Thursday, May 31, 2007

More dyeing!

I read about Jug dyeing on Workshop on the web I think, maybe Jane Dunneswold? I can't remember now but I wanted to have a go as I loved the patterns. They are somehow different to tie dye, more graffic and line based I guess. So I mixed up some green and purple dye.
Then I put the fabric in the jars and scrunched them good. i used cotton, muslin and a cotton polyester mix. Then I poured the dye over the dry fabric.
I tried one purple fabric wet but the patterns did not come out as clear so it will be your own preference that prevails, I rather the patterns you get with dry fabric.
These were all on dry fabric and as you can see the patterns are very clear. I like how they have turned out.
This is the piece that I used wet fabric in the jar for I like it but you can see it doesn't have as much clarity to it. I have used a stencil from stickers for the computer that my DH gets to help him see the keys (Hubby is registered blind for anyone who doesn't know!) I am going to us this piece for another padfolio for a swap with Jo on textiles challenges. I am going to over print with Copper in another block pattern.

Dyeing experiments

I have been dyeing (Ha ha ha!) to have a go at tea dyeing for a while. I have been saving old out of date fruit teas and the normal bags!This is the method I used for both types. First I brewed the tea in hot water and let it steep for about 15 minutes. I also added 2 tablespoons of salt to the brew to help the colour fix. I kept the water to the minimum to try to make a strong colour.
Then i stuffed my piece of fabric (about 50cm square) into a clean jar.
Then I poured the Tea over the fabric. I put the tea packet on top so I could remember which tea for which colour! I will be writting this up as part of my technical notebook.
This is the end result. It is hard to tell the colour as it is quite subtle but i got a lovely shade of pink from the cranberry and a purply almost the same as the packet from the Blackcurrant and ginseng. The smell was delightful when I was ironing it!
This is the normal tea (Tetleys I think!) Again in real life the colour is much stronger. I am very pleased about this an now have a nice little stock of fabric to make a padfolio for a friend. Let me know if you try something like this as a result of this quick tutorial!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I have been tagged by Sharon and since she is on her sick bed i will give it a go, having recently done one. 7 things about me:
1. I am married and have one lovely daughter. My hubby is registered Blind, and can only see a little, so life in our house is a bit of a laugh a minute when things go wrong! No one tell him (he doesn't read this!) he once gave a video back to a cardboard cut out of Baby spice!
2. I have no work space, I do all my creating at the kitchen or coffee table. I have two shelves and a bit of space by the dining table. I envy all of you having a dedicated space.
3. I have no idea what my favourite colour is, people ask me this all the time and i am never sure of the answer. i change my mind all the time.
4. I speak Welsh as my first language, and always write this on forms even though i have very little practice other than Ellie. My main practice partner is Mags over at digital Gran blog! Thanks Mags for giving me the chance to keep it up!
5. I am fed up of Annie the musical - Ellie is obsessed! i must have watched it 6 times is 3 days!
6. i don't really like holidays - especially the long 6 weeks holiday in the summer. I am not comfortable with being idle, I have to be busy or I get depressed!
7. I hate cleaning - there's always something more interesting to do!
Hope this is what you wanted Sharon! I am not going to tag anyone as I see that lots of my blog friends have been tagged already!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Inchies done

Here are the last of my inchies made at last. Due to a bit of nonsense i had to make 2 sets and so I was a little behind. The top ones are for Sharon who chose a very zinggy pink and yellow.
These two sets are for Sammy and Hannah who both chose green's. I chose to do some felt melting again, using cotton as a base.
These are them and the turquoise sets previously blogged all ready to post in the little needle cases I made from the block printing I did for the challenge on TC this month.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pupils work

Here are some of the things I had to show the moderator from my GCSE class. I was really pleased with their finished pieces of work. They did very well and thankfully the moderator agreed with me. This is only half the class as you only show the moderator a sample. I wil photograph the rest soon.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Friends new venture

I wanted to let you all know about a new magazine from Sue Bleiweiss, Terri Stegmillar, Lynda Monk, Mags Roberts and Carol Mcfee. I consider all of these very talented ladies to be really good friends and hope their new venture goes from strength to strength. i think they are going to inspire so many people.
Here's the link:
Go subscribe people, it will be money well spent!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thank you for NJ

For some time now I have been a member of FAt (Fibre art traders) and have got to know Norma jean the list mom really well. She has helped me when i have had listmom troubles and is a constant source of support and help. So when I got am email from her moderator Vix asking if I would like to make a journal quilt to celebrate the 2nd birthday of FAT I was in!
The timing co-insided with Sue B's Artist muse group and as I had already started working on the Friendship theme for my mandala i decided to use the same imagery for NJ's JQ. I used the same acrylics on cotton and the same symbolism as the mandala (previously blogged) and only had to ammend the layout due to the more rectangular shape. the funny part came when I had to put a binding on . To be honest i had been avoiding doing a binding, big chicken and so I set diligently to work. I got on great but then on pressing the binding over I forgot it was synthetic and totally melted one side. As I knew NJ would find this hysterical i let it on and pieced in a new piece. I loved this piece and wished I could keep it. But I knew it was in better hands with NJ. Happy 2nd birthday NJ and thanks for the inspiration.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Birthday madness!

Hia it is my little madam, Ellie's fourth birthday today. She has had a blast! i thought I would show you her cake (which I made!!!) and a pic of a very happy girl! Thanks to all my lovely friends who have sent her cards, pressies and god wishes today she is very happy. She did a video clip but I am ashamed to show it as all she mentions is poo and wee! Oh to be four!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Potted plants and inchies

This first picture is the very first piece of stitch I did that started me on the road I am on today. I made it 3 years ago after going on a day course at the local college for Art teachers. Enid Davies who is my lecturer for C+G now, and who hosted the day course taught us how to use Nappy liners on Velvet and transfer printing. This was what I made when I went back to work the following day. I had started sketching again as I was restless in my school work but didn't really know what to do so i started sketching the plants in my garden. Then I did a transfer print using berol paints. i then free machined it and hand stitched into puff paint. The reason I am showing this to you now is that a few people have been asking me about nappy liners and I realised that this and Jan's padfolio (blogged previously) were the only finished pieces I have with nappy liners. Hope this helps some who have been asking to visualise it.
On to other things. I have been working on inchies for a month or so now. I had to do two sets for reasons that some of you know about and so am working on the second set now. Above are little pouches I made to send them in, I thought they could double as little needle cases with somewhere to store scissors and thread etc. I used the fabric that I had block printed previously for the challenge on textile challenges group.
These are turquoise and copper inchies and the ones below are teal and aqua.

Monday, May 14, 2007


I saw this on Liz Plummers blog and thought I'd add it to mine. My Ellie is 3, Four a week today, I feel for these parents. I will have a firm grip on Ellie May when we go to Cyprus later in the year.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Tags for my GCSE kids

Well it is with heavy heart that I say goodbye to my GCSE class this week, tomorrow in fact. They are by far my best ever class and most talented bunch of individuals.Collectively they have been an absolute joy to teach, picking up every technique with gusto. I will never forget the first time we did free machining and their love of painting with thread, or when we went to visit the local Uni and they were all set to teach them to free machine on dissolvable film, when one of them said "Oh we do this all the time!". So for you Year 11 Class of 07 I have made a tag for each of you and they each have something from your theme, Joe and Kristy flowers, Sam triangles, Cathy butterflies, Tasha Lightening etc. Try not to make me cry too much! Take the world by storm and reach your full potential.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Thanks and Tagged

I wanted to say thanks to all of you who have left comments on my work the last few weeks, it is gratefully received and it is so good to get feedback about your work.

I have had a productive night tonight. I have done some lino printing for C+G ready to weave it and I have also printed over coloured tissue and pre-preped dyed paper towels. When they are dry and tidied into a sketch book I will photograph them.

Now Di of FaeryDi fame! tagged me and somehow I missed it! Now this is the first time I have been tagged and since I don't know how to make someone's name into a link, I am going to let the tag stop with me! Sorry to be a party pooper. However I will tell you 7 random things about me:

1. I can play the cornet and played in a brass band for many years.

2. I am a fluent Welsh speaker - native language in Wales, must be spoken for fear of it dying out, hence my daughter being in a Welsh medium school.

3. I have exceptionally curly hair but not many people know as I straighten it everyday!

4. My husband works with me!

5. and after 3 months a man at my work realised I had gone out with him for a good 6 months when we were 15 - and neither of us recognised each other! (More worrying for me as I was the one with the name change not him!!!)

6. I really love teaching - why this is random is that I rarely tell people the positives as the negatives can be overwhelming at times - but there is nothing like seeing a kid free machine for the first time!

7. I don't have any textiles training despite teaching it - my degree is in ceramics and i haven't touched clay for the 7 years I have been teaching.

Sorry to let this fall with me but I have to say Di - took all the people I would have chosen and I don't know too many others well enough to inflict a tag! There I lost my tag virginity!!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My Mandala

I have recently joined a yahoo group set up by Sue and Joanna to discuss the book "The Artist's Muse" by Betsy Dillard-Stroud. The book is amazing and I can't wait to work on things within it. The starting chapter is about creating mandala's. So our first task was to make one of our own. As we are doing Colour and Culture this term I thought this was a perfect subject choice for my third project also. Now I apologise in advance for this post being long but this piece has turned out to be very significant to me, it is the first piece I would be happy to put Carol Taylor "Fiber artist" after!!! I feel like I have really considered every mark and colour - every aspect of this piece.
I talked to Sue about some free association and she helped me think about how I would put over some of the words I associate with friendship over, and this is what I came up with as a result. I decided to use a split complementary scheme for my colours. The reason for this was that i felt we choose friendship based on our similarities and mutual interests but it is the contrasting opinions and viewpoints that make friends so valuable. Now I could have chosen any split complementary but this was the one aspect where I reflected my part in a friendship, and so I chose red orange and green. Red and green as they are the colours of my country. I then decided to have a woven section to show all the sharing that goes on amongst friends, the warp and the weft of life. I wanted to have symbols supported by the weaving to put over the word support and also a shape that would blend and hold the weaving together to show those bonds we make. So I chose circles, thinking about how all those small things that friends do, advice, a kind word, gifts, moral support etc are like the circles on a pond when a stone is thrown in, they effect and resonate across your life. I free machined this in red thread and a variegated green thread.
I added painted scrim to further blend and then decided it needed a bit of hand stitch to give broader marks, the greater effect, the more noticeable effect of having friends. I decided these lines should radiate from the centre to echo the giving nature of my friends.

So here's to you my Internet friends, finding you guys has totally changed me as a person, my attitude to life and my work.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Pressy and Padfolio for Angela

Look at the lovely gift I was sent this week. It was from Val Thomas. I have been helping her to develop a header and pictures for her blog. This photo does not do it justice as the flash has taken a lot of the colour out, it has hand dyed fabrics in yellows, red-orange and a range of blues and purples. I totally love it and was gob-smacked to recieve such a generous gift. I am going to hang it somewhere in the house, I haven't quite worked out where yet.

This is a padfolio i made for a swap with Angela of The adventures of Angelcat blog for a swap on FAF. She chose Orange, which i find a hard colour to work with, but I enjoyed working with a colour I would not ordinarily choose. I decided to work in my technique for the FAF monthly challenge too, which was working with metal. I have never tried annealing so I had a go with a piece of copper. I managed to get some nice patterns and a bright orange colour. I then embossed it with an old biro. The fabric for the padfolio came from a pack of hand dyed cottons that Gillian had sent me. I then painted a nappy liner with acrylic and ironed it on in stripes. I then hand and machine stitched hearts on tho the surface and printed over with orange acrylic and irridecence, using a heart stamp.
Here's the finished piece. I really liked it and Angela had said she does too, so Bargain !!!!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Padfolio for Sian

Here is a padfolio I have made for my sister. It was her birthday yesterday and she had asked for one having seen them on my blog. I decided to use the flowers from a hair bobble I found in the pound shop and the lovely taffeta in a dark purpley inky blue. I lined with gold and added 3 inchies in the style of the ones we have been making on Textile challenges. I am really pleased with it, and hope she likes it. i also finished Angela's for a trade on FAF, but don't want to spoil it for her so wil wait to post until i know she has got it.