Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Making Marbled Paper

Paint Techniques and Patterns for Classic and Modern Marbleising on Paper and Silk.

Heather Fletcher of HRJ Design Studios

Published by Fox Chapel publishing

When this book fell into my in box I was delighted as it is a technique that I have tried out myself and the results can be rather random. Heather Fletcher is a true professional and manages to get great results, and with her clear, photographed step by step instructions you dear readers will be able to do the same.

Heather is a surface designer who works in many different mediums including marbling, suminagashi, pochoir, linocut, and woodblock printing, Heather incorporates them into her current practice focused in the following areas: artist books, hand lettering, graphic design, surface pattern design, quilting, and illustration (hand and digital).

After a brief introduction to the author, the book opens with a short history of marbling. The first half of the book divides into three chapters starting with the studio and how to set up, the tools and materials needed and paints and colours.

One of the bonuses of choosing marbling as a craft is that it requires very little in the way of specialist tools, most of them you will find in your house. You are given instructions on how to make your own marbling combs.

Heather teaches classes on marbling and other surface design techniques at Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Textile Center in Minneapolis, and around the world.

As she says

‘There are many “systems” for marbling paper, each using a different kind of paint (ink vs. watercolor vs. oil

vs. acrylics) and different substances to float color on the surface. In this book, we use fluid acrylic paint and carrageenan. Through teaching marbling, I found that these two materials are the easiest to work with for marblers of all levels—from beginners to seasoned professionals. Both carrageenan and acrylic paint are easily available through online retailers and at your local art store.

The recipe is given for making your own carrageenan ‘size’ and as it is a seaweed extract it is often used in the food industry as a thickener. It can be safely poured down the sink after use.’

The second part of the book is called patterns and describes and shows the foundation patterns and further patterns based on those.

The reader is then given techniques to marble on paper and then on fabric. Finally there is a troubleshooting section and a resources guide. 

Heather’s surface designs are represented by MHS Licensing and licensed to manufactures and put onto products for home décor, hydration, wall art, tabletop, wallpaper, and quilting fabrics.

Makes, Uncategorized

Oxfam urges shoppers not to buy new clothes for a month. So this September I show you how to up cycle, preloved garments, starting with a Smoking Cap.

Second Hand September aims to raise awareness of fashion’s environmental impact

Create a twenty first century version of a nineteenth century, Smoking Cap from an up-cycled 1980’s jacket. I made this for my brother who loved wearing smoking caps. Here it is modelled by the beautiful Elsa.

2C2A7330

The embroidery on the Jacket was beautiful but the style was somehow lacking. So I chose to turn it into, what used to be called, a Smoking Cap. This is in essence a pill box shaped hat often with a central tassel.

jacket

You will need

Old lined jacket

Tape measure

Pen and paper

Sewing machine

Pins

Thread

Scissors

Thin wadding

Calico

Optional a tassel

Instructions .We made a pattern with the crown, top of the hat having a 18cm diameter. The brim of the hat is 8cm deep x 59.5 cm long including the seam allowances. Cut a paper pattern and then cut a calico pattern and sew the calico brim onto the calico top. Try it on for size and adjust as needed. It should be a little bigger than the finished hat, as the finished hat as a layer of wadding in it.

hat pattern

Cut the jacket into pieces and then lay the pattern pieces on them so they use up the best parts of the pattern. Pin and cut out the pattern pieces. Remember to add more seam allowance if you need to make a join.

pin band onto fabric.jpg

Cut the interfacing so that it is slightly smaller than the pattern pieces. Pin it onto the wrong side of the hat’s crown and brimSew the wadding onto the brim. Pin the crown onto the brim, and sew them together, including the wadding around the crownpin top side.jpg

Using the jacket lining, make a lining for the hat as you did the one from calico. With wrong sides together, and the bottom edges turned under to neaten, sew the lining  into the

.sew wadding into the top piece.jpg

outside cap. Sew a tassel into the centre of the cap.

2C2A7323

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Blog, Meet the Maker

Meet the Maker: Deirdre Hawken currently exhibiting at Metropolitan Museum, New York

Deidre
radish salad toms opener

Deidre Hawken makes what might loosely be called hats or head pieces. However that description does not do justice to the exquisite intricate pieces of work created by this multi talented designer. I and my photographer went to interview her recently in her studio.

JB.I know you as a hat designer and maker, but I understand  that you also design and make jewelry. Can you tell us which discipline you trained in and how you came to practice both?

DH I trained in theater design, sets and costume, at the Central School of Art and Design, now Central St Martins.

I worked as a Theater Designer for some time and I was an Art Director for a couple of design companies, but I have always loved the design and making process. I have made costume accessories for The Royal Opera House, English National Ballet and the BBC, I also designed a run of windows for Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and made props for Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Asprey Ltd and I had an exhibition in Fortnum and Mason among others, and I created collections of jewellery with my sculptor husband for various fashion designers.

three hats

JB.What is a typical day for you?

DH. There is no typical day! I could be designing hats or jewellery or researching new work, seeing a client or dealing with boring administration.

into studio

 JB. What do you love most, about what you do?

DH.I love researching ideas, it is now so easy on the internet, and as I said I love everything about the making process, especially dyeing fabrics.

working pages with fabrics dyed

 JB.What do you dislike most about what you do?

DH Any kind of administration.

JB.Have you ever worked for anyone else? Or done any collaborations ? If so with whom?

DH.When you are a designer for the theater you’re basically working with and for the director, but I have been a freelance designer most of my life. I did collaborate with a jeweler, we were asked to make a joint piece, but I did not really enjoy the experience. I have also made jewellery with my husband.

mushroom onions etc

 JB.What made you want to start your own creative business?

DH. I love working for myself, although I sometimes have an assistant on a really big job, such as when I made jewellery for Saks 5th Avenue.

 JB.Have you had any training recently? If so where and why?

DH.Not recently, but in 1998 I won a scholarship to study couture millinery. This was through QEST, Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust. There are no age limits and but you do have to fill in a very difficult application form. I trained with Rose Cory in Couture Millinery and had an internship with Stephen Jones. I also went to America and studied at the Met.

JB.Can you describe your creative process?

DH.First I have an idea, then I research, choose the materials. I only work with a few materials, leather, silk taffeta, silk velvet silk organza and organdie. I dye all the fabrics myself using Dylon dyes. I then decide how to make the headpiece or perhaps a collection of jewellery. Most of my headpieces are one off designs. I never make another piece exactly the same.

cigar making in progress

JB.What are your biggest challenges?

DH.Selling work.

cigars

JB. What advice would you give to someone starting out in your field today?

DH.It has always been difficult to be self-employed, especially in the Creative Sector, I believe good training is essential, also you must have self belief.

JB.Compared with when you started, do you think it is easier for designers to set up on their own nowadays or more difficult?

DH.I think it is harder, as everyone thinks they can be an artist or a designer.

JB.Have you exhibited? If so, where?

DH. I have had so many exhibitions it is hard to choose which ones to talk about. I have work in the following Public Collections: Victoria and Albert Museum – London, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Costume Institute – New York, Kyoto Institute of Costume – Tokyo, Graves Art Gallery– Sheffield, Museum of Costume –Bath, Philadelphia Museum of Art-USA, Hat Museum- Stockport.

 JB.How do you find clients?

DH. Clients come to me and I sell at exhibitions.

JB. What are you currently working on?

DH.A very tricky Summer Pudding Headpiece for submission for the London Hat Show early 2018.

summer pudding

 JB.Do you teach or run workshops? If so where?

DH. Not now! I have taught at various Art colleges and was an assessor for the BA Jewellery course at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and design, Dundee for three years. I have given many talks including one at the V &A and many workshops all over the country.

lemons leather

 JB.What is next?

salad

DH. I am developing a range of headpieces which can be displayed as Still Life’s in acrylic cases, which I am finding very exciting.

JB. That is a great idea, your work is far too lovely to store out of site, in a hat box.

Many thanks Juliet

I did this interview over a year ago, however this week I had the email below and this image. So I wanted to share it with you.

‘I just wanted to let you know that a Cauliflower headpiece of mine  has been included in the latest exhibition at the Costume Institute, part of the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
I was so thrilled it was included! I am attaching an image of it in situ, the exhibition is called ‘Camp’ Notes on Fashion.’

http://www.deirdrehawken.com/

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Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Print Play

Screen printing inspiration for your life and home

Jessie Wright & Lara Davies

Published by Hardie Grant

Published by Hardie Grant

Print Play is the perfect description of this book. It is about printing and and at the same time playful and fresh.

The authors Jess Wright and Lara Davies are “Home-Work” – two textile designers and screen printers from Melbourne, Australia. The creative duo have worked together for the past 7 years teaching screen printing and design, as well as bringing their own colourful textile designs to life! Jess and Lara’s obsession with colour and pattern is tangible and is evident in everything they create! Enthusiastically converting ideas from their imagination to reality (usually with music playing in the background), the pair produce screen printed textile prints that are thoughtful and fun.

Adding a little objet d’art to the simplest everyday items, these textiles become functional and are turned into tote bags, make up bags, cushions and even wallpaper. The book opens with a really great contents page, a real appetite wetter, with small images of some of the projects you can make.

The instructions for printing are very clear and easy to follow. There is a section on different kinds of inks, things to consider when choosing colours, and both the authors describe their own preferences when it comes to colour and design and they also show their own design processes.

You are told about creating an inspiration board and then you start on the projects that on the whole are easy and incredibly effective.

This is hand holding at its best. A really great book especially if you are new or inexperienced when it comes to printing.

Blog, book review, Book Reviews

HOW WE CHOOSE TO PLAY

By Fran Heath 2016

Abel’s illustrations copyright Roscoe Cattle 2016

Heather’s illustrations copyright Cleo Cattle 2016

I was browsing in the children’s shop a

Pocket Full of Pebbles, in Cowes Isle of Wight when I came across this delightful book by an Isle of Wight author and artist. She has taken a dolls house decorated it and created scenes for her story. This book is an excellent example of crowd funding working, to produce a book with a clear message that is : Parents and other adults should not limit the activities of children or choose how or with whom they play .

As someone who wrote children’s books in the nineteen eighties I was somewhat surprised and saddened to find this message is still needed.

         I grew up with Janet and John books, where John did things with his father and Janet looked on passively. At art school I was, and still am, a feminist. When I had my own children, boys first, I bought them dolls and buggies and wouldn’t let them have weapons of any sort. This didn’t prevent them from making them out of sticks, lego or anything else they could lay their hands on . My daughters played with Meccano and Lego. They climbed trees, learnt to sail , drew, painted and played with dolls, and one has studied disaster management and the other has a degree in architecture.

         Getting back to the book. It is made up of wonderful rhymes.

“ The princess loved skateboarding and she found it rewarding

to use the rainbow as a half-pipe when she flipped it upside down

She was liking being reckless, while the ninja made a necklace

of the brightly coloured flowers as he sat upon the ground. “

It is a story about a brother and sister and the different ways they are treated. Happy to say by the end of the book things have changed, the parents have seen the light and the children play together doing both quiet and physically challenging activities. The drawings done by the children in the story, have been created by the author’s own children and are fabulous.

A great book and thoroughly recommended.

Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Extra Ordinary Interiors by Rockett St George

Published by RPS

Photography by Debi Treloar 

Rockett St George was founded in 2007 by long time friends Lucy  St George and Jane Rockett. it was their shared passion for black clothes, flea markets, Manchego cheese, travel, Tom Hardy and (of course) interiors that cemented their friendship.

Ten years down the line, they are still best friends and still love a good car boot sale but have also learnt a huge amount about how to create show-stopping interiors. In this book, they share their decorating mistakes along with their triumphs, they guide you through tricky decision making, and offer top tips on how to achieve magical, surprising and inviting homes.

The book is for your own personal use, with the goal of motivating you to be adventurous and plan properly so you can achieve an interior that dreams are made of. In between each chapter, there is interior inspiration from beautifully photographed houses and apartments owned by their friends and colleagues, as well as their own homes.

Decisions and how and why you make them.

‘With so many fabulous options available to us nowadays, choice can be a bit of a challenge. And when it comes to making choices about how to decorate our home, we all want to get it right first time round.

Some people spend hours deliberating over colours, styles and textures while others find it easy to reach a resolution. Regardless of which category you fall into, we believe that making decorative choices should be fun; a pleasurable process that fulfills your creative needs and leads to a satisfying conclusion. The result should be a home that creates a sense of wellbeing and rooms that makes you smile every time you walk through the door. This, my friends, is why ‘Make it Personal’ is the first chapter in this book. Get things wrong and you could spend a long time regretting your decorating decisions.

Indeed, Jane once had her entire bedroom wallpapered at great expense only to arrive home and absolutely hate the result. The wallpaper was patterned, colourful and gorgeous, but Jane didn’t feel comfortable in the room. In fact, she felt irritated and edgy; exactly how you don’t want to feel in your place of rest. If only Jane had asked herself a few simple questions, she could have avoided making an expensive mistake. In fact, she ended up having to pay to have the whole room done again.

We now know exactly where she went wrong. Jane rushed her decision, listened to other people’s opinions and was influenced by a trend that was splashed all over magazines and blogs at the time. Although she loved the design she had picked, she didn’t take into account her personal style, the way she used her bedroom, or the atmosphere that she was hoping to create.

If Jane had analyzed her personal style and the ways in which she spends time in her room before making her choice, it would have been obvious where the whole thing was heading. Here’s what she should have focused on:

• _She loves a calm, gentle environment

• _She doesn’t wear colour or bold pattern

• _She likes a rock ’n’ roll twist, whether it be zips on her clothes, stars on her jacket or snakeskin on her boots.’

In summary, you could say that Jane is drawn to a clean, tailored look with a dash of punk thrown in. Her bedroom is a place she likes to indulge herself – somewhere to escape during the weekend for an hour or two in order to read, relax or grab a sneaky snooze. It was never going to be the right place for high-energy patterns and colours.

The good news is that there was a happy ending. Jane’s second choice of a subtle snakeskin wallpaper in natural hues created the tranquil atmosphere that she craved but it has a cool twist that makes her smile. The Moroccan cushions and wedding blanket draped over the bed head provide a gently exotic and modern ethnic feel that’s luxurious and calming. So she got there in the end!

We hope our first piece of advice will prevent you from making the same mistake that Jane did. What we are suggesting is that you have a good long think about who you are, what makes you happy and how you live your life. We will be encouraging you to ask yourself some questions about your personality and unique individual style. Don’t worry – there are no wrong answers here, this is not a test. The questions are just a tool to help you analyze your tastes and needs so you can make the right decisions when it comes to designing your home. But remember – you need to be honest with yourself in order to get the home that you really want. ‘

Now go and find a pen or pencil and a large piece of paper, pour yourself a glass of wine, relax and write down the answers to the following questions. If you share your home with a partner, you should answer the questions together.

1 Write down five words that describe your personality, e.g. organized, eccentric, energetic, naughty, serious, sporty, thoughtful, musical, quiet, etc.

2 Write down five words that describe the way you dress, e.g. slick, colourful, monochrome, tailored, boho, rock ’n’ roll, seductive, suited and booted, etc.

3 Write down five things that make you happy. This could be anything at all, from the obvious things such as spending time with family and friends to more subtle concepts such as particular smells or feeling the sand between your toes.

You now have the key words that describe your personality down on paper, it is time to consider the room you wish to decorate. The way we spend time in the various rooms in our homes varies enormously. The atmosphere we want in the kitchen, for instance, will be very different to the aesthetic required in the bedroom. So there are just a couple more questions to answer.

1 Write down five activities that you would like to do in this room (ok, this may be quite hard for the bathroom but give it a go!).

2 Think of five words that describe the way you want to feel in this room. For example, you might want to feel indulgent, relaxed, peaceful and sexy in your bedroom or sociable, organized and cheerful in the kitchen.

A whole page (or more) of words that describe you, and your taste , and the function of the room that you want to decorate. You can use these words to determine the right decorative style both for your personality and for your lifestyle. The combination of different styles might be surprising, but they will be right for you. They will provide you with a style template for your home and you can combine them with your room results to achieve exactly the right look for each space.

Having sorted out the basic priorities the pair then give you their top interior inspiration sources and then go on to talk lighting, colours and style spots. By this, they mean a focal point that grabs the eye. A style spot is a grouping of furniture, artwork and lighting that fits beautifully together and creates impact. When planning a room, we encourage people to split the space up into sections such as the fireplace, the seating area, the entrance and so on, then to consider each one as an individual style spot.

They give tips on using the space you have made look so beautiful.

1 Always maximize neutral light, take down heavy curtains and allow the day light to flood in.

2 Don’t automatically push furniture up against the walls. Try placing it in the middle of the room as this gives the illusion of more space

3 Never arrange your seating around the television.

5 Beds should always have a view if you don’t have one create a style spot to look at (perhaps a dressing table or chaise longue.

4. It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of lighting

6 Ensure that every seat has a view too. There should be a beautiful style spot to to please the eye wherever you sit.

7 In the kitchen take advice from the professionals with regard to layout space and storage. Then adapt the plans to suit your style.

8 Creative storage -and lots of it is essential. Think tall kitchen cabinets, beds with drawers beneath and capacious cupboards. How can you have a beautiful interior if you haven’t got somewhere to hide all the things you don’t want out on display?

 9 If you don’t love it, upcycle it, swap it or recycle it.

10 Keep mixing it up

There are many more tips too. This highly recommended book is both beautiful and practical and will probably inspire extreme home envy so sorry about that, but enjoy.

Blog, Makes

Embroider and appliqué a Seagull inspired Cushion

Three things inspired this craft project, the sea, gulls and the effective but random looking stitching currently used by many fine art embroiderers. They in turn appear to have been inspired by Asian quilts made out of recycled Sari’s. I embroidered the cushion front in free hand stitches. I wanted to create the curls where the waves turn over themselves and also the subtle changes of colour in the waves and the sky. To achieve the turbulence of the weather I used two background colours of felt and also different colours of the embroidery floss. The changing direction and sizes of the stitches helps to suggest movement.

If you are not happy just doing freehand stitches using a water erasable pen, draw your design onto the cushion front, embroider over the pen lines. To get rid of the pen marks, dampen a cloth and rub quite lightly.

I expect, like you, I am forever taking photographs when I am by the sea. I took the images of the gulls using my phone. I increased the size of them and then printed them out quite large. Before cutting out in felt, I placed the paper gulls onto the stitched front and arranged in a pleasing composition. I then drew round the gull images onto the felt and cut out and then pinned and tacked the grey felt gulls onto the cushion front.

You will need

Piece of felt 100cm x 100cm x 3mm deep in pale blue felt for the cushion cover

36cm square cushion pad

Felt squares or oblongs in Grey, marine blue and purple

Embroidery floss in light grey, white, mid blue and turquoise (Korbond)

Tapestry needle

Sewing needle

Printer and images of flying seagulls

Water erasable pen

Paper Scissors

Dressmaking Shears

Dress makers pins

For the back opening cushion cover

Cut the cushion front 37cm x 37cm and cut the two cushion backs one 22cm x 37cm and the other 30cm x 37cm in pale blue felt .

Step 1

Work on the cushion front, leave a 2 cm border round the edge, and using brightly coloured thread, tack a piece of dark marine blue felt onto another piece and onto the cushion front so it measures 22cm x 32cm

Step 2

Thread the whole six strands of a piece of white embroidery floss into a tapestry needle and sew random sized running stitches from the left side of the felt to the right and back again, creating 7 uneven rows of stitches. Change colour and sew 7 rows in pale blue.

Step 3

Repeat step 1 using the purple felt. Make sure it joins onto the blue felt and will measure roughly 32cm x 11.5cm. You don’t need to cover the whole of the cushion in stitches, the effect you are after is the waves of the sea. Print images of gulls, draw round and cut out in grey felt.

Step 4

Arrange, pin and sew the gulls onto the cushion front. Using turquoise thread, blanket stitch along one long edge of the cushion back. Make an envelope opening for the cushion pad. With the two back pieces over lapping in the centre of the cushion, pin the cushion backs to the cushion front and sew together round the edge using blanket stitch.

Needles

Embroidery Floss

Pins and scissors and erasable marker pen from http://sew.korbond.co.uk

I designed this project for Coast Magazine