Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Autumn by the river

I usually enjoy my walks by the river, but I have to admit this one was a bit of a challenge, as it was very cold and the air felt damp. The autumn colours of the leaves were beautiful  though.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Tag Tuesday-Halloween

The theme for this week's Tag Tuesday is Halloween.
 I have used the collage I made for Collage Obsession a couple of weeks ago for the theme WITCHES. I have used an image from The Graphics Fairy for the witch. You can read about my method in an earlier post.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Book To Read- How to bring the Outside Inside

 This delightful book, How to bring the Outside Inside by Helen Ellery offers advice about decorating your home according to the seasons, changing accessories such as cushions and blinds to reflect the weather outside.
There are great ideas such as the pumpkin chair cover, toffee apple cushion and blackberry throw.
I still haven't made any of the projects, but enjoy looking through the book periodically.
Maybe this year I will make one! 
Diana Taylor in her blog Velvet Moth Studio  has been posting about changing the interior decor for  autumn, which reminded me of this book. I hope you like it, Diana!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Wood blocks from Colouricious

Look what arrived for me in the post this morning! I do love getting parcels! I couldn't resist this set of printing blocks from Colouricious. They are hand carved from wood in India. I also bought a foam mat to use underneath when printing. Now I am going to learn as much as I can about block printing. You may notice some of these gorgeous designs in my future projects.

Friday, 26 October 2012


 I was inspired by Diana Taylor's blog, Velvet Moth Studio , where she posted some great  photos of hydrangeas. I have been meaning to photograph these hydrangeas I see when walking near my house for a while. I thought they would have turned into full seed heads buy now and was surprised they still had so much colour.  The photos are arranged so they show progression to decay. I liked the holes in the second photo and the skeleton leaf in the third contrasted with the strong pink in the first.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Textures at the Ashmolean

Here are some photos of textures I found at the Ashmolean museum in Oxford.  

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Tag Tuesday-Seed heads

The theme for this week's Tag Tuesday 
is SEED HEADS. Those of you  who have been reading my blog for a while will know that I really like seed heads, and am delighted to see that Carolyn has chosen one of my favourite themes! I have decided to use some tags I made last year when I was exploring this theme. You can see my earlier post and a description of how I did the pieces on my blog  here. Just scroll down the page till you find the post  Seed heads-experiments in textiles dated 24/01/2012. If you click on the photos you can see the close ups.

I made four pieces from the same source photo, a collage made from snippets of voile, a  newspaper collage, a stitched combination of voile and newspaper and a stitched voile piece.


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Book Review-How to Be Creative in Textile Art

I came across this book, How To Be Creative in Textile Art  
        by Julia Triston and Rachel Lombardin our local library, and was so impressed by it that I bought it a couple of days later! 

This is a great book if you are interested in stitched textiles and
 are looking for guidance to turn your ideas into your own artworks. Beginners or advanced students or artists/practitioners would be equally inspired by the ideas outlined by Julia and Rachel.

The book is clearly set out, with wonderful photographs. You could use the book to take you right through the journey of making a piece in stitched textiles.
The first chapter GATHERING shows how to start off collating information and source materials, suggests some themes and talks about sketchbooks. There are so many ideas and suggestions to inspire creativity, right through to the last chapter FINALIZING DESIGNS AND CREATING YOUR OWN TEXTILE.

I was particularly taken by the suggestions about keeping theme sketchbooks, and as soon as I had read that bit, I went off and found some books from my sketchbook collection (I bet you have one too!) and stuck in the loose pieces of source photos and cuttings that were all together in a shoe box. I am delighted with the results as I now have several ideas books in progress, and if I come across something connected to the theme, I know exactly where to put it.

I absolutely adore this book! I wish it had been available when I started my City and Guilds course in Embroidery and Stitched Textiles! I feel that it holds a lot of answers to questions I had then and now, and am sure that it will help me to progress with my textiles work. 

Friday, 19 October 2012


This is a collage I made for the weekly challenge of Collage Obsession, where this week's theme is Witches.
For the background I used layers of papers and fabrics and painted over them in blues.
The rooftops were made from similar layers of papers and fabrics and painted reddish purple. For the moon I used some Indian paper which was very thick and textured. The witch is made from black card, and her silhouette is courtesy of The Graphics Fairy, where the image came from. 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Windows and doorways in Oxford

 When I was in Oxford the other day I noticed these lovely shaped church windows and doorways. 


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Tag Tuesday-Rust

The theme for Tag Tuesday this week is Rust.

I was a bit stuck for ideas for my Rust tag at first, then I remembered  a technique I had learned whilst doing my City and Guilds in Embroidery and Stitched Textiles, using a heat gun. I thought this would be just the thing to reproduce the idea of rust peeling away. 

I took a piece of  synthetic organza which I had previously stitched, together with some Lutrador, and heated them with the heat gun, which caused them to shrivel at different rates.

I used pelmet vilene for the background and painted it with Burnt Umber acrylic. Then I added some hand stitch with rust coloured ribbon. I would have put more stitch in, but it was really difficult to do, so I decided less would be more!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Brickwork-Reading Minster

 These are photos of the brickwork of Reading Minster of St. Mary-the-Virgin, in Reading town centre. I really like the way the size of the stones was varied, to give interest and detail to the 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Autumn leaves

Autumn has arrived, with the leaves beginning to change colour.  I like the shadow of the beech tree thrown against the house, and the lovely russet tones of the Virginia creeper.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Winter Hare Collage

This term I am not attending any classes, so that I can concentrate on finishing off projects and do some de-cluttering  and organising in my studio. I have just finished off this picture which I started last term in my art class. I drew the hare with fine liner pens and painted in a watercolour background. However, I felt it was crying out for some mixed media treatment and really wanted to add some texture to it in the form of collage.

For the winter sky background I collaged small strips of very fine white tissue paper, which were then painted in watercolour. For the foreground I painted some thicker tissue paper with Brusho paints, and applied thicker strips of it to put him in a field.

I have also posted this onto a blog which I follow, Collage Obsession, as the theme this week is Brown.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Tag Tuesday-Rainy days

This week the theme for Tag Tuesday is Rainy days.

A rainy day tag seems very appropriate, as we get a lot of rain in the Uk!
I kept thinking of The Carpenters old hit "Rainy days and Mondays always get me down". As a matter of fact I don't mind rainy days or Mondays! I found the background in a magazine  it seemed perfect for a rainy day. I drew on it with Twinkling H2O paints and rubbed in Treasure Gold, which gives a blurred effect. Then I stuck on crystal raindrops and wrote the words with a calligraphy pen. I photographed my tag on top of my umbrella!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Sashiko-my finished samples

Since I bought a fabric with Sashiko patterns pre-printed on it, I have been busy learning how to do this Japanese embroidery. At first it seems a little awkward, as the needle is rather large, but I soon adapted to the different way of stitching. I backed the fabric with some dark blue linen, which is open weave and easy to take the needle through. I have used the Purl Bee tutorial that I told you about in a previous post, together with Susan Briscoe's book on Sashiko, which I also mentioned in a previous post. I have to tell you I am really enjoying doing the Sashiko, and look forward to the next pattern each time I finish one. I have a few more patterns left to do, so watch this space for some more photos. The white markings will wash out when it is finished.
Here are the patterns I have completed so far:-

This pattern is called Raimon or Inazuma. I used a variegated Sashiko thread.

This pattern is called Seigaiha or Blue Ocean Waves, stitched in white which is traditional for Sashiko.

This pattern is called Ogi or Fan Motif, again stitched in traditional white.

This pattern is called Kikko (which means tortoiseshell), stitched with yellow thread.

This pattern is called Shippo Tsunagi or Seven Linked Treasures, stitched with variegated thread.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Sashiko -Purl Bee


Whilst browsing the internet for information about Sashiko, I came across this brilliant site which gives a tutorial about this Japanese embroidery. I found it very helpful, with clear instructions and photos. 

The photo is from the blog page of Purl Bee, which is the craft blog from the New York store Purl Soho. The blog is packed full of information, ideas and instructions for making things. I like the way it is set out, and it is very easy to find a topic, whether it is knitting, sewing, crochet, craft or embroidery. I have only just discovered Purl Bee, and I can't stop myself from reading the blog archives and looking at the patterns! 

There is also an on-line store for fabric and yarn supplies and other crafting products, which has  beautiful colour photos of the stock and even a chance to shop by colour!


At the weekend I went for a walk with Richard along the river at Henley. I love the textures of the old buildings and of the church. It's really pleasant to stroll along the river into the town and browse the shops, finishing off with a nice cup of tea and a piece of cake.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Squash box

I couldn't resist taking a photo of my Squash Box which arrived on my doorstep from Riverford. I am intending to cook them, at some point, but think they make great works of art. 

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Tag Tuesday-Autumn Leaves

This week the theme for Tag Tuesday  is Autumn Leaves.
I wanted to use this tree stamp for this tag, and had thought about sticking on falling leaves, but it was just too small. Instead I coloured in the leaves in felt tip. Orange was the only colour that showed up, the red and yellow I tried were too insipid. I chose blue and green for the background and cut these pieces from an old paint chart. The maple leaves were also cut from the chart using a cutter I bought in the States. The whole thing is backed with corrugated cardboard, which is very stiff and came as packaging with some paintbrushes. It's always satisfying to make a tag using things that are lying around the house!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Library Books-Shibori

Along with the Sashiko book I have been reading, I took a book out from the library on Shibori. I seem to have a bit of Japanese theme going on at the moment! This book by Mandy Southan appealed to me, initially because of the vibrant colours and textures on the cover. The book was as colourful and full of interesting photos as I had hoped. As well as the wonderful photos, the book is full of information and instruction about this Japanese art of dyeing fabric. If you are looking for a new project, Mandy Southan's book will guide you through this exciting technique. Of course, if you just want to browse and enjoy the photos, then I recommend that too!