Saturday 9 January 2016

Hey Clay! 2015 Play Day :o)

Back in December I found out that our local pottery (Oxcombe Pottery) were taking part in Hey Clay! 2015 - it was an event organised by the Crafts Council in which over 70 different venue opened their doors to let people have a go at playing with clay.

I went along with my friend Wendy, and we were so pleased we did, it's a wonderful venue, an old farm building specifically converted into a pottery.  We were shown some completed pieces that had been fired using different glazes and different techniques, and then we were let loose with our own ball of clay!

I created a tea-light holder, and in a challenge from one of the potters to see how thin I could draw out the clay I also made a little trinket holder/ornament.

The above pictures were before firing (as we couldn't fire them on the day) so the clay is still a little damp and grey.

This photo was taken after they were fired and they have now gone a whitish colour.  It was a really fun couple of hours, which has raised my interest in clay, I may just have to pop back and have a proper go!!

Thanks for reading
Steffi :o)

Saturday 2 January 2016

New Year - Renewed Focus!!

You may have noticed that I have been quiet in blogland for a while - I have, when able, still been playing at being crafty in the background, but through the winter months, I have felt I needed to take time to look inwards and to regain my focus.  A mini-hibernation if you will.

I'm going to share here a few photos of some of the crafting I have done during my silence, as at the moments the photos are sitting unseen on my mobile phone!

First, a couple of tags and altered playing cards that were created for some swaps.  Then this is an altered Tim Holtz folder that I made on a wonderful messy workshop with Dyan Reaveley (of Dylusions and Art from the Heart).

I was really lucky to be able to attend Tando's Ministry of Mixology weekend in Coventry - they are already planning the next one, but I don't think I'll be able to make it as I was really exhausted afterwards for quite a while.  It was a wonderful experience though, and I would highly recommend anyone to attend if they can.  The workshops were with Andy Skinner - a grungy notebook, and Michelle Webb - a lovely beach-hut scene.


And last but not least :o)  I joined in my first ever Pocket Letter swap - very new to me but it seems to be a new craze following on from ATCs - you use a 9 section ATC holder and then fill each pocket with something - embellishments, little gifts, a note whatever you fancy really.  There are some amazing ones on Pinterest!  This one, not so amazing, is mine.

Thanks for reading - hopefully I can keep this blog more active in 2016 :o)


Tuesday 6 October 2015

Journaling Workshop with Birgit Koopsen Bernstein

Hello again - luckily not so long between posts this time :o) thanks mainly to the lovely Sue Tucker from Art Workshops (link to the Facebook page) having arranged a wonderful weekend of workshops with the lovely Birgit Koopsen Bernstein (please do follow the link to her site and have a look through her work) back up in Middlesborough.  This is the first time that Birgit has taught in the UK so it was a wonderful opportunity to see something new.  I could only manage the Sunday unfortunately, I would have loved to do the whole weekend but it was not to be - that said the day I did attend was wonderful, I can't believe we got through so many different techniques!!

If you've followed my past posts at all, you'll probably know that I've toyed with the whole idea of journaling for ages but not really got very far with it.  This is partly do with a 'fear' or starting.  When you are sat staring at a blank page it can be quite daunting knowing how or where to start.  The beauty of this workshop was that we started with a completely blank journal and just played with lots of messy inks, and paints all day, making backgrounds in different ways, before focusing in on completing some of the pages.



We worked with acrylic inks (they were new to me but I really like them!), acrylic paints, water colour pencils and shaving foam! Yes shaving foam - great technique and quite addictive!!

Really like this one - I can see a fairy in there waiting for me to reveal her!

Then we worked on finishing a few pages up - so more messy play with paints and inks :o) !!

I hope you like these pages.  I feel a little braver about journaling now.  I've joined up to Irreversibly Moi's challenge - Fall in Love With Art Journaling which will last 10 weeks - here's hoping I can keep up with it.  The first challenge was to use your initials to create a page - I decided to create a basic page, using just my first initial 'S' and I created it with a Uni-Posca  gold pen and a purple coloured biro.

Thanks for reading

Stefanie :o)

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Playing with Powertex :o)

Hi, apologies for delayed absence, have been really struggling with my Fibro and unfortunately my crafty mojo completely vanished for a while :(  Because of this I have taken the tough decision to step down from the Design Teams at Rhedd's Creative Spirit and Altered Eclectics.  Hopefully though it won't be too long before I'm back up and running and entering their great challenges again, I've missed entering them even though I've really enjoyed being on the DTs.

Anyway enough moaning (sorry!) before I plummeted, I had booked onto a Powertex workshop with Ali-Crafts, and I dug deep to make the effort to still attend, as it is something I've wanted to work with for ages.  Powertex is a fabric hardener that gives you the ability to sculpt with textiles - it's also water based and environmentally friendly - what's not to love!?!

So we started off by choosing what type of figure we would like to make,  they have a selections of head styles; I chose a Masai warrior and Freyesha (a lovely fairy artist) chose a beautiful maiden.  We then fastened this onto a piece of dowel on a wooden block and wrapped it and bulked it out to give it the form we wanted.  Once happy with the basic shape we painted this with the Powertex liquid.

This dried pretty quickly, but once you start coating the fabric pieces, they will take longer to dry.

So then we had to choose which fabric to use as a covering for our pieces - cotton based is one of the best as it still dries fairly quickly but if you're not pushed for time you could use any.  I had a large piece from a linen type shirt, and an edging piece from something like a cardigan (just drawn out of the very ample scrap bag!)  We dunked them in the Powertex and then worked it into the fabric before working out where to position it on the model.  I wanted mine to look like the bright colourful blankets I've seen the Masai wear in documentaries and so I first placed it on the shoulders and then draped it around the front.  Once happy with that I moved on to the woollen fringed piece and positioned this in a similar way.

We then had a break for lunch during which time the pieces dried enough for us to begin working on them with Treasure Gold (gorgeous scrummy product!!) I also took pictures of Ali's (who led the workshop) and Freyesha's figurines so you can see how different they can look.

I used treasure gold pastes which had a reddish tone as they worked really well with my visions of a Masai warrior, and also blend in well with my home decor (!) I'm really pleased with the finish piece which now lives on my sitting room hearth.

If you fancy giving it a go yourself, and you're local to Lincolnshire I highly recommend Ali-Craft Workshops - they are lovely people and really enjoy what they do :o)

Thanks for reading - hopefully next post won't be so long in the writing!!

Stefanie :o) xx

Thursday 2 July 2015

Sea Witch Canvas for Rhedd's Creative Spirit

Hi, firstly apologies for my prolonged absence, I've been dramatically under the weather with a bit of a Fibro flare, and despite even the thought of crafting usually lifting me it just didn't happen.  However, we've now had some sunshine, my other half persuaded me to get out in the garden and I am improving :)  (edited to add - apologies for the late appearance of this post, I'd scheduled it for the 1st but it didn't work!!) 

So this month, my creation for Rhedd's Creative Spirit is actually a repurposing.  I had a very early canvas that I'd painted, my first dabble with expanding paint (not actually sure that's its' name) but it's a paint that puffs up as it dries.  Clever stuff!!

As it was an early piece, I've not been able to move past it, even though I didn't really like it.  It just sat on ine side in my dining room, being ignored.

The other day, still feeling a bit fed up with things, I decided its' time had come.  I needed to do something bold and dramatic, and I decided that to begin again from scratch with this canvas would be a great catalyst.

The original colour was white, silver and a pale turquoise, unfortunately I didn't think to take a 'before' picture, as I wasn't truly sure how this would work out!

I started with various shades of blue acrylics and literally just slapped it on all over!  I blended some metallic green to some of the blue a slapped it on too!  It was quite liberating really as I didn't have any plan as to where I was going with it.

Once dried, I dabbed some white flecks onto the textured areas (from the puffed paint) which is when I started to think of a bubbling sea.  I then added some greeny-blue fibres using gel medium.

This seemed to create rays emanating from the corner, so I pondered what I could add to the corner.  Then I remembered I had made some moulded clay faces ages ago and not used them I used some more gel medium to add a face to the corner, along with some more beads.  I painted the face with a slightly darker greeny-blue.

I didn't think the small piece of netting was quite enough and so I added some floristry wire which was hexagonal (a bit like chicken wire) and trimmed it to fit around the face.  I also added some light green seed beads around her face and along where I'd added the fibres.

Then to balance it out, I added a pile of Chinese coins in the opposite corner, again adding a touch of rub and buff.

I really enjoyed playing freeform, and it has helped me begin to feel better - let's hope this continues!!

Thanks for reading

Steffi :o) xx

Friday 1 May 2015

Fabric Scrappy Canvas for Altered Eclectics

And now for something completely different! Well maybe not completely, but it's been a while since I shared anything sewing based.

I have got rather a lot of fabric hidden (I mean stored) away, and often when you make something with fabrics there are bits left over.

Wanting to do something that felt a bit cheery and springlike, I decided to raid my leftover fabric stash, to cover a thin canvas board I had.

I grabbed a random selection of offcuts which I then arranged over a sheet of Heat & Bond (hard to describe - but it's essentially a paper based glue for fabric that is heat activated). Once I was happy with the layout I then pressed over it with an iron - at this point it's best to place a thin cloth over the piece so that none of the glue ends up stuck on the base plate of the iron - if it did it would most likely ruin it!

The next stage is to take it over to the sewing machine - all the scraps will be held in place by the heat and bond so you shouldn't lose any on the way! I chose to use a variety of my machine's stitches and different brightly coloured threads to edge each of the scraps. Where they overlapped, I stitched up to the next piece of fabric to make it look like the stitches carried on underneath.

I then wanted to add a sentiment, so I chose a SuziQ one and stamped it using standard black Archival ink onto a piece of plain calico. I did a bit of research online to see which inks were recommended, some people seem to prefer Stazon, but I did find one link to a blog where she had used about 10 different ink pads, and then ironed and washed them. (if I can find the link again, I'll pop back and add it here). The Archival came out as well as any of the others so I went with that. I also added a little colour using Zig fabric markers which are permanent once ironed.   I then stitched this into place by again stitched round it.

I then placed the whole piece on a sheet of pelmet vilene interfacing) and sewed all the way around the randomly shaped top piece using a zig-zag stitch. Once I'd done this, I trimmed the vilene back to the stitched edge, and using pva glue attached it to the canvas board.

I'm really happy with this piece of fabric art, just looking at it makes me smile.

Thanks for reading
Steffi :o)

Thursday 30 April 2015

Altered Beermats for Rhedd's Creative Spirit

Hi, today I'm sharing some altered beermats that I turned into little wall hangings for a recent swap.

They started off as ordinary beermats (other makes of beer are available :o) ) and then I coated them with black gesso.

Then I took a couple of sheets of some designer paper, tore them in order to give a distressed edge, and, placing the beermats on the diagonal, covered one half with the papers in two layers.  On the uncovered half I attached a wooden key and lock which I had coloured with my Krylon copper leafing pen.

The swap was for a 4" x 4" square, and these mats were just under, so I glued a piece of black card to the back, before writing my sentiment, which I'd based on how I'd decorated the front:  'Peel back the layers and unlock your true inner beauty', I added a piece of filigree at the base and doodled a border around the edge.

I then used my crop-a-dile (love it!!) to add an eyelet to the top corner, and strung some ribbon through to create a hanging loop.

Turning back to the front, I realised that the extra piece of card had created a frame, so I used my Krylon on this too.

I wish I'd made more as I would have kept one for myself! 

Thanks for reading 
Steffi :o)