Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A bit of this and that......

A couple of weeks ago 3 lovely people came to my studio for their second lino day. Again we achieved a lot in a day, all making progress with some of the further processes that are possible with lino printing.

Jane is brushing off loose pieces of lino before inking up her tulips, using a rainbow roll of 3 different reds. A strong, graphic design which worked very well, as you can see.

To achieve the 2 colours of Louise's jug we cut the lino block in 2 parts, using a scalpel. I forgot to take a photo, but here Louise is inking up the jug part of the block with prussian blue.

The yellow tablecloth part of the print was inked up as a separate block and printed by carefully placing the block over the jug print. A really lovely print.

To achieve what Nettie wanted, she needed to print some backgrounds first, using a round stencil to mask out the moon. Difficult to over print in a day, due to drying time but we speeded it up with a hair dryer. Ideally you would leave a print to dry for a couple of days but it can take even longer.

 Nettie is about to place the inked up block on to the background before putting it on the press; here we have the lovely hare print.

Pepper, the latest arrival here slept most of the lino day, so far this seems to be the favourite chair in my studio.

Pepper is my one of my daughter's 3 cats; he had been a naughty cat at their house and has come to live with me. So far he is behaving and I'm enjoying having a cat around again. Our family cats were always tabbies and my last one died some years ago aged 17; the same month as I had to have my 15 year old labrador, Gypsy, put down. While I was working I felt I couldn't leave young animals on their own for long days so have been animal free. I've decided that now a dog would be a tie, so a 5 year old cat is ideal. I'm hoping he won't catch, or put off, the birds in my garden. After the print day there was a sheet of blue ink left on the table drying - Pepper investigated and left his mark as he wandered across the table!

Luckily they were just example prints waiting to be printed over and can be cleaned off this piece of lino! I will need to get used to a cat in the house!!

Monday, 21 January 2013

3rd lino class

3 more people joined me early in January for a lino class. Another busy, interesting day with all of us learning from each other. I love printmaking whether on my own at home or with my print group but teaching the process adds a new dimension which I'm really enjoying.
Above, Pete hard at work on his powerful cheetah image.

Inking up......

Jean's lovely tree and landscape....

and the finished prints....

Asako's iris block inked up and the finished print; beautiful.

 I'm also having problems with uploading photos so have done this using Firefox, but it doesn't seem to behave in the same way as Internet Explorer, so this has taken ages!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Deadline met.....

Yesterday I completed my major on-going project - hooray. I'm not sure when I started this quilt, probably about 8 or 9 years ago. It is based on an old family strippy quilt from Cumberland that I have on my table in my studio. I just love this old quilt and think of my Granny and her sisters sewing by oil lamp in their farmhouse at Stanger, just south of Cockermouth. I think it was made in the 1870/80's.

Most of the blocks are 'designed' in some way,

a few are more random. It's a great example of the fabrics my family were wearing and using.
 While I was teaching full time I had little time to be creative, it took me a long time to put this blue quilt together and then it would come out in the winter sometimes to do some quilting. Goodness knows why I decided to quilt it by hand.....oak leaves and acorns echo my love of the countryside and it has been good to keep my legs warm in the winter when I remembered to get it out!! (I do know that acorns don't grow on stalks, it's artistic licence!)

 Discovering it again in November I counted that I only had 20 big triangles left to quilt, out of a total of 60 large and 20 small triangles, so I set myself a target of finishing it by the end of the year.

After all the hand quilting I felt that the panels needed some machine quilting; the zig zags echo the 16 block and I also zig zagged above the border. It was obviously meant to be, I've just looked at the old quilt and it is hand quilted all over in a zig zag pattern, I'd not noticed before!

This is a border that I will NEVER do again. A double quilt makes a big 'sandwich' to handle and zig zagging accurately all round the edge on the machine, turning it the  right way out and clipping to make the zig zag edge look good took AGES, but I'm glad I persevered.

At some stage I got bored with oak leaves and quilted 4 hearts on a block in the corner, so of course I needed to quilt 4 hearts on the other 3 corner  blocks, then the blocks in the middle of each side... and last of all the block right in the middle of the quilt, plus my initials and the date. The hearts symbolise all the love and work that's gone into it, and the love of my family.

 Pulling out all the tacking was great!!
 all I have to do is think of a name.

On a similiar subject, my beautiful daughter Louise is 32 weeks pregnant; there have been a few ups and downs and recent trips to the Rosie, but all seems well now; I am crossing my fingers for a February birth.
 I also have my wonderful son visiting from Oz for 3 weeks via north and south America; part of his healing journey following diagnosis of a brain tumour on February 26th 2011. It has been a bit of a roller coaster for us, especially with Will so far away but has brought much love and healing to our family in other ways. He is deeply spiritual and philosophical (as well as loving wine, women and song!) and decided to heal the tumour through natural methods rather than have the operation. He is wonderfully well, scans last summer showed no further growth and he views it as a gift, which has shown him how to lead his life, sharing his experiences and helping others.
 He is writing a book and has a website  http://www.blessedwithabraintumor.com This all sits well with his work in recent years, fund raising for charities.


I leave you with 2 pictures of Barney, knitting!! and wanting more Christmas pudding and rum butter (another Cumberland influence, delicious; I've inherited the rum butter bowl that was used at Christenings, filled with rum butter and served with oat cakes).
 I feel very blessed to have my family around me.
 I wish you all a wonderful, creative, healthy and happy 2013.