Sunday, 8 November 2015

Take time.

War is all encompassing  and long wars such as WW1 and WW2 involve everyone, not just soldiers and airmen and sailors, but civilians caught in bombing raids, working on the land, in factories in mines, doctors, nurses, ambulance crews, air raid wardens, Red Cross, WRVS, volunteers, the list is endless and today as well as those armed forces who gave their lives I like to think of everyone else caught up in those wars (and subsequent wars whether they are called wars or not) who did their bit.

Thank you.

And for those interested in the "art", some close ups (click on the photo to enlarge) :


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

shabby wrist wrap #2

If you seen tonight's post on the PaperArtsy blog tonight on my take on wearable art then you might like to see the second wrist wrap I made using the spare strips.

I joined them together in the same way and did lots of zigzag stitching using pink variegated thread on my machine.  I then added lace trim to one side.

Disaster (not really in the worldwide scheme of things, but ...) I'd run out of this trim!   Plus the length of the wrap was a big long. So I cut it in half and sewed one layer on top of the other so I had lace trim on both sides and a much thicker wrap.

Attached a press stud to join and roughly over sewed the ends of the wrap in pink embroidery thread.

I love the roughness of the stitching with the softness of the fabric and lace and the stamping just peeping through!


Sunday, 6 September 2015

Its Ally Pally time (nearly)!

Well the affectionately known Ally Pally (Big Stamping and Scrapbooking Show) has rolled around really fast again and as you'd expect PaperArtsy are going to be there with LOADS of new stamps and paints, makes and takes and demos to tempt you and hopefully inspire you to have a go!

 I'm going to be there on the Sunday demoing my style of art using PaperArtsy stamps and paints.  I'll be making backgrounds, layering, image transfer,using different types of paper, fabric, lace, string, and even some buttons and sewing!

Here's a quick peek at the kind of thing I'll be doing:



Pop over to the PaperArtsy blog and see a full run down of the makes and takes and demonstrators, but here is the key info of when and where:
What: The Big Stamping and Scrapbooking Show/ Crafting at Ally Pally
When: Sat Sept 19th, Sun Sept 20th, 2015
Where: Alexandra Palace, North London, Alexandra Palace Way, London, N22 7AY, closest tube: Wood Green
Who: over 60 craft retailers, Make and Takes, Product Demonstrations
Why: UK's largest Stamping and PaperCraft specialist show, and PaperArtsy are there

And to further tempt you I've got two free tickets to give away courtesy of PaperArtsy to lucky readers of Shabby Dandelion all you need to do is leave me a comment telling me your favourite colour and I' ll pick a winner in time for you to receive the tickets and come and see us.


Wednesday, 2 September 2015

By gosh the roads are narrow!

So, we are in Cornwall and for us town dwellers gosh these country lanes are narrow, very narrow, twisty and surrounded by high Cornish hedges.  Who needs roller coasters for a adrenalin rush of the unknown.  Mind you if we do come face to face with a tractor on the lane to our barn, the tractor wins, thank goodness for parking sensors!

We've been coming to Cornwall for most of married life (20 plus years) so we've done all the National Trusts, Heligan, Eden etc, so we don't feel the need to whizz around this time, we'll just do our favourite things: walking on the Lizard, eating Roskillys ice cream, St Ives, the Tate and Barbara Hepworth and just chilin'.

I decided not to bring any art supplies with me as I'd got my crochet and some magazines to catch up on, but you visit the Tate and you just have to put something to paper! So as per normal I had to buy emergency supplies. 

As the theme is circles over at PaperArtsy, I'd had an idea to draw lots of circles joined together, so gave it a go this morning.  I had intended it to be the beach as we'd sat on Porthmeor beach yesterday and it was quite pleasant with some sun ( seems we were the only ones in the UK going by the grumbles on social media) But then it sort of morphed into becoming one of those high Cornish hedges covered in vegetation.

I am no figurative drawer, my faces just look odd, perspective is frankly Daliesque, just give me a camera for that kind of stuff, but abstract representation I can do.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Shabby poppies

I'm not sure this is how I wanted this to look, but then again I don't know how I did want it to look, so perhaps IT IS how I wanted it to look! The main thing?  I'm thinking too hard!

So this is an A4 piece of card that had Sage paint slapped on and spread out with an old credit card. I then used some gel medium and a really manky brush to spread some thick lines of gel medium to give texture and resist.

Over this Hint of Mint.  I then added some book text with Gel Medium.  I let it dry a bit and then rip away sections that haven't stuck or partially stuck.  I also use my thumb nail to push and tip bits of the text to create tears and rips.


Added some more Hint of Mint and Sage to tone it all in and spritzed some Walnut Stain Distress Ink as well to give the "old look" effect. Added some stamping from the Hot Picks 1505 set.

Now the bottom half of this was an experiment.  Because poppies are such a strong image of war and remembrance I wanted some gravestones.  My library at work looks over St Mary's Church in Luton and right by the back of the library are some old gravestones.  so I went out early one morning took some snaps on my phone and then came back and manipulated them to create a long horizontal image.  I used the photocopy of the image to image transfer on to the background using gel medium.  You can't actually see the grave stones, but it added another layer  of texture and contrast colour.

Time for some stamping, I used Hot Picks 1505 to stamp the poppies in Sepia and then heat embossed Old Photo Distress powder.  The seed heads were stamped in Sepia and the stalk from the poppies added.  I did some colouring in with water colour pencils.

Then I used Art Basics clear crackle paste.  Never used this so wanted to see what I could achieve.  first layer too thin so added a second thicker layer.  Became impatient so started drying with heat gun and that gave the white bits on the right hand side (see below at the bottom of the photo over the poppy head).  So I went away and let it dry naturally. 

 Finally I added some white pencil, just scribbling here and there to add more texture, add shading  and lighten up some parts of the page. The crackle paste gave a grainy texture in places and if you look closely the white pencil has "coloured" the cracks. as well as the Walnut Stain I added. 

so as I said not sure it turned out how I was envisaging, but I think it still looks ok in a grungy shabby messy kind of way!


Sunday, 9 August 2015

Ideas and inspiration

Get a cup of your favourite tipple, this is a long post with lots of links!

so where do ideas and inspiration come from? Is it images, is it techniques, is it other artists, emotions, the need to say "something" themes or challenges?  

What ever it is there is plenty out there and sometimes there is none to be found and no matter how much "stuff"  (paper, fabric, yarn, paint, stamps ...) you have, they stay unused or whatever you do make you don't like and it gets discarded.

Two events have sparked my creative machine recently.  A workshop at Hope and Elvis and meeting other mixed media artists and a visit to the Festival of Quilts (FoQ) on Friday.  

I really could have done with two days at FoQ, the amount of shopping opportunities, the quilts, the art exhibitions and the artists themselves is impossible to do properly in one day.  

Whilst I like looking at the quilts, I prefer looking at the modern art exhibitions, talking to the artists and the students who have the opportunity to have a small stand to show their degree and City and Guilds work (see you can't take the encouraging librarian put of me event at a quilt show).

So what inspired me  at FoQ? Well here's a list and links so you can have a look at their work:

All of these artists use texture and colour in a contemporary way and gave me loads of ideas.

I didn't buy any ready made items apart from this oh so gorgeous red velvet tag from Linda and Susan's space.

How could you not buy something so tactile and delicious!

 If you want to see some visuals of the quilts I'd recommend going on Instagram and use the hashtag #festivalofquilts to see what everyone else has posted.

And of course I bought fabric, a lot of fabric and I'm not exaggerating. I washed most of it yesterday and my dining room table looks like a jumble sale table as you can see!

In terms of the shops I purchased from,here's a list:
And whilst I love the modern contemporary art look most of this fabric will be used to make quilt tops, the back pile has some great prints of cats of mice and birds to make a fun scrappy quilt and the front pile is chambray's that I'll use to make a raggy quilt (look it up on Google to see examples).

Shame I've got to go back to work on Monday and not play with all this stuff!


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

What kind of an artist are you?

I'm not a neat artist, (yes I'm calling myself an artist, trying to get used to using that description of me), I like to splodge paint around, make marks, make and use texture in an abstract way (yes another label) 

And i like imagery especially in photographs, not broad landscapes and not people very often, but objects and close up objects at that, flowers, ironwork, decayed wood, decayed animals.  as a colleague said to me the other week, detail, that's your thing.  He was saying it bout work but I reckon it could apply to my art.  

So I'm a detailed abstract splodge kind of artist.and here is an example of my detailed abstract splodging.

I started with the central panel with my favourite neutral colour palette using PaperArtsy paints, lots of washes, candle resit etc. Added a sheet of text paper that I ripped and sanded to get a shabby look and added Walnut Stain Distress Ink to get the base I wanted. Added some scrunched and inked brown paper again sanded and ripped. 

I didn't want to use stamps for this layer so I got the pencils and watercolour pencils out and drew some lines and shapes to look like naive art flowers (they are naive I can't draw figuratively at all)

The rose photograph which had digital layers on it was stuck down, sanded in places and some washes of chalk paint added over the top to allow it to fade into the background.  I added white pencil marks around it to act as a frame.

I'd left it at this for a while put felt it needed another layer behind it especially if I was going to frame it in one of my A3 frames.  So an A3 piece of white card had some Distress Ink and paint added to it a small amount of stamping. The A5 art was stuck to this base and some more pencil lines.

I'm glad i was brave enough to add my own marks and its something I'd like to continue doing, they may not be expertly  and neatly drawn but the perfectionist in me can just about live with it if I remember its naive folk art not botanical drawings!


Sunday, 2 August 2015

Homage to Hermione

This year I've decided to tackle the garden, bit by bit, focus on certain areas because its a big garden. Its only taken us 10 years but who's counting!  The first space was the border near the patio and conservatory, we like cottage gardens so there are lots of cottagey plants and the bees and butterflies are certainly enjoying it.  We planted three new David Austin roses, a white (Winchester Cathedral), a pink (Gertrude Jekyll) and a pinky mauve (Gentle Hermione).  They all smell divine and the Winchester is a gorgeous repeater.

So the theme over at PaperArtsy is flowers, so I made some flowers and the colour scheme was chosen by the beautiful mauve of Hermione.  

I started by colouring an A4 sheet in Dolly Mix and Chalk, stencilling in Elephant and stamping in Watering Can.

I then cut out as many flower shapes as I could with a PaperArtsy flower die, these were then put together in fives with a coloured brad.


Spritz the shapes and carefully scrunch up, the water allows you to do this and it soaks in the paper and distresses the fibres to give a shabby look.

Carefully unfold the flowers and leave to dry.

Now you could use the roses as they are, put I wanted to put metal stalks on them and "put in something" (I hadn't quite decided what).  I took some metal wire, flattened it by bashing it on a metal block and shaping one end into a spiral, bent the stalk at right angels so the spiral would sit on the base of the flower.  The stalks were stained with alcohol ink.

I was thinking of painting a glass jar to be a vase but in the end decided on wooden blocks, sanded and painted in Chalk with some small scraps of text paper and walnut ink.Drilled some tiny holes and put the wire in and glued the flower to the spiral (I have to say I'm rather in love with these wooden blocks)

So just a few more shots of the roses, so you can see the texture.

These are really fun to make and it made me laugh that Jennie over at Live the Dream was doing the same thing! Nothing new in art, just interpretation and variation. 


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

A study in grey (but not that "Grey")

I made this a little while ago and just haven't got round to sharing.  It's a return to some of my favourite things, paint, layers, distress and image transfer all in a monochrome palette with just a hint of pink pulled out from the image transfer. 

Lots of layers of paint and washes, candle resit work, scratching, sanding more layers of paint washes, stencilling and stamping. to get a really subtle background of layers and contrast, nothing too jarring on the eye.

The tulip image transfer was on top of some book text which you cant see but I wanted there just in case the image didn't take and I wanted the contrast of the text peeping through the image.  Once the backing was removed, some sanding to distress and then stencilled the circles, these has pencil on them s well in green and grey just to give some shadow and contrast.  White pencil round the edge (still loving this shabby rough framing) and a lot of layers of Gloss glaze to seal and brighten the image.  

I didn't want the image transfer to sit too proud of the work and be the final top layer, so hence the stencilling over it and the text stamp in grey embossing powder.  Just to bring the colour from the tulip out I ran over the text embossing in a pink water colour pencil and just "washed it" to spread the colour gently.

Sometimes its nice to just work in your comfort zone of techniques and colour and create in "your style".


Sunday, 26 July 2015

An away day to recharge the batteries.

Its been a long time for me to have difficulty sleeping because you've got so many craft ideas racing round my brain (work issues do keep me awake, thank goodness for Iplayer, it took me 10 attempts to listen to Benedict Cumberpatch in Rumpole the other week) but last night loads of what ifs and oh would that work?

Why, well I had a fantastic day at Hope & Elvis near Worksop run by Louise on a Liz Cooksey workshop.  I spotted the workshop ages ago and Liz's use of metal and grid arrangements with mixed media elements really spoke to me.

After a horrendous journey up the M1 I made the 10.00am start - just!  Liz explained her methods and design principles and she made loads of metal elements for us to use if we didn't want to have ago ourselves. Although all materials were available Id taken a load of stuff as I'd decided I wanted to work with a neutral colour scheme.

First thing I did was nick some used teabags and dyed some cotton scraps I had and the A4 Kraft card, left them out in the courtyard to dry.

I then stated to have a play with the metal elements thinking about what I wanted to "do" Started doing some crochet with linen thread (bit of a faff, think I needed a bigger hook) and sticking. 

Once my A4 was dry I added some book pages and then layered the cotton and some silk strips on the swankiest sewing machine I ever seen, I felt like I was driving an Aston Martin, so many buttons and oh so quiet. I felt really naughty sewing on paper with such a majestic beast.

Metal and shaping and bashing, oh how I enjoyed that, all afternoon you could hear the rhythmic ringing of metal on metal out in the courtyard.

The flower on the left is one I made, I love how hitting the metal wire with a hammer of a metal block stretches the metal, flattens its and changes the colour The wire Liz supplied was malleable enough to twist and make shapes and the tendril on the flower on right was done this way.

The stems had more wire twisted round and hammered flat and were attached with some of the line thread. 

The day ended at 4.00pm and that was good because I was knackered, all that thinking and pondering had taken its toll!  I knew the piece wasn't quite finished for me as I wanted to add some pencil marks and little bit of highlight colour.  So once home got the water colour pencils out and added in the brown, purple and red. 

I did start making a more Liz inspired grid arrangement, but this one just sort of demanded to be worked on. Ive got some ideas for the grid that will form a companion to this.

It was a great day, working with all my favourite materials in a beautiful space created by Louise and talking to other like minded people creating and chatting, lovely, lovely, lovely.


Friday, 24 July 2015

Excited, very excited

Tomorrow I'm going on a Liz Cooksey workshop at Hope and Elvis.  to say I'm excited is an understatement, a big understatement even though I am "dog tired" as they say.

As you'll see if you click on the link, grids textures, fabric, paper and metal, these are a few of my favourite things I trill in my best Julie Andrews voice.

I'll let you know how it went.


And the photo? well you can't have a post without some visual imagery, so here's a gratuitous shot of my anti librarian behaviour - defacing books, well book pages if we are going to be exact, such a naughty girl!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

A small token of appreciation.

Sometime it takes a good work colleague to sit you down and tell you some home truths, namely you are being "a pain, a right pain"

I didn't appreciate the home truths at the time but then this afternoon whilst relaxing (something else I find hard to do) I had the light bulb moment and realised that yes perhaps I had been "a right pain" 

I'd lurched into old my habits of control freak stress management, when my workload seems unbearably out of control and there is too much to do, I try and manage EVERYONE ELSE whether they report into me or not, to try and feel I've achieved something.

Ummm, perhaps that good work colleague had a point and perhaps I should have listened a bit better. 

It takes guts to to point out to me that I'm a pain, I can be a bit scary at times I know that. So I really do appreciate that good, kind work colleague for taking the time out from their overworked day to give me a slap so to speak.

It reminded me to stop working so hard to be the perfect manger and stop setting unrealistic targets to prove myself to others.  I only need to prove it to myself and you know what, I'm doing a pretty good job and so is that kind work colleague.


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Washed up on the shore.

Its been so lovely here in the UK over the past week or so that I've taken every opportunity to be out in the garden, either just soaking it up, painting or in this case painting.  One Saturday morning I just chose some brights (Cheesecake, Tango, Blood Orange) , some A4 Kraft card, an old credit card and started slapping some paint down.  didn't know where it was going, but that was OK because I was just enjoying "doing"

Added some stamping (dots text and numbers)and my oh my the two pieces of Kraft card started to turned out rather well.

I added some stencilling and cut the card into quarters.

In-between drying I nipped up to the craft room to start thinking about what to put on this base card.  I'd printed out a load of photos and one of a scallop shell fitted the colour scheme rather well.

I wanted something in-between to lift the photo from the background so it needed to be something "neutral" to act as a contrast.

Fabric. A different texture but I wanted it to be "stiff" not "soft" a bit flotsam and jetsam washed up on the shore as the scallop shell.  What if I thought I soaked some muslin in thinned out Grunge Paste to act like plaster and let it dry? 

It worked, in fact it worked a treat.  I added some thinned Toffee, glued on a paper scrap and stapled the whole piece to the background with my rusty staples.  Stuck the scallop shell image and edged in red pencil.  Which I also added to the background along with yellow pencil scribbles as well.

I left it like this for a while, but I thought it need to be lifted some more.  So took some of my scrunched up and Distress Inked Kraft card, ironing it flat and scraped some Snowflake over the top adding in some lines here and there for texture.  I was so tempted to stamp over this but said NO LEAVE IT ALONE! 

Distressed the edges bit of Snowflake and some Black Soot Distressing ink and done. 

Messy, grungy, distressed and textured. Just how I like it!