Monday, 30 June 2008

Image transfer using Emulsion paint

One of the ladies I met in Chester told me about another way to transfer an image onto fabric.
The great thing is it's relatively cheap to do and gives great results, showing all the details , so it almost looks 3D.
I like the fact that the image is matt and doesn't have a plastic finish.

You need Emulsion paint, it has to be the good quality stuff ( Cheapo won't work I'm afraid ), so I would suggest trying one of those little sample pots first.
My experiments with this method have all been with black and white photocopies , onto calico.

This is so easy. . .
  • Cover the work surface with a flat sheet of polythene.Place your fabric on top of polythene.
  • Spread a thin coat of paint over the fabric, to cover an area big enough for your image.
  • Place photocopy face down onto paint and brayer the surface to get good contact between the image and the painted fabric.
  • Leave to dry, overnight if poss., but if you're impatient like me, get the hairdryer on the job. The paint must be completely dry.
  • When dry, wet the surface of the photocopy with a sponge and then gently scrape away the paper. Try using one of those plastic scouring pads. I was a bit enthusiastic with the first sample, but I quite like the distressed look.

For the second sample I made a collage using torn images of flowers (above), which I then photocopied.
When the transferred image was dry, I gave it a light wash of colour.

It seems to be quite easy to stitch into this surface, so the possibilities are endless. I'd be really interested to know if you've tried this and what sort of results you get.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

A good day.

Isn't it nice when you have a day that flows, especially when it takes you by surprise.
Today, for example, I had to take the car to Stratford upon Avon for a service. So? You might think, well, I was grumpy at the mere thought of a wasted morning.
But as it turned out, I had fun, mooching around the shops, bought some fabulous lime green silk, had coffee served by a charming Italian gentleman and the garage bill came to less than I thought it would!
When I got back Rowan and I went across the meadows and watched a family of baby Woodpeckers playing in the Buttercups,ah! Poor Rowan doesn't quite get the hang of being a gun dog.
Anyway, I eventually got around to printing off some images onto calico. It worked! (I need to explain that yesterday the printer had a paddy and wouldn't do anything.)

I took the original pictures in the church at South Cerney in Gloucestershire, the light was poor and I had to 'shoot' from under a table , but with a bit of fiddling I think I'm quite pleased with them. Not sure what I'll do with them yet but the wheels are turning. . .They could be the background layer of some pages for a book I'm planning about Cotswold Churches? or. .

Oh yes, nearly forgot, I called in at the Library and picked up Rose Tremain's book 'The Way Home'. So that was it, a good day and I've got something to read on holiday in Wales next week.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Old churches and trees.

I have this passion for old churches and ancient trees. Of course, if you're lucky you get two for the price of one.
I love my church forays, they really are treasure houses full of history and my work is often inspired by these visits.
This is the lovely St. John the Baptist church at Ashbrittle in Somerset., and next to it an amazing old tree.

It's incredible to think that this has been a
sacred place for more than 3000 years.

We were staying near the charmingly named village of Wiveliscombe,where there were lots of super places to walk.
This footpath was a few yards from our door,
I wish it was at the bottom of my garden., but
then I'd probably worry about flooding. . .

Not far away is the village of Kittisford where I found this memorial stone. Ann Bonham, wife of Thomas Strangways,Poor lady!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Rowan says 'Hi'

Rowan thought it was time she said 'Hi', as this was supposed to be her blog. . . .

So here she is appearing in a supervisory role whilst peering through the door of our caravan.

Just look what I found, in the meadow where we walk Rowan. So we had to go back again with the camera to take photos of Bee Orchids. This was fine , me crawling on my tum in the long grass much to the amusement of Mike and another dog walker. Something very small bit me in several delicate places, art isn't easy eh?

A nice quiet afternoon followed, sort of. Phoebe invited Nanny and Grandad for tea and Smarties.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Making Bookwraps

It's taken me a while, but here are the instructions for making the Bookwraps I showed you in a previous post., this post is specially for Carol Stocker. ,have fun Carol!

My aim here is to make a textile bookwrap using very basic materials and lots of imagination, so here's the recipe.

How much fabric? _ Measure around the middle of your chosen book one and a half times, this is the length of your bookwrap. Then measure the height of the book plus an inch or so, this is the width.

Calico - (Dyed with coffee )In a large bowl, mix about 8 teaspoons of coffee with a mug of boiling water. Add the calico and soak for a few minutes. Wring out some of the liquid and then place the wet fabric on a baking tray in a moderate oven. Bake for about 15 minutes , then turn over and repeat. The fabric needs to be in a crumpled heap, not flat. Don't leave the room or you might have a fire! Hang out to dry and watch your neighbours faces!

Cut or tear the fabric to your measurements, you'll need two pieces.(One is for the lining)

Black Felt- Cut one piece slightly smaller than your measurements, so it doesn't show.

Chiffon -could be black, or whatever goes with your colour scheme.

Paper- This could be newspaper painted with coffee, oiled paper, try brown wrapping paper or photocopies (just rub Almond oil, available from the chemist, into the paper and it morphs into something completely different, lovely semi- translucent papers that will take stitch. Best thing is , it also makes your hands lovely and soft!)

On the left of the picture below you can see the papers before the oil was rubbed in.

Place the felt, flat on the table and cover with one piece of calico. Then tear strips of paper and pin in place .Next, cover the whole thing with chiffon and pin into place.
Now, using quite a wide stitch, machine the chiffon,strips of paper, calico and felt together.
You could use hand stitching and use decorative threads instead.

The next step is to zap the chiffon with a heat gun, careful though because the paper resists the heat so you might need to snip the chiffon in those areas to help things along.

When you're happy with your work, turn it over so that the felt is uppermost and pin the lining in place. I usually hand stitch this in place, about a quarter inch from the edge.
Do you want to add a 'belt' around the Bookwrap? Here are some ideas.

Or perhaps some cords to hold the wrap in place.

On some of my bookwraps, I've transferred photocopied images onto the calico before adding the paper strips. I also did this to make the 'belt' in the picture at the start of this post.

These are just a few suggestions, I'd love to see what you can come up with!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Cotswold Embroiderers Guild at Sudeley Castle

The Cotswold branch of the Embroiderers Guild are at Sudeley Castle ( for two weeks from 7th.-21st.June. We're in the same room as the 'Threads of Time' Exhibition.

Various members are demonstrating different techniques whilst chatting to visitors and hopefully recruiting new members!
This lovely Stumpwork casket is one of the treasures of Sudeley Castle. Sorry the pictures aren't too clear but I had to take them through glass.

There are so many interesting things to see, including a display of costume on models of King Henry 8th and all his wives, including his widow Queen Katherine Parr, who lived at Sudeley after his death.

When I'd finished my stint in the exhibition, I went for a little wander around . . . .This picture shows the view through a window in the ruined banqueting hall.

Now this is nothing to do with Sudeley, but I just had to show you my fabulous necklace, made by a local artist Jo Dewar, she makes some really cool stuff.

Just a note to finish, have you looked at Maggie Grey's fantastic blog? There is so much on there, all sorts of juicy techniques and she's really funny with it!

Sunday, 8 June 2008

The Shoe Fairy

I found these pictures while I was browsing my photo album and thought I'd put them on my blog to remind me of all the fun I've had making shoes for Fairies.

The story of Skillywidden.

When we were in Cornwall last year, I bought a book of Cornish Tales. These folk stories were collected by Robert Hunt in the nineteenth century, which is great because they would probably have disappeared otherwise.
I decided to make a book about one of the tales, 'Skillywidden.' In my version, the fairy runs away and leaves his shoes behind.
I made the cover of the book on my Embellisher, using strips of torn fabric which I felted into some velvet.

This page shows the church of St. Sennara at Zennor, where the story is set.

The text was printed onto calico and each page was covered with fine tulle before being decorated.

Fairy Shoes workshop at Blue Ginger

I had such a nice day on Tuesday. We were
making Fairy Shoes at my friend Sue's gallery.

It's always fun working in amongst all the beautiful things on display.
Trouble is I always want to buy everything , who could resist these necklaces? I think the green and orange one was meant to be worn with my new 'posh' top. It's so pretty, the beads are made from small felt balls which have been sliced to reveal lovely patterns and colours inside.
There are lots of glass beads sewn onto the felt ones. Shall I buy it, what do you think?

Each little pair of shoes is different, I love how they are magically transformed, from shapes cut out of fabric, into beautiful footwear
The shoes are a bit fiddly to make ,but I love to play with a basket of precious 'goodies' as I decorate them. It's a chance to go really over the top!

Lunch was served in Sue's 15th. century farm kitchen. We had home made quiche and salad, followed by the most delicious ice-cream. I shouldn't have, but I did, to be polite. . . . As we wandered back to work the two Pot-bellied pigs were watching us through the gate. . . . . .