Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Vertigo Strikes!

Sorry no posting for a while. I have been feeling a bit under par with some kind of virus. I had a horrid ear-ache for a while - and now a chest infection, but the worst is vertigo.

So I have been struggling to stay up-right - let alone do anything in the studio. I did this little play around today with my new machine - on painted bondaweb layers - but I perhaps I should not have done it - as the dizzy spells are back with a vengeance!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Water Soluble Fabric

Click on the photos for a bigger image

Another creatively fun day with the "Machine Embroidery for Beginners" group

Yesterday the class had a good day experimenting with water soluble fabric for the first time.
Next week is the final class - when the students are making a small (8ins x 8 ins) embroidery using all the skills they have learnt in the past three weeks.

Monday, 22 October 2007

A little Sample

Today I was preparing for next Wednesday Class - which is working with water soluble fabric and machine embroidery and I made this small sample.

I really rather like it - it is only small - maybe 5 inches or so. I simply laid fibres onto the water soluble fabric and machined it down - then dissolved away the water soluble.

Funny how sometimes just playing around works out well and leads on to other things!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

My New Baby! Pfaff 2058

I have a new sewing machine!

I have only played with it for a few hours to-day so I don't really know what it is capable of yet. It is taking a bit of getting used too!

So far so good.

Because it has more electronics; it is a bit strange; in that I can not sit down and just do "free machine embroidery".

There are a few start up screens to go through and a lot of "touch screen" - bit like trying to get money out of the hole in the wall at the bank!

It did however, stitch very nicely through layers of fabrics and wool with a nice even stitch and it purrs along - unlike my old machine which in the last year has started to sound very clunky indeed.

My last machine was also a Pfaff - and I am quite surprised that I bought another one - as all my stitching life I wanted to be the proud owner of a Bernina!

I also knew - that at this point, I did not want a machine that connects to my computer - (although I am tempted) but I have a Mac - and I think that all the current "embroidery" machines connect to PC's which would of meant buying a PC as well as a sewing machine. My views about PC's are not repeatable - I
love my Mac.

I got my machine through www.sewingmachines.co.uk
I spoke with Russell there who was brilliantly helpful. If you want to buy a brand of sewing machine they deal with - then I recommend them.

I will let you know how I get on with my new machine. I will keep my old machine for back up,
but I am now thinking of turning my very old machine (an elna) into an embelisher as I wont need it for back up.

If anyone has done this to one of their old machines - I would welcome your comments

Thursday, 18 October 2007


I have been Tagged!

This is a kind of double edged sword - as it is quite nice because it means someone, somewhere is following my blog - this someone happened to be Sharon

But it also means I have to tag 7 others and
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

I am not a huge blogger in that I don't know many others - I admire and read a lot of the doyennes of the fibre art world but would not be "brave" enough to tag them!

The majority to the people who read my blog sign themselves as anonymous, or admirer - so I don't know who they are!

Anyway - here goes.

7 facts about myself - some random some weired.

1) I have three wonderful sons who I am very proud of

2) I broke my collar bone 2 years ago and it never healed - so I have a strange gap instead of a collar bone

3) I am always amazed when people remember who I am

4) I have an terrific sense of smell

5) I don't like the colour yellow very much

6) I hate "keep fit" but enjoy swimming

7) I love the moon - I think it is so beautiful and magical and to live here - close to the sea. To
have the tides, the moon, the mountains - bliss!

Phew done - now the hard bit tagging 7 others.

Linda - She is my comrade in arms - and has been for a long time

Judy - who is my new cyber friend

Margaret (digitalgran) - who also lives in Wales

Vivien - I like her flower paintings - and she has wonderful pictures of the sea on her blog
(but I don't know her)

Penny - I don't know Penny but I enjoy her drawing and the title of her blog always makes me smile

Shirley - who I have just met in blogland and would like to get to know better

And for my last I will put ........

djpettit - I enjoy the way she paints faces - and from her blog - I imagine she must be an inspiring teacher. (This is my brave tag!)

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Day 2 of Machine Embroidery Class

Machine Cable Stitch

Today we covered altering the tension on both the top thread and the bobbin - whip stitch and feather stitch. We also tried machine cable stitch - this is where a thick thread is wound on the bobbin and the embroidery is worked on the reverse.

During the afternoon session we covered machine stitched cords, and Jean has stitched her cord onto the piece that she started last week.

Sheilaghs work shows a wonderful build up of texture using whip stitch variations.

Another good day was had by us all - I really enjoy seeing how different folk develop their work from the same starting point. I think all the students are in agreement that after 2 days of machine embroidery - they know their machines a lot better and are beginning to test their machines full capabilities!

Playing around with your machine and practising with different fabrics, threads and tension settings is time well spent if you wish to develop your free machine embroidery techniques.

Again I am having trouble posting the pictures tonight - and I have visitors arriving tomorrow for a few days so ..... I am not sure when I will be able to add more pics.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Good Day To-day

Beaded Silk / Velvet devoree with glass

Nice day to-day - not a high pressured creative day - but I spent the day assembling necklaces for the Beetroot Tree Christmas Show.

Silk / Velvet Devoree with Indian Glass Beads.

This is something that is rather time consuming - but gently enjoyable - I could actually listen to the radio while I was doing this - something I have not done in a while!

Silk / Velvet devoree with Labradorite

I make bangles and ear-rings to match the necklaces - the earrings I will do next week. As tomorrow I will be preparing for Day 2 of the "Machine Embroidery for Beginners" class which takes place on Wednesday.

I would like to reply to the comment about it being stressful teaching a course for beginners. Comments like this are always useful as it makes me stop and think about why.

Yes I find it stressful - and sometimes I would much prefer to stay in the studio and create rather than going out there and face the world. However there are several reasons for getting out there, here are just a few that apply to me.

The Bank Manager - the bottom line is that I find it difficult to support myself as a full time artist. If I am in my studio - I am creating pieces that might or might not sell at some point in the future.

Isolation - If I stayed in my studio creating - I believe I would not grow as an artist. In teaching I get the opportunity to re-visit techniques that I have not used in a while, and develop existing techniques. Students are interested and exciting - especially adult students as they are in your class because they REALLY want to be there.

Joy - it is a great joy when a student is totally excited by what she has produced in class - their joy and enthusiasm is infectious - if they continue with the work when class is over - then - Job done.

The amount of teaching that I do is minimal, however for me - it is worth the angst and stress.

PS The necklaces have not got their clasps on yet - and apologies for the quality of the pictures - we have had a very grey day here - and (again) I left the photography until to late in the day!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Machine Embroidery Class

Today was the first session of Machine Embroidery for Beginners, and we were a very select group of 6;- plus me!

This was ideal as it meant we all had enough time.

For some reason - blogger wont let me post all my pictures tonight - so here are some of the samples done in class today. More tomorrow.

This are samples from the first exercise - simply using straight stitching over layers of threads and fabrics.

I enjoyed to-day. The group was humorous and hard working - a lovely combination!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

More Beads

c Karen Hall 2007

Yummy devoree silk- velvet beads that I finished today.
Which I think will make a fabulous necklace for the winter parties!

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Time / No Time !

Textile Beads
Using Fabrics from Bumblebee Quilting

I feel that I am stomping around quite a lot just at the moment. Probably because I have not spent much time in the studio recently. Well I have - but not really making - more administration.

One of the things that I do struggle with from time to time - is TIME - or lack of it - where has this week gone?

Sometimes - the "office" bits of being an artist, takes time away from "making" Just small things - pricing up work. Sorting out work for prints, getting prices for giclee prints. Signing prints. Ordering stuff from suppliers etc.

Then - my day school starts on Wednesday - so getting all the stuff together, lesson plans, supplies for students to use. Packing everything up etc.

Then there is my morning job - which I do as I cannot fully support myself as a working artist - and, if you have not guessed - it is gardening!

Then there is "life" all that day to day stuff - which needs doing, but totally takes time away from art.

So just in this moment - I am feeling a bit stompy. As a result - I have decided to take the week of the 15th off from gardening work. This way I can spend more of the week in the studio - and get all my stuff together for the Beetroot Tree Christmas show "Desirables". 18 new pieces of jewellery which have to be delivered by the 1st November.

I also really want to take part in a canvas swap on art-e-zine

More Beads

I am sad that these pictures are so poor - but the light had gone and I was being hasty - The colour does not do justice to the lovely fabrics that I got from Bumblebeequilting.

After making beads - one of the nicest things is deciding what to put them with them;-


Or this!

I have all day in the studio tomorrow - but I will be testing out the samples I want my class to make on Wednesday - and thinking about the piece I want to make for the 8 x 8 art-e-zine swap!