Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Skeleton

Here is a picture of the completed recycled bowl. I show it for you to see the beads rolled from colour supplement paper and coated with acrylic wax and also to boast that I sold it and it is now on its way to Australia as a Christmas present!

On Friday we had a day of drawing the skeleton. It was quite exhausting, with lots of intense concentration. I don’t take to the idea of measuring and proportions easily.
For some reason my best effort was the one done with both left and right hands at the same time using different media, i.e. graphite and pen. I think this was easier because I knew that it was difficult; I didn’t have to judge myself against those who are more experienced at drawing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Textile Workshop

Mostly photos today as I am really tired after the assessment today. All went well though an exhausting process and I didn’t feel too ashamed of my drawing which I have really worked hard on over the last two weeks. I passed at level 3 (that’s good).
Yesterday I went into the textile department and had the opportunity to do a small amount of weaving on a Countermatch loom. This was my first ever attempt and I enjoyed it, although it is physically quite demanding. I did two kinds of weave; one was hopsack, the other I forget the name of. The facilities at Farnham are excellent, as you can see from the view of just one of the weaving rooms.

We also had a short experiment with indigo; you can see the indigo vats and the pieces drying. I haven’t got as far as seeing the end result.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Last week we had the chance of short workshops in the 3DD department. Unfortunately I forgot my camera so you have no chance of seeing me gathering glass from the furnace or trying to shape the blob produced. It was incredibly hot and a bit frightening really. Ceramics was more manageable and in a few weeks time we will get the fired clay back and see what colours the slip decoration actually produces.
On Friday afternoon we worked on flat steel and wire to make a self portrait! So there I was hammering away at the forge, and only noticed how much my shoulder ached when I got home. The ear protectors, gloves and goggles made it so different from my usual crafting environment. I think I prefer a needle and the sewing machine, but all in all new experiences I would not have missed.
If you go over to Saras blog you can read an interview with me which she has featured this week and lots of interesting items related to texture.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Last week we had an exercise called drawing with colour. To be honest it took me the whole session to work out that what I was being asked to do was abstract an image from the white objects I had brought in to draw. I think the problem was that I am totally intimidated by the prospect of drawing ,particularly when I see the large scale work people can produce; the other problem is that we are a really big group and there is not much time for individual input.

I have been working hard at writing about ten artists and designers for my ‘Top Ten’ assignment; having completed that and a 1000 word report on one artist, I am starting to think about the other assessment items, and my plan is to try to spend some time actually drawing and to get myself to try and work on a larger scale.
Here is a really interesting link to a video of the paper crumpling guru Vincent Floderer. If you have not heard of him before, take a look, it is fascinating. I found it courtesy of Me Jade; you can find a link on the sidebar to her blog and her interesting work.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


We have been encouraged to join in an exhibition which calls for artwork on a yellow post-it note. As it was small I thought I would make an attempt. I’m not sure it counts as art but at least I had a go. I have been working on an image of a three-headed fish to link with the Dungeness project and the fact that a fisherman there told me he would eat what he caught unless it had ‘three heads’. It sort of fits in with some of the contrasts in the area; a nice place to relax with a days fishing, but with the nuclear power station casting its shadow in the background.
The theme is linked with Reuse, so this is embossed on a piece of tomato puree tube.

We have also been experimenting with linocuts and monoprinting with watercolour inks.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Last week we had a day loosely based on three dimensional modelling. Really more about cardboard modelling. I wasn’t looking forward to it as I imagined it revolving around measuring and cutting, not really something I am accurate at, however it was more related to looking at what material can do and the general aesthetic of design. The first session was looking at ways of joining without using glue, cellotape.
Weaving, folding, slitting etc... Later we were able to use paperclips and tags.
The final project was to package an egg and then to post to oneself. I must say there were some really elegant solutions. I was just pleased to be able to make a folded box and sent it off with a bit of a prayer. People started to get theirs back at the start of the week but no sign of mine. Finally it arrived this morning, late due to the postal strike; it was battered but not broken! I can’t tell you what pleasure it gave me to see it in one piece, perhaps more of a credit to the postal service than to me, but I did complete the task successfully. It was a useful exercise in spending more time working with ones material as part of the design process.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Artist Books

Thank you for the comments on the bowl. I will post more about it when I get as far as decorating the top edge; I am planning to use paper beads.
Last week I was completely exhausted, we had two main projects, a day on Collage and one on Graphic Design. The Collage experiments were interrupted by workshop induction, and I found myself using a range of saws, hot wire cutters and a spot welding machine for the first time. I was pleased that I had completed the set tasks but my efforts looked pretty grim compared to some of the others.
The Graphic Design topic was artists’ books and altered books, which I was really interesting and I could get completely distracted but I have so much else to do that I had better restrain myself at this stage. We were asked to find 20 words from newspapers and magazines and arrange these into a random sentence. Using photocopies of found items we then constructed a basic fold book.

Some excitement on Saturday as I was pleased to find that someone in California has bought one of my embroidered bags, which was a nice surprise.

Monday, September 24, 2007


The main theme for my course until the end of November is Reuse. It is a really wide theme when you start to look into the way artists have reused ideas and cultural norms from the past in their work. I am only just touching the tip of the iceberg at the moment. I had to make something as well, which was a more obvious path for me. It was something of a light relief to be honest.

I collected a pile of packaging, it’s surprising how quickly this is done, and then worked out how to use the plastic instead of fabric to make a bowl. I intend to make some paper beads, probably from colour supplements, to hang around the edge. It actually feels very firm and quite nice.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Derek Jarman's Garden

Last Wednesday 49 of us went on a site visit to Dungeness in Kent. I hadn’t heard much about the place until the visit, but it is a favourite place for photographers and artists. There are numerous images on Flickr of the area and a current workshop on ‘Workshop on the Web’ is by Gwen Hedley who has used inspiration from the area extensively in her work.
It was a gloriously sunny day. We worked in small groups with the brief to make a structure at least a metre high from debris found on the shingle beach. It is the largest area of shingle in Europe and also a Nature Reserve. We also had to take at least 10 photos and make 10 drawings/ sketches. It was all a bit of a rush with no time to really get the atmosphere of the place, but as far as working together and achieving some kind of an outcome it was successful. The topic for the work which will continue over the next weeks is Reuse.
We had the chance to visit the garden of Derek Jarman,artist and Film Producer, at Prospect Cottage. He spent his final years there and used rusted machinery parts and bits of weathered wood to fashion a garden in the flat shingle surrounding his fisherman's cottage.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Enrolment Week

This week I started my Art and Design Access Course along with about 50 other people of all sorts of ages and backgrounds. It was exhausting even though mostly I was listening and trying to absorb new information. I hope to keep up my blog and document some of the work and ideas from the course which is two days a week. There seems to be an overwhelming amount of work this term so we shall see; I hope not to disappear but if I do you will know what I am up to. The project I dread most at this stage is 3DD design, when apparently we have to package an egg securely and send it safely throught the post; I'm not very acurate at cutting and measuring.

Material experimentation on Friday was not too much of a challenge as our group got Hessian, tracing paper, wire, and thread to work with. Not to speak of a needle! We had a list of words to interpret such as layering, scratching, binding, interlacing, transparency. It reminded me of one of my first embroidery experiments which was Drawn Thread Work and we used Hessian then; at that time we went on to needleweaving..

I worked some small samples and then laced them together. I stitched a sort of maths formula and withdrew some threads. I liked the little packages holding the withdrawn threads.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Harvest time.

This weekend was sunny and quite hot, and the fields around here have been harvested. This is the view from my front garden which looks up at the field opposite, every few years there is a crop there and it is quite a sight to see how quickly it is harvested and tidied into round bails.

Can you spot the man with the gun shooting the poor rabbits as they scuttle out seeking safety?
This is small pouch I made earlier this year inspired by the view and practising with Transfer Paints.
If you pop over to Flickr you can see my attempt at practising both my drawing and computer skills on“The Art of Anatomy”. This is an interesting group on Flickr and have a look at Crunchcandy to see a contemporary slant on embroidery.

Monday, August 20, 2007


This months Etsy UK Challenge is on the theme of ‘Clouds’. I’ve have made a small bowl, four inches high. I made it in the same way as last months piece but did the shaping round a three dimensional piece,which I haven’t tried before. Once again using beads, this time round plastic ones. I found the trick was to use fine thread rather than a heavy cord to do the tying.

It is made of Merino tops with wisps of silk tops.

I have also been practising with Photoshop as you can see; not in a very expert way but I’m always pleased to get a result.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Pencil Case

I made myself a pencil case this week out of a piece of fabric on which I used up my left over acrylic paint after the monoprinting session. It is a remnant of really heavy duty furnishing fabric almost like a canvas so it is very suitable. It is lined with the left over monoprints on which I practised my digitised designs. The point behind this is that I think it is a sort of displacement activity, because I am getting nervous about starting my Access to Art and Design Course in September, only a few weeks away. This is for two days a week at The University for Creative Arts at Farnham.

If I have a rubber and all my pencils sharpened perhaps it will be OK, rather like I used to feel when getting ready for exams at school.

The other pic is of a small pouch made with some of the brushed cotton which was low immersion dyed and lined with a piece of ordinary cotton dyed in the same way. The lining is lovely shades of acidy green and yellow. I like it and I think the large mother of pearl button works. So why did I make this – well just to keep my mind off other things!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Busy weekend.

This has been a busy time with both my sons visiting. The local Horticultural Society had their summer show, and as my husband organises it I have to try and take part. In the summer there is a photo section but no handicrafts. There were over 300 entries in total for all the classes and a lovely display of flowers and produce despite the torrential rains over recent weeks.

This is a view of our village taken last winter.

This was a scene on the road around the Dingle Peninsula taken during our recent holiday in Ireland. A really dramatic spot, taken towards the end of the day when the light was going and suddenly coming across this group in white set against the black rock.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


This month’s challenge on the UK Etsy Flickr site was a bit mind boggling.
I decided, mainly because I didn’t have any other thoughts on it, to shape some felt using shibori techniques to look like pills. At first I couldn’t think what to use to get the right size but then I remembered a large bag of beads which were just the right shape and size.

I used white merino tops and felted two layers onto a piece of muslin

It gradually came together then with red beads and some lettering on strips of silk.
At first it was going to be in a frame but I couldn’t get the photo right and so decided to manipulate it a bit in Paint Shop Pro using lights and a jagged frame. So far someone has made a Pill Box felt hat, which is a great idea - have a look.

Have a look at my new link to see if you are featured in my Poster for the Etsy Competition.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


This week I went to see the Antony Gormley Blind Light exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London. He is well known in England for his sculpture The Angel of the North at Gateshead. He uses his own body as ‘subject, tool and material’. There was a great deal to see and experience, including a cloud-filled glass box, which you enter after reading a disclaimer to say you have no health conditions which would make it a hazard and are not of a nervous disposition. Unfortunately, reading this made me feel truly full of trepidation, and hanging on to the sides I realized that it seemed to sum up my whole attitude to life - not a risk taker. The aim is to disorientate and increase awareness of ones own body space.

From the viewing gallery you can see ‘Event Horizon’ which consists of 27 fibreglass and 4 cast iron figures spread out across London’s skyscape all facing towards the gallery. Lots of interaction with people trying to spot figures on both sides of the Thames. I particularly enjoyed the groups of photographs which are like the artists sketch book showing how his inspiration for the sculptures came together from views of the landscape and architecture. Well worth a visit if you have the opportunity.

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