Saturday 6 January 2018

Happy New Year...

There's something about the start of a new year - that feeling of new beginnings and a fresh mindset.

I've spent some time over the festive period reading some of my favourite textile/art books, getting inspired by new things I would like to try and thinking about how I can incorporate some of these ideas into my feltmaking - or maybe leave feltmaking behind for a while?

I own quite a number of books, but I've been particularly reading the ones below - and I've been really READING them rather than skimming and looking at pictures!

Just looking at the types of books that I'm drawn to, probably confirms which things float my boat:

Mixed Media
Mark Making (printing, stitching, painting)
Inspiration from Nature 

Quite a potential variety of techniques and I think sometimes I feel a bit hemmed in by 'just' felting - especially the more intricate and 'precise' needlefelting such as the birds etc. My drawing skills are just not quite good enough to get that 'lifelike'  feel without a lot of angst!  I do get there sometimes, but it doesn't come that naturally - that doesn't mean I'll stop trying, because practice is the only way to get better, but I'd like to loosen things up a bit! 

I have joined an online 30 day drawing challenge, but already it's leaving me slightly cold - I will keep it up though as it's only through January. In fact, I've decided to adapt it slightly and complete it as a 'mark making', rather than 'drawing', challenge - I'll still use the daily prompts but use them to inspire making marks with paint, stitch or whatever I fancy, rather than feeling I have draw.  Perhaps I'll share some of those in my next blog.

Works in Progress

I mentioned in my last blog about starting a piece about swallows and their epic migration. I've been working on this whenever I've had chance, and my swooping birds are now finished. I have begun to work on a border, and I'm doing some samples of how I might do that to incorporate some map images (cue a bit of mixed media!).


One of the books I've been looking at recently is the 'Experimental Landscapes in Watercolour' by Ann Blockley.  I just love this book and the gorgeous images within - I'll admit I bought it on a whim, but it's very inspiring, and gives another dimension to what is possible with paints with a bit of imagination.  It really ticks some boxes with me - a lot of it is essentially 'playing' and many effects and outcomes are left to chance.  I think what really appealed to me was that Ann's paintings are impressions of landscapes with a fabulous abstract feel, just capturing the essence of a place.

I did have a play session myself using a couple of techniques in her book.  I had limited time, so it was done without overthinking it too much.

This first one was using clingfilm over a wet wash of watercolour, and then squirting a bit of ink underneath and leaving to dry.

The next one was wet washes of watercolour, flat plant material laid onto the paint and cellophane put on top.  Again, I squirted some turquoise ink underneath the cellophane.  I put a heavy book on top of the cellophane and left it to dry before removing the film and plant material.

My results were quite pleasing, even if they are a far cry from the beautiful images shown in Ann's book, and there is scope to further work into these to create mini-landscapes like I have below.  I've used watercolour pencils to highlight areas and a rough 'owl' drawing gives it a proper setting or mood.  This has gone into my sketchbook along with a few notes for future reference.

Maybe I can translate these effects into textiles in some way - perhaps through printing, painting on fabric or wet felting.

I feel that this year may become a year of playing, experimenting and seeing what develops and not worrying too much about finished pieces.  Perhaps more in the way of samples, sketchbooks and notes - a year for learning.

So, here's to more playtime - and whatever you may have planned for 2018, I wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and peaceful year ahead!

Best wishes

Tanya xx