Tuesday 17 July 2018

50 Shades of Tea...

Mixed Media Fun

A case of having an idea...and running with it!

** A square canvas.

** A collection of papers...used and emptied tea bags, tissue paper from packaging and a spotty gift bag.

** A few textile 'flowers' cut from an old doily and painted.

** A sentiment - 'Find Joy in the Simple Things'

I used the fruit teabags to create a backdrop - reminiscent of old, faded and peeling wallpaper. I used matt medium to adhere them to the canvas. 

The normal tea bags were used to create a patchwork tablecloth - cutting out all the little triangles and gluing them in place was a bit fiddly, but it seemed a good idea at the time!

I prepared the spotty paper with diluted PVA glue, and once dry used watercolour pencils to do do some shading to make it look more 3D.

The words were printed onto some gessoed teabag scraps and fixed into place - the same method was used for the flying swallows.

I used inks, watercolours and oil pastels to bring it all together before sealing the whole thing with clear gesso.

I had my usual dilemma of how to display it, but decided that I liked it without glass but  inset in a deep box frame to compliment it.

I'm not very practiced at this type of thing, but it was fun to do and I'm pretty happy with the results - the bonus being that it used up some of my paper stash!

Perhaps more importantly, I think the sentiment is a good one - we should all try to find joy in the more simple things in life, and there is much joy to be found if you have a mind to look.

Ruth Singer - Criminal Quilts 'collaborative quilt'

I was really pleased to find out that a quilt block I submitted will be included in a collaborative quilt as part of the Ruth Singer Criminal Quilts Project - you can find out more about it on Ruth's blog here

I think I probably redid this block 2 or 3 times before I was happy with it and I no doubt made it far more complicated than it needed to be...but that's typical me!!

Once all the collaborative blocks have been joined together, it will become part of Ruth's exhibition at the Festival of Quilts held in Birmingham in August - it will be interesting to see it as a whole, as although all the blocks are very different in interpretation, they follow the same colour palette.  

Constantine Secrets 2018

I'm not sure if you remember from a previous blog, but I donated a postcard sized piece of artwork to a fundraising event for an outdoor learning space for a local pre-school.  Well the secret postcard exhibition has now come to a close, and I'm really pleased that someone bought my little picture - and overall the school have raised over £1000 which is just brilliant.

I couldn't show it before, because of the 'secret artist' element, but this is what I made for it - a needlefelted robin on a piece of printed linen with a bit of hand quilting thrown in.

I have no idea who bought my little robin, but I hope it has flown to a happy new home!

I'm tempted to make some more postcard sized pieces...they'd look nice within a frame, hung as they are or propped up on a dresser or shelf

Mini quilt finished!

I finished my mini-quilt - I kept the quilting simple and then just brought the backing over to the front to edge it off, which would probably be frowned upon within quilting circles but Hey Ho!

I used a variegated quilting thread in blues/greens which complimented the whole thing really nicely.

I still like the idea of using a patchwork background as a base for textile collage - that's what's nice with playing around with different methods and techniques, it can spark off new ideas.

Whichever techniques I'm trying, I am sticking to using whatever supplies I've already got at home - of which I have quite a healthy stash!

#nomoreimpulsebuying !!

What's next?

Well, doing the 'Find Joy in Simple Things' picture at the top of this blog has inspired me to do a couple of more versions, but one felted and another as a textile collage - I haven't done felting in quite some time, so it will be really nice to get the wools out again; I just hope I haven't forgotten my skillage!

So that's it for this blog post, thank you for taking the time to read it - and don't forget, whilst you go about your day find joy in some of the simple things in life!

Best wishes

Tanya xx

Tuesday 3 July 2018

A prayer flag, a holiday and a mini-quilt...

Prayer Flag

My finished prayer flag - an exercise in printing with plants, slow stitch and textile collage...

There were no rules to making this, no worrying about straight lines or doing anything with precision, just straight forward handstitch and intuitive collage. All of the materials used were scraps, bits of old chiffon scarves and vintage doilies - cut, torn and reassembled into something new

Certain parts of it were dabbed with a wet teabag to get rid of the 'whiteness' and this helped everything blend together much better and gave a more time worn feel to it which I really like.

I did have a lightbulb moment when stitching on the backing - I used some old linen trousers, and realised that the trouser hem, once cut,  made a perfect sleeve to put a piece of floral wire through to use as a hanger!

This sort of thing is so doable by anyone - no real skills required, just fabrics, needle and thread,  a few buttons and an open mind.  No real sewing skills required, just a simple running stitch, or variation of, will do everything you need it to do.

Those of you who read my last blog post will know that I'm planning on doing some more simple prayer flag samples with a view of holding a craft session in the autumn to raise funds for MIND.  I will work on that over the summer.

Holiday to North Wales

We managed to organise everything at home in order to escape for a week to North Wales/Snowdonia - we don't go away very often so it was a much needed break for the two of us.

We had a wonderful few days with fabulous weather, walking, cycling and views.  Here are a few photos that I took, which of course never do the landscape justice.  There were some big landscapes to enjoy, the type that make you feel small and fairly insignificant. I love that feeling of vastness and being in a big, open space and most often it was just the two of us - we tend to try and stay away from the 'touristy' bits, and we succeeded in having a very peaceful week with just the sound of cuckoos and skylarks keeping us company - oh and sheep of course, mustn't forget the sheep, of which there were many at every turn!!

Alwen Reservoir
A climb up Moel Elio from Llanberis near Mount Snowden
Mountain Pass back to Llanberis - so peaceful, hardly saw a soul.

View towards Moel Siabod - love the remote little cottages nestled in the trees - inspired to do a felted picture from this!
Moorland view above Arwen Reservoir
A perfect picnic spot by the Miners' Bridge, Gwynver
Another picnic stop - joined by this guy along the Ledr Valley
Walking along Forestry tracks
A windmill on Anglesey, passed on an epic cycle ride!
View at the north end of Anglesey
There are MANY more photos, but I won't bore you with them all!  It was a lovely few days away with time to just 'be' - precious...

Solar Dyeing Results!

So I couldn't wait any longer, and emptied the contents of my solar jars - with some really nice results.  It was difficult to capture some of the more delicate colours with the camera, but I ended up with lemons, pale greens and wonderful yellows and rust marks from the nails and washers I wrapped the materials around.

All created from plants, onion skins and sunshine - magic!

These pieces will go back in my naturally dyed stash to hopefully use in a future fabric collage.

Mini Quilt

Occasionally on Instagram, there are little 'join along for fun' things that crop up, and there's currently one for making mini-quilts.  So, up for a challenge I thought I'd try a bit of hexie english paper piecing (typical me to make it complicated!!)

This is a great way to 'stash-bust' and it's a really nice, portable thing to do - I've yet to finish it, it's all layered up with wadding and a backing and being hand quilted,  but it's coming along nicely.  Don't peer too closely though, because it's far from perfect!

If you're on Instagram and are interested, just follow #dsgminiquilt to see what others have been making - or join in yourself!

On the Allotment

Oh my goodness, we've started harvesting our home-grown goodies and enjoying lots of strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries...and we have a glut of courgettes, so it's thinking of  '100 things to do with a courgette'!!

We've also been digging our first potatoes, which are delicious, as well as salad and mangetouts - just waiting on those runner beans now!

Of course, as well as things to eat, it's always lovely to bring in some flowers from the garden to enjoy, and our hydrangeas are now getting into full flower - they are quite possibly my favourite!

So that's us more or less up to date!  I'm really missing the felting, so I'm going to get some of that on the go as soon as I get a chance.  It's been nice to try other things though, and I still like the idea of mixing up a few of the ideas into some finished pieces to sell - I have a folksy shop which is languishing empty, so I may reinstate that to spur myself onto getting some bits made to pop into it.

Wishing you a wonderful week, and thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings - I'd love to hear from those that read my blog, so feel free to leave a comment or two and let me know what you're up to!

xx Tanya xx