Thursday, April 26, 2018

#100daysofstitch : Week 3

I decided to join #The100DayProject and my focus is #100daysofstitch. As I completed Week 2, I was almost finished my Sue Spargo-inspired piece, and I decided to try a decorative stitch (rosette chain) around the wings of my green butterfly
I really enjoy the juxtaposition of the soft felt and hand stitching with the hard beads and harder line of the rayon machine stitching. When I was thinking about whether this might be included in a fabric book at some stage, I decided that I needed to square up this piece before I can call it complete
I just machine zigzagged another piece of felt to the left using the same yellow rayon I've used elsewhere on this piece - it ties in beautifully colour-wise with the silk that I couched down. And at this stage I'm calling it done (Day 16/100). Depending on where I go with ideas of a book, that new piece of felt might be lost in the binding so we'll see if I need added embellishment in that section. Several years ago, I hand-felted this piece which may turn out to be a book cover one day
My direction moving forward is to include stitch wherever I can : 
1. Mixed media projects where I am using my hand stitching as an embellishment in combination with my machine
2. Quilts
3. I love using my machine with paper so I want to add stitch to art journal projects in various ways.
Day 17/100 I turned {back} to the wonderful online Stitch*Bookery class with Mary Ann Moss (currently on special : $20 off until 1st of May) This is just first and most recent day of this project, I'll give full details in a separate blog post once complete. I began with gatherings
Yesterday (day 22/100) the project looked like this (please click on the photo to see the lovely details) : 
I've decided to mix some fabric details with the paper ♥
This morning, I've done some gatherings for another project which I'll hopefully be able to share progress on in my report on Week 4....
I'm sharing every few days on my instagram account (daily became too much of a tie) with a weekly summary here on the blog. This challenge is really working in bringing stitch back into my {almost}-daily creative practice ♥

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Moonshine : You are the storm

Effy Wild is blogging every day this month and on Day 4 she shared the PDF which she wrote for us for Moonshine for April. If you've been curious about the kinds of things I'm learning about in this class, take a look HERE. You can dig in deep, or you can just make pretty art. The art she shares in that post was one of her full moon paintings and was the visual for the writing prompt for Journal 52 Week 13 "Embodied". 
This lesson inspired my art below. As part of SHINE, it's about time I concentrated on the H : HEALTHY : Good eating + Gym habit = Energised * Be mindful * Rest
I think I'll have most success if I create a journal for my journey which also supports :
INNER WORK : Self-care and self-compassion * Affirmations * Explore intuition and inner wisdom via Tarot and Oracle cards * Build inner strength/belief in myself through written journaling.
So first off, I found an old ring binder to alter and covered it with gesso (scraped on with an old credit card). 
I love the red peeking through since one of my favourite colour combos is Turquoise and Red - not sure how much will still be there once I've done my base layer. Let's see
Stencil layers make me so very happy ♥ Note, however, that you can create something unexpected - my initial attempt at this lesson turned into Quirky Owls! Added some more red and my figure (remember you can click on any photo to see it larger)
More work on the figure - I used a baby wipe to remove some of that red so I could see more of the background. In a happy accident, as I tried to draw her breast line in, the pen removed the layers of paint to reveal the red folder colour beneath. I went with it and scratched the lines instead with the blunt end of a pencil.
And although I love Effy's version, I'm leaving my background in it's grungy, stenciled state = looks more like me I think. Especially once I added some stars for Shine. This symbol is so powerful for me.
This is now my healthy work journal. 
I like the ring binder format so I can organise my thoughts and move things around as different areas become more useful. But mostly, I now love my artful body cover and I can feel the winds of change lifting me ♥
You can sign up for this and other classes by Effy Wild HERE. See my Flickr album of all art work inspired by Effy's classes HERE. Also note Journal 52 currently available on special for $20 for the year until end of April (link includes her writing of a prompt for Journal 52 which ties in with the Moonshine free PDF) or on Effy's Patreon account from $5 per month. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

1000th POST ♥ The Kindness of strangers = A Blog giveaway!

This is my 1000th post!! I can't believe I've got to that milestone. I still love blogging although I know that blogs are a bit "old school" in some people's eyes. It's a really lovely way to keep a record of my process for myself and also to share my creative journey to hopefully to inspire others along the way. I live in New Zealand and I'm so lucky that I've met some awesome people around the world as a result of my blogging and online participation in classes.
Earlier this year I was contacted by a lovely woman who was wanting to downsize some of her books and mixed media items. She had met me at a craft fair, and continues to see what I'm up to on this blog and very generously gave me some beautiful items. I was very excited to receive some books that I have borrowed from the library in the past that now can live happily on my own bookshelf and am sooooo happy that I will be able to make use of these gorgeous indian printing blocks
There were some books that I was able to gift on to friends, but I thought it might be nice to share one on the blog as a giveaway for my New Zealand readers to celebrate this blog milestone. I am sorry I can't share this with my overseas followers as well, but the cost of postage is just so expensive - it might end up to be worth more than the book! Please know that I appreciate your visits, and if you leave a comment, that's an especially happy day for me ♥
I already own this book and it is by one of my favourite artists. Take a peek inside via Amazon HERE. Although published a while ago, it remains a regular source of inspiration and if you are new to mixed media or it's just missed your radar, I highly recommend it.
Beryl Taylor inspired my Indian Wall Hanging. If you click on that link it links in turn to all my blogposts about the techniques used to make this.
It remains one of my favourite projects. The book is in almost-new condition. I hope someone would like to have it. If you've got a New Zealand address, please leave a comment here OR on my FB Artist page telling me why you'd like to win and I'll do a random draw a week from now - next Tuesday night (New Zealand time).
I look forward to sharing the love. Please check back on this post Wednesday 2nd May to see if you've won. Good luck.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Quirky Owls

This was a page in my art journal that began innocently enough as a layered background.
My next stage was to doodle and highlight before blocking in a figure, but as I sat on the couch, my mother was sitting to my right and exclaimed "What cute owls"! Then I could see nothing else....and the page took a different turn. 
I was inspired by an old Life Book lesson about Quirky Birds. Isn't it lovely to be inspired by art 2 years later? 
I doodled, and I glazed, but I just couldn't alter the background cos I love it. 
The outcome is not where I expected to end up, and not my usual subject matter, but they make me smile.
It will always remind me of that visit from my Mum ♥

Free online workshop

I always like to pass on free online opportunities for learning. This one is called Sketchbook Revival and you can sign up HERE
The workshop officially begins April 23rd and runs through May 4th. Each day you'll get an email with links to the two sessions of the day. The artists leading the sessions will share their passions for creating in a sketchbook with everything from ink, to watercolor and mixed media, and also how sketchbooks can be tools for recording daily life, developing personal style, connecting with intution, emotional well being, and so much more.
You're free to do as many of the sessions as you’d like, from all to just a couple, whatever serves you best. 
**All sessions will be available until May 18th so there is plenty of time.
Not sure that that IS plenty of time, but sometimes a deadline can make you hone in on what you really want to learn. There's also a FB group to join. I figure even if there's one artist to inspire you, it's worth it. I know Tam from Willowing is teaching this : 
And you can find the entire list of teachers if you follow the link to sign up. Did you know I have a list (top right column beneath my profile) of all the cheap and free online art courses I've come across? Won't be adding this one because it's a short time frame, but that's worth checking out if you need fresh inspiration.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

#100daysofstitch : Week 2

I decided to join #The100DayProject and my focus is #100daysofstitch because this year, before this push, I wasn't stitching at all and I missed it. At the end of my first week, I'd done some machine stitching on cards, and my first hand stitching project looked like this.
Unfortunately the second week of this project has been derailed by me getting a terrible head cold - luckily it is school hols so I have been able to rest up. Not so luckily I had all these creative plans and I've not been able to do anything much with them so far. Initially I looked at books for inspiration instead of actually stitching courtesy of a lovely friend. According to my intentions for this project, this still counts 
and when I felt a bit better I managed some beading on both butterflies
Then I added a pop of lime felt and thought about threads for background additions
So I was still stitching but slowly...I might even say reluctantly
and then I had an epiphany! I was "Making" myself do this project for the challenge because I DO WANT TO STITCH but I was feeling a lot of resistance. This challenge has really confirmed for me that a totally hand-stitched embroidery project is not my jam! I already knew this {shakes head at self} - in 2010 I posted about how I had made 3 attempts to do some hand-applique and then gave it up for machining. I'm not sure why I thought that might have changed - I love the threads, I love the feel of the felt, I love Sue Spargo's gorgeous work, I love how mine is looking, but I was not loving the process. So on Day 14 I changed my approach to the block and added more machine stitching in the background, and suddenly I was happy again ♥  I then enjoyed adding the closed fly stitch to the butterfly body - cos it was a fun embellishment rather than a rule! I have to follow my heart.
Following the John Campbell quote - making my own path feels really good. 
I LOVE the juxtaposition of the machine stitched lines alongside the hand stitching
And yesterday, with the pressure gone to be restricted to hand stitching, I did some lovely hand stitching around the blue butterfly wings.
This is called Crested Chain Stitch. It's so pretty I might just use that one again to finish the green butterfly. You'll have to come back and see. So here's the story in stages so far.
Day 1 
End of week 1 (Day 8)
End of Week 2 (Day 15)
Only a day or 2 left (depending on wellness) to stitch on this project so I'm looking ahead to what's next? I have always had in the back of my mind that I need a place to put small stitchy things - experiments like this - when they're done, so I'm thinking there'll be a fabric book in my future....More immediately, let me reassure you that my gorgeous thread stash won't go to waste. This process has clarified/reminded me that I need to do more mixed media projects where I am using my hand stitching as an embellishment in combination with my machine like this
and this
I love using my machine with both fabric and paper, so as soon as I feel better I'm going to start a quilt and I am definitely keen to do another Stitch*Bookery project (which is currently on special : $20 off until 1st of May) I've only finished Day 15/100 so watch this space ♥ I'm sharing daily on my instagram account with a weekly summary here on the blog. Hope you check back to see where I take this challenge next and I don't go back to work until 30th April so hopefully some different projects to share as well soon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Happy Making

The anticipation of 2 weeks of school holidays gets me excited - I work in a school library so it's holiday time for me as well and my boys are teenagers so need little entertaining. It's the time for lots of creativity, tidying up my garden and the house....unfortunately I've started with a terrible head cold. Luckily it is school hols so I've been able to rest up. Not so luckily I had all these creative plans and I've not been able to do anything with them so far....I am feeling frustrated! While I continue with my #100daysofstitch challenge (will report more on Thursday) I haven't been able to do much else, 
but I missed talking to you so I've got some nice things together to share. 
I have made good use of Netflix! I have enjoyed watching/re-watching "Chocolat", "The Duchess", "Billy Elliot". I might re-watch "Anne with an E" yet. I adored that. If you have recommendations for similar to these please let me know. I am not better yet... 
Discovered this book at the library completely by accident :
Really lovely to look at - beautiful quotes - inspiring lettering - gorgeous illustrations.  Check out Katie Daisy's art website HERE to look at her work.
Did you buy the Art Bundle for Good #2? I did (no regrets - just wish I had more time to art - no surprises there!) and wondered if you knew that there have been 6 new classes added to replace 4 that stopped working - 2 of them are Tam classes so that's lovely to see.
There has been some discussion about gelli printing in one of my classes.The Gelli Arts videos on YouTube are really worth checking out. I discovered a new technique there that I will definitely be trying when I feel better : using book and magazine pages as resists. See that one HERE 
and then check out Wonderstrumpet HERE 
- great to watch if you are new to gelli printing and she has a style all her own.
Please share your best film and creative youtube recommendations with me in the comments so I can lose myself in watching something delicious. Talk to you soon I hope.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

#100daysofstitch : Week 1

I decided to join #The100DayProject and my focus is #100daysofstitch because this year, before this push, I wasn't stitching at all and I missed it. Sharing weekly on a Thursday because I shared Day 1 last Thursday. After long deliberations about which project I would actually start with, I decided on this hand-embroidery class with Sue Spargo from Craftsy.
Day 1 : Blogged about my gatherings and my base block, 
Day 2 : My background from yesterday is approx 20cm square of felt. I cut out the butterfly pattern and chose my base felt colours and stitched one down. I've used Madeira Lana thread round the outside - doubled through the needle. It's lovely wool - goes so nicely with the felt.
Decided to do 2 butterflies to try a couple of different ways of doing this but I don't want to spend time doing a whole panel. All set for Day 3
Day 3 : second butterfly stitched down with a different colour-way of the Lana thread. Stayed the night with Mum so this was a lovely easy thing to take ♥
Day 4 : need to gather other cotton fabrics for the next layers
Day 6 : Antennae - wool for the circles - stitched and cut out next layer for wings
Day 7 : first layer on wings
Day 8 (yesterday) : bodies on
Day 5, I had a break from hand stitching because I needed to make a new batch of cards. Added machine stitching and you can see more details in my previous post.
Main learning this week : don't try and look ahead and guess where you'll get to. Just enjoy the process of what you have time for on that day. I don't want to bounce around without settling on one project, but I also want to be flexible. I needed the cards, and machine stitching for a day was fun. Looking forward to seeing where week 2 takes me. I've got a few more thoughts about this project which I'll share soon.
I'm sharing daily on my instagram account with a weekly summary here on the blog.
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