Friday, 30 March 2012

In which an excellent blog features my work.

The foxes are getting more love!  I've been away from the internet for a week, and Little Miss Methodist let me know that my foxes were Pick of the Week on Mr X Stitch!  I love love love that blog!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

In which I draw an idol of mine

At least, an actor who plays an idol.  I love love love Malcolm Tucker from The Thick Of It.   I have a little inner Malcolm Tucker.  I’d love to say to someone, “Well, look, I'd love to stop and chat but I'd rather have type 2 diabetes”.  Or “Don't ever ever call me a bully. I'm so much worse than that”.  And lots of other things with lovely swears in them.

So I was practicing drawing faces again, and here’s Peter Capaldi in the Radio Times. 

Bonus pic – my red shoes from Rome, an avocado and a lime.  Watercolours!  So pretty!

In which more people show love for the foxes!

Looky looky looky!  My foxes made Craftster's 15 Featured Projects this fortnight.  I'm so proud of my babies!

And they were chosen by rackycoo who is just cool.  Hee!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

In which I am, once again, wildly over-ambitious

Not content with all the crafty stuff I’m already doing this year, I’ve also decided to grow some flax to make linen.

I bought a spinning wheel last year, and discovered it would have been originally used to spin flax – the wheel is much smaller than a normal wool-spinning wheel apparently.  So I thought, wouldn’t it be lovely to grow my own flax, spin it into linen, and then weave it!  What could go wrong?! 
Mr P and I have an allotment – this is only our second year with it, so we’re still learning a lot and developing the plot.  I decided to set aside a bit of the plot about 4m by 1.5m at the side of the path to grow flax.  I got my seeds at the end of last year from WildFibres and I dug the bed over on Sunday.

It was pretty easy digging, if I’m honest – it had been used before for potatoes, I think, but there were some nasty brambles and the stumps of some bushes I’d cut down in the winter, including some Japanese roses which cut my hands to shreds.  I’d worked up a sweat over it though, and I’m still stiff today! 

So here my flax bed is – waiting to be re-weeded and edged next week, and then I’ll sow my flax.  So excited!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

In which I share some old prints

As I’m getting ready to start the first part of the OCA’s Printmaking 1 course, I thought I’d look back over some old prints I made.  I took some photos and put them here. 

Some of the prints are ones I made on the York College course – the etchings and the woodcut with chine collĂ©.  Some are ones I just played around with at home – the animals, the portraits, the mermaid.  The fishy ones are monoprints I did on an OCA day course, and later printed over with a linocut goldfish.

The one I’m most proud of is the one pictured here – it’s a two colour reduction linocut of Robin Williams and Mike Heron from the Incredible String Band.  It’s A3 in size, so quite big for me, and I was pleased with the way I captured their portraits and added the vines and text. 

My art supplies from Great Art arrived today so I’m hoping to start printmaking at the weekend!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

In which I enrol on a printmaking course

I’ve enrolled on the OCA’s Printmaking 1 course.  Woo hoo!  I’ve got my course materials through the post, and I’m dead excited.  I love the way the OCA mark their course materials as “Urgent Educational Material” – Mr P and I were ill in bed yesterday, and we missed the postman the first time round.  But he came back a second time – because the parcel was for urgent educational purposes? – and Mr P heard him that time.  Heh.  It’s true though, it was urgent.  I was jonesing to get my hands on it.

And I was not disappointed!  The course covers monoprints, relief prints (linocutting mainly) and collatype prints.  And combining all these together.  I may get anarchic and throw some stitches in – who knows!

Anyway, dead excited to get started – the first module is on monoprints.  I’ve just put in a big order at Great Art for some inks, a big roller (my current one is tiny) and some paper.  Inky hands, here we come.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

In which I listen to sage advice from a wise owl

One of my favourite cartoonists/artists is Kate Beaton.   She recently had a Q & A session on her Tumblr, where people would ask her questions, and she would reply.  Like a Q & A, you know.  Someone asked "how do I learn to get better at drawing?" and this was her reply:

"You do this by drawing, drawing, drawing, drawing, drawing.  You don’t need a special pen or paper, you don’t need a desk by a window overlooking a pastoral scene, you don’t even need to take classes, you just draw draw draw draw draw every day until you’re amazing at it."

Such sage advice!  Such a wise owl.  Seriously.  I often hope that I'll buy a magic pen or perfect notebook and I'll suddenly be brilliant at drawing.  I won't.  If I want to get good at drawing, I've just got to draw.

Here's an embriodery of Kate Beaton's Fat Pony I did a couple of years ago, just 'cos he's cool.

Monday, 5 March 2012

In which I am disappointed by a purchase

Oh disappointment, why do you haunt me so.  I bought a toy at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate last autumn - a Punchneedle!  I tried it out at the stall, and it seemed the most exciting thing since nutella and peanut butter samwiches*.  You punch the needle into your cloth, and out the other side comes a perfect little loop.  So cute!  So easy!  So I bought me one.

And I got it out of it's wrapper last week, threaded it up and had a go.  I started making a little heart with variegated thread, just to practice.  It was not fun.  It was disappointing.  All the features that seemed so shiny at the show now just seemed a little dull.  It just makes a loop of thread.  Big woof.  And it didn't seem as smooth or easy to use, either.

So I'm a bit annoyed with myself for wasting money on it... I suppose it'll be useful if I ever want to incorporate loops into an embroidery, but I really can't imagine using it to create a whole piece of work.  Too boring and repetitive.  To machine-y.  Which I should have realised originally, as it's a machine...

*It's like a Snickers sammich.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

In which I draw a popular actor, but make him look a bit wonky

I've been doing more drawing - this time from pictures.  Good old Radio Times - came up trumps with a picture of a lion and of Daniel Radcliffe - although he looks fairly wonky in my drawing.  Not sure it's really recognisable as ol' Danny.

I was particularly trying to look at shading, and trying out a bit of cross-hatching.  Just messin' around really.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

In which I hyperventilate a bit

I can't believe how much love my foxes have been getting!  They've been featured on the Craftzine blog and feeling stitchy!  That's just so cool... I mean... it used to get Craft:Magazine obessively, and feeling stitchy has featered some amazing artists...   And it's been getting a lot of positive comments on my  Flickr photo and where I posted it on Craftster...

I guess I'm just blown away by how kind and positive people are - and that they go out of their way to encourage you.  I think the internet is an amazing place for crafty and arty people - there are real communities of people out there - and they are all keen for each other to succeed and express themselves.  There's no snark (although people will give critical help if asked for) and no envy.  Just a lotta love.

I've seen it before, but I suppose this is my first taste of it first hand, as it were, and it's amazing.  Thanks, Internet People, for being so supportive.  Big love.