Its just show business darling…

Last week we had a photo session to look forward to, as an exercise to show off our skirts but mainly to give the photographic students an exercise too. 
It was great fun and even though I am surrounded by much prettier people than I, which to be honest is a little daunting at times, I decided to have fun with it and just be me.
For some reasons the photographers seemed to like this and I was snapped from many angles. (most of which show off my tub) but here are three I like the best. 
Of course the last photo illustrates that these are my minions who are at my beck and call all day…
laughs softly to oneself

Copying take 2.

We are being asked to copy four artists this term, 
Here we have a nude by Egon Schiele, I particularly liked her red stockings and his bold line. 
We then are asked to develop three pictures that will eventually have our bodice and skirts on it, this is my attempt. 
 Firstly a straight copy.  
Then a little development.  And I only noticed the positioning of her head after I’d finished.  Really she is dancing like an Egyptian and it is totally anatomically correct. 
And then the last development of wearing the skirt and the bodice that is still in development, along with a little kid silk haze as a drape. 
It has been fun, I’ve smudged, painted and scratched. 
And just in case you think this isn’t a knitting blog, which to be honest it hasn’t been. 
I have just cast on and for a jumper in Cocoon by Rowan, the colour of it got the better of me and called its siren call, whilst all the time I knew I should have been knitting a baby blanket. 
All I can tell you about the baby blanket is that I have fifteen rows to go, and I probably won’t have time to finish it before Wednesday.  However I believe the baby may be getting ready for a surprise performance and may beat me to it. (that will teach me a lesson for going off track!) 



My life at the moment seems to be a wonderful whirl of paint, fabric, wool and cake. 
And its wonderful, if a little tiring. 
This week has been an intense one of painting, which for me is mind blowing because I simply haven’t used mark making equipment for many a long year, if ever. 
 My bench, mid week. 
One thing I have noticed is that I hardly ever go to the shops to peruse their wares.  I would like to go shopping now and again but I simply don’t have the time, apart from dead on your feet shopping looking around the supermarket trying to make a decision as to what to eat that evening.   So when hubby picked me up on Friday and we drove home via the supermarket we passed a French Market which was in town for the weekend.  It was still open, but only just, so I hopped out of the car and dashed around to see if the soap man was there – obviously he was.  And what was more was that he had a huge basket of soaps that weren’t perfect, they had little dents etc in so couldn’t be sold for full price. A little negotiation may have occurred and I came home with several kg of soap.  I love this soap, we ran out about three bars ago and I have been very sad about it, it makes my skin feel very soft.  With two hairy men and one non hairy woman (I have a theory that hairy bodies take much more soap than non hairy ones) we get through a bar in just over a week.  So with that in mind we have 45 weeks worth, not quite a years supply but nearly.
Hubby put them in the bedroom and I couldn’t sleep with their heavy scent and had to move them in the middle of the night.  At the moment they are perfuming my sewing room, and soon they will be scattered around knicker and sock draws to perfume their contents.  It also makes it a wonderful surprise to find one when you think you have run out.  

In the style of Modigliani

At the moment we are spending most lessons immersing ourselves in ink and paint in an effort to reproduce some of the great artists. 
For this next test of endurance I chose Modigliani mainly because I like the earthy tones and simple mask like faces. Modigliani elongates his forms which I find attractive and interesting.
  I studied these and other samples of his work and then tried to replicate this in a portrait of my neighbour.

Again this is the first thing I have painted in over thirty five years.
(There are going to be many firsts this year)  

I found the journey very interesting, frustrating, peaceful, joyful, intense, emotional, but most of all amazing.

Amazing for a myriad of complex reasons, but mostly that I am doing this course and the painting looks female.

(this is always a plus when trying to paint a young woman) 

I wonder what I will be doing next?

School trip!

It has been a long time since I’ve been on a school trip, so it was with much excitement I boarded the coach to take us to the V & A, equipped with my knitting, (which is a baby blanket and babies don’t wait) a packet of crisps and some mint humbugs.  Having never knowingly under catered I was able to share my mint humbugs which were much appreciated.  We saw both the Hollywood exhibition (absolutely amazing) and the ballgowns exhibition, (not so great, but worth popping your head in). 
 A photograph of a miniature dress, probably used for a window display which is on permanent display, no photography is allowed in the paid for exhibitions. 
The shop in the V & A is amazing, worth a trip in its own right. 
I fell in love with these cuddlies,
 They made me giggle with glee.
 But I had no time to ponder the merits of a purchase as the coach was ready to take us all back home.
 When we got home the college was having an exhibition of its own selling artists work. 
It made me think of the summer exhibition at the RA
 I loved it.
 So exciting, especially when I thought this piece of work
 had sold. Nowhere to be seen.  Unfortunately I came across a mother and daughter team putting it back.  Their bank card had been refused and they had no cash!  This would have been my first sale! 
Never mind eh, if they come home, I will frame them.
And that baby blanket?  Another four inches added, must try harder!


And so the fast pace continues.

The hot bondaweb idea didn’t get into the final cut of ideas for the bodice, although some kidsilk haze did, which makes me very happy.  We still have many weeks before the completion of said bodices so who knows, the bondaweb idea might make a late comeback.  

Part of the exploration of ideas for a bodice involves looking at other artists and then copying their work as accurately as you can. This is before you go off road to bring in their ideas with your own, which is amazingly hard but has produced some very creative ideas this afternoon.  After doing initial research on 46 artists, both fine and contemporary, I quickly decided not to attempt something too messy when we were asked to develop just three of them, one week at a time, although Jackson Pollocks work does look fun, maybe next week.

So for this week I decided that I would remain seated and composed and would try my hand at some serious sketching.  Remember I haven’t drawn anything since I was 11 and I have never sketched – EVER! Not even Once! 
The first process involves reproducing as accurately as you can, mimicking the media used.

So, this is the drawing by Leonardo da Vinci I chose to sketch, and

just over one hour later
I had this.  
(I can see the faults, but am still in awe that I produced this)
We have drawing from life models next year!

Hot Bondaweb.

At the moment my head is full of images relating to textiles.  We are designing our own bodice to go with the skirt and in this remit we have to design our own fabric that has texture. 
I am not sure that this meets the brief, but I came across this technique on the internet a couple of days ago and decided to give it a go.  And don’t worry, I haven’t gone completely off course, I have ideas a plenty that will meet the brief. 
First of all you paint your bondaweb having pulled off the top paper cover with a coating of water based acrylic paints and let it dry completely.  Then you pull off the back paper cover and tear it up into interesting arty *cough* shapes.  Place the bondaweb onto fabric, cover it with a thick layer of baking parchment and iron it.  Making sure that your iron does NOT come into contact with it.  Let it cool and peel away.  
As you can see from mine, my first try left my old and tatty and cheap baking parchment stuck to it.  I’ve pulled it away as best I can but I think it adds interest. *cough, cough*  Fortunately I had a new roll that worked.

 This is where the fun starts. 
I layered it up with
 Silver, white and black glitter.  (ooooh glitter)
 and sequins and torn up lace
and tiny, tiny beads
You can choose whatever you like really, everytime you add something you iron it, let it cool, pull the parchment away – don’t forget to use the parchment and it all sort of sticks together. 
And apparently you can seal it with Acrylic Wax after that, but I am not sure what it is and nor were Hobbycraft.
I think it would be great on those hard backed notebooks that you can get cheaply.  And off course I think it would look fabulous with more colour, we are still limited to our mono colours of black, white, grey and cream. 
There was just one drawback,
The glitter gets everywhere.  
I have averted disaster and thrown the ironing board cover in the wash lest hubby go to work in a sparkly shirt.