Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Felt n fish at the NEC

These felted pieces were pretty amazing and all signed by Ewa Kuniczak, there were quite afew of trees in various stages of leaf or not, but these two captivated me. Blowed if I can recall what the words were on the left hand one... duhhh.
And continuing the crochet and knitted display themes, there was a walk thru grotto and I liked the idea of using the old lampshade here! lol
There were some natty sea weeds too! Id have got bored knitting them after the first 2' but all credit to whoever made these, they were just soooooo long!
I bought myself the book by Angie Hughes - Stitch, Cloth, Paper and Paint and find it interesting. I also bought some of the cotton curtain interlining she uses for her work, which I'd not seen before and its a very odd fabric. But I need more!
I also bought back copies of magazines, a subscription to Stitch and have done my usual trick of buying a Cloth Paper Scissors mag that I already have lol I have several duplicates now !
It was lovely to meet 'Purple Missus' there!
~~~~~~ Am waving hellooooooo! ~~~~~~
I bet you were well tired by sunday evening gal!
(Package in post friday..)
Lynda was making a smashing little book with really interesting and attractive signatures within it, on a workshop...which was fully booked on the saturday, so no, I didnt get to make it then lol

KSDP Burmese Refugee sales at NEC

Just look at these fabulous strips of of patchwork edging, on the roll, made in Burma and sold to aid the

 Kerenni Student Development Programme, (

by Beryl and her husband in rememberance of their daughter Stephanie Lee.

Stephanie discovered the Karenni refugee camp in her gap year and there after returned each uni vacation to the camp to teach english. Sadly she died in 2001, only 21 years of age in a road accident close to the camp.
Stephanies family now run the KSDP in her memory, raising funds for them and giving talks to raise awareness of the situation in Burma.

These edgings are machine made, cotton, very reasonably priced per metre and beautifully pieced.
 Their stall featured ceremonial and every day costumes and many other scrumptious things made in Burma.
 These two baskets have vintage pieces cut from clothing and for sale.
The circles, moons, suns whatever you see them as, must have had buttons central to them and are amazingly hand stitched.
At £1 each they are a touch of the Burmese traditional culture, since now machine stitching is the faster method.
We were told hand stitched work like these, were like hens teeth to find now.
The larger basket has pieces taken from garments that are beautufully hand worked and decorative, again prices reasonable from £4 upwards.
And I loved this banner style on the in rememberance of Afganistan stall.
Considering our daughters    ........what a lovely sentiment.

NEC Trip to Fashion & Embroidery Show

 Underwear has had many changes right?!
Like, does my bum look big in this?
Note the banner of pants, each with a button at the crotch for some reason...ballast to make them hang right maybe?
 And an alternative use for bras!
Not sure the banner idea will catch on mind you....

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sensory tours for the visually impaired at Ferens Art gallery

Now today I nipped to the Ferens Art Gallery here in Hull to discuss the content of some visually impaired specific, sensory tours they are doing.

I spent ages with Nikki who will be taking the tours and wanted to know what they would be offering that was specific for VI children and adults and was very pleasantly surprised.
Ferens has some remarkably fine paintings and the talk covers 6 in particular.
 I was there last saturday to see their Open Exhibition and was blown away by some of the work, but then they have an excellant show each year. ( Tracy Savage from Bridlington is brilliant)

Any way this Cornelious Norbertus ( got to love that name) Gijsbrechts
Trompe L'oeil of a Studio with a Vanitas from 1664 is included and there are tactile artifacts to accompany Nikki's clever description of the painting, within a painting, which is typically Baroque.
This picture is from
but the original  is here in Hull!

The Lion at Home 1881 by the fascinating Rosa Bonheur which is 100" wide by 70" deep is also here, large as life and perfectly stunning.
I love it.
Rosa was way ahead of her time, wore trousers when women only wore long skirts . She had to have a Police permit to wear trousers! and cropped her hair short .............when women wore their hair long.
Atta girl!
Plus she actually had the lions living with her at home ..... so thats why she got such realistic cats on canvas I reckon!

Cant seem to lift that piccy up but heres a link........ do look at the majesty of them and trust me, that lions could ruffle your hands in and the lioness has a velvet looking face........amazing brush work.
But she never went to Africa, so Im wondering why she thought prickly cacti should be in the foliage around them....

Another painting to get the tour description has no obvious tactile bits to help in its descriptions.....other than one very old lipstick and a vinatge shot silk scarf.
Lipstick you say?
Well its from way back and old lipstick has a particular smell, so cleverly Nikki has that for you to smell....
This one is an all time favourite of mine, its simply stunning and if you follow the link below, you will be able to zoom in and I defy you to find any brush strokes on this womans face!

Its well worth looking at Yorkshires 100 favourite paintings anyway on that site, cos cleverly you can get a really up close view of them all.
This is  by Gerald Brockhurst 1939 called  By the Hills.
But he did everso many By the Hills, used the same wishy washy hills and painted Merle Oberon for example and many others, in the foreground.
This is Marguerite Strickland who in her own right was quite a character in her old age.
To me shes like an alternative Mona Lisa. Not looking us in the eye because hell, shes beautiful enough not to bother with us and confident  enough not to worry what we think !

Another huge picture is The Fish Market by Joachim De Beukeler 1570 and Nikki has several tactile artifacts to assist in its description.

The Fish Market - Joachim De Beuckelaer
So all in all, some great paintings and some clever descriptions to help the VI imagine what has been painted, along with some artifacts to hold, smells to sniff at ( though the Dale Air 'stags scent' probably isnt quite as liony as it should be, though it is a rank enough mammal smell ! )
Great that they are trying to bring the VI into art galleries, because theres so much more than just painting to be learned about in there.
You want to try something?
Try and describe what your looking at on The fish Market, start from the top back, the sky, clouds, bird way up on high, the canal on the back right, come closer forward, the groups of women, the heavy load on the barrow, the two furtive women with black veils on the left ( that no one knows anything about, were they a religeous head covering? but these two feature in many of his paintings!) then the front threesome and the fish, how you can almost feel the slippery scales, so cleverly are they painted.
Now do it all again in words that would bring the image to the mind of someone who cant see it, and probably has never had sight, so has no visual memory to aid them forming that picture in their mind.....
not easy is it................

Mummified cat and fab paper mache!

So here's the mummified cat and a great copper Neffertiti plaque I found at car boot (£2) plus an amphora-ish pot........for the Egyptain Topic Box.
This is St Mary's Church  in Beverly, East Yorkshire well worth a visit to see its ceiling if your passing. Why?
Its painted red and has gold stars everywhere.......not so much the firmament but Ive heard whispers of Knights Templar intrigues and the stars represent something or other.
Who knows - but they are kind of striking and its older than the Minster itself in beverly too.
I was there last weekend and took this pic simply because it was a nice aspect.
Now today I nipped to the Ferens Art Gallery here in Hull to discuss the content of some visually impaired specific sensory tours they are doing.
More of that next post but I saw these great figures displayed in an empty store and had to take pics of them.
They are made by students from the Mallet Lambert school in Hull and they were such fun!

My favourite is way at the back right so hasnt come out too well....

.............very tall, blue and has strikingly fab eyes!
Avatar hunk!
Now this is what art classes in school should be!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Topic Box bits

Not feeling great this week but managed to get some bits done for the Topic Boxes. I apologise for the 'thatching' it was a bad idea lol although it will stay till I pick up some decent dried foliage to do a more sensible thatch-a-like!
Eagle eyed amongst you might see on the far right of the top pic, the mummified cat in her swathes of fabric...still smelling delightfully of stale coffee!
I took a pic of her, must post it, shes worked really well considering she was only a pop bottle and a tennis ball clad in modroc!

 I'm happy with the mummy and coffin so far. I've painted the eyes in on the lid ~ because the egyptians liked to 'see' where they were going onto in their afterlife ~
Have used RNIB black tactile paint and some red Tulip paint for the it should be raised enough to be felt by little fingers.
All I need now is to make the outer sarcophagus, for the coffin to sit am on the hunt for a suitable box to clad in modroc ...

A Tudor house... again I used that RNIB tactile black paint which is just abit thicker than the Tulip Dimensional paint, for the cross hatch panes of glass.
The wood is actually thin strips of wood laminate the kind used to cut up and make pictures with, marquetry I guess it would be called? Anyway its what I used in the Longhouse too, on mount card.
I stick it down with double sided tape, but not only on the back of the laminate, but also onto the place where its going to be stuck down to .. a kind of double whammy stick!
Then I seal it all down after a light sanding to be sure edges are smoothed, with pva. Seems to do the job.

Now Cyclops was thrown together this afternoon when I unearthed a huge wobbly eye in the bead box at work.... silly I know, but you never know it may give a child the idea of what he was supposed to be like!
Bless him.... reckon he'd get half price glasses with only one eye?

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Boys n dolls? Erosion bundle and stuck up cat

 I gave grandson a doll to see how he'd behave with it, he was so gentle it was just lovely to watch him. He allowed the doll to share his own comfort blanket which was very generous of him but soon lost interest and went back to the trains lol

 This was an erosion fabric bundle that has been hanging around for while... so hauled it in, washed it and got quite nice results from the nails that were wrapped in it. Id put slices of mushrooms in with afew leaves too, but the veg and foliage had mushed up and I couldnt recall what leaves I'd used.....guess I should, like India says, keep records!
May tea stain one end to see how much it alters...the tears were in it already.

Stuck up cat is taking shape, though not sure about the trees yet. Am using the fab kimono silk offcuts from elsie_maud off Ebay for the cat and foliage. Oh and the weeny moonish circle is from a silk tie, may have to fill the sky with those its a moon cat happening  maybe!
This was strips woven into slits on the background, what a faff but got ewasier as I went along making the fabric base stronger and firmer.

Magical Moon and the sadness in Japan

We've all shared the magical moon these past couple of nights, and what a joy!
I noticed it seeming larger and as it rose in the sky, almost buttery in colour and thought at the time........ooooh that would look good~ buttery, instead of white, in my Jude Hill-ish pieces Im making at the moment.
Like recently we had a moon that was tinged with red......although I missed that one dam it because of low cloud!
Then my pal Mary in Australia said this was the largest its been down there for so long and today I heard it was closest we'd been to the moon for a long while...which explains why it looked bigger!
The next real close phase will be in 2016 so fingers crossed I get to see that too, eyesight and my still living, allowing !
So Im looking for buttery fabrics to weave a moon with

There are some lovely pieces of work on blogs now that centre on sending vibes, good wishes and prayers to Japan. Folks have made prayer flags and have them in their homes and gardens and Manya Maratou
is asking for woven blocks or strips of fabric, to piece together woven-ly.
Do see her blog I simply love the idea that we might send wishes or prayers written on strips of fabric and then send them on to her, to piece into a quilt of friendship, hope and loving empathy. As well as donating to the Red Cross or some similar vetted site.

My hearts in overload and theres nothing other than send donations that I can do, it seems trite to simply send money when really.. I want to fly over, live rough if needs be and help where ever and however its needed. Though in practical terms they can do without a 61 year old getting in the way Im perfectly sure!
So money is what I will send for now, but I will also make a couple of wall hangings, which if they sell, then that money can go to the Red Cross for Japan too. has made a super hanging with a red woven circle in its centre..what great symbolism is that!
So go see it please.........its just perfect!

Sarcophagus to be ....

Still got to put a part roof on the Viking Longhouse - butterfly brain that I am is already working on a sarcophagus for the Egyptian Topic Box. Thanks to Jean who had a nice shampoo bottle I could use!
Ive sliced it in two, chopped off the nozzly end and wrapped it in masking tape, enclosing some bubble wrap at the head end. Then I paper machied over it so it can be painted with decoration, some of which I will do raised I think for our VI kids to feel.

So here it is with some coffee stained stretchy bandage like stuff I got from Scrapstore and will use this to wrap round a few sticks to make a 'mummy' to lay in the sarcophagus.
The bonus here is that it smells of musty coffee! Maybe that wont last but its an interesting extra sensory that I hadnt considered lol
Maybe this bit is not called the sarcophagus, maybe thats the huge stone box that this lays inside of...must check that.
But will make a modroc outer container too to give the full effect.......not sure I want to recreate a pyramid ~ but you never know!

This tree decoration is part of an ongoing street and empty shop installation display in Hull. Its made from neoprene foam... that fun foam stuff ( not the tree, the decoration lol ...) and has weathered well and not lost its colour... but then we havent had much sun to strip its colour back...this is England after all ! Wonder what the birds think to it!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Viking Longhouse

A longhouse in the making, except its not that long! But big enough to get the layout across to our blind bairns when they have the Vikings topic in class.
It hopefully will show how they were often set down into the ground for warmth and had the living area at one end and the animal byre at the other end.
Got to make a fireplace centrally and then fashion a lift on/off roof too yet.
This is how I left it on friday, drying over the weekend, so monday 
                                                                    it should be well and truly sealed.
I deliberately left this side panel unfinished, so you can feel how the structure would be, before the outer layer of wood panels were put in position.
Then the inside walls would have likely been wattle and daub...... though some Viking homes were built of stones of course, so reckon they would not have had wattle and daub interior.
Not sure how well this will hold up in use, but Ive had fun making it anyway!
Im struggling abit at the moment with a touch of depression, but did enjoy the workshop today, 
'Hot Textiles' with Kim Thittithachi and will put some pics up of what we did later..... it was tyvek and spun bond/lutrador and pelmet vilene painting/heat gunning/ all great play day techniques!

Kim is knowledgeable and good fun to have as a tutor and was our guest speaker yesterday at our EYES meeting. I have both of her books and they are brill and she has another due out later this year........hope its out in time for Harrogate, she says it should be in Uk by round about then.

The paint we used is the new fabulous paint by Sarah at Crafty Notions, Colourful Thoughts Multi-Surface Paints, fab fab fab metallic colours, vibrant and delish to use.....check them out do....!
Having sold the Wii I bought second hand off someone emigrating, (because the bloody thing told me I was obese, over weight abit yes ~ but COME ON!) ...........I treated myself to 11 jars of the fab paints instead and some crushed lutrador..and anyway.... after lunch Kim had us all up gyrating to music, waving our arms about to relax, ready for the afternoons playing.... so who needs a Wii!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

testing blogger!

Blogger appears to be playing up and wont allow me to post pics so here's a test run....
Looks as if its only allowing one picture at a time, grrr and was in a bad mood before I started!
Have done as much on this as I feel I can for now, its lost its voice to me somehow but that may be my mood, which is low at the moment.
Funny how mood can simply plummet.
This quote touched me, by Amy Tan
"I did not lose myself all at once. I rubbed out my face over the years washing away my pain, the same way carvings on stone are worn down by water."
How many of us can identify with that!
Anyway am going to allow whalesong to lay awhile, it doesnt seem to work as a hanging, maybe needs a different kind of backing, stronger, firmer maybe. I might even use it as a panel in a boro cloth, that might work, maybe.
Well blow me, blogger seems to be working the way it once did....maybe they fixed that bit!
Sat and faffed at some pins, I quite like the result of making indiv petals, but it is labour intensive and I had to wash the indiv petals to get the fluffier effect I wanted on the top right one. Waste fabric and charity shop woollies.
Centaur Starsky seems to have worked, the test will be if he survives in the classroom mind you! I covered the modroc with a bit of shorn fur pile and used the horses mane as the hair...well they were sposed to be wild!
And Medusa is done too, reduced the size of her gargantuan feet and made some leather sandals for prizes for shoe design mind you. Added a more appropriate dress, some overlaid eye lids to add texture to the eyes and stitched in an angryish lip pattern. Reckon this will go some way to explaining what medusa and centaurs were sposed to look like for a child with no or little sight.
A bright day though fresh, the cyclamen are a vibrant rich red joy, the primroses coming into their own and the cowslips are looking so lovely as they bud and their leaves are lush.
Cant bring myself to take the flowers off to see if theyll colour cloth!
Taken today off instead of friday, to have lunch with daughter Tylah on her day off, so hope to feel brighter later, maybe I need abit of sunlight on my skin to top up the vitamin D :)

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Colours Caught and a Centaur - maybe

The first two colour catchers now hung, as it were lol
Used some oober thick felted icelandic wool, from a charity shop jumper, to back them with and it seems to 'work'.
Quite like that they are skew whiff and am still using the grey/blue theme!

When I left work on thursday, this is what I left drying. Its a protoype, not sure if it will work out yet, but here's hoping.
Ive begun the Greek Topic Box now so wondered if I could make a Centaur.
I beheaded the horse which made me feel oddly queezy!
Then I took apart the doll figure
...what a faff restringing the blessed arms!
His arms are restrung, right down through the body to between his legs and his torso has been secured with glue and padding, the stringing and although its not on this piccy, with added strips of modroc to mould round the waist and horses withers area.  
So if its dried sufficiently, some added paint and haor do, may make him look more like a Centaur than Starsky!

Fridays trip to a garden centre with grandson and what fun he had lol Believe me if my bum would have slotted in there, Id have had a go too!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Heart Kites finished and foils posted!

Finally finished the kite heart, have backed it with black denim to give it some definition, still working on whale and moon. Its getting wider and longer out of necessity rather than by design!
 Had mounted some of the woven colour catchers on thickly felted wool but must have deleted the blessed pics in sending them from Picasa to here! So will have to take them again...Im weary and brains in slow mode, abit of lugging bags of gravel in the garden and a full day of larking about with grandson yesterday.......great fun but I forget Im older than my brain feels!
Foils are posted so watch for the postman! :)