Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Online tapestry group challenge - My Place

Despite all the interruptions, I have finally finished my small tapestry for the online group challenge. I posted it today - hooray!

I have been working on it for ages, trying to fit in around all the mess caused by the renovations. I was worried that I wouldn't get it done in time, despite it being such a small piece (approx 20 x 12cm).

I read K Spoering's blog about her artwork, mainly tapestry, and she has posted about not having large amounts of time to work, how hard it is to just do a little bit on occasion. Her work is much larger than mine but I know exactly what she means, it is hard to just do a little bit of weaving, it is a medium that cries out for long periods of concentration.

However, I decided that I would largely ignore my designs (I couldn't find them till a couple of days ago) and just use one that doesn't have a lot of resemblance to my original designs but that I had made in desperation.  I had started weaving using the original designs. Lately I have just made it up as I have gone along, trying to meld the original ideas with the later design. It is based on the area in which I live and so I was also influenced by what I know to be in the area despite it not being in the design. (Does that sound confusing? It is how I have been feeling about it.)

I decided that I needed to do small bursts of work just to get it done. As I don't tend to follow my cartoons exactly, I usually take time to think about what I have just worked on, what colours I was using, what I was thinking. Not recently, I haven't had time. I just sat down and started weaving in any available times..
My Place 
It has worked ok I think.  The image is not really like my suburb, it is VERY green. But all the houses around us have gardens and the nature strips and laneways add greenery - and Darebin Parklands is at the bottom of my street, so I feel it is a representation of how I see and enjoy my local environment, not how it actually is. I have tended to ignore the larger developments. Maybe it is really an image of how the suburb used to be, when it was less densely occupied. Or how I would like it to be.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Rust dyeing paper exhibition

As I have mentioned previously, a couple of friends and I have had a day learning about paper rusting - well, two of us were learning from the other.
It was an interesting but rather uncontrolled technique for me. However, Lynn, who was showing us, has the medium much more under control. She has produced a whole exhibition of her works!

It is on at the Knox Community Centre (scroll down to 'no structures'), in the theatre foyer. We went to the opening night last week and had a lovely, exciting evening. It was her first solo show.

As you can see, the results don't look at all serendipitous (as mine did). She has come up with some lovely works that show great creativity and knowledge of the medium.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lost Toys

I have been walking with the dog at the same park quite a bit recently.
On several days I have come across toys lying in various parts of the park. It is all a bit mysterious, why they are there and how they got to be in different parts of the park.

It could be the beginnings of a really good story - if only I were a writer.

This one was at a different park. All very mysterious. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Looking more closely at colour in the local environment

As the days are getting warm but the mornings are still nice and cool, I have been taking our dog out in the mornings lately.
We have been talking about colour in our course and part of our homework is to use a leaf shape in a design. We have also been talking about complementary colours.
Today I couldn't help seeing little bits of red in with all the green leaves.
The sun through the mist was gorgeous. 

Note the reddish branches. 

It was a rather humid morning today and that made the smell of the eucalyptus trees quite strong, something I love.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Forced progress

I have made some progress with my small tapestry recently - mainly because we are having some floors polished and there is nowhere much to be in the house. My studio is being done and most of my stuff is inaccessible at the moment.
The floor job had a few little complications that have made it take longer than expected, more time to be weaving (said in my PollyAnna voice).

It is a while since I started it, I lost the original images I was using for it and I am feeling rather tired. So when something doesn't quite match the cartoon, I look closely(ish) and decide if it matters.

Nothing much matters at the moment, it is going to be rather different from how I envisaged it - I'll call it abstract.

I take the pictures to convince myself that I did achieve something that day. Today had a lot of picking out, so I was pleased to see some progress.

I have about a week in which to finish it, here's hoping I can be motivated.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

More colour homework.

Today I reverted back to my earlier days - I used very old paper I had kept from my teaching days, I looked up a site on tessellating fish patterns and came across a very simple pattern.  Some people are very generous with what they provide free.

Then I cut and pasted - physically. Once again, too many options came up immediately. So I have limited myself to just a couple of possibilities.

When I look at these two options, I see that I haven't really played around all that much with cool and warm, it looks more about intensity to me. Oh well, not to worry.

I did do some others but there is only so much that I am willing to put onto this site.

I also realised that if I did tessellation, there wouldn't be much chance to change the surrounding colours to warm and cool. Then I had the bright idea of cutting out the overall shape and laying then on different colours.

The orange and blue ones. 

 The pink and blue ones. 

I do see some receding and coming forward but the more noticeable thing for me is how some of the colours seem to have changed.  I took all the photos with the same camera, one after the other, so there shouldn't be to many variables coming into play. 

For those of you who can't see the fish, they are made of an on-point square with a half square (triangle) beside it. The top and bottom fish point out and the middle fish point in. I thought about drawing eyes but decided against it. 
Actually, I just noticed (when I squinted) that the orange and pink fish are swimming to the left and the blue to the right.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Colour exercise continued

I developed my fish design a little more - drew another one actually. I decided it was just too fussy to try to do tessellating shapes - that can be for a later date.

Then I scanned it so I could play around in Photoshop. I am not sure if I am being lazy or not. I find I like using Photoshop and haven't done any actual colouring using pencils (or other preferred method of colouring).

The aim of the exercise is to fill the pattern with warm and cool colours and see what happens.
What happens? There are too many variables to actually be able to keep track of what you are doing, that's what!

There are so many possibilities!! 

I have just done a few so far, all on the computer. I have copied my design and printed it out so that I can use pencils or paint, I just have to find the time. And then decide what variations I want to do.
I tried to keep the colours to similar intensities so that the only thing changing was the warmth and coolness. Varying the intensity of the colours will make even more variations possible. Too overwhelming.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Colour exercise

As part of the design class I am doing at the Embroiderers' Guild we have to play around with warm and cool colours. The homework is to design a fish pattern and then copy it several times and colour it in various ways to get different effects.

As I started thinking about it, I felt quite inspired - a bit of a change lately. I keep going back to my teaching career though.
First, I thought I might use handwriting patterns to come up with my design. Handwriting may have been on my mind because it was reported this past week that Finland is going to phase handwriting lessons out of their schooling. Then there was lots of discussion about it on the radio. (I haven't seen much in the news, I just happened to be driving around when the discussions were on.) I do have some thoughts about the discussions but this is not the time for them.
I have been influenced by the handwriting talks to go back to the idea of doing fluency patterns. I have also recently started doodling again too. So I thought I might be able to combine the two and come up with a design.

I am also having vague ideas floating around for one of my pieces for the exhibition at the end of the course. It is based on the alphabet, maybe making a textile alphabet book. But then I realised that I would have to make at least 26 pages - that might be a bit extreme. So far it is just a passing thought that has hung around. It will probably pass on when I come to work out what I would need to do and how.

As I started to play around, I realised that the fluency patterns are not that easy to do consistently, especially as I don't demonstrate them to the students anymore. More practice needed. These are all based on the simple line pattern that waves up and down. Definitely more fine motor skill practice needed.

Part of the homework is to replicate the design and colour it in various ways. I thought I might be able to use Photoshop to do the different colour effects more easily. But my designs are not that great yet and I will have to think about how to do the various colours and fills. I may need a better design before I start trying to figure out how to do all this in Photoshop. (Here is a link in which the author mentions that she did it using Photoshop but I haven't yet got my head around how.)

Then I realised that the patterns are looking a bit like they could be tessellated. I know I have a book of tessellated patterns for quilting. But, feeling rather lazy, I looked up ideas on the web. I have found some very interesting pages, some very inspiring works.
There are also a few pages for teachers, to use with their students. I used to love doing that sort of thing and am enjoying remembering all the fun things you can do with your students at school.  Here is one page for teachers - I hope I can understand it.!
So far, that is all I have done. Now I will have to find the book, I am pretty sure it is by Jinny Beyer. (Here is a page from her website on the topic.)
Maybe I will be able to use it for the textile part of the homework - when I get around to unpacking the containers of fabrics that are now in another location due to further work in the renovations saga. Maybe not this lot of homework.