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.