Sunday, 24 November 2013


When you buy a piece of fabric do you really think about what you have bought?  I choose by colour, by pattern or simply by the feel of the cloth but little else crosses my mind except what I'm going to make with it.  So it's come as quite a surprise that when you do all these processes yourself it's actually very time-consuming.

I'm reupholstering an old chair, one my mother bought from a junk shop and re-covered for me about 30 years ago.  It's a sentimental project with more than a passing nod to my ancestry in the furniture business.  I wanted to truly personalise the chair and what better way to do it than with fabric I had printed myself?  

Once I had settled on a colour (at least two weeks agonising over that) I then spent several hours dyeing a couple of metres of linen union.  Having spent all that time colouring I then proceeded to apply discharge paste to bleach out a pattern. Then it all had to be washed again.  It's taken around 6 hours so far and that's not including drying time.  It would have been so much easier to buy some lovely fabric off the shelf but not nearly as satisfying.  

There's more work to do before the fabric makes it onto the chair but that will have to wait until next week.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Getting ready

I'm making preparations for a Christmas workshop in a couple of weeks time.  My plan was to use coloured copper wire and glass beads.  The only trouble is that the ideas in my head don't quite match what I can create. 

The most elegant way to make this little star would be to use a single piece of wire but as I have discovered this takes careful planning and lots of thinking ahead.  How many beads to thread at a time, where to make the first twist of wire, how many twists, what size of bead?  I might moan a bit but this is probably what I love most about new projects.  I like testing out my ideas and finding the best solution to a problem.

Whilst this was quite nice to mess around with myself, it's not something that would translate well for a workshop so I've decided that my little star will be one of a kind. I'm afraid it's back to the drawing board for me.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Making time

It's not always easy to find time in our busy lives for art, but this week I went to the first meeting of a local art group.

I was surprised to find so many people there and when the initial nervous buzz of chatter has died down, a quiet calm descended on the room as a dozen or so folk started to sketch the still life compositions that had been set up for us.  As we got a bit more confident we started talking with our neighbours about our choice of media or what we were planning to do with our initial sketches.

We are all amateurs, with no airs or pretensions and yet we come together to draw and sketch.  We plan to meet to meet once a month, sharing ideas, discussing our work and maybe inviting a tutor to give a workshop on a particular technique.  Making time to do something we enjoy.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Pastel pumpkin

With lots going on this week, there hasn't been much time for art. I've consoled myself with a quick sketch of one of the seasonal orange fruits that are so abundant. I used my pastel pencils, building up layers of colour and shading.  It's a messy process but quite satisfying as you get the feel of the curves and contours of the pumpkin when you blend the pastels.