Friday, 28 September 2007

Spirit of the Land - Amulet

The Amulet

Today I sold this amulet, which I created in 2001.

A lady saw this piece at the craft fair last weekend, and loved it. During the week, she phoned to ask me if she could buy it for her daughter. But when I delivered it to her today - she hung it on her wall - and it looked very happy - so I think that for now - Spirit of the land will stay with her.

Detail of the top section

Because the piece is framed and glazed in such a deep frame - I found it hard to take a picture without reflections - so I hope that the images can be made out clearly.

Middle Section

With all my amulets I do a piece of written work - and mostly people choose to read the words as well as view the picture. These pieces are enjoyed and/or bought by people who have a soulful connection with the art.

Spirit of the Land

This amulet draws on both male and female symbolism
It is a distillation of both energies
And encompasses the elements of
Fire, Earth, Water and Air.

On the copper panel is the face of the Guardian Spirit,
The “Green Man’
The embodiment of the vibrant energy of life.

On the second panel,
The copper wire
Depicts a journey.

Wherever your life’s journey may take you,
The Spirit of the land protects and watches over you.

copyright Karen Hall
May 2001

Monday, 24 September 2007

Back to Basics

Sample 1

Spent the day going back to basics with machine embroidery. In fact the samples I did to-day are not even free motion embroidery, but are done using the regular straight and zig-zag stitches on the machine.

Sample 1 is done on a patterned cotton background - overlaid with scraps of thin and thick fibers, with sheer chiffon on top.

The grid is then machined using regular straight stitch.

Sample 2

Sample 2 is done on the same patterned background as 1, with the same fibres and threads laid on top. Then a rather revolting piece of organza laid on top of the fibers. The top layer of organza is to stop the fibres from catching in the sewing machine foot.

I then machined on top using the built in patterns on the machine, changing the thread frequently.

Sample 3

The last sample is the same patterned cotton, with fragments of a variety of fabrics snipped and dropped onto the background. These were caught down using a regular straight stitch, then over stitched using a zig zag setting. While stitching I varied the width and length of the zig zag randomly across the work.

It is useful to revisit basic techniques from time to time - as I see them in a different light and can see applications for them now - that I might not have recognized 30 odd years ago. I have always disliked using the built in patterns on my sewing machine - but sample 2 has some nice bits of texture in it - and could be useful cut up and re pieced into a larger art work.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Where did the week go?

Machine embroidered beads

As you can see from the above image I have posted an old picture of machine embroidered beads. The reason is - that beads and machine embroidery are the two things that I have been working on this week.

In October - I am teaching class - "Machine Embroidery for Beginners" here in the village. It is good to teach class - because it has made me think about the free machine embroidery that I do - and I have had to go back to basics - and re-visit techniques that I have not done in a while - and look at them with fresh eyes in order to teach them to others.

I am hoping to do 4 sessions, once a week, in October. Although I have been very lax about publicising it anywhere - so I expect we shall be a very select little group!

I have also been making beads for a gallery show in November - so beads and machine embroidery have been filling my head this week - which - I have to say has flown by so quickly!

My thanks go out to Judy,
Who after visiting my blog - and being very inspired by the beads she saw - has credited me, and linked back to my blog - much appreciated.

Be sure to check out her beads and her lovely silk dying.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

A Travelling Sketchbook

A Travelling Sketchbook

This is one of a pair of books that Linda Chilton and I exchange every couple of months.

Actually - the books themselves are so heavy and precious now - that we just exchange four pages at a time.

Linda and I have been friends, and artist colleagues for the past 20 + + years. However in July 2005 as we were both moving away from the area that we lived - we decided to keep in touch via sketchbooks.

Linda is the person I turned too whenever I was having artist "collie-wobbles" and these books have been a wonderful way to explore new directions, and still get frank feedback from a trusted friend.

Experiments with Tyvek

Monday, 17 September 2007

Resistance is futile!

Fat Quarters

After two days looking at Jane's patchwork supplies - all beautifully arranged in colour families - I have to admit to quite a few fat quarters finding their way into my studio!

And how could I resist this

or this!

Quite often I wish I was a patchworker - because they always stagger home from events and shows with their arms full of seductive fabrics, toning, contrasting, all so yummy.

The way the fabric is packaged looks cute as well. The little bags of fat quarters, or, I saw something that I think was called a jelly roll - so tasteful with the colours matching beautifully. Oh - on some days I really wish I was a patchworker!

One lady I spoke to at the weekend was buying some fabric for her "stash" - her stash that never goes near a pair of scissors - but she delights in the fabrics in her "stash" - and then uses other fabrics for the things she creates. I can understand that.

I am, however going to use the fabrics I got for necklaces like this - which I make for people to buy as little Christmas presents. This style of necklace was also my best seller this weekend. Funny how sometimes it is ear-rings, sometimes bangles, and sometimes the necklaces that sell well at different times!

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Craft Fair Weekend

Our village Craft Fair this weekend. And I am amazed at the number of people who visited it to-day. There were people coming in through the door all day - apart from a lull at lunchtime!

Our little hall was full for most of the day.

My stand was next to two lovely ladies Suzie, reading "Stitch" Magazine, and Jane, working on a quilt. I have to say - the picture does not do them justice

Jane runs a patchwork and quilting shop - so I was gazing at wonderful fat quarters of fabric all day . Jane's shop is in the Coris Craft Centre
Visit her web site for more info

It was a good day we have such a wealth of talent in our local area - and I was happy as I sold some jewellery!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007


Hand made beads

Quite a busy time in the studio - although quite a lot of that time has been used up doing "administrative" stuff for the village craft fair this weekend. Making sure all my pictures have hangers on them. Sorting out my jewellery, and writing price tags etc.

I have also been working on my pages for "A travelling sketchbook"
This is two books that Linda and I exchange every couple of months. So we will both post about this soon .... Watch this space! To see Linda's work click here.

I have also made quite a few beads to make up into necklaces and ear-rings.

And quite a cute necklace with the beads threaded onto ribbon

I want to make a few more of these before Saturday if possible. So a busy time sorting stuff really.

(The Dog - Merlin continues to improve - we were back at the Vets today - and he doesn't want to see him again - but he has to wear his collar thing for a week!)

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Two Steps forward - One step back

Merlin went back to the vet on Friday to have his stitches out - he was doing very well after his operation.

Unfortunately today - he either had a good old scratch or caught the operation wound on something in the garden - and manages to open the wound up again - and there is even a hole (grim) - so back to the vet again today - and now he has this very glamorous collar - which he has not got used to yet. Back to the vet again on Monday - to see what is what - it might need stitching again.

Mixed bag of a day in the studio to-day. I am making textile beads for jewellery - this is rather repetitive - and because I have to make so many I make and assemble them rather like a factory line. So no completed beads yet.

I also had a cunning plan for creating a new bead - but it failed! So back to the drawing board tomorrow.

No pictures - because my camera ran out of battery -

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

What a Lovely Day

Today was such a lovely day. The weather was glorious - one of those sparkling September days - with a suggestion that we might be in for an Indian Summer - and a whisper of the Autumn to come. The sky was clear, and the mountains magnificent. They often look better with no haze of heat around them.

It was one of those days where I simply feel from the bottom of my heart “life is good”

My Studio

Sewing Table and Messy Table

No actual work done these last few days - but I have re-organized my studio space. On Saturday evening I was having a little moan about my work space and how it wasn't working right (for that read - how I wasn't working right!) When my partner and his sister took me in hand - before you could say mixed media - we cleared up the little room - found all my fabrics and put them on one shelf - and re-organized the work stations in the big room. I spent Sunday and Monday going through everything.

One of the reasons that we bought this house was the big old shed/chalet at the bottom of the garden that would make an ideal studio space for me. My partner re-furbished it as soon as we moved into the house - and it was a wonderful big light space. I moved all my stuff in very quickly to get it out of his work space - and really gave no proper thought as to what I wanted where.

As I was "homeless" for over 6 months - between selling my last house and finding this house - My work stuff was spread all over - some in store and some travelled with me. But I only got my large "messy" table back a couple of months ago.

Lots of my "bits and pieces" are still in boxes labeled "Studio nature" and "Studio sentimental" and "Studio inspiration"

As you can see from the above picture - my large board at the back of the room remains empty - this is intended as a place for all those images that catch my eye - photos I take - for starting points. Colour explorations. Pictures of my kids. etc

The village craft fair is in a couple of weeks - I have no excuse now not to be working flat out. I have also had a request from a gallery for jewellery for their Christmas Exhibition - just when I had decided to wind down the jewellery! I am considering starting an Etsy shop only for my textile jewellery - but I really have no idea how successful they are - especially here in the UK. I am not particularly good at self promotion.