Sunday, 28 July 2013

What is it about drawing....

Back, Pencil on paper

...that is releasing and refreshing. Working in a totally different way to normal is helping me generate new ideas for my art work. I rarely just draw, and I've missed it. My work has been a lot more abstract in nature over the last few years and it feels good to get back to some basics. I'm enjoying the challenge of creating art work for others in the commissions I've received, but that's been a challenge too!
Perfume, Pencil on paper

I'm almost half way through the challenge and I've worked predominantly in monochrome, with only a few colour pieces. I think I might have to rectify that in the second half of the challenge. I'd also like to reflect a range of artists style in my work too. I encourage my students to try stuff that other artists do, I suppose I ought to do the same!

Rose, Charcoal on paper

So If you would like to suggest artists whose style might inform one of my pieces i'm more than interested in hearing who they are.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

I'm loving this!

Northumberland beach, coloured pencil and oil pastel on brown paper

I really am loving this! I'm loving creating new art works and not being constrained by my previous work, or what I think I should be creating. I'm just enjoying making art for it's own sake.
Here are my two most recent pieces.

Libby, Fineliner and acrylic paint on brown paper

Sunday, 21 July 2013


Don't you hate it when a pattern isn't quite what you'd hoped it would be?
Yep me too.
But we tweak a seam here and alter a dart there and it usually comes good in the end. Yes?
Not today. I have spent the best part if the last two weeks working on a crochet dress. I finished it today. But it looks rubbish. It's way too big on the skirt. And the skirt was the first part to be completed. As I'd never made it before I stuck closely to the rather vague pattern instructions. The skirt has 7 rows of 10 motifs that get smaller as the get nearer the bust line. I now think that just 8 per row would be more than enough. To make this adjustment I think I need to take rather a lot of the dress apart. There is no way I'm throwing £25 worth of yarn away.
I just can't face doing it today.
And for all those of you that knit and crochet. Yes I did check the tension. It was spot on!
Shame you can't make a muslin for crochet.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

6 down and 24 to go

Northumberland Hills - oil pastel
I've made a good start to my 30 30 30 challenge and have now completed 6 pieces. I'm trying to do a range of different styles and subject matter. And using this time to explore art I wouldn't usually make. I am a abstract painter if i'm honest and love throwing paint around, so doing something as disciplined as creating work to a set size is a new way of working for me.

Warkworth Castle - Charcoal
So far I have completed: 2 pencil drawings; 1 Charcoal Drawing; 1 oil pastel drawing;  1 ball point pen drawing and a painting in acrylic.

Piggies - ball point pen

I've spent about a day on each, but the pen drawing has taken more than two days.

Boats - acrylic paint
My oil pastels also melted in the heat and were more like mini oil bars. I quite liked the fluidity of the melted pastels and got very messy creating the drawing.

Statue - pencil
I still need to create another 24 pieces to meet my challenge and I'm still on the look out for more ideas. If you can challenge me to create a specific art work, or use a certain style of unusual combination of materials I'd be more than glad to hear from you.

I'm hoping to exhibit some of the work in the autumn and will be selling it for £30 each original piece  - as is, no framing. It's to help raise funds for my upcoming trip to China with International China Concern. And considering how long I've spent on some of these pieces  - £30 is a bargain.

Monday, 15 July 2013

30 30 30 challenge update

Boats, Acrylic
My recovery is being aided by my lovely family. this morning before they left for school and work they made me a flask of coffee, glass of water and put all my art things out in the garden at the table. It was rather windy and this morning was a little cooler than expected. I kept the sunglasses on to avoid pollen in my eyes and dosed myself with hay fever meds and painkillers, applied the Piz Buin all day sun screen and was ready to go.

Warkworth Castle, Northumberland. Charcoal
I'm trying to keep my feet up as much as possible so worked on my knee, I was using acrylic paint and despite adding drying retarder it was still drying a little too quickly for my liking. I managed to work on two pieces today; a painting and a very quick charcoal sketch.

Comments please, and I'm still looking for suggestions of what to paint/ draw.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Hip Hip Hooray

Today's Efforts
I've been in hospital this week having a Hip Arthroscopy to repair the hip FAI (Femoral Acetabular Impingement) I have in my left hip. It was a planned surgery and I'm quite surprised how quickly the pain has subsided. I went in on Tuesday morning and was due to be out by the evening, but had a lot of pain in recovery and the nurse suggested staying in overnight, which I was more than happy to do as I hadn't seen the physio about getting about and was feeling groggy after the anesthetic.

I'd forgotten how much you get disturbed on the ward at night, as my blood pressure was taken every two hours, usually on both arms, as it was on the low side. The night was warm and muggy, but I did sleep a little. I got chatting to the lady in the next bed and we talked about crafting, she loves embroidery. I was busy with my crochet and all the nurses commented on it and asked what I was making.

I finally was discharged at about 3pm on Wednesday, and made my way home, not quite sure how I was going to manage the stairs, or worse the shower! I can manage both, as long as someone turns the shower on! The pain is bearable and I keep it under control with painkillers through the day. It's a lot less that I thought it would be.
The dress I'm working on.

I have spent the last two lovely days sitting in the shade in the garden crocheting and drawing and I've completed 2 of my 30 30 30  challenges. I do know why I prefer to sew than crochet though - the dress is taking an age! I'm just too impatient and want it finished yesterday! I need to get a smaller crochet hook and the shop in our town doesn't have the right size, so I'm going to have to put it on hold until I can get the right one.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Polkadot Maudella Version 2

After I made the purple polkadot dress based on the Maudella pattern I picked up for 20p, my friend Alli loved it and borrowed the dress for an event, she was taken with it and asked me to make a version for her, so she bought me the fabric -  a dark red with cream polkadot cotton and I made the dress up for her.

As it was the second time I've made the dress it went together much quicker. I didn't use interfacing in this one as I found that even the light interfacing added too much stiffness to my purple version. I glad I did this as the dress hangs much better and the fabric has enough body as it's a quilt cotton.

Soundtrack: The North Borders - Bonobo

Monday, 8 July 2013

Floral shirt dress.

Last year my hubby brought me some fabric back from China. It's a cotton with purple flowers on. It also had quite a deep border print. I decided to make a shirt dress and used the Maudella bodice as I knew it fit well. I added a dirndl skirt, originally keeping the border print.

Once it was made the border print looked a little odd, so I shortened it and got rid. I also had to be quite careful when cutting as the fabric had been stored on a bolt and the edges had discoloured and yellowed slightly. I think I've hidden the worst! I plan to wear this type of dress after I've had my hip op as it will be easier to get on than shorts or skirts and it's perfect for the warm weather we have in the UK at the moment.

Soundtrack - Vehicles and Animals by Athlete

Saturday, 6 July 2013

The Lucinda Skirt - Be My Goth

I was overwhelmed when Parnuuna from Be My Goth asked me to test her skirt pattern. unfortunately I've had so many things to complete it's taken me a while to get around to making it.

I cut it out two weeks ago and have just finished it. I made my version as a wearable muslin in black stretch poly as I wanted to see how well the skirt went together before making it in a nice suiting - so what's the verdict?

The Lucinda pattern is superb; I especially love the high paneled waist and gathered pockets (although I might omit those on a work version). The drafting is spot on and the sizes exactly matched the measurements given. I ended up grading from one size on the waist to a size larger on the hips as i'm more pear shaped. This worked fine, although i might take a little more off of the waist for a really close fit. I also added some rigiline boning into the facing at the waist to help keep the high waist in shape.

The instructions for printing and assembling the pattern are excellent and accompanied with photo illustrations in the tutorial.

Things I'd like to see - the pattern doesn't include seam allowances and It would be good if it did. I also needed to shape the added hem allowance on the skirt and didn't. as it's tapered the hem was actually smaller than the edge of the skirt, so adding a slight flare to the seam allowance would ensure that the hem will sit evenly when it's stitched in place.

I love this skirt and I will definitely be making it again - in a nicer fabric. I plan to make a matching jacket and trousers so I have several suit combos for work.

Thank you Parnuuna for sharing this with me.

Sorry for lack of detail on photos - I hate photographing black!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Phantom costumes

School are going to do phantom of the opera in December and I'm helping with the costumes. I'm going to be doing the costumes for the Hannibal scene.

Has anyone else ever made these costumes?


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