Thursday, 27 March 2014

apologies, some crayons, a show, a catlogue and a lovely sale

So firstly - a big SORRY for the absence of blog posts in the last month. I have been taking the pictures ready to post, but then time has kept just running away with me. I do manage to get much more regular, although briefer posts and images onto my Facebook page .. so you might like to come and join me there:
So lets have a bit of a catch up. Several people have asked what I mean by blocking my work and how I go about it. Basically, this is pinning the piece out flat and then wetting it to allow the fibres to reset where you want them. I am not fussy about a lot of things .. but this is one where I am .. if it is meant to be flat .. I like it flat
So here is one of the bulrush pieces .. very wonky after layers of paper, stitch and fabric have been added. I start by pinning it up on my design board (an office screen in my case)
You have to work slowly and methodically (yes, even me) - easing and manipulating the piece as you go. You may get nasty corners like this one below - but just undo some pins and keep stretching
eventually you will get it flat and straight, like this,
at which point - give it a really good spray with water and let it dry for two or three days
When dry it will be flat as a haddock and ready to mount/bind/whatever you wish to do to it.
When blocking the bulrush pieces, some of the dye leaked from the fabric into the surrounding area. Surprisingly, this only happens very occasionally, and often I am not bothered. But on this occasion, it was into pale blue commercial fabric I had used for sky and looked messy - as you can see below .. 
This is where my neocolour 1 crayons are brilliant, Water resistant and highly pigmented - I can go back into the piece to alter the colours back to what I want ..
And here are all three finished and mounted on canvas
My friend Linda also asked about going back into pieces with crayon .. so I thought some pics of that might be good
You remember the horse chestnut gelli prints? They had been machine quilted and then hand stitched and during all that handling, the photo transfers on canvas had become a little faded. So once again it is out with the neocolour 1 (I keep stressing the '1' as there are also neocolour 2 - which are lovely but water soluble and would therefore run when any wet medium was added ... '1' are water resistant and much more useful for this sort of work) and I just worked back into the leaf prints to bring the colour up where I wanted it  
I also worked into the lettering to emphasise the words
and off the edges of the photo transfers to help blend and merge them into the surround
and even over the stitching in places, to adjust colour
I also use the crayons to add marks, lines and colour wherever I feel is beneficial
lastly with these, I stitched and added tags to them .. giving both their title and their message:- in our sometimes grey and sad world - beauty does matter .. it is healing, validating and powerful .. and art that celebrates that, has always had and will always have, a place
The pieces were then mounted onto board and the edges finished with bonded fabric and ribbon. They were then sealed with matt medium
Beauty Matters 1: 22 x 24"
Beauty Matters 2: 22" x 24"
Beauty Matters 3: 31" x 41"
All these pieces, plus many more, were on display last week at the ICHF show at the NEC where Jenny Rolfe and I had a gallery called the Shape of Nature
We produced a catalogue for the show, which features images of all of the work displayed (over 30 pieces) plus close ups .. here are a couple of 'look inside' pages
It is 8"x 8" (squared off A4) and 48 pages and I have put copies into the website shop if you fancy one
We both sold a fair bit of work at the show too - which is truly the best feeling ever. I was especially delighted to have one of my Make it Personal students buy this triptych .. as an early retirement present for herself (excellent plan) and to keep her inspired ..
I very much hope she will be coming on next years course, as she had bucket loads of talent to work with. Which reminds me .. Make it Personal will be running all year again next year (2015) at the Bramble Patch in Weedon.(this years course is now fully booked). It consists of a two day session every two months and covers everything in the book, plus sketchbook and design work. Details are on the Bramble patch site, or on my website. Anne has not put the classes online yet - but does have the dates if you phone the shop. This years students are more than welcome to come again and expand what they are doing.
And lastly for today - whilst talking about workshops .. there are a few places left on the two day silhouette workshop at the end of April - also at the Bramble Patch. We will be looking at simple ways of creating background design and collages and then adding silhouettes on top. You don't have to do animals .. any of these sort of subjects .. or indeed anything else you can think of .. would be fine...
Last time - someone did a beautiful piece featuring retro fabrics and her beloved VW camper - it was fabulous!
I am very booked up now with workshops - I can't take any more bookings now until mid 2016 .. so if you fancy a very cheery as well as instructive and hopefully inspiring couple of days - do book on the ones still available .. here is a link to the Bramble Patch page:
Back soon with more show images, some sketchbook work and a bit of an appliglue 'how to' .. another of my favourite finishing tools - thank you for visiting - Hilary x


  1. Eeeh! You are a tonic! Thank you for sharing your methods and for reassuring me that I am not alone in having the occasional mishap with migrating colour! I never made it to the NEC as I was poorly......,maybe catch up at FoQ?

    1. Its good to have mishaps George - shows we are not getting too 'anal' about it all. And the trick is to know how to sort them out isn't it? Hope you are recovering .. missed you at show but yes .. certainly will be at FOQ!! xx

  2. Its good to have mishaps George - shows we are not getting too 'anal' about it all. And the trick is to know how to sort them out isn't it? Hope you are recovering .. missed you at show but yes .. certainly will be at FOQ!! xx

  3. Your stand at the Show looked very exciting and I enjoyed seeing all the new work in the flesh, so to speak. I bought the catalogue and it's excellent even without its top coat, I hadn't even noticed. I know I will go back to it time and again for inspiration both from you and Jenny. I hope you've had a bit of a rest after last week.

    1. thanks Julie - very re-assuring. Hope you have finally thrown that infection off too xx

  4. Your stand at the show looked great, it was lovely to see some of the work I'd seen on your FB page in real life and to see Jenny's work too which I wasn't familiar with :) Great to see how you use the crayon, they look really handy :) x

    1. neocolour 1 are brill Chloe - get them on your birthday list .. and it was lovely to see you too xxx

  5. Hi, Hilary. I just happened upon your very creative blog with an abundance of visual pleasure. I must say, your work is exquisite and I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite. Enjoyed the visit.
    best from Tunisia,

    1. Hi Nadia .. and thank you so much. Isn't technology wonderful that someone so far again can visit so easily .. hope you will come back too xx

  6. your work is stunning, my favourite is the horse chestnut leaf, wow

    1. Thank you Barbiedi .. and that horse chestnut leaf had made some wonderful prints for me! x

  7. Wonderful post, lots of lovely info specially about blocking - might try it on my small hanging but it's already stitched to it's background of denim.....

    1. Blocking is brilliant Emma - although better before the back goes on! .. but I'd give it a go anyway !! x