Thursday, November 27, 2014

Moved to Cornwall :-)

Taking it easy for a while will update Dreckly :-)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Exhibition plans

Last week I was sketching with friends,  such a lovely way to pass a a day and I thouroughly enjoyed it and felt very relaxed.

There was sketching at the wonderful Tintern Abbey.  My hubby took some lovely photos, but you will have to pop over to his Facebook page to see them.  He's a bit reluctant so only a couple there so far but I am hoping to convince him to be brave and post loads more.

Before that I was a Clevedon Pier where it was very peaceful until we got invaded by about 40 school children on a school outing

But I have also been doing some leather work.  I made this custom designed Dice cup 

Then I bought some lovely soft leather and made loads of notebooks.  The cup has gone to its new home but the notebooks you can buy from my folksy shop.

 Then I took up the challenge on Facebook to paint this little chap.  I don't really know why as he won't have a home  :-( as I don; know who's cat it is, but I did enjoy the challenge.  So any suggestions as to what to do with him please let me know.

and finally I couldn't resist, I just had to paint some more sea.  This was finished today and is off to  its new home in Cornwall at the weekend

So all in all a very productive week.  

But thats not all...........I have plans,
  I have this week arranged to share a venue for North Somerset Arts week in May 2015,  With the fabulous Wight and Wight 

Sarah makes stunning silver jewellery and also makes lots of other crafts and they are all very very fabulous.

I will update you when we have the venue finalised .  I also have to finalise a venue for my solo exhibition September 2015.  It will be in Cornwall and I have provisionally called it 'Watching the Sea Breathe".  I expect you guessed it might involve paintings from the sea, but just in case there was any doubt I thought I would go for a name thats sums up my obsession for watching the Sea.

Watch this space for more details 

Janice x

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Long time no see

Wow-wee its been ages hasn't it??  It was the very beginning of July since my last post,  but I am here now to put that right x

For those who don't know, I lost my Mojo, after my Dads death in January, it had been a hard few years once the dementia took hold and I was so upset when he died but at the same time so pleased he didn't  have to suffer any more, and I have been struggling.  I guess that showed in my lack of ability to painting anymore and  I just couldn't get back on track,  well after a few false starts I am painting again and happy.  I suspect I  will still have some ups and downs but for now things seem to be getting back on track.

So many things have happened to help that,  so where should I begin?

In July  my lovely youngest daughter got married to her partner at Bristol Zoo,  we had an amazing day and everything was just perfect.  They both did a wonderful job of organising it and didn't she look amazing :-)

and as all this was happening, we also bought a holiday Cornwall!
With a some money my Dad had left me and some spectacular financial jiggery pokery from my eldest daughter ( absolutely amazing how she sorted us out) we moved in the week after the wedding :-)

Its been bliss, relaxing, calm peaceful, friendly and felt like home ,the minute we walked through the door.  As you can imagine we have been there loads and I have even been down on my own, with Fin for company. So how could I possibly not paint now!!  

So life at the moment is amazing,  I am very fortunate, I have a fabulous husband and 3 amazing children, who I am so very, very proud of.  So for a while , maybe forever,  I am going to kick back and appreciate them and this wonderful gift my Dad has given me .........

and of course, enjoy painting again 

Janice x

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Quilting by Internet learning

I have often maintained you can learn anything theses days off the internet.  As a teacher,  I can't emphasis enough the importance of a face to face class,  but if you can't get one, for what ever reason, then the internet is fantastic.

I have wanted to make a quilt for a very long time,  but having a sister and a sister in law who are both fabulous quilters, then I have always been a bit put off as I have been told accuracy
 is the key and I am really not that accurate and attention to detail is not my forte.

I did make a rag quilt out of old jeans some time ago but I just threw that together and not much thought or accuracy went into it

But I really really wanted to make a proper quilt so I decided.....why not?  and if I was going to do it, lets not dilly daly with little bits to practice, lets just go for the double size quilt, as I may never make one again.

It started because I found this picture linked from Pintrest to a flickr photo

There was no pattern just a brief description

I don't neither have a pattern nor the measurements anymore. But it's a simple log cabin block, starting with a square, I guess about 5", and than adding to strips to the left and right, each about guessed 3" and then another two strips on top and bottom of the block, again 3".

The fabrics alternate with each block, one time white is in the middle, prints are the strips, next time the other way round.

Setting of the quilt is just alternating these blocks in rows and columns, use as much blocks as you need to get the desired size.

So I set about learning to quilt.

I started off by reading this great blog

Then I picked a couple of water looking fabrics from a local material shop,  but she had no picture patterns and I wanted a seaside theme.  So I looked up local quilting shops on google and I found a hum dinger.  

Midsomer Quilting

Not only did they have a very wide range of materials,  they had classes and most importantly they made my husband a coffee and had he not been interested, then he could have sat and chatted.  But actually he loved helping me pick out patterns.

I wanted some white material so I bought a 1.5m off cut from Dunlem in a kind of linen material,  ( this was probably the biggest mistake I made,  but more of that later.)

I also needed a few basic bits of kit, a rotary cutter and a quilting ruler /guide.  I already had a cutting matt, sewing machine and so thats all the equipment I needed,  in all honesty you could have cut by scissors and a ruler but it wouldn't have been as accurate or as easy.

I worked out a paper pattern and started cutting squares.  I  realised the paper pattern I used was no good as I hadn't made any allowances for the seams.  Mr WD and his lovely maths brain worked out how to cut the most out of my material ( turned out to actually cut a 11" square out, then I could get all my bits for each block out of two of these one in the coloured fabric and one in the white.

I then had to work out how to keep my seems the same,  I could have bought a special foot for my machine but I found this article about seem allowance accuracy  and used a bit of masking tape to mark it on my machine.

Sewing the squares together took a long time,  but I soon started using the chain piecing techniques described here 

another great tip I picked up was to have your ironing board set up by your machine so that you could press seems quickly without having to move all the time.

Wow all those squares, 42 in total.  I  layed them out on the bed to try and sort out the pattern,  it was more  difficult than I had expected but actually made  a huge difference to how the quilt looked.

I bought the quilting material and was going to buy a few yards of sheeting material to back out with,  but I found that it was quite a bit cheaper to actually by a double sheet which needed no joining and was the perfect size.

I wanted to try the scribbly quilting I had seen on the original picture.  I made up some quilting squares to practice on .  I did ask my sister to meet me and to show me how to do free motion quilting but she was busy and couldn't do it for a couple of weeks.  Anyone who knows me, knows I have to get on,  I have no patience once I start a project,  so I ploughed on ahead, andf found this interesting little video

A solid 4 hours practice and I thought I was up for it,  so I  pinned it all out and started quilting ......  so nervous after all that work.

This is when i realised my mistake on the material I had bought as remnant.  It was too think.  it had been fine putting the blocks together but the seams on some edges were so thick with all the layers, the material would not go through the machine smoothly.  I just had to accept a few long stitches and also i did try and manipulate the pattern so it didn't need to go over theses seems to often.

Phew that was a mammoth task,  but one done very rewarding.   I had a couple of hoc ups and had to unstitch,  thank goodness for my seem ripper/un-picker!  

Then onto the edging,  this was a brilliant tutorial and I watched it as I was actually sewing the binding to the edges.  I was particularly taken with the final bit about leaving the batting to make a fuller edging

So here it is , my final quilt, certainly not perfect,  but I am pleased with myself,  just not sure I would put it to close to one of my sisters or sister in laws!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Normal service not yet resumed

Still no painting but Wow what a busy few weeks I have had.  Some of you may know that my youngest daughter is getting married very soon.  So we have had some adventures, especially the Hen party!!!  The theme was Barbie so I decided to go as Artist Barbie.  I am sure you can see the resemblance.

Unfortunatley my daughter didn't and she thought I looked like Claude from the Raggy dolls.  I will leave you to decide which I looked like for yourselves, but I think she may actually have a point!!! ??

These are my two fabulous and beautiful daughters ,  One went as 60's barbie and the other as Bride Barbie,  I wonder if you can tell who was who?  haha

On the creative front I have been having a go at my first ever quilt.  I have dabbled a bit before but I have been rather slap dash so  I haven't got very far,  but I have spent a long time researching quilt making and so have taken it all a bit more seriously this time.

These are the blocks I have made up,  I have yet to put them together,  I am just sorting out the order and then I will attach them all together,

 If you look closely you may be able to see a seaside theme in the patterns I have chosen,  there is a reason for this,  but thats something I will tell you about another day.

In doing research I picked up a few tips,  I use a bit of masking tape in my machine to be able to keep my 1/4 inch seam allowance as accurate as possible.

Also setting up the ironing board next to my machine was also a huge time saver when making up the blocks, as every seam had to be pressed.

I can see why quilts are so expensive having not had any spare material I had to buy it all in.   I did find a wonderful quilting shop in somerset, called Midsummers Quilts and they had a huge supply of materials,  I bought the white material as an off cut/end of roll from Dunelm,  so before even buying the wadding or backing material, it has cost me a good £25 and I also invested in a rotary cutter and quilters ruler/guide, but to be honest I think they were essential and hopefully will last if I ever do another one.

so watch this space to see the actual blocking and quilting 

I aslo have a new love of my life............

I am driving everywhere as I just love her!!  maybe the novelty will wear off soon..... but I doubt it :-)

I have been teaching a bit at the Blue room in Nailsea,  but have decided I am not really up to it, and don't feel I am doing the lessons or students justice.  So for the time being I am not going to continue.  I will finish the batch I have signed up for and then I will look again at doing some workshops maybe later in the year.

Janice x

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What no Painting

Its been a busy few weeks,  I have managed two trips to Cornwall for inspiration, a 30th Birthday celebration and a bit of wedding planning events ( hair trial etc) for my lovely daughter who is getting married in just under 6 weeks. and a lots of leather work and glass painting.

Below are a few examples of some of the work. The glass was for a Show at the National Trust House Tyntesfield in Bristol last weekend.  I added my bit onto the stall of Wight and Wight ( Glass workers at Clevedon Craft Centre) .  I demonstrated Traditional glass painting techniques to a few hundred people over 2 days.  It was hard work but also a lot of fun and very rewarding.

The leather is for The Blue room in Nailsea.  I have been exhibiting work their for the last month.  I'm not really sure how its going,  but I guess only time will tell. She asked for things suitable for father day,  Ok so I know the hair slides are not really suitable but I wanted to try my new dyes out.

Although I am enjoying doing these bits and pieces I am frustrated at not painting.  I had such a lot of inspiration in Cornwall I just want to get back to painting.  I am ever so slightly annoyed with myself that I committed myself to so much as a distraction and it has slightly taken over.  

I did do some painting as I have painted the Pet portrait for the lady who won the competition I ran on my Facebook page a few weeks ago.  Hopefully that should arrive with the lady in question today and then I will be able to show you 

........and of course my top secret project,  I really can't tell you anything about it, not even a hint,  but all will be reviled later on.  Don't get to excited its not anything life changing.

So no more distractions back to painting it has to be!...........  but first I have to do a bit of delivering and visiting,  next week,  I promise myself,  next week!!!

Wish me luck,  I am going to need it,  I am my own worst enemy !!!

Janice x

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Interview with Textile addict Christine Shephard

The lovely Christine has give a great interview if you love hearing about her work,  why not go and visit her folksy shop after and see all the lovely things she has on offer

What is the main, Art/Craft you are known for?
Textiles mainly, which is quite a broad area. In my case it includes sewing, embroidery, knitting, felt-making, silk-painting and dyeing. I still experiment with new techniques when I fancy doing something different.

Is this a full time job?/Second income/ Or hobby for you?
Currently it’s a full-time job for part of the year. I gave up working permanently at my ‘real job’ about 6 years ago, so I could go off travelling. Since then I’ve worked for part of the year only and developed my arts/crafts in between. Each year the arts/crafts take a slightly bigger chunk of my time and, with luck, I’ll eventually be able to do it full-time all the time.

 How long have you been doing it?
As a business, about 3 years. Before that it was a slightly obsessive hobby.

Could I have a little potted history of your creative life please?
Like a lot of textile addicts, my obsession with making and fabrics began when I was very young. My Mum used to make clothes for me and, as I got a bit older, I helped with tacking and other menial tasks, similar to an apprentice I suppose, learning all the time. As a teenager I made my own clothes and continued from there. Mum also taught me to knit and was interested in all kinds of crafts, so I picked it up from her I think. I stopped crafting for a while when my career took over, then about 10 years ago I did a silk-painting workshop and a felt-making workshop and got the bug again! With more spare time on my hands, I started sewing again, sourcing vintage fabrics, making use of my huge stash of remnants from years ago, and decided to try selling my makes.

 What do you love most about what you create and the process of creating it?
I just adore the tactile quality of textiles, the colours of the silk dyes, the physical act of creating something from base materials. I get lost in the process and find it incredibly satisfying.

Is this your total creative output or do you also work in other areas and if so what are they?
I’m also a keen photographer and produce prints, cards and magnets for local outlets. I’ve had a couple of local exhibitions too, which was quite exciting. I’m not great technically, but love playing with light, colour and effects, so I call it photographic art rather than photography.

 Do you think that its important to specialise in one area or to have lots of creative outlets?  Can one impact on the other, in positive or negative ways?
I don’t think it’s a choice really – most creative people experiment with other materials and techniques, and whatever the result, it can generate some interesting ideas. From a business angle, it’s probably better to specialise, but artists are generally not driven by the needs of the business!

What gets you out of bed in the morning and motivated to create wonderful things?
I love what I do. I’m a morning person anyway, and love getting up and out early (if it’s a nice morning) and taking a stroll along the beach. It clears the mind and allows ideas to form, so I’m usually raring to get started when I get back. Housework just doesn’t get a look-in!

 Do you have the support of friends and family when crafting and do you and they value what you do?
Yes, absolutely. I’ve made lots of new friends since selling at craft fairs and taking part in local events, and a lot of my customers are other sellers/crafters. They realise how much time and work goes into each item I make, so they’re very appreciative of my work. My family accept this is what I love to do and give me lots of encouragement whenever doubts creep in.

Describe what your prefect Art/crafting day would be like?
An early start on a sunny day, a few hours felt-making or silk-painting, lunch in the garden, a bit of sewing or maybe take some photos.

What are your aims and goals for the future
To give up the ‘real job’ completely; to sell at a couple of my dream craft fairs; to keep learning and developing my skills; to still be enjoying what I’m doing.