quite sort themselves out and sparkly red bear didn't want to sit right on the top even though she is the smallest....

One of the artist Bears and Glitter thought it was very funny and wouldn't stop giggling!

Bertie was not amused and wished they would all hurry up so he could watch Coronation Street.
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At last, with a final shuffle and scramble and with Bob for inspiration they finally managed to stack their pyramid! Yay!!
But what's this?
Oh No!! The bedroom Not-a-bears want to join in! I don't think they've quite got the hang of it....


Oh all right! I'm sorry I forgot you, you can have a photo on your own and the dog can join in too! lol ROFL HaHa Ha!
We saw this little guy at the Heckington Show but we didn't realise at the time that he was practissin.
And I think this bear was grumpy because we were disturbin his consentrayshun while he was showin off to his Canadian friend!
If you want to join in with Bob's challenge there's still time to prove you're as barmy as me. The deadline is midday tomorrow BST.