Monday, 29 July 2013

This Week's Creative Doings

Clarrie Hall Dam
I have a good friend who takes me out on adventures. I drive to her place and she takes me somewhere wonderful that she has discovered. She is a talented photographer so we both take photos and I usually get some drawing in.


The dam was so still that it reflected the clouds like an entry into another universe.

pink refashioned t-shirt, Alabama Chanin style
Pink Pooh Refashioned T-shirt in progress
 I sewed that bottom edge onto my pink t-shirt refashion. I sure do work slow. I figure I am living what they call a slow life.


I am thinking of embroidering a few good Pooh quotes on the back. Maybe I will need a little writing on the front as well. What do you think?



I did do stuff in the studio this week, but it was mostly refining my watercolour drawings so nothing really to show.  
This is a photograph of my other 'painting' work. I got a sunny day on Saturday to repaint one of the studio windows. I get unhappy if I do too much practical stuff at one time, so I do a bit and stop. 


That is why some of the windows are underpainted and others aren't. I do housework things in short spurts, at the most an hour or so. I am not one of those who can spend the entire day cleaning or gardening. 

The above is my studio by the way.

purple and grey t-shirt refashion Alabama Chanin style
cotton-angora T-shirt Refashion
Here is the other refashion I am working on. You can see my earlier thinking processes about it here. I am trying to get the sleeves attached so I can work out where I am going to put the stencils.

Two cut out stencils

These are the stencils that I decided on. I think the geometric shapes will work better with the two-toned sleeves than the beetle stencil I tried last week would have. But they don't have personal meaning for me so it is a bit of a compromise. They are free stencils available from the book Alabama Studio Sewing and Design

The designs on the two sheets are actually different sizes. I plan to use the larger one for the stencilling, Then appliqué the smaller size on top in the grey jersey. 

Purple long-sleeved t-shirt with grey and purple sleeves

Here it is with the sleeves attached. I am thinking it will be easier to stencil it before I sew up the sides. The sleeves are two-toned because I didn't have enough fabric in the old sleeves to make the new ones so I had to piece. Those kind of things that you can't control are part of what I love about refashioning.

Long sleeved shirt with applique pinned on

So here I am pinning on the appliqué to see the best place to put it. I really think bringing in more grey fabric is going to help make the t-shirt more harmonious. 

The only problem is that I don't like the new shapes. Maybe they are too small, maybe they aren't funky enough. They just aren't working for me. 

Two stencils being painted onto fabric

So I found another stencil pattern (also from Alabama Chanin) - this is my third try at finding a stencil that will work for this refashion. I copied it in a few different sizes and made two of them into a stencil. I am going to mix the two paints together, some red and some white for stencilling. The black gesso on the left is just holding the stencil down.


I have painted it on and now I wait for it to dry. I feel optimistic. Hopefully I will have more to show you next week.





Monday, 22 July 2013

My Recent Creative Doings, Painting and Refashioning

I want to re-enter my blog-writing. I have been distracted from it by creating my new website and I feel that I have lost touch a bit.

I love talking about creative endeavours, so I thought it would be fun to share what I have been working on the past week or so.



In the studio I have been working on watercolour drawings. It seems to be the medium for what I want to express at the moment. I love the way I can pick out elements to finish and leave other areas of the paper blank. To me this talks about a kind of coming into and going out of existence, and a certain feeling of surrealism.

This image was inspired by a photo of my niece from a few years ago when we out in Discovery Park in Seattle. It is a huge place with hundreds of acres and has a historical area with old abandoned army houses and buildings that were padlocked. I combined this with a beautiful seagull photo that a talented photographer friend took when we were out together.

I haven't a lot of experience in watercolour so I am finding it exciting and challenging. I was very pleased with the direction this one was going.



I took the first photo, and the next day when I returned to the studio this is what I found. I was so shocked I couldn't quite believe my eyes. After a bit of research, I think it was cockroaches. The studio is more rustic than the house, and rainforest creatures get in occasionally. I am fairly optimistic that I can fix the damage.


I began this new refashion a while back. I had an old pullover styled like a shapeless sweatshirt. I kept it because I loved the fabric, a soft combination of angora and cotton, but I seldom wore it. Here I have cut out the basic shape. It is the same pattern as my other t-shirt refashions here and here.


I want to add some designs to lighten up the colour. I find the maroon-purple a bit dark. I found my beetle stamp, which I love, and tried him out to see if he would work. I tried it as the stamp ( I made the stamp a while ago from ezi-carve) and then as a stencil. The stencil worked much better on the slightly fuzzy fabric.

I wasn't able to fit the new sleeves out of the old sleeves so I had to add another fabric piece. I don't think it looks great, but I am going to try and make it work. As with my other recent refashions this is all hand stitched. I have discovered that I love hand-stitching.


And here I am imagining the beetle stencilled onto the shirt. I don't really think it works. I think the organic and detailed image of the beetle is having to compete with the strong geometric shape the sleeve piecing makes. I don't think it will make a harmonious whole. 

Rather than try and force it, I am now considering a different approach. I think that larger abstract shapes in the form of appliqué might be able to bring the sleeve back into the rest of the shirt. Especially if I use more of the grey fabric for the appliqué. 


 I printed out this design from the book Alabama Studio Sewing and Design and made it into a stencil. This book is the one that got me into all the hand-stitching and the specific t-shirt refashioning that I am enjoying at the moment.

New Brighton beach

I spent one day last week at the beach with my friend. She photographs and I do some drawing. 


I am working on two refashions at the moment. This one began as four thrifted t-shirts. A pooh t-shirt was the starting point. Instead of keeping Pooh in the front, where he was on the original t, I cut it out with him on the back. The logo is a bit crooked, I decided to line up the warp (that is not the correct term for knitted fabric, anyone know what is?) of the fabric with the sewing pattern and that is what happened. I have decided it lends to general funkiness. 


On the front I have added these trees. Originally I wanted to do the t-shirt with double layered fabric. The underside was going to be the grey-green and the trees would have been reverse appliqué. But unfortunately I couldn't get enough fabric out of the t-shirt so instead I am just using it as appliqué. I want the grey-green to counteract the pink pink pink of the rest of the shirt. 


Here I am adding the sleeves. I managed to find two other thrifted t's out of the same colour. I could only get one sleeve from each t-shirt. 


The shirt is too short and so I am figuring out how to extend it. I like the idea of bringing in the red t-shirt fabric left over from an earlier refashion. The shoulders were sewn with red stitching and I like the way it clashes a bit with the pink.


The trouble is, I don't have enough red fabric left for the front and the back. Here I am seeing if I can get another bottom bit out of what is left from one of the sleeve t-shirts. I finally managed to get enough from the left one which turned out to be a slightly larger size. 

I will post again after I have done some more.

What have you been creating lately?