Thursday 30 March 2017

You should know...

...that I'm hand-work challenged before you check out this post.  Although my mother went to great lengths to instill some semblance of hand-stitching/embroidery/quilting ability into my brain, it was to no avail.

So why, you wonder, would I attempt to hand-stitch a pair of curtains?  The reasons are:
  1. Lunacy
  2. I couldn't find any to fit the window.
  3. I was working on a series of creations for the June Material Changes show at Centre 64 in Kimberley in  which I've been invited to participate.  The show features items that have been reimagined from something that would otherwise have been discarded.
Regarding item number three, I have long used dryer sheets and cheesecloth to mop up leftover paint and usually have a colourful stack of them in my studio, so it seemed like a reasonable idea to use them up, right?  Wrong.  

I started by slip-stitching unpainted sheets to painted sheets so I'd have a little more strength...don't you love the tidy look?

The front doesn't look much better than the back, does it?

There are even some smaller bits that will eventually make the curtains into a cafe style, assuming I get that far - they'll be the last to be added.

After days (weeks? months?) of slip-stitching, I finally reached the part where I could start embroidering this week, assisted by a ton of YouTube videos, a glass or six of wine, and the emotional courage of a fire-walker.  Those scissors belonged to my mother, bless her, and although she'd be appalled at the results of my efforts, I'm sure she's impressed that I'd even start the project. (Finishing may be another matter.)

The amazing box of embroidery floss was a gift from Alice Saltiel, who, when she heard about the project found this collection in a thrift store and mailed it off to me before I could start my own stash.

The embroidery has been started, and with sixty eight inches in width x two feet in length, I've revised my completion date to June, 2022.  Betting polls will be announced shortly.

If the finished product looks very, very bad, I can always cover it all up with the colour-coordinated cheesecloth I've saved for 'just in case'.

I will keep you posted on this craziness, if you let me know what artistic lunacy is driving you.  Best story in the comments below will win a prize!

Thursday 23 March 2017

I'm supposed to be...

...working, right?  But I get into the studio, and can't help following all those questions I have about whether this technique would work with that material.

As addicted to Gelli printing as I am, I was watching a video about faux marbling by Birgit Koopsen who achieved a fabulous effect using frayed hemp.  Now John may have hemp rope in the garage, but in the current state of flooding, that building was temporarily off limits, so I pulled out some cobweb to try instead.

While the first two prints look a little gloppy,

I finally remembered to pull the cobweb material much finer, and this first print, with four layers of paint, looks pretty delicious.

The ghost print from the same series, is yummy too,

and the haunt print has picked up some lovely undertones of blue from the first couple of prints.  I LOVE it when that happens!

Naturally, I'll save the painted cobweb for something interesting too - maybe a journal page, or added to the crazy bathroom curtains I have on the go, or what if I saved it for the original intention, and created a really unique Halloween display?

Stay tuned - you know it's going to go SOMEWHERE!  Where are you going with your artwork? What's got your creative juices flowing?  Do post a link in your comments so we can check it out!

Thursday 16 March 2017

Playtime is the best...

...time, don't you think?

Good friend and fellow artist Laura Leeder stopped by this past week for some playtime in the studio.  We'd been wanting to experiment with different uses for gesso, and we tore right into it.

Laura washing over a stenciled gesso floral...look at those wonderful colours!

The top leaves on the journal spread have been pounced through a stencil with gesso,
and then washed over with a pale acrylic.

This sienna-toned magazine page was stenciled with gesso,
and then washed over with quinacridone orange acrylic.

These images were stamped on to watercolour paper with gesso,
dried and then washed over with acrylics.

A credit card was used to push gesso through the stencil
before applying a wash or two.

Gesso was thickly applied and then distressed with a heat gun.
Washes of alcohol ink and ultramarine acrylic inks were applied.
White gesso was patted on with a paper towel over the black
gesso...nice pattern, right?

A house wrap stencil was used to apply the design,
and then it was spritzed with  Dylusions spray.

Laura's piece at the end of the session...I
suspect there will be more layers!
It was a most entertaining morning, and I hope we can do it again - soon!!

Thursday 9 March 2017

Well, wasn't The Box Project... amazing show?  It's come and gone, and it was mind-boggling.  You can see the start of this year's action here and here, and in this post, some amazing works by local artists.

Here are some of my favourites:

Madonna of the Discarded, Alison Masters, side view showing both the vacuum cleaner version and painting.

Madonna of the Discarded, Alison Masters, showcasing vacuum cleaner version

This raving beauty is by Andrea Revoy!

Part of the 'I Was Here' project by Alison Masters.  It included Gelli prints, clay and paintings

Laura Leeder with her lovely painting

Win Dinn with her Valley Fortune boxes

This rooster by Anne Fetterly was a knockout

Maureen's goddess was fabulous...check out the shoulders and mid-section especially.

Gorgeous clay by Lorene Lyons

There were so many wonderful pieces, it was truly hours of looking and drooling.  Were my camera skills only up to the challenge of photographing amidst the crowds that saw the show.

Thursday 2 March 2017

Some time back...

...I promised you more photos from my December trip to China, and thought I'd let you see these fabulous paintings from a gallery in Shanghai.  I could hardly stop taking photos for they were so richly detailed, intricate and amazingly opulent.  You'll see details of some of them just below the full picture - stunning!

The embroidery silk alone is sumptuous beyond a kid in a candy shop I couldn't stop looking.

While the quality of some of the photos leaves something to be desired due to their glass casings, I hope you've enjoyed seeing this work as much as did I.  Being somewhat patience-challenged, I was agog at the thought of an artist sitting over works of this magnitude, and in awe of their skill and perseverance.

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