beautiful and useful

Just some things to share that have caught my eye over the last few days…

Ann Wood’s birds (and ships and spiders and horses) are always a delight but something about this arrangement of birds in progress just made me catch my breath this morning.

Which reminds me, if you like arrangements you’ll love this Flickr pool (found via Ana Ventura’s Papéis por todo o lado).

I’m still finding my way around our new camera so I was grateful for a series of tutorials for point and shoot cameras by Ellie Won (Kitchen Wench) (thanks to Magpie Ima for sharing this). I now understand a lot more about white balance and exposure compensation than I did, and I’m looking forward to learning more!

Finally there’s lots of thought-provoking stuff at Greensleeves: Sustainability in the Fiber & Textile Arts by The Worsted Witch. A lot of the things I use for art (Procion dyes, for example) or am tempted to try (like Lutradur) are, I think, derived from petrochemicals. I worry about this. But then, how many air miles does cotton clock up to get to the UK? I really appreciate sites like this that make it easier to get information about environmental and ethical issues for the choices we have to make.

getting on with some Textiles exercises

I’ve been conscious that though I’ve been doing lots of of textile-y and colour-related things, which I’m sure contribute to the learning curve I’m on with OCA Textiles 1, I haven’t done any actual exercises since August, so yesterday I sat down and did the next two from the course folder. The first involved choosing images that have a colour scheme I feel drawn to and collecting fabrics and threads to match the colours. This was fun – I chose a couple of postcards – one is of the stained glass window designed by Patrick Heron for the Tate in St Ives, Cornwall, and the other is Liesbeth Lange’s photo of ‘Colours from Nepal’ – I guess they are dyes, but I don’t really know.

matching colours

The second exercise was to stitch onto a black background using two primary colours. I am finding that the more I hand stitch the more I enjoy it – it takes time, which I lack, but the patterns are so lovely and I’m fascinated by the variations that grow between one stitch and the next.

stitching with primary colours

I’m off now to make a few sample paper beads to take to youth club tonight, but I must just mention a magazine I read about yesterday on MissMalaprop.com. Worn Fashion Journal sounds like a great publication for anyone who’s interested in fashion design, wearable art or the cultural meanings of clothing.

web discoveries

Two exciting finds on the web yesterday. One is a new group – a social networking site for textile artists – Fiber Arts/Mixed Media, which I found via the Flickr group Contemporary Textile Art. Having so far resisted Facebook, etc, I just couldn’t resist this one! It was started by Susan Sorrell of Creative Chick Studios and is already growing by leaps and bounds.

The other is Dear Ada, discovered thanks to Kim Carney of Something to Say. Dear Ada is a blog full of delight. The author, birdie, posts links to artists/makers in many different disciplines, each with a photo or two of their work – and the site is a visual feast. But what makes it stand out for me is the way she writes about the work, whether simply expressing her pleasure in it, or analysing more deeply the impact it has on her. Inspirational food for thought – I’m really enjoying this.

catching up

Just a quick catch up, we have Nadeem visiting this weekend and it promises to be another sunny day, so we’ll probably go into the Lakes for a while. We are lucky enough to live a few miles from this beautiful area of the UK, though not sensible enough to regularly take time to enjoy it.

My last post ended with a bit of machine quilting sorrow, but happily when I started over the next day, things looked a lot better. This is a section of it, together with the lovely Stef Francis threads I’m using to stitch some areas of seeding.

quilting

Yesterday I went to Clapham, just over the border into Yorkshire, to visit Jenny Scotts Beckside Gallery, and discovered that it’s now owned by Sandra and called Beckside Yarns. Still the same wonderful range of knitting yarns and embroidery threads. I restrained myself from buying any of the gorgeous Noro yarn – no time to knit – but I did get a remnant of this richly coloured space-dyed wool, which will be great for felting, and a cotton/viscose/linen ‘Cotton Braid’ by Rowan that looks as if it will dye well.

yarns

The Artist's MuseYesterday’s mail was exciting too, as it brought The Artist’s Muse by Betsy Dillard Stroud from Amazon. I ordered this after seeing Susan D’s inspiring samples on her blog The Art of Textiles.

I don’t usually sign up for challenges, being overstretched already with the two courses, work work work, life, etc. Actually I’m not sure whether I really fit the life part in – it’s not as I imagine it, certainly. But anyway, I have joined the Draw Something Every Day challenge set by Juli at Orange Rug Yarn Musings – since I’m supposed to be drawing every day anyway as part of the OCA Textiles course. I’m sometimes a little dismayed by how much I seem to need external disciplines to keep me going – I really admire those who are very self-motivated, but I don’t know how to become more so, or if it’s a virtue (as it feels to me) or simply a character trait. Do you find that your motivation comes easily from within, or have you found ways to foster self-motivation if it doesn’t? I’d love to know how other people see this.

Textile Arts Resource Guide

The Textile Arts Resource Guide is where artist Gwendolen Magee collects and shares a "wide range of online resources that are informational, inspirational and/or thought provoking". It’s a very interesting and useful site, with links to information about the practical – for example applying for grants, submitting work to shows, photographing textile art; the philosophical – art and craft, ‘making meaning’, creativity; and fun, like this post about the Smithsonian Museum site where you can design your own mudcloth virtually. Gwen’s first post was in May and there’s already a vast amount of food for thought and inspiration here.