Sunday 26 February 2012

Creative Sunday

It's been another beautiful day here today. I worked in my studio with the door wide open to the garden.  Hard to believe it's only February! I can't remember if I've shown you this 'work in progress' before. I've got so many projects on the go but my resolution is to get all of them finished!! This is just a small detail of the pieced top with a band of tree shapes discharged using DeColorant Plus - a discharge paste that substitutes a new colour at the same time that it removes the original colour. I've used red DeColorant Plus for my moon shape.

The freezer paper mask I used with the basic discharge paste was pretty effective even though the twigs involved very narrow channels. I have worked back into the discharged areas to reinforce the lines where necessary and to add a little rusty red colour to the tips of the bare branches. The pigment pen I used for that works really well with the colour of the moon!

One of the most exciting things about discharging onto patchwork is the way different fabrics react to the paste. I knew from sampling that one of the hand dyed linen fabrics wouldn't bleach back as much as the rest of the cotton patches so after I'd ironed the dry paste I replaced the circular mask and added a little metallic gold Markal Paintstik to the top edge of the moon. There's always a way!!

It's fun to see how the stripy commercial print retains its pattern isn't it? That was a black and white fabric overdyed at home.

I can't finish today without sharing a couple more photos taken in my garden this weekend. Spring has most definitely sprung!

There's a ladybird survey going on in the UK at the moment - I think I'd better send them some of my pictures!

Apparently a foreign invader is threatening our indigenous species but from what I can see these are the home grown variety.

And there's no shortage of them is there?

Thanks for dropping by - hope you had a lovely weekend too! Bye for now, Linda

Thursday 23 February 2012

Things are happening

 Our orchids are looking spectacular at the minute. Here's one against the stained glass window in the kitchen.

And another in the conservatory. 

Not to be outdone by the houseplants, the garden flowers are putting on quite a show in the warm weather as well. We have an unseasonal 15C today - crazy temperatures for February! These beauties are making the most of the sunshine.

And so are the glorious Winter Aconites.

As I was taking the pictures I spotted this fellow out sunbathing on the lawn.

He'll have to be wary of the herons who fly over here every day! Speaking of big birds - regular visitors to this blog might remember seeing pictures of tiny chicks early last year. They're not so tiny now!

And always very curious to see what I'm doing. This one follows me like a pet dog!

Just in case you think I'm frittering the day away wandering around the garden, there is some new work on the horizon! I've taken this pencil drawing of a moth in flight.......

And a page of stencilled moth shapes.........

And combined them with the moth photographs I took recently. I found out some pencil portraits I did a couple of years ago and clever Laura has layered them all in Photoshop and printed them, much enlarged, onto cotton fabric. I love the way the precise quality of the photographs contrasts so well with the graphic effect of the drawings. Sorry about the shafts of bright light across the printed fabrics below - shows just how sunny it is here today!

This is the pencil drawing tweaked slightly to adjust the colour before printing. I expect some people will consider all this to be cheating. Me, I'm an enthusiastic convert to the technology that allows us total control over the fabrics we use to make our quilts! Long live digital printing!!

I can't show the whole design just yet. A girl's gotta have some secrets hasn't she? I'm very nervous to begin the quilting as it's make or break. If things go to plan you may see this again soon. If not............

Cross your fingers for me please!


Tuesday 21 February 2012

A fun day was had by all

My Mom and my sister came over again today so we could all spend some creative time together in the studio. We've been trying to fit these fun days in as often as we can - everybody deserves a little time out to play don't they?  I know the room looks chaotic but that's what happens when the four of us are squashed in there. At least we hid the cake and the cookies while the photos were being taken.

Our plan for the day was to do some fabric painting. Maureen added lovely detail to several of the lizards she screenprinted here during one of our earlier sessions.

It's meticulous work but the lovely metallic paint has really highlighted the shapes of the quilting.

Mom is game for anything and happily painted away on one of Laura's new printed fabrics despite the fact that she had never done anything like it before.

The teacup panel is already looking great but she went home with a brush and enough paint to continue it at leisure. Knowing my Mom it's probably already finished, made up as a cushion and sitting on the sofa by now!

If you're curious to hear what Laura and I got up to while they were having fun with paint, Laura finished a little quilt that had been waiting for attention for weeks and I did the really important stuff - I made the pancakes! It is Shrove Tuesday after all and everybody needs to feed the body as well as the soul!

Hope you had a fun and productive day (hopefully with pancakes) too.

Bye for now, Linda

Monday 20 February 2012

inspirational gift

People are so generous aren't they? Knowing that Six and Friends are working towards an exhibition with an Oriental theme, a former student of our online courses sent us a gift a few days ago. It's a beautifully presented book about very old, dark red, Chinese teapots. Here's one of the pages showing an example against a gold background.

Throughout the book there are envelopes and postcards with actual postage stamps which were designed to celebrate this particular style of pottery.

The text on this envelope is glorious in gold.

And the seal on this page is my favourite deep red.

I shall study the book over the next few days and see what creative ideas might spring to mind! I'm sure this is a collector's item so I have no intention of using the book itself but I might be tempted to copy some of the shapes and colours!

In the meantime I've been making samples for Laura's new range of printed fabrics. She's developing a range called, 'We Print, You Paint' for her new Fingerprint digital printing service. The designs are all based on her original drawings - this one features monoprinted fancy teatime  treats.

As you can see from the image above, you buy the print as a single colour outline on a white ground and then you can have great fun painting the shapes any way you want. I've chosen 'cake-like' colours for the cakes and a deep blue background with metallic gold highlights to match my best china teacups! I intend to make a tray cloth from the painted print so summertime cups of tea in the garden will become instantly more civilised!

Painting the fabric is as simple as crayoning in a children's colouring book so we hope the idea will appeal to all ages. My Mom and my sister are coming over tomorrow to have a go - I'll let you see what they get up to if anyone remembers to take pictures!

Laura's new website is almost ready to go live. I'll let you know when you can check out the rest of the fabric designs!

Hope your new week is off to a creative start!
Thanks for visiting - Linda

Monday 13 February 2012

Can't let Laura have all the fun!

We recently set up a little still life for the first of a DMTV video series on drawing techniques.

I wasn't in the video this time but I couldn't resist joining in. Any opportunity to sit and draw!

In the video Laura was working with graphite pencils but as you can see in the details above and below I used coloured watersoluble pencils. I just love the way the colour of the line bleeds gently on damp paper.

Daffodils are complex structures to draw but poppy seedheads are recognisable even with just a few sketchy lines.

We often get asked how we manage to make such a lot of work but producing videos means we need to create new work all the time. The deadlines are a stimulus to productivity rather than a diversion. I probably wouldn't have finished this latest bird quilt if the cameras weren't due! I'll let you see the whole thing once the video has aired!

Sometimes the techniques are quite time consuming so we have to plan pretty far in advance. The painted, pieced, embroidered and beaded silk piece above will eventually be a rather glamourous cushion but for now it's a relaxing bit of hand sewing for the dark winter evenings! No danger of boredom chez Kemshall!

Thank you for reading - I appreciate you taking the time to keep in touch with what I'm up to! Bye for now.

Friday 10 February 2012

this 'n that

One of the books I'm altering at the moment is about framed objects and views seen through windows. I've been cutting suitable pictures out of magazines with collage in mind.

The idea is to cut apertures through some of the pages of the book and edge the 'window' with the collaged picture frame. A present Laura gave me a couple of days ago is making life easier. I'm not usually one for gadgets but this little cutter is helping me cut perfect ovals.

Never one to throw anything away I think the oval shapes I cut out might have a part to play in another altered book I'm working on.

This book's about birds' eggs and I really think the cutouts will look quite egg-like once I've painted them and maybe flicked a bit of paint off a toothbrush!

Of course it's easy to get carried away. I have revealed a lovely moth through the window in my altered Moth book but I have to exercise restraint! Can't have windows in every page of every book just because I've got a new gadget!!

Mind you it has given me some interesting coloured eggs!

So that's 3 different books on the go at the same time - it's quite interesting to see how I can cannibalise one and use it in another!

Thanks for reading this far. Please check in again soon. All the best, Linda

Sunday 5 February 2012

Little treasure

Among the lovely presents I was given by my nearest and dearest at Christmas was this precious album. I know it doesn't look much. You have to know someone really well to know they'd appreciate a beat up, dusty, old leather bound book full of pictures of long dead strangers. Of course I love it!

The construction is fantastic and I am sure it was an expensive object in its day. Just look at the leather inserts that divide and articulate the board pages.

The album is full of faded photos like these.

There are very few clues as to who the people were but I like to imagine this beauty,

knew this handsome chap!

Or, maybe she preferred a man in uniform!

There's a name on the title page that I should be able to decipher with a magnifying glass.

The reason I'm showing you so much of this book is that I have plans for it. I have ambitions to decorate the album like an illuminated manuscript so I wanted you to see the before pictures and I'll post some of the afters once I've made some progress!

Wish me luck! - Linda