I have just returned from five enjoyable days studying paper collage under American artist Donna Watson. Fabric is my medium, but I have become interested in the past couple of years in including paper with fabric. In particular, I am enjoying exploring Japanese paper (washi – 和紙). When strengthened with konnyaku it can tolerate immersion dyeing. This is my favourite piece from the five days. Donna is an excellent teacher – if you get a chance to study with her, I recommend it.
I like making small things – they are quick, no big investment in time or materials and very satisfying. You can sort of work in a series doing lots of small things in a row to work through an idea. These cards bring together my love of working with rusted fabric, snippets from my embroidery and a few new techniques. Although not a scrapbooker, I have recently peered into that world and discovered a thing or two that is handy. A Cutttlebug paper embosser for one, that allows me to add some embossed detail to cards to combine with lace and bits. The last two cards have been embossed.
The numbers 3 and 9 and the ‘@’ were all cut with a an electronic stencil cutter – these are way too much fun and have great potential for surface design.
This little card was inspired by Helen Smith’s work. I don’t have the sort of printing press that she does, but after a bit of research discovered the Cuttlebug – lots of fun! Technically I think what she did is called collograph printing, whereas I embossed – suspect there is a subtle difference there, but don’t know enough about it!
Here is the result of the breakdown printing I did from the screen I prepared a couple of days ago. I am somewhat underwhelmed by the outcome.
First, looking back. Today is the last day of the year and this day is always tinged with sadness for me, as it is the anniversary of my mother’s death – seven years ago now. I have been feeling restless and annoyed that I am not producing anything, while at the same time whining endlessly about not having time to do anything. So today I resolved to make a small piece in the style of Lesley Riley’s fragments to honour my mother.
I wanted to use some of the rust dyeing I have done recently -so used a piece of silk organza and some wide silk ribbon that I quickly rusted up. I transferred a favourite photo of her aged about 3, with teddy, using solvent, onto some smooth shiny fabric to get a clear print. Then I had to decide what fabrics to put with it. One of the limitations of rust dyeing is that it is orange – no two ways about it. I had previously paired some rust dyes with blue, the complement of orange, but didn’t want to use blue in this piece, so was scratching my head, when my eye fell upon an article by Lesley Riley in a recent CPS on rust dyeing. She had done a piece in rust dyes, purple and aqua and I suddenly realised I should have been thinking of a triadic colour scheme – which would give me much more scope.
So, I rummaged in the scrap bag and quickly found some pieces. I had a beautiful piece of lace that I was determined to use, but alas no matter what I did it just didn’t seem to work. In the end I discarded it in favour of the scallop trim which seemed to fit better. Along the bottom are five little flowers cut out of copper tissue with one of those little stamper cutter thingies you get in scrapbooking stores. On to the rust dyed ribbon I transferred her family motto ‘”to the valiant heart, nothing is impossible”. In retrospect, I should have used a slightly larger font, but it does invite the viewer to move in close to read it. All in all, I am happy with this piece, and glad I just told myself to ‘do it’ and stop procrastinating.
As for looking forward – I plan to take more of the ‘just get on with it’ approach in the coming year. I am signed up for Liz Berg’s class and she has a good line in just do it, work quickly, produce the work. I also have realised I have to accept Rayna Gillman’s sage advise to accept the crap quota. Apart from a tendency to over analyse, I also tend not to want to start something until I am sure I am going to get it exactly right. This is a terrible trap, because of course half the time I don’t start, and when I do, and the end result is not perfect, I get very despondent. Rayna’s advice is accept that there will always be a crap quota – do the work – lots of it – sift through the crap and find the gems – the more you do, the more gems you’ll get.
So – that’s what I will try and do more of in 2008 – and if you hear me starting to whine about not having enough time, feel free to give me a very sound telling off.
Happy New Year
My husband has really got into the spirit of this and has been bringing me home all sorts of bits and pieces that he collects on his walks.