Sunday, 29 November 2009

What i've been up to this week (Part 1)

I keep meaning to write a post about the wonderful work being created in some of my classes and how talented my students are, and I will, eventually, but apparently I'm just too self obsessed.

This is a stack of hand dyed and handmade papers just waiting to be made into little books. I'm trying to break free of the old muted colours that seem to dominate my handmade books at the moment.

I've also been having some fun with the free machine setting on the sewing machine. I've been a bit wary of this ever since the machine blew up the first time I tried it (apparently the peddle had needed servicing, it was on it's way out..) Said machine was as good as gold this time though. I've been experimenting with Indian imagery, it seemed to lend itself to the colours and gold glaze I covered everything in. Though I am feeling a bit unsure about pillaging symbols and motifs from random cultures and religions all in the name of a pretty piece of craft. Spiritually, is this right?

As you can see below, these papers start life as pieces of muslin, napkins, kitchen towel, random pieces of old material, then I just go mad with the drawing inks (these are lovely and transparent, plus I can get quite cheap wholesale 1 litre bottles from the educational suppliers we use at work, so it's not as costly as it sounds, these were done as a class demo, though, any work bods reading). Morrison's kitchen paper works great. The little green pattern shows through.

Right, that's it. Hopefully back tomorrow with some images of the book covers I've been making for the craft fayre and some of the handmade Scroogey Xmas cards. The craft fayre is next Sunday so it's going to be a busy week ;-)

Friday, 20 November 2009

Blenheim Craft Fayre

So, this morning Mum and I got up and went to Living Crafts at Blenheim Palace. A fayre of talented craftmakers and artisans. I have to say, I didn't find much to inspire, only quite a bit to be a depressed about.

There was little genuine talent on display but a lot of very savvy business people. Poeple great at self promotion, people who can produce work to sell very quickly and sell it at a fairly high price. It was a fayre aimed directly at people of a certain age and class with a nice wodge of expendable income. Bitter? Moi? No, I think one has to trawl thorugh the local craft markets organised on a much smaller scale to find the real talent. Or Etsy. The pitches at these national craft fayres cost so much money, how could anyone trying to work outisde of a full time job, with a family etc either a) afford it or b)produce enough work to sell??? The setting was great though.

Anyway- enough of that. I'm meeting up with a group of old work colleagues from my days at Ottakars as an idealistic graduate. I'm not sure whether it depresses me or cheers me that the friends I made whilst working there remain some of my most favourite people in the entire world. I am, however, sworn not to drink too much tonight as I am teaching a mixed media handmade Xmas cards workshop tomorrow. Hence I have spent the last week making little cards, trying to feel a little bit Christmassy in this most windy and wet of Novembers. And I do, a little bit...

Friday, 13 November 2009

Friday afternoon lull

Sat here at my desk in the Box Office at the Mill and i'm feeling quite relaxed for a change. Occasionally you get a quite afternoon, usually towards the end of the week, where the cafe quietens down, the music's off and the building just feels sort of soft and benevolent.
Above is the ongoing disaster that is my second clematis painting. I'm wondering if it's because i'm painting summery imagery in Autumn. Perhaps i'm just not feeling it.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Routine seed heads

A little bit of a surprise this one, acrylic paint not being part of my comfort zone, but there you go. Again, this is a class sample, showing how different collage textures work. There is fabric, sheet music and parts of a Henry James novel glued down under this painting of some fennel seed heads. We're making concertina sketchbooks in my sketchbooking class, a two week project based around some frosty, wintery imagery I have collected.
I find that with the nights drawing in and the days becoming chillier that the motivation is going. It's a real efffort just to drag myself into the studio to paint. I think i've become stuck in a bit of a rut recently as well and it has lead me to muse upon the nature of routine and my contradictory reactions to it, I feel slightly fraught when things suddenly change and I feel myself adrift but no one panics more than I to find myself in the middle of the never ending drudgery of work, classes, sleep, painting.
The Mill is having a craft fair in approximately one month and there is a call for work on the private rooms of a new cancer unit at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, so, time to get busy. I have started a painting for the open submission but it's really not going well. I have a large sheet of Bockingford watercolour paper which is usually lovely but the paint is not behaving as I would want it to. I will post photos tomorrow of this disaster. I get quite bloody minded when things like this happen, i'm inclined just to plod on until I can make it good!
Right, I think i'm going to give myslef an hour to read a book and then i'll have another bash- see if I can't make it into a decent painting. Miss Congeniality on tv tonight. Love it.