Thursday, 28 May 2015

Travelling Sketchbooks April - Alphonse Mucha

So my inspiration for my Travelling Sketchbook for April came from my recent visit to Prague in the Czech Republic. Known for its excellent beer, an ornate 9th century castle dominating the landscape and the most wonderful buildings and architecture dating as far back as medieval times, Prague was  home to Alphonse Mucha, a late 19th and early 20th Century Art Nouveau painter. His style of painting influenced an entire generation of painters, graphic artists, draughtsmen and designers and  in the minds of many, his work epitomises the Art Nouveau.

This is a watercolour I did of one of Mucha's distinctive designs.

Which led to this piece in stitch. 

I used layers of calico, wadding, even a kitchen towel which I had used to blot and clean up my paints. These were then covered with a layer of  muslin and I then machine embroidered the poppy design. 

Prague is one of the most beautiful and cultured cities in the world and the historical capital of Bohemia. With its many art galleries and museums to visit, the Mucha Museum is just one of them and not to be missed along with the Prague Beer Museum for its excellent beer of course!  

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Travelling Sketchbooks March - A Good Beginning

As you know I love working in my sketchbooks and I always have 4 or 5 on the go at any one time, switching between them using a combination of stitch, watercolour and acrylic paints, printing, text and collage to name but a few and I try each day to set aside time to complete a page or two. I find it very relaxing even if it is just to put a watercolour wash on a couple of pages ready for a creative technique to go over the top.

I am very excited though about a collaborative project I became involved with starting in March of this year with six other members of  Solihull Embroiderers' Guild called Travelling Sketchbooks.  We each started off with our own sketchbook, putting in a piece of our own stitched work including our inspiration source which could be a photo, a picture, a poem, a memory etc. then at each of our monthly meetings we hand the book over to the next person on the list and the book goes off on its travels, the idea being that at the end of the summer, I will receive my own book back with work from the rest of the group inside. We settled on using a Pink Pig 8" x 8" sketchbook each which contain good quality paper ideal for painting, collage and stitching as you can see above where I have stitched a cutting from a 1930s vintage magazine direct onto the page.  

The left hand page is a piece of  'Texture Magic' fabric, a steam-activated shrinking fabric which when stitched and then shrunk creates a wonderful textured surface.  For the stitching I used a twin-needle in random patterns and then shrank with a steam-iron hovered close over the fabric but being careful not to touch directly. I then hand-dyed the piece using Procion MX dyes I had mixed myself and then put in small plastic spray bottles bought from Boots, in order to spray the fabric rather than immerse. I used various colours which mixed to give a subtle rainbow palette.

For this page I cut petal shaped pieces of calico which were 'Bondawebbed' onto scrim, placed into an embroidery hoop and then randomly machine zig-zagged which gives this lovely lacey effect.
Rather than just stick or stitch the piece to the page I cut a window first and then stitched the piece behind the window. I decorated the page using a wooden block and acrylic paint to give it more of a frame.

Before my book went off on its travels I also made a cover for it from scraps of old jeans and embroidered it inviting members to be creative and to use a variety of techniques. I admit I am a bit late in posting about the travelling sketchbook scheme as I did these pages back in March. I have since had April and May's books and sent them off on their merry way but will tell you about those very soon.  Time for bed! Happy stitching.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Monday, 4 May 2015

Journeys #2 & #3 - Punchings & Aboriginal Art

Here are the next two journeys in my rail ticket challenge. 

Using a large and small hole punch to create negative and positive. 

Taking my inspiration from the aboriginal art of Australian artist Tim Johnson, here I used a cotton bud dipped in white acrylic.