Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Catch Up is Going Well!

First of all I did something I've never done before, I used the keys to do some rust dyeing.

I laid them out with a few wisps of steel wool on vinegar soaked cotton.

Put them to one side covered overnight.

And washed and ironed the following day. 

I used two pieces of PFD poplin and two of the 440 count Egyptian cotton that is available.  They both behaved when it came to taking the rust but, as usual the Egyptian I find too dense, too fussy and too hard to iron decently to be bothered with again.  I'm pleased with the patterns and will try again once the keys have rusted up with a little more thought to how they are wrapped.  The first use and vinegar does seem to clean them!

I started the Felting course after this lot arrived.

My sample results are below.  Shading.


Still lots to learn especially with technique but it's interesting!  And I seen to be losing weight on my wrists from all the rolling and my bracelets now slip off which they have never done before!

As for other things...

1) I think the number one slot in The List is always going to be another piece of clothing of some sort for Olivia!  I will keep this updated.  At the moment it’s yet another cardie from the Jumping Jellybeans book. 

2) Mystery Item No 1.  Is still waiting

4) Mystery No 2. Finished this one!! I will show you after Christmas!!

5) Mystery No 3. Still waiting

6) Mystery No 4. Also still waiting.

7) The Travellers Blanket I have done a little on mainly after the Halloween quilt was finished and I was still in evening stitch mode and pre another knit mode.

8) The hand pieced Hexi is not far from finishing now. Well the top at least. I am waiting for the lightbulb about how to quilt.  

9) My Tweets.  Nothing yet.

10) Ricky Tims’ Lady of Shalott now has the threads and so there should be no excuse other than time to start this.

11) Aunt Sukey can wait at the bottom for a bit.

So a bit of movement there which I am pleased about.  It's growing shorter!! 

On the more domestic front I have covered a cushion for my studio chair.

And made some bumpers for Ruger's bed.

And I have a footstool to cover next.

Tummy ulcers have decided to flare up again and causing problems so I'm on a bit of a go slow again until the energy levels rise.  At least the knitting and hand sewing can be done on the sofa!  

I'm a bit sad I missed Ally Pally this year and I hope all of you who went enjoyed yourselves! 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

France Part Deux

I bought several things whilst in France.  Couple of my favourites were this group of keys for 4€, the squares on my very dirty ironing pad are in inches.  

And in La Galcante I asked if he had any written material rather than printed and he dug out a couple of boxes.  I found two 1 inch thick document wallets full of 19th C hand written estate documents including inventories and bills, all very exciting even though I can't read most of it.  Also a couple of little books, I was mindful of luggage weight, including an 1814 Le Chansonnnier de Graces full of verses and music.

In Durfort we did several more markets and visits out and about, its a very lovely part of France.  The lessons Keith gave us were quite in depth and he also challenged us to first of all make something with three items.  One thing we had found in France, one from a table of objects we had all donated to and one thing we had brought with us.  We were also not allowed to use anything else as a fixing only what was a part of those three items.  Very hard!

My first on the left was using a donated locket sphere as a bauble, a piece of found copper and a clock part.  With a bit of bending and tweaking it eventually become a ring, of sorts anyway but it is very wearable.  The second piece was a brooch made with a donated draughts piece, a found piece of shale and copper wire I brought and this moves whilst wearing.  The third piece has another locket sphere clamped around another clock part after a little adaptation and another piece of shale, this is unfinished as I wasn't quite sure where I was going with it!

Another thing I put together was an old cigar tin with some clock parts, filigree and wirework. I heated the cigar tin until the paint came off and left some interesting marks on the metal.  I had to really brush up on my riveting to fix the cogs and filigree in place!

The beaten wire was used as a stand.  I was going to suspend things inside so you could see them moving through the holes.

I wanted to go on this trip to see how Keith does his work.  His pieces are rather fascinating and I wanted to know what the draw was.  After doing my pieces above I was becoming a little frustrated.  I knew I like what Keith does and I know I have most of the skills to do them myself but I wasn't enjoying making the items.

Then Keith did a quick lesson on mobiles.  One person who highly influenced him when he first started on his creative journey was Alexander Calder and Keith learned the art of mobile making and the tricks involved with lots and lots of practise.  I was fascinated.

I made two of the easy wire ones first and I have a part made table one yet to be finished. (They are very hard to photograph so sorry!).

Another of Keith's challenges was to make something autobiographical.  Well I didn't go quite that far but I did try and make something that represented that holiday.  This has first of all a fossil sharks tooth, there is a lot of prehistoric monuments in this part of France.  Next was a pearl I bought in Paris which sort of stands for the opulence and splendour of that city.  I then had a little clock face for the time spent there and a stack of beads for the creative people I was with especially Linda who organised it all as they came from her.  Finally there is an old key for the old things we were using and trying to create into something new.

The second one I made I used parts of two bracelets I bought with shields and emblems of the regions of France.

I had at last found something that gave me an inner peace to make and I wasn't fighting against.  A relief.  I still have to finish the other table one and I know how I can use them to make more interesting ones.  I was quite sad to find I couldn't settle to make the other items but we all have things that we have to push ourselves to do.

Meanwhile back to The List....

The hand quilted Halloween quilt for Olivia has been finished.

And the little Bolero cardie has too though it needs blocking.

The list is shrinking!  I feel all these things are like painting by numbers and not terribly creative as such but while that muse still seems to be on holiday somewhere without me I will take advantage and press on clearing the backlog!

Finally I treated my studio to a new dog bed as I kept tripping over the last one.  I think it's a hit don't you?

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Trip to France

The trip to France over the past couple of weeks went really well and was great fun.  Of course I missed John and the dogs immensely but with the wonders of modern technology like Facetime and Find My Friend he was able to follow my adventures which actually made me feel quite safe especially when I was out and about alone.

I arrived in Paris Orly and made my way across the city to the hotel to find they had no booking for me. There was a bit of confusion about who was sharing with whom etc and after a lot of walking and phoning around I actually found a lovely hotel about 50 metres away from the others. The nice receptionist was even kind enough to upgrade me from the little room I had booked to a rather nice suite.

After settling we all met up for dinner.  There was Linda Larsen the organiser, Keith Lo Bue the tutor artist, seven Americans, an Australian and me, lots of chatter and swaps of what we did and were hoping to do.  Most of the week was site seeing, sometimes I ventured out alone, sometimes with one or two of the others or as a small group.  

As I arrived on the Monday I had missed the weekend main markets but I did visit Les Passages Panoramas, Jouffrey and Verdeau.

We found a few old books and papers but Keith found an enormous tomb full of wonderful text for a relatively modest sum.  The frontispiece dated it to 1618.  An amazing thing to touch and hold. 

Found antique bookshops like La Galcante with Keith.

The Catacombes which were an amazing eye opener.

Over 6 million skeletons perfectly placed.  You can find more photos online.

As well as all the usual places like Place de la Concorde, Eiffel, Pompidou, Musee de Cluny and many others I even found a few bead stores!

For the second week we had to travel down to Toulouse but because of the Air France pilot strike plans had to change rather rapidly!  TGV here we came along with many other displaced travellers.  Aren't they amazing looking trains?  Even with all the super hype about their speed they can still only reach top speed for the short distance between Paris and Tours, the rest of the time they are fast but not as fast as they could be. 

Eventually we arrived at the beautiful, tiny and artful village of Durfort for our retreat stay. 

I had a lovely room in the attic of La Cascade with it's own balcony.

The village is well known for its leather and copper there there were many demonstrations going on by apprentices the weekend we arrived.

A show and tell of all the things bought in Paris.

Michelle from Australia working away next to me.  She also came to stay with us for a couple of days afterwards too! 

And the beautiful, lively, aromatic and very well served weekly market in Soreze.

It was a great two weeks. I was exhausted most of the time with my Withings telling me I was doing around 15000 steps a day around Paris which is 8 or 9 miles and I'm not a walker!  The group work was very interesting and I learned a lot least of all about what I like making myself.  I will try and photograph the little I did later.