Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Kim Klassen Texture

I've been doing a little more work with Kim Klassen's  Art of Texture course.  Kim is a very competent and generous teacher and I am learning so much about Photoshop.  I have been playing with one or two of my own photos and incorporating the tips I have been learning.

The original photo below of cottages on the beach in St Ives was altered to remove the figure at the corner of the house and then textures and colour fills added in various layers to achieve the aged effect above.  I am not very good at keeping a note of where I have downloaded the textures from (sorry Kim, you'll have to slap my wrists).  There are a lot of free textures out there if you search the web.  I will try and remember to credit my source next time.

This image of hogweed (goutweed in America I think) is similar to the image Kim gave us to use in her course.

After a few adjustments it looks like this

The image was initially changed using the High Pass filter and then a texture and text were added.  I am really pleased with this manipulation and I can see a lot of uses in my textile work.  There is so much more to explore.

My final image is an aged-up photo of my beautiful great-nephew in a cable car with his Mum at New Year,

This was quite a complicated procedure where a photo frame was made, a texture added and the photo clipped to the photoframe. Additional colour fill layers were also added and attention was paid to the opacity of the layers.  I hope my nephew will forgive me for pinching the photo from his facebook page ;-)

Sunday, 23 January 2011

A Grand Day Out and a little shopping

Well, you have to, don't you?  Yesterday my very good friend Ann and I went to York for the day to see the current exhibition at the Quilt Museum.  My brother looked after Mum for the day so that we could have a day off from caring duties and my DH went off to Lincoln with his friend for a photographic foray.   

Unfortunately you are not allowed to take photographs in the Quilt Museum so I can't show you what we saw but the exhibition, as always, was excellent and gave both of us inspiration for future project possibilities.  There are two exhibitions on until 29 of this month so if you live within reach of York there is still time to go.  The main exhibition 'Freedom to Stitch: The emergence of Embroiderer as Artist' included work by many well known names including Michael Brennand-Wood, Julia Caprara, Alice Kettle, Paddy Killer, and Audrey Walker and the additional exhibition of quilts by Barbara Bailey, whose generous legacy gave birth to the Quilt Museum, was so impressive.  Barbara Bailey's work was largely hand quilted and was beautifully and gloriously colourful. 

In a side room was a small exhibition of  quilts by members of my own Region of the Quilters Guild which I hadn't realised was going to be there.  That's what I like about belonging to the Quilters Guild and going to the Quilt Museum, the main exhibits never let you down in their interest and  work by people you know makes it delightfully personal.

It was lovely to see Gilli Theokritoff's beautiful 'Karma' quilt again.  There are over 4000 tiny squares in this mosaic and Gilli has embroidered the word 'Wisdom' in many languages across the quilt.

As you might expect a special day out with a good friend has to involve a little retail therapy and we couldn't let you down ;-)

My friend Tina has been nagging me to get a safety cutter so I can justify that little expenditure and I got it in the sale!  Bargain!  I couldn't resist the glorious threads and the jazzy fabric which I think will inspire my Journal Quilts for 2011.  I have decided to work on a theme of Gaudi and his works in Barcelona and I'm really excited to start this project.  I am hoping to work on the 12 pieces so that they can be made into a single wallhanging at the end of the year.  I bought the threads and beads at a fantastic little shop called The Viking Loom which is an Aladdin's cave once you step through the door.   I had to be very strong willed!  I bought the Janice Gunner book at the Quilt Museum as I like to support them when I go and I'd rather put the pennies in their till if I can.

Not much else to share with you at the moment.  I'm finding things tough with looking after Mum but I'm trying to stay positive.  We are seeing her social worker and stroke support worker this week to talk about where we go next and this week looks to be very busy so I may be missing for a while but I will still be browsing and visiting.  See you soon and hopefully with more textiley content.

Monday, 17 January 2011

2 for the price of one!

I have a couple more things to share with you today so thought I would put them in a separate post.  First of all I have joined a new monthly sewing group and thought I would like to have a project to take with me each month that I could work on over the course of the year.  I have been saving my offcuts and scraps for a long time and decided it was time I used some of them up in the spirit of reuse and recycle so I am making up scrap blocks with a view to making a bed quilt.  I must be mad!  I've only ever made a cot quilt before so I may rue the day!

I've made some squares at home too and I'm really enjoying seeing snippets of past projects and my hand dyed fabrics coming together.

I'm reproducing here an email that I received a few days ago from Colouricious who brought us the Talking Threads Series of videos. 

Talking Threads Series 1 -
Invitation to the
Private On-Line Viewing

Raise the profile of Textile Art

Textile Artists in our opinion, are unsung heroes of our time. The work they produce is totally outstanding and the passion and followings they create are contagious. There are thousands of creative textile lovers all over the world who crave more knowledge and understanding of the textile techniques that help unleash personal creativity. We at Colouricious have chosen some of Britain's top textile artists, to tell you their story. Where they derive their inspiration and how they became who they became may be something that you can relate to. Each artist will also share with you one of their favourite techniques, in simple and easy terms for you to follow.

As we so love creative textiles, as a Valentine's present to you, starting on February 14th 2011, we will be sending you one episode  of Talking Threads a week, for 10 weeks, running time approx 20 minutes, free of charge. All we ask in exchange, is that you tell everyone you know, so they can sign up too. Everyone will learn a great deal each week from each of our textile artists, not only about their life and skills but also about themselves as well

If you go to the Colouricious  website and sign up for their email newsletter you too can receive the free programmes for textile artists.  The original series was most enjoyable and informative so it would be good to support them in their bid to get more funding for a second series.
Talking of support, you may be aware that people are working together once again to make quilts for the people who have lost homes and possessions in the appalling Australian floods.  If you click on the link at the top of my right sidebar you will be taken to the blog of one of the organisers who has instructions for making very quick blocks.  This is next on my to-do list. 

I have slipped behind a bit in my work with Kim Klassen's Photoshop course and I am starting a new course tomorrow but this is my latest effort using Kim's source photograph.

I've even managed to make a stamp of my own name, not that I am claiming this as my own photo as the copyright belongs to Kim.  Kim's classes are excellent and her video instruction is very clear so if you've ever been tempted to learn more about photo manipulation don't wait for Kim's prices to go up as they surely will.  If you just want to sign up for Kim's emails and free textures just sign up here.  There are links there to Kim's other sites too.

Cheer up

I heard on the telly this morning that today is reckoned to be the most gloomy depressing day of the year so I thought you might appreciate a little cheering up.  Yesterday we had a lovely visit from our gorgeous great nephew and he brought his mummy and daddy and Duke the dog to see us too. Even though he hadn't seen us since the Spring last year and wouldn't have remembered us he gave us a beaming smile as soon as he saw us and treated us to a lovely couple of hours gurgling and playing away very happily.  

He also showed us his newly acquired standing and walking-with-fingers skills:

Mum was delighted to see her great grandson again and had a lovely cuddle with him,

It is lovely to see Mum's face shine with joy whenever she sees Max or photos of him.  I can't believe that Max will be one year old at the end of next month.  Where did that year go?

Since the new year began I have been waiting impatiently to find out what the new challenge is for the Contemporary Quilt Group Journal Quilts and Saturday brought the long awaited magazine with the details.  This year's quilts have to be made to a 10" square format and there are additional requirements to add to the challenge.  The first 4 of the quilts have to have a circle somewhere in the design, the next 4 have to include text and the last 4 must have a button or buttons included.  I am really excited by this new challenge and already have ideas buzzing around my head.  Not least, maybe some fabric collage by Susan Carlson that I saw on the Quilt Show last week which looked fun. 

Mum is still staying with us but moves are now afoot to get her back to her own home.  I have very serious doubts that she will be able to live alone now as she gets quite confused and I have fears for her safety but we will have to see.  I wish I could look after her myself but I am already exhausted and have to face the fact that I cannot do this on a permanent basis because of my own health issues.  Oh for the strength of youth!

And just in case you have drifted off into a low frame of mind on this supposedly low day of the year here's another photo to cheer you up

This jolly chap was part of a scarecrow celebration at Doddington Hall near Lincoln last year.  Remind you of anyone?

Luv ya hun!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Stay Home Round Robin 7

Despite being a bit quiet over the last week I have been managing to work on a couple of projects.  One I cannot show you as it is for Kate North's 'Another Little Quilt Swap' which you can link to from the button in my side bar.  The other piece I have been working on today is also fro Kate and is for her Stay Home Round Robin.

I have added the bottom strip of 3 rectangles, one measuring 6"x5" and two measuring 5"x5" (excuse the slightly wonky photograph).  This strip now completes the basic quilt top but Kate has 5 more stages for us to go through before the quilt is complete.  When I started this piece I didn't have any plan at all, I just followed Kate's instructions for the block sizes but slowly the colours and patterns evolved.  I have so enjoyed this project thus far and I can't wait for the chance to add stitching and embellishments to the surface.  I will, of course, have to wait for Kate to tell us where and when to embellish and stitch.  Can't wait!  Watch this space!

Very many thanks to everyone who has sent me good wishes for my Mum's returning health after her stroke.  She has made some good progress in some areas, her right arm is stronger than it was but she still has little sensation in it and this is causing some problems.  We've managed to get rid of the walking frame and come down to a stick and occasionally Mum forgets the stick indoors and manages without so that is progress.  She is still sleeping a lot but not as much as immediately after the stroke but her short term memory does seem to have been affected and is causing her some confusion.  The next step is to try and get her back to her own home with the support of social workers so I will be going with her for a hopefully short while until  a care package is set up.  I am already exhausted with caring for Mum so far (as I have my own health problems unfortunately) so, as much as I want to carry on looking after Mum, I know I have to hand her over to others to decide on the range of support she needs.  I have the feeling that while she stays with us Mum will feel like a guest and not make the effort she needs to make to take over more of her own care.  Fingers crossed she will get her wish to stay in her own home and we can support with more frequent visits.   

While we're on the subject of poorly people (sorry for the 'p' word Laura!) our dear friend Grace is still having a bumpy ride and has spent time at home and time in care.  Hard to believe she is now in the 100th anniversary year of her birth!  Life is not really being kind to her as she has had one problem after another to cope with, none of them serious in themselves but all combining to weaken her.  She can still crack a smile though.

At the risk of becoming tedious, here's another pic of our gorgeous great-nephew enjoying his Christmas dinner,

If all goes well I may be getting a cuddle at the weekend (as long as social services don't need us in Essex before then!).

Ooh yes, I nearly forgot, my Sketchbook Project has left for America!  Can't wait for the first email that tells me someone has borrowed it.  I left some half completed pages so I would love it if someone couldn't resist adding their own marks here and there.