Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Paper and Fabric

As promised, a couple of samples from the Louise Baldwin class at City Lit., this was the Paper Rolling and Binding session. As you can see, I got completely carried away, finally dipping my samples in Soy Wax, stamping and spraying with my newly acquired products and generally going right over the top.

Bits of dyed fabric, chocolate wrappers , tomato paste tubes and a goose feather all feature here. The spray ink is by Craftynotions and is called ‘Shake‘n’Spray’; it is quite expensive but has a nice lustre.

I have used Soy Wax for a recent workshop and although great for washing quickly out of fabric, and being better for the environment than other waxes, I don’t really like the smell and it seems rather soft for any collage/ embedding type work.
More snow is expected over the next few days. I am looking forward to getting back into routine now, and so fed full of turkey that we may have fish and chips tonight!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

'and the winners are'.

Chosen by that random number generator the winners are:

corduroy cat

Please contact me by e-mail (see Profile) and I will forward your prize which is:

By the way if the lace get squashed in the post you can restore its shape by a very gentle iron under a cloth.

Again please send me your details and your prize will be sent:

Congratulations, and thanks to all those who were interested to enter.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mixed Media

As I mentioned I am part way through a five week evening class on Paper and Mixed Media Surfaces. The tutor is Louise Baldwin whose work I have admired for many years and some of you may have been lucky enough to see her exhibition at the Knit and Stitch Show this year. On the first week we were provided with some very tactile neutral coloured paper from Falkiners to just cut up and stitch as we liked; I feel sure that ordinarily I would have still been preserving these lovely paper and just getting them out of the drawer for the occasional stroke. On the second week I went to the British Museum before the course and happened across a shop full of rubber stamps,inks, magazines and just about everything one doesn't really need but can hardly do without. So I bought some spray inks and a handwriting stamp, which as you can see I then began to use on all my samples.
One of the things I like about the course is that there are lots of interesting samples which provide ideas for future experiments. Some people on the course had never used a sewing machine, and others had not free machined, and I must say that I think they were very brave. Some of the samples are folded and pleated to make them articulated; others are stitched shreds of paper with machining over the holes. One surface was made by crinkling up tissue and machining over the top to produce a new textured surface.

Don’t forget the giveaway is active until December 8th.
This is a link with free video demonstrations by textile artists which is interesting, and originally appeared on Sky TV(Talking Threads).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blog Give-away.

This is my first give away. Firstly, it’s aimed to thank all the people who have joined my followers list to keep me Blogging, especially those who have said ‘hello’. If I don’t always get back to you it’s usually because there is some problem in finding your site or other hang-up
Secondly, it is hopefully to promote the Hand Embroidery Network’s new on-line courses. I have had fun and some hard work writing two of these and there is already quite a variety from which to choose. They are live now and start on November 21st.
There will be a forum area where feed back and discussion can take place.

If you want to take part in the give away, which will be a small piece handmade by me, please say ‘hello’ and even better also take a look at the HEN site.
I will make the draw on December 8th and you will need to check back then to find out if you are a winner, of which there will be two.
I will be using a random number generator, so no favourites.

I promise it will not be Baked Beans.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I made another piece of felt last week using pieces of sari ribbon and banana fibre for texture and colour. I enjoyed watching the texture develope as I machined.

It was a really busy week as I had a stall at two craft fairs. I always think I will stop doing these but usually say ‘yes’ when asked; I do have a different outlook now which is just to enjoy the day and hopefully chat to a few people who are interested in the techniques I have used, of course, I hope at least to cover the cost of being there. Its also funny how something you have decided must be awful as it has been around for so long, suddenly finds the right person, who likes it enough to want to give it a home.

I also went up to London on Friday evening to a five week course run by Louise Baldwin on ‘Structure with Paper and Fabric’. I think it will be good, but tiring as I’m not good after 10pm and got back about 11.30pm, partly due to a tree down on the line.
We machined different textures of paper and made samples in neutral colours. I’ll post some of them later on.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Exciting News

As two of my courses are included in the Hen tuition section.

Today, finally the HEN online tuition has gone live! This is the first wave of creative embroidery and textile courses available through the HEN. Over the next few months and into the New Year we hope to be adding to these courses. All courses are provided with online tutor feedback which you can choose to take part in or work on your own, at your own pace, in your own time. Courses include; creating an Embroidered Journal with Victoria Payne (Freedom of Stitch), Painted Kantha with Jackie Bowcutt (Stitchworks) and Customising Clothing with Rebecca Hywel-Jones. As well as courses on stumpwork, ribbon work and creative sketchbooks.

For further details and to purchase a course please visit: Hand Embroidery Network Tuition.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Originally uploaded by DBO PONDERS

This is part of the work which was done by my son; he worked really hard, and both designed and painted the whole area all by himself. It is in a pub called The Zepplin Shelter because it is in an area of London where there were actually attacks by Zepplins in the First World War. If you go there be sure and tell the owner how great the art work is and ask him if he thinks he may have ripped off the artist by paying him exactly nothing! Click on it to see more on Flickr.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

'Mark Making and Stitch'

I had a very enjoyable day on Saturday as one of the workshops I had organized actually ran. There were seven students for the five hour workshop. It was really satisfying to see them get pleasure out of the plan I had organized and to be so enthusiastic. We started with mark making, then basic monoprinting and then interpreting parts of their design work in stitch.
Above is one of my samples from my City and Guilds course and the other samples are from the book I worked on to go with the workshop. Click on the first pictures to see more detail.

I hope more workshops will follow in 2010 and if anyone is interested and doesn’t live on the other side of the world, the contact number for The Hurst, Tadley is
0118 9812918 or email to marie.rodwell@hurst.hants.sch.uk

I also ran a short introduction to wax resist last week at Doodles a local craft shop. This was by request as I am in no way claiming to be an expert at Batik. It went well but there were only two people there, and it is quite a lot of work for such a small uptake.
By the way I learned a lesson – don’t try carrying a pot of melted wax in your car because it slops all down the sides. We live and learn. I have started using Soy wax which is excellent as it is workable for longer and environmentally friendly.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Felt Jewellery

Just for fun and because I had seen the tutors’ work at Art in Action I went along to the City Lit in London for a one day introduction to felt jewellery. It was enjoyable but I was slightly disappointed as we were told there was not long enough to learn how to string beads which I had thought was on the course details. The tutor was Heather Belcher and she is very keen on carding wool prior to use. She showed an examples of two pieces of felt one carded and one not; certainly the carded one had much more visual texture. I think I got the hang of it better than previously and it seemed much less arduous. There is plenty of information about how to string beads on line- even videos.

We made felt tubes and felt balls and use elastic thread to make them into bracelets.

Here is a link to the work of Angela O'Kelly who makes some interesting pieces. One of my favourites jewellery artists is here, I particularly like her brooches.

Everyone seems to have different ways of making their felt. The tutor used a piece of calico to rub the wool inside rather than net, which is probably better as it doesn't get so stuck in the material.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A day out in Winchester/Japan

It was a lovely sunny day in Winchester yesterday and I tried to appreciate it in the way a visitor of mine recently did. Firstly I went to the University library to see the touring book art exhibition ‘Micro-Pages. Well done to Abigail Thomas for organizing this; its travelling around so do go if you have the chance. See my previous post for venues.
I then went to the Discovery Centre to ‘Quilt Secrets' a collection of quilts both traditional, from the County Council’s collection and contemporary work. I enjoyed the glimpses into peoples work boxes from the past and the work of Diana Harrison .Then in the same building ‘Tradition and Transition’ an exhibition of new work by the Winchester Embroiderers’ Guild.
What a feast but not finished yet – there are lots of charity shops in the city. Sometimes I wonder why I keep on looking at what is sometimes a lot of samey junk but this is what keeps me looking!
Priced at £2 because they couldn’t work out what it was – a lovely silk hankie and two face flannels, each velvet on one side. I looked up Wako/Japan today to find it is an exclusive department store in the ‘sophisticate city of Ginza’; specializing in luxury items. ‘Built in 1932, the curved building with a clock tower faces the Ginza Yonchome intersection and adopts a Neo-Renaissance style to its design.
The latest high-precision Seiko Quartz model is used as the clock for the clock tower and the Westminster-style chime of bellsring to tell the time on the hour every hour.' So two cities for the price of one!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Big Draw

On Friday this week I went along to a workshop organized as part of The Big Draw which is now an annual event in England to encourage drawing. I looked on the website in time this year and found there was a whole day organized around map art at New Greenham Arts Centre.
It was called ‘A short walk in the Big Landscape’ to coincide with an exhibition there of landscape paintings. We had three artists from the studios guiding us through a series of drawing activities, and a display of work by artists who use maps as inspiration. Should you want to see these drawings, done by the whole group, in more detail just click on the image.
This was all free and on top of this we had a free lunch with chocolate brownies – and yet half the people who booked didn’t bother to turn up. I must say it was their loss.
Greenham Common, for those who don’t know, is the former missile base, where the women’s’ peace camp was for many years.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Impulse Buys

I enjoyed my visit to the Knit and Stitch on Sunday. Its three years since I was there, which I think is a good thing as everything seemed a bit fresher. In The Art of the Stitch Exhibition I saw work by two of the artists I had written about for my Diploma essay, Rosie James and Shizuko Kimura, but whose work I had only previously seen in pictures. As soon as I walked in I started seeing examples of embroidery using maps which is nice as my day service group are right on trend.
The work that I found most inspiring was the experimental work of Dionne Swift, who is currently printing onto felt and experimenting with fabric manipulation in terms of repetition. You can see some of her work on her website and blog.

These are my impulse buys banana fibre and sari ribbon. I watched a good demonstration of felting using the smooth side of bubble wrap to start off the felting process in a gentle way when including fabric pieces. I had to have a go using my new supplies.
I asked a dumb question about why we are advised to use Olive Oil Soap but at least I found out why, having always wondered. You get fewer suds, of course!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I have been working on some felt using Lisa Klakulak’s method of free machining to build up texture; obviously this is only in a very amateur way. I have a video of her teaching her method which shows how she has perfected her technique over many years.

It is fun to try but as any work with felt very time consuming.

I first made some prefelt, and then cut out shapes to lay on my base piece of felt.
I then machined round the shapes to raise them from the surface, before working into some of the shapes to produce more pattern and texture.

I made a couple of beaded brooches with some of the prefelt. It was thicker than the previous piece I made so I ended up compacting more of the surface rather than pulling the felt together to give shape. This reminded me of some work on felt I did a long time ago where I added metallic powder mixed with Ormoline Fabric Medium to the shapes, so that’s what I did. A scarf like this would be really nice and tactile; I'll put that on my list. I'm off to the Knit and Stitch Show tomorrow, so no doubt I'll come back with lots of new ideas for my list.
Thanks to those of you who joined my Followers List to keep me blogging.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Another Treasury here Lovely title 'Autumn spiked with Turquoise'.
Its nice to be chosen.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Transfer Paints

This morning I am preparing for a short workshop as an introduction to the possibilities of using Transfer Paints.
Of course the first thing I need is a list- having been to a workshop without sponges for people to use and only being saved by good luck, i.e. they kept sponges for the children’s workshops in the same building, I am careful to make my list- it doesn’t always work !!

I worked some samples again and found I was getting into it – like any media, the more you experiment the better and more satisfying the results.

This is a detail of a fern leaf I transfer printed and then stitched. I've no idea where the real thing is; I think I must have 'sold' or rather 'given it away' at a craft fair.
Not many people at the workshop, but very enjoyable as they produced some really experimental work.
By the way, I've put a Followers widget on my blog; many thanks to those of you who come back and keep me blogging.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Artists' Book Exhibition

Banks Street Arts 2nd Artists' Book Exhibition here.

October 8th - October 31st
2nd Sheffield Artist's Book Prize
10.00 am - 5.00 pm
Eighty artists' books from around the world on show during the Off The Shelf Festival. Come and vote for your favourite .

Saturday, October 03, 2009

therainbowgirl Treasury

A nice surprise to be in this treasury of felt and stitch. See it here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Generally messing about and needing to get out of the doldrums.

I was trying to remember how to make a felt bowl as it is a long time since I made one. Well this turned out tiny enough to make into a little pin cushion. I used the wool I brought back from Ireland and so tirelessly washed and combed – before finding it wasn’t much good for felting – to fill the pin cushion
I tied in tiny buttons to shape the edge and a piece of acquired dyed blanket for the top. So there you go.

Book give-away on the Hand Embroidery Network here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spindle Tree

This is quite fun to work on – I must admit it took me a year to get round to taking the photographs.

In a drawing class we took some hedgerow ‘shrubs’ apart and drew the leaves, the thorns, fruit, etc. It was so long ago that I have lost the original drawings but you get the idea.

I then printed the drawings out on some thicker paper and made a little accordion book with the idea of putting in some photos of my chosen ‘shrub’ i.e. the Spindle Tree. Having been out blackberrying this week I remembered the project and brought home some pieces to photograph.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

'The Windmills of your Mind'.

I’ve had a busy week so far. I was pleased with myself this morning having remembered how to set up a DVD slide show for my group next week; we are going to start a project on Map Art/Memory Maps. Thanks to the generosity of people on the web and great links to artists on people’s blogs I found some really interesting images to inspire them. I’ve bought some clay so we will be working with that and maps from a charity shop. I went to a mini workshop earlier this year with Kim Pilgrim who used the idea of Memory Maps, and she said it was OK for me to use the idea with the clients of the day centre where I work. I am quite excited about it and hope they are too.

These images are linked to another project. More about that if it comes to fruition. I wonder if all this activity is to deal with my disappointment about the evening classes. No, I just think that I easily move on.
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