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Posts Tagged ‘altered books’

This is the second piece for the journal I’m creating for our Lake District holiday. It was inspired by the intense rusty orange of the dead bracken stalks on the side of the fell as viewed from the lounge.

Bracken, Great Langdale

I used a mixture of three different threads on my needle, a single strand of silk floss, a single strand of cotton floss and a length of variegated very fine mercerised cotton. A square of paper was backed with masking tape to stabilise it and I used free cross stitch, french knots and long and short stitch to fill the space as the dead bracken stalks filled the fellside.

Bracken 1

Blocks of ‘stone’ were created by building up layers of gesso which were then painted to echo the colour of the green Langdale slate

Bracken 2

Underneath the embroidery I used some of the amazing pencils I bought from the Lakeland Pencil Museum in Keswick to make colour swatches.

Bracken 3

And I also stuck in a beech leaf, found on the aborted walk in question, which fitted in with the colours I was using.

Bracken 4

Windows cut in the previous page give glimpses through.

Bracken 5

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As well as messing about with old jewellery, I’ve also been putting the finishing touches to my altered York Minster book. I didn’t have any real aim apart from to play with the pages and images and see what happened.

The cover simply had a quatrefoil border in embossing paste added.

Altered York Minster book 1

Experiments with transfer medium on a colour photocopy with added background in watersoluble oil pastel. I love this image taken pointing up at the sky.

Altered York Minster book 2

Stones from a scrap of marbled paper and medieval tiles.

Altered York Minster book 3

Close up of the tiles. The page has been given a rough coat of gesso followed by a rough coat of brown oil pastel. The ’tiles’ are made from a papier mache medium pressed into a silicon mould, painted and dry brushed and then mounted on little squares of card.

Altered York Minster book 4

 

More tile patterns  and fantasy mason’s marks, made by putting letter stickers together. There are always a few x, v, z, j etc kicking around on the end of a sheet and it was fun to see what patterns I could make from them.

Altered York Minster book 5

Dragon boss in flames and medieval dioceses. My first attempt at stitching through ready pierced paper.

Altered York Minster book 6

Part of the rose window with oil pastels behind and layering two transfers of a painted roof boss.

Altered York Minster book 7

More mason’s marks. real ones this time, scratched into a heavy layer of gesso on one side of the spread and drawn onto a thinner layer with some assorted facts on the facing page.

Altered York Minster book 8

More experiments with transfer medium and photocopies. The great seal of York Minster (reversed!) on the left. You can also see the slubby thread I used to stitch it back together, the very old original staples having rusted away.

Altered York Minster book 9

My found poem pages. The rest of the text is obscured by layers of gesso and iridescent watercolours and the words are joined with rub down transfers of gold dotted lines. The pages are interleaved with wrapping acetate from a posh shop!

Altered York Minster book 10

More experiments with transfer medium, this time onto clear acetate sheet, using patterns from the Five Sisters window which is referenced in the original text. The images on the right are mounted above a paper copy of the pattern using spacers.

Altered York Minster book 11

A transfer medium green man with oil pastels and embossing paste foliage on the left. On the right, two left-over images from the Five Sisters window have been stuck on the page, the ‘panes’ cut out with a craft knife and painted gauze stuck behind. Painted gesso covered card strips form the masonry around the ‘window’.

Altered York Minster book 12

The gauze ‘stained glass window’ with the light behind it.

Altered York Minster book 13

The back of the gauze with embossing paste patterns and the same stencil used as a rubbing for the ‘cope chest’.

Altered York Minster book 14

The silk brocade contents of the ‘cope chest’.

Altered York Minster book 15

And the ‘richly embroidered jewelled copes’ page using a pricking tool for the embroidery and Stewart Gill paints and glitter medium for extra sparkle!

Altered York Minster book 16

A rose and text fragment with stick-on edging.

Altered York Minster book 17

The final page – the Minster and the Roman fort.

Altered York Minster book 18

And the back cover – assorted stars, gesso and paint with the pamphlet stitch re-stitched spine.

Altered York Minster book 19

It’s been fun.

But still in my heart of hearts, I can hear the scandalised whisper of my conscience,

“You drew in a book…”

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I was delighted to be tagged to take part in this by the very creative, talented and witty Iz, from Threadnoodle and it was lovely to welcome people who had popped over from her blog. So this week is my turn to talk in a bit more depth about myself and my creative process.

I live in North Lincolnshire in the UK although I’m originally, like Dickens’ David Copperfield, from the little village of Blundeston, in Suffolk. Among other things, I’m a writer, a jeweller and textile artist. But not necessarily in that order.

1. What am I working on?

Erm… everything? I have a second book of short stories and a novel both on the go as well as an article which has been back-burnered for various reasons. There’s a box of partly completed rings,

silver acorn ring

pendants and other odds and ends which need finishing.

Norwich stitch pendant

Journals, books and altered books,

York Minster altered book

kits, summer holiday diary fragments,

holiday diary fragment

the crazy patchwork cushion for my son,

James' cushion strip 1

felted and goldwork brooches,

Goldwork brooch

 

my hearts commission,

hearts commission

my rusted fragments art quilt…

rusted fragments art quilt

…you get the picture. I long to have a go at everything and greedily want 36 hours in each day to try, test and explore my latest passion to its full extent.

My latest obsession is upcycled jewellery, whether replacing broken/damaged elements with beads like this vintage necklace…

 

broken vintage wire necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

upcycled m.o.p and haematite necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

or adding textile elements – felting and beading…

 

Felted beads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncycled felted bead necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… embroidery or patchwork.

Bullion rose upcycled pendant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

upcycled patchwork earrings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love being able to make something from bits that someone else has discarded as worthless. Little things fascinate me too, and each of the projects is so small that I can be almost finished before I start to get bored. I really admire people with the stickability to work on large ongoing projects, but that’s not me. Whatever I do tends to be small, detailed, and precise, whether it’s stitched into fabric, wrought from metal, words on a page or even part of a show in theatre. For me, the devil (and the interest) is in the detail.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

That’s a difficult one. As regards my jewellery, with its mix of metalworking and fine embroidery, I’ve certainly never seen anything quite like it. There are other artists who create  jewellery with textile components, but it seems to fall into two categories – fairly traditional jewellery shapes such as earring drops, pendant and rings set with pieces of textile work, or textile work with metal findings to make it into earrings, pendants, brooches etc. I do both…

Turquoise spiral brooch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bullion rose upcycled pendant

…but prefer to do neither

Moss mixed media pendant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indigo book charm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I suppose that everything we do is unique, but at the same time, everything we create is the result of our experiences. I’ve often thought that if we could break down the DNA of a piece, trace its bloodline of influences and inspirations, it would be fascinating to see precisely how it was born from the tiny fragments we draw from so many things we’ve seen, done and experienced.

3. Why do I create what I do?

Every project gives me pleasure to work and it also gives me pleasure to see how it is received by other people but essentially I create because I need to. Like so many creative people, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t create, from wobbly junk models and roughly stitched dolls’ clothes to furnishings for my doll’s house and stories set in imagined worlds.

It’s my way of responding to something of the beauty in the world I see around me, my way of revelling in the power of fashioning something that is mine alone. I bend the media to my will and I say how it turns out – mostly!

4. How does my creative process work?

The first thing to fire it off is usually a single item but it can be anything: a bead, a thread, some fabric, a fragment of something, an image or artefact. The alliums piece below was the response to the challenge, ‘A flower beginning with ‘A’ for an Embroiderer’s Guild competition.

Alliums sketchbook page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alliums hanging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An idea from a curtain I saw on a course

kantha patches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and an image from a dream…

Dream kantha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It can be a very dangerous process to sort through my stuff – I get sidetracked onto new projects very easily!

In terms of how things then evolve, I let my creative subconscious do a lot of the work. Usually I have clear idea of the starting point and an image of roughly what the end point will look like (I write like this too). Then it’s a case of starting and seeing how and where things go. If I get stuck I just walk away for a while and its unusual for that break not to have straightened things out in my head.  If I’m lucky, things work out as well, or sometimes even better than I’d hoped. If not, then it’s good to learn from your mistakes and chances are, I can always turn it into something else one day…

Phew! I think that’s the wordiest post I’ve ever put up! If you’re still with me, then please go and visit my two nominated bloggers.

Firstly, Debbie at Debbidipity. I met Debbie at our Embroiderers’ Guild when I joined several years ago and we’ve been good friends ever since. In the last 5 years, as a mature student, she’s done ‘A’ levels in Art and Photography and then followed them up with a Fine Art degree at Hull. She likes to experiment with all sorts of media and her inspirations are rooted strongly in the natural world that she loves.

From the local to the other side of the pond and Penny at Art Journey. Penny creates wonderful textile artwork in areas that I don’t tend to dabble in but love to look at – punch-needle, doll-making and beading are some of her latest delights, and I consider myself very lucky to have Valentine, one of her wonderful unique dolls sitting on my shelf watching me as I type.

Penny's Valentine

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the next stage of the bloghop!

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In the wonderful haul of craft stuff I got last autumn I picked up some rollers for pricking holes in paper for stitching patterns and with a page in my altered book talking about the “richly embroidered and jewelled copes of the cathedral clergy” I had the perfect place to experiment with them.

Richly embroidered page 1

There are three different rollers: one gives a grid pattern of holes which can be used for a variety of stitches, as well as the cross stitch I used here, one gives the looped pattern and the third, little scallops.

Richly embroidered page 2

I used a bronzy green chainette, various stranded threads in different shades of pink with glittery filaments and a variegated green-blue stranded silk for the Pekingese stitch across the middle.

Richly embroidered page 3

Then, after the stitching, I used Stewart Gill paints to further bling up the page!

Richly embroidered page 4

Lovely metallic Byzantium paints  to highlight the key words and glitter medium in pale gold and sky blue.

Richly embroidered page 5

The completed page:

Richly embroidered page 6

And the full spread.

Richly embroidered page 7

There’s something very satisfying about stitching through paper and it’s a great place to use the sort of gorgeous threads I’ve been hoarding but unable to use because they really don’t like being pulled through fabric.

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More of the altered book.

A Latin quote caught my eye…

Ut Rosa flos florum 1

…and sent me off creating a scrap of rose text with Stewart Gill Byzantium paints on tea stained paper.

Ut Rosa flos florum 2

Without border:

Ut Rosa flos florum 3

With border:

Ut Rosa flos florum 4

I cut all the window spaces out of this image of a York Minster Rose Window and stuck it over a page which I’d collaged with some rainbow coloured scraps of hand made paper and then used water soluble oil pastels to continue the colours over the bits of page left.

Rainbow Rose Window 1

In place on the spread:

Rainbow Rose Window 2

And joined by a layered transfer of a lamb boss.

Rainbow Rose Window 3

I had two images of this boss, one closer than the other. I used the gel transfer medium to transfer them to the page, rotating the second so the ribs of the vaulting (accidentally) almost line up. I like the different layers of translucency.

Rainbow Rose Window 4

Another Rose Window to come.

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This has been ticking away slowly and quietly in the madness of early January.

I printed out some colour pictures to transfer – this one is a restored boss with a dragon spouting flame – and found a diagram of English medieval dioceses which I coloured in with water colours.

Fire and diocese 1

York Minster was badly damaged by a fire started by lightning several years ago, so I added scraps of textured hand made paper to the bottom of the page and turned them into flames licking the boss.

Fire and diocese 2

I also found a great photo taken looking up through the Minster so it framed a section of the sky and transferred that. I’m getting the hang of the transfer process now –  three layers of gel medium will keep the image stable while you’re removing the paper backing. Sky added with water soluble oil pastels

Minster transfer

I wanted to create a found poem from random words on a double page, so I circled some that appealed to me and then roughly blocked out the rest of the page with gesso.

Found poem spread 1

I covered the gesso with shimmering watercolours in lilacs and blues borrowed from my middle one. (More of the amazing art bargains we got back in October), added a moon and stars card topper thing that I’d had for ages and divided the pages with a piece of printed acetate which was wrapping around a gift from a very posh shop.

Found poem spread 2

Found poem spread 3

Found poem spread 3

Just a bit of finishing to do here,  making the words link more clearly and thinking about what my subconscious was doing with the words I chose.

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I’m still making time to play with my altered book. This time with mason’s marks, researched from the internet.

Mason's marks 1

Scratched into a thick layer of gesso, painted and highlighted.

Mason's marks 2

Then I found the remains of a page of stick on letters – v, j, z etc. Nothing useful for using to make words, but great for making fantasy mason’s marks!

Mason's marks 3

Overlaid with a piece of decorative cellophane.

Mason's marks 4

The addition of ink pen and wash.

Mason's marks 5

Creativity may only be a taking place in small amount of time at the moment, but it’s keeping things ticking over – I hope.

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