Saturday, 31 December 2016

A New Star is born

Coincidence or what?  I had been looking at some 5 point Origami stars on someone else's blog and thinking how beautiful they were and that I could not possibly make them, when I discovered in amongst my Christmas presents there were some small sheets of Japanese Origami paper.  I could not resist the challenge so I decided to have a go. They are only 6 cm from point to point and they are crying out to be hung up.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Boxing Day Walk

Managed to get out of the house for a walk this morning and went to Croome.  Weather was lovely and we did a different and longer walk than usual which turned out to be very pleasant.  Managed a cake and coffee before we did our walk and found that there was an interesting exhibition in the house around the subject of plums and poetry ....

Su Blackwell was commissioned to produce this installation of plum saplings growing out of the floor which is about the lives of female relatives lives during World War I. She visited Pershore and produced Jam and dried plum stones from the produce there.

The walls of the room are currently decorated with the words of a poem by Brenda Read Brown (Poet Laureate Gloucestershire) and Heather Wastie (Poet Laureate Worcestershire). There are nicely decorated Christmas trees on the ground level, one of which had copper birds on it made by Art & Design students from Stourbridge College ....

The window ledges in the basement were decorated with more Christmas trees made from paper

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

A Little Bit of Sunshine

Look what I spotted near the birdfeeders in the front garden earlier this week. First of all I noticed just one or two flowers, but now lots more have opened out.  Yesterday I also noticed that several daffodils are poking their leaves through the soil under the hedge and there are even some coming through in one of my plantpots.

This fine chappie (Melchizedek) features in the south window in St Martin's church near to the Bullring in Birmingham - thought he was very Christmas looking. I understand the window was designed by Sir Edward Burne Jones and produced by the William Morris company.

Monday, 12 December 2016

It's starting to feel like Christmas

I had to go into Worcester this morning to take my little car for it's MOT so took the opportunity to walk down to the Cathedral to see the Christmas Tree exhibition.  The one above was provided by the Worcester branch of the Embroiderers' Guild and is covered in three sided pods decorated in Gold and Red.

There are almost 100 trees sponsored by all kinds of organisations.  It was lovely and worth the walk in the rain.There are lots of photos HERE

I really liked this one which was made from willow hoops and had Project Linus quilts underneath it.
There were lots and lots more ....
This one was made from picture frames and I think was created by NADFAS.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Not so Mellow Yellow

I have now completed the first of the Coptic books stitched using 2 needles. Once I had started it was not as difficult as I had expected. Have now cut out more paper to make signatures for the next version and I could perhaps try using two different colours of thread too ... always full of good ideas I just need to put them into practice!!

A plus yesterday was the beautiful male Sparrowhawk that was sat in the Amelanchier tree in the back garden very close to the bird feeders.  He was magnificent.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Pebble Stencil

I have been busy cutting out paper to make new books this past week and also creating some coloured papers for the covers.  I have had the pebble stencil used below for some time and am not convinced I really like it but it looks okay on this book which is an A5 Secret Belgian Binding.  Going to try a new Coptic book using two needles together over the next week or so as I do not like the effect of the row of kettle stitches at the top and bottom of the spine on the normal Coptic binding method. Fear I may have some problems with the fatness of the signatures at the spine end of the page, but shall see.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Travelling Journal

A bit of a struggle this week to complete my pages for one of the Yorkshire Travelling Journal pages but it is all done now.  I had a look through last year's entries to see if there was anything I could put on my blog and found this ....

Bees were my theme and I took my inspiration from some illuminated medieval manuscript pictures I had saved. A scrappy bit of dyed linen formed the backdrop, a piece of tomato puree tube embossed and then coloured with alcohol inks was utilised for the sun and a bit of couching incorporating bits and pieces of thread I had lying around and it was done.  The foiling represents the golden honey and the sunshine. All just a bit of fun!!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Cup and Ring Print

This is the first print from a split collagraph I have been making over the past few weeks. I am fascinated by the 'cup and ring' carvings on stones that have appeared in several places in the UK. A photograph in The Telegraph several years ago of a rock that had become exposed in Northumberland started the journey and I have looked at the possibility of using if for some embroidery or printing on and off since.
Print 2 with a change of colour and a darker image as I did not remove as much of the oil based ink.
And finally a bigger change on the final print of the day as I opted for Sepia ink instead of the Prussian Blue I had been using. Can't wait until next week when we start to use viscosity inking with the plates.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

A Bit More of the Same

Another page from one of the small booklets I produced.  The flower head is Gum Arabic Transfer using Raw Sienna oil based ink.  The bee flying off the page is also Gum Arabic Transfer and I think it was Silver ink. Lots of drawing ink, Quink and bleach on top of white acrylic paint.  A small picture from a magazine has been transferred in the centre over some white acrylic.

Two pages from my concertina sketchbook.  The lefthand side is just me playing about with layers of white acrylic, waterproof drawing ink, Quink ink and bleach. the right hand side has two Gum Arabic Transfers on it.  The first was some cow parsley in Raw Sienna overprinted with tree branches using silver.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

A Sticky Weekend

If anyone needs their spirits lifting I can highly recommend a weekend workshop with Sue Brown at The Yard Art Space in Cheltenham.  Last weekend I went to her Gum Arabic Transfer two day workshop and had such a wonderful time.  Not only did I learn new techniques but also spent time with some lovely and very talented people.

I managed to complete two small booklets, printed onto various types of fabric and also completed several pages in the two A5 sketchbooks I had taken with me. A massive achievement for me.

Above and below are some of the work created by other people on the course. The paper threads on the booklet below were the left over pieces trimmed to make the pages square.  They were so beautiful it was such a shame to put them in the bin.

These are two samples of fabric using the Gum Arabic transfer printing technique. The one on the left was transferred using the back of a wooden spoon and the right hand one went through the etching press.
Two more pieces of fabric using gold and then silver oil based printing ink and photographs of wild garlic flowers that had been manipulated in Photoshop to make them into black and white images.

A two page spread from one of my small booklets.  The bees were added using the Gum Arabic Transfer technique and the coloured picture was a piece of magazine placed face down onto wet white acrylic paint and then left to dry before damping the back and removing the paper by rubbing it with my finger. A bit of bleach discharge too, plus indian drawing ink and quink ink washes.

This A5 concertina sketchbook was very useful and kept me occupied whilst waiting for work to dry.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Autumn has arrived

It was such a lovely morning that I took myself off for a long walk starting at the Wych Cutting and walking through the woods on the Malvern side of the hills back to North Hill and then down through the Quarry car park back home.  Still lots of leaves on the trees, but plenty underfoot too.  Saw a Green Woodpecker which was a lovely sight.

View from North Hill over Leigh Sinton
Yesterday we went to Compton Verney to the Textile Fair and I discovered a willow sculpture I had not seen before which is positioned in the field on the right hand side as you walk from the car park to the house. It is called 'Drift' and was created by Laura Ellen Bacon. It was quite interesting with lovely shapes within it and I presume it will eventually decay and breakdown.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Wish I Was Here

Several of my stitching pals have been on a retreat in the Lake District this week and I wish I could have gone with them, but to be honest the drive from here is a nightmare up the M6 and back.  Anyway I thought I would post a couple of photos from last year as a reminder of how wonderful it was ....

Felted tubes in the woodland

Felted spirals in the Game Larder

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Well this is it ....

Or should I say Them? Little and Large. A3 and Postcard Size ....

I still do not know if I have constructed them properly.  The large one will store all of the bits of paper I have rolling around to be used at some future date in creating books.  The second will hold the collection of lovely postcards which arrive on a a fairly regular basis from my friends, that I cannot bear to throw away.

As you can see there are three folding flaps that hold everything secure, plus ribbon ties to keep the folder shut.  The problem I always have is with the glue, which seems to have a mind of its own, no matter how careful I try to be.  That actually probably makes matters worse as I seem to get more where it should not be when I take extra care.

The picture above is the doodling on the inside cover of the A3 portfolio. The butterflies were cut out from the small piece of cover paper I had left. Some of the doodling hides very small glue marks!!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

A Little More Greek Stitching

It has been Half Term this week so I made a special effort to finish off two more Greek Stitched books.  The covers are Shibori fabric which I dyed some time ago.  I subsequently backed the fabric with layout paper ready to be used to cover some books.
The fabric above was dyed using Procion Mx dyes in blue and rust.

The fabric for the larger book of the two was dyed with Indigo and the fabric was ruched up a plastic pipe. All the stitching on these has been done with waxed linen thread.

I have also been trying to finish off an A3 portfolio to store papers in but have got myself in a right mess so may have to wait until the next class to finish it off.

Thursday, 20 October 2016


At last I seem to have got something which I like! This is a collagraph print created using filler, PVA and carborundum.  It has two very small pieces of chine collee on it too.

This week I viscosity inked the plate using Prussian Blue as the base colour, with a pale blue hard roller and then cadmium yellow dark on top using a soft roller ...

followed by a second print which was largely a Turquoise background with bits of Prussian Blue in it.

Monday, 10 October 2016

It's all Greek to me!

Over the past two weeks we have been learning a new binding technique at the bookbinding class I go to - Greek Sewing.  I managed to get it wrong but the end result looks okay.  I covered my boards with some of the paste paper I created a while ago and used two shades of 4 ply waxed linen thread to do the stitching.

 The book is roughly A5 in size.  The binding is created using 2 needles at a time.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Don't we all love the sea ....

After spending a very brief period near the sea last week I came home with a bag of wet seaweed which has slowly been decomposing in the kitchen so yesterday I thought I had better do something with it whilst it was still useable.

I got out my two Gelli plates plus some nice Golden acrylic paints and pulled a few prints before some of it eventually got that bad I could not get it off ....

(a)  The Gelli plate, and
(b)  Even worse .... the paper I had printed onto!! What a slimy mess I had.

The presence of seasalt may have added to the blotchy images above
I did not take off the background paint with a piece of paper for these three images
The seaweed I did not put in the bin has now dried and wrinkled up so I may able to get yet more prints from it?

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Gardener's Retreat

Found this chap having a rest in the garden at Rosemoor.  He was looking after some strangely shaped gourds on the table beside him.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Another Shed

DH and I have had a couple of nights away in Devon so that we could visit his Aunt who is in her 90's. We took in Wells Cathedral on the way down and RHS Rosemoor on the way back where I found this delightful shed in the vegetable and fruit garden.  It may appear in my Travelling Journal before too long I think.

Monday, 19 September 2016

More h-Art

As we had arranged to go out on Sunday and pick up a Fox metal sculpture for a friend we also fitted in one or two more h-Art venues.  Green Cow Collective was excellent and loved the print work by Megan Evans using rubbish she had picked up on her travels. We then went to Ralph Court Gardens.  I do not think I have ever been to such a 'Bonkers' place in all my life. There were lots of water features and themed areas - Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows, a Pirate Ship, Medusa ... say no more

It was quite refreshing then after this to see the work in Bromyard at The Chapel, particularly the pieces by Jane Tudge who incorporates wax into her work.