February, I’m in love

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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New Year

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.

Handmade December

This is the first winter I have properly settled into a place I now call home and I am ready to celebrate the end of this year and took toward the next.

I have been busy making my own decorations. Bunting and garlands are quick and easy when skipping the sewing machine and reaching for the glue gun.

I am especially pleased with the garland crafted from last years Christmas cards. This did actually take ages to make though and I started it a few months back, left it, and kept doing little bits of it right up until this picture.

At least I have these to reuse every year though right!? This is what I keep telling myself, I must remember to wrap them around a spool once the festive period is out the way and not toss them into a bag to be stuffed into the attic.

My skills with paper mache decorations are never as good as what I think up in my mind. A little gingerbread house I did a few years ago is still standing strong though.

gingerbread-house

The poor excuse of a twig tree needs lots of work, on reflection, wire should have been used from the start but time was limited and it appears to hold these tree ornaments okay. For now.

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A festive fabric printing workshop I ran last month resulted in the perfect reason to create my own Christmas day dinner table runner and place matt’s for exemplars.

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One of my favourite new Christmas ornament’s is this mini empowerment doll gifted to me by fellow artist Rita Kappia  https://twitter.com/ritathedolllady

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One of my last commissions of the year was to illustrate and design the Instruction kit for this doll.

It was such a fun doll to draw too!

Amongst all the excitement and relaxation this holiday will no doubtingly bring I will continue to draft imagery for my rag doll Fairytale. I will endeavour to make 2017 the year that this book comes to life.

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I am feeling proud that I have successfully kept a monthly blog over the course of 2016. It has helped me develop my writing skills and as a working artist in documenting my progress. I hope to continue this process throughout the on coming year.

I am pleased to announce lots of new projects are planned for 2017, so watch this space.

Merry Christmas!

Rag Doll Project

Just before 2015 drew to a close the Lichfield city festival did a call out for textile artists to submit CVs for consideration for their rag doll trail concept. I had been shortlisted to present my proposal at the end of January 2016.

Luckily my idea had been the only no sew method making it inclusive for all (including those struggling with dexterity). I had a bold concept that utilized recycled materials that would work well along side the home made dolls (sewn) that would also be on the trail.

The concept appealed to me because the theme would be recycled fabric which is something I endeavour to promote throughout my work. After the festival the dolls would be donated to refugee charities, a beautiful way to end the project. I loved that so many of these toys were hand made, by children, for children who have very little.

I live close to a recycle and play centre in Derby which provided all the fabric needed to create the dolls. I prepared for 6 or so workshops which would run during April and May. After a month’s prep I had bags of fabric cut into strips, ready to be made doll shaped!

The concept was that members of the community would make the dolls, which would then become the rag doll trail. To encourage young children to part with their newly made toys I created a ‘how to’ zine 1 so they could make their own at home (or whenever they wanted!).

The project was fun, exciting, rewarding and a big reminder why I do what I do and that I love my job. Despite the stress I can get myself into, every project I work on I am learning what does and does not work which makes me continue to improve as an artist and tutor. 2

I met many lovely people during my time in Lichfield and the surrounding area, and it is looking likely that I will be working on another project at next years festival so watch this space!

The following is the rag-doll project journey in pictures:

Every trip to Lichfield began with bags and trolleys stuffed with resources.3

Cannock chase museum, my first ‘drop in’ workshop. A Large doll made by women seeking refuge from abuse at a local centre, and a few of the many dolls created at the Cannock chase drop in session.

Following a drop in session at the Lichfield Garrick theatre, these large dolls posed in front of a very showbiz backdrop.6

Possibly my favourite location to work in was a beautifully decked out shop in Wolverhampton. A sea themed doll and beautifully designed smaller ones were created.

I had the most fun though running a workshop for a very welcoming breast cancer support group at Burntwood library. I adored the garden queen doll and small dolls that they lovingly made.

My last workshop on the last weekend of the festival. Set up in front of the hauntingly beautiful Cathedral.

Finally a chance to take a look at the rag doll trail… and I spotted one of my favourites, a mermaid!