Tag Archives | reeds

July Reeds

Oops, it’s August and I forgot to post pics of the July reeds, but I did take these photos in July, honest gov!

They had got much greener.

reeds in July

reeds in July

Strong diagonals:

july reeds

Less of the wave like effect.  Or maybe I had to stand on tiptoe to see it…

green reeds

This month I noticed the plants that grew next to (and above) the reeds much more:

reeds and rose bay willow herb

Like this rose bay willow herb.

sorrel in flower

And sorrel.

yellow snail on reed leaf

And what was living on them!

June Reeds

green reeds in june

A lot more green now.

VERY green

Spring green….

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The brown stems are still poking up but the new growth is catching them up…

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And the sea of reeds from previous months is just a hazy mist outlining the path of the pill.

Painted papers course

First of all, let me show you a photo of the reeds in February, just so you know I’m keeping up with my resolve!  (Not that one lot of photos a month is exactly onerous but still…)

February reeds

I love the colours in that one.  It was a glorious, crisp, sunny winter’s day last week.

A few weeks ago I signed up to do an online course, hoping to get my creative mojo going again, and it definitely worked!  I did LK Ludwig’s Printed Patterned Painted journal making class – Karen Stiehl Osborn was doing it and mentioned it in her newsletter. 

Here are a few of the painted papers I’ve made:

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Can you believe these were made with acrylic paint, a few old credit cards and some foam stamps or stencils?  My (mostly) home made stamps box is getting fuller:

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I have actually made two journals out of them so far, but don’t seem to have any photos yet!  Here is one in process of construction.

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Besides all this, I spent most of last week monoprinting over them with a gelatin plate – this time I used Rayna’s recipe and it is still going a week later!!! Last year it cracked up after a day or so, and Rayna’s recipe is definitely easier so I will be using that from now on…  I seem to have been so busy printing that I haven’t taken any photos yet so that’ll be the next post.    Last week it was half term and DH was away in India and I seemed to get a lot more done, for some reason!  I also finished the two large reeds hangings finally so pics of them will be forthcoming as well. 

November reeds

I have been observing the reeds in Newport recently through the seasons. Today I went for a walk and took lots of photos and the following video… I love the sounds it picks up and the way they look just like waves…

Another reeds piece, finally!

I’ve been a bit in the doldrums regarding creativity recently, or at least the textile sort.  So I had to force myself to get down to printing the next in the reeds series and it was a slow start.  But now I think I’m getting into it!  

Here is the sample piece I produced for what I want to do.  I’m trying to capture a grey, glowering sky with the dirty-gold reeds against it.  This is just a practice piece to help me see how the lighter colours of the yellow-gold will show up against the grey.

sample for reeds fabric

It is going to consist of many layers.  Here are the first two, not looking too promising yet…

stamps and brushing

Next I started with one thermofax screen.

stamped, brushed and screened! 

And then another….

stamped, brushed and screened twice!

At least another 5 layers to go… This is a slow process, as I have to wait for each layer to dry before I add the next.  I’m using fabric paints.  But it fits in with my routine at the moment: lots of cooking food for teenagers and countless household tasks, packaging up Gocco machines (only three left now, the pile is going down!), and my least favourite, juggling with figures for the tax return.  Not so many visits to quilt shows or textile museums, though I did manage my first ever visit to Ikea now that DS1 has passed his driving test! And lots of family tree research, and I’m plotting a visit to the National Archives in London….

So, to conclude this post, here is my design board at the moment:

design board

Garden progress

Well, the patio is looking a bit better stocked now;   I just hope these French beans will look as healthy after the slugs sniff them out!

French beans

And here are the tomatoes all bedded in!   The big ones are Alicante, the smaller ones Gardener’s Delight.

beans and tomato plants

Just to end this little horticultural interlude, the wisteria at the front of our house is in full bloom; it smells heavenly.

wisteria

And to get back to textile content, DH and I went and got a HUGE piece of MDF for my printing table the other day – here it is in my studio.  So now I won’t have to keep pinning and unpinning fabric and moving it along to do the next bit…

print table 

Here’s a sneak peek at my reeds hanging no.1.  The stuff on the table above is being auditioned for hanging no. 2.

reeds hanging

Finding Your Visual Language course

I have tried to write about my week at Committed to Cloth a couple of times and just ended up with a confused tangle of impressions, ideas and happenings.    So here we go again…

Before the week started, Claire sent us a list of questions to answer and send to them in advance, and this in itself was a valuable exercise.  They were things like, what do you want to commit to in the coming months, what do you need to do to realise this and how can we help?    I think the key word for me both before and during the week, was focus.  To choose one thing and focus on it, and get rid of all the extraneous things; be willing to chuck anything that isn’t working and stop fluttering like a butterfly on to any and everything textile related, the latest technique, the latest ‘must have’ item.   I think that ever since City & Guilds, when you get to try lots of different techniques and samples, I’ve been a ‘butterfly’, hopping on to one craze and then the next without getting deeper and trying to make my own path through one thing, ignoring all the rest.

So during that week I decided that what I really love is to colour the fabric, and that the stitching bit isn’t really important to me; often I would dye cloth or paint it and then feel I had to make it into something, and stitch it, and then it got put into a pile and never used.  So I decided that I’d concentrate on wholecloth work.    Hence my destashing over the last few weeks.  (There are still about 8 fabric bundles left, by the way, plug, plug!!)  I freecycled a load of stuff, chucked out or rehoused another load (what hordes of rubbish I was collecting in there in the hope that it would come in useful one day….), rearranged my studio and moved the tables around to make it easier to paint and print large pieces of cloth.  I did hope that I might be able to have a sink put in there but that looks as though it might be too impractical.  But already it feels more workable and I’ve been getting down to a piece of work that I started sampling on the course.

Claire and Leslie were great during the week – there were only 5 of us on the course and so we were able to have lots of one to one time with them.  Over the last year I have been trying to work on a series about the local river and I had already come to the conclusion that I was trying to do too much in each piece and so got bored and come unstuck.  They helped me see that I had to be a lot more specific – FOCUS again! – so I decided that I would take the theme of reeds and develop design material round that during the week.   Claire advised me to do a writing exercise to help put into words exactly what I wanted to say in a particular piece and so I was able to do mark making around those words and feelings.    Here are some of the designs which came out of that:

designs at c2c 

When I’d done a lot of design work, with Claire and Leslie’s help I picked out several which seemed to work best with the words and thoughts about what I was trying to achieve, and then we used acetates to see how these would work when layered.  After that I worked on a sample of cloth to see how these would turn out in colour.  Here is the result (though the photo isn’t very faithful to the colours and there are some random shadows which aren’t there in the original!).

reeds sample

I’m in the process of making this into a large wall piece and the great thing is that I have a load of design material and ideas to develop other pieces in a series on reeds.     And, more importantly, I learnt to see how to get from doing a load of design stuff to actually translating it into fabric without being too literal.  I made the above sample with fabric paints using a stamp cut from a rubber, a credit card, a scrubbing brush and a piece of laminated plastic!

Through the week, as well as working on our own designs (and every one of us worked on very different things), we got together and Claire and Leslie taught us about the elements of design, what you have to have in a design to make it work and how to critique our own pieces of work to help us ascertain why they were or weren’t working.   And lots of other discussion about methods of working, ways of framing or finishing pieces of work – and yummy lunches and endless cups of tea and coffee in the process!   The course took place in Claire’s wonderful house and an important part of the atmosphere was the beauty all around.   It was a wonderful week and a pivotal one, for me, I think.  Time will tell on that last point.

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