Friday, June 29, 2012

Sticks and stones.

A few weeks ago I painted some stones - such a pleasant, meditative activity, with quite pleasing results. Well, they please me, anyway!

I also decided to decorate sticks with yarn. They needed a bit of colour, I thought.

Have a great weekend, dear friends. I will be proofreading, but I hope you will pop out for a while and paint a stone or wrap yarn around a twig ...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

the silence.

Finished this a couple of weeks ago.

the silence (tissue papers, wrapping paper, gauze, newspaper, dyed fabric, paint, magazine images, henna template, embroidery yarn, bamboo - photocopied, stamped, painted, hand stitched.)

Update: another 360 pages to go ...

Monday, June 25, 2012


I knitted a cowl (some people call it a snood, but apparently there is a difference - see here). Mine is definitely a cowl as it is not wide enough to drape around my head. I knitted it with 100% merino hand-dyed wool (in a lovely light-grey) using very large needles as I wanted a looser look. (No, not a loser look, silly!)

The first two books for the next round of proofreading arrived today. Sigh. But I have kept aside a few of the things I made during the past few weeks so that I will have something to post over my busy  period.
Wish me luck! (At least I will be warmly muffled up with my new cowl ...)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Draw 3 & 4 - The Egg.

I haven't yet posted the results of my last two drawing classes.
Class 3 was my favourite - we played with brush, pen and ink, and we were instructed to first experiment on the middle of the page, and then to depict the objects (a scrunched up small piece of fabric and some twiggy bits) - but rather than rendering the objects accurately, to interpret them and come up with abstract shapes and forms.

In the final class I really battled - we had to depict the surface texture of a vase as accurately as possible, using only charcoal, and one or two crayons.

I couldn't understand why everyone else's vases looked three-dimensional, but mine flat. 'Well,' the instructor said to me, 'think of how you learnt to draw an egg, and then do the same.'
Hey dude, I never learnt to draw an egg!

Last week I bought Danny Gregory's book The Creative License - Giving Yourself Permission to be the Artist You Truly Are.
I sure hope it is going to teach me how to draw an egg.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


In keeping with my word-of-the-year, I am still on a roll doing workshops and classes of all shapes and sizes. A few days ago I did a fantastic flower-arranging workshop with talented Belinda Soboil of Bella. Now, I have never been one for flower arranging, in fact, I am not really a flower-kind-of-person at all. And as you all know by now, I can't garden. But when I saw some of Belinda's work with branches, leaves and roots, I just knew that I wanted to do a workshop with her. She specializes in Ikebana, but also comes to your home, looks at what you've got in your garden, finds all kinds of interesting containers in your home (ones you didn't even know you had or had completely forgotten about!) and then shows you how to put together arrangements and where to place them in your home. I was concerned that it might be quite a challenge for her to find anything in my 'garden' - I basically have three trees, four shrubs, a motley assortment of succulents, and lots of gravel. But within a few minutes she had gathered branches, dried clusters of seed pods, and a few succulents. She got my home immediately - simple and unpretentious - and finished almost a dozen arrangements for the living room, bathroom, bedroom and sun room. Some of my favourites:

What did I learn? To consider the spaces, to look for balance, to notice the detail, but most importantly, to see the potential ...

Monday, June 18, 2012


I want to show you where I've put my flags - above the window in my study-oh (a combination of study and studio...)

They are dedicated to my wonderful mixed media teacher, Rosemary Lapping-Sellars,  who found the small flame of my creativity and tends it with care and dedication. She inspires me always.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Flags 5

The fifth (and final) word is Narrate.

Flag 5: Narrate: hand-dyed (with rooibos tea) cotton base, other fabric strips, embroidery, stamping, ribbons, gauze, batik, stitching.

So there you have it. Five flags:
Look (which includes listening) - Explore (go deeper and wider) - Analyse (why, what, how, similarities & differences) - Record (your result in any medium) - Narrate (show and tell).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Flags 4

The fourth word is Record.

Flag 4: Record: hand-dyed (with black beans) cotton base, other fabric strips, stamping, ribbons, gauze, batik, stitching.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Flags 3

The third word is Analyse.

Flag 3: Analyse: hand-dyed (with turmeric) cotton base, other fabric strips, stamping, buttons, silk flower, ribbons, gauze, batik, stitching.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Flags 2

The second word is Explore.

Flag 2: Explore: hand-dyed (with red food colouring) cotton base, other fabric strips, stamping, buttons, ribbons, gauze, batik, stitching.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Flags 1

Yay! I finished my "prayer" flags. As I've explained before, they are based on the Buddhist prayer flags - 5 flags, in colours green, red, yellow, blue and white. (I adapted the white and used an earthy/orange colour instead.) Each flag has a front and back - so there are 10 surfaces in total.

I used 5 words that for me symbolize the creative process.
The first one is to Look.

Flag 1: Look: hand-dyed (with spinach) cotton base, other fabric strips, ribbons, gauze, batik, stitching.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Leg warmers.

I've always wanted to make my own leg warmers - especially as I have two pairs of boots (one suede and one from knitted material) that sag down sadly around my ankles after a few minutes' wear. I knitted a pair of leg warmers last year, but used cheap leftover wool, so they looked ...well ... like cheap leftover legwarmers. Also, they didn't provide the required bulk for these particular pairs of boots. Earlier this year I spotted a picture on tumblr (I forget where) of an old man and woman in traditional clothing - they may have been Chinese or Russian - I honestly can't remember. And they wore these lovely thick fabric embroidered boots/socks. So that got me thinking to making legwarmers from fabric, and quilting them with a layer of batting.

I used the legs of an old pair of jeans - the section from knee to ankle- cut them open, narrowed them down, and attached buttons to fasten. Then I added batting and fabric for the inner lining and embroidered the top section (which peeks over the top of the boot).
They look pretty nice if you like a rough gypsy/peasant effect, but most importantly, they work!