Archive | Canvaswork

Experimenting with paint on canvas

Where do the weeks go? I have been busy teaching, kids and adults alike, and my blog is sadly neglected….again ๐Ÿ™‚ But I have been having so much fun, so just had to share it with you!

This week I taught the first of three sessions on modern canvaswork to my local branch of the Embroiderer’s Guild of Western Australia. The goal is to produce a piece like the modern book cover I mentioned in my February post on creativity.

My journal

A5 journal cover in modern canvaswork.

So, our first session was all about painting the canvas and playing with Tyvek. I’ll be honest – I felt like an impostor. I am not an expert on painting on canvas – I just know what works for me. And as for Tyvek, I am only passing on my limited experience after learning it from someone else several years ago.

To help overcome my lack of confidence, I made doubly sure that I was well prepared. I had boxes of paint which I had tested in a number of different ways; I had samples of a variety of painted canvases; and I had a lovely pile of experimental Tyvek pieces.

Prepared for anything!

Prepared for anything!

Of course, we didn’t use anything like half of the materials I had brought with me….BUT from a teaching point of view I was prepared for any eventuality and thus I felt more confident. And the really great thing was that it reminded me about another great role as a teacher. You don’t always have to be the expert – sometimes it is just as good (better perhaps?) to be a facilitator. My students had everything they needed to just play with all the techniques and materials that I provided. And all of them, without exception, produced something completely different from everyone else. You could just about touch the creativity sparkling in the air! I loved it…

Many of these students have been embroiderering for many years and their stitching skills are simply exquisite. It was so much fun to share an afternoon of something completely different with them. I can’t wait for the next lesson in two weeks time when we will start designing and stitching.

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Fabric Covered Boxes

I have a bit of a thing for boxes. I love sorting stuff into them and stacking them up on shelves. I love the way they make a room seem tidier somehow (no matter the multitude of sins that may hide inside them). I keep all sorts of boxes because they “may come in handy one day”, so there are piles of clean, empty boxes stashed all over the house.

You can never have too many useful boxes!

You can never have too many useful boxes!

If you are a fan of Winnie-the-Pooh by AA Milne then you will remember the story of Eeyore’s birthday. Piglet was going to give Eeyore a beautiful balloon, but it burst and so Eeyore was left with just a sad bit of colourful rubber. Pooh was going to give Eeyore a jar of honey, but he ate all the honey and was left with only the empty pot. Oh but how well this turned out…

“It’s a Useful Pot,” said Pooh. “Here it is. And it’s got ‘A Very Happy Birthday with love from Pooh’ written on it. That’s what all that writing is. And it’s for putting things in. There!”
When Eeyore saw the pot, he became quite excited.
“Why!” he said. “I believe my Balloon will just go into that Pot!”
“Oh, no, Eeyore,” said Pooh. “Balloons are much too big to go into Pots. What you do with a balloon is, you hold the balloon”.
“Not mine,” said Eeyore proudly. “Look, Piglet!” And as Piglet looked sorrowfully round, Eeyore picked the balloon up with his teeth, and placed it carefully in the pot; picked it out and put it on the ground; and then picked it up again and put it carefully back.
“So it does!” said Pooh. “It goes in!”
“So it does!” said Piglet. “And it comes out!”
“Doesn’t it?” said Eeyore. “It goes in and out like anything.”

I’m a bit like Eeyore – I love putting things in and out of boxes. So it is not surprising really that I love making boxes. Next week I am teaching a class on making fabric covered boxes atย the Embroiderer’s Guild of Western Australia. For many years, this class has been taught by a wonderful lady, Rene Sinclair. Rene recently moved to Hawaii. I was very honoured when she asked me to take over running the class.

I haven’t made any boxes since before Christmas, so I wanted to refresh my memory before next week. Do you remember the small pieces of canvaswork I was playing with a few weeks ago? Oh happy serendipity – a small piece of canvaswork is perfect for mounting on a box lid.

Fabric covered box topped with geometric canvaswork design. Completed size - 14cm x 14cm.

Fabric covered box topped with geometric canvaswork design. Completed size – 14cm x 14cm.

Just to make sure that the techniques are completely refreshed and clear in my mind, I also made this slightly larger box.

Fabric covered box. Completed size - 19cm x 16.5cm.

Fabric covered box. Completed size – 19cm x 16.5cm.

And you can never have too many boxes – especially beautiful ones ๐Ÿ™‚

Two useful (and beautiful) boxes.

Two useful (and beautiful) boxes.

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Playing with stitches

Don’t you love the fun of playing with stitches? I think my favourite thing about canvaswork embroidery is that it is so easy to play – a piece of canvas, some colourful threads, a handful of stitches and some simple geometry. Numerous designs just unfold beneath your fingers!

For the last week I have been working on a new design to teach at the Embroiderer’s Guild of WA later this year. I wanted a small, colourful piece of embroidery that could easily be made up when completed. I came up with this simple wallet to hold my business cards.

My new business card wallet

My new business card wallet.

The design is based on one of my favourite Threadworx colours – Hawaiian Flowers (No. 01068). I often work this way – choose a variegated thread and match it with a few solid colours for a perfect colour scheme. Here I have simply added the darker purple for contrast and cream for a background note.

The wallet laid flat to show the fully stitched design.

The wallet laid flat to show the fully stitched design.

Making up couldn’t be easier. A piece of cream pure wool felt lines the embroidery and creates a pocket all in one step. And then I simply added a snap fastener.

Inside the wallet.

Inside the wallet.

The really fun part of playing is all the spin-offs that come from developing one design. Here I have started work on a variation in a different colourway and size.

A variation in progress.

A variation in progress.

I will use a similar range of stitches and still maintain the braided heart as the focus, but this piece will be slightly different. And that is the beauty of playing with canvaswork – endless variation with such simple building blocks – I love it ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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