Inspiration, failures and linocuts.

In the past few of years I have done several classes with my local Guild, The Gold Coast Quilters Guild Inc.  Some have been good and some have been OK and most have introduced me to complicated and unnecessary techniques that in the long run I will never use again.  However there were two tutors who really opened my eyes to the possibilities!  They are Helen Godden, and Sue Spargo.  In the Helen Godden class I painted my own drawing from memory, that is the objects were not in front of me, nor were there any pictures or photos of the items.  I learned how to manipulate paint on fabric and that I could, I also learned that free motion quilting is really easy on a smaller piece!  With Sue Spargo I rediscovered the joy of stitching and got to embellish to my hearts content, I discovered wool applique, needle-felting, how to bead with embroidery stitches and that its really fun to do your own thing and mix up the fabrics.

These two tutors led me on a long path of discovery and eventually I have found Linda and Laura Kemshall and their TV programmes – DMTV, which I now subscribe to, and am in the process of watching all the archives that are still available. Linda and Laura are a mother and daughter team in the UK who both have Arts degrees but make you believe you don’t need one!  Now I believe that all things are possible and that I can do some of the things that in the past I felt I couldn’t for whatever reason.  So now through all of these people and a lot of Googling and note-taking and drawing I have come up with a theme for my Quiltsitters Challenge quilt for 2011. I have even come up with a plan to design and make my own fabric, to do this I have to learn how to do screen printing, lino-cut printing, dyeing with procion mx dyes and then finally I will be able to make a quilt that meets the requirements of the challenge.  I can’t really tell you what my theme is because all of that is really meant to be kept a secret so that people will come to the quilt show in July.

I have posted photos of the little Cotman Watercolour set that Sally gave me when I was in the UK in October, one of the set and one of my drawing of it.  I now keep an A4 sketchbook beside me when I am at the computer I make notes of things I need to look up and websites that look interesting while I am on the computer and also do a lot of doodling and drawing, designing etc. usually with just a pencil, but the picture of the leaf is done with the set of Inktense water colour pencils that Laraine gave me.  I thought by putting some pictures up of my drawing attempts you would feel better about your own drawings.  Apparently its all about practice and seeing!  The tree beside the leaf is a purchased rubber stamp.

In the past week I have been busy with my Sydney friends who were up here for the week so did not get as much done as I would have liked.  However I did a few things that failed.  The first was a play with some” idyes” which I had made up in some glass jars in a concentrated form and put them away for a couple of months.  I squirted them around on some left over batting (cotton) they looked OK until I washed them.  They are in the bin.  Some things just are not even worth taking a photo of!  The other thing I did was play with some walnut shells.  I had read that ground up walnut shells make a great pin cushion filler.  After much research I eventually found pure ground up walnuts, Black English Walnuts to be exact, labelled ‘Lizard Litter’.  Good for Lizards because if they eat it, it won’t kill them.  I found a recipe to make walnut ink on the web and while making it threw in a little bit of fabric.  The Ink was not strong enough to behave as an ink but the little bit of fabric that boiled with the shells for an hour is ok!  There is a photo of the result. Not bad, but I have some Walnut Ink crystals – from a good scrap-booking shop, which I will try next.  They use walnut ink in the movies to make the costumes look old, and in scrapbooking to make the paper look old.  It is non-toxic and lightfast!  What I really need are some walnuts that have fallen from the tree with their green hulls still on, then I can make pickled walnuts and walnut ink!  Does anyone out there have a walnut tree?

I have also posted a photo of a lino cut that I have nearly finished, just need to tidy it up a bit more.  I can use this for rubbings for pencil or shiva paintsticks, I can stamp with it with stamping ink or thickened procion mx dyes and I am sure there are 59 other things I can use it for as well.  The last time Idid this I was in Art Class in the 4th form and I was 13!  Its meditative, and hurts your hands, but definitely worthwhile, and it is my own artwork.

In my searching around the internet i found two other textile artists who are quite interesting if I can figure out how I will add them to my side list.

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One Comment on “Inspiration, failures and linocuts.”

  1. karen says:

    Jen your blog is inspiring. Reading it makes me think of my journey in quilting and how it is a joy to try new techniques to gain the outcome that we’ve visualised.


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