Sunday, 5 January 2014

Why wouldn't you??

I think firstly I should wish you all a late Happy New Year (not to mention Christmas .. which we won't as I missed it) .. so Happy New Year. I hope you had a good break and did lots of lovely things - what ever that means for you. For us - it usually means going to the beach - which we did on Christmas day .. here are my boys playing footy with a handy lump of grass (that is my treasure bag in Stephens hand) .. happy day ..
most of the pictures I took though were firmly art inspiration based - including this beautiful one of the sea edge and sand ripples - the colour of the sea was a really extraordinary blue that day - must have known it was a special day .. this will get used without a doubt - just need to decide how .. a thermofax is already shouting at me
Anyway - enough holidays - back to it, and I have two exhibitions coming up in March and April. The dawning of January has finally clarified in my mind that I need to get on with these properly - so I'm starting with the first .. Jenny Rolfe and I have a shared gallery at ICHF Fashion Embroidery and Stitch at the NEC in March. We have a lovely big space (thank you Jane B!)and although we have already done some work (well Jenny especially) - I want to do some using some of my newer techniques and ideas as well. The gallery is called The Shape of Nature .. which plays into my strengths rather nicely ..
I decided I would get out some of my plenteous gelli prints of leaves and make some work with them. As I cleared the table in preparation, I found a dog dump bag - no nice way of putting that .. BUT .. it didn't have the pooh in it (phews all round) No - it had some oak leaves, that I picked up last week during one of Dix and I's walks because they were such an interesting variety of shapes.
I then obviously 'stored' them sensibly on my work table and promptly buried them. Now - given the number of leaf prints I have, one could argue I should have just thrown these away ..
One could - but I didn't ... I decide to paint a long thin canvas (below) with copper and bronze setacolour, and mount the leaves on it. The lines and marks you can see (hopefully) are neocolour 1 put on before the paints .. pale blue to just give some markings and division of space. Obviously this needs some turquoise blue behind the leaves to make them perk up a bit and the leaves wouldn't say no to a smidge of brightening themselves. I decided it would be nice to have some blue voided leaf shapes behind the real leaves, which would be coppered up a bit.

And what do you do when you want leaf voids and prints?? You grab your gelli. I think I should just say here that I don't either make or sell gelli plates - wish I did - but my enthusiasm is totally genuine. In fact anything I do sell, I only sell because I love it, not the other way round. Ok - back to the gelli - this is my big lad, loaded with a mixture of cobalt blue setacolour opaque and pearl white, with leaves placed on top

pulled off and I have some very nice blue voids and the leaves gave a reasonable print too
I did several blue lots and then changed to copper and brick red shimmer (remember I want the leaves coppery) and printed some of those too - the leaves are now printing more clearly as they take up paint ... they were very dry initially

20 minutes and a lot of pleasure later and I have a lovely little (24 x A3) stack

Stage 1 done - and off into stage 2 .. adding some dye. First jade, bottle green and turquoise over the blue prints (this is for my canvas background panels)
then the same dyes over the coppery prints
ooh - then scarlet red, terracotta and red brown over blue, with leaf veins put in using neocolour 1 before dyeing
the blue dyes over copper with iridescent markal randomly applied in strips before dye added
similar, but with neocolour used on the leaves before adding dye
They are all hanging drying now, whilst I write this. They look gorgeous and I am so looking forward to getting on with the canvas.
But just before I go and do that - here is a piece made using one of my horse chestnut gelli prints from Harrogate K+S - made in just this way. Here it is collaged and machine stitched and it will now be hand stitched and mounted. This was a big print - A3, so this piece is a good size - about 24" x 26"
I have printed it on to a fabric canvas, which has picked up all the detail beautifully and has a nice surface texture itself
I heavily stitched the collage, over wadding, in a variety of patterns and weights - so it needed a good blocking to sort it out
sorry about the fluffy focus here - but I've included this close up as I think it would make a lovely design in itself
 and lastly - here is the next in the series (not sure how many yet) - this one is a blue version - just bonded down here and ready to start stitching tomorrow.
But today is canvas day - and I'm off to play with my newest prints .. I'll post the result as soon as I have it. Talk soon - thank you for visiting - Hilary x 


  1. You HAVE been having fun. I love them.

    1. New Years resolution - remember to always enjoy life!! xx

  2. Hilary - these look quite stunning. I have resisted a gelli plate, but I do wonder. The colours are fantastic. Hilary xx ps and a very happy and prosperous and arty new year to you and yours. And Gazza is very envious of your stunning beach.

    1. Gazza would love the beach - as does Dixter .. the sand sends him quite loopy! I know I keep saying it - but you get incredible detail and texture off the gelli plate - and you don't have to keep remaking it. Going by the number of times I have used it - I am well in profit over the cost of making gelatine - and it is a lot tougher. Go on - you know you want to ... xx

  3. Hello Mrs B these are stunning. Norah day tomorrow so shall be playing with HB design papers ... really excited about my payday x

    1. Brill - Norah days are essential Mrs S - have a snorter!! xx