Saturday 22 October 2011

Life Drawing

5 minute pose, charcoal

Thursday was the first of the life drawing sessions I've organised. I really enjoyed it and although it was a small group everyone who turned up was very friendly so it was a great atmosphere. The community centre we used was a great venue for us as well, nice and warm and clean and the centre manager was lovely and very helpful. I was also lucky to have an excellent model, so many thanks to her. The session made me realise how out of practise I was but I still really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to seeing my drawing improve over the next couple of sessions. Hopefully, the next two will be busier and then I will be able to set up some more and maybe make it a more regular thing. I've posted the poster again so if you're in the Carlisle area and fancy a bit of drawing, get in touch!

20 minute pose, charcoal

20 minute pose, graphite pencil


Tuesday 18 October 2011

Playing with Printing

Lino Print Bird

I've been having a bit of a play around with making some prints this week. I was given a small bit of lino to test so, obviously, I did a small bird. The lino was the easy cut stuff which is meant to be easier to cut (clue is in the name) although I'm not convinced it is. The downside to it is that you can't draw on it in pencil, so you need to be fairly confident about what you're doing and unlike 'normal' lino it doesn't have a hessian backing so is quite flexible, which is OK until you start working into it a lot. Because of this I kept it quite simple, not gouging too much out as I didn't want to go right through it.

Having made my lino cut I made a few prints on different types of paper, just using black acrylic paint as I didn't have any printing ink. I was quite pleased with how the prints turned out, I think they're quite charming in a naive sort of way. I wanted to keep the prints together but I didn't really want to do a big design sheet so after experimenting with a few ideas I mounted them all on sheets of dark blue textured paper and sewed them together to make a little book, I think this finishes them off nicely and makes them feel a bit more special than just a group of individual prints.

Book of prints and lino cut

One of the prints on an old envelope

Second print, using up ink from the previous print

I also had a go at making a really simple printing plate by using a ball point pen to draw on a piece of cardboard. This plate obviously breaks down quite quickly but I got a few prints from it and today I stitched into one of them. The stitching just finishes it off and takes it from being a simple print to a piece of work. I've been working as a support worker for Prism Arts recently, supporting a series of printing workshops which is what inspired me to start playing around and I can see it's something I could really improve and develop as part of my work. Also, it's really fun!

Cardboard plate and prints

Print embellished with stitch

Detail of stitching

In preparation for the first of my life drawing sessions on Thursday I've been trying to do a bit of drawing every day. Yesterday I had my Eden Mencap Society art group in Penrith and I wanted to do wax resist with them so I did this blackbird drawing as an example, killing two birds with one stone as it were. We were given a load of black paint over summer so for the past few sessions we've been doing a lot of monochromatic work, they've produced some lovely work which you will soon be able to see over on my website (

Wax and paint drawing

Sunday 16 October 2011

Ninja Slippers

Nifty ninja napping

I've been promising my partner a hand knitted pair of slippers for some time. After rejecting approximately  3,622 patterns we eventually found a pattern he was happy with. Then, due to my dislike of knitting rib (the whole pattern is 1x1 rib, grrr) and my hatred of doing things in pairs (gloves, socks, sleeves; I finish one speedily then it takes me months to do it's partner) he had to wait another 6 months for me to finish them. However, a couple of weeks ago I did finish the second slipper and he now has cosy toes. I adapted the pattern from nifty knitting's kimono slippers ( and used a pure wool (for extra cosiness) in dk on 4mm needles, he chose dark blue with an off white trim which I think works well. I think I will use puff paint to paint some grip spots on the sole as they are a bit slip slidy on the kitchen floor at the moment. It's a good pattern, nice and easy to follow and even though I don't really like rib the slippers grow quickly. The pattern calls them kimono slippers but my partner calls them ninja slippers, which sounds pretty cool!


Cosy toes

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Beautiful Birdie Cushion

Perching prettily

I've just finished my first Christmas present, woohoo! The only problem being that I really like it and want to keep it for myself. However, I think I will resist (or just make another one.) I made this birdie from a fleece blanket, I've found the blankets are often cheaper than buying fleece from a roll and they generally have nicer, more on trend prints and colours as well. I love the warm pinky purple of this one. I added some felt, embroidery and buttons for his eyes and quilted him some wings and he's ready to fly away. Or at least perch prettily on my nana's sofa! The only part I'm not sure about is the tail. I think it is maybe a bit wide or possibly needs quilted feathers similar to the wings. Overall though, I'm quite pleased with him.

The other side

Wing detail

Eye detail

Monday 10 October 2011

My Space

My desk

Last weekend we went to Newcastle as there were a couple of exhibitions I wanted to see (Nora Fok at Shipley Art Gallery; closed, boo! And at the Baltic, Maurizio Anzeri; fantastic!) Here's a link to the Baltic site with a summary of the exhibition:

On the way home we went to Ikea as I wanted a desk and we needed yet another bookcase. When I first finished my degree I pretty much stopped making art. However, in the past couple of years, the past year in particular, I've started making work again which is great. However, I've been working on the floor, which hurts my back and the dining room table which means I can't really leave stuff out as we use it, strangely enough, for dining. So, I'd reached a point where I was desperate for a little space to use as my studio. We have a very small spare room (partly very small because it's full of my stuff) so I had to choose a small desk. It's far from my dream studio but I'm so happy to have my little space where I can go and work and leave things spread about and everything's to hand.

Inspiration board and mannequin

My stuff!

View from the door

Thursday 6 October 2011

Smocked Bangle

Smocked Bangle

I made this bracelet a couple of weeks ago from a tutorial in a book called textile techniques for jewellery. The projects in the book are really good but what I most like about the book is that there are lots of featured artists/jewellers which is really inspiring. The project is meant to be done with felt but I didn't have a piece big enough so I used some wool blend fabric instead. It frays more but I think it looks cool. I'm not sure how much wear I'll get out of it but I enjoyed making it!


Wearing it

Still wearing it

Detail of the smocking before it was made into a bangle