Sunday, 23 February 2014

Being Too Much of a Mathematician!

On Friday I had the privilege of visiting the studio of local textile artist Sue Green.

Sue has a studio called The Cowshed Studio in South Cerney. It is an amazing space! It is huge and crammed with so much yummy fabric, painting supplies and examples of her amazing work.

We agreed to do a skill swap: I helped Sue understand all of the icons on Facebook and connected her new tablet to her phone, she talked me through my portfolio and taught me a new technique using tea bag paper - who knew right?

It was an amazing experience and one I hope to repeat regularly...

I learnt a lot, in fact so much that it has kinda blown my creative mind a little bit!

You see my portfolios are really neat and follow my process in a methodical way, they are so tidy... my work is really methodical.... I need things to be neat...

The thing is everywhere I look on the Internet textile artists are layered! They have portfolios and sketchbooks filled with content that is wonderful to look at, but is crammed in and all over the place to my eye... this is just isn't me at the moment....

So I have been worrying and worrying that I will never make it as a textile artist because I like things to be neat and structured.... it is the mathematician in me... I knew that the Astrophysics degree side of my brain would take time to wither, but what if it never leaves me?

What if the only way I can work is in a neat, methodical way?

I am still going to be able to work as a textile artist?

Can I follow my own processes of creation and still be a valid artist?

Having a little bit of a crisis....

My lovely friend Liz pointed out that I have passed both of my modules so far with no need to change my work, so I must be doing something right.... but still...

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Colour: Yellow

The last primary colour is yellow..... sunshine!

In the UK at the moment the sun has been missing in rain for a very long time... we had a glimpse of it on Sunday.... but now we are back in a world of rain clouds and water....

So to cheer everyone up lets look at yellow as a colour!

Yellow is the colour of butter, bananas, gold and sunshine!

It is a colour that always makes me smile.

Like red and blue, there are lots of shades of yellow:

As a colour it represents reason, optimism, pleasure and happiness - you only have to think how to feel on a sunny day.On a sunny day the whole world feels like a much better place!

But it also has negative connections too. It is associated with cowardice, envy, jealousy and betrayal. Yellow as the colour of cowardice since the 19th century, but the exact reason it is associated with cowardice is not known.

In China it has major significance as it is the colour of happiness, glory and wisdom. It is a masculine colour.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Starting a new course

Yesterday was the start of the new monthly course in patchwork and quilting in Tetbury and it was a really fun day!

The idea of the course is to teach all the skills needed for making a quilt over 6 month period, with monthly classes and support between classes if needed.

So many people want to learn patchwork and quilting, but committing the time to weekly classes to learn the skills is a big ask in our busy lives. This course teaches new skills during the monthly class that can be used at home, at your own pace.

We are learning how to piece an Eight Point Star Block using HST.
Perfect for people who want to fit the classes in around everything else going on!

So yesterday we started the journey together by learning about rotary cutting, piecing and fabric placement.

It was great fun!

A very good friend started the course having never been interested in sewing before. She joined to support her lovely daughter who attends my after school club and has developed a serious addiction to all things sewing!

Once she discovered that patchwork is all about precision and attention to detail, she was in her element! She now has the patchwork bug!

I love giving people new skills and helping them to find their inner fabric addict!

A new course will be starting in September. If you are interested in joining please email me for more details.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Colour: Blue

Blue is next on the list for exploration.

Blue is a beautiful colour, full of harmony and has the wonderful effect of calming people - just think of staring out at a bright blue sky.

Blue is the colour of the ocean and the sky, it is full of depth. There are so many blues in the world, each one conveys a different feeling to the viewer.

Indigo has a long history as a dye and is the colour of blueberries and blue jeans! The first demonstration of peaceful disobedience led by Mahatma Gandhi in 1917 was in support of the indigo farmers. The process of extracting the pigment from the Indigo plant is lengthy and leaves the worker with indigo coloured hands!

Ultramarine is a vivid, deep blue that was widely used in paintings to produce the intense blues we still see today. The process to get the pigment from lapis lazuli is so complex that Ultramarine was more expensive than gold!

One of my favourite paintings, Girl in the Pearl Earring by Vermeer in 1665, uses Ultramarine mixed with lead white to create the blue in the head scarf. It is an amazing blue!

Another one of my favourite blues in Cerulean Blue, which is a synthetic blue developed in 1812. It is the paint used by Claude Monet in his paintings and give his paintings an amazing grey/blue. When I was teenager my mum and I spent a wonderful 4 days in Paris exploring the Musee D'Orsay. We spent a wonderful afternoon gazing at Monet's paintings.

The Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877
There are so many different blue's to explore, from the ones derived nature to synthetic pigments. Each one is calming and has an interesting story to tell....

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Finding my home....

This last week has seen our house hit by a tummy buy. It started 2 weeks ago with my eldest son and then hit new highs on Saturday when my youngest son spent the day confined to the sofa with a bowl!

Unluckily it came my way...

It has in fact been a little bit of blessing.

I had spent January feeling incredibly restless.... Not really able to concentrate and get on.... Just drifting from one thing to another and feeling quite annoyed with life!

Kind of wallowing in my own self pity I guess...

But over the last 5 days of being pretty much confined to the house I have found my centre again, despite spending 24 hours not getting out of bed!

Sounds slightly strange right? Let me explain.

I am a creative, I NEED to sew, I NEED to do something visual (slightly strange for a person who has a degree in Astrophysics!) and I had stopped doing that. I spent last term teaching literally everywhere, everyday..... Running from one class to another in a crazy person sort of way!

Giving other people the skills to be creative.

I LOVE giving people those skills, I love watching them bloom - one of my students, who had never been near a sewing machine 18 months ago, is now making a selling her own items! It is great to see people become more confident in groups and within themselves.

But I forgot an important lesson... For ME to be complete I NEED to create!

I forgot to nourish my own creative soul, I forgot how it feels to spend hours creating something from scratch and feel the glow that you get!

Yes, I did work on my City and Guilds, but that is a plunge into the unknown every time I work on the required pieces. That work pushes me beyond my comfort zone, which is great, but also raises my heart beat in anxiety...

Patchwork: cutting and sewing, is where my journey began nearly 20 years ago. It is my creative home, full of warmth and lovely thoughts. That is the place I have rediscovered this week.

It is the centre of my well being....

The next time I feel that this single life with 3 kids and all the other baggage that knocks at my door is too much, you will find me with my sewing machine making patchwork.... I will be regaining my sense of balance so I can face the world without a heavy heart...

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Fabric Sunday: Reds

Following on from yesterdays post about the colour, I thought we would look at the wonderful red fabric around at the moment!

Flurry - Poppy Dashwood Studios
Starting at the Village Haberdashery, this Flurry in Poppy is my favourite! Just look at all those lovely irregular spots! The Village Haberdashery has a wonderful range of red fabrics - all totally yummy!

Birds and Blossoms in Paprika

This is simply divine from the Eiko collection at M is for Make. I love the fact that red comes in so many different shades and each one is so lovely!

Gone Fishing in Red
This fabric from Brandon Mably at Eclectic Maker is so bright and fun! I love the fish on the red background!

Up in the Air: Dark Red
Up in the Air by Heather Moore at Backstitch shows how red can be used against a background to create a striking print. I love the complex design of the birds on the background. It is so lovely!

Hope you like my choices.

I would love to see any fabulous red fabrics you have found recently!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Colour: Red

Module 3 of the City and Guilds is all about Colour.

I love colour and I am fascinated by the development of the colours we now take for granted today. How did the colour lilac develop? Where does Cerulean Blue come from?

So I thought I would start a series investigating colour, working from the 3 primary colours of red, yellow and blue, then looking at secondary and tertiary colours...

It will help me build colour ideas and palettes for my design work, a kind of online mood board...

So starting with red...

Red is the colour of blood, strawberries and ladybirds. It is a sign of danger - think of stop signs - all over the world. It is vibrant and represents passion, desire and energy.

When you think of the first world war it the red poppies that spring to mind and rivers of bed blood that flowed through France.

In Eastern cultures it represents happiness. My youngest came home from school yesterday with a red Chinese packet with sweets for the Chinese New Year. The red envelope symbolizes good luck and is to ward off evil.

Red is my favourite colour and used to be my mums. When she passed away she had a red coffin and everyone had to wear red to the funeral... that would have made her smile!

Gotta love a pair of red shoes!