Saturday, 17 September 2016

Handmade Fair Day one

Gosh, well after months of making stock and a frenzied fortnight putting into frames, designing stand, painting furniture, getting packing staff and admin I've finally made it the Handmade Fair. There nothing like jumping in at the deep end with your first fair / show with a big one like this!

For those of you who follow me on Instagram (jlmyhill) you'll have seen what my stand looks like, simple, understated, muted vintage shabby style with just a hint of soft green in the bunting and the cute little cupboard I distressed.

After setting up in 30 degree heat in a marquee on Thursday, Friday was rain and more rain.  So lots of wellies and waterproofs of all conceivable style! It did finally brighten up late afternoon, typical English weather!

I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone I spoke to yesterday, who said how lovely my artwork was, it's was lovely to see the happy smiles on people's faces as they looked at the pieces on display, seeing all the layers of paper, paint, ink and distressing topped with photographs or my log cabin linen squares with vintage lace, buttons and linen thread.

Once I get home, I'll start adding photos of the unsold pieces here and on my Etsy shop (link on the left), but if you spoke to me at the show and wished you'd made a purchase and didn't and would like to know, drop me an email and let's talk!

Day two, here I come!


Monday, 9 May 2016

More Gelli!

So still in that Gelli vibe, I saw that the PaperArtsy challenge was mono printing, obviously meant I had to have another play.

Still enjoying the taking the "plate to the to the surface" I started with a square of paper that had some text paper glued on.  First  a layer of French Roast rolled on and using Taupe I started adding some blocks of colour.

I just kept building up the blocks leaving white space around the edge with Taupe, Cinnamon  and Chalk and a little bit of Pewter. 

The new little mini stencils from Thats Crafty git pergectly on the Gelli Plate, so I used the small circle one to add some layers of shapes on toop of the blocks.

I added some stamping in Coffee Archival from the HotPicks plate 1605, sanded and knocked back a bit with Chalk to soften everything 

And finally added one of my image transfers of a faded decaying tulip. I edged the tulip with a graphite pencil to frame it.

Finished piece, I like the juxtaposition of the squares and grid against the circles.  Plus the pop of burgundy from the tulip draws your eye in to the focal point.

Again this will be for sale in my Etsy shop, framed at £45.00 (plus pnp) or unframed at £25 (plus pnp).

Sunday, 8 May 2016

It must be jelly 'cos jam don't ...

So the other week I went to Hope and Elvis (run by the lovely Louise) on the Wellbeck Estate near Workshop.  Oh I love going to workshops at Hope and Elvis, they are havens of peace and tranquillity, full of lovely like minded fun, artistic and creative people. Louise and the artists who run workshops are so generous with providing materials for you to play with, its always fun rummaging through paper bits, fabric bits, lace bits, threads and buttons ....

 I'm renowned for getting my head down, completely in the zone, only surfacing for the delicious lunch created by Maggie. Intense days but so inspiring.

So the latest workshop was on mono printing with Gelli plates with the gorgeous Letitia known as Mrs Bertimus.  Now I've used Gelli plates before, but always taken the fabric or the paper to the plate.  This time we took the plate to the fabric or paper and used like a stamp. Letitia showed us how to add paint to the Gelli plate, how to square of the paint with a rag, add marks to the paint that would be transferred, using stuff to act as resist on the which ever surface you were using and much more.

So I worked on some fabric and a strip of lining paper that I'd glued various bits of paper ephemera on (still haven't quite worked out how I want to use this) .  I decided on a colour palette (greys, browns and white and a touch of olive green) ) and got stuck in creating a master board of colour in a 50's Festival of Britain style.

I didn't really do a lot of mark making preferring to use the small 5x3" Gelli plate as a print block (using a small roller to spread the paint on the block) and randomly placing and overlaying colour to create depth. I also used some stencils with the Gelli plate (stencil on plate and rolling paint over, removing stencil and printing) to get more layers.

Once I was happy with it (always a hard call, when do you stop?) I had to have a think what to do with it.  Very early on in the morning I'd drawn a flower shape on some paper as a potential stamp, so decided to use some kids craft foam to make a stamp.  Collaged some paper and fabric bits on the lower half stamped, my flower, waited for it to all dry and bit and then added some free motion embroidery to emphasise the flower and added the stalk.

By this time I was mentally knackered and as I had a 2 hour drive home , decided to call it a day.

The next day (I'd sensibly booked the day off)  I added some more hand stitching and buttons to complete the picture.

I really love this way of using the Gelli plate to create subtle layers of colour and I learnt how to do free motion embroidery, so it was a win win day all round!

So this picture is for sale in my Etsy shop (theshabbydandelion)  £45.00 plus pnp.


Sunday, 1 May 2016

That inner critic has been mighty loud recently.

I think all artists suffer from "I'm no good, all my art is rubbish, I'm not creative, it isn't good enough" Sometimes you can tell that inner critic to "go away" and sometime you listen to it and say "you're right, I am rubbish, I'll just hide in this corner and never create anything again".

Inner critic smirks and ticks you off the to do list of "must make people feel rubbish about themselves".

Well inner critic I'm coming out of the corner and you can go take a running jump as they say.

I have been steadily (actually you might say manically) collecting old vintage fabrics especially linen, cotton and lace. I'm quite happy sitting there with my seam ripper taking the lace off old tablecloths, placements and antimacassars, smoothing it out and rolling it up gently and placing in my wicker basket (the image wouldn't look out of place in Simple Things magazine). 

And every time I buy some more, my husband looks at me (in that way all long suffering craft spouses do) and says "are you going to use it?"

Well husband I have!

As Maria would say, just a few of my favourite things:  distressed paper, paint (PaperArtsy), stamping (PaperArtsy), ink, lace, linen, muslin, photographs and stitches. 

So the finished piece is 30x21 cm in a wooden frame and its for sale, £45.00 plus post and packing.  Email me if you are interested. 


Monday, 21 March 2016

Don't knock it until you see it.

This weekend we were in Paris to watch the rugby (we won, it was cold). But we had a few hours to kill on the Sunday before our Eurostar home.  I had suggested visiting a flea market to browse for some treasures but we overslept after the very late night on Saturday, so plan B was needed.  

After browsing the trusty Internet (search phrase: what to do in Paris in three hours) came up with Musee de l'Orangerie.

Oh boy what a gem, no long queues like the Louvre, not a lot of people, so you didn't fell crammed in shuffling past the art as if you were on a conveyor belt.

Now I thought I wasn't a fan of Monet, too populist, everyone said how much they loved the Impressionists (I know art snob) and when I last saw the Water Lillies in London I thought yeah, impressive scale but ....

But seeing them in their true home and being able to really see them was just amazing.  Yes the scale and size of the eight hangings are, well,  I just stood there in awe if I'm honest with a little grin on my face.  

And yes you have to look at them from a distance to see everything merge together to create the whole, but what blew me away was when I looked closely and saw the texture, the brush strokes and the build up of layers to create that blurry mass of water.

Seeing real art (as opposed to the stuff I create) in the flesh so to speak can't be beat; postcards, posters, photo's just don't do it justice, its flat and lifeless.  As Monet himself said he wanted people to feel immersed in water and for me being able to get immersed in the art and see (or attempt to see) how the they created their art, the techniques, the composition, the creative process as well as the finished article is why I love looking at and creating art.


Sunday, 13 March 2016

She had wings ...

... but sometimes she was scared to use them.

 Since doing the CHSI Stitches I've been having anxiety dreams virtually every night.  The dreams are full on, fast paced, technicolour Hollywood couldn't make up this storyline of jumbled together action and images. They are waking me up (or it could be the cough lingering on my chest and / or he sinuses lingering in my head) and I lay there with a what the  .... was that all about???????

So here is my take on an art doll, she isn't funky or quirky or arty, she hasn't got riot girl striped legs or punky hair who glares at you on the bus with bright red lipstick and Goth girl heavy Kohl make-up .  No, she is a shy shabby style peg doll, who takes the window seat on the bus, takes out her crochet, lays it in her lap and stares out of the window dreaming about what ifs. 

Lots of layers of PaperArtsy paint and paper on the heart, sanding and scratching and flicking to get the distress look.  The wings are a MDF butterfly, crackle glazed, distressed and stamped.

Her dress is a piece of muslin stamped with various PaperArtsy A6 plates, her hair is some thin linen floss and her arms are rusty wire. 

As she gets off the bus at her stop, he swings her basket of crochet, gives a tiny skip and a flap of her wings and although its a bit scary not walking on the ground, she smiles to herself as it feels good and exciting to take that step and try out the what ifs.


Sunday, 28 February 2016

Red Tractor


Well its been a week I have to say.  This time last week I was trundling up the M6 to the NEC for the first day of Stitches, the crafting trade show.  I was there to sell "me" in terms of showcasing my style and seeing if people a) liked it (they did) and b) was anyone interested in me running classes / workshops (potentially, just need to work out what and prices).

But the best thing was the networking, the talking, asking questions of people visiting, exploring new avenues I'd never thought of (was that weddings I hear you say), talking to suppliers (and not baulking at minimum order costs). Lots to think about what I want to do and who in a business sense I want to get into bed with.

My contacts book is bulging and I need to start going through, following up, planning workshops, putting together brochures for that and booking a stall at Kirstie's Home Made Fair in the Autumn.  

But in the meantime - art!

The theme over at PaperArtsy (can't thank Leandra and Mark enough for the support they've given me for NEC) is image transfer.

I love and adore image transfer and most of my artwork especially at the show was showcasing image transfer.  

I've wanted to work on plywood for some time, the solidness of the substrate and the tone of the wood.  So the nice man at B&Q cut me some 6x8" pieces the other week and early one morning before the NEC I had to have a play.

Basically I used Chalk and Brown Shed to add colour and Red Geranium and Potting Soil to stamp with.

The photograph was taken at Hollowell Annual Steam Fair which is about 6 miles away from us.  Its a glorious affair, with vintage cars, farm machinery, heavy horses, traction engines, hounds steam fair rides and organs, donkeys, small animal petting areas, junk stalls and real ale. And when the sun is shining you think you are in the Darling Buds of May! 

I scanned and photocopied the image (reversing the image as I didn't the MF back to front) and used Satin Glaze to transfer the image.

I do love this, I could have added more embellishments, but I quite like the simpleness of it  and solidness of the plywood is very tactile and fits in with the rustic nature of the image.


Friday, 19 February 2016

Take a deep breath and do it!

So,  some of you may have realised from my sneaky peeks and hashtags that I've taken a big leap this year in brand "shabby dandelion" 

Actually Ive taken two big leaps.  Ive finally set up my Etsy shop "theshabbydandelion" (link on the left). there isn't much to buy at the moment but i will be adding more after completing my other big leap. I like my artwork and I hope that other people might and like to buy.

The other big leap is that I have taken a small new designer stand at the Stitches trade show at the NEC this weekend to showcase me and shabby dandelion.

Runs around screaming in panic and delight!

Its a great opportunity for me in my grand plan to become a demonstrator / teacher and share my techniques and ideas with other crafters.

Developing "brand" shabby dandelion has been interesting.  Firstly I had to try to define and describe what my "style" is.  I think its:
  • shabby
  • texture
  • grungy
  • muted
  • layers
  • backgrounds
  • focal photographic images
Secondly marketing.

The blog is my main showcase for this but also Instagram has been a fabulous tool to get my images out there internationally, to follow like minded artists and comment on their work and hop that they follow me! ~Its called developing a community of practice in academic circles which basically means like minded people getting together, sharing and communicating.

I also had to design a business card to give out at Stitches.  I wanted it to "show" my style so it had to be one of images of a dandelion of course on a crackle glaze and ripped text layer background in nice muted tonal colours and a simple font with contact details.  

I had great help from the local printer I used to get my cards printed, who told me about bleed lines and not taking the art work to the edge. I decided to go for a postcard size so that the image didn't get "lost" It was so exciting to see them coming off the printer and seeing my name and creative mixed media artist!

Finally the art work.

I wanted to make some big impressive pieces that would be eye catching and draw people in.  So in my 2x2m space with a back wall I've created 3 A3 size canvasses using my favourite techniques and products (PaperArtsy of course). 

I'm also dressing the set with props to showcase some of the smaller items I make like my rusty tins, smaller canvases, scrapbook and fabric collages and raggy garlands and hoops.

So Saturday is set up day, I'm bringing along my trusty husband and brother to help and then doors open on the Sunday through to Tuesday. so if you are attending come and say hello, you'll find me on Stand LO5 (near ther seminar theatre and workshop area) smiling!


Sunday, 14 February 2016

Experiments with Wax #1

Wax, I like using wax in my art, I like the resist you can get in a batik kind of way by rubbing a wax candle over areas of art you want to protect.  And I like the soft ethereal look you can with wax when you spread it all your art.  I even gone so far to buy books on encaustic art, but that a whole new resource requirement and the subsequent drain on finances!

So when the challenge topic #3 Wax was announced on the PaperArtsy website, I knew it would lovely to play along.

I used an old A4 canvas that was originally dark green with texture on it and painted over with a few coats of white acrylic.  I used an credit card to scrape the paint over and that left interesting marks.  I then went over this with Candy Floss Fresco in the same way.

Now for some stamping.  I made a collage plate of the phrases and words from Emma Godfrey's EEG07 plate and stamped over the canvas in Coffee Archival.

Over this I added a washes of Blush and Chalk to tone down the "pinkness"

I added some Finnabair Texture Paste Clear Crackle in the corners and left this to dry.  I'm still getting to grips with this product, trying to get even layer and understand its drying properties. I wasn't sure at first but now I'm liking it more and more each time I use especially if I don't spread too thickly and leave to dry naturally which can take a long time  so that I get fine porcelain type crackles.

Once dry I rubbed with my fingers some watered down French Roast into the cracks and also spritzed with water to get drips.  To be honest I could have left it there as it looked so good!

First layer of wax to seal all these layers in and create a base for the next layers.I use wax pellets and heat with my heat gun and spread the melted wax with an old credit card. 

Then it was a case of just adding more layers of paint and stencilling. In the picture below you'll see  I stencilled in Chocolate Pudding and added some smears of Chartreuse. Using Chalk when I needed to knock back the colour and blend it together. 

This then had another layer of wax.  The interesting thing was that as I used the credit card it moved the Chocolate Pudding stencilling around.  Not what I was expecting, but, hey it added to the texture!  I also added more word stamping again as that layer had started to disappear under the layers on top.

Now I knew it needed a focus, so I had a look through my photo and transfer image folder and found this altered images of Lupins taken last summer.  the colours were a spot on match for the background.  It needed a frame to sit on so I got out my Portfolio pastels and some more pastels Id got and selected greys, whites  and browns.  I just scribbled them on and then heated.

Oh er, it was alchemy! The Portfolios melt and set, but the oil pastels moved around and spread. I got so excited by it I forgot to take a picture of that stage. But of you enlarge the picture below you'll see where the colour spread.

A layer of clear wax pellets to seal this layer.  It needed some extra elements to frame the image so I added some of Emma's lovely scribbly blooms in Coffee Archived and lightly painted in Chalk to get a scuffed translucent look as I didn't want them to distract from the main image. I added a quote from EEG14 as well (oh so very true).

Some close-ups (click on them to enlarge and get even closer!)

 As I said on Instagram, (see links on the left), I really, really love this, some definite actions and some happy mistakes to make gorgeous, if I say so myself, art.


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Daisy, Daisy ....

This is very different for me colour wise and at times I nearly lost my nerve and painted over it. But I stuck with it and I'm really, really pleased.

At the PaperArtsy Christmas Day we learnt some great techniques on shading from Tracy Scott.  I liked the concept but wasn't keen on the design and wanted to create more of a patchwork effect with straight lines rather than curves.  Well this week as I've taken some annual leave (my tooth still hasn't cleared up after numerous dentist visits, got another one on Friday that I might just have a hissy fit if nothing is done and frankly I'm tired and still dealing with infection pus with isn't a public viewing activity if you get my drift) I decided to try out my idea.  I was also inspired by the Simon Says Monday challenge of a Ray of Sunshine which means yellow.

Um, yellow, not a great fan of yellow, whether its buttery or zingy.  But hey this year is all about saying yes to more to art / craft related things.  So I put my sunglasses on and set to work.

I had a long thin canvas knocking around that had some texture on and was painted white.  Over this I added some colour as a base (Cheese Cake, Submarine Yellow and finally Nougat) with a credit card and baby wipe.


I marked out a grid with pencil and started adding colour to each of the squares.  I used a whole range of PaperArtsy pastels in orange, pink, green and mauve. Those that know me, know I don't do pastels, first step up the ladder of moving out of comfort zone.

To add another layer of depth I stamped the square clocks image from Clocks 2 plate in Watering Can archival in the squares.  Added some shading in each square using the mid range colour for that square.

Still bright.

And then to make matters worse I added a wash of Submarine Yellow, EVEN BRIGHTER! 

Left it for a while and thought no, still too bright for me, Chalk colour wash time. Back down the comfort zone ladder I know but it worked for me. Finally went over the lines with a soft brown watercolour pencil and soften the lines with water.

That was all yesterday.  This morning I stamped the large heart from EEG13 onto some white Japanese calligraphy paper in a soft green Archival, created a mask and added some text.  these were glued down and edged in the soft brown pencil.

Now the fun bit, the daisies.  Using both sizes of flower from EEG14 (only just released from PaperArtsy, check out the blogpost)  I stamped in black Archival onto linen sandwich of linen, Bondaweb, linen.  These were then painted with Snowflake and Submarine Yellow.

I cut these out leaving an edge of fabris outside the black so I could distress them  to make them shabby.

So finally it was complete and I was happy.  The pop of yellow on the daisy works for me and actually I quite like the soft washed muted pastels.

My husband reckons this is a very commercial make and would sell well.  I reckon this would be a good workshop make, achievable in a day if it was on a 12x12" canvas.  

Anybody interested in me running a workshop in Northampton? 


Sunday, 31 January 2016

Just a smidge of red

I'm busy prepping for CHA next month (more on that soon) which is good because I am definitely in a creative zone, so many ideas!

Over on the SimonSays Monday challenge the theme is Love is in the Air  + red.  As I had some scraps left over from my PaperArtsy heart I thought I'd have a play.

I started with an old 7x5" canvas and gessoed to try and eradicate the previous colour (orange / pink). Plenty of  layers later I added some book text and then began adding layers of paint.  First up, a very watered down Mud Splat and then washes of Chalk and Snowflake (all PaperArtsy) to give some opaque and some translucent areas so the book text could peep through in places..

Walnut Stain Distress Ink added, spritzed and flicked with water to get a mottled stained effect around the edges.

The stamping is from PaperArtsy HP1107 in Watering Can Archival. 

Why the clocks? Well lust can be sudden and fleeting, but love, love grows and deepens over time

Barn Door Distress Ink was added bottom right to give that hint of red, lots of water added and spritzed to give water stains and differing strengths of colour,

The heart was a left over scrap from my Grungy Heart. Edged with charcoal pencil to define and some charcoal marks around it to frame  and reflect the grey of the Watering Can archival. 

I'm pleased with the simplicity of this, even though it has many layers of texture.