Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Upcoming projects

So what's next? Well due to a heavy work load in my day job - and the fact that I am running around the country like a mad thing, my 'fun stuff' has had to take a back seat. However, I feel the loss and therefore hope to settle down soon and get some serious 'me time' in soon.

There is a beading competition through Fire Mountain Gems that has a deadline of 15th April for entrants. I have been working (on and off) since last summer on a 5 cabochon necklace with a variety of different sized blue stones. Now I am thinking that I may try to get it done in time. As usual I leave it to the last minute but a deadline is always good at focusing my mind! After the success of my first sale (Storm) I may just have a go! It is currently called 'Blue' (or 'that bloomin necklace') and this is how far I have got as of last night...

I also got my hands on some lovely colour sample packs from Art and Stitch the other week that are just screaming to be made into something delicious. Unfortunately the old sewing machines is currently gasping its way along so I will have to get it serviced. This will obviously make machine embroidery a bit more difficult for the time being...

One idea that has been playing around my mind for a while is to make a miniature stitched theatre. I used to have a cardboard cutout theatre when I was little and I would love to make one myself. I quite fancy the idea of a scene from A Midsummer's Nights Dream - with lots of sparkle and a few fairies thrown in for good measure.

I was reading Stitch magazine today and they are running a competition at the Knitting and Stitching show based on the 60's, so despite not being thought of then, I may have a go. I already have a couple of ideas for a relatively large piece (my biggest piece so far has only made 10 inches) which would fill the stairwell of the new house...

I think I will probably look back at this at the end of the year and reaslise that I have achieved none of it! The biggest trial of a creative nut is finding the time to fit it all in!!

Monday, 30 March 2009

Green - another exhibition piece

Now this was great fun to do. I had an experiment pack from Art & Stitch in green and so I thought I would just 'play' and see what happened. I like to try to get as much texture and dimension into the piece as possible.
In this case, this was by machine stitching wave lines and couching fancy threads in between stitched circles as well as needle felted 'mounds'. I also added semi-precious stones to add a bit of 'sparkle'.
I wanted this piece to have some extra depth and some very helpful advice from another guild member led to Green being formed around half a lemonade bottle. I have to say I think that the result is rather interesting and I am looking forward to getting it home and hanging it on my wall!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Foam - an Exhibition piece

This is the finished piece and was inspired by a walk on the beach at Great Yarmouth, where I collected the shells used. The original idea was to make it into a book cover but I think the project has grown too large for that. Maybe I will make a smaller version and use that instead....
To create this piece I painted plain calico and then stitched the circles onto it. I initially stitched the circles and then machined over them again with a layer of wadding in between and extra stuffing in some areas to give a real sense of depth.

The net was created by machine stitching a grid onto dissolvable fabric. I purposely only gently rinsed the fabric away because I wanted the netting to retain some of the glue so it could be modeled easily.

After initially painting the piece of calico and then stitching it I decided that there was not enough depth of colour around the bubbles. So I got out the old art supplies and got dug in. I used acrylic paints, coloured pencils, water colour pencils and crayons to further define the circles. I think the result was quite effective.
This is a close up of the shell and bead detail. I am quite proud of the amount of recycling in this piece, from the found objects from the beach to the beads collected from a broken necklace that has sat in my bit box for years waiting for a project.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Peterborough Embroiderers Guild Exhibition

Well the guild exhibition is over this weekend so I thought I should get around to blogging about some of the pieces that I showed in my first ever exhibition!

Getting ready for this exhibition was a bit of a stress because I usually only have arbitrary deadlines (like a birthday) so getting 5 items finished at the same time was a bit of a stretch. Work interfered quite a lot - with whole weeks at a time spent in dark hotel rooms where the best I could do was a little light beading. However we got there in the end and I showed the following framed wall hangings:
  • Red
  • Green
  • Purple
  • Foam
  • And a necklace called Storm which is introduced in post What a weekend
The first 3 pieces were purposely single colour studies because I wanted to restrict my colour palette and focus on creating texture and movement instead.

This piece uses paper and various threads to create texture. Machine embroidery created hollow 'tunnels' which I then (carefully) stuffed. These raised areas were then waxed an polished.

This is a closeup of Red. Polishing made the item look a bit gruesome and a number of people commented that it looked like veins!

I'll cover the other pieces in a later blog. I have been away all week and the old cupboards are bare. Now I don't expect to fade away in the next 2 hours but I am gagging for a cup of tea and the milk has gone lumpy... so see you soon.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Jewellery as gifts

I love to give pressies to those I love and jewellery is a perfect gift for those glamourous ladies in my life. So when preparing a birthday gift for my frend Sarah (otherwise refered to as Erms) I made straight for the bead box and dug out a delicious jade cabachon I had bought from Fire Mountain Gems last year.

I adore big cabachons and this one was crying out to be made into something for someone special! Erms is 'strawberry blonde' and therefore the deep green stone is absolutely perfect. This cabachon was the biggest I had worked with so far, and proved a challenge to set. I don't like to put my cabs on any kind of backing because I want to enjoy the back of the stone as well as the front. This can make it tough to bead the bigger cab because they are heavier and need to be beaded more tightly to avoid them 'dropping out' when being worn.

As this was going to be a 'statement piece' I wanted it to really stand out. I chose a peyote cord because it allowed me to continue the colour theme but without detracting from the cab. I also chose to add a double depth fringe around the bottom of the cab. This gave the cab a lovely flow and a depth that it would otherwise have lacked.

I think that the result is fab, and so does Erms. I hope she gets as much delight from wearing it as I did making it. I am already looking through my cab collection so I can repeat the design for myself!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

What a weekend

Well my Mum has paid a visit to Peterborough this weekend from the soggy climes of C.Cork in Eire. One of the highlights for us both was her visit to the Peterborough guild's exhibition at Peterborough museum. A thrill for us because it is the first time I have exhibited anywhere, and the first time she has seen any of my work in the flesh. She usually has to accept photographic evidence!

I will post further pics later but this is my Mum's favourite piece that I have made (and mine too if I am honest).

This is a necklace called Storm because the focal glass bead reminds me of the pictures of storms that you see on Neptune with huge swirling masses spread across the planet. These swirls are then echoed throughout the cord. Texture is added by varying the size of the beads in the herringbone stitch cord.

I am pleased to say that this item has sold and is going to a good home where it can be appreciated. I hope that the lady who purchased it gets as much pleasure out of it as I have.