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.