Tuesday, December 29, 2015
I hope you're all enjoying the holidays! I received some needle-felting supplies for Christmas along with some fabulous books. On St.Stephen's Day my mom, Isabelle and I all got around the kitchen table and spent the afternoon needle-felting, it was really nice for us all enjoy the same craft! We all made something different and I made this large butterfly!
It's a Peacock butterfly and it wasn't too tricky to make. I did have some help from these gorgeous books though! My attempts at wet felting weren't so successful but I'm going to give it another go, needle-felting I will definitely recommend though! It's lots of fun and great for all ages! : )
That's all for now! Enjoy the rest of the holidays and I hope you get to have some creative time! Stay warm and dry wherever you are, we're awaiting the arrival of another storm today, we could do without the rain, a lot of people are at risk from flooding. Fingers crossed it won't be too bad!
Thursday, December 17, 2015
I decided to do a lino cut for my Christmas cards this year. It's been nearly 20 years since I've done any lino cutting, my last taste of it was back in school and I remember it being very hard to carve! I found some soft cut lino online and had my fingers crossed it'd be easier to work with! Thankfully it was!
I had a little scene in mind that I wanted to create, with a blackbird in a hedgerow (some festive foliage mixed in) some snowy hills and something local, I went with the wind turbines on the hills across from our house. So I sketched it out, scanned it in, tweaked it in Photoshop to give me an idea of what it would look like printed (I just inverted it!). Then I scaled it to fit the card blanks I had and printed a copy to transfer to my lino. I traced over the lines in pencil, placed it face down onto the lino and rubbed the back to transfer it.
Then I started carving. I still had my old tools from school, they weren't that sharp but I did have some new tools that I bought for stamp carving that worked really well. It took under an hour to carve out and it wasn't too hard.
I don't have any block printing inks yet so I just used some of my stamp ink pads and they worked pretty well. I tried out a few variations in black, red and a coffee brown on different coloured and textured cardstock.
This was the first batch I printed and they turned out better than I was expecting! Although I think I'll invest in some block printing inks and some new blades for future lino cuts just to make life a bit easier for myself! : ) Better go write the last of the Christmas cards!
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
I mentioned in my last post I was taking part in a felting workshop at the weekend, well I had such a great time! It was a two hour workshop in my hometown of Tralee at Craft Makers which has just recently opened, it's a beautiful building with a craft shop on the ground floor and workshop space upstairs. We did some sculptural needle felting, I made this little bird ornament and finished him off at home with some beads!
We also learned how to do wet felting and made some Christmas baubles. It was great to try both wet and dry felting, they're both so completely different. I couldn't pick one over the other!
I just loved how tactile the whole process was and I've already ordered some materials so I can do some more! I'm only just getting familiar with all the different types of wool you can get but I do like the slightly more coarse wool. Can't wait to visit Kerry Woolen Mills!
That's all for now, I'm just finishing off my Christmas cards. I did some lino cutting for my card this year, will share in my next post! Hope you're nearly ready for Christmas, I still have some shopping to do! : )
Thursday, December 10, 2015
In the Christmas edition (issue 150) of Cardmaking and Papercraft magazine I was commissioned to design some really fun kinetic cards! These were quite the challenge to figure out and I played with several prototypes before I got the mechanism working right. It was tricky to get both the arms and legs moving at the same time and with a good range of motion. I also illustrated the little girl making snow angels and the gingerbread man for this. Both the templates for the mechanism and designs for the illustrations are at the back of the magazine.
That's all for now! I hope you're more prepared for Christmas than I am, I don't know where the time goes to! Oh, I'm taking part in a needle-felting workshop at the weekend, I can't wait to try it out! I'll let you know how it goes! : )
Thursday, November 26, 2015
I've just finished the course I was taking part in, MATS A it was a really intensive 5 weeks but I learned quite a lot about the different art markets. I think I need some time now to absorb all that info! I'm starting to get into the festive mood, I'll even be posting some Christmas cards today (it's part of a handmade card swap I'm not usually this early!). I painted this little guy the other day, the European Robin, nestled in some holly. I tried to keep it loose using watercolours and added some black pen details to sharpen the focus on the robin. Happy Thanksgiving to my friends and family in the USA! Have a great day! : )
Monday, November 9, 2015
I've been really busy for the past few weeks taking part in MATS (Make Art That Sells) course run by Lilla Rogers! I'm doing MATS A which covers creating artwork for Bolt Fabric, Home Decor, children's books, wall art and gift. It's really intensive, we don't have much time to complete the weekly assignments but I'm learning a lot. I haven't had time for much else! Last month I took part in Inktober, where you create an inky sketch everyday for the month of October. I really loved it and surprised myself how much I enjoy sketching directly with pen now. Before I always would have sketched with pencil first but there's something freeing about just going for it with black pen. I highly recommend it, it took time but I'm definitely over my fear of the pen! Here's a quick look at a few of my sketches from Inktober, you can check out the rest over on Instagram.
Of course I drew lots of birds and wildflowers, my favourite subjects to sketch! The flowers were easier to start with though because of their organic shapes, mistakes were less obvious!
Feathers are really great to draw in pen, they just work really well because of the directional lines, this was a really quick sketch, less than 10 minutes.
Moving on from the wildflowers I attempted some more complex shapes, I love full roses with lots of petals. This was more of a challenge!
Dogroses were interesting to sketch too, I like their centres, they make a nice contrast detail. I'm thinking some of these sketches might look good on fabric.
More birds, Magpie, House Sparrow and Goldfinch surrounded by wildflowers, very quick and sketchy.
Lastly a Tawny Owl, I spent a little longer on this one because of the shading and texture of the tree bark but I like how it turned out! That's all for now, it's wall art week in MATS and we're having fun with abstract art, uncharted territory for me! : )
Saturday, October 17, 2015
I think I mentioned in a previous post I was learning embroidery. I haven't done any since I was in school where we learned some basic stitches but I'm always keen to add to my skills so I found a couple of online classes to improve my abilities!
The classes I took were on CreativeBug, which I already have a monthly subscription to because they have such a great variety of classes! I did the embroidery sampler and embroidery sampler advanced classes there. I didn't make the actual sampler being demonstrated I just wanted to learn all the stitches so I could create my own designs.
Blitsy had a great deal on hoops, embroidery threads and the special marker that disappears with water. So I snapped those up and waited for them to arrive! The butterfly I appliqued from some white felt and embroidered over.
I have been doing a lot of sketching of wildflowers recently and that inspired the design. Although initially I only sketched part of the design, I added more as I went along!
I tried to include a variety of stitches I learned in the class, like the satin, chain, straight, back-stitch, some couching with wool and french-knots.
The project I had in mind for this whole embroidered piece is for a cover of a sampler notebook of all different types of stitches. I think it'll make a nice keepsake to hand-down to Isabelle.
I'm really happy with how it turned out! So the next challenge is to make it into the cover for the sampler notebook! I have found a youtube video on how to make a fabric covered notebook so I'm hoping that will help!
Here's the entire piece, the butterfly will be on the front of the cover and the other side will be on the back. I'm going to add some interlining to add some body to it, thanks to my mom, she has lots of supplies!
The butterfly is my favourite butterfly, the orange-tip butterfly, we always see them in the garden in the summertime!
I did work on this over a few weeks, doing a little bit here and there, but it was wonderful to see it growing and I just love all the textures!
I did learn a lot as I went along, experimenting with the number of threads I used and adding shading with different coloured thread. The only thing I'd like to do differently for my next project is use a linen instead of a cotton to make it a bit more durable. But I'm definitely hooked on embroidery, it's like drawing with thread! : ) Enjoy the rest of the weekend and I hope you make some time to be creative!
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
So I finally got around to illustrating some of the owls that I saw at the Scottish Owl Centre for my bird illustration challenge. First up is the Eurasian Eagle Owl.
I'm still trying to get comfortable with my style, I think it's evolving, I'm never sure where it's going to take me next! I used a mix of acrylic paints, white pigment pen and black ink pen. Here's the Snowy Owl, like the one Harry Potter had! : )
And finally my favourite owl, the Barn Owl (the european one, I only recently found out there are different types of Barn Owl around the world!).
I've lots more owl photos that I took at the Scottish Owl Centre to work from, so I'm sure you'll be seeing a few more owls popping in from time to time! : )
That's all for now, I hope you like my owls! Have a creative week! : )
Monday, October 5, 2015
I'm not ready to start Christmas projects yet but here's a few fun Halloween projects I had published in the October issue of Cardmaking and Papercraft Magazine. These fun Ghosty treat bags are SO easy to make, they're simply glassine bags (these ones are from SRM Press) that I rounded at the top (I drew around a roll of tape, stacked a few together and cut around). Stick on some googly eyes, cut out a fun and expressive mouth shape from black paper and punch a hole in the top and add some twine. They're really quick to make and would be great filled with marshmallows or popcorn! Kids would have lots of fun making these too!
I also made this fun Halloween garland using simple shapes, circles, stars and bats cut from coloured card. Once I cut out all the shapes I stitched them altogether on the sewing machine. Templates for these are in the back of the magazine.
I love making pop-up cards, I drew a haunted house for this card but I also used stamps and dies from Clearly Besotted Stamps (Halloween Spirit and Fright Night).
I used my Silhouette machine to make this really cool fake book treat box (3D Book Box and Spells Book Cover files from Silhouette Store.) It did take quite a while to make so I don't think I'd make many multiples of these but they are really cool.
Here's the inside, I lined the inside cover and outer edges of the box with some lettered patterned paper.
I really liked how the gold mirror card worked so well with the purple card, I hardly ever think of using this type of card but it really adds something special to this project!
I had 10 projects for this feature, you can check out the rest of them in the October issue of Cardmaking and Papercraft Magazine (issue 148). That's all for now! Have a great day! : )