Friday, 18 July 2014

Moroccan and Indian boxes

I love all things Moroccan and Indian. Their arts and crafts are just stunning. Wonderful colours and patterns combine with traditional techniques to make items that are as beautiful today as they were in the past. Of course it was only a matter of time until I was inspired to make something with the patterns and colours I have seen in photos. I can't compete with those traditional craftsmen and women but my results are below.

This is an ATC box painted, distressed (i.e. vigorously sanded with sandpaper to get rid of a bad paint job) and printed with paisley patterns. The pink areas are printed with gold ink but sadly it does not show up in the photos. I also used Tim Holtz Trellis die and embroidered a small Taj Mahal on hand painted fabric that was stitched to a Creatiframe.


This is a little wooden box that I picked up at my local craft shop. A dash of paint, some Moroccan stencils (by The Crafter's Workshop), silver paint and purple gems turns it into a Moroccan inspired box that will hold an ankle bracelet that I made for my sister.


My final piece is a Creatiframe box that I added a bargello embroidery panel to. I could have done with using some thicker threads to embroider it but I added some tiny seed beads to add a bit of bling. The printed paper is from images by Artcult on Etsy - my favourite digital collage sheet supplier.


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Bundle o' Bunnies

I've been painting rabbit sketches this week or two. Hares were also on the list so there must be something in the air making me want to paint lagomorphs. Maybe I should try painting a pika next because they are the ultimate in cuteness. Anyway, pictures:





As usual, they are currently available on Etsy.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Literaly literary beads

These are some of the new beads I recently added to my Etsy store. I'm in the mood for all things Indian at the moment and was inspired by paisley patterns to make a few in pastel colours. The others revolve around literature - Edgar Allen Poe beads and Charles Dickens beads. Along with my Shakespeare beads anyone wanting literary themed craft items have some new beads to work with.




Monday, 16 June 2014

Sketches

Just a quick note. A couple of sketches that I painted recently - a fallow deer, a fox and an oystercatcher. I'm working on some little detailed drawings for the local summer exhibition at the moment so no doubt they will pop up on here soon too. The deer and the oystercatcher are on Etsy, the fox has been sold and has gone to a new home.




Sunday, 8 June 2014

Creatiframe samples

The beauty of working for Gina B Silkworks as part of the design team is that I get to work with quality products that make my imagination run riot. Gina has recently released some great new products that mean I can try out different techniques - from weaving to embroidery, from rug making to needle lace, from macramé to... OK, OK, you get the idea. Lots of different crafts. Yay!

The basis of these new craft kits is a product called Creatiframe, a wooden frame with slots or holes to allow you to try new techniques and then display your hard work. There is also a range of accessories which allows you to display your work in a functional way. Brilliant! I don't want to come off like this is a sales pitch. The purpose of this post is to show you photos of what I've been up to. However it is a really ingenious idea. How many times do you try a new craft and then it just sits around in a box or gathering dust on a shelf?

Anyway, on to my creative efforts:

The first photo is of the mobile phone/tablet/e-reader holder - which works great with my Kindle.


Next is a steampunk ATC box for storing your ATCs. Gina also sells ATC size Creatiframes which you can work up and then trade - or just hoard in the box.


The following photos are of various sizes of the frames (they also come in rectangular shape). The bright yellow one uses a mish-mash of techniques from Teneriffe lace techniques, beading, wire wrapping and a hand made button.


The pink weaving is done using flat bamboo yarn that really catches the light - although not very well in this photo. Of course, I had to add more buttons.


Finally, some embroidered pieces (the two on the left) and one wrapped with silk thread and an acrylic square suspended from it


These are just a tiny proportion of the samples i have made. I just can't help myself. There are so many different styles that they can be used with all kinds of crafts. I've even used one to frame a little painting. To see more of my samples check out my very own design team member gallery page.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

A stitch in time

I signed up for an embroidery course a few weeks ago run by the guys and gals at Mastered.com. They provide online courses for those interested in fashion and jewellery making and are taught by big names in the industry like Diana Springall and Hand and Lock (who put the gold work embroidery on Michael Jackson's famous military jacket).

I have dabbled in embroidery over the years. Everything from cross stitch, crewelwork, stumpwork, needlepoint and tapestry, traditional embroidery using every kind of available thread. So I figured I had enough experience to chose Creative Embroidery as it covers creating your own motifs and patterns. We are using bold techniques involving acrylic paint, sponges and cut paper to form line, shape and form which will be turned into a pattern that we will embroider on a surface of our choice. A few of my experiments are shown below.




What really surprised me was how much I enjoy using a sponge and cut paper to create images lacking in detail. Then cropping them to find interesting shapes and patterns - well, it's like magic. I must do more of that - even if it's just for fun.

I'm still working through the course. I want to create a sampler of stitches before I start to embroider my chosen motif. And there are instructions for making a clutch bag that I want to try too. So it's definitely something that is going to take some time. No doubt you will see more of my embroidery on here soon.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Gelli hurrah!

I am a gelli plate fiend. I love it in a way I don't love any of my other art equipment. You can't go wrong with it. Slap on some paint and you end up with some fabulous papers. If the overall paper looks a bit 'yuck' then crop it and cut it and play with it and you can still make something pretty. It's ideal for my beads and card making.



I recently discovered that you can use Indian print blocks to lift paint out layers of paint on the geli plate. You know - the wooden ones that are used for printing fabric. The ones that, if you are like me, you bought years ago and ended up being stuck in a drawer. They give an amazing effect. I tried the same technique with rubber stamps but the lifted image was not as clear as with the wood blocks.


All you need to do is roll your first layer of paint onto the gelli plate and make a base print. Let it dry - or dry it with a heat gun if you are impatient like me. This layer of paint will show through the gaps created by the wooden block so pick your colours carefully. Roll out your second layer of paint and press a wooden printing block gently into the surface of the paint to lift some of it off the plate. You don't want to really press hard and risk damaging the plate, just enough pressure to lift off the paint. Take your second print on top of the first and you should have a pretty pattern. Remember to clean your wooden printing blocks after too.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

It's been a sad time for me over the last few months. Last October I lost my grandmother. She was 94 and played a huge part in my whole life. It's not everyone who has had the luxury of such a wonderful woman in their lives for so long and I am very grateful for that. At the start of January I also lost my grandfather of 103 years. He was also a constant in my life and their loss has left quite a void. So it has been, and continues to be, a trying time. Thankfully I have a close family and we are all pulling together to find the light at the end of the tunnel. So much so that I have actually created some new beads for my Etsy store. The first lot sold out within a few days so it was a mad dash to come up with some new designs. Here are just a few of the images:






Friday, 4 October 2013

Return of the wren

For some reason the local wrens don't spend a lot of time in my garden. Every other species of bird does including sparrowhawks and kestrels. I suspect it's the bounty of small birds that bring the birds of prey. But wrens come and go, never staying too long. This week the wren has come back. Who knows for how long. I did manage to get a photo though and managed to draw this graphite pencil piece.



Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Rough and tumble

Some of you will know about the badger cull in parts of England and how divisive it is. If you haven't heard about it you might want to check out this question and answer page by the BBC. It is a very sad state of affairs. These little guys may not be around too much longer.