27 January 2012

pretty crewel stitchery

the new crewel

As is my usual habit when dropping into my little local library I like to browse the craft section to see what's new that might peek my interest, 'cause you never know what treasures you might find. Most of what's there tends to be a little on the older generation side, but occassionally you come across the odd contemporary gem, such as my find last week of Katherine Shaughnessy's first book of contemporary embroidery, The New Crewel.

Like I need a new hobby! On the other hand it could have been the art of motorcycle tank sculpture which I also saw a video dvd for the same day *grin* But I have been mulling the idea of experimenting with some embroidery just for the fun of it and this book appealled to me because it wasn't just 'regular' embroidery, but something a little different (which I always like) and there were some really beautiful examples of what even some very simple stitches could achieve...

the new crewel

I really liked the effects of these particular stitches, especially those of the eyelet hole (bottom left) and overcast stitch (top right), and could imagine lots of ways these could be put to interesting effect in my projects. I also thought the effects made when long satin stitches were used on mass to create awesome shapes (bottom right) and optical illusions (top left) were lots of fun *grin!*

the new crewel

This was my favourite two-page spread, I guess 'cause it was in these lovely olivine green tones, but I also loved the layered branches of the 'Peace Tree' (left, but shown better above) and the delicate seed head of the 'Queen's Lace' (right)...

the new crewel

...And these were my particular favourite projects from among the ideas section. I especially liked the curly fronds along the skirt hem (bottom left) and the starbursts on the jeans (top left): the latter reminded me of something I played with similarly on my first pair of denim dolly pants *grin*

Katherine's next book, The Motif Collection, is due out this summer and will definately by on my reading wish list. In the meantime I have several different embroidery hoops that I could use to play with the ideas from this book, and the local store has a really cool craft section with lots of yummy yarns and all the makings for. I see an artist's date in the making...

Do you crewel?

I'd love to see more examples of this embroidery style to spark my muse. Feel free to share your links below. Thank you - have an awesome weekend! xo, B

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12 January 2012

microcosmic citadel

macro tree stumpmacro tree stumpmacro tree stumpmacro tree stump
See all the tiny windows, doorways and balconies. The towers and spires, stairways and tunnels... Like some ancient carved sandstone citadel. Only in miniature. And found in an old, gnarly, weather-worn, tree stump. Inhabited only by bugs, beetles and other tiny unseen lifeforms. A city locked in the frozen stasis of winter. Slumbering silently, it waits for the first stirrings of early spring and the warm kiss of sunlight that will reawaken it once more...

Have you ever discovered a miniature world? Who did you like to imagine lived there?

06 January 2012

messy painted calendar

diy 2012 calendar
This past week I have been getting back into my studio. Decluttering, reorganising, cleaning and updating. Before I begin into my other projects for the year ahead, I thought a couple of warm-up 'experiments' would be a good way to flex my creative muscles and release the pent up need to create that has been held under restrainment over the holidays.

One of my 'goals' for the year is to get a proper handle on making my studio some way towards my ideal of an artist's Aladdin's cave. One part of which is the putting up of more things on the walls that have so far remained very blank lime green ones to this point. Emergence from my Artist's Way creative cluster and the New Year have made me feel very bold however, and I have begun to break the 'rules'; pinning and sticking with fun abandon and disregard for any concept of maintaining 'perfect' unblemished walls *grin!*

On the flip side of this playful glee, I have also been doing a lot of thinking about being more organised when it comes to actualising my goals for the year. While I do use several notebooks to jot the multitude of ideas and plans and information that I gather, and use blank monthly calendar pages to see what's on the horizon, I realised I do not have a year-at-a-glance calendar in print that I can refer to.

So with these thoughts in mind, I thought what about making one? And so I have done. Inspired by Alisa's messy canvas calendar, and using findings from amongst our ever-replenishing recycling pile, I came up with this easy, year long wall calendar...

diy 2012 calendardiy 2012 calendar
Using my favourite expressive techniques of messy painting, printing, stamping, smearing, stencilling, dripping, splattering, and mirror-writing, I had a blast covering my rescued piece of packing card with colour, texture and layers. The calendar itself was created using a simple template that I adapted in Publisher and printed on a sheet of long legal-size paper.

Originally I was going to cut down the size of the card once painted, but actually I prefer the raw, not perfect, edges. And though it is bigger than I had first envisaged, at the same time I want to see the 'art' as much as the 'calendar', *grin*

diy 2012 calendar
What about you? In what ways are you organising yourself for the year ahead? Do you like the satisfaction of having a year-at-a-glance wall calendar to hand?

xo, B