Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Lesley Patterson-Marx

In the December issue of WOW, I reviewed the Lark Books 500 Handmade Books volume 2.  In it was a beautiful set of miniature books by Lesley Patterson-Marx in tin that was a beautiful recreation of a watercolour paint box with miniature books in lieu of paint cakes.  I chose that out of the 500 as my favourite, but the picture posted with the review was small, due to there being so many book reviews in the December issue.

I just wanted to post the picture here of Radiant Paint Box on my blog from Lesley's website as it's one of my favourite handmade books ever.  I also posted it onto Pinterest on my Books board (I'm Mrs Crumpsey...).

Splash Image

I think it's just a beautiful piece of work and I never tire of looking at the pictures.

I love Lesley's work and so please take a look on her website www.lesleypattersonmarx.com

Saturday, 14 December 2013

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Imagine me crooning that song.  Hmm, maybe don't.  It will be too tuneless!

As I am very behind on my Christmas cards, here is a little piccie of how far I have got so far.  I did start, for my Stitch n'Bitch friends, by crocheting snowflakes out of the brilliant 100 Snowflakes to Crochet book from Search Press, written by the uber-talented Caitlin Sainio.

I reviewed the book for Workshop on the Web in December 2012 (yes, it's taken me a year to catch up) but I have been feeling confident enough to tackle a few for Christmas cards.  Or that was my initial thought. After crocheting my first 8 and stiffening them for all my Stitching buddies, I realised that to do them for everyone was going to take me up to next Christmas and there was unlikely to be any presents, turkey, Christmas pud if I was going to be a slave to the hook.  

So I decided to take on a slightly easier project for cards.  I bought a couple of snowflake thermofax screens  which were such an excitement and I screened those in silver acrylic onto Khadi paper, which I had bought in little packs from Art Van Go when I accidentally shopped there a few weeks ago (I had gone up for the exhibition).  When dry, they were put through the die cutter with a snowflake embossing folder and then I used Ranger Distress Ink Pads in varying colours.  The variety of colours stems from using an old sponge, which still had the residue of many colours and which I was too lazy to replace.  But they turned out OK as I think I got some good combinations and blends.

Finally, using a Crafter's Workshop Flurries stencil which I masked off, I used thick white paint to stencil another snowflake on.  Job done.  Just need to write my cards now.   Bah humbug!

I realise now, having given away all of my snowflakes, that I didn't actually take any piccies of them.  I will try and make up a couple more in time for Christmas and post them here...

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Approaches to Stitch - Book Review

Approaches to Stitch
Published by D4Daisy Books Ltd 
ISBN 978-0-9574413-1-6
Price £16.00

Approaches to Stitch: Six Artists

I am really pleased to be able to review Approaches to Stitch, the new D4Daisy book focusing on six artists - Elizabeth Brimelow, Ro Bruhn, Ruth Lee, Sian Martin, Olga Norris and Beryl Taylor.

Olga Norris pic 1
Olga Norris
Siân Martin pic 1
Sian Martin

Edited by Maggie Grey and with Michael Wickes's beautiful photography, the book grew from innovation, something that Maggie Grey is so good at.  Maggie put the feelers out to followers of her blog, www.magstitch.blogspot.co.uk and on Facebook, asking for suggestions of artists for a new book.  From the many responses that came in, these were distilled down to six artists.  This is a fresh approach in terms of commissioning, and the results of this are seen in the book itself.  The selections were well made. Each artists stands on their own in terms of their techniques and approaches, but the look and feel of their work gels together with each other in the book as a whole.
Ro Bruhn pic 2
Ro Bruhn

Elizabeth Brimelow pic 1
Elizabeth Brimelow
Each artists talks of their background and experiences in inspiring the art they make today, and then go on to talk about how they approach their work.  There are step by step instructions given for techniques such as sun printing (Ro Bruhn) and stencilling (Beryl Taylor) within each chapter, and these are useful for giving an insight into how some of the work is produced.  Particularly interesting is Elizabeth Brimelow's stages of producing her Peach, Pear, Plum quilt, which takes you through the whole process of creating this quilt. This worked more effectively for this particular artist, rather than taking you through one specific area, because the construction of the quilt as a whole was what made the piece so interesting.  Each artist is profiled in a way that best fits their work and this really makes the book work well.

Ruth Lee
Beryl Taylor pic 2
Beryl Taylor

There is a great mix of work contained within the book, from Elizabeth Brimelow's varied approaches to quilts, the colours of Ro Bruhn's journals, Ruth Lee's beautifully crafted gloves, Sian Martin's amazing bottles using dimension, paper pulp and stitch, Olga Norris's beautiful figurative studies and Beryl Taylor's delicious mixed media techniques.  All beautifully shot, the book is a fantastic snapshot of the scale and variety of textile work being created at the current time.  And in the technological age, where blogs and social networking have us flicking from screen to screen, it is refreshing to have some great contemporary artists committed to the page and provide us with a book we can sit down and absorbed.  I loved it.

If you want some added extras, take a look at Maggie's blog www.magstitch.blogspot.co.uk where there are posts relating to the progress of the book, and also sneaky peeks of the work she is doing on the next D4Daisy book on Cutting.  I am working hard on my bits for that book too, so 2014 is looking exciting already.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Book Review: Felt Christmas Decorations - Corinne Lapierre

Just putting a short review of a fairly new Christmas book that is published by Search Press and should fill you with Christmas cheer.  Felt makes great decorations, and this book from the 20 to Make Series is worth a look at this time of year.

Felt Christmas Decorations
Corinne Lapierre
ISBN 978-1-84448-943-5
Published by Search Press
Price £4.99

If you have got a few minutes to spare in the run-up to Christmas (haven't we all?), then that would be all you would need to choose one of the designs and make up several of them.  They are all designed for felt that you can buy in your local craft shop, and for those that require shape cutting, there are templates included at the back.

There are some very cute designs, such as the owl on the cover, Christmas angels and a tin (felt) soldier.  Also worth a go are the stitched snowflakes mounted on tiny embroidery hoops (right).  If you made up lots of these, it would be a perfectly decorated tree for any self-respecting embroiderer at Christmas.  None of the projects will be taxing or time-consuming but there are some great ideas.  I for one will be making felt envelopes with stitched names for my stitching friends (and of course, an extra large one to send to Santa).