Better effort

I realised after my last posting that my good efforts with the drawing tablet were completely undone by saving it at the wrong resolution, so it still looked blurry and wobbly. Here is another go.

Drawing tablet

Well, I went and got a Wacom drawing tablet, as advised by my Photoshop tutor. It certainly makes drawing smooth lines much easier. Here is my first ES using it – and while it could be considerably better than it is, it is already better than just using the mouse – so, onwards and upwards!

Today’s expanded square(s)

I worked through doing another one of these in Photoshop, to write up the directions for Elizabeth -but then discovered that Photoshop elements doesn’t have the pen tool, which is essential for doing this. So, sorry PSE users – but if you have the full program, and want to know how to do this, email me and I’ll send you the directions. One thing I have realised is that I need to get one of those Wacom pen tablet thingies in order to be able to draw with a steady hand – the mouse just doesn’t do it smoothly enough. I also think I like the freeform, organic shapes more than the sharp, angular ones – and asymmetry is more my thing than symmetry. To me ‘same’ is just another way of saying ‘boring

Expanded squares

I was intrigued by Jane Dunnewold’s article on expanded squares a couple of issues back in QA magazine. Decided I needed to have a go. I copied one from the magazine just to get warmed up – that whole spatial thing isn’t really me – I am a real klutz at it. However, once I got going I was okay – lots more ideas to try – I thinks Jane’s recommendation to do one a day for a month to really get the hang of it is probably good advice – although I am not promising to do it! So far I have figured out that you can set the square on point, and go from there – on this one I divided the square in half and went in two different directions – if you see what I mean.

The next one I kept the square square on, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to flip the bits to the outside – I think I got it at one point, and ended up with something that looked like a swastika, so tried just flipping the bits up and down and my square expanded into a rectangle!

For the next one I decided to be a bit more unconventional – I quite like it! All of these were done with a piece of black paper, a pair of scissors and a glue stick. I then decided I would like to be able to do this electronically, using Photoshop, which I have recently started learning.

So I fiddled around and got stuck on some of the trickier bits – but fortunately, some lovely people on the Photoshop Yahoo group came to my rescue and before I knew if, I had it down pat. So here are a couple I did in Photoshop. The first is very much in the style that Jane Dunnewold does – I used that as a sample so I didn’t have to worry about design AND the technicalities in Photoshop at the same time.
Then when I had it figured out, I made this one. Let me tell you – it beats chasing strange shaped bits of black paper around the floor, and accidentally flipping them over so you paste them on the wrong way around! I don’t see myself doing paper ones every day for a month, but I could probably knock one out everytime I fire up Photoshop to do my homework assignments.

Dyeing results

When my friends went home on Monday, I cleaned up and used up the leftover mixed dyes. They had used some greens I wouldn’t normally use – quite limey, and some orange, which isn’t something I tend to go for much either. Anyway, waste not, want not, so I used up what was there. Here it is drying on my Hill Hoist yesterday morning.
When they dried I also realised that my friends had gone for light/mdm values, again something I tend to avoid, so I ended up with a batch of fabrics I never would have got if I had been left to my own devices – and that has to be a good thing!

One of my friends brought me a little posy of violets from her garden. Aren’t they lovely? I have a patch growing outside my laundry door. And there are small patches of white and pink ones in the front yard. I have a soft spot for violets – they were my mother’s favourite flower – her middle name was Violet. They always seem so fragile to me, yet they grow in the depth of winter, and the leaves are such a luscious dark, velvety green. I had thought Violet was one of those old fashioned names confined to spinsters in Agatha Christie novels – but happily, not so. A colleague of ours recently had a little girl, and her name is Violet! How lovely. So here is a salute to all the Violets out there.


A long time without a blog – work has been horrible, I have been sick – you really don’t want to know…..I certainly don’t.

On to happier thoughts – I have a week’s leave, so to start off on the right note, had a couple of friends over for a playday. Neither had ever dyed fabric before, so I got them started on that – it is a bit cold here for dyeing, so they have taken their little treasures home in plastic bags to wash out tomorrow. But here are some I prepared earlier!

I always swore I wouldn’t get into dyeing – way too messy – but finally decided I couldn’t resist the idea of creating my own colour combinations instead of relying on someone else’s – I must admit, it is rather addictive.

After lunch we moved on to some other surface design techniques – stamping, mono printing, rubbing plates, with Shiva sticks and finally, some foiling. Great fun was had by all.