Sunday, 31 August 2014

Chimney Pots

Spot who is lurking behind the pots
There is no wonder I get very little done ....  This week the builders have been here again.  Following the incident with the Jackdaw down the bedroom chimney I asked if it was possible to put bird guards on top of the 4 chimney pots.

Subsequently we have had these chimney pots removed and some new, rather squat ones installed to replace them, complete with bird guards.

At the same time it was suggested that we should have the main chimney lined ready to install a multi fuel stove. Well they did have great difficulty getting the 'cherry picker' round the back of the house and it was something they would not be in a hurry to repeat, particularly as they were under threat of death if they damaged any of my newly planted hedge.

Much to my surprise, we also now have a lovely little Aga multi fuel stove installed and working.  It looked so nice in our tatty lounge that I decided perhaps I better take the wallpaper off, a lot of which was coming off anyway. It has given me the opportunity to check to see if the walls under the windows have cracks which need pinning before the builders depart.  I spent all Saturday taking the wallpaper off and now have the walls to wash down with sugar soap.

Whilst all this has been going on I have also been trying to make some full length curtains for the french doors in the kitchen.  Bet you have guessed .... I am not making much progress apart from making a terrible mess.  All I have got done is to join all the fabric widths together.   Why did I decide to interline them as well?

Did get my Yorkshire Travelling Journal completed and posted off to Harrogate which is an achievement as it is two weeks early.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

More Sunflowers ....

 There are lots of reasons not to grow plants in our garden.  It was full of weeds, the soil is either rock hard or like a bog with clay soil, the builders often damage stuff (as none of them know a plant from a weed!), squirrels eat everything, foxes and mice dig things up, etc. etc.

I have been chancing my luck with annuals and grew quite a few different sunflowers.  The slugs ate some of them but one or two survived.

This beauty is 'Black Magic F1', it is quite large and a wonderful colour.  It appears to be multi headed too although only one flower is out at the moment.
This chap on the other hand is meant to be 'Vanilla Ice' like the ones to the left of it, but must have cross bred somewhere along the line, because he came out of the same seed packet as the rest.

I was also given some larger ones by my neighbour. These are now looking very sorry for themselves with large, drooping, seedheads.  I am leaving them for the goldfinches to feed on.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Hilary Beattie - the rest

Some images from the work created by the other people on the course ....

Apologies for the quality of the image above.  I just had to include it as the concept of text and print was so delightful and something I do not think I could have produced myself.

Materials used to produce some of the images

More HB Workshop

We created lots of papers on Hilary's workshop which were used as backgrounds or cut up and collaged to produce interesting images.

Gelli printed leaves, drawn on with a Markal blender stick, painted with Procion dye, cut out and collaged with Matt Gel Medium.  Detail was added using Neocolour I crayons.

A small piece of newspaper, which had been used as a drop cloth in a previous life, was salvaged to add a perfect highlight to this piece which also included grasses printed from the Gelli plate and then collaged onto the background.

The negative image of a cut out leaf was used to add interest to a background that had been created using stencils and moulding paste, brought to life with a wash of Procion dye.

An experiment with black gesso.  I found it needed more than one coat of gesso to get any depth of colour before working on top of it with moulding paste, stencils, crayons, metallic paint, etc.

Surprising what a bit of rain can do!

Even the fruit we used to print from made an excellent still life composition!!

Who needs to draw when you can photograph images like this?  It is the remains of an onion used for printing, laid on a table amongst the detritus of a day's play.

HB Sauce

Had a fabulous three days with Hilary Beattie at Redditch.  A lively and colourful tutor, full of enthusiasm and joy.  It should be bottled and labelled 'HB Sauce'!  Here are a few of the images I produced.  Everyone had fun using fruit and vegetables on their Gelli plates ...

Lemon left to dry then printed
 The images above and below were inked on the Gelli plate and then printed direct onto cartridge paper.
Half an Onion
 The images from the Gelli plate are just as interesting:-

Pears printed from the Gelli Plate surface

Pear Quarters
The image above is what was produced from the paint left on the plate.  It reminded me so much of the Marcel Duchamp painting below:-

Friday, 22 August 2014

Messing About Big Time

Looks like Hilary has found a new man in her life!!  A rather sinister chap.
 Someone's nice Gelli plate image and a page from their sketchbook ...
Work in progress - trying out some black gesso in the top left hand corner.  Needs lots of additional work yet.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Surprise Find

Would you believe that this funny caterpillar has a beautiful parent?  It is the caterpillar of the Elephant Hawk Moth and I found it over in the Dell.  It was feeding on Willowherb leaves.  It was quite large and very frightening.  The big black bit is not its face or eye.  It uses this camouflage to scare off predators, together with the little hook on its tail.

I did take him back to where I found him and hid him under some undergrowth to give him a chance of surviving for a bit longer.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

British Finnish Stash Exchange

I was intrigued by this challenge at the FoQ.  It appeared that everyone who participated in the UK had received several fabrics from and were partnered with someone in Finland.  They had to supply 4-6 pieces of fabric making approximately 1 metre in total.  They could add fabric from their own stash and it had to be 16" wide by 32" high.  The Finnish people also each received a stash from the UK.  30 Quilts from each country were on display at the NEC and it was interesting to see what they had managed to do with what they had received.  These photographs are just three examples of them.  It was also nice to see swatches of what they had received on display.

Like the 'map' fabric

Beach Huts

This quilt was created by Tanglewood Textiles and won the Group Quilt prize at the Festival of Quilts.  I took this picture for Halifax branch of the EG as they have been making 2D and 3D beach huts recently, however, I am sure some of them will have visited the show themselves.

This is the detail from a couple of them.  They were actually quite large and very amusing.

It's a Cat's Life!

Don't worry .... he is not dead, just having a cat nap lying in the sunshine near the open french door in the kitchen.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Rain - so better have a Playday

 On Sunday it rained quite heavily so instead of the planned day out we decided just to chill and play around.  Using either A3 printer paper or some cartridge paper we stencilled, rollered, sponged and generally had a good time making a huge mess.  The piece above has been spoilt slightly by the fact that I forgot that Quink ink is not permanent and I painted some acrylic wax over the surface which made it smudge and slightly obliterated the bleached out birds.  The piece below is the reverse side of it.

My friend liked this page a lot and I didn't.  However, I have scanned it into Photoshop and cropped it a bit and the smaller piece is more to my liking.

The bird was printed using a piece of miracle sponge cut out in the shape of a blackbird, wetted and then inked up with acrylic paint prior to printing on the background surface.

We did fit in a short break up the road to Blue Ginger for tea, and either a chocolate brownie or savoury muffin.

Monday morning was departure day for my friend so we fitted in a quick walk up to the Worcester Beacon before she left, parking in West Malvern.  At lease we missed getting wet by one of the many heavy showers we have experienced today.
View as we walked up from West Malvern

Westminster Bank Well

Friday, 8 August 2014

Vegetable Gardens

I have got a bit of an obsession with allotments at the moment, not working in them, just drawing or photographing them.  I was thrilled to find these lovely quilts at the FoQ today ...

detail of above

further detail

Spot the bugs