Memory Quilt: two more appliqué panels

I’ve completed two more panels for my appliqué memory quilt, recording our journeys in the USA over Christmas. These flank the first panel I made, completing the bottom row. I’ve started on the second row – the first row is the most tricky from a conceptual point of view, so I’m leaving that until last! I think my satin stitch has improved, and I’ve definitely got the hang of transferring my sketches to make fabric images.

Still to do: fabric interpretations of Trinity Church, Boston; The Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center and World Trade One. All of those are going to take a bit of work to choose from the fabrics to get the best sense of depth with such a limited palette of colours. That said, I’m rather pleased with how the Mayflower turned out – the stripes on the side were part of the fabric, with careful positioning of the cutout of course…

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Memory Quilt: Block No. 8

No, you haven’t missed seven previous instalments – this is the first of nine blocks that I’ve tackled for a new memory quilt.  I wanted to make a quilt as a ‘souvenir’ of our trip to the USA over Christmas – in addition to my travel journal which is yet to be finished…

We chose the fabric whilst away, in a lovely quilting shop, Stowe Fabric & Yarn, in Stowe, Vermont, and once I got home and had five minutes to myself, I started designing. It’s the first quilt I have made that uses appliqué techniques – and I’m going to need a bit more practice on my satin stitches I think. The quilt is going to feature nine appliqué panels, and here’s the first. No guesses as to which tourist venue this panel refers to…

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Handmade faux leather book

I’ve previously made a ‘book’, to hold various ephemera, as a leaving present for the minister of my previous church. So when it came to putting together another bespoke binder for prayer flags, a photo book and collected digital photos, I built on my previous project and created a faux leather effect ‘book’.

The ‘book’ is just about the size of a sheet of A4 and about 1½” deep. Constructed from 2mm greyboard and 5mm foamcore board, the canvas cover is painted with a mix of rose madder and burnt sienna acrylic paints to resemble worn leather. The spine text is pressed in with an embossing tool to give an impression of embossed foiling, whilst the frontplate uses careful shading to achieve the same effect.
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Altered Art: Decorated Tree Decoration

treeThis is another of my specially designed tree decorations for today’s workshop in The Studio (candy cane one here if you missed it). The workshop has just finished, so you’ve missed out! Cut out from card and pushed onto a split-pin clothes peg, I’ve decorated with DecoArt Media fluid acrylics, Ranger Stickles and Liquid Pearls.

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Art Journal: Piano Hinge Travel Journal

For my next trip abroad, I wanted to make another travel journal. I have previously handmade a small hardback pocket journal and a fold-out accordion journal. This time I decided to make a handmade journal using a piano hinge. This, for the unfamiliar, uses tabs and cylindrical objects (in this case bamboo skewers) to attach the pages at the spine. The benefit for a travel journal is that every other spread is the depth of the bamboo skewer, which means there is plenty of room for additional items of collage and other ephemera, and pockets to store memorabilia. It’s also possible to easily disassemble the book at the hinge to work on individual pages, or remove and add pages as required.

Constructed from canvas textured acrylic paper, I knocked back the white using an off-white chalky finish acrylic paint. I added a darker shade at the base of each page, using the same paint to stencil the building outlines. Overprinting with various travel oriented stamps using archival ink completed the decoration. It seems that the convention for piano hinge books is that the spine is visible, and the skewers extend from the bottom and the top. I wanted a more traditional book appearance as well as a protective cover, so I constructed cover pages before covering them with lokta paper which resembles old leather. A few coats of soft-touch varnish added to that illusion as well as protecting the paper. Adding this type of cover does restrict the addition of further pages. As I intend to use this on the flight as well, I thought it wise to trim the skewers… Some care needs to be taken to keep the pages vertically aligned, but in practice friction seems to keep the posts in place.

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Altered Art: Candy Cane Tree Decoration

candycane

I’ve designed some hanging decorations for December’s workshop that slide onto a wooden split type peg. There are several designs, but this is one of the newer ones, and certainly the most complex to colour in… Using nothing more than five colours of ProMarker and a pencil, this candy cane tree decoration is ready to copy! There are spaces available, but please book in as soon as possible – I have a lot of cutting out to do…

I’ve also been playing with my Foldio360 bluetooth controlled turntable a little more. It’s recently had some new DSLR settings provided meaning that, finally, it remotely controls my proper camera for top notch pics, which I can then edit and stitch in Photoshop. Now to find a decent 360° viewer plug-in for WordPress so that I don’t have to save as a clunky animated GIF.

candycane

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Commission: Baku 2016

img_7362For the last two days, I’ve been working with my mum to complete her commission for a piece of artwork featuring the skyline of Baku, Azerbaijan. Mum knew what buildings she would like to include, and provided the primed canvas (roughly 90cm wide) and a sketch of the layout. The first step was to tweak the sketch a little to improve the flow around the picture.

That done, we settled on trying a bas relief technique since she had no preconceptions of a finished piece. Thus started a mammoth 5 hour session cutting, pasting and carving paper clay, finishing at 10:30pm at night in an effort to allow drying time overnight. Unfortunately, humidity prevented that and we had a morning’s hiatus as it dried in the sun. Uneven drying left some pieces lifting, so these were promptly glued back down with gesso.

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Next was the decision as to whether to leave it white-on-white, or to add colour. Well, we went with the colour option, and much spraying with DecoArt Media Shimmer Misters in white and turquoise, with a tiniest spritz of DecoArt Media Mister in Primary Cyan. Add water to blend and water spot, dab off with kitchen towel and repeat. Drying brushing with gesso restored the contrast between the buildings and the background. Embellishment with Cosmic Shimmer Gilding Flakes, Stardust Stickles and DecoArt Media Gloss Varnish completed the picture. Then I decided a little more shimmer was needed on the sea, so added a wash of Perfect Pearls Perfect Pearl.

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