I’ve been discovering the joys of ecoprinting on vintage woolen blankets. I’d already been working with silk and cotton but had been wanting to try some wool which is either very expensive if new or difficult to find if recycled . Vintage blankets are a good way to get a decent amount of yardage at a reasonable price for the beginner. They’re hard to come by so when I get my hands on one it’s exciting planning what to make with it.
I’ve done capes…
as well as bags and clutches…
I have two freshly washed and folded blankets sitting in my stash at the moment and I’ve been waiting impatiently to start layering them with leaves so tomorrow could be the day!
I’ve spent a few days doing some eco printing this week. Mostly scarves and upcycled cotton tees. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve discovered some new ways to mordant to get different results so it’s been educational as well.
Here’s a few of my results
It was a fun week!!!
Now I have to soak some more leaves because I used them all up!
I often fill in the day when sitting at the gallery by painting small watercolour art books. People like to see the artist at work and I often sell something because they’ve enjoyed seeing me make it. This is one I did last week. It’s full of small local scenes which is one of the reasons I enjoy doing them so much.
I recently made some new linocuts and decided it would be fun to add a little story to them for the back of the cards I planned to use the prints on. Here’s what resulted.
“The Birdwatcher’s Club”
The cats met every Tuesday around lunchtime for a spot of sedate birdwatching. It was quietly thrilling as they took up position on the windowsill, never knowing what they might see through the dining room window that day. Perhaps it would be a baby Blue Fairy Wren so tiny and vulnerable as it took its first tentative flights, or maybe an endangered Swift Parrot attracted by all the ripe Irish Strawberries lying on the ground, or the first of the winter Robins with their bright crimson breast so easily spotted as they perched on the low wooden fence. The possibilities were so deliciously varied …
“Harry the Hairy Nosed Wombat”
“Harry was debating if he should get his hairy nose fixed. He felt sure it was hampering him in his quest for love. Maybe it was as simple as investing in a good razor? “
“Tassie was sure that now he had finally made it to the front cover of a greeting card he would be spotted by a talent agent and make the big time. Maybe a wildlife documentary or even a cartoon of his own. “
I enjoyed this so much I think I might try some more…..
I’ve been working on a few different projects over the last couple of weeks and been very slack about blogging! Not sure why , perhaps I’ve just been enjoying doing and not wanting to be distracted by writing. Anyway I’m making amends by posting a few photos of some of those little projects….
I collected up all the twigs dropped by the possums from our silver birch and spent a happy hour turning them into Christmas wreaths. The cat had a ball pouncing on the twigs as I twisted them around and then the string I used to tie them together.
Next I sewed up some cotton cushion covers and drew botanic designs on them all. They’re all nicely packaged up for the Etsy Made Local Christmas market now. I love the minimalist approach with these.. balck and white line drawings.
Then I picked up a Christmas snowflake punch at the local recycling centre for $5 and made a few little Christmas tags. I love that the hole makes a design and then I can use the punch out for another!
I also started teaching a pastel class and did a few video demonstrations for them as well as the classes.
I also picked up some white china mugs at the recycling centre and tried out some homemade alcohol inks on them- it’s very satisfying seeing random patterns appear and not being in control of the final outcome.
….and there’s more!
So please forgive me for my lack of writing – I’ve just been too busy doing!
I’m finally winding down after the exhibition. It went really well, I sold lots, met some lovely people and enjoyed it all BUT was I exhausted after it!! I spend a few days just tidying up the studio, storing the unsold paintings and then got straight into a couple of commissions so it’s been pretty full on until today.
I did promise a client to start her painting today but as it’s small and not too detailed I felt justified in just sketching it up and giving myself a play day. I just finished a very detailed house portrait yesterday and really felt like loosening up artistically speaking. I started with some acrylic blown flowers ( yep – I know one of them looks like a dropped a fried egg in the middle!)
….and then moved onto a bit of marbling with some nail varnish. These little tealight holders look pretty spiffy with their new marbled coat.
I did do a bit of cutting and sewing of cushion covers in between but you don’t want to see pics of piles of white fabric.
Ah well – it was a good day but it’s back to the commissions tomorrow. That’s a good thing though as I just ordered a complete set of handmade pastels online and I’ll need a few clients to pay for them!!
Day 8 at the exhibition was a busy day. I made another small handmade watercolour book, did a little pastel painting and tried out a daisy design on a white lamp shade. & more days to go so a few more art projects to go!
I made some progress today in meeting my self inflicted deadline to complete the sewing machine drawer project…. I wasn’t entirely happy with the art cover I made earlier so I spent some of yesterday doing some acrylic pours onto plexiglass sheets.
Even though they were promising in design when I placed them over the light box the acrylic paint was too thick to let enough light through- although where it was thin some very lovely “light holes” appeared – so there’s an idea bubbling away for a design where I intentionally screen out some areas to get a light pattern- think starry, starry night or bioluminescing water.
Anyway back to the project…I tried an ink pour next and it looked sort of OK .
So , out with the drawer which I had previously kitted out with LED light strips attached to a transformer, and on with the plexiglass sheet.
Drawer with LED lights installed
This could be OK.
The sheet isn’t fixed in place at this stage but I thought it could be OK even though at this stage it looks a little dull. Anyway – on with the lights!!!
It was an instant hit of lovely, warm, bright colour. There are parts of the panel at the top I would like to change but the pouring process is 1 part control, 99 parts out-of-control, and I could do another 100 and not be totally happy. This time I’m going to override my inner perfectionist and let my ‘it’s good enough” out of the box for a play.
I still have work to do because even though I measured twice before I cut it’s still a whisker too tight to recess into the drawer. I’m considering my options carefully to try and avoid shaving the bottom edge of the plexiglass which will be a very painful process-if anyone has any good ideas I’d love to hear! Meanwhile I’ll be straining the brain for a fix or going back for another cut and pour.
I’m brimming over with ideas at the moment and have a lot of projects on the go and a pretty messy studio. It’s not unusual for me to get caught up in a new idea and jump straight in feet first adapting the method to use whatever I have lying around the studio, the kitchen, the workshop or the paddocks! Mostly things work out OK, I’ve got very adept at adapting over the years.
Why all the adapting? It’s all down to my absolute impatience to start creating once I get an idea. Also my absolute impatience to complete a project once started. In my peak sewing days I was heard to say “if I can’t make it in a night it’s not worth making”. This inevitably led to some pretty late nights. Anyways, I start before I completely work out the details and somewhere in the middle I realise I don’t have the tail feathers of a rare Peruvian parrot which is absolutely essential to finish. Not to be thwarted in my headlong assault on the current creative make I head outside and find a couple of sparrow feathers , slightly mangled after the owner’s altercation with our cat ( no acrimonious letters please – the sparrow won), and surprisingly they work just fine.
So it’s been a slight departure from norm that I’m currently working on a new idea that is crawling along…definitely not a one night wonder. I had an idea for using the drawers from my grandmothers old Singer sewing machine to make light boxes. The top of the machine cabinet is wrecked but I didn’t want to throw it out because of the Nan connection so I got my creative side working overtime to come up with a repurposed use for it. The idea of a light box with some sort of art component was the winner and since I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it I did a spot of googling and started making a list.
There’s actually a lot of bits and bobs that made it onto the list, none of which I had – a thorough search of the house and environs failed to turn up any subs so I headed to Ebay and ordered an express delivery of patience! I’m glad I ordered the XXL bag because the rest of the parts on the list have been slowly trickling in over the last month or so. The day the last bob arrived I had to fly out for a week visit to my father-in-law so the drawers remained unfinished, sitting on a bench overflowing with little packets of LED light strips and solderless connectors, plugs and transformers scattered around and sheets of cut and uncut plexiglass cluttering up the place.
I’ve been home 3 days and there’s been some progress. The box is all wired up, the lights work fine, the panels cut to size with a few spares, the wooden fixing strips are cut to size and it’s all set for the art panel to be attached. The problem is I keep changing my mind about the artwork. I’ve tried ink painting , acrylic pouring and photo transfer on the plexiglass panels and just can’t decide what to go with. I think the problem is the art panel is going to be permanently sealed in place so once it’s done I can’t go “oops -should have gone with the other one!”
Bottom line is I fly out to Europe in 10 days and it’s going to be finished or I’m not getting on that plane…