Monday, 26 December 2011

Great Jumpers of our Time No 3 - Sara Lund in The Killing

Sara Lund's Faroese jumper from the Killing.  The jumper is the star.

Merry Christmas One and All

Here's our Santa at rather a jaunty angle

He's maybe had a bit too much sherry on his way round the neighbourhood


Sunday, 25 December 2011

Great Jumpers of our Time No 2 - Colin Firth

And as it's Christmas thought I would give you a real treat with the delectable Colin Firth and his  Rudolph jumper in Bridget Jones's Diary when he turns up at Una Alconbury's New Year's Day turkey curry buffet.  Merry Christmas everyone!



Great Jumpers of our Time No 1 - Howard & Hilda

Woolly Bully got me thinking about jumpers or sweaters whichever camp you happen to belong to. (Bit like frocks and dresses really).  Husband calls them pullovers and my dear old dad referred to them as ganseys or jerseys.  Anyhow I got to thinking of iconic jumpers of our time and who can forget Howard and Hilda from Ever Decreasing Circles. Just the most devoted couple ever, so much so that they always wore matching sweaters and you can't really knock them for that.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Solihull College Pre-Degree Show Private View 14.12.11

Great time was had by all I think both by visitors and participants.  Ray, our trustee caretaker at The Works clocked around 140 visitors on the evening which was pretty good going despite it being a cold December night and a little bit off the beaten track. Here is a sample of some of the work on display including of course my own work:


Housewife - High Value, Low Cost

Housewife (Detail)

Housewife (detail)
Try to Do Better II (Embroidered Applique on Husband's shirt)
Try to do Better II (detail)
Try to do Better I

Try to do Better I (detail)
Work of Maria Burleigh


Maureen Bannister
 Laura Jackson
Amanda Elliott
Andrew Smith


Carly Withers
My 3 pieces of work




Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Pre-Degree Show - Set-up Day

Andrew Smith

Maria Burleigh with Janet's help


Good old Dave!


My Housewife apron

Everything starting to take shape
Maureen and her blessed stapler

Looking good

Yesterday was set-up day and goodness it's really come round quickly.  A really good atmosphere I thought with everyone mucking in and helping each other.  Many thanks to Dave for help with putting up my work. I really am a wuss when it comes to drills.  I can honestly say I've never held a drill in my life - am quite terrified of them and I don't know why.  I'm just a helpless girlie and leave all that to the menfolk.  How pathetic is that?   Thanks as well to  Kevin for loan of spirit levels, tape measures etc.   Felt it all went very well and once everyone's work was in place the gallery looked really good.  Just hope Arlene & Phil are as enthusiastic.  Weight off mine and everyone elses's to finally instal the work after many weeks of planning. Looking forward to the Private View on the 14th.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Woolly Bully - Knit Graffiti

Walking through the Bull Ring I spotted the Bull getting his new Christmas sweater.  Turns out it was Stitches and Hos Knitting group in Kings Heath doing a spot of Knit Graffiti on our Brummie Bull. Would you believe I belong to this group but have never actually been. I could have been part of this!  You know sometimes I have an overwhelming urge to just pick up my pins and knit but there's always something that gets in the way like making sandwiches or cooking dinner.  No wonder its taken me 20 years to knit a fairisle cardigan. Now I just need to sew it together - not another 20 years I hope. Can't believe everywhere I look in the shops there's Fairisle and Nordic knits - they went out of fashion and now back in. I think we can blame Sara Lund in The Killing for that.  Oh how I love a good woolly jumper - its what makes winter so worthwhile - that and casseroles and stews.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Solihull Artists' Forum

Having joined the Solihull Artists' Forum (SAF) back in the summer its really exciting to see the newly built website with my art work featured on there.   SAF is a group of professional artists based in and around Solihull who meet and raise awareness of art in the community.  We have exhibitions and monthy talks to encourage the development of members and promote their work. There is also an annual art trail which is like an open studio event where people visit SAF artists in their own homes and studios to view and talk about their work.
The Cycle of Life



Awash with Laundry





 











Our Pre-Degree Show has also got a mention on the SAF website.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Works Gallery - Choosing our Spaces.

Went along on Thursday to view the gallery and sort out our spaces.  Anyway we have provisonally chosen spaces but difficult to know exactly how much space each of us will take up.  Should be better on set-up day.  It gets nearer and nearer and time is running out. Can't believe its only on Friday now.  Getting a bit panicky now to say the least as there is so much to do both for the show and for the assessment. 


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Do you have a CD you can add to my birdscarer?

I have a birdscarer in my garden which is made up of unwanted CDs. CDs I either bought on a whim, went through a phase with a particular band or artist and now I can't stand them, CDs bought on the strength of one song (always a bad mistake - once did that with a Smiths album) ones I feel completely embarassed about having in my collection or they may be associated with not very good times and I can't bear to play them anymore. I hang them on a long string between 2 bamboo canes and they dangle over my vegetable plot happily keeping the birds away from the seeds I have planted - the sunlight reflected off them is what keeps the birds away in case you wondered.

Have you got a CD you would like to add to my Birdscarer?  For reasons of practicality this can of course only be a Virtual Birdscarer but if you have any nominations you would like to submit then please add them in the comments below - with a picture if possible.

My current candidate for my Birdscarer is a John Barrowman CD I bought when I was going through a John Barrowman phase.  At the time he seemed to be popping up everywhere - Torchwood, Dr Who, Skating on Ice, looking for Marias and Nancys. I couldn't get enough of him and I do admit I quite fancied him so  thought I would take a punt on his CD.

Big mistake!  Problem was he sounds a lot like Sir Cliff and I just couldn't separate Batchelor Boy with Captain Jack so hence he's been relegated to my birdscarer.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Image Transfer & Wax Experiments/Making of the Housewife Apron


Have been working with image transfer which is always a bit of a challenge.  The holy grail being the perfect way to transfer an image onto fabric without too much faffing about.  There are lots of techniques but by far the best one that worked for me in the end was direct transfer of an image onto calico fed through an ink jet printer.  Took a lot of courage to press the START button as the last time I had tried this last year I nearly broke the printer which happened to be new.  Husband was none the wiser but had to do battle with the printer to try and get the dam piece of calico out of the machine.  Didn't seem to want to let it go but eventually won and printer escaped unharmed.

This time round I had done my homework and researched the exact process which I found in a Stitch magazine.  The trick is to use 505 temporary adhesive to glue an A4 sized piece of calico onto A4 printer paper.  Place the calico about 1cm below the top edge of the paper and then fold down over the fabric. Place the glued paper and fabric into the feeder tray of the printer, insert your image on scanner bed and then press start.  I was really pleased with the result.  Just a bit was missed off the top left hand corner but I can maybe draw that in.  My intention is to sew this onto my apron.

Had a go at the water spray method too which was a bit of a disaster and I've ended up getting printer ink all over my Cath Kidston ironing board cover. Sod!  The technique is that you spray the piece of fabric with water, then place your printed ink jet image face down and iron over the top remembering to protect your iron with baking parchment to protect the sole plate.  This I duly did but forgot about underneath the fabric and this unfortunately bled onto the iron board.   If using text you have to reverse your image so that it printe the correct way round.

My ruined Cath Kidston ironing board cover

This technique is OK if you want a watery image but no good if you want sharp results.  Not to be repeated this time round.

Also experimenting with waxing paper using melted candles.  I rubbed a candle over the hot plate of the iron.  NB this wasn't my best Bosch iron.  I had bought a bog standard cheapie from Sainsbo's.  Just the trick for this and I had set up the workbench in the garage as it gets a bit messy to say the least.


Here I had melted the wax over empty tea bags filled with cut out pieces from vintage Woman's Weeklys.



For the apron I have used a vintage antimacassar and tray cloth sewn together to form the basic shape of an apron.  With a water soluble marker I traced the Housewife image in the style of the old 'Omo' washing powder - the iconic blue and red star burst. I decided to quilt the bib and then use vermicelli stitch to make the lettering and the star burst stand out. Vermicelli stitch is one long meandering line of stitch and the secret is never to touch or cross over the stitching.  Effective but time consuming and tedious to do. 


 I embroidered a picture of my newly cleaned bathroom onto the antimacassar which is the skirt of the apron. I used stitch and tear to stabilise the linen so it could be embroidered.  I decided to incorporate the original embroidery into the image so I just kind of ignored them when I was stitching.

What the hell happened here?  I used water soluble marker at first to draw the image then changed my mind and drew the picture on 'stitch and tear'. In the meantime I had to get rid of the marker by sponging off with water which I did but there was still a bit left which kind of goes into water marks.  I was such a dope here; why didn't I get rid of it all before I stitched the image onto the stitch and tear because what happened then was the water picked up the drawn image on the stitch and tear and above is the result.  What a sodding mess.  This didn't come off and what made matters worse it turned sort of yellow which  looked absolutely bloody brilliant on the white linen.  I ended up having to paint over the inky mess with white acrylic.  There is no accounting for this kind of eventuality.   You think something is going to be quite simple and then you encounter problems like this.  As much as I find using the soluble marker really simple when it comes to getting rid of it with water it can be quite erratic.  Think a lot of it is down to the fabric you use but its widely used by textile artists in quilt making so they obviously don't find it a problem.  

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Draw Paint Video Install @ The Custard Factory

Went to see my friend Wendy Smith in her group exhibition at the Custard Factory called Draw Paint Video Install. Wendy's work is very intriguing.  She explores the relationship with common objects and the meanings that emerge from small experiences. I loved her piece where she has turned the cover of a leather bound book into a pair of leather gloves - the fingers of the gloves clasped together. 

The two other artists taking part are Saranjit Birdi whose drawings are of life classes he attended at the Friends Institute in Moseley and Penny Mason's exploration of elements of natural landscape placed in an abstract context.
The exhibition continues until Saturday.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Laser Cut Printing on an Antediluvian Press



I cut an image from the Woman's Magazine from November 1930 onto a piece of plywood using the Laser Cutter then with a roller painted over it with waterbased printing ink. 


Using an ancient press that Bob had got lying around the 3D studio I printed the image onto a mixture of calico, canvas and cartridge paper.


 The press looked as if it had seen better days. What a bloody shame the college got rid of the old London press which had a rolling drum. Apparently it had been broken up for scrap.  Mmmmmmm!!?   Anyway beggers can't be choosers and here are the results which seem not bad. 

Show this to your husband


I am thinking of sewing the ones on canvas/calico onto an apron/quilt for the Pre-Degree Show. We'll see anyway as I need to do some experimenting and not quite sure yet whether to make the apron out of tea towels or my vintage anitimacassars.