Another Goozeberry Birthday

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Another birthday card (see last post), this time for my Dad. He loves cats and books – it’s in the genes – so what else to draw but a cat with his own library? I had so much fun doing this, filling the space with all those books and making the place look nicely dilapidated! There is also a sneaky little rat hidden away in there somewhere too* if you can spot him (hint: he is not entirely in the frame). This was one of he first things I did using Bristol board rather than cartridge paper too – I think it gives the cat a nice crisp whiteness. The next birthday card is due in April, so for now it’s back to working deadline-free…

* Top right, next to the vase

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First Birthday Design of the Year

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This is the first birthday card I have done so far in 2015, and it went to my beautiful little niece a few days ago. I tried out curved corners on the border and I quite liked the effect so I’ll be doing that again. I also cut the edges of the printed card into curves to match…although the result was slightly asymmetrical (but kids love that right?). I love doing birthday cards as it’s always fun thinking of something relating to the person it’s going to – and it also doesn’t hurt having the slight pressure of a deadline pushing me on every now and then! My dad’s birthday is this weekend and, thankfully, his card is ready and waiting to be given. Expect that one next week :)

Drawing in Stitch

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Close-ups below

So I heavily hinted in this post that I had been doing some embroidery. As promised, here are some pictures of my first original design! Looking at it in these photos I can see a lot wrong with it or things I would add or change, but I had so much fun doing it that doesn’t put me off and I am still quite pleased with it. I know the design is very simple, but I didn’t want to jump in at the deep end. The stitches I used were nice and simple too (deliberately!) – back stitch for the face and outlines, chain stitch to fill in the flower and leaves. Part of the purpose of this first one was to see if I could actually do it – create a project and see it through from start to finish. What my ultimate aim was though was to see if I could translate my drawing style into stitch. Up until now I had been doing sewing projects out of books so I wanted to see if what I do could be translated into stitch – I wasn’t sure. So I deliberately started out at the beginning just as I do when planning a mixed media/painting piece: with a pencil and a sketchbook, and although I made sure it was simple I drew as though I were going to paint it rather than sew it.

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I finished the stitching on this one – which I’m currently calling ‘Flower Head’ or ‘Flower Girl’ – in October last year, but have only just finished it off in the embroidery hoop with the ribbon. I’ve already started another piece though, and eventually I would like the designs to get more complicated, but for now I am very much still learning as I go and still in the process of working out what kind of thing will work as embroidery, and what needs to be painted – although I’m sure for a more experienced sewer anything can work! I’ve literally tied myself in knots along the way (as I said before, I am really not a patient person) but ultimately I had a lot of fun seeing something growing beneath my fingers in a way that is much more tactile than a drawing. But drawing and painting is comfortable for me, and I feel at the moment that although I am the one holding the needle, I am still a bit in thrall to the thread and always wondering what it will do next – whether the stitch will fall as I hope or whether some inexplicable problem (usually a mysterious knot) will arise and I will have to start again. If I finish the second design, I will post pictures of that too – but there’s a long way to go yet!

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Lunar Flight

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Lots of Goozeberry imagery in this one. The night sky, a ratty companion, books, a flouncy dress…I had a lot of fun getting them all in there. Rather than cartridge paper, I have recently started using Bristol board. I find the cartridge paper I was using is thinner than it used to be (isn’t everything a bit lesser than it used to be, for the same money??) and because of the tea and watered-down paints it tended to crinkle too much. The Bristol board is of course thicker and sturdier, and seems to do the job well. I do love finding new ways of doing things.
This one is bigger than A4 but slightly less than A3 – so too big for the scanner: dodgy photos it is! Have a look below at some close-ups :)

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Close-up of Lunar Flight

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The rat reading his book

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Close-up of the dress…and the hairy legs!

The Embroidery Circle and Sewing Confessions

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And the first doodle of 2015 is in the Jar! Although it has been bleached out of existence by my scanner, the wall is actually painted lilac.
This may or may not have been inspired by a little bout of embroidery I did a few months ago and I may or may not be waiting to find a particular piece of ribbon (to go around the embroidery hoop) to finish it off. If that ribbon is being looked for, and if it is found, then maybe that small piece (and it is small and simple) of embroidery will be photographed and posted up for you all to see…
Sewing is something I have always wished I was better at and something I have dallied with on and off for years. In one of my imagined lives (everyone has those, don’t they…?) I am a master embroiderer and textile artist, and I can actually thread up a sewing machine without help. Every time I see an amazing piece of textile work I am filled with awe and inspiration – I love textile art! So every year I plod along in my own way and usually do at least one sewing project. I love it but also learn, again, just how impatient I really am and why sewing is not something I do regularly as I secretly wish I did. This recent project was different though, because it was the first original thing I have done. Usually I satisfy my urge to sew by doing a project out of a book – where my impatient, non-logical brain has nothing to worry about as the templates and instructions are all there for me to follow (although usually I still find some way to misread them). But as much as I enjoyed these, there was always a little part of me that wanted to do something of my own. Embroidery was the last project I did – see below – and I thought it might be the best way to translate my drawing into stitch. So I drew up a simple design, traced it onto the fabric and got going. And I loved it! It was really satisfying and actually quite calming to sit and do and I would love to do some more. So maybe when that ribbon is found I will post a picture of my little excursion into sewing. In the meantime, I’ve got some more drawing to do – with a pencil, this time.

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^^ My first foray into embroidery a few years ago – this picture was taken before it was finished, when I was trying to decide on some of the colours- taken from this book by Gisela Thwaites. Maybe I’ll take a photo of the finished project and post that up too! The finished elephant is embellished with sequins – which, like the letter stamps in my usual drawing/painting work, I had to stop myself from adding to every available surface.

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…in with the New

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Hello, 2015! Wishing you all a happy New Year – here’s hoping it will be a good one, and an inspired and creative one too. Here is a little piece finished just before Christmas – maybe this lady’s luscious hair can act as a bridge between last year and this new one. I’ve been busy drawing today so hopefully there will be something fresh to come soon.