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:

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

" Around in a Spiral " ...

One of my colour wheels

Escape ... seems to be forming as some sort of circular imagery - maybe based on 7 &/or 12 segments to represent life cycles? spirals? Other notes:

Equations - circumference, diameter etc
Maybe doors ... openings ... things hidden & visible

A verse also comes to mind:
"Spirits are attracted to the movement of cloth"

More Kaleidoscopes ...

Found this today - great visuals:

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Mandala ...

After the revelation of the wardrobe (see Escape via below) I suddenly thought of an answer to something that's been floating around at the back of my mind for a good few years (was listening to the track below):

Thoughts to continue .... Experimentation with some natural dyes & a red cabbage led me down the path of designing a personal Mandala. Think this may now be starting to take shape especially when I also found some photos of my Kaleidoscope images.  The changing shapes are fascinating with links to Fractals & some experimental designs I obtained when 'ice-painting'.

" The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe " ...

One of my 'colour' wardrobes
Whilst playing a track on my iPod this morning, a track sparked off a 'special' escape I tried several times when very much younger ...

In my mother's wardrobe were a selection of fur coats and being an avid reader of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, I also wanted to visit this magical land. I tried many times in school holidays (usually) but was unable to get anywhere so when the film of the book came out several years ago, I went to see it. The magical place was exactly as I had then imagined it!

On reflection now, its ironic that over the years on numerous occasions, I have managed to 'escape'  via a wardrobe ... strangely to somewhere that involved making clothes !

Monday, 1 August 2011

Back to Black ...

Black holds many memories for me & I find its entire definition another fascinating topic. It's also my favourite colour & one I often come back to working with. Last week, Amy Winehouse died so naturally a favourite track is:

It also reminded me that several years ago, I went on a weekend journey & recorded everything to do with black in a notebook ... images, words & thoughts. In sorting out, I came across that notebook & photos - here's just 2 thoughts with accompanying sketches:

Have just noticed an owl features in both!

Or nue ...

In the recent past, I've studied some traditional embroidery techniques. One I 'turned on its head' for some experimental work is known as ' Or nue ' which if you click on, you can read more about.

Using some unconventional materials, I stitched a '2-way face'. Now framed & in a silver mount (so difficult to photograph), the image tends to move & change colour. Again, this is another technique I want to resurrect.
Stitched face

Lace ...

Here's some better shots of the Mask which as you can see, tend to 'come alive' in in certain lighting conditions.

Embroidered mask - close-up
Embroidered mask - close-up

It is this aspect of the lace that I want to experiment with - so here's the stitching samples to remind me!

Lace-making notes

Past Images ...

As I'm sifting through earlier work, I've come across a few images that remind me of certain techniques I need to expand on. Here's 2 contrasting references for 'Reflection':

City Sunlight
Country Moonlight