Monday 28 November 2011

Oh for a quiet life

It's been an interesting few days chez Kemshall. I hate to bore anyone with something so trivial but we are having the central heating boiler replaced for a newer more efficient and environmentally friendly system. Two days work would start last Wednesday. Men arrived Thursday - only a day late, could be worse. More men arrived Friday and all was going swimmingly until someone who shall be nameless drilled through the hot water pipe in the bathroom. I have no idea how much water a hot water tank holds but it certainly looks like a lot when it's cascading through your kitchen ceiling! No one works weekends apparently so we had a less than cosy weekend with no heating, no washing machine, no shower and most of the house in total disarray. Today more men arrived. They must have drawn lots to see who would break the news to us that the wrong boiler had been fitted on Friday.  It would have to be replaced today oh, and by the way, that means the pipes are all in the wrong place too! I'm trying hard not to cry or scream.

Luckily the postman just delivered my new gouache paints and indian ink so it's not all bad news!

The flock on the studio wall is growing and now I have the paints there will be more!

The only way to keep sane at the moment is to be  busy. I am embroidering the little pot that holds the applique tulips using Madeira Lana, a wool and acrylic blended thread that I love.

And stippling the background fabric to create ripples of texture with a Kantha like stitch. I shall machine quilt the flowers to follow the marks in the hand dyed fabric and the pencil drawing.

Laura's had to dye more of these gorgeous fabrics to put in the store since people saw me use them on DMTV!

They tell me it will all be sorted one day, they just won't say when that might be! In the meantime I shall bury myself in my work and pretend it isn't happening! At least the kitchen floor is cleaner than it's been for quite some time!

Thanks for reading this far down the page! Talk again soon.

Friday 25 November 2011

Keeping in touch

Our group SiX have invited a few friends to work towards an exhibition in 2012. There will be nine of us which will be great fun. Everyone knows one or more people in the group but no one except Laura and I really knows everyone (and even we don't know some of the artists very well)! In an attempt to 'bond' we've been chatting together by email but Laura thought it might be more friendly to start a group blog. No sooner the word than the deed as the saying goes so here it is sixandfriends It was only created yesterday so there's not a lot to see yet but if you are interested in how we all prepare for an exhibition you might like to follow our progress!

The exhibition has an oriental theme and the initial research is really fascinating - almost as much fun as it will be making the work. There are so many gorgeous images on the internet - I love this characterful bird! It's not a new passion - people may think I've only been been working with birds as inspiration for a few years but the Crested Crane below is a lithograph I made in 1969!! Can't imagine why I kept it for so long but it may come in useful now.

Although he does look a bit gormless don't you think?

The birds I do nowadays are more animated and curious I hope!

There is some sewing going on too. This is a detail of the Iris hanging I just finished for DMTV. Iris flowers have a symbolic meaning in Japanese culture so this quilt may make an appearance at the exhibitions!

Have a good weekend! Talk to you soon, Linda

Saturday 19 November 2011

It's all happening!

I have got a lot of different things on the go right now. I like to have a choice so that I can work for a solid spell in my studio when I have enough time to work seriously or pick something up when I just need to fill a few minutes. If you're a DMTV member you'll probably recognise my appliqued Iris.

I'm pleased to say that the Iris panel is quilted now. I liked the effect of the techniques so much I've started a second quilt - this time using Tulips.

I know they look strangely disembodied right now but nothing a few stalks and leaves won't cure! Don't you love the marks in the hand dyed fabrics? I think I might follow the lines the dye has created when I come to quilting this one. The Iris sit in a pot I've stamped with Oriental symbols but the Tulips are going to have a lovely curvy vase. I bought the exact thing I needed as inspiration at the flea market this morning. I wonder if using it as inspiration for art makes it tax deductible?

Work goes on in the altered Moth book.

It's a little diversion I go to when I only have a few spare minutes. Stencilling is so quick and it doesn't take long to slap a bit of gesso on the page. The Moth book and its companion have embroidered covers now so progress is being made!

On a completely different note, the chillies refuse to accept it's November and continue to flourish. We'll be using them as Christmas decorations at this rate!

My thanks go to Linda and Lynder for their advice on dealing with the chilli mountain. As you can see I am trying!

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend!  Linda

Thursday 10 November 2011

Such excitement!

For more than two years Laura and I have been so busy writing new courses that it's been hard to make time for our own work. Sounds like a long time just to plan a couple of courses I know but the latest one, Creative Sketchbooks, involved 48 videos as well as step by step pictures and written information. It's not that I'm complaining though - writing the courses has been as stimulating for us as I hope it is for the students who sign up to take them!

We make all the examples to illustrate the modules and sometimes that takes us along a path we might not have trodden otherwise. I used a vase of paper tulips as inspiration for the pencil drawing with monoprint shown above. It's been a while since I've made monoprints but this reminds me how much I love the technique. I will be doing more!

You may remember I showed a photograph of a lovely carpet I bought at auction a while ago. I can justify buying almost anything if I use it as inspiration in my work! Here I've taken a motif from the carpet and used a similar print block to make a patterned page that frames another tulip drawing.

Some leftover prints were cut out and collaged around this pencil drawing with acrylic wash.

Now you may wonder why I have such a focus on sketchbooks at the moment. It's true I have neglected my quilting in order to finish the sketchbook course but there is another reason for all this drawing and painting - we are shortly to take delivery of a wide format digital printer. We'll be able to print on fabric up to 1.6 metres wide and any length we want. Can you believe how exciting that will be? The digital print quality will be able to capture every detail of a tonal drawing, every exciting nuance of a watercolour wash. I have painted my quilts for many years but paint acts differently onto an absorbent fabric surface than it does onto paper. Soon I'll be able to create exactly what I want in my sketchbook and see it printed out really big on cloth. I sense a whole new series of quilts coming on!!

The machine is being delivered in mid December and there will be a 3 day installation and training process. After that the sky's the limit - I think the Christmas holidays will be very creative this year!

Once we've mastered the technology we'll be producing a range of limited edition prints for sale and Laura will also be offering a print service to anyone who would like to see their own designs on fabric. Such exciting times!!

Bye for now - Linda

Saturday 5 November 2011

More Saturday bargains

I was determined not to come home with anything other than essentials from the market today but I hadn't bargained for finding an easel at an irresistible price. I got this for an unbelievable £8!

I couldn't wait to try it out and started a new Rook panel straight away. I've only blocked in the main colours so far but plan to work on it more tomorrow once the first layer of acrylic paint is dry.

The easel wasn't the only unnecessary but tempting thing I acquired this week. I am a very keen cook but I've never made butter - finding these at the local auction house means if ever I do decide to try it I'll be prepared! In the meantime they'll look lovely hanging in the kitchen.

I got a few emails complaining about the picture of the scary spider I posted a little while ago. Seems some people don't like them as much as I do! My sister Maureen, she of Quilting Place fame, always has to outdo me. It's not that we're competitive you understand - she just knew I'd be fascinated by this snake skin she spotted while out walking near her house in southern France.

As if the sloughed skin wasn't scary enough she sent this picture a day or two later - this one is definitely livelier!

I guess it's not very big but I still wouldn't want to discover it slithering around in broad daylight!

Apparently, like Maureen the snakes are still enjoying the warm French sunshine. Back home we are distinctly autumnal but at least it keeps the vipers at bay! Mind you we did find a frog in the coal bucket tonight. It doesn't really compete but it's the best we can do in our quiet little English village!

Wild life permitting I plan to paint all day tomorrow - hope you have a great weekend too. Thanks for visiting - Linda