Wednesday, 21 June 2017


In an effort to get back on track with my weekly art project, this week I chose to do TWO projects in one (and a bit!) days.  As they have some similarities, I thought it would be fun to pack them neatly into this one blog post!

Sometimes we need other means of seeing to REALLY see!  This is as true in life as it is in art.

That was the case whilst working through the process of the last weekly art project. I noticed a section of leaves in one of the photos that had distinct possibilities for a little textile oriented exploration!!  When I went to take specific photos of the plant, I was overwhelmed with the possibilities that light & shadow had to offer me, so I took several photos.

Back inside and at the computer screen, I shortlisted my favourite spikey-leaf photos down to 4, printed them off on a single sheet & took them into the workroom to begin the process of design .

What interested me were the shapes created by light & shade.  Initially, I just used my black copic pens to create a few linear & mass observations.  From those I chose one to play with further, but as you can see, I could easily have taken each observational drawing onto the next level.  For the chosen one, I added a little colour.  That particular area of the photo had shown a yellow/green in that one spot, as opposed to the grey/green of other leaves.

Out came the green scraps!
I do have a lot!

I wanted my background to be a mish-mash of greens, so with that in mind, I collaged together a few different green scraps to form my background 'fabric'.

With the design stitched through the sandwich of layers, I used my white iron-out pen to mark where I needed to cut.  There were only a total of 4 layers (including the black top), so there really was very little cutting required.

This is the result.  Whilst I would certainly make a few changes if I were to do it again, look what this becomes when I use it as a repeat pattern....

...pretty cool huh!
So that was my first WAP done & dusted for the day.  Now it was time to get on with the next one!

Inspired by another spikey plant, I used this photo of our flowering cactus as my source of inspiration.
I realize that the eye catching feature here is the flower!  However, I am actually enamoured with the spikes, especially the curved ones!

But what to do to express the essence of that photo!  Out came my usual mapping tools to note down in a visual form WHAT I saw.  Those notes/marks became motifs & eventually a pattern.

Raiding the scraps again, I came up with this combination of fabrics.  The piece on the far right, is the sleeve of a mans shirt & those white splatters are similar to the white layer of star shaped spikes under the brown ones on the cactus.

This was the fabric I started with as my base & the first thing I did was create some of those white spike stars!!

The top layer this time was a composite 'fabric' again, made up of stripes much as I had done earlier in the day when I created a green one to use as a background.  I chose to have a multi coloured top layer, because if you scroll back up & look at the brown cactus spikes, you'll see that they are different shades of brown.

This is how it looked once each layer was cut back.  I am very pleased with the effect of the multi-coloured layer & think it looks very effective.  Whilst I am very happy with how this looks, I do cast my mind back to the original photo & wonder how it would look if I DID insert a flower!

A quick snip with a few scraps & I place these circles on my spike-inspired piece to see if it works. doesnt!  That's okay though, because look what happens to my newly made  design when I turn it into a repeat pattern...

....much more interesting wouldn't you agree!
I must admit that I was having so much fun with my 'layout' app that quite a bit of time rotating, flipping & multiplying my design & came up with LOTS of potential options!

Two WAPs in one day means that I have successfully caught up! Yeehah!

Till next time folks!

Saturday, 17 June 2017


'Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.  
Always work with it, not against it.  
Make it your ally, not your enemy.  
This will miraculously transform your whole life.'
                                                                                 Eckhart Tolle

Well....I'm waiting for that 'miraculous transformation' to happen, but I must admit that having a more 'go-with-the-flow' attitude the past few weeks has helped me tolerate the fact that I am two weeks behind on my weekly art project!

Some people refer to these commitments as 'weekly art challenges', in fact I probably have at some stage.  That is because  choosing to maintain a disciplined practice IS a challenge.  Sometimes other priorities just have to supersede the discipline though and that has been the case for me. 

Friday afternoon saw me attempting to make up for lost time.  It coincided with a number of buds appearing on one of our cacti/succulent plants. They are a fabulous shape, which inspired me to take a closer look.

 I was immediately attracted to the hill-like patterns, reminiscent of scales on an armadillo.  It also intrigued me that each 'scale' was trimmed with such a dramatic colour contrast. That closer look inspired me to have a go at developing a little 'something' from it.

It was time to get the pens out to play.

My first exploration was an effort to get to grips with the form & the context from which this bud arose.
My 2nd attempt was a focus on pattern.
Keeping in mind that I was aiming to produce a 15cm square piece using contemporary reverse applique, I needed to be mindful of what was physically possible to produce within that space...& what was not!  
As you can explorations took me further away from the overall shape of the bud, and closer to the patterning.

The colouring of the bud was quite dramatic & I had a few fabrics which colour matched well.  Earlier in the week, a friend had given me a pile of curtain fabric swatches.  One had a bold leaf pattern, so I chose that as my background.  It  coordinated & gave relevant interest.  The top layer, which would provide the creamy outlines of the 'scales' was calico.

Once I had sewn the pattern through the sandwich of layers, I used my air erasable pen to prepare for the first lot of cutting back.  This is my favourite part of the whole process!

You will notice that I have cut back more than one layer here!  Once the 'scales' had been revealed, I then drew on the edging shape of my bud & cut all the remaining fabrics back to the background.  This ensures that the form is maintained.  You'll see what I mean with the next photo.

After cutting back a few more times, this is what my bud looks like.

I am very pleased with the colour choices & it's off-centre placement.  However, I'm not so happy with how it's edges melt into the background instead of popping out.

I COULD have edged it all in the cream, but I think  the shape would actually have been lost in the process of doing that.  It would have been all about the pattern.  By not having the whole form outlined in cream creates variation & therefore more interest.  Another thing I could have done, is create a second 'outline' layer, which is something I have used before to good effect. That would certainly have worked here too.

But...I didn't choose to do that, so what other options do I have?

I chose to outline it with fabric marker pen!
It has popped the bud, so that it is clearly in the foreground against a more definite background.

What a fun little exploration to get myself  back into my weekly art project.