Monday, 28 November 2011

The studio make-over has begun ...

Above left is the new front entrance where I'll be working. Likely to be decorated in some way but unsure at the moment how so for the time being it will remain just plain white (as you'll notice above right, a big improvement from how it started its life). The shutter too is new - gone the old 2-hand pushed one & now an electric one that also allows more light in.

The inside redecoration is well underway - appx 80% of all ceiling & walls now finished (just bits left) as is the office area. All flooring is booked for 10 days time & furniture/fittings removal-delivery for the week after that. Then it will be finishing ... putting furniture in place & final decorations. By the way, the frontage has a 'ram post' I've inherited ... rather rusty at the moment but a useful thing. As you can see, it's a bit of an eye-sore but I also intend giving that a make-over too!

This final stage is likely to be on-going over the next few months as I get each 'dedicated section' underway & completed. At this stage, I envisage 7 (or so) small areas set aside for:
on-going work - inspiration - art & design - repair/renovation - photography - reference
plus some sort of display 'gallery' for finished items. This sectioning idea has mainly come about whilst I've been decorating inside & familarising myself with the lighting qualities & the way in which natural & artificial light falls inside. (However, once flooring & furniture come in, this could change.)

The general idea is to have the inside rather like a blank canvas with neutral type colours (white, dark grey/black) to display on & work within. Some of my previous work relies on specific lighting conditions which this 'studio' currently has - one reason for moving into it ... I also find it rather inspirational in its own right!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Updates ...

It's been a few weeks since I've written as things are beginning to move forward. First, here's the latest 'studio' update news :
Have now finished 1 coat on the studio walls & it's looking nice & bright. The 'silk' finish of the paint is reflecting the outside light to the inside although I still have the ceiling to do (my next in line of jobs in this section). The office has been emptied ready to begin that part of the painting - possibly will finish this totally as removals booked for end of this month (I hope if all goes according to plan).

Some other jobs are being completed by local workmen: some new electrics & a heater, a mezzanine floor has been boarded over (above the studio so I will be able to store more items), a new studio 'front' (in white) booked in for 2 weeks time & floor covering thru from the office to the kitchen/loo area.

I've also been keeping my 'record' of notes up-to-date - now many names for projects all ready to start. I treated myself to a new compact camera about 2 weeks ago - still haven't had time to charge it! I opted for a compact after much thought - decided to keep my old trust Minolta Dynax with all bits. Thought I'd be able to set this one up in the studio for using for in-house shots - bag of bits & pieces too bulky & awkward to carry easily around.

Some shots last week reminded me of cloud formations I find interesting - here's just 1:

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Lace Flowerings ...

Whilst cleaning/restoring some lace at the weekend, as I picked up a piece to press it, the term 'Flowerings' sprung to mind. Acknowledging this term as possibly the style of embroidery I was looking at, I have once again begun to query the origin & link between certain stitchery & the techniques used - the above being a good example of this.

Perhaps another 'cross-over' or piece of symbolism ??

Saturday, 24 September 2011

White Feathers ...

Another dog walk today has resulted in a few more feathers being found along the road. Don't yet know why I'm collecting them other than I already have some & want to get more. To the right are those of the past few weeks - some lovely shades of grey as well as a few white ones.

An interesting thought has just occurred to me (based on this & the previous blog title) ... namely:


Any connections ??

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Hang men ...

Just taking dog out today when noticed the new estate agent had just put their board up. It's one of those swinging ones (very 50s style) like those shown here:
Anyway, it just reminded me of HANGMEN (the game that is) PLUS a general interest in Hangings ... albeit wall type fabric ones or things that hang or wooden gibbet ones.

My first recollection of the word GIBBET was back in the late 60s when a friend mentioned a place called ' Combe Gibbet ' (click here if you want to read more) - the word GIBBET having an interesting sound. Just Googling, I also came across this (an image similar in my thoughts beforehand!):

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Stripes in autumn ...

Took this quickly after more collected bits I'd found - rather like the effect of the blinds. Shall have an experimental morning soon continuing with this in Photoshop. Also was thinking about the feathers & their display/use etc - must remember the use of straws as holders (must remember to get some fine ones somewhere).

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Getting additional mileage from a gasket ...

Came across the phrase 'SACRED GEOMETRY' last week - an interesting concept & one to investigate further.

Also, yesterday I was playing around with my GT6 gasket on the computer & have come up with this (apertures contain images of my interests) ... think this could have additional mileage !!!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Autumn colours ...

    Yesterday was a sunny day & showed autumn in its first early stages. I've been meaning to do a seasonal colouring exercise for some time & used an opportunity to get some pix for reference.

     ... especially for the colours of the variagated & red leaves ...

    ... for acorns (especially the cups) & sycamores (the twirling process) for their shape
    & manner in which they form

    ... as well as lots of seed pods because of the unusual shapes when 'popped' open
    + the shinyness of a conker

    Tuesday, 30 August 2011

    Building patterns ...

    Stained glass window
    Castle Ruin

    As I've mentioned earlier, I love pattern & tend to capture things I like on camera - mainly for future reference. Here's some buildings with intricate patterns I hope to use once I move.

    Additionally, I hope to visit the castle below once I move - a fairy castle with a wonderful interior! This also leads me to mention that with an interest in dolls houses (I have 2), I'm also intending to start assembling & making my own scaled version of it.

    Magical Castle

    Saturday, 27 August 2011

    Tree face ...

    Some time ago I started a notebook of 'Faces' - unusual shapes suitable for making masks &/or facial expressions. I've also made a few textile faces ... using some form of embroidery. It looks as if the 'bug' is at work again as look what I found amongst an apple tree in the garden ...

    Tree ' OWL ' face !

    Here it is from another angle ...

    Now a CAMEL !

    Thursday, 25 August 2011

    Where does a Dolly Bag come from ! ...

    I was reminded of the doll project last night when "DOLLY" was mentioned on TV & I began to think of the 'DOLLY BAG'  I had made back in the 'Swinging 60s'.

    In West London then, there was a popular 'local trend' for 'MODS' to own a DOLLY BAG. This handbag (either circular or oval in shape) was in a soft fabric, had drawstring handles & was often used to complete a favourite outfit. I had made my first 'Biba-style' dress in navy/white spotted cotton fabric & used scraps to make my bag - complete with a red lining & long rouleau-loop style handles! Over recent years, small DOLLY BAGS (similar shapes to the one I had) have since come to be used for wedding favors.

    Whilst pondering on these thoughts (in the context of my doll project) has once again made me question the  origins of a DOLLY BAG & could any of these be connected:
    • A child may call a doll 'DOLLY' - is it a bag to carry one in ?
    • In past laundry equipment, there is a washing dolly - is it a bag for this ?
    • Or perhaps there's a connection to blue bags ? - and laundry again ?
    The online Thesaurus doesn't help! Anyone any ideas, please email me:

    Wednesday, 24 August 2011

    GT6 car part ...

    I used to own several (but not all at the same time) Triumph GT6 cars - the later mark III's. A wonderful classic 2-seater car with a good shape & design. Clearing out garage bits I came across odd 'memorabilia' - saved for prosperity I s'pose!! Anyway, one bit I couldn't get rid of was this metal gasket - as I went to throw it, I suddenly noticed the interesting shapes within it as well as what it could be used for as an overlay.

    GT6 Gasket

    It also reminded me of several other things:
    • a GT6 knitted jacket made many years ago - still wearable but I'm possibly going to use for felting
    • sketches of my car (yet to find)

    Tuesday, 23 August 2011

    Stitch Project ...

    One of my many ideas is to find out more regarding "stitches" - traditions of use alongside type & where/what it's used for. I find it a fascinating subject - especially regarding a link between a basic & decorative use. The verse below (found scribbled in my notebook) also reminded me that I must get to start this project:
    Seek to understand the tradition, and the techniques
    will regenerate within your imagination

    c. 1930's stitched panel

    NOTE 23/2/13: This has been included
    within my reference library THE STITCH SANCTUARY

    Shapes ...

    Here's some more photos - I love the patterns & intrigued by the mosaic-style shapes shown:

    Spider web
    Wasp's nest pockets

    Wasp's nest
    Dragonfly wing

    Dragonfly wings

    Sunday, 21 August 2011

    A remembered verse ...

    One of my previous photos reminded me of this:

    And the sea will grant each man new hope
    As sleep brings dreams of home


    Friday, 19 August 2011

    Rainbow ...

    Got this yesterday coming back from the studio ...
    ... brilliant rainbow, autumn colours


    Wednesday, 17 August 2011

    Hanging Baskets ...

    Yesterday I passed a beautiful hanging basket - & literally it was just 'hanging flowers' yards long! It made me think of a textile one with this as a connection:

    I wish I'd had my camera with me - hope I may get a shot another day..........

    Interesting shots ...

    I've decided to display some of my other photos here:

    ... it will also be much easier for reference in the future !

    Project: Pattern ...

    Facial patterns 
    Body section patterns

    Ice patterns
    Whilst sifting through some actual photos, I was reminded of a "pattern" project I wanted to start - here they are:
    Body patterning
    Group patterns
    Foliage patterns

    Weather patterns

    Water patterns

    Saturday, 13 August 2011

    2 sunset & cloud shots ...

    Collected keys to 'studio' yesterday & finally arrived at it to unlock @ 3pm. Not much time then left to do anything other than have a look properly around everywhere, unload cleaning things, measure up & travel back. BUT got these lovely shots at 8.30ish in the evening (on the way back looking across the water) @ different places!

    Evening sky

    Evening sky

    Monday, 8 August 2011

    Studio now ready to start the move into ...

    First step of my new journey is now complete ... it finally happened last Friday at 12 noon. Although not actually where I'll be working, this is nearby & hopefully where I'll relocate to!

    The intended 'studio' where I'm going to be working from is now empty of previous owners & their things. The next step(s) is now to prepare it ready for my use ... & that'll involve decorating whilst empty so that things (when taken there) can immediately be put into their new homes.

    It's quite frustrating wanting to get started on everything but unable to. The vast majority of my 'tools & other paraphanalia' have been boxed up for several months ready for moving. Most things are in neat & tidy piles ready to transport on their way - all I'd left myself with is the 'bare minimum'. A depleted 'textile tool kit', a small working area (for minimum work/small jobs), a basic art section (ie. mainly old notebooks to sort through) & a computer table with my Apple. At least with all this I've been able to keep some basic jobs 'on-the-go' as well as getting all my 'bits & pieces' into boxed order.

    I chose to do things in this way as one of my personal longtime wishes was to get as much of my design notes/reference & images onto the computer. (It makes my life a lot easier & quicker.) Anyway, knowing that it was unlikely I would be able to move, relocate & work in one step, I decided that for a period of time (without much of my equipment to hand), I would work on all my e-skills & get another task out the way!

    This weekend, I spent a long time updating iPhoto & iTunes & getting them ready for yet another way of working. (I try to do this regularly anyway but over the past year, it's got a bit messy!) I've found & located all previously stored images, got rid of all the dupes, labelled & tidied them up in a much better way PLUS backed it all up! Definitely a job worth doing & highly recommended. I've also found more odd photos that I'll be scanning into the system - just wish there'd been digital cameras when I'd first taken them!

    I'm hoping to get along to the new workplace at the end of the week - just a short journey of 100 miles or so! It'll really be just to collect keys, have a look around inside the building & a possible brief clean-up & decide on new colour scheme for the walls. Have a look at the view above (hoping to live near to this), then passenger back home to plan the next stage.

    Saturday, 6 August 2011

    Cotton buttons ...

    Fabric buttons
    Here's a card of early 20th century fabric buttons (in my collection) - being very small they were used for underwear or night clothes. They're especially attractive when used in conjunction with other decorative sewing techniques.

    The white fabric on the top of the button, covers metal discs with holes in. This technique will be adopted for several other ideas I have - in fact I used it several years ago to make buttons & 'costume jewellery' to match an outfit I'd made.

    Sunsets ...

    One of my favourite scenes of London - love the contrasts of colour & shapes:

    Thames Barrier at night

    Wheels on cars ...

    Cars also have interesting shapes under the bonnet - apart from patterned tyres.

    Under a bonnet

    So do some other methods of transport.

    Colourful trims

    Patterns ...

    I've also come across some other pattern ideas:

    Both of them occurred whilst using some old cine film as 'tape'. Working in my studio (with sunlight streaming through the window), I saw these beautiful patterns appearing. The first was just on the white top - the second against some hologram card.

    Mask or Mandala ...

    Design for pamphlet holder
    Looking for the original of this but can't seem to find it anywhere - hopefully it's in a safe place! Think it could become the basis for the Mandala or Mask project(s) that keeps popping into my thoughts.
    Also found another (click here for it's shot) - it's the inside of a chip fryer whilst cleaning out with washing-up liquid. The mixture of oil & water-based cleaner produced this amazing image of a face/silhouette. Once again, thoughts stray to the above mentioned possible project.

    Thursday, 4 August 2011

    Samples of unusual techniques ...

    Several of my shelves & boxes have things pending finishing. Either as samples (as reminders) or, as in this colourful instance below, finished but pending another level of working.

    Embroidered panel

    The section above shows part of a larger piece of 'tapestry' - on the left (above), first stage completion. On the right, the same section has been reworked by machining over netting - you can see the 'padding' effect just starting to take effect as well as some of the colours are appearing 'brighter'. Although at early stages, the effect is just what I was hoping for (but you'll have to wait a while now to see it finished).

    Stitched Feather
    Stitched skull
    Another special technique (sample left) that I find of interest, is the use of old milinery braids for other effects. Here I've used some trim for making flower buds along with some unusual bird feathers for the 'foliage'. I really enjoy "turning things on their head" & usually find something quite unusual & different appears as a result. On the right (not for everyone!) is a brooch I made to match up with the 'corsage' left. After finding a small bird skull whilst on a walk, I picked it up (& cleaned it) then decorated it with buttons, thread & some small feathers. At the end of last year, I found a larger small mammal head & I'm hoping to do something similar with that.

    Anemones, balls & bats ... !

    On Monday 18 July, I wrote on the topic of Flowers. Well finally I got my shot of them - here they are:


    As you can see from the shot above - the buds are perfect miniature balls. Just great when you're young to hit with a bat & send over the garden fences!!

    Buttons & a textile artist ...

    Handmade textile button & loops for suit
    Last night, I found a specific & lost button in a 'work box'. I have had a tendency over many years to collect buttons (amongst other things). It started many years ago in Australia when I came across some carded 1920s-40s buttons ... being sold at stupid prices. I bought many of them as I love the old bakerlite shapes. Several years later (& back in the UK), purely by chance, I came across some 1940s glass buttons. I bought those too. Now I have several tins of old buttons - all beautifully shaped, some grubby, some shiny & new. A few years ago I decided to use a lot of them to show their beauty. At odd moments, they've been sorted ready for use but because of the anticipated ultimate size (large!!) & possible weight (heavy!), I haven't as yet got any further. However, now (or rather in the near future) I shall have time & space to make a start.

    As I pondered on these thoughts last night, I also remembered a talk I attended by one of my favourite artists - Michael Brennand-Wood. Here's a short video showing his work: