Wednesday, 10 August 2011

My new creative journal

Quick watercolour and ink sketch created on impulse whilst sitting in the garden yesterday evening.  DOUBLE-CLICK ON ANY OF THE PICS IN THIS POST TO ENLARGE THEM TO A READABLE SIZE.

In an attempt to be more organised, I have begun a new creative journal. Not only will it have the occasional page filled with sketches, in essence it will be a repository for notes on what I am currently working on. These are usually scattered around the house on bits of paper or written down as an idea strikes in whatever notebook is to hand. And then I forget where the notes are which is most frustrating. So as from now, they should all be together. I've explained to myself the purpose of the book - and share the pages below, in the hope it might encourage someone else to do likewise. It will really be a record of my creative journey.

Double-click on the image so you can read it

Instead of scanning the pages, I have photographed them - it would have been better had I laid the book on the floor and attached the camera to my tripod, and then each page would be squared up. These were all hand-held; it doesn't pay to cut corners!

My second introductory page as to what the book is all about

I got carried away on this first session (sitting in the garden on Sunday evening, warm and quiet) and went on to my current long-term project, 'Quilt Journey'. These are a series of 12"x12" textile pages, actually pairs of mini-quilts where the surface comprises paper and fabric, hand- and machine-stitching, photographed collages and word-whispers.

This explains the beginning of my 'Quilt Journey' project but went off 
at a tangent, talking about my 'Map Trails'

To get to the point, I have already posted 'pages in progress' - see the workshop I attended on 'Ancestors' and the pages I started there, which I wrote about on 28th July.

Perhaps by now you are totally confused! For I was writing this 
for myself and not as an instructional piece.

Progress is such that all my 'Ancestor' components have been handstitched and are ready for mounting on the background. Notes on how I will do that are in my 'daybook' - the one I take with me when I am out for the day; that one has tear-out pages so I can paste the section into here.

The second of my pair of ancestor pages - layout, with notes on how I intend to proceed, 
and the mock-up of a mini-book that will form part of the page.
When treated and fused, this layout paper
becomes so flexible, you would liken it to fabric

And alongside - which I have showed already, but larger here, is one of the finished elements, printed on layout paper, scrunched to age it, fused to the fabric, handstitched with silk thread and the edges frayed, ready for mounting on the background - after the addition of a narrow fabric 'frame' in dark brown and white gingham - the colour of my school dresses in 1942-1947.

Meanwhile, I am working on a technique for page backgrounds - tissue paper and paint onto which I will collage images and incorporate them into other 'Quilt Journey' pages. These processes are for me at the moment a godsend, keeping me calm and sane through a stressful period when most of the time I am feeling extremely unwell. Thank heavens for the therapeutic act of creating, even if the results do not turn out as wanted or expected. 

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Day of Serendipity

I collect images of 'Green Men' - sometimes in stone, or wood, plain or gilded
It began in the Churchyard at Iffley (Oxford) - taking photographs that I could use within stitched fabric and paper pages - carved stone heads reminiscent of the medieval period. Strange how we live so close and yet had never ventured there; it was dear American friends who took us. St Mary's is famed for its romanesque architecture; some original but much is Victorian restoration which somehow misses the point; skillfully executed but for me it lacked soul. I did find a remarkable family tree inside the dark interior - remarkable because it showed the coat of arms of Katherine Swynford (three catherine wheels) who married John of Gaunt in the 1300s - a period of history I love and about which I am currently reading, or I might never have spotted the little plaque on the wall.

This one is supposedly of King Henry II, somehwat crude
Artichokes and lavender in the lock-keeper's garden
We ambled along the Thames to Iffley lock - all very organised with lock keeper in attendance - and the most beautiful garden full of herbs, then past a perfect stone bridge (probably 1750) and on to where ducks and geese were feeding on scraps thrown by passers by. How I loved the colours reflected in the water - enlarged, a portion of my photoghraph could be printed on fabric as a background to a stitched herbal I plan to make some day. Photography was not easy for everywhere were warning signs; not to fall in the river, not to do this or that, necessary but not that easy to doctor in Photoshop, hence some rather wobbly shots where I tried to lean over the water to eliminate them from view!

A peaceful scene, feeding waterbirds - yet it was the colours in the water I took this for
Nearly fell in the water trying to take this shot, to get the angle I wanted
It was a day of parts, chatting as we walked, about the classes that Kristi had just tutored at Oxford Summer School, the Adventures in Italy workshops she and husband Bill run twice a year in Orvieto Italy, the fabric books I am making; an annual catching up on family activities, the day too short. Then came the exchange of little gifts over lunch - some lovely ribbons for me from Kristi which I cannot obtain over here, and for them little notebooks I had made.

White-paper packaged tied up with strips of fabric
each gift has
its own sketch pen
All relaxing, and with images to use in future projects. Part Four of the Day was spent back at home, eating pizza on the terrace whilst I - after many months of indecision - managed at last to order my thoughts into a new creative workbook, the more easily to organise projects and balance work and play, so that sketching and stitching and word-whispers can become a part of everyday.

Opened out, you can see the map that formed the basis of the notebook - the cover was fabric from a skirt bought in a charity shop - click on the image to see it at a larger size


You may like to check the facility I have added in the right hand sidebar (just above the Twitter logo): sometimes I refer to a book, or talk about the supplies I use, and thought it might be useful to provide a link to where you can purchase what I list. I'll do this from time to time - the first is of the layout paper I print on and use as if it were fabric. More titles can be found in my Book-Lover's Blog - do visit if you haven't already done so.