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Archive for September, 2008

Dizzy heights!!

Today it is the usual dull miserable rainy day we have become accustomed to.  However a couple of days ago it was warm and sunny and the gable end wall of our bungalow was ablaze with the most incredible colour of the ivy.  A photo opportunity not to be missed before a gale comes along and blows it all away. The garden is already covered with these red leaves which I don’t mind at all.

The best of the colour was up high on the gable which meant a climb up the ladder onto the garage roof!!!  Now there was a time when that would have not been a problem but as I have aged – (and I aged another year yesterday as my grandson reminded me when he made me a birthday card with my age boldly on centre front) – I find heights bother me more.

My OH put up the ladder and held it while I climbed onto the roof. He then handed me the camera and I took several photos of the ivy.  Going up wasn’t too bad. Coming down was not so easy.  It is getting the foot round and onto the first rung that is the worst.  Can’t believe how I used to go up and down ladders and hang from guttering while painting dorma windows etc and now!!!!   However, I did it in spite of how comical I must have looked to the neighbours.  It was worth it –   just look at these colours.

The colours went from these

to these_

We have a soil pipe up this wall but it is almost invisible behind the ivy. just the odd bit of pipe still showing. Funny, but I quite like this photo.  Eventually, this means – no more painting.

I have been busy with some drawings for the publisher but I have also managed to be creative.  I have stitched three more art quilts.

The first one uses the photograph I took of a Victorian wrought iron staircase at the Darlington railway museum. I put a filter onto it in Photoshop – then I used Find edges – and came up with a design I could use.  I printed this in A3 size onto coated silk using pigment inks.  Then I free machine quilted it using several different coloured threads. It is edged with black silk fabric.

The next piece used a design I had used before but this time I printed it  onto coated silk and then free machine quilted it.  It is smaller than the first one which I silk painted and traced before stitching.  It also keeps the filled black design.  I had problems finding a way to edge the piece as I couldn’t find a suitable colour which complemented all of it. Black dulled the piece and other colours didn’t suit all the other colours in the piece so I turned in the edges and stitched them with invisible thread as no one colour thread would do the job.

The third piece was originally a photograph of lichen on the stone wall of the North Yorks moors.  I put it into Photoshop and again, as I always do, played with it.  I used a special effect filter which gave a crazy paved look.  I decided to use this as an art quilt.  I printed it it in A4 size onto coated silk.  Then I free machine quilted it using a number of metallic threads defined by the colours on the print – black metallic on black outlines, and similarly with silver, gold and copper metallic threads.  I edged it with a brown and gold fabric which I found in my ‘stash’.

I am, at present, nearing the end of the next one as well as preparing for another piece.  I couldn’t decide about a background fabric for it so I have been crazy dying a piece of silk which is drying at the moment. Then I can iron it for the next piece.

Looking forward to Friday as I am going to the Fashion and Embroidery show at Harrogate..  It isn’t the ‘crème de la crème’ of shows it used to be when it was run by Sarah McPherson under Madeira’s umbrella but it has improved over the last two years.  I have a small shopping list and money given to me for my birthday to spend at the show.  I will undoubtedly buy things I don’t need but can’t resist –  oooooh can’t wait.

So cheers everyone

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Unexpected photograph!

This week I went with my family to our camera club where we watched a presentation by a leading photographer – Patricia Jones.  She was very inspiring and i can’t wait for a decent day to go out and take more photos.  She prints all her own photos and has gone through 7 printers. She is now sponsored by ‘Photojet’ who provide her with paper and inks which must be nice.

We arrived home at about 10.30pm so as we approached the front door the security light was triggered and there on the floor just in front of the arch was a pile of wet leaves (it must have rained while we were at the camera club) looking brilliant in the glare of the light.

Unfortunately for us we live at the end of a road and usually all the litter is eddied into our drive and makes a pile in front of our arch but this time of the year it is leaves.  Being inspired by the presentation I got the camera and took some photos .  My OH had to keep waving his arms and jumping about to keep the light on for me.

They have turned out well.  Here is one of them:

Pretty good for hand held.  The next morning in daylight , albeit the usual dull miserable grey we have become accustomed to , these same leaves looked totally uninspiring.

As usual I began to play with the image and came up with a couple of future usable images. I zoomed in and liked the colours and textures of the big leaf.

Then I played with some of the filters and came up with these-

Hmmm  – itchy fingers – I can see so many things to do but these must wait a while – I have a list of pieces prepared and ongoing  to do first so time to get back to my sewing.
Cheers everyone.

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Rain, rain go away!

According to the weather forecast last weekend, Monday was going to be a reasonable day so we packed up a lunch and went to Bishop Aukland to do some photography on Aukland Castle.  This castle was built by one of the prince bishops as a hunting lodge and retreat.  It is now the seat of the Bishop of Durham Cathedral.  The grounds, deer park and castle are open to the public.

I featured the castle on one of my quilted shadow pieces.

We arrived there just as it began to drizzle.  In spite of this we decided to put up our brollies and go and take a look at least.  It is a beautiful and wonderfully maintained building with incredible architectural detail.  It was very dull and grey but I still took a few photographs of the detailed stonework of the walls.

I don’t think I have ever seen such decorative all over stone work on such a building.  These bishops certainly lived well.

We went for a walk in the deer park but it was very boggy and wet underfoot.  We came to the ‘deer house’ an extraordinry construction built by one of the bishops for the deer to shelter from bad weather and a viewing tower for his visitors to picnic and watch the deer.  We will have to visit again when the weather is better!!! and take more photographs.

I came home and got down to some quilting.  It was one of the printed silk images of a Japanese geisha – a free download.  I had already used French knots to pick out the pattern on the collar,  printed the surface of the kimono with small red metallic flowers and machined over the hair detailing the hairstyle of the geisha. Once I had quilted the girl, I vermicelli stitched the background and finally added some beads on the hair decoration.

I have now begun to quilt another piece, very different to this one so cheers for now.

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New bag and a busy week

On Tuesday I decided to join the camera club – the one both my OH and daughter are members of.  I went to the meeting and saw a presentation of underwater photography from an amateur diver.  He dives all over the world and showed us some incredible photographs of sponges and corals with the most amazing colours.  Lots of design source and he’s local to me!!

My jewellery arrived back home today from the photographer so now I have to mount it all back onto the display boards and stands. Uggg – big job.

Gave a talk to a local embroidery group today so was able to refresh my memory of the Craster project.  Seems so long ago now.  The jewellery made for this project was the beginnings of the jewellery book.  The jewellery arrived back just in time to include it in the talk.  They were a good advert for the book!!

I had a good play with my new toy this week.  I went to Whaley’s in Bradford and bought several meters of coated silk on the roll to use on my A3 printer.  I have had this printer over a year now  and have been going to test out the flat feed function for thicker mediums.  This week I did just that.  I prepared lots of images to print.  I used the flat feed function to print them out onto the silk using pigment inks for longevity.  I got quite carried away and now have a pile of work to quilt/overpaint/embelish etc.  The flat feed function is brilliant. Can’t believe I waited so long to try it out.

Here is the first of those pieces.

I used one of the Art Nouveau designs I found as a design source.

This colour scheme is nice but I had a play with it and came up with this:

I printed this blue version onto the silk. Then I free machine quilted it using a slightly thicker dark blue thread for the thicker limes, a normal rayon thread for the rest of the dark blue lies and a light blue thread for the rest.  When the quilting was complete I used French knots on the flowers, dress and head band.  Unfortunately the print ended slightly short so that the bottom border band was narrower than the other three sides.  I decided, therefore, to add a border which would overlay the dark blue border on the print.  I had some dark blue simulated leather cloth which was perfect for the job. I cut the pieces and stitched them around the quilt.

It was at  this point I made the decision to turn the quilt into a panel for a bag. I cut the rest of the bag pieces out of the blue leather fabric and found some blue flowered fabric which would work OK for the lining. In fact, it was the fabric from a bridesmaid’s dress from many years ago and I had to unpick and iron it as it was still a dress.

Once the bag was finally stitched together I made some tags for it to hang from the handle.  Cheekily I used my logo as one of them.

Here is a close up of one of the tags.

So the mistake on the printout led to this bag,  another successful rescue.

I can now choose the next piece from the big pile of prints!! but which one???

Cheers everyone.

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Well, all went well at the meeting for the photo shoot.  I met the photographer who is going to photograph my work for the book and the editor who is managing the publishing side of the book.

We discussed and agreed how each piece was to be photographed which took about three hours.  Afterwards he showed me his set up for photographing the work and then his computer set up.  He uses twin monitors and a computer with 12GB of RAM.  I think the colour green comes to mind.

I am really looking forward to seeing the proofs.   He said it would take him about a week to photograph everything and then send it all back to me which is good as it will save me another trip down to London.

Since my return I have managed to do make a couple of art quilts which seems to be my ‘thing’ at the moment – playing around with ideas and techniques.

The first one is an applique quilt of an Art Nouveau design which I adapted.  I don’t know if the technique is as it should be or not – I simply follow my instincts and it seems to work.

The bottom edge was a last minute decision.

For the next quilt I used an Art Nouveau design – a squirly pattern – and put a graduated fill onto the background.  I painted silk so that the three colours -gold, crimson and petrol blue – would bleed into each other.  I traced the squirly design onto the silk and then machine quilted the design using a black rayon thread.

Now I am in the process of printing designs onto silk ready to applique/paint/quilt or whatever idea I come up with so  watch this space.

Managed to  do some gardening today or should I say attacked the jungle which has sprouted up thanks to all the rain. My green bin is full so I will have to wait for it to be emptied before I can cut down more of the jungle.

I have a talk to prepare for Saturday which is one I have given before so everything is ready. Just a quick run through to jog my memory.

It is late now and I still have some work to finish off so…

cheers everyone.

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