Monday, 27 February 2012

Collecting Continues

I had a lovely, but busy, weekend away in Glastonbury so I'm afraid things haven't moved very far with the chapter yet.

I have though finished collecting my images and have begun to group things in my sketchbook.  I won't show you all the pages yet, as they'll get shown properly when I do my submission post at the end of the chapter, but for now here is a quick glance at one or two.

I have a few more pages to complete.  Am back at work now so not as much time to spend on coursework, but am hoping to have these done by mid week and then I can move on and see what the rest of the chapter has in store for me.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Books Glorious Books

The start of a new module is a good excuse to get treating myself to some new books - not that I really need much excuse I'm a bit of a bookaholic.  These are the books I've treated myself to off this module's recommended reading list.

Lots of good reading for me to do there.   I also have a few other books and things that will be useful through this module I think.
 The Trees book is one that I recently bought,  I tend to keep a whole bunch of things that I would like in my amazon basket and then keep an eye on prices, if anything goes down low then I'll get tempted in to buying.  The David Attenborough I picked up at a local charity shop.  The National Trust garden calendar was gifted to me by my lovely friend Sue, it has some great garden pictures.  The Garden and Cosmos book is also on loan from Sue, the details and patterns in the paintings in this book are incredible.

I certainly shouldn't lack for inspiration for this module.

Friday, 24 February 2012

The 'D' Word

Isn't it funny how powerful words can be, just a single word can provoke a smile, or a feeling of fear.  My favourite word is cheese ..... don't ask me why, it's just fun to say, and of course it has the associations with happy family holidays when you're all made to stand in front of the camera and say it to provoke some smiles.  Or maybe I like it because if you add a simple four letter word to the end you get my all time favourite pudding  ....... Mmmmmm cheesecake.  Anyway I digress and I'm drooling all over the keyboard at the thought of pudding.

The real point of my post is to think about another word, one that fills me with dread, and one that has been mentioned several times in this first chapter already ... draw.  And it seems I'm being asked to do it ...... aaaarrrrggghhh.

I know it is pretty unrealistic to take up any kind of creative course and not expect to be asked to put pencil to paper at some point, but it's an idea that fills me with terror.  I think it stems from all those awful art classes at school in which I was constantly being told that I had no talent for drawing.  So now I have an aversion and the idea that I have to sketch and show the results here in public just fills me with fear.

But one of my promises to myself for 2012 was to be brave.  When I told myself this I wasn't thinking about it in the heroic 'jump into a burning building and rescue someone' sense, but it was more about pushing my boundaries, doing new things and putting myself in situations that wouldn't necessarily feel comfortable.

So deep breath, here goes I'm sharing the first of my module two sketches .... please be kind to my fragile ego when it comes to this drawing thing, and if you have to laugh can you try and wait until you leave the room and are somewhere that I can't here you.  ;-)

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Module Two begins

Module two is entitled 'How does your garden grow' and chapter one is all about collecting resources and looking at shape and form.

At the moment I've only gotten as far as collecting a big pile of images, but it's a start :)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Tidying up

After some really lovely feedback on my work from module one - thanks Janet - I'm excited to get started with module two.

Before I get cracking this is just a quick post to explain that I have tidied up the labels in the side bar a bit.  As you know I like to blog 'chatter' posts as I'm progressing through the module, this way I can keep posting regularly without having to wait until I've finished each chapter. 

You can click on the labels in the side bar to take you to all posts relating to a particular chapter.  I thought this labels section would start getting a bit overwhelming if I left everything in there.  So in the sidebar I have now hidden the links to the chatter posts for module one, and will put up links to the module two chatter posts as I progress through.

I have left the labels in to link to the submission post for each of the module one chapters and any general stuff that I blog about so anyone passing by can still pop by and look at those quite easily if they wish.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The end of Module One

Although I have already done my submission post for the final chapter of module one, just in the interests in rounding things off.  This was the final sample that I stitched up based on my design inspired by the Japanese ceramic.  And this is the one that I chose to submit as my resolved piece.

I've really enjoyed the first module of the course, with a house move and a broken sewing machine, it took me longer to get through than I imagined but hopefully things will speed up a bit from here on in.

I'm looking forward to starting module two in a while but for now there will be a short break in transmission.  Hope to be back soon.  X

Friday, 3 February 2012

Number Two

 Experiment number two started with some transfer printed satin.
 To keep the fabric from moving around too much I stitched this sample in a hoop.  I'm not a big fan of stitching in the hoop.  I know it serves a purpose, I just find it a bit cumbersome.

The finished piece looks like this .......
Again I like how it turned out.  I do like how the colours sing out against the white background, they look really fresh and vibrant.  The one thing that I don't like so much is the effect of the stitching gets lost a bit on top of some of the printed sections.  I stuck with the same threads that I picked out when working the first piece on the black, and this might have been a mistake, particularly in the orange and yellow sections.  The thread is such a close match to the paint colour that the pattern of the stitching really doesn't stand out .... and that was one of the things that I loved about the first sample.
Here are the two samples laid out side by side.  I have one more idea to play with, I hope that by stitching again on a white felt background I'll be able to combine the things that I love about these two samples and combat the things that I'm not so keen on.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Number One

The first attempt at translating my design is done. 

I'm actually pretty pleased with the way that it turned out.  I think the different stitch patterns have created the look of different textures in each of the sections, but keeping the same stitch patterns for each colour has provided some cohesion to the piece as a whole.

The only thing that I'm not sure about is the purple, I don't if it stands out from the background enough .... but it is growing on me.  I think the piece needs a darker colour for a bit of balance.  I'll live with it for a while and see.

I started with the black felt background as I thought that of my three ideas for working the design this was going to be my least favourite but now ...... well I'm thinking that this could end up being the one I submit as my resolved piece.  I'm still going to try the other ideas though so time will tell.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Finding the way forward

So after coming up with my design the next thing to think about is the execution.

I like the white background of my sketch, am thinking white felt would be good as there will be lots of stitching in the individual sections and I know that felt tends to hold it's shape well ....... but will white really make the colours sing?

I like the depth of colour in the individual spaces in the sketch ........ but will I be able to achieve this with stitch alone.  Maybe some transfer painted fabric could give the extra depth of colour?

I've also enjoyed working on black felt throughout this module ...... but working on a black background might change how the design feels.

I think the only way to decide how the final piece will work out best is to try all of the above.

Yesterday saw me ......

 .... painting my design with transfer paints .........
 ........ tracing my design on to stitch and tear ..........
 ........... picking out threads ......................
 .................. and most importantly of all starting to stitch ..........................
And just had to show you this last shot.  I was too lazy to peel off the bits of stitch and tear that didn't want to come without a fight.  I love how it all cracked, like the surface of an old painting, when I stitched the long curvy grid.

I think it will be a while before all of my ideas for the appraoching the sample are worked up in stitch, but of course I'll keep you updated along the way.  Please let me know what you think as I go along and whether you have any favourites as they emerge.