Thursday 31 May 2012

Sketching with an Ipod

I love to sketch!  It is wonderful to sit and just draw.  It seems to take me away to other places and times.  Unfortunately one of the draw backs is that I lose track of time and spend much longer than planned drawing.  I have started to use a timer so I can focus on other tasks during my day. 

In my working in a series course I am taking at quilt university I am doing a lot of sketching to compile and complete ideas for my series.  One of the women on my course has been using her Ipod to sketch with,  this really interested me.  A sketchbook I can use anywhere and requiring no special equipment or mess.  It is much quicker for me too.  I can do a page in a few minutes.  I don't think this should take over drawing though as there is nothing like the feeling of pen and paper it is just another idea to add to other methods to use for designing.

How to sketch using an Ipod or Ipad
  1. Down load the app sketchbook x or something similar.  Sketchbook x is a very simple graphic program.  It just does basics and the there is a lite version for free.  A lot of programmes have a lite free programme to try first before buying.
  2. Use the tutorial to see how to use the programme
  3. Then sketch.  It is that simple.
These are some of the images I have created

Tuesday 29 May 2012

A new studio

Well I have a studio!  It has taken a lot of work and planning.  I have decided on a part of my lounge.  It is large, light and warm.  It has good ventilation and great windows. 

I spent quite a few days drawing and sketching up my plan.  I was quite a challenge as I was not only sorting out my studio but also the dining room and lounge and my husband's office.  I had to re do the plan quite a few times till it would work.

I needed to find home for a variety of different furniture and spaces. 

I also had to make sure the whole family was happy with the changes or at least live with them

This is my plan.  Starting at the top left and moving around the room clockwise
I have a ironing corner,  next to that is a painting area (where the drawers are penned in).  Then I have my bookshelves and tall storage in between them.  Coming down to the foreground I have placed a partition and book shelf to separate the space from the dining room.  My husbands desk is tucked in behind the partition.  I have a sitting area to draw, visit and read.  Behind the couches I have a small office area.  Going up the left side I have a storage unit and a sewing area.  In the centre of the room I have more storage and table space.  I will eventually replace this with a large table and new storage.

I have taken photos of the studio as is.  If I had waited till it was clean you may not have seen any photos for a while :)  So this is my fully working space mid design process. 

Drawing a plan of a room to scale helps save so much time and energy.  I only had to move the furniture once and I knew it would work. 

After the furniture is all in place take time to use the space and evaluate how it is working.  Spend a few weeks doing this to get the feel of the room and to give yourself a chance to use each area.

The wee little office

Most of my room is working well.  I just have a small problem with light in the middle of the day at my sewing table.  I have full sun in my face so I am just working through a way to solve this. 

The sitting area

Re evaluate every couple of months.  It is amazing how much time can be saved while working by just moving one piece of furniture or haw much back back pain can be resolved with a few block under table legs. 

Ironing board next to the sewing table which has been so handy.  I have never had that luxury before.

Paint supply area.  Having all the wet stuff together has saved so much time.

A very used and loved art table

Art work in progress

Lovely neat shelves and a place to put all the long storage



The sewing area 

The design wall and partition into the dining room

For now this space is working for me.  I will continue to re evaluate regularly to make sure it is still a functional space. 

Friday 25 May 2012

Photography this week

I woke up this morning to a beautiful foggy day.  The sun was rising behind the fog creating a orange and pink glow.  It was very eerie and still.  These are some of my favourite photos. 

I have taken these photos on a manual setting with no flash.  Auto ISO on a standard picture.  My shutter speed was set between 120 and 60 and the lens was set at f7.1

I have touched up a few of the photos to give the depth of colour I could see with my eye.

Quilting in a series

I am thoroughly enjoying the working in a series class I am taking online with Elizabeth Barton.     It is challenging,  exciting and is stretching me way out of my comfort zone.  Quilt university courses are very well run and are a great way to take a class without leaving the comfort of your own home. they cater for a variety of levels of quilter and interests. 

This course is aimed at advanced quilters.  The course takes the student through the process of designing and creating a series of work related to each other.

I have decided to work with the theme of relationships between mothers and their children  Families are important to me.  I am saddened each day by the atrocities committed against our innocent children and mothers.  I am saddened by the break down of families in our society and I want to make a difference through my art work to positively portray relationships in families. 

I am going to explore layers both figuratively and literally and the connections between the mother and child. 

I have a lot of  'leftovers' from many projects.  I chose some quilted scraps to work with from quite a few different projects.  I wanted to see if I could get all the different colours to work together,  I wanted to see how quilted surfaces stitched together and how layers combined create different designs.

First I cut the quilted 'leftovers' into squares or rectangles.

Then I butted up edges of the bigger strips and satin stitches them together to create a background.

Then I placed squares and rectangles on top of the background

To finished off the rectangles with a blues satin stitch.

And a wee little series is born

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Studio spaces

Last week we looked at analysing the spaces you use in your home for a studio space.  Hopefully you have found a space that ticks most of your boxes. Remember an absolutely perfect space is rare, even those who have had purpose built spaces find things that don't work after a while because they have changed how they work or needs have changed.  It is an organic process that needs revisiting regularly.

I narrowed down my 2 possibilities to a small bedroom and one of our lounges.  Both spaces have great potential.  I chose the lounge because it gave me more space and is has a entry and exit point for guests and students.  It has excellent light and great ventilation

The next step in planning is to set up the area you are working in.  Most people find it quite hard to visualise the space and the furniture that needs placing in there in there head so the best way I have found to plan the space is to draw out the area on graph or math paper and then cut out furniture to scale.  Once this is done the pieces of furniture can be moved around on the graph paper to see what configuration works the best. I usually use one of the children's old math books for this job.

When ever I move any room around or shift bedrooms around I do this.  It saves so much time having moved the furniture around on paper and  not around the room 2 or three time until it is right.  It also saves the back too.

How do you draw up the graph/math paper?

  1. Measure the room in feet or metres (depending on the country you live in). 
  2. Measure any nooks, odd shaped bits and built in cupboards or selves.
  3. Measure windows and doorways. 
  4. Write these all down and label each measurement
  5. Count the squares across the math paper.  Work out how many cm/in each square will be.  When I did it it was 20cm per square.  So one square=20cm
  6. draw in the lines of the outside edge of the room.  Mark in windows, doors, cupboards and any furniture.
  7. Measure all the furniture in the room length x width
  8. Draw them up on the paper to scale and cut them out
  9. Once you have this done play around with the pieces of furniture till they fit in the space and you have all the stations you need on the plan.  This could take a while
  10. Have a friend or family member to check over your plan before the heavy work starts.
Notes to consider
  • Remember the height of furniture.  It is hard to place a bookcase next to  window :) (personal experience)
  • You need at least 60cm as a walk through space  
  • When placing furniture remember area needed around each piece of furniture to move around
  • Allow for space for cupboard doors opening,chairs, sitting space, and drawers opening
I seem to always forget one of these things every time I move a room around and have to literally go back to the drawing board.  I try to make a plan that gives the most floor space possible.

Sometimes its good to brainstorm ideas with a child or teenager as they tend to think differently.  One of my children suggested using a bookcase as a partition for dads desk which gives him and implied office space.  I would have never thought of this one myself. 

Next week I'll show you my plans and how I have applied these ideas to my own space.

Friday 18 May 2012

photography this week

I have been playing around with Photoshop on a collage I have completed from the working in a series class I am taking at quilt university.  It is a really good way to stretch ideas and look for new possibilities in art work. 

  1. First open a new page with the image on it you want.  Then add filters to the image.  Remember to record the ones you like so you can replicate them again.

  2. Original

    Distort-polar opposites

    Adjust colour saturation and hue

    Stained glass

    Plastic wrap

    I think this is a great way to experiment with new ideas for art work.  It really has got my mind working hard about new possibilities.

Thursday 17 May 2012

Juried photography show

I found out yesterday that a photo I entered into a local juried photographyexhibition was accepted as part of the final cut.  The theme was about family and being together in families in the community. 

I chose a photo of my grandmother holding her great grandson (my youngest son) for the first time.  Its a photo I've always loved becasue of the joy on her face.  If she was alive today she would be so thrilled to have it chosen.  She was a woman who rarely showed her postive emotions but when she did it was wonderful.

 It was such a blessing for all my children to have met 4 of their great grandparents before they died and for them to have met their great grandchildren.

What a blessing to have this photo chosen for the exhibition.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Analysing studio spaces in home

Last week we looked at how to find  place just for you to work on your art/craft/quilting work.  It is important to have a space whether it is a table in the corner of a bedroom or a full room.  It is wonderfully liberating not to have to put away and get out a  project every time you want to work on something I find having an area of my own allows me to create more and to finish more projects and who doesn't want that. 

Last week I left you thinking about 2-3 areas in your home that could be possibilities. So how do you choose which one will be the best for you and your families needs? I found the best way was to answer a few questions about the spaces I was considering.

  • Is there space for all the stations you need?  Remember last week we talked about what those stations could be.  I decided I needed a 
  1. Administration area/ and my computer
  2. Sewing area
  3. Product and design development
  4. Art area-wet and dry
  5. A teaching area
You might only need a sewing area or a place to draw so your area could be quite a bit smaller than mine.

  •  Are you able to store all your supplies in this location?  If you can't could you store your supplies in near by locations?
  • Is there enough room to maneuver past the area?
  • Do you have privacy?  It is hard to get full privacy in a family home but even a screen or piece of furniture next to your area can give a wee bit of privacy from the rest of the house?
  • Can you make the area protected from little fingers or pets?  If you have a room to call your own, a door does this nicely but if you are in a family area this can be a little more challenging.  Again you could try a screen or could you find a piece of furniture that hides everything away when finished.
  • Is there separation between any business traffic and family life? (for those wanting to have a business at home)  It is good to have work space and personal space kept apart.
  • Does the area work for you and your family?  There are some great locations for a studio in my home but my surprisingly my family needs bedrooms and spaces of their own :)
  • Is there enough light or could your create enough light?  Thank about task lighting and overhead lighting.
  • Are there enough power points?  It is surprising how many times I have set up myself and then gone to plug in my sewing machine and thought oh no, no power point!
  • Is there water near by for easy clean up?
  • Is there enough heating or ventilation while you are working in your studio?
  • Does the flooring work for your type of art?  This could be easily fixed with a rug under the table for warmth and a piece of vinyl rolled out for wet work. 
If there area you are looking at ticks most of the boxes
it will probably work for you. For those things that don't work for you ask yourself

· Can I make this work? IE If no natural lighting can I put in some artificial lighting that would work?

· Can I live without something? Do I really need as many stations as I am wanting? Could I combine areas?

With a bit of thought and creativity a lot of areas can work surprisingly well.

Next week we will look at how to use the space you have to its best potential


Friday 11 May 2012

Photography this week

Did you see the moon this week?  It was so beautiful.  We were very lucky to have a clear night so we had an amazing view.  I thinnk the moon is so intersting.  As a child I spent quite a bit of time gazing out the window (intead of sleeping) wondering how I could touch the moon. 


Thursday 10 May 2012

Working in a series

I am participating in a online workshop through quilt university.  It is entitled working in a series.  It is run by Elizabeth Barton who is a very experienced quilter.  This course helps its students to be able to develop ideas to work in a series of 6 or more quilts. 

Today I have gone through my own work to identify any repeated ideas that I have.  I was suprised to find quite a few. The most used idea for me is repeating the patterns I use.  I seem to go back to familiar shapes and designs.

I am finding it very interesting and quite demanding.  It is great to be challenged in my thinking and to be analytical in looking at my work and other artists work. 

Two artists that I have really enjoyed studying are Susan Carson and Melody Johnson.  Both are art quilters but that's really where their similarities lie.  They have very different styles.

Susan Carlson is found at She uses collage techniques with printed and dyed fabric to create to truly amazing quilts.  I really love how she can use printed fabric and creat such original works of art. 

Melody Johnson fuses all of her dyed fabrics to create abstract quilts that will truly inspire.  I love how she can place a variety of colours next to each other
and make them work. 

Please check out their wonderful work for yourself and see what I mean.  I am going to go and do some more work on finding my ideas for a series of work :)
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