This was destiny for me – I am now an EMBELLISHER. I have on, I am one. Really – everything I do is in my life is embellishing – I embellish houses by decorating them & making them lovely – I embellish papers & journals by altering them – I create embellished paper in collage form……….I embellish life by teaching & sharing in many ways. It all started when a few people start asking questions about felting & embellishing. As you would be aware from posts of last year, I adore the work of Annemeike Mien, (google her she is A-MAZ-ing) conversations & questions fly back & forward across the world – inspiring sites & blogs are discovered & before I knew it, I am caught up in a whole new fascintation that is the world of was caught up in the art of embellishing & felting. It is an extension of a look that I have always loved. I used to create it using hand dyed fabrics & threads, but my hands are not comfortable doing long hours of embroidery any more & my eyes also feel the strain. Here are some of my NEW fav. links
Ok, so after relating my tale of woe to the dear folk at The Thread Studio in Perth yesterday, I have TOTALLY contradicting information than I recieved in class AND even as I am writing this, the suggestions keep coming (thanks to all you sweet people feeling my agony & pain!)……In class I was told POLYESTER………Polyester is the go, a good poly thread is the best thing to use & the brand I had was really good. I have now found out that no, in fact Polyester is not good, & the brand I have is NOT well regarded more widely – RAYON or silk is what I should be using (NEWS FLASH!!!!!!! – I have spent over $200 on threads to date!!!!!!! Do I just donate it to the birds for nest lining?????? CAN’T we get some concensus of opinion here?????) LOL!!!
ANYWAYS……I have retired my FME attempts to the cupboard, to be revisited at a later date – I have spoken to Olga & have committed to a second class in June (YES, yes, I AM a glutton for punishment) So at the moment I am making a tacky ‘Mountain Milking Maid’ dress that will be a work uniform for my daughter who is starting work in a restaurant next weekend. Hmm………..not alot of artistic pleasure there!! On a brighter note, I am also creating a little red & black outfit for Princess ‘L’ with ladybirds on it which is really sweet.
I recieved a lovely parcel of books yesterday from The Thread Studio yesterday (you really MUST check out their range – it’s great) http://www.thethreadstudio.com/
Pretty Little Things – this book is TOTALLY delicious. Oh MY Good-ness this book is a MUST have for anyone who gets inspired visually by BEAUTIFUL graphics. It is tonally soft & filled with lovely things to inspire you to greatness. The Artist’s Muse, is a bit of a wierd one, depends on what place you are at in your creativity I guess. It is a provocative proding to get you going down an artistic track. It’s probably one I would recommend you take the time to see in person, before you commit to it. The third book I bought was Visual Chronicles. A great little book, full of good ideas. The book that I originally went online to order, for an online workshop I am participating in, using Bernie Berlins book: Artist Trading Card Workshop is still coming. – see what I mean…I logged on to buy ONE book & came out with FOUR! AND I am back the next week……..Take HEED of THE WARNING below…….LOL!!!! It would be remiss of me if I didn’t issue you a consumer warning. The Thread Studio site is AMAZING. They have a great array of sensational supplies & books, with good visuals and descriptions. (AND YESSSSSSSSS…………’betterer ‘non breaking’ threads’ LOL!!!) I actually went there to buy ONE book – ended up buying 4 books AND am now coming back to buy other supplies. It is a place where your credit card is in severe danger! There – don’t say I didn’t warn you!! An absolutely delicious place to indulge yourself a little, but a bit like disappearing down THE rabbit hole!
an ATC from my Alice in Wonderland Series 2 titled Down the Rabbit Hole
After several false starts of postponed classes & cancelled bookings, yesterday, me and my new former ‘best friend’ (aka my new sewing machine, whom I have decided, is NOT my ‘new best friend’ any more!) went off for to a class of Free Motion Embroidery, (other wise known as FME) with the amazingly talented fabric artist OLGA WALTERS. HOW INSPIRING!!! (you’d think!!) Free Motion Embroidery or FME, is, as the name suggests, machine embroidery that is quite randomly & freely stitched, in both regular & irregular patterning, over a fabric base. It is a combination of art, sewing & collage rolled into one. In this particular class, we used a fusable webbing, stuck down co-ordinated (some less co-ordinated) fabric scraps & stitched over the top. I had been SO looking forward to this, & had been collecting an array of machine embroidery threads, & images & books on the topic as I really thought with all of my colour work, knowledge of fabrics & experience as at sewing, I would take to it like a duck to water. I thought that I would save the ‘wear & tear’ on my hands using the machine & that I would be able to produce at least some moderately pleasing results, even as a first effort. Hmmmmm……I was DECIEVED & DELUSIONAL! My hand embroidery/quilting days are definitely numbered after years of handwork, & working on computers most of the day, I am definitely feeling the pain of that. ‘Handwork’ has to be saved for special occasion outfits & presents……………Olga is such an effervescent & encouraging tutor & made an incredible artform look very ‘doable’. Her work is amazingly inspiring and SO life like. OF COURSE it WASN’T doable AT ALL. I had a brand new sewing machine that I wasn’t familiar with & looked as though I started sewing yesterday as I read my instruction book to find out where everything I needed was. My thread kept breaking every 3 – 5 minutes. Theories abounded from other students & the ever helpful Olga about why this was happening……(it wasn’t happening to anyone else and the sweet lady sitting next to me had exactly the same machine as I did purchased about the same time)………first it was the brand of thread………what had I paid for it???? (As with every thing price = quality) NO, it was agreed that the thread I had was both the right thing & good quality…..was it the needle that I was using? How much had I sewn???? Was it blunt……….I was working with 2 colours, perhaps I should only work with one!……….ARGHHHHH! I spent most of the afternoon (which was supposed to be the ‘fun’ stitching part) re-threading my machine & adjusting all of the variables that could have been the problem. By the time I went home I was ready to throw my machine out of a moving vehicle!!! LOL!!! (oh AND had the debilitating revelation that I can’t thread the needle any more without glasses!) I arrived home with a megre offering of 3 ATC sized ‘Autumn Masterpieces’. I hate them all. But, for what it’s worth – here they are. This UTube clip just about sums up the day. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRBIVRwvUeE (I ‘stole’ this link from Charlene….it is SO appropriate for this post!) I must say after my anticipation of the day, I feel pretty flat this morning & hardly inspired to have another go………….this was just not happening for me! In keeping with my resolution to learn some new skills this year, I WILL have another go, I just think that I will do it a little less randomly than what we were led to believe was possible.
I am a bit of a glutton for punishment though………..NOT content with trying ONE new thing……….I am also having a go at Encaustic Painting. Any of you that know my work will realise that I can’t draw or paint to save myself, but I wanted to have a go with the ‘Byzantine Dream’ style of art that I made last weekend. Encaustic means ‘burnt in’ & basically it is pigment suspended in wax. I was amazed to find when I have been researching it a bit that there are people that actually use a small iron (YES………like you use for your clothes!) to work the wax & paint with. A-MAZING!!!! (I have to admit, the people that were saying they were using this method didn’t have anything really remarkable to show for it, but still, I guess it’s a way of using out moded household equipment! LOL!)
The artist that has inspired me the most is Molly Cliff Hilts, NOT that I could EVER produce anything like this, but her work is so SENSATIONAL………..her colours are alive, her compositions SO engaging. I love it! Her website is here: http://www.mollycliffhilts.com/ JUST for the pure pleasure of it, take a look, it is delicious!