Online Tutorials

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Due to social distancing and lockdown in the UK my face to face tutorials and workshops have had to sadly stop.

During these strange times many of us of are still trying to adjust to this ‘new normal’ way of living, I know I am anyway. My child and I are isolating as much as possible whilst my partner, his dad, continues to work.

Not being able to leave the house, like many, has pushed my creativity to the limit. Some days are easier than others, we have a very basic routine scheduled around my toddlers afternoon nap.

This time period gives me the chance to work on my art projects and business. Unless my anxiety has gotten the better of me due to general worry in which case I spend the time relaxing and doing self hypnosis.

To ensure my confidence and drive for my teaching stays in tact though the concept of pre recorded tutorials is working quite well.

I have weekly projects that are sent out to the children’s class I taught. Theses topics are accompanied with an art pack they have been provided with.

I will share a few easy tutorials for free during this period of isolation though. Giving myself plenty to do is a good coping strategy and hopefully it will inspire others to create lovely things.

A few topics will be child friendly and mostly aimed at families, these will be shared on this Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/childrensartclassderby/

Those tutorials will be done with my toddler assisting to demonstrate how easily they can be achieved. The first one is a quick and easy way of creating prints with a pizza base.

My first demo without my toddler assisting is how to fold your own zine. A zine can be made by anyone, an activity to do as a family or on your own. The video can be watched by following this  link https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethBladesArtist/

I have also created Illustrated instructions that can be accessed here How to make a zine Instructions

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The video also gives you ideas on what you may want to put into your zine once it has been folded. Pictured above are a few designs created from the group of children I taught in my children’s class.

Contents of a zine can be any topic you like from storytelling to silly and random or topical. Zines are a great way to spread news. Sending a zine to someone who is in isolation at the moment may be a lovely way to spread some joy and bring comfort. It is something that is more than just a card.

Simply put a zine is a self published book which is easily reproduced via a printer or photocopier. If you create a zine after following my instruction, I would love to see! Please tag me in your photo’s if you share on Instagram @elizabethblades.

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Natural Dye

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I recently went on a natural dye course at the blackcountry living museum. Dispite being born in the west midlands, so not all that far away from this location, I have never previously visited.
I had such a good eperience at this workshop the session was well taught and I learn so much during the time frame.

 


The course was great value for money and the price included lunch tokens and 3 free drinks which could be used at various eateries situated within this beautiful and  fascinating museum.
I can highly recommend studying on a course here.
Natural dye is a subject I have really wanted to learn about. Working with textiles and having a background in printmaking had me feeling it would develop my practice.
I am currently researching and compiling a book of natural dye samples to use for reference.

 


I am having fun mixing colours together to get certain shades, pinks and purples are so far my favourite.
I have printed a white dress using the natural dye print/steam process. I hope to have this on display at the Banks Mill open studios event later this month (22nd till 24th November).

 

I will aim to upcycle the dress further adding naturally dyed trims and embroidery if time allows.
I will also have a small selection of naturally dyed scarfs and tote bags for sale. A few of my textile art pieces will have naturally dyed elements also.
In the future I hope to plan and deliver forage and natural dye workshops along with my partner, Brendan McDowell, who is a forager and forest school leader.

 


These workshops would include a short forage for something to eat and also dye with.
The workshop would cover the basics of dye baths and printing/steaming.
I am also considering the concept of natural dye cloth doll workshops so watch this space.

Doll Making workshops

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From the first time I created this cloth doll design I imagined running workshops on how to make them.

 


I have had a few chances through various freelance positions to run a few doll workshops. This proved the ideal opportunity to develop illustrated handouts to compliment my tuition.
My doll design is fairly simple and kept small so it is manageable for participants to complete in a one day workshop.
I find it exciting to see how students interpret my design. The characters that are dreamt up are always so different its an inspiration.
Pictured are a few dolls created from a course, so many of these students spent far longer than you would on a day workshop. One student even embroidered the whole outfit, which looked truly beautiful and really effective.

 


Cloth dolls take quite a while to make especially if they are sewn together by hand. In this case my design is and will be in the workshops I run. It is a surprisingly fun and relaxing craft which leaves you with a satisfied feeling to create your own little art doll.
I have ran a Frida Kahlo inspired doll workshop and had some wonderful finished results by the students.

 

I chose this artist as a focus because her style is so inspiring and helps with design creativity. I would definitely like to do another workshop around this theme in the near future.
I have created an art doll which is also intended to be a Christmas decoration. This is achieved by the stiff fabric used so the doll stands up.

 


I will be running two Saturday workshops over the next few months. One will be based in Birmingham during November and the 2nd will be based in my studio in Derby so spaces are limited so booking will be advised.
Promotional material to follow in the next few weeks.

art trail

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I am taking part in my first event since having a child. I will be selling works old and new at six streets art trail in derby.

Old work will be sold at a huge mark down in price. I have had boxes full of prints ranging from etchings, collography and monoprints.

 

These Original pieces of art have been gathering dust for too long and I would like them to go to good homes.
New work will be from my brand petite house of dolls and will consist of art dolls, badges, stickers, greeting cards, broaches and hair slides.

 

 


I have been working hard to sculpt models to display these dolls. I plan to create a few more for future events but I would like to make them to a high standard so will take my time.

 


This event takes place across 6 streets just off Kedleston road in derby. Houses along these streets will be opening their homes and hosting artists work.
I will be located in the primary school which is situated in this area.

Petite house of dolls

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petitecoverI have been working on a new brand idea, petite house of dolls, for a while now. The portfolio of work for it is still in production but I have enough now to share.

How it started – My work has always had a storytelling element to it and I have always been very fond of stories growing up about toys or dolls. The mennyms are a particular favourite series or tales about small creatures like brambly hedge. After working on a ragdoll project as a community artist this fired my interest in creating dolls.

One of the first dolls I created was a ‘mini me’ doll which is what I call her. She is even wearing fabrics from an old favourite dress of mine.minimepetitehouse

Why the name petite house of dolls? – My work is and has always been small and delicate weather its been illustration or embroidery so its only natural my dolls are turning out the same. Petite is in the name because I am a little bit French. The image of a doll house isn’t actually in the name but it is in the logo and is an ongoing project which will expand the brand.

I have now developed 3 different styles of art dolls made from cloth, clay and wool and wire.

The cloth dolls are painted and embroidered and defiantly take the longest to make. I have created two for commissions also. Although crafted from cloth this style is intended to be a piece of art and not a toy due to small parts.

 

The two dressed in spotted outfits are now for sale.

Another style of doll is made from wire and wool. The first I have created are flower fairies. These reflect my interest in small creatures, are inspired by the flower fairy stories by Cicely Mary Barker and my love for bright colours.

 

I also have for sale two one off soft cat sculptures inspired by a collograph print I illustrated a few years ago. My stories are often influenced by traditional weird and wonderful fairy tales.

 

The story behind these cats is as follows;

My Tail – This is a tale about a witch who is obsessed with cats, in particular their tails. Stray hungry cats who wonder into her garden often fall victim to the treats left outside her door as a way to lure them inside. She uses her golden magic to remove their tails and keep them stored in a wardrobe as if they were just another fashion accessory. The cats leave unharmed but in place of their tails are long beautiful golden trails. These cats often end up staying close by. Locals often wonder if its either because they are under the spell of the witch. Or if they just want to remain near to their long lost tails.

Another doll style is a created from clay and wooden peg tops. My first creations is a wedding cake topper. This will be something I will advertise for commissions soon, I loved creating this. I have drawn an illustration of the final piece which I will develop into cards too.

 

 

My etsy shop can be found if you follow this link;

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Petitehouseofdolls

 

Empowering Exhibitions

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Empowered women of women’s work exhibition is the first exhibit I organised and helped curate.

This exhibition collated a beautiful selection of my students work displaying their skills in textile art and painting.

The second exhibition of students work is still currently displayed at the community café in Derby city’s Arboretum until the end of April.

 

 

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This exhibition is an interactive presentation of individual students collaged art pieces. These are shaped into simple paper dresses of my design.

Held up by hangers the dresses can be taken down so the reverse can be seen.

Blow you can see close up images of my example paper dress.

 

 

Hello World

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52723250_361708391331279_1527733585312743424_n Pictured is my reason for the lack of blog posts, I had a real life one of these!

I have been very busy being a mum and building my art practice which now includes doll making and puppetry!

More blog posts on this to follow but for now I will just show you a few pictures of me in my new studio at banks mill derby.

A small studio but it is the ideal space for me to develop my ideas and run one to one art tuition classes.

 

February, I’m in love

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I may be loved up and happy but not with February, I am looking forward to racing through the next month towards spring.

 

The first few months of the year are never my favourite mostly due to the colder weather and short days. Although the days are slowly getting longer and there are signs of spring with colourful flowers popping up to say hello, No doubt a cold snap will try it’s best to kill them off though.

 

I have been keeping busy with the more craft related projects recently. I desperately want to continue drawing and churning out imagery for my story but have developed quite the literal neck ache. Giving the studio a spring clean and setting up a proper area with an easel of sorts will help and support a more effective posture ready for completion of the rag doll fairytale story.

 

For now though I have gone off on quite a tangent with an idea I have had in my head since the start of my rag doll project. I have painstakingly painted, designed, hand and machine sewn a ‘real life’ version of one of the characters from the story. I describe it in this way because I did not realise how much work the outfit would take to create. Sewing tiny clothes is far harder than I thought!

 

 

I am pleased with the outcome though and think I did a good job of sourcing bits of fabric scraps from my storage to remain complimentary to the original illustration.

 

Wings can be made at a later date along with more characters and creatures in this style. I will need to draw more of the story before this idea can be explored further.

 

My sister’s birthday has been, celebrated and gone but I brought this book from a charity shop before Christmas with the intention of making it into a clutch.

 

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I don’t usually enjoy doing crafts on my own, I think I will but it may be because a lot of the exemplars I need to create are craft related so I prefer to draw in any spare time I get. I find ‘Crafting’ is usually always more interesting when done with someone else or in a workshop setting.

 

I discovered many online tutorials on how to make one so I took inspiration from a few and developed my own, somewhat messy, version.

 

A few paper cuts later I had paper mached and super glued my way to something I was thankful to have finished. I hope my sister will like it even though there is pretty much only room for a lipstick and phone, but what else do you actually need in your bag!? #firstworldproblems

 

 

My partner in creative ‘crime’ has been colouring my art nouveau updated images beautifully, I am so excited to see them all completed and perhaps will draw more.

 

 

We are thinking of created enough to exhibit. When, will be decided once we discover the right location to host the exhibition.

 

March is just around the corner which means lots of exciting projects happening. I am really looking forward to Derby’s international women’s day festival which I am always happy to be involved in, so watch this space.

 

 

 

 

New Year

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I won the bronze award for my entry into eco creates exhibition Time and tide waits for no man with my entry ‘tide and tide waits for no one’, this kicked off a great start to what has already been a busy creative year for me.

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‘This is a metaphorical Illustrative textile piece. I chose to use a mix of embroidery, machine sewing and appliqué to ‘colour in’ with a small amount of fabric painting added for good measure. Pictured is a female dressed in her wellies, rain coat and mittens, she represents human kind, and struggles to hold onto a clock ‘umbrella’ with ocean waves crashing down upon the top. The umbrella is decorated to look like a clock which depicts time and that it is running out. A gold, slightly wonky, umbrella handle that she is clinging to signifies those of us who are trying to prevent the inevitable. Admittedly a future that won’t necessarily happen for hundreds of years yet. After all though shouldn’t we begin to realise that eventually mother nature (the tide) will do as she wishes. As the theme of the exhibition suggests ‘Time and tide’, really wont, wait for no man or indeed woman’.

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My aim for this year is to have a clear out of unsold art work I have stored for years now cluttering the corner of my studio. I can’t keep hoarding them any more so I am having a 60% reduction off the original price which will run until the end of February, I am hoping at least this way, my work can go to new home where they will be out on display and seen.

Follow this link https://en-gb.facebook.com/ElizabethBladesArtist/ to my facebook page to grab a bargain and own some hand printed art that is worth so much more than what you will be paying for it.

This January saw the start of my new venture, life drawing evening classes. The classes are in such a beautiful space, with chic and inspiring surroundings at the Smallprint Co http://www.smallprintcompany.co.uk/

I am keen to see if this will grow in terms of attendance numbers but for now at least I will wait and see what happens.

I found time over the festive period to work on my art nouveau collaboration project, here is a sneak peak at some of the drawings awaiting colour.

My ragdoll panel imagery is slow in progress but still coming along nicely. I will have to stop myself from posting too many of these so I don’t give the whole story away. It is still early days yet but I am rediscovering my love for just drawing in pencil, atmosphere and tone is so fun to create and perfect for setting the mood.

I have begun to experiment with a new medium for an exciting job opportunity I gained just before the end of last year. Mosaic will be a technique I am determined to master.

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I will be running a series of mosaic workshops in schools throughout the first few months of the year so I have created this exemplar because I teach better when I have visual aids. The mosaic’s the children will produce will be large mural size intended to adorn the school walls.

I have many more exciting projects planned over the coming months and I am looking forward to documenting it here in my blog.