Monday 26 March 2012

There's some progress to report

Despite the lure of the glorious sunshine, I spent most of the weekend in the studio working on the moth quilt. The background areas of vermicelli were fairly straightforward - just a case of changing my thread colours what felt like every 2 minutes! Good job there are so many Madeira colours to chose from.

The quilting of the portraits is more of a challenge. Here I've put the main contours of an eye in place using 2 different greys and what might seem like an unlikely choice - a pale lavender thread.

I've switched to a very pale grey now, almost white in fact, and my next job will be to fill in the rest of the face. This should stop it looking baggy in relation to all that dense quilting in the background. Once that's done the quilt will almost be ready for the final hand embellishments. Just as well I'll be able to cross this one off the list soon because Laura's been printing for me over the weekend and I have 4 beautiful pieces of fabric waiting for my attention. It's hard to choose but I think this one might be my favourite.

And here's a different detail of the same boat. The prints have been made from some old holiday photos I took a few years ago in Brittany. They weren't taken with digital printing in mind since the holiday was years before Laura bought the printer but the quality was good enough to make quite large prints.

Who can resist peeling paint? Not me that's for sure. I've already made a number of  hangings inspired by these old wooden boats but I haven't got the theme out of my system and suddenly feel a whole new series of work coming on! Strange how the colours of the boats reflect the colours of the sea and sky that day The images bring back lovely memories of a summer in France!

I hope you are feeling creative this week and can find some time to get started on something exciting! Thanks for visiting - Linda

Friday 23 March 2012

Time to bite the bullet

I think people would be surprised to hear how nervous I get before beginning to quilt a new piece. So much depends on the quilting doesn't it? I'll do anything rather than start but there's only so much time wasting you can get away with. I couldn't put the dreaded moment off any longer so this morning the Moth quilt (which I must start to call by its proper name - 'Stray Thoughts', should you be interested!) was pinned onto the longarm machine. I've been quilting on my Mega Quilter for most of my recent work but Moth is quite big and the longarm would make life easier.

The first thing I had to do was select the threads - who'd have thought I needed so many colours?

I'll need all these greys to keep the variation of value in the background.

And these brights should be just right.

I'm hoping these gentle pales will warm some of the background areas.

So, I couldn't put off the evil moment any longer - I had to start. Stitching the background with thread colours that match the background fabric closely is the most forgiving way to get into the zone! I'm sure I'll relax once I've done a bit more stitching! I shall be working on this over the weekend and will let you see how things develop.

Thank you for reading!
Talk to you again soon, Linda

Monday 19 March 2012

Magnolia blooms and other treasures

This is my favourite time of the year. Well actually the summer is my real favourite but my enjoyment of the summer is always tempered by the fact that I know it will soon be over. I realise that sounds stupid but it's the reason I'm always most optimistic in spring - there's so much to look forward to, so much promise!

How could anyone look at this magnolia and not feel uplifted?

Don't you love to see the blooms on bare branches? I photographed these on the way back from Saturday's trip to the market. One of my latest finds at the market is this printer's tray. Laura had bought one recently and I really wanted one too. The little niches are only shallow but are the perfect places for special treasures.

I shall take my time to fill the niches. It'll give me a reason to keep going to the flea market!

Meanwhile, I've been working on my Iris quilts a bit more. I thought this pot needed a table top to stand on and a shadow to look more convincing. I've used Inktense pencils and Markal Paintstiks.

This one is quilted now and I've added a bit of colour with yet more Inktense pencils and Markal.

The last of the three quilts is under the needle as I write this.

Still a long way to go but tomorrow's another day!

Thanks for dropping by - I appreciate it!  Linda

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Like mother - like daughter

Just a quick post today. Mom came over for a flying visit this morning. You might remember seeing her and my sister fabric painting in my studio recently. Mom was working on the teacup design Laura's created for her large format printing business. She enjoyed painting the teacups so much she's just finished a second panel. This time it's the cupcake design.

She came to show us the finished painting and to raid my stash of hand dyes for enough fabric to back a cushion.  There's no time like the present is there so after a few minutes with the sewing machine this is what we had.

I think it's going to look great in her kitchen!

Talk to you again soon. Bye for now, Linda

Sunday 11 March 2012

Planet watching

Have you all been looking at the planets this month? If the sky is clear tonight look to the west and Venus and Jupiter are hard to miss. They are quite low in the sky and very, very bright! Mars is also visible in the east this month so my insomnia has been quite useful for a change. Wish my camera was good enough to take pictures - you'll just have to see for yourself!

I've been having fun waxing hand made papers again today. It's a quick way to create lovely material for stitched collage. Trouble is though, once I start it's very hard to stop, so, when I ran out of hand made paper everything else was fair game. These bits above are some examples that got the treatment! The two sheets on the left were collographs I made last year. It's lovely to see the pristine white paper take on the golden warmth of the beeswax and become translucent. The little tiger moth is a photocopy and the speckled sheet is my hand made paper complete with onion skins and tea leaves! Well what else are they good for?

I seem to live in black, grey and navy all through the winter so, with the coming of warmer days, I thought a bit of colour was called for. This Vogue pattern was quite expensive but I've made 5 tops from it now so I guess it's earned its keep. Today I made it in coral.....

And a short sleeved version in turquoise. Bring on the sun!

Even the broad beans think summer's coming. How lovely to think we'll be eating the first of the crop in a few weeks!

These little darlings don't look too promising right now but give them a little time and some tender care and they'll be fantastic. They better be - we have 340 of them! They'll be the red part of the red white and blue colour scheme planned for our tubs and baskets this year in honour of the Queen's Jubilee.

All this activity builds up quite an appetite so it's good to know today's bread turned out so well - we won't starve this week!

Hope your weekend was productive too.
Bye for now - Linda

Thursday 8 March 2012

Look away now!

I know some people aren't too keen on these little critters but there's no escaping them chez Kemshall right now. I only wish we had sound effects on this blog - you wouldn't believe how vocal a pond full of amorous frogs and toads can be. I was so distracted by the noise on the way to my garden studio that I felt compelled to pull up a chair for a few minutes to catch them on camera.

I've edited the pictures to spare you the most embarrassing behaviour! We seem to have record numbers this year - I did try to make a head count but they weren't cooperating and the shy ones kept diving undercover when my shadow loomed too close.

It was very pleasant to sit in the spring sunshine and eat a banana and lemon curd breakfast sandwich. (I never claimed to have sophisticated tastes!) Fascinating as the wild life is, I did manage to tear myself away eventually. Today's plan was to work on the altered moth book some more. It's getting pleasingly full now. I like nothing more than a book so generous and fat that it won't close!

I'm enjoying the best bit of the process now - the time at the end when I go through the pages adding little finishing touches that will hopefully bring the whole thing together.

It's just the same when I make a quilt - the final embellishing is what I enjoy most.

Hope you're having a burst of spring creativity right now too. Thanks for reading - Linda

Sunday 4 March 2012

March already!

Another week gone and I struggle to remember what I've done with the days! I do remember escaping the office to see Laura's painting hanging at the RBSA. The gallery looked wonderful as usual.

And Laura's painting was well placed between two excellent prints and some very large apples beautifully rendered in oil pastel.

I'm still crossing things off my list of unfinished business. The altered moth book is getting lots of attention lately.

I've been using my favourite oil pastels with watercolour wash on top of a layer of white gesso for this threatening beastie.

When the frustration of waiting for paint to dry gets too much to bear I start on another book! This is a detail of the one I've shown you recently. Another work in progress with lots of windows.

Some of the pages of the moth book are quite sombre but that's because I'm thinking of pale moths fluttering in the night sky.

It's scheduled as a video for DMTV soon so I better get and finish it!

Thanks for visiting - I appreciate it! Linda