Thursday, 26 July 2012

In which I embroider some Davids

One of my favourite blogs is Mr X Stitch, and the Phat Quarter community regularly do embroidery swaps.  I've seen some amazing things come out of these swaps, so I decided to dip my toe into the waters and take part in the 1970s themed swap.

I was allocated Sewphie T as my swapee.  She's an amazing stitcher - I love her boxing hares, and her stumpwork is just stunning.  She said she liked David Bowie, so I decided to take him as my inspiration.

I love Aladdin Sane era Bowie, so I looked online to find pictures of the album cover where he's got that big lightning bolt zigzag over his eye.  I found a painting of the album cover that used blocks of colour to delinate his face, and thought that would be a good basis for an embroidery.

The hoop I used is about 6 inches in diameter, and I used mainly satin stitch to fill the colours in.  I couched metallic thread for the lightning bolt - looking back, I wish I'd used coloured thread to couch this down.  I used a translucent thread, but I think it looks too white on the red and blue.  I also wish I'd centred the image a little lower - the eyes should be closer to the centre.  Anyway, I'm pretty happy with the stitching, and its a strong image.

I like cats, and puns, so I also embroidered little David Meowie!  Look, he has Bowie's mismatched eyes!  He's about 3 inches in diameter.  Cute! 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

In which I make a print of Clifford's Tower

For the next bit of my OCA Printmaking course, I had to make a black and white print of something near where I live.  I live in York, so I popped up the road to Clifford's Tower to sketch it for a print.  I sat in a cafe and drank tea and sketched.  This printmaking business is HARSH.

Then, I took some black paper and drew the sketch out on that with white chalk, so the chalk marks would be where I'd cut away the lino.

And this is the (nearly) finished product.  I like the print - I'm happy with the way the different tools have given appropriate cut marks.  I like the way the bush on the left balances against the cloud on the right.

But it's not finished - it's not a great print.  I'm still a bit impatient - I need to work to get a more even print - there are lighter patches on this that just. won't. do.

Monday, 23 July 2012

In which I buy a bee

Mr P and I went to the car boot sale on Saturday, and I paid £12 for something that could be worth £400.  I am a freaking antiques genius! 

We had a good wander round, and although there were lots of good stalls, nothing much caught my eye.  Until I saw this little bronze bee thing.  It's about 4 inches long, and the bee's body lifts up to reveal a hollow where things (small things) could be stored.  I like bees, I like shiny things, so I asked how much the stall holder wanted.  He asked for £15, we settled on £12. 

On the bottom of the bee, there's a stamp reading "W Avery and Sons, Redditch, The Bee Case".  So, with the miracle of interweb phones, I looked up said info.  First site I found was a page from Christie's, the auctioneers, where a similar case sold for £400 in 1993. 

Holy. Poop.

My bee case dates from 1869 - 1898 ish, was designed to hold needles and pins, and they are well collectable!  Now, mine isn't in great nick - the top of the leaf is bent, the catch is broken, and even after a fair bit of cleaning it's pretty tarnished.  So I doubt I'd get anywhere near £400, even if they cost the same as they did in 1993.  But I reckon I'll take it to an antique dealer and see how much they'd value it at.  I'd be dead excited if it would be worth putting it in an auction!   

Thursday, 19 July 2012

In which my flax is flowering

Looky look look!  My flax in the allotment is flowering!  I went down at the weekend, and there are little blue flowers all over, like little stars.  It's just gorgeous. It's very wet, so I hope the flax is ok - there's still a lot of buds waiting to flower, and then I think it'll be a couple of weeks until the stalks turn golden and I can harvest the fibre.  The bindweed LOVES my flax - it's everywhere. 

In other allotment news - red ants.  Everywhere.  (Shudder.)

Also, my foxes featured on Mr X Stich again - this time in the 'Too Cute Tuesdays' slot curated by Olisa from Feeling Stitchy.  Yay!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

In which I make marks on lino

I’ve finished the monoprints assignment on my OCA Printmaking course, and I've posted them off to my tutor.  Now, I'm on to linoprints!  Yum.  I love relief printing.

For the first assignment, I used a variety of cutting tools to make 24 test squares on an A4 piece of lino.  I'm referring to each square left to right 1 to 4, and top to bottom a to f.  So the top left square is 1a.  I used a variety of v-tools and gouges, and a craft knife as well.

A few of the marks remind me of different things - 1e looks like a school of fish swimming in a circle, and 2f looks like a school of fish darting through water.  The short, vertical strokes of 4a, 3e and 1f look like grasses or crops.  2c reminds me of a choppy pond and 3f of a still pond.  3a could be a flock of birds above a cornfield?  2d looks like hail or snow.  The more delicate qualities of 3c and 4c (made with the craft knife) are a bit like cobwebs.

Overall, it's an ok print?  I like the marks, but the ink isn't as clear and black as I'd like.  I used watercolour ink, and it was my first time using a baren.  I think I need to use more ink and more pressure!