Wednesday 28 January 2009

Silly Windings

Well, this is a bit better - I'm aiming for a twice a week blog. It's really an excuse for a bit of a sit down as the most awful cold has struck - one of those where you get a sore throat and a cough for no extra charge. I can't complain as it has been ages since I had one

Shall we start with a little video. One of my students, on a course in Devon, invented this way of wrapping pipe cleaners. I think I need more practice - it's much easier to do when driving the bobbin winding speed with the foot control, rather than the auto wind. I was too lazy to go and find mine. I thought you might have a laugh at this.

I shall catch up with comments (many thanks everyone) next time because I want to experiment with this really silly movie.
I have been playing a lot with pipe cleaners. I love wrapping them. This is a piece that I made for the Catalogue Killers Challenge, which I'm posting up tomorrow. It is a way to use up all the pieces I made doing gesso, stamped tyvek and cast paper demos at the K&S show. All in the TT book.

Here is a detail.

And another.

There is terrible trouble with Smudge whenever pipe cleaners are around and he much prefers wrapped ones. He was discovered dragging this piece into his lair.

Having said to my friend Anita that I was tempted to put this under the heading 'I bet Jan Beaney doesn't have this trouble', I remembered that she has a cat, too. You can see his vampire teeth in this pic - no wonder Stevens got so thin - he was probably going for her neck.

Friday 23 January 2009

CDROM and a Trip to London

Aussie Jo - the cast paper was, for once, proper paper-makers stuff. You buy cotton linters and soak them before liquidising. I can't usually be bothered but Jane kindly brought in some ready mixed pulp for our group to play with. It is not so precise as the water-soluble paper but is better for the heavy stuff.

Wendy - we used to play that game of 'I don't want my egg'. Must be learned behaviour from our own childhood. I hope our grandkids will do it with their kids, too. Such is immortality!

Glad to help, Judy. I do like the Golden paints. Their ordinary acrylics are good but the Fluid and the Interference ones are magic.

Heather - love the Grenadier Guards, great idea. Didn't see the bit about the soft-toy-bringing cat but a new sponge appeared the other day. Smudge has been to boot camp - a sleep-over with my daughter as we were away. He gets put in his place by his mum and dad and has slept all day today.

Teresa - I bet you are having such a great time with Dale. i have enjoyed doing the freebie on-line course - they have produced some wonderful work. I am about to post the next lesson - a challenge. I'll be sure to show you the results.

Talking of Dale I have just ordered some Starburst Stains from her. They arrived from Oz in under a week and were cheaper than I can get them over here. Because they ship as dry powder they are cheap to send.

She slipped this little hand charm (I'm sure she has them in stock) in my package - she knows I collect them for my altered book - the handbook.


I will have to paint it with alcohol inks to get it the same colour as this one. It looks too new otherwise.



This reminds me of some of the work Jane Wild did for our Paper & Beyond CD, now re-available. You can see some of the exciting things it contains by clicking HERE There's an order form there, too.

Flagrant plug for CDROM follows.


We have had so many people asking for it that we have had a few more burned. It contains some great ideas for surface decoration - here's Jane again with ink and bleach ideas.



Me with a polymer clay workshop.



Be careful if you have already got this CDROM as the cover is very slightly different - you don't need to buy it twice. It has benefited from one of Michael's photos - he's so good at these close-ups.


The CD looks the same - one of Jane's inky bleachies with an Art Nouveau theme.



Advert over - back to the blog:

We went to London yesterday and met up with Chris (over from America) and Ruby and Ian Lever. Ruby and I had both taught the group that Chris helps to run in the USA. We met at the British Museum and had a bit of a drool over the Sutton Hoo treasure. Then we went to the Babylon exhibition which we all thought was a little disappointing. The artefacts were awe inspiring but there weren't too many of them and there was a lot of padding. Maybe we have culture fatigue and just expect too much. Has anyone else seen it?

This tiled wall was terrific.



On the way home, there was an awful accident on the motorway. The traffic was squeezing by, but the ambulances were still hurtling up the other carriageway. There was only one rescue car there with a bemused looking chap. You feel so humble and wish you could help. It does put the economic situation into perspective. We drove the rest of the way home very carefully.

I have got on really well with WoW and Quiltwow and am resolved to blog more often. Have fallen by the wayside lately.

Saturday 17 January 2009

Not a Stitchy Week

I've just re-read last week's blog and note that I was going to have a stitchy week. Well, I've used the machine once - and I just don't know what happened to the week. It went. I have had a tidy up in the studio and in my work cupboard.

Will have to get stitching next week as I have to finish the last of the free lessons that go with the book. The lessons will be there for ever but the Yahoo group will only be here for another month or so, depending on how folk get on with the last lesson. Page for page, I think the lessons are bigger than the book. I got a bit carried away.

Cyber Fyber has been a huge hit and I'm so pleased for Susan. She deserves it. She told me that Binary Humanity had been used to advertise the exhibition in a newspaper. I'm thrilled.

Comments on comments:

Heather - lots can be done with black bin bags. Di Goodison wrote a great tutorial in Quiltwow on using them for bags. You'd never guess the origin.

Edie - I did wonder about the reference to soldiers as it's very much a Brit thing. When small children have soft boiled eggs, they have toast with them, cut into strips and these are called soldiers. They are dipped in the egg yolk. Gary's menu described them as soldiers but these were the posh version - sandwiched with melted cheese. Oh Lord, now I'm so hungry - I'd kill for a boiled egg and soldiers. Some people grow out of them but I never have. I am trying to eat healthy food in an effort to move the Christmas bulge.

cowpaddocksjulie - love that name. Hope you enjoy the book.

Cat warning - there's a Smudge story at the end. Optional reading.

Several people asked what paint I used on the cast paper in last week's blog and, as I am making a similar piece, I thought I'd do a Lynda and step-by step it.

This is mostly a Jane Wild technique and I'm painting the casts of the Buddha I made when she brought some paper pulp into class. I remember that someone asked about the mould and I intended to take some pics of the mould-making process. It is just Softsculpt, a thick 'memory foam' which can be heated (with care) and then has something firm pressed into it to make a mould. So it was wrapped around a statue to make this shape. I'll demo in the next blog.

I started by painting the cast paper with gesso to seal it. Otherwise it absorbs loads of paint.

Then I painted it with Burnt Umber acrylic paint for a deep toned base. At one time, I used black but Jane converted me.

The next step is to paint with gold acrylic paint. Metallic wax can be used but it's more expensive.

This must be left overnight to dry out. Then it's on with some of those wonderful Golden fluid paints. plus a bit of interference oxide for greeny tones.


These paints are very sheer - more like a varnish and I love the way they lay on metallic surfaces. I'm especially fond of the turquoise which leans toward green when the gold comes through.


I use my fingers to spread and merge the colours.


Here's the final result, although I'll probably add a little metallic wax, dark or light, when it is dry.

I have three of these and am making three small pieces for my dining room. Something for me, for once. Here are the three - I like it that they are all slightly different.


This is a piece of Jane's where the cast paper is attached to scrim at the soggy stage. I plan to use scrim, but over some metal and, just possibly, some black bin liner.


I promised a Smudge story, here it is.

Since Cat Stevens made her great recovery she has been out hunting. Very small mouseskis are sometimes left for us as presents in the morning. Smudge has been watching this process but, as he is not allowed out at night, he hasn't quite got the idea. There was a great deal of noise coming from the cat flap and, when I investigated, he was coming in backwards, dragging something enormous through the hole. My heart was in my mouth - what creature was this?

With great pride he offered me his booty - one of Mr Next Door's very old, very wet, rather smelly, car washing sponges! To add insult to injury, he brought it back in three times after I threw it over the fence. So now it's in our garage and we've stolen it. What an idiot that cat is.

Must go now - I'm off to have a boiled egg and soldiers.

Monday 12 January 2009

Gary Rhodes

Thanks for all the comments - it's always so good to hear from you folks.

Genie - glad you found your comment. I used all the messages in one or other piece so everyone is there but maybe not easy to see - a bit like the internet, really.

Good to meet you Cathy and Cheryl - hope you drop in again.

Several people asked how I made the Binary Humanity piece and I found this photo of it at the half way stage.

The base is a piece of heavy Vilene with a black rubbish bag over the top. This is because I was stitching on metal shim and the white shows through if you stitch straight on the Vilene. I usually use black fabric but I was away from home and had to use what I could find, so this was the table cover. Then I glued on the cast paper (most of it made by Jane Wild, such a lovely friend) and did lots of machining to bed it in.

I painted the faces with Burnt Umber acrylic, then copper metallic wax. When this was dry, I floated some Golden liquid acrylics over the top to add colour.

My bum, leg etc. is better, thank you, and I am having a stitching week, starting tomorrow. Hooray. Just a little desk work to edit some Workshop on the Web stuff and I shall be making with the sewing machine for the last of the on-line classes, later this month. I have loved doing these and they've made some wonderful stuff. Here is a piec of Carol McFee's work. I haven't asked her but I'm sure she won't mind. Isn't it great?

Went out to a new Gary Rhodes place for lunch the other day and it was fabulous. I'll tell more next time but I must give yuu the conundrum of Clive's starter. It was a soft boiled egg with a crusty crunchy outside - perfect for soldiers inside (they were rocquefort soldiers, of course). The inside was perfect!! I'm puzzled.

Wednesday 7 January 2009

Cyber Fyber

The Cyber Fyber exhibition is going great guns. Look at the link below for pics from the invited artists. Click to enlarge mine and you may see your message to me about blogging. If it didn't fit in BinaryHumanity it will be rolled up in a pigeon hole in the Digital Reliqary. I did use all of them.

I so wish that I could have got to the exhibition - wonderful work and all the postcards and ATCs are magic. My piece is below.

Jane Wild was papermaking at Beyond Stitch yesterday and I borrowed her buddha mould and made three face pieces.

I have an idea for a triptych piece for a blank spot on my dining room wall. Watch this space.

Thanks for all the New Year wishes. I was going to get all retrospective in my last blog and do a mini review of the highs and lows of the year but then Clive brought my tea in and now the moment has passed. Always easily diverted by food.

Julie - who could resist - it's bound to come in handy.

Hippoipi - Is that the mappa mundi cathedral? If so, then I've been there and loved it.

Did the liming wax Heather and it's lifted it. Good advuce.

Thanks for all the feedback on stuff, very useful. Anna - I'm quite determined to buy very little this year - apart from some Moonshadow Mists and other essential supplies.

Don't see Smudge as a 'growing out of it' sort of cat Judy. His latest exploit was to steal a large, wet sponge from my neighbour (who is a builder) and drag it in through the cat flap. I removed it , he brought it back and this went on all evening.

Gill - good resolution - I've been making more stuff lately - some for the exhibition and some for the online class. It's been a great excuse.

Olga - what a great idea - Ready, Steady, Stitch - must work out a way to do it. what about if we all went on-line together and made something? With a Yahoo group to post our step-by steps. Only problem is the timing as we're all stretched around the world.

Hey, Wabbit - another group for stuff? Possibly, or maybe something quite different - I have ideas.

Margaret - today I have no energy but a pain in the bum and leg. Good excuse for a bit of web surfing on the sofa,

Kate - I was thinking of adding some recycling elements to the 'stuff' book. We have a great resource locally - the scrap store. Last time I went I got loads of goodies, but another time it will have nothing to offer.

Must go now as Mr Tesco has arrived with the shopping - the bad bum/leg was a great excuse to order on line.

Thursday 1 January 2009

Happy New Year

Thank you all so much for the good wishes. It felt so good to receive them all. From the things that were said about the church, it seems such a shame that congregations aren't as warm as blogging communities. There is so much conflict in the name of religion.

Loved the Akita pic, but the cats have decided on a 'no dogs' rule so I won't get one yet.

Jackie - I'll nudge Elli about blogging but not sure that she'll get back to it.

I do hope that you all have a wonderful year. I think it will be a testing one for all of us and we'll all have to watch the pennies a bit more. My next book was going to be called 'What to make with what you've got' - all about using the stash and not buying more. Jane Wild suggested just calling it 'Stuff' - a great idea but perhaps not immediately understandable. I've settled for a working title of Slips and Patches - The Essential Guide to Stuff. Not too sure that that is any more comprehensible.

Anyway - to catch you up with happenings chez grey: the pagan lunch was huge fun with lovely food, Christmas was great and the panto was hysterical. Smudge's role was replaced by a guest appearance from Jake's hamster which was a more reliable presence but a worry that it might become the cat's Christmas dinner.

A very happy event was a post Christmas visit to the vet when it transpired that cat Stevens has doubled her body weight and is doing well. The vet was delighted with her. Smudge was a deliquent with the decorations and we had to give up on the tree the day after Boxing Day.

We had an onslaught of grandchildren today (collective noun) and they had a good play with the cats. Clive came into the sitting room this afternoon and found me fast asleep with cats at my head and feet, also asleep. He said it should be turned into one of those greeting cards with a black and white photo - the caption to be, 'The visit from the children had taken it's toll on the household'.

Been busy since Christmas working on my piece for Dale's embellisher challenge (now in the post, Dale) and the six small textiles for the Salisbury Exhibition. here are some of the results.

The timeline begins, of course, with fossils.

And cast paper - can't decide whether to add liming wax to these.




Also a mini scroll.


,And the beginnings of a piece on chained libraries - the newspaper was very interesting.


.I'll explain more in a later blog but Clive has got my tea ready. Back soon.