Another easy and quick way to add some interest to fabric is to use stencils. You can buy stencil plastic if you want to make very durable stencils to use over and over again, but I don't often reuse my stencils that much so I prefer to use freezer paper or recycled materials.
All you need is a sharp knife, freezer paper, a cutting mat and an image to cut out.
Using a stencil to make a SK8R Boy
Using this very simple idea I made a small 8" x 8" quilt of a boy I saw in our local skate park.
The boy I saw flying through the air was wearing dark trousers and a white T shirt. As he flew through the air I noticed his T shirt blended into the sky, which gave me the idea of leaving out his T shirt all together. This was easy to do with the stencil - I just ignored the T shirt when it came to cutting out the stencil pieces.
For the background I used the paint and roller from the earlier messing about I had done with stencils. This was a bit of a 'use up' quilt. I used Derwent Inktense pencils for the graffiti in the corner as I love the intense colour you can achieve with them.
To make the quilt I started with a small mottled piece of grey hand dyed fabric. In the corner I attempted my version of some of the graffiti I saw at the skate park. It was so vibrant and colourful I thought it would look great in the corner of the quilt and would balance the image of the boy flying through the air.
I really enjoy carving lino blocks and I am now usually able to make one without bleeding too much. I bought some small squares of lino a year or so ago, and then forgot all about them. I then bought some easy-carve type squares and made several nice blocks with them. They cut like butter. If you have the choice - go for these. Softer still are cheap erasers - they are just a bit small - but wow - you could cut these with a spoon (not really, but you get what I mean).
Fast forward to a few days ago. Whilst cleaning out my supplies boxes I found those old lino squares. They are a little dry and crumbly when compared with the smooth as silk easy-carve, but never one to waste things, I decided to carve a block right there and then.
I made a small and simple drawing of 3 cherries, traced it and transferred the outline to my lino square. After carefully cutting it out, this is how it looks.
When it was finished I made a few test prints, tidied up the last few bumps and then printed several pages in my sketchbook. I made a rubbing too.
Next I found two old erasers. One was a little crusty at the end, so I chopped it off. I drew a single cherry and carved it in less than a minute. Wow - these things are easy to cut! Next I drew a little leaf, and quick as a flash, cut away the exterior. Now I had a cherry and a leaf to play with.
Top tips for cutting lino blocks
I hope you give lino cutting a try - it is quick and easy and you can create your own motifs and print with ink, dye, acrylic paint, ink, household bleach, decolourant or anything else you can think of. You can also make rubbings - so you get 2 for one with these!
I have no idea yet what I will do with these small stamps - but watch this space!
Do you work in a sketchbook - or want to start?
How it works
On the first day of each month a theme is announced. This month it is TEA AND COFFEE.You can work in any medium that you like - paint, watercolor, pen & ink, charcoal, collage, marker, crayon or something else and your sketchbook should be a reflection of you and you should feel free to explore and work in any mediums that you want. Here are my first ideas.
The great thing is it is so flexible. There is no minimum or maximum. You just work in your sketchbook as often as you like and create as many pages as you are inspired to. It doesn't even have to be in a sketchbook - Sketchbook Challenge artist Jane LaFazio will be working in single sheets for this challenge and that might be something you might like to try too.
How to share your images
You can post photos of your pages to your own blog if you have one and if you do then leave a link to the posts in the Sketchbook Challenge website in the comments section of the theme post so others can find it. You can also post photos to the specialflickr group that we've set up. You'll find that here .
So - there you have it. I have just created my Flikr account, posted my pictures and am about to put a link to this post on the Sketchbook Challenge website. I am looking forward to seeing what other people do this month!
I recently joined the group Contemporary Quilters West, a group of 14 contemporary and art quilters based in the Wiltshire, Bath, Bristol and Somerset areas. We are all members of the Quilters Guild and most of us are members of the internet based Contemporary Quilt Group.
I am delighted to say that at least 5 of the group have work on display at the Festival of Quilts this year, starting today.
Unfortunately I am not in the UK at the moment, so am not going to be able to attend - but thanks to the wonders of the internet, Facebook, Twitter etc. I hope to see many of the quilts, at least on my screen.
If you are lucky enough to be going, do look out for the work of Chrisse Seager, Alicia Merrett, Judy Stevens, Kathryn Chambers, all members of Contemporary Quilters West. Clicking on their names will take you to their respective blogs or websites where you can see more of their work. I have also added some images below.
Fine Art Quilt Masters 2014 (sponsored by Freudenberg Vilene)
Chrisse's piece, 'Bushfire' in the Fine Arts Quit Masters display. Congratulations to Chrisse on achieving such recognition.
Alicia Merrett has her own gallery this year, 'Mapping the Imagination' . She has published a book of the same title to accompany this exhibition, advanced copies are available directly from Alicia at the festival.
Contemporary Quilt Challenge: Dislocation
Contemporary Quilt is a specialist group of The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles comprising over 700 members. A diverse group of quilters and fabric artists working to create innovative and dynamic art. The group has been set theme for 2014 of ‘Dislocation’ to be interpreted in any way they choose. Very best quilts will be on display within their gallery at this year’s Festival.
Judy, Kathryn and myself have quilts in this gallery
I haven't worked in my sketchbook for quite a while now - I have been busy with another project that is taking up all of my time. But sometimes a change is as good as a rest, as some very clever person once said.
So I got out a new set of water colours and my box of bits and pieces (for things that one day might be useful) and I pulled out 3 blue things ; a cornflower seed head; a postcard of a lighthouse and mussel shell. Random!
This is how the pages turned out.