Thursday, 31 March 2011

Cooking on Gas ... or rather Painting

I'm raring to go after my nice break away, and I'm getting really excited about this transfer painting lark now.

You might remember I was a bit disheartened with my results before I went away, but on a trip in to Bath yesterday I managed to pick up some Satin fabric and have had some play time this morning. I'm so much happier with what I'm getting on this fabric. Here's a little comparison.Same painted page used, top picture shows my first attempt and bottom is on the new fabric. A huge difference I'm sure you'll agree. (In case you are wondering the blotches in the colouring was deliberate, I sprinkled some salt in to the wet paint of the painted page).

Now I just have to finish ironing out some samples on the new fabric, write it up in the book and I'll finally be able to move on to chapter two (though I have a sneaky confession to make in that I have already started some of the chapter two work - which involves collecting up some samples of different fabric).

On a slightly less exciting, but no less important note, my shopping trip yesterday also resulted in a brand new and very large storage box to keep all my C and G bits together.I was conscious that I was started to get bits and pieces all over the place and I didn't want the fabrics that I'd been buying and gathering for the course to get swallowed up among all the stuff that I already have. The box is looking a bit empty at the moment, but I haven't yet finished my journey round the house to collect up everything to put away ;)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

I'm Back

I arrived back last night from a fabulous weekend in Amsterdam, what a beautiful city. Who could fail to be inspired by the beautiful buildings, the wonderful atmosphere and fabulous masterpieces in the museums and galleries, all a bit overwhelming really.

Here are a few snapshots of line and colour from the weekend. I won't bore you here with all my pictures, but if you are interested in seeing more I will be posting more over on my main blog in the coming weeks (link in side bar) or I've thrown up a few on facebook

The first 5 are shots from Keukenhof the world famous tulip park, and the last couple are just street shots from around Amsterdam.

I'm looking forward to getting stuck back in to the course again. I have to say that the holiday reading books didn't even get opened while I was away, there was just so much else to see and do.

I'm hoping to have Chapter One finished and the pages of my sketch book relating to the last few transfer paint experiments that I've done, uploaded in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Changing my Approach

Tonight will be my last evening at home before my trip away. I do have to get packed but hopefully I will have a little time to spend on work too, and I'm going to change tack on the transfer painting a little. Here is my note to self in sketchbook.(For anyone who doesn't know you should be able to click on the image to enlarge which might make reading my scribble easier).

And for anyone who might be worried that I will be taking my eye off the ball while I'm away, well I have a bit of holiday reading to take with me.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

I will not enjoy myself, I will not enjoy myself, I will not ....

Having decided yesterday that I don't really like transfer painting, I've been fighting hard against the notion that I might actually be starting to have some fun (you know how it is once your mind is made up about something you have to stubbornly refuse to accept any other opinion ..... for a while at least!!) I've been plodding on, trying out a few different things. Here's one of the experiments I've been trying ironing the colour through a sheet of lace.Some things are working better than others but I guess that's just to be expected but I am (begrudgingly) starting to have a bit more fun with the technique. I thought that I was almost ready to put together my submission post but Janet, my tutor, has just emailed with a few things that I might try to see if I can improve my results so there is a bit more work to be done yet.In the meantime I am making notes on everything that I'm doing in my sketchbook so hopefully I'm going along the right lines even if I'm not 100 percent happy with the actual results I'm getting.

Actually the thing that I'm loving the most, is what is happening on the baby wipes that I'm using to clean my brushes onLook at this fabulous rainbow of colours. I did have a little play to see if this would transfer to fabric but it didn't really work. I did get some colour out but not the full range that is showing.

I'm going away to Amsterdam for a long weekend from Thursday so there might be a bit of a blogging break, but I'm back Tuesday and have the rest of that week off work so the plan is to really get cracking with some more course work so hopefully lots to blog about next week.

Feeling Frustrated

Say hello to me and my new bosom buddy - the iron. I think I've spent more time with my iron today than with my man - maybe that accounts for the grumpy expression! :)

Actually I think the grumpiness is coming from my lack of success with the transfer painting process. I've spent a good few hours today (not all at once I hasten to add that would be madness of the highest order, sitting chained to the ironing board, lol) painting pages and ironing the results on to fabric and so far I have to say I am a little disappointed.

Take this example as a for instance ....... here is my painted pageI rolled the colours on with the handle of one of my paint brushes, and really liked the nice textured effect that I got on paper. Well here is the same page transferred on to fabric... the fabric is no where near as interesting.

I have to admit that I thought the problem was in the fabric I was using. My local store had no bridal (cheap) satin, so I had to buy something called liquid satin - have no idea what the difference is, only that this type was really quite expensive - still 100% synthetic though, so I thought I'd put up with the expensive and give it a go.

As I wasn't happy with the results I figured getting some other fabric might make the difference. So I made a 40 mile round trip to the next town over in search of something different. Of course sods law dictated that they didn't have any satin either but I did manage to find a bolt of what was labelled as Habotai Silk but listed as 100% Polyester (I'm beginning to realise that although I love to work with fabric I know very little about it, I thought silk was a natural not a synthetic product?!! I don't know maybe someone with some real fabric knowledge can help me out??!!). Anyhow this fabric had a nice sheen and was cheap so I bought some home to try out.The colours are definitely coming out a lot brighter on this fabric. But I'm still having lots of problems, I can't seem to manage to get an even transfer, the colours are all blotchy. I've tried different iron temperatures and a few other synthetic fabrics that I had in my stash but I'm not really happy with any of the results.

None the less I'm trying to stay positive. I'm recording everything that I've been doing in my workbook and trying out different things. I think most of these fabrics will end up getting used in later chapters for stitching samples so I'm figuring that it's not essential to have something that I think is perfect, but it would be nice to have a few pieces that I'm actually happy with and will look forward to working on. It's just very frustrating to go through the process - which is quite time consuming - painting the page, waiting for it to dry and then ironing it, which takes a good while to get the transfer to work - only to end up with nothing that I'm really happy with. Sigh!

I guess it's all part of the learning process but I'm starting to feel a little panicky as I still have a long way to go with all of this, the costs of all these experiments are mounting up and I'm already falling behind in the little study timetable that I had mapped out in my head. Maybe I need to take a day off, take a step back and breathe :) Anyone want to volunteer to come over and give me a sharp slap round the face and tell me to snap out of it?!?? ;-)

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Painting Pages

It's been a glorious sunshiny day here today. So I have to confess I have spent a large part of the day out in the garden doing some of the tidy up that is needed as the garden starts to come to life again after the winter months.

I did tear myself away from the sun for an hour this afternoon and have been busy painting some pages with my transfer paints.I have to confess that I don't feel altogether happy with how the pages csme out, but it seems as though the paints often transfer on to fabric and look a lot different than they do on the page so I'll make final judgement once I get the iron on them! Also as I was painting some more ideas came to me of things to try so I'm sure there will be more painting to come.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Module One Chapter One - Collecting Colour and Image

This is my submission for the first part of Module one, Chapter One of the course. These are images of my sketchbook pages. I don't think there is really too much for me to say as hopefully it is all on the pages for you to read.

I haven't quite managed to complete my self imposed task of finding triangles in nature so there is space for another image or two if I can find them!

These pages in my sketchbook have been left blank for now. Part of what I have to do in the future is have a look at the art of Monet and make some notes. So I have left this pages free as a space to add some images and thoughts as they come to me.
These last two pages weren't a requirement as such, I've done them more for my own interest and entertainment than anything else, just a few thoughts that have occurred to me on what I've done so far.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Out on Location

City and Guilds is all about posting your failures as well as successes right?

Well I thought I'd have a go and something a bit different as blogging is the perfect forum for doing something a little more interactive. So I had a go at making a little video or two out on location. Of course being the idiot I am when it comes to technology I managed to hold the camera up the wrong way but hey I figured it would be fun to post these anyway.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Me and My Workbook

I can't quite believe how quickly this weekend flew by and how little work I managed to get done. We had guests on Saturday and we were both feeling ill on Sunday (I've only just managed to get rid of one cold and straight away another one attacks grrrrr!)

Anyhow I managed to spend a couple of hours yesterday working on my colour and image pages. Here I am hiding behind my sketchbook (believe me that was the best place for my sick face!! :)I am almost done with my pages now. I have a few little self imposed challenges to complete, like this one........... but I'm almost there. I have also been diligently keeping a record of the time I'm spending each day on whatever activity I'm doing.These collecting image and colour activities have taken a lot longer than I thought they would, but then I have gone a bit beyond the minimum requirements laid out in the chapter. I figure the more you put in the more you get out right? I have to confess though I am a little fed up of cutting and sticking now, so I'm happy that I'll be moving on to some fabric painting soon which will finish this first chapter. For now though I am going to heed this little note I've left in my sketchbook for myself(sorry about the head tilting you're having to do right now, I still have to get my image editing software sorted on this computer!).

The Postman Knocks

It's been an exciting few post days, I'm like a kid really and probably get so much more excited than a well mannered and reserved english girl should when the postman brings anything other than bills to the door!!I managed to pick up a couple of the recommended texts for this module secondhand and at bargain prices from ebay and amazon market place :)
I also got some bobbinfil and a few machine embroidery threads - I have a little confession to make - I did try and talk myself in to not buying thread and trying to use what I already have but who could resist these yummy colours? Not me ;)And last but not least I have a few pots of transfer paints to play with, so I'm all set and raring to go with the final tasks for chapter one! EXCITING :)

Friday, 11 March 2011

Collecting colour

So I managed to keep the cats off the sketchbook long enough to actually do some work in their last night, and I have started compiling my 'collecting colour' pages. (Apologies for the sideways photo - blogger doesn't seem to like the file size and I don't have photo imaging software on the computer I'm working from as I write this post to change it - as this is just another chatter post I figured it wouldn't matter too much for now).I've decided to put a two page spread in my sketchbook for each of the focus colours. On the left is the colour gradients made from the torn magazine pieces I collected, also on this page are a few words and first thoughts that jumped in to my head when thinking about the colour. On the right are a few 'green' images that I found that attracted me for one reason and another. These are pulled from magazines and also my own photography collection. Green has turned out to be a pretty complete page straight away, but some of the other colours are less so, they are still works in progress.I'll be adding more images, thoughts and words to any pages where I have gaps as I find them in the coming days and weeks.

I'm almost done with the colour pages - at least they are done as far as I can take them for now. My next step is going to be putting together some more general inspiration images and resources. I'm planning on concentrating on general colour images, images that have something to do with line, images that have a connection in some way to triangles (as I know this is coming up later in the module), and I also have an idea for a couple of pages which specifically have images from a local landmark that I'm hoping might become a focus for ideas and inspiration as the module progresses.......but you'll have to come back later to find out more about these things as they are all just germs of ideas at the moment.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

The dog ate my homework ......

Apologies to anyone who might be tuning in in the hopes of getting a peek at the work that's been started in my sketchbook. I was hoping to have some progress to show you today, but instead all I have to offer are some rather far fetched excuses. But as odd as my excuses are I have photographic evidence to back them up.So there I was last night after work diligently working at sorting my little green scraps trying to achieve a dark to light gradient to stick in my book. Inspector Molly turns up to check the standard of my work and to let me know if I'm on the right track.Apparently my work was not up to scratch...... so I'm sorry to say there is no progress to report today, the cat rolled on my sketchbook. ;)

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Written Word

This is just a little experimental post to see how well my sketchbook pages come up in a photo. The ideal is to scan your pages in, but my scanner has picked this exact moment to play games with me and not work. So I just want to see how well this comes out and whether it will be an acceptable substitute for now.

Playing around

I have been playing around a little with the sidebar in this blog and thinking about how I might be able to keep things organised here.

First off I've added the beginnings of a little list of links to other websites and pages. I'm thinking that I will add details of Supplier websites and maybe anywhere that I might take inspiration from as the course progresses.

Also I have added the widget which allows link to different posts by the 'Label' they have been given. Reading all of the course material the main purpose of the blog is as a forum for 'digitally submitting' your work. So you have to put up formal posts with scanned images of your workbook pages. As each of the chapters involves a fair bit of work if I only used the blog for that it could be many days or weeks between each post and I don't want things to stagnate so I will be hoping to add a few posts, like this one and the ones that have gone before, which I'll be calling 'chatter' posts. The idea is these ones might just be a couple of lines and images to show you some of the things I have in progress between those more formal 'submission of work' posts.

It's all a bit suck it and see at the moment so things may change.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Ripping, Tearing and Making a Rainbow

I've made a tentative start on finding some things for my sketchbook. One of the first tasks in the module is to raid some old magazines and find some colour swatches.

This is the start I've made, I have a lot of old photography magazines so on the right is a pile of pages that I've ripped out with some images that inspire me.

Now to get these all in my sketchbook, in some sort of 'proper' order and make my first 'official' post on my coursework.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

My Space

I've been busy reading the Distant Stitch Student handbook, and have spotted that it's important to add posts to your blog showing you actively involved in making your pieces. Of course I haven't actually started anything yet but I thought I'd have a play around with the self timer on my camera to get used to it for when the time comes. So here is a little snap of me and my machine.While we're at it I thought I'd give you a little tour of my stitching space - otherwise known as the spare bedroom :) Please excuse the mess. You may already have noticed I have a shelf behind me with lots of my crafting books.I think a few more will be being added to that collection over the coming months as I progress on this course.I have some boxes of fabric tucked away in the corner. Mostly this is quilting cotton but I do have a few pieces of organza, net, hessian, felt etc tucked away in the mix.The other corner of the room houses a set of shelves with my boxes of scrap fabric, sewing threads and some files of magazines that I've collected over the years. You can also just about see my ironing board which is always set up and ready to go - it only ever gets used for my crafting projects, as far as I'm concerned life is way too short to waste precious time ironing clothes that will only get wrinkled again ;-)

In the cupboard behind the ironing board I have boxes of paints, rubber stamps and papers but I'm not going to show you in there it's just way too messy. I may not be a domestic goddess but even I have to draw the sharing line somewhere.