Monday, 25 January 2016

Dionne Swift Developing sketchbooks course

I have just finished an online Developing Sketchbooks course run by Dionne Swift. I would highly recommend her courses as they are so inspirational. I hadn't created a colourful sketchbook since my City and Guild's days but instead concentrated on lifelike pencil drawings of plants. birds and butterflies. This course made me open my mind to lots of new possibilities regarding colour, form and flow, all done in a relaxed, experimental manner. It will now encourage me , not necessarily looking at the whole of something, but to look at the world in a different way, exploring its constituent parts. I am very much looking forward to my next course with her which is Drawing for Textiles. Below are some of the images from my new sketchbook.

The lower part of the pink image is coloured by painting beetroot juice on it and then rubbing a cut piece of beetroot on top to give it those lovely smudges.
The image with the pink circles had as it's base inked hand made paper, stitched with free machining and the circles are various fluffy threads embellished on top.
I have experimented in my sketchbook with torn shapes, printing, punching holes, overlaying media and many other techniques. The use of negative spaces was also explored.
My next sketchbook is going to be based on winged creatures so I will be looking carefully at all their various parts to extract design elements.
One of the big bonuses of doing an online course has been interacting on Facebook with the other participants, being inspired by their ingenuity and different ways of seeing.

Monday, 18 January 2016

The Butterfly effect

The second of my pieces in the "Air" competition is called The Butterfly Effect. .For this work I again did a background of hand made felt using pre dyed merino and Nepalese wool. The tornado shape was added to the base level with white merino wool,
I decided to hand stitch a large butterfly using a small needle and single stranded cottons with the template being a Peacock butterfly which are frequent visitors to my garden. It was quite tricky getting the patterns to match as I did it by eye, not having drawn all the internal shapes out as I felt this gave a more natural finish. There is a line of merino wool going from one wing to the tornado to mimic the effect of the butterfly flapping its wing and thus having a direct influence on the formation of the storm.
I visited London 2 weeks before Christmas and went to the Museum of Food near Southwark which was very small and only open for a few months but they are hoping to get funding for a large permanent museum on that theme.
One of the areas was a butterfly house with many exotic butterflies, the idea being to make a link between food and some of the vital pollinators. See one of those butterflies below.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Birds of Paradise

I have 2 entries in the annual Hodgson Loom Competition. This year the theme is air. I have taken the quote from the Gospel of Matthew which starts-All the birds of the air.
I did research on different types of Birds of Paradise and other exotic birds and did sketches of them, see one of them below. I made a felted background using bought merino and Nepalese wool in varying shades of blue to represent different layers of the atmosphere. I then hand stitched each bird with tiny stitches using a beading needle and stranded cotton. Finally I did Kantha stich all over the background to give a sense of movement. A photo of the finished work is shown below along with a few individual birds.