Monday, 19 April 2010

Funeral and then time out on the beach

Attended a cremation last friday morning with my daughter, it was for the Mum of her ex from when they were in their teens. Not many there, but such lovely things were said about her that we were both really upset afterwards. Not all shmaltsy, but telling the amazing things shed gotten up to and had achieved in her life.
This lady had been very kind to my daughter and thought alot of her, though I didnt get to know her at all well then, the celebration of her life made me realise Id missed out.
Made me think that my two wouldnt know what music to play at my own 'do' so maybe I should put a plan into action, to make it easier for them to organise things, when I trip away to who knows where. 
(Hopefully not just yet .... )
Plus it also made me realise I probably wouldnt have anyone there to say such great things about me, to help my kids, so they might know who the real me, was? Does that make sense? lol Dont worry, not looking for volunteers!
Sad that when we pass away , all the amazing things we have seen and done, that have been special to us, moulded us, changed us, thrilled us, is lost and our kids know nothing of any of it.
Unless it has been written down, recorded some place I suppose.

Anyway afterwards, I went to the coast and I took some time out on both North Beach, Bridlington and then Fraisthorpe beach to the south.
The coast has a calming effect on me but poor Tylah had to go to work afterwards, pity. So piccies of what I saw ... patterns and textures ..
The one on the rights almost like a middle finger salute! (sorry lol)

Fraisthorpe beach is littered with huge war defences that have fallen apart now and the muscle growths above, cover enormous 6' square concrete whatever the were's, but I loved the gnarled wood as much as the encrusted,largely vacant muscle beds textures.

Above right looked for all the world like a fossilised fish, but was infact concrete remains broken off the defences and submerging into the sand....but when I printed it off ...well ....

or maybeI also collected some of the lovely seaweed  off north beach that I so like, that looks for all the world like old lyle stockings, reckon they'll ever be back in fashion? I want to try dyeing it, hadnt thought to do it before but just wondered how it would look.

Over the glorious weekend, (no sign of the sun today mind you) I did a little bit in the garden and also some clarty bits, so see what a difference a week makes to the primroses!
And those accidental backgrounds I ended up with?
Wall art of a kind. I dribbled pva glue on them, which I then dribbled Crafty Notions special effects paint on, let it set for a while and then heat gunned it all, to get the horse(?) effect and the raised squiggles. The pva balloons up when heated and then, deflates into an almost leathery remains.

I mentioned the odd coloured cd packets I think, that were at Scrapstore and here they are as you find them ..

Im not really sure if they are Tyvek or a Kunin fabric but they do zap down and the odd plastic, feels as if it should 'do' something too.
SO, I painted afew and will see what happens with them, as I go along.

These paints are much like the Stewart Gill paints, rich, luscious and go far
further than youd think.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Beaut fabric and UK Scrapstores

Meant to mention this before, but when at the NEC, I spoke with a really pleasant lady buying, on the Art Van Go stand and we watched Lynda Monk use her incredibly clever techiques. Then we sat alongside eachother on a workshop later on and discussed kunin felt. How some Kunin zapped successfully and some didnt. I mentioned our local Scrapstore here in Hull frequently had all sorts of useful stuff for crafty folk like us. 
(They are to be found in most major cities though they are not a national chain, each individually run and as such, can have different joining criteria and differing, clean industrial waste to offer its members, though they do swap scrap with eachother several times a year. )
Here in Hull you pay a joining fee, in my works case, £18 annually and for that you get 3 membership cards and you pay about £4 for a shopping basket full of 'scrap' when you visit. Or I think its £8 for a large wheeled trolleys worth. Art students can pay for days entry and of cousre if you dont find anything to interest you, then you dont pay!

Now Smita went in search later on, of her nearest Scrapstore in Leicester I believe it was, and there, for £30 annual membership you could go and take scrap free, say once a month or so, so there its a higher joining fee but then free 'scrap'. However she didnt see very much at all that she would have wanted to take away with her, so didnt join.

I knew we had some kunin felt on a 60" roll at our Scrapstore for a very cheap price and shed loads of foil, so took her address and obtained some for her and posted it to her, to 'play' with. Now in exchange she very kindly sent me this delish fabric and as soon as Ive found her letter, with her email address in it I will email and thank her for it Smita if your reading this......Ive put the letter down somewhere safe.......and I love the fabric!
They now have some natty 5" square cd sleeves I think they are, with coloured, yes!  green, yellow, blue, pink and white squares of textured Tyvek in them!
fab fab fab! Well they didnt look much like Tyvek at first, but they didnt tear sooooo ..... then they didnt dissolve in water, but hey presto - they do disintegrate with the heat gun!
SO Smita I will send you afew to play with, and you too Shelagh and you too Maggie, watch for the postman next week!
But, they have now sold out of the Kunin.......... :(

Took a ride this afternoon out to Bridlington to collect my new Janome, not an all singing all dancing machine, just one that I can use specifically for machine embroidery in that the feed dogs will drop.
Took some photos on the beach, will post them in the next post, and I collected some dried seaweed, I love the stuff, its shaped like fingers and has the texture of old lylle stockings!
See Im so easily pleased, sunshine,  a walk along the beach and abit of beachcombing. Id be such a cheap date if there was only some bloke daft enough to give me a try! 

Thursday, 15 April 2010

There's more ....

The cats have been fed, Ive had a bite to eat too, so now back to a catch up ...
Not a great picture but enough to give you an idea of the felted poppy and its construction. The knitting needle 'nob' end is central and Ive centred a twisted tangle of novelty yarn around it, then stitched the individual leaves into position. I think I must have ensured the flower wouldnt slide down the needle, by finally squeezing some pva into the base of the flower, around the needle.

And to prove I love real flowers too, a couple of cheery yellows to greet me when I hang washing on the line -  Spring at last!

The cowslips remind me of my childhood and walks in 'Fairy Glen', which  was a strip of gated, hedgerowed land, set between fields on the outskirts of Broomfleet village, up here in East Yorkshire. It was choc full of violets, primroses and cowslips growing wild when I was a child. There were bunnies and birdsong and coming from Birmingham city, I was in heaven in there, it was to me, a real secret garden of sorts.
It had a humpy backed, once cobbled, mini bridge but overgrown with grass and weeds, beneath which was an odlet, a stream. We kids once scrambled beneath the bridge shape and found small stalactites hanging from its roof and a mill stone straddling the streams waters.
Later I learnt that it had once been the site of Fransiscan Friary (or monastary of sorts) and of course that only added to the mystical magic of the place. Sadly, it was to be levelled by the lands owner in later years, so he might have a larger area to plant, so any archeology will have been covered over Im sure, hidden, lest it hold up planting probably.

This collagey piece is finished now I reckon, kept it simple since I was just playing. It reads Charm with soul - and so to bed, no ulterior message there lol  - it just sort of happened as I scanned pages for interesting words to tear out! Shelagh, thanks for the cellophane and plastic netting!

Its straightforward, being only torn strips from a magazine, laid side by side onto a brown paper bag whichw as ironed onto fusible interfacing. The torn words were glue stuck into postion, then I coated it all with acrylic wax and laid a piece of burgundy/black voile across it.
Left it to dry thoroughly and then hand sticthed into it randomly.
I zapped it a little with the heat gun to cause afew holes ( like stockings I thought lol) then attached the netting and the cellophane, followed by another light zapping. It was a therapy piece you know? Like doodling lol

Now the next piece was a small canvas I picked up for 10p at a car boot and it was blethered ( that yorkshire technical term again ) in oil paint, in a gaudi like chaos of colours, none of which sat well next to eachother!
It 'spoke' to me, but its taken a while to decipher what it might have been saying !
So after black gessoing it, splodgingly, I added afew bits, a piece of crochet, some torn voiles and paper, some of that plastic netting again Shelagh and this is as far as Ive got with it.
Ive been letting it thoroughly dry.
But its says Icon to me at the moment, I think! So more layers and zapping, maybe even cracking, is needed there yet. Though in miniature here on the page its looks abit like a Nightmare Bride!

And - so to bed! 

A Magstitch bundle!

Now this sumptuous bundle arrived as a gift from Maggie Grey ( and Im still drooling over it, Thankyou So much Maggie!  I know you said several of us would receive a gift but Id imagined a small something not a smashing bundle with an original sample included!
That jade is so vibrant and all the fabrics work well together too..... so my brain is in scheming mode - what to do with them, whether to use them altogether or use them to compliment other pieces..........oooo I do like the thinking process before you get stuck IN... lol
Rusty Rita has been framed, quite simply, with some mishapen handmade paper covering a cardboard insert edging, to keep her trapped at the back of the frame. Ive hung her in my kitchen, shes too much of a waif to sell on lol
Now these flowers are also in my kitchen and are made using fabulous old unloved plastic coloured knitting needles. The needles can be quite brittle so they wont take a great deal of wear and tear sadly. I have collected quite afew of these needles and think this is the ideal way to display them around the home. Though I do have a batch of them simply in a jug, and odd ones dont matter, its the happy mix of colours, along with the nostagic memories they revive, that pleases me about them.
The flowers are made with no particular pattern from hartd washed woollen jumpers, picked up at jumble sales, car boots and charity shops.
They tend to be made from whats left when Ive done making fingerless gloves or hats or tea cosies or broaches from the woollies, so notalot is wasted!
Then of course, the medley of even smaller bits can be trapped between voiles and smashed together with the Embellisher!
Okay the cats are all sat alongside the computer here, making sure I know they are truly starving and so I had best go and feed the trio.
More later lol

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Kumari Princess and Kathmandu!

Well, Im all of a smiley disposition today because Cyndi L of has printed my reply to her monthly question, on her webpage lol Many thanks Cyndi!

If anyone is faintly interested in knowing the harsh and slightly scary story of how the Kumari Princesses are selected, then do please Google and read some of the articles that are online.
Nepal is an amazing place with proud beliefs and it has a fascinating Buddhist and Hindu culture, but the practise of selecting a female child between the ages of 2 and 4 or so, to become the living symbol of ANY Goddess is really scary I reckon.
Then to keep her in seclusion of sorts, deny her education and not allow her to go play in the street with others her own age, not to show any form of emotion on her face, not even a smile........all very odd. Even though I can understand the history and religeous signifance behind it all, to me its wrong to stunt that child so very much.
Her family will be well looked after whilst she is the position, which she will occupy until she passes blood....after which she is considered dirty and bad luck, so shes then ousted and they search for another small child.
So obviously families push their bairns into the selection process, for presteige, for the good life it can offer themselves, for a form of fame maybe? 
The small child has to pass some 32 different tests, some of which are ridiculous and some almost child abuse for a small child like that.
Yet I see many similarities between that selection process and the practise we have in the 'west' of grooming our girl chidren into being beauty pageant entrants?
Okay that may be controversial a comment, and I dont mean to offend anyone but there are similarities, so I doubt we have  a leg to stand on, if we do take issue with the Princess practise.

Having said all that Im hoping to use Kumari Princess symbols on one of the catalogues Ive killed and am now workin  on as per Maggie Greys instructions, see and search for the Catalogue Killing articles lol great fun!!
Ive got two parts of  Fortean Times magazine I was given out back right now, with Dracula across its so come autumn it may be well and truly distressed!

Now this one, a funeral directors handwritten diary for the month of October 1921, had a light coat of gesso on it, on the sides too, and before it dried I also gave it a wash over with a diluted drawing ink brown mixture. Then liberally sprinkled sea salt over it so the inks wash went awry a little.
Next came the other one below..... which I had already painted a murky lilac shade, added gesso to it in places but which then def looked better with a wash round of a slightly stronger brown ink ink mix.
I really like this second one and its this one I will try and Hindu-ish with a Kumari Princess peering out from one of the now what to use for fretwork, (my thinking cap is on) but it needs some more distressing yet and of course some additional artwork on the page.
Must gesso the backs too of both, so its abit more firm and packaged as it were.

Now the other day I spent an hour walking round a huge plot of land, some 3 football pitches big, that is home to a car boot stall on both wednesdays and sunday mornings and also in October each year, the site of the enormous Hull Fair, the largest travelling fair in the world they reckon.
Now the plot also provides occasional parking for when foot ball or rugby matches are on in the KC Stadium alongside but there was I, beach combing I suppose you could say ( though some several miles from a beach!) specifically looking for rusty bits of metal.......I know, sad isnt it.
But I found loads! Lots and lots of rusty coat hanger hooks but also old metal perming curlers and wierd shaped watnots......and so Rusty Rita was born..... lol and yes even her hair is metal. I was going to alcohol ink her parts but in the end, I quite liked au naturelle lol Her face is self hardening clay from a mould and painted and gilded abit.

She wont win any beauty pageant but she was just abit of fun lol  - now what the hell do I do with her!

One of the interesting side effects of CL-arting with the catalogues, was that I had diluted ink left over, so I blethered it
( techical yorkshire term I think) onto the fabric backed, old wallpaper (that I paid 10p a roll for recently at a car boot) that was my backing paper cover, to prevent me making a mess in the kitchen.
( Yeah right, no chance -)
So here are pics of the resultant backing paper! Bonus!
Neat eh!
Okay next post I will show the completed paper strip collages Ive been playing with and also the revamped oil canvas I paid another 10p for way back when. It had been painted/blethered in a gaudi like series of colours by its former owner and had spoken to me but only now had I done anything with it - mainly because Id only just unearthed the black gesso that Id forgotten I'd bought........sighhhh
hey ho..

Monday, 5 April 2010

Question of the month....Cyndi L

Was just checking through blogs I follow,( feeling abit low despite having accomplished quite alot creatively this weekend ).......and Cyndi L asked as her Question of the Month......

" What would be your dream vacation this summer?"

Cyndi would like to go back to Italy if money were not an option and she had the time and opportunity she says.

Well here am I sat thinking how nice it would have been to have had a bunch of flowers, or an easter egg off either of my two offspring, both of whom I have considerably helped out financially recently, yet niether of them made time to pop over with a hug, kiss or token Easter gift, not even a Happy Easter text lol .
Yet am sure they will have given 'somethings' to their partners and probably to the partners Mum, son or sister!
So feeling sorry for myself, probably also overwhelmed by the ongoing threat of  litigation with the Insurance folk over the after flood fiasco theyve put me through, in an effort to have my insurance premiums brought back to where they should be....I read Cyndi's question and.... thankfully its made me remember..........
this was my answer to her question in her comments section ..

I flew once upon a time, with the RAF as a loadmaster and went round the world to some simply amazing, off the tourist path places.

( Midway Island for instance where primary coloured budgies flew around like sparrows do here in the Uk..and Gooney birds landed in a cartoon like, base-over-apex manner! So funny to watch, but in the sky they fly elegantly and effortlessly) ......BUT

..... if I had the choice, Id want to go back to see Kathmandu - because at every turn there was something stunning and of interest to photograph, and high above Nepal were these statuesquely magnificent diamond hewed mountains, that reflected the suns rays and were all manner of colours at all times of the day.

The streets were visually fascinating, the people were so friendly yet they had so little compared to what we surround ourselves with. The tiny shops were a feast of inspiration and there was the enigmatic 'Kumari Princess', hidden away behind fretwork shutters, only able to peer out at the city that reveers her status, yet denies her the freedom of a woman. Hers was a truly Royal and feted position but ultimately a lonely one.

I had a point and shoot camera in those days and had pictures developed in Hong Kong, where I was stationed for afew weeks at a time, flying back and forth between Nepal and HKG.

Whatever developer they used has begun to fade away and its now symbolic to me that, that part of my youth and life, is also passing out of memory.

In those days I wasnt interested in textiles, so to go back now would be sheer joy!

Ive had a great life in so many ways, though interspersed with turmoil and sadness like everyones.
It comes hard to realise youve become little more than an extremity of your own childrens lives, though you have succeeded in helping them to be independant and thats how it goes isnt it, how its supposed to be I guess.
Its part of the dreadful, inescapeable, 'invisability' as we age, this no longer needed feeling and the photographs I took in Nepal which are fading and yellowing, in line somehow, with my own fading and ageing you know?
So I remembered my wonderful trips to Nepal, when I was little more than my daughters age now, though I sent postcards back to my Mum and Dad all the time from where ever I went in the world, there were many Easters I never managed to take Mum flowers.
Now its too late to do so again, it inevitably hurts.
The circle of life goes on.... and one day, in turn, my offspring will feel this way maybe, thats sad isnt it.

On that, I apologise for this maudlin post and will go get a cupper and get stuck into some black gesso, which Id forgotten Id got but found, and have now daubed all over!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Easter weekend and time off work !

This is the smallest window, certainly in Hull and supposedly in England, how have you managed to live without knowing about this eh? Its at the George Hotel and its the dark vertical strip to the right...........there, this blog is educational on occasions!

This little sunset has since been tarted up abit with additional voiles and a couple of birds, but its what I did on a mini workshop on saturday last, at the NEC. Still cant believe we managed to get places on the workshop with Wendy Dolan, but it was a fun and informative practical creative respite from buying!
Wendy is a gifted instructor and each of us came away with our own little work of machine stitched art, all credit to her. 
The joy of making small items like this, is that you stand a chance of completeing them before you pop your clogs! One less UFO, no - one less PHD to work on..........( project half done..... )

Ive just started to go through my second carrier bag of goodies from the NEC , how about that for self discipline! I made several purchases from Crafty Notions, well we kept finding ourselves back at their stand and my self discipline wasnt with me then.... so I now have 5 of their Colourful Thoughts multi surface paints...........SUCH delicious colours!

 I was forced to buy packs of the metallic synthetic sheet they sell, why? Because I think I might be able to manipulate the fabric into a ruched 'lichen' like ..... blobs, for a piece that Ive beem ruminating on for months already ( sorry Sue!)
There was a smashing stall there with a large selection of very reasonably priced braids and trims that I hadnt seen before,  Aarti J's ( The lass had an incredible selection of braids with gems, with shishas, with dangly bits, with metallic bits..........all manner of striking things.
Many would cut up nicely to be incorporated in textile work and of course should you belly dance in your spare time, then there were metres enough, for hips a plenty!

Lastly, I made this patchwork blanket for use with largely pre school children. Ive made it with different textured fabrics, there's fine cord, glitzy nobbly silver, harlequin soft n smooth, furry and the cold feeling purple fabric that makes a noise as you run fingers over it.
The reverse is black so that it can have items laid on it for use with the UV light. Its tied at patchwork corners but I havent patched it perfectly, since for work, these things are considered almost, disposable, I know daft, but if things become past their best, its better that I simply make up another. 

Earlier, I painted some torn and pieced magazine strips, with liquid wax and laid a sheet of two tone voile over it, its now drying overnight. The pic above is before the voile was attached and its been 'glue sticked' lightly on a snazzy brown paper bag I got with a purchase.
I am going to quyite simply machine and hand stitch it abit, probably onto a pelmet vylene backing, and have some side and top pieces to attach later if all goes to plan.
Actually I did another 'torn and pieced' too, see below, but its waiting its turn and an appropriate textual comment! (Skinny Mares comes to mind!)
Or is that my wishful thinking............
Oh and Im starting on altering one of my Killed Cats' tomorrow too!
(Catalogues that is! as per Maggie Grey's idea )
I seem to be in the Zone at the moment lol and have all weekend to play!