Monday, 24 December 2012

Comfort for the Undomestic Goddesses

There is a real handmade vibe out there right now .. which is excellent news for those of us in the business of making stuff. It also means that magazines, blogs and websites have been full of people making loads of utterly gorgeous stuff for Christmas ... cards, presents, mince pies, tags, cake, gift boxes, decorations ... there has been an awesome outpouring. But not by me, I am so ashamed to say. So here is some comfort for anyone else feeling distinctly inadequate .. I haven't made any pies, cake or puddings; I haven't made my own cards and tags; I haven't made any decorations; I haven't made any presents this year; I haven't printed my own wrapping paper ... truthfully, I haven't even wrapped the presents yet; I haven't finished the food shop  and I haven't got the decorations from the attic, let alone put them up. I hope that makes a few bods feel a bit better. It is not that I am being all bah-humbug (ok - a bit envious maybe) ... I just truthfully have not manged to find the time or extra energy needed. On occasion, I can spray as many cones as the next woman ...  but not this time it seems. I think maybe my new years resolution should be to get a bit more balance into my life! But I'm stopping today for a few days off - and I wanted to wish a very Happy Christmas to all of you, both those who have really flourished in a productive, creative run up to the big day, and those like me, who are only just switching into Christmas mode. Have a wonderful, healthy and happy time - and see you in the New Year - Hilary xx

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Paint and dye and all things nice

You know how sometimes life is just kind to you? Well I've just had had one of those moments ... I've been starting a new collage and was feeling that despite having spent lots of time painting and dyeing, I didn't seem to have much of what I needed, which was a nuisance and was threatening to mean more painting (not that painting is really a hardship - I am just in rather a hurry). I decided to take a break and get the old blog updated - and thus started by downloading and editing a bunch of photos. Whilst doing this I came across images of just the cloths I wanted and then realised I had left a whole pile round the corner when I started work. Joy!! Cloths found and palette looked a lot better. It is sad that I need photographic evidence these days in order to find stuff - but hey ... whatever it takes. So ... on to blog proper now ...
I spent a very happy day last week with my friend Steph at Ineke Berlyn's workshop barn near Bromsgrove. Steph had hired the barn for a couple of days as a birthday treat to herself (what an excellent plan - must remember to tell Stephen about that) - and very kindly asked me along on day two, so we could talk 'book' stuff and work at the same time. Ineke's barn is a fabulously large space and we used it all very happily. I was printing cloth with stencils and thermofax screens, using my favourite Setacolour paints and then squeegeeing dye over the top after the paint had dried to get some wonderful layered effects. Steph was creating psychotic dragonflies ... but that's Steph for you. ... nuff talk - time for some pics ...
These two pieces were printed with thermofax screens and then the right hand one was covered with red dye .. amazing how different they now look
These two images show the front and back of the same cloth - again printed with thermofax screens of text from my journal and then squeegeed over with blue and green dyes. The paint acts as resist to the dye and so you get a gorgeous effect on both front and back
 Another front and back - honestly! - this time done with a combination of stencils and thermofax - same technique
And three more images of cloth done with script and image thermofax screens using paint and then scraped over with dye
Fabrics all ironed and ready to go, together with some lace and tapes I have painted and dyed to go with them ... this stage is always very exciting .. everything ready to go ...
These four show work getting under way .. top left, clockwise: Felt backing cut to size and photo, plus paper collage ready; sketch and paper collage pinned on wall so I can refer to them without burying them, plus fabric for cliffs put out; trying out fabrics for cliffs; cliff fabric selection made and starting on houses. There is along way to go yet - but having found those fabrics I had lost - I'm itching to get on with it now
I'm actually going to change one of those cliff fabrics now that I have found the others - it is bothering me a bit ... I wonder of you can guess which one?? Talk soon - Hilary x

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Thelma hits the road ..

And what a girl she is. Thelma - for those who don't know/can't remember (I find that latter category is nearly always me these days), is my gorgeous thermofax machine. And I have been having such a nice time getting to know her ... I knew she would fit with me, like toast and butter. Excitingly, we went on tour - together with Louise (laser printer) to see the girls at the Midlands contemporary group last Monday. All members had a go or several at burning a screen and there were some gorgeous ones made. Not many got around to printing theirs, so I can't show you the results - hopefully I can photo those at our next meeting. But I, of course did do some printing - lots actually, so I can show you those ...
I am still working with my theme of coast, so here are some prints from screens featuring shells, crabs and groynes
I really love the rather distressed nature of these images - just perfect for my theme. I have been asked why I bought my own thermofax, rather than have screens made. The answer is simple - I tend to do things by multiples, not halves, and I guessed that once I got going I would feel I needed a lot of screens. I came home from the midlands group, feeling very enthused and decided to make some more shell/seaweed screens. So yesterday I adapted some drawings and photographs and made 31 new screens. Yep - 31 .... you see why I need my own machine? Here are just few of the new designs I made ...
I mean - how yummy are those? I have been busy today trying them out on some new pages and paper ... not photographed yet, but they look great.
I love printing and painting my own cloth, and at our Region 10 area day last weekend, I demonstrated using stencils to make patterned cloth. I find it always starts off looking a little dull, but if you keep going and keep layering .. it all gets very exciting. Here is an image of large piece of cloth that I stencilled as an example.
 It is not all meant to be used as one piece - I was showing different ways of using the stencils and the differing effects with paint and dye, as well as different colours. But when cut up - I thing I am going to have some very exciting cloths indeed - so here are couple of crops:
OK - four then ...I can't help myself! And in that spirit, I wondered what would happen if I altered one of these an made a thermofax screen? Answer ....
Ooooh! I can't wait to try this one out.
If you like the look of all these, then you might be interested to know that Steph Redefiner and I are having an Open Studio at the Bramble Patch in Weedon next year - 29,30 and 31 August 2013. We both have new thermofax machines and both love printing, so I'm sure there will be some to see. So please do come along. We are also having a joint exhibition there next August and will both be teaching workshops - but I'll tell you all about that another time. I'm off to do some (more) printing - Hilary x