Saturday, July 5, 2008

the next part of the journey - exhibiting

Our exhibition took place at the end of May and our allocated room was made ready with every wall given a white wash and display boards being put in place, Sheila was to be verified at the same time so it had to look good.

My theatre was given a special eye level plinth and looked wonderful on its own wall, Ed fixed an electric light into the theatre to give a glow onto the path through the trees ~ it made it look really special. Caterpiller sat on the Mushroom perfectly ~ relief!! I made a little cup cake from needlefelt ~ 'eat me' and a tiny bottle filled with irridescent paper for 'drink me' ~ there's also a pink flamingo nesting in the tree!

I took the following photographs tonight at 9pm ~ the late evening sun was streaming through my windows and catching the threatre where it sits in the corner of my room, I love the shadows it created streaming through the honeysuckle in my garden and just had to try and capture the effect.

I love how the light lands here on the rabbit hole and how it makes the tea party looks like it is in the middle of the trees

pink flamingo is nesting in the tree ~ can you see her?

I will give details next time on how I did the side panels and will show a photo of the Australia panel too.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Alice in Wonderland Theatre - the next part of the journey

Here is my Alice in Wonderland Theatre so far.................

Alice is made using my judrops doll design with her heart shaped head
black and white stockings and red shoes ~ very important
and heart shaped mouth

The mushroom is a mixture of wet felt and needle felt
the underside has some fabric tucks and texture ~ must photograph it to show you

Alice and the Giant Mushroom
standing in the Alice in Wonderland Theatre

Here is the door leading to the corridor which leads to the
Rabbit Hole ~ are you following me!

open the door and see the corridor where Alice found the bottle
labelled drink me and the cake labelled eat me!

To the Rabbit hole

Fabric sculptured trees


Now I just have to make designs to go on the reverse of these side panels then they can be changed when ever I want to play!!

Hope youre enjoying your visit to Wonderland

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Alice in Wonderland Theatre brought to life

I think Im living my childhood again as Im getting so much pleasure from the project Ive chosen to do.
Exploring the possibilities of making an Alice in Wonderland theatre where enormous fun and have added a little bit of an edge to what Im doing. As I mentioned in my previous post I collected the required elements to make the theatre and with Jims help ~ as I couldnt saw the wood in a straight line ~ we made the theatre from my technical drawing.

And it worked ~ Jim is such a patient and enthusastic husband about anything I do and supports me all the way so it was lovely 'together time' to make the theatre.
If you remember the brainstorming I did at the beginning, the Punch and Judy theatre and black and white checks were two of the links well here I found a way to incorporate them. There was no doubt in my mind the floor of the Theatre would be chequered and as the chess board is refered to in Alice through the Looking Glass I just had to use it here. So I drew out the checks and painstakingly painted the squares by hand ~ brilliant I love the effect.

The front of the theatre was designed around the heart shape and so I cut the design into mat board ~ below is one of the ideas I had but didnt go on to use this heart in red ~ all will be revealed soon. The checks are how I did the floor though.

this is one of my "play pages" which has gone on to become a little Alice in Wonderland book and will give you an idea of the finished colours, the inside is great fun

This was as far as I got for quite a while and I left the theatre and back drop where I could see them to give me ideas of how to finish the front. I pondered over this part more than any other aspect of the theatre I knew I wanted the front to look old and worn but tasteful as this little piece of art is going to be on show in my home so I had to be really pleased with the results. I had been thinking along the lines of using fabric paper and stitching into it or using mixed media with some images digitally enhanced and transfered but this all seemed too much

And then one day it clicked.

I took my mount board and covered it with gesso and crumpled tissue paper ~we've been covering texture in class ~ it needed to be really fine texture so the tissue had to be worked in really well, I incorporated the heart and topiary rose bushes (from my brainstorming exercise) using papiere mache and some other swirls and then sanded it all 'till I was happy. It was then covered in gallons of gesso; really expensive stuff 'cause I wanted it to be the best it could be and then I started painting on layers and layers of 'Golden' acrylic paint mixing the colours as I went along ~ until I stood back and thought ~ 'thats it'. All I have to do now is add a little gold wax here and there.

Whilst this work was progressing along nicely I had an email on my other blog asking me to join in a little challenge ~ you can probably see where the influence came from for the Little Fairy Princess.

I've been making alot of felt flowers for clients and mushrooms for another project I have on going, along side the theatre project, so it seemed only right to include the felted mushroom and the chequered floor in this little piece of mixed media art under glass.

And so now here you can see a little peep of the Alice in Wonderland Theatre and the backdrop but theres is still more to come, quite alot more infact ............................................. curious and curiouser, well there's Alice, and there's flamingos and there's trees and doors .................................... and dont you just love the whole surrealness of Alice I do.

the story so far March 2008

Time is going so fast but I have been working really hard on my project ~ as I write here it is almost finished I've just been spending more time creating rather than blogging!!

So after my last post I got down to working on the logistics of the theatre and whether it would be possible to make my idea into an actual structure ~ I came up with a plan and measurements and together with Jim worked out the material list ~ so instead of fabric and threads it was wood, screws, wood glue, heavy duty matting board and paint and one or two other secret ingredients!

Finally the structure was finished and this gave me something to work with and take measurements from to make my back drop and so the process began. I looked back through my sketchbook and decided to choose the woodland scene with Alice

and explore the possibility of making the Mushroom and Caterpillar with fabrics stitch or possibly felt.

So the background first ~ I layered strips of my painted papers till I got an idea of where to start ~ brilliant idea these painted papers ~ they are one of my favourite things to do and are a brilliant design tool.

Here I love the idea of the trees and the path meandering through them and disappearing into the distance. I started by using my hand dyed fabrics ~ scrim, lightweight cottons etc and ripping them so I got frayed edges and layering the colours of the fabric till I got the idea of perspective and distance, in the mean time I painted a huge piece of craft vilene (love it) with silk and textile paints. I then started to add the fabric strips to the background and just sew and it was brilliant how it came together. Then I used a technique I learned at a workshop with Margaret Lappin ( a wonderful tutor and member of my branch of the Embroidery Guild) she is amazing and very generous with her knowledge of free machining.

The technique is really quite simple and it involves net, a hoop and thread and lots of free machine embroidery and building up lots of layers of gorgeous texture.

I cut stips of this texture and layered them onto the background and then just worked them into the background with free machine embroidery.

I used some of my favourite painted bondaweb on the path with lots of stitch

and for the stones at the bottom I made chiffon sandwiches cut them into shape and added lots of stitch.

And before I knew it, it was finished. The back had to be shaped to fit in the theatre and once I was happy with this I used mount board as a firm backing and covered the back with a piece of my beautiful hand dyed fabric, hand sewing the edges to finish.

I really loved every minute of making this embroidery. It looks really awesome in the theatre and the idea of the path leading away from you is perfect ~ well I think so! but it doesn't end here........

more to follow.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Year and new project

oh wow where to start, a new year and a new project. What do I make ~ which techniques do I want to create with, which theme, questions questions questions I didnt know where to start. So I decided to do a brainstorm.

I started with a word ~ Vintage

jewellery ~ corsarge, fascinator, cuffs, brooch, choker
wallpaper ~hand printed with roses in old pinks and reds,
large florals or rose buds
flowers ~ roses, cabbage and tea roses
homes ~ doors, peeling paint, keys,
doileys ~ lace and paper
toys ~ Paper dolls with card tags, dressing up,
tea paries with dolls/teddies
Punch and Judy, theatre, puppets/dolls
colours ~ sorbet, ice cream colours, neopolitan ~ pink cream brown,
black and white checks,
sepia ~ tea stained lace and cotton
games ~jacks, playing shops ~ grocery, sweet shop,
post offices ~ boxed jars and labels
books ~ Enid Blyton ~ secret seven and famous five,
Lewis Carrol ~ alice in wonderland ~
Alice ~ dress, stripey stocking, small, large, eat me, drink me
White Rabbit ~ fob watch, time, late, key, heart
Dormouse ~ sleepy
Mad Hatter ~ hat, rich clothes, stays at tea time 6 o'clock
March Hare
King and Queen
Pig baby
Roses, pack of cards, Queen of Hearts, tarts, mushrooms, nonsense,

So I looked through my list and got inspired. I started to collect pictures, paper dolls, Alice illustrations by John Tenniel, photos of Punch and Judy, keys, fob watches etc.

Once I got all the goodies together I watched the Alice In Wonderland film ~ just to get the feel for the story again as it would take me an age to read the book.

Then with sketch book to hand I started to make sketches and illustrations of how I would imagine the scenes.

I drew sketches for a possible book and sketches for a possible theatre ~ I remember Punch and Judy as a child and was always fascinated by the little theatres that were used, I suppose my love for doll houses comes from the same place.

So this is a good start I have ideas which Im developing and I think Im going to make 'The Theatre', I know ~ my course is machine embroidery, not carpentry but its still possible (I think). I want it to be quirky and whimsical and fun. We will see, if my developement meets with a brick wall I've got plenty more to go with through my brainstorming.

Since then Ive been playing with my sewing machine and drawing with the needle and thread, the stitch illustration below was inspired by a copywrite free illustrations,

The Australia wall hanging is now finished

the Australia wall hanging is now finished and will be photographed in full in May when it hangs in the exhibition, soooooo exciting. But for now here is some of the work which bought me to the finished piece.
paper collage

paper collage

paper collage

markal paint sticks with a stencil cut from freezer paper

paper collage with words printed onto old brown envelopes

Sample Piece using
strips of fabrics ~ sheers, organza, hand dyed cottons

above is the front cover and below the back cover of the sketch book which goes with the Australia wall hanging and shows some of the techniques I used, painted bondaweb, painted vilene, layers of sheers, Stewart Gill chips, hand printed organdie, free machine embroidery using different threads all worked on hand dyed cotton fabric

close up detail