Anyone checking my blog would think I've been entirely uncreative since August. Not entirely so - I've been managing the Fibrecircle blog, the SCQuilters blog and a whole lot of other stuff, mostly for ATASDA, but I have managed to squeeze in tiny bits of creative stuff into my life as well.
Of course, I did a stack of knitting. I have two cardigans ready to block for sewing together, but they don't look terribly exciting as they are, so photos will have to wait. I don't know why I put off blocking - maybe because sewing knitting together is my least favourite job in all the world? One is my blue cardigan, knitted from Bendigo Highland yarn, which I just love. The other is my "arty cardy". Whenever I do anything for ATASDA, someone seems to tell me, "dress arty". I delight in making textile art, and I delight in making my own garments, but, no disrespect to others who feel differently, I just don't "dress arty". Fancy dress is torture for me, and while I can see that looking the part is important if you're out there selling work, it just isn't me. So I have made myself a striped knitted jacket for "arty" occasions. By my arty friends' standards, it's tame but it will have to be enough for me. Yes, there will be photos... though probably not showing me wearing it.
What else? Oh yes, the Forest piece I was talking about last time. I showed what the painted cloth looked like once I'd drawn and painted and generally played with it. It needed some contrast fabric for the bag so, naturally, I painted some. I mixed some grey-browns on my palette and slapped them onto cream quilters' muslin, deliberately making it streaky. I added in a few strokes of black, while everything was still wet, to add some depth. Once it was dry, I drew lines on it to make it look somewhat like bark. Here's a detail shot of how it looked:
You need the detail shot because it's hard to see the textured pattern in a photo of the whole piece. I used the bark fabric to make the top and handles of the bag, with the forest fabric as the body.
I wanted to keep the forest fabric whole, but I also think no bag is compete without an outside pocket. So I made a welt pocket with a zipper for the top of the outside pocket - it's there but it's hardly visible.
Here's the finished bag:
It has everything a bag should have. Four inside pockets with elasticised tops, for keys, wallet, phone, etc. That essential outside pocket. Long enough straps that I can sling it over my shoulder easily. It has one tiny drawback - that it doesn't take an A5 sketchbook as comfortably as I'd like, though it does fit in. My current bag is just that bit bigger, and I've got spoilt. This one is probably better for my back, since I'm not tempted to toss in the kitchen sink...
I also did some more block printing and stamping. I love making stamps and I love playing around with them. I made a couple of new stamps recently and have played around with them, to see how they work with my other stamps.
These ones are from designs I've drawn in my sketchbooks over the years, which I've now drawn (sorry) together into my Lost Treasures book. The upper one is from a sketch I made at the Arts of Islam exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery a few years back; the lower one from a sketch at another exhibition at the Gallery, of Chinese art. See how it pays to take a sketchbook with you?
I did some sample prints:
You can see a few of my stamps from back in May crept in to make secondary patterns. I was experimenting for another project I was working on, for Fibrecircle, on the theme Geometric. It hasn't quite worked out the way I planned, but so far it looks like this:
Basically, it's a little pot, using the stamps as decorative motifs. It was going to be a dice pot for my daughter, who's a keen gamer, but I haven't quite worked out a satisfactory lid for it yet - one that will keep the dice firmly inside between games. But it's a cute prototype.
The block printing was basically adding another layer to some of my paint rags. I had one that I'd used for playing with resists that looked very dark:
I stamped over it using white Permaset Supercover, which, as you'd guess, is very opaque printing ink. I used several of my stamps, plus a piece of window screen to give a gentle overall texture.
It may not look brilliant in the photo but the white has really give it some wow factor. I'm thinking it may be a journal cover when it grows up.
The other fun thing I've done lately is some breakdown printing. It's a fascinating process, in which you paint thickened dyes in patterns onto a screen, allow it to dry and then print using the same medium. The medium gradually breaks down the dried dye paint on the screen, with thicker areas acting as a resist. It yields these beautiful complex prints, related to one another but not quite the same.
I don't think I'm anywhere near done exploring this technique yet.
I've also made these quilt blocks:
(actually I've made 26 of these ones now), so I've not been entirely idle, have I?