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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Imitation Game - revived.

Hi Everyone
It's Imitation Game Day today and a few weeks ago I had decided (announced !) to move on from the 'Stripes' Collection , having already made plans for the next work. However, I'm back to 'unfinished business' and the Stripe Collection is back. It doesn't want to go away. Im sharing new beads, still under development but with a very clear idea of what I'm going to do with them. I have a deadline for later today, so this must happen immediately!!! 

As usual, I've got too much work going on (scrambling my brain) and had thought I needed to move on from the Stripes Project. I hadn't properly reviewed what I had done. I've now reviewed the Project and I know it's right to keep going. The break I had (last week) with my watercolour development has rejuvenated things, so there's a new enthusiasm to keep working on the Stripes Imitation Game.
Here are a few images of my latest beads 'under construction' :



These beads will form three bracelets on a wax thread with a silver clasp. I've cleaned up most of the beads and need to polish them, then string.

I do need to spend more time reviewing the whole Collection. I want to be clear (exactly) about what I'm going to do with it, as a Collection. I'm thinking I'd like to show the work and this will focus my ideas and make the project into a 'story' to share. This is about my 'way of working' ie the process I use to development my ideas into actual jewellery or other 'made' items. I want to create meaningful (to me) work and develop as an 'artist maker'. By doing this, I believe, I can spread the 'making' philosophy and help others find it too.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Technique and Tools Day

Hi Everyone
It's my usual Wednesday Tools and Techniques Post today. 
I'm giving a big plug for something called a Crease Board tool. This tool, although not essential, is a great item for making cards and envelopes. If you look back to yesterday, you will notice a card making workshop at my local, regular class. 
In the workshop, we used a simple metal ruler and crease tool  but a Crease Board would have been brilliant. Unfortunately, at the moment, we only have a single board - I think we need to invest in more. Each Maker needs a tool or one between two at a push ! 
Here is a quick look at the item. I'm showing the Board with a Crease Tool - this Crease Tool is key to making a neat job and as already mentioned , the Tool can be used with a ruler to make a paper crease on a self healing mat.


This board (there are other types of board available) is a plastic item around A4 size and with several grooves. The idea is to use a Crease Tool (see photo) and run the tool down the grooves to make a clean fold in the paper - see the pink paper sample illustrating paper folds. The straight grooves on the Board make light work of folding especially where lots of folds are needed eg envelopes. Each groove on my board is labelled for paper size too.
The Board is great for creating boxes with card and its a regular tool in most of my everyday paper projects. Look out for more folding projects coming soon.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Bella's Making Framework Portfolio

Hi Everyone
Today, Bella is adding to her personal making portfolio by taking an actual workshop. The workshop is called 'Paper Craft 1' and she will make two cards with handcrafted envelopes. This workshop will begin a series of paper craft projects over the next month or so. Bella has decided to go to all the paper craft sessions - she is currently on exam prep, which means she is free on Tuesday mornings for the next month. Today's workshop will introduce and practice the basics of paper craft while producing a couple of actual cards.
Here is the poster which attracted Bella :


Bella will share the cards she has made  after the class - later today.

Thanks for reading.

Quick look at some of the cards produced at today's workshop :


Monday, 27 April 2015

Make Art Monday

Hi Everyone
Last week, I spent an hour each day trying to develop my watercolour painting skills. Looking back, I did make good progress - although there's much more required but I do feel I've got a plan and Im more confident about my approach.

Today, I'm adding a little more to the Vita character. Here she is at the moment :

  I will also make a start on painting Rachael. I'm going to add paint to the paper rather than paint the face as such. I'm still searching for a ''loose' technique which I can call my own style.
Here is a quick look at Rachael at the moment - 


Rachael is suffering from a  rather surprised expression ! Her eyes need to be treated !!!!! I will share progress next time.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Vita 1st Fix

Hi Everyone
It's the end of the week already ! My art experiment has been interesting and quite a challenge. Read back each day this week to see the project in action. I had lots of other stuff going on yesterday so had limited time to give to the watercolour marathon, so today, I need to up my game !!
 Looking back on the week, I'v definitely moved on and improved my skills but I'm not there in terms of my development. I feel, I have so much more potential. My plan, yesterday, was to paint lots of eyes - however, I ended up working on Vita. I worked on left right side and I did improve her a little, not difficult ! and I'm a little more confident of what I want to do. I'd like to arrive at a point, where I can make slight adjustments in a loose application of the paint. I want the 'less is more' process to work for me.
Here she is in a before and after photo :



All the colours have been toned down and her right hand face shape has improved. I'm not done yet !! Vita will get a 2nd fix today and if possible Im working on a few more eyes.

Thanks for reading - have a good weekend.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Geoff and Vita

Hi Everyone
I'm rather disappointed with my efforts from yesterday ! I had a very poor day re my watercolour skills development. I've gone back a step and was at a loss as to why ? However, another day dawns and Im feeling more optomistic about today's painting session 'to come'. I had made Rachael (look at yesterday's post for Rachael) all ready to paint but didn't in the end ! It's a long story but in brief, I started trying out 'eyes' and thought, if I could make progress with eyes, all would be well. No, this didn't work and I ended up doing a few additional sketches and drawings while Rachael waited patiently to be painted. 
I've called the new eyes 'Geoff' - not sure why ? It just seemed right. Here he is :


An odd looking chap !! He looks quite different from a distance and would/could, I think turn into something (when my skills are good enough). I will keep him waiting to be developed - when I can !

My second disaster was Vita. She came out of desperation and has an odd look too ! I don't want to produce a 'real person' look (as you will have gathered) - I'm quite sure that photos are for that reason. But ....... there are lots of opportunities to create 'people-like' paintings - maybe one day !!!!! In the meantime, here is Vita :


Vita is a bit scary and resembles a few of the cartoon characters I've come across over the years. Remember, it's just an experiment. Bits of her face in isolation look  'interesting' but put together she is quite disturbing. Never mind.
My only regret from yesterday's experiments are that I now feel even more confused than before. I'm not taking this very seriously but it's very frustrating ie not knowing how to move on. I will have a coffee and make a plan. Rachael is still waiting  - maybe ?

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Is Freya a success ?

Hi Everyone
Another reasonable hour in my 'painting week' to report. This week, I'm aiming to improve my watercolour skills by practicing and developing a watercolour painting technique for myself. I'm not hugely concerned about the traditional approaches but obviously tried and tested techniques are useful to know and I've been doing a little bit of research too. My particular process is just to get on and experiment, thinking occassionally, about what I've learned. 
Freya moved on a little and has prompted much discussion in our house. I was thrilled by this. The comments are not universally complimentary !! However, any comment good or bad is acceptable to me.

I've learned lots from yesterday's experiments and although I think I could have stopped earlier in some areas,  Im happy to move on and do better next time.  I want my paintings to have a 'loose' approach. I find this quite difficult. The use of water to allow colours to flow and create light and dark interests me but ........ I'm finding it difficult to concentrate at times. I find myself drifting and am aware of  a feeling of frustration - before I can control myself I've made an irreversible move which sadly, can't be undone ? I think, I have a tendency to try and control the process. This control can easily go wrong and at the moment, I don't have the skills to know what to do if/when it goes wrong. The painting, then feels overworked ?

 However, I'm enjoying doing this week long project and today, I'm moving on again. As a result of my printing issues (read yesterday's blog for detail) ,I've produced another little sketch for today's painting. Meet Rachael :


I'm going to use a different range of colours today and the sketch is smaller. I'm hoping to be 'loose' and 'brave' in my approach. I will need even more luck today !!

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Meet Freya

Hi Everyone
As discussed yesterday, I'm committed to a whole week of painting. 
Yesterday, my plan was to experiment with Bella and watercolour. I started to prepare my sketch on watercolour paper and the printer would just not play, I planned to copy my original sketch of Bella onto watercolour paper !!! (see yesterday's post for the sketch). I wasted most of the allocated time messing around with unblocking the printer. The printer seems not designed to cope with anything other than simple printer paper ? - which is unbelievable. It's a relatively good printer but when it comes to anything beyond a very thin paper it will not load. In the end, I decided the only solution for now was to make a new sketch. I still want to use the original for Bella so I have created a new friend - Freya. Here she is :

This is a very quick sketch but it will be fine for my experiment. It looks like I will need to make a new sketch for each experiment, unless I acquire another printer.
 I'm almost there re buying a new printer. It's now about finding exactly the right one - in my price bracket. My last printer was brilliant for card and thick paper and although thicker papers needed to be loaded individually, that was fine. I've had this printing issue for some time and I usually dismiss it, find another way and move on ...... but I'm restricting lots of little projects as a result. Maybe it's time ?

Anyway back to the painting ...... I'm hoping to get some actual painting going on today. 

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Making ART (all week)

Hi Everyone
I'm still not organised with work projectS, post Easter Holidays. Make Art Monday is still very much on the shelf !!! I need a week to get myself back on track and have decided to do just that this week !!

So for a one off, I will spend all week doing at least an hour each day working on my art work. In particular, I have a large Bella painting under development and have not spent enough time working with my ideas or preparation.
Here is the original sketch of Bella 


The sketch will be the basis of my work this week. I've already given Bella an acrylic treatment (see previous Monday posts for more detail on this) and it's OK but I'm not happy with her acrylic hair. The balance is all wrong - I will also tone this down and develop some of the eye makeup.
 I'm also interested in working with a watercolour head this time. I don't want to restrict myself - I do like a multi media approach and already have ideas about using felted fabric (my own) for a dress. But ..... I'm keen to get  a light and interesting range of colours onto the drawing. My plan is to use non skin tones. Not sure how this will turn out but I will give it a go. Watercolour is a bit outside my comfort zone, so anything could happen. I generally feel apprehensive about making mistakes with watercolour. This needs to go from my thoughts and experimental sessions will help me. I'm going to use photo copies of my original Bella face and try out lots of versions of watercolour treatments. This is the kind of exercise I should have done from the beginning. I've been trying to force the process - always a mistake ! 

Anyway, I'm enthusiastic about my plan and will get onto the job as soon as possible. Wish me luck. I will share my results this week, good and bad !

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Pink Chrysanthemums

Hi Everyone
I've been playing 'catch up' all week and today is no exception ! My mini project today should have been made and ready ! However, time has run out and I'm still in development stage. I've been working on producing a range of polymer clay flowers and each bloom is to be produced in around an hour. Note - after the prototype has gone through development processes !!!
My initial flower In the Collection was a Blue Poppy :


Modifications are required - the general look of the Poppy is good but I need to develop the flower parts. This is ongoing and I will share when the flowers project is complete. The idea behind the flowers are that they can become embellishments for a range of items and gifts/packaging. As such, they will need to be robust and this does have design implications.

My next planned flower will be a Chrysanthemum - this is going to be a challenge ! I think I will go for a bright pink colour.


I love this one - Im hopeful (with practice) I can make something similar !! Wish me luck.

Thanks for reading - have a great weekend.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Imitation Game - the sequel !

Hi Everyone
It's Thursday again and The Imitation Game Series.
I'm using the Striped Imitation Game beads to create a single collection of jewellery. I want to find a common theme for the whole design. I initially split the beads into little sections based on their pattern/colour (and had thought I would develop several small collections) but I'm now thinking about using shape and construction as the focus for the whole Striped Collection. Here is a reminder of the actual beads (read back into Thursday posts to understand the whole project).


As you can see, from the photo story, I've chosen to develop a pair of earrings first - using the green and navy beads. I will consider a few types of earring hooks and make up some options. I like to use sterling silver so that will be my metal choice. I'm not sure about the shape yet or the actual beads. I have a few sizes and shapes to choose from.

Before setting out on the session today, I want to define my central idea for bringing all elements of the Collection together. I want to use the beads to give me inspiration. I plan to develop my process by arranging all the beads in various patterns/combinations along with various material options for stringing (if I choose to string) as well as the silver options available to me. The silver options Im considering are sizes of silver wire/tubes.
I'm quite excited about this project today. It feels as if the project has dragged along and although, I almost never abandon a well developed project - this one has come close. Today, I'm glad I've persevered !

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Paper Insects

Hi Everyone
I'm still 'chasing myself into the week' !! (after the Easter break). So, I've planned a follow up from my last Tools and Techniques Series post which talked about a mini stencil project. I made some small insect stencils from cutting dies and I planned to make some decorative gift packaging using the negative shape - left by the die cuts. In addition, I will develop some co ordinating  tag labels.
I've tried out a few different stencilled moth shapes but haven't completed the butterfly version. My experiments will produce a small selection of gift wrap papers and  tags. I'm hoping to turn the wrap papers into little gift pockets for jewellery items. I want to test out materials which will suit the project and have a few options and colour styles.
This project will find its way into one of the Making Projects and a new drop in workshop. I need to thoroughly develop/source the right tools and materials for the project so this will be an important aspect of my experiment today.
In the meantime here are a few images of the results so far :

I will try out watercolour, acrylic and chalk paint as well as wax crayons to produce the stencilled images. I will also experiment with a variety of different papers. 
I've always had an unexplainable fascination with insects, I especially like ant like insects, perhaps I will move on to more exotic versions at a later date ? In the meantime, wish me luck for today !

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Bella Next Big Thing

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm updating  news of Bella's progress with the Making Framework.
Bella's been busy - she has completed her new Doughnut kit and now has two necklaces using the same Doughnut design beads but very different pieces of jewellery.
You may remember that Bella embarked on a jewellery making project using the Making Framework (look back to 17th March 2015 for more details). She had planned to attend a Make and Take Workshop to complete the second kit but unfortunately exams got in the way and she was on her own and using the Making Framework support if she needed help. However, all has turned out well and she has made a brilliant new necklace. Bella has plans for greater things in the future ! Here is her new piece :


 The two necklaces have a different look because of the colours of the beads and the different stringing materials. Here is a view of the two pieces together :


Both items look good and are ready to wear.

Bella will tackle another project next time. Call back each Tuesday to check out her progress.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Is it Monday ?

Hi Everyone
It's back to work day today. Easter has been lovely and Im preparing for a difficult day getting myself back into routines ! Is is really Monday ? I always struggle after a holiday. This week Im planning in a slow start and generally just 'tip toeing' into jobs.

Monday should be my Make Art Monday (MAM) day. However, I'm massively underprepared ! I've been focused on making my little dog pack and all else has gone out of the window. That's what holidays are for !

I'm having great fun working with the dogs and need to start planning their little wardrobe.I have plenty of ideas and I think I will make a selection of outfits - they can mix and match as required. Most of the dogs are a similar body size but they are not quite a similar shape !!! I will resolve those sort of issues at a later date. My job today will be to sketch (MAM after all ) some ideas. I will share when I've got something. In the meantime here is a quick view of the dogs as they are :


I love the idea of creating a little self contained scene/box ? for the group. Not sure about how I will proceed with that one ? For now, it's a few sketches - I can't cope with more than that today.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 10 April 2015

New Clothes for The Dogs

Hi Everyone
I'm researching some clothing for my dogs today. I did have ideas about just making jumpers but things have moved on .... and the more research I do, I realise there's a whole new world of miniature stuff just waiting to be made !! I particularly like the idea of bags and umberellas as well as boots. I'm not sure how far I will go with this one ?  I love the idea of hats too - so  a hat is a 'definite'. I'm still into making jumpers but the look of some of the little jackets are irresistible. I have collected an extended collection of ideas on my Pinterest Board - 'felted miniature animals and their clothing' - take a look. Here is a quick look at a few of my favourites -


I did spend time on Ian (the dog) yesterday but I'm not sure he has changed too much.


His stance has changed but my problem is still with his ears. My basic construction is the issue and I should have changed the position of the head framework. Such as life. I'm undecided as to wether I start again or snip off the ears and try to reshape the head. I've added more fur but he will never be quite there if I ignore the ear problem. I did wonder if a hat could hide his disfigurement ? I will consider my options overnight.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Then, there were five !

The dog Gang is complete. I've made the extra dogs for my collection - they will be known as Ian and Jacqui. Here they are :

I tried a slightly different technique with Ian. He didn't have the initial wool wrap technique applied. His fur is also a thicker form of wool. I want to give him more definition in places so will work on that later. Jacqui is a bit of a Dachshound. She has the initial wool layer. I think this wool layer allows for a thinner, more defined outer wool application and requires less wool to be used. I struggled with Ian's ears and am still not totally convinced about them. I may change the shape ?
The dog group is now complete. I have my five dogs but they all need refining in some way. The next step (after refining) will be to design and make their clothing. I'm not going for a fully clothed dog, that would be silly ! At this stage, Im thinking about creating a particular item which helps define the character of each dog. I will also consider a few quirky accessories per dog.
Here they are as a group :


Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Friends for Colin

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing a quick  photos story - today I'm  showing progress on the new dog making project. I've made a few new friends for Colin. Colin has also acquired a bit more fur. All the dogs need extra varying layers of fur/colours  and more ..... hopefully, I will work on this job later today. The dog pack also needs two more members, again hopefully later today - maybe ? Here is a view of the dogs to date.


As Im developing the dogs, I'm thinking about their characters and how their clothing will be developed. I'm keen on making some jumpers ! I'm not a brilliant knitter but I'm going to give it a go. I'm designing the shapes of the knitted bit which I will need for the jumpers (in my head) as my dogs are forming - I'm looking forward to this bit ! I obviously need to get out more !!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Making little dogs

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing the first stages of my little dogs project today. Eventually, these dogs will form the basis of a bigger photo shoot illustrating a mixed media project. I'm playing with ideas for 'recipes' for the project and a range of ways in which different craft skills can be incorporated into the whole plan. 

This little guy is about '2 pipecleaners big' - my size currency. He measures 7cm from nose to tail and stands 5 cms at the highest point. Generally, he is quite a small item. I think he looks a bit like a Fox Terrier at the moment but I want him to have more fur, so he may change ?


I'm going to make a few more dogs and try and develop a range of characters with different shapes, characteristics and colours. I also want to make them some jumpers and perhaps other accessories. I'm not sure exactly what will develop but I'm hoping to have a bit of fun trying out some ideas. I like to give my creations a name so, as I create I will give them a name. This dog is to be known as Colin.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Clutch Bag in 'the making'

Hi Everyone
Another quick photo story today. I'm obsessed with knitting  stuff at the moment. I'm not a brilliant knitter so it's all a bit of a challenge. I like things to be perfect and for me knitting tends to be quite a stressful activity. I do hear people talking about knitting being relaxing ? I need to find this relax state it's eluded me so far ! Anyway, I'm knitting a gorgeous little bag designed by the Wool And The Gang people. The bag has a Tartan design (always a favourite pattern for me).
 The needles Ive been using are too short (I've now acquired a longer pair) Im hoping this will help my progress. The pattern is very simple but I still find my mind wandering and keep forgetting which row Im to do. I should be able to tell from the stitch but .....
Never mind, I'm up for the challenge and will get it sorted, eventually. I like the look already and am already looking to plan the next project - always a good sign.
Here is a quick look at my progress.

The yarn is T Shirt yarn and quite thick, part of my problem is that one colour seems much thicker than the other two ? The stitch is called Linen Stitch and the bag will have three colours eventually, the other colour is a lighter Gray - I've already pulled out the bag twice !! The bag will have a metal frame inserted inside a collar at the top opening of the bag. I will share more photos of the fastening when I get to that bit. I'm enjoying doing this bag - despite the tone of the message in my story !!

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Happy Easter

Hi Everyone
My photo story today is (in theory) the thing that I always associate with this  time of year - Daffodils. 
I've taken a view of the garden Daffodils and a more vibrant bunch on the kitchen table. It's raining outside so the table bunch looks very bright and cheery ! 🐰

Have a Happy Easter.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Cordelia Cord Necklace

Hi Everyone
I'm showing off my newly made Cordelia Cord Necklace - one of the knit kits from my recent birthday parcel. This is on the surface a very simple DIY make but I took forever to get the knotting technique bit right. I've added the very large clasp - I love the look and have worn my necklace for the last two days. My teenagers think the necklace looks like a dog collar - causing much hilarity ! I'm keen to make more in different colours and extend the length.

All the photos/ pictures I've seen from Wool And The Gang (the company making the kits) show the Cordelia Cord twisting. I also read in the instructions about turning clockwise, this must be the technique to be employed ! However, my initial struggles with getting the right tension on the knot (called a Scooby Knot) produced my particular finish. I just continued with the even knot as it appeared. I like it but I see a twisted pattern would also be good. I will attempt this twist next time.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Lunchtime Treats

Hi Everyone
The little photo story for  today is my lovely lunchtime treat ! - prepared by one of my teenagers. Yes, this is true and a lovely surprise.

The cheese and Rosemary scones were made by the teenager and tasted wonderful. Thank you Josh.

Thanks for reading.