Sunday, 27 July 2014

Daily Drawings...

I've been trying out some sketches with a touch of colour for a new set of embroideries. I'm thinking of painting sections of linen before embroidering a line drawing on top. The penguin was sketched using mechanical pencil and coloured pencils with a wash of gouache on top. The parrot was drawn with fine line ink with watercolours in the background.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Monday Musings... Embroidermation

This beautiful project is the work of Pale Gray Labs, and yes it is an actual animation featured on their website! Check out more of their project here.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Free DIY Pattern!... Geometric Motif

I've been working away on some new cross stitch patterns for my shop. I decided to create a few free patterns only available on my blog so this is the hopefully the first of many! The geometric design in the images above has been stitched on 14 count aida fabric and uses anchor colours. My downloadable chart includes a finished image of the design, chart with symbols on colour and a key for embroidery floss used. If you would like to cover a larger space the pattern is very easy to repeat. I thought this one would look great as a flap on a clutch bag or a wall hanging (if you're feeling adventurous). I would love to see any designs that you come up with! Download here.

Inspiring Reads: Travis Louie's Curiosities

I've been a fan of Travis Louie's work for a few years now. Travis Louie's Curiosities is a book I always go to when i'm having a dry spell with my artwork. His work is subtle and beautiful but still has a visual impact.

Louie's works generally consist of a portraits which have the air of the Victorian/Edwardian period about them. The mythical beings and creatures are created on wooden surfaces  and begin with a detailed drawing in graphite and then a series of acrylic washes are applied to give the atmosphere of a different time.

Have a look on his website for more examples and try to get a copy of his book if you can!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Monday Musings... Sketch London

I know the whole cupcakes and afternoon tea phase is probably passing but I still absolutely love it.! I think it's possibly because when I head for afternoon tea with a friend there's an understanding that eating cakes until you can't possibly face another one is the main point of the date.

I also enjoy having good surroundings as well to aid my gluttony. I was quite excited when Sketch in London announced their collaboration with David Shrigley as part of their long- term programme of artist conceived restaurants.

Shrigley has created new drawing works to line the restaurant walls and also a selection of ceramics. Have a look at the photos below and see if you have the willpower to stay away!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Paperfolk Loves... Takashi Iwasaki

"Things that I feel are never the same in the next moment because I keep changing. Capturing moments and sharing my visions with others have been my recent obsession and pleasure." - Takashi Iwasaki

Takashi Iwasaki is an artist, originally born in Japan but now living in Canada, creates artworks using a variety of materials. As always, I was particularly interested in his  abstract embroidery works. I really enjoyed the minimalist look and also the colour palette used, I think it allows the embroidery stitches to have more of a prominence.

Here are some of Takashi's works below but there are lots more works to browse on his website including non-embroidery works such as sculpture, collage and drawings.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Daily Drawings

Messing about with watercolours. It's been a while so thought I would just play around!

Friday, 4 July 2014

Books i've been reading...

" Were they really so stupid that they didn't understand that stupidity was race neutral?"

The Girl who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson is one of my most recent reads. Nombeko Mayeki is a young, intelligent girl who's life is wasted working at a latrine facility in Soweto. Her race and gender ensure that she is forced to work in the most menial posts, managed by men who are stupid and greedy.
A road accident involving Nombeko and a drunken engineer changed her life. She was made to work for the engineer, who just happened to be running a project linked to South Africa's national security. As months turned into years, Nombeko proved herself useful enough to stay alive and gain information that might just save a national disaster.
She finds herself on the run with two resourceful Chinese sisters and twins who exist as one person. Oh and she may just be able to save the King of Sweden if the secret service don't catch her first.

On reflection I was fortunate enough to have read this novel before reading Jonasson's award wining tale The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. The problem with writing a highly acclaimed novel is that everything else is compared to it rather than being judged as a piece of work in isolation.

I enjoy the slight quirkiness of Jonasson's characters who border on being completely unrealistic yet the back stories given to the reader make their ridiculous lives seem completely plausible.
Despite having several different characters whose lives intertwine, I never felt at anytime that Jonasson remained with a particular story for too long- the novel had a good pace so that details weren't forgotten. Issues with gender and race are touched upon subtly but this wasn't the focus of the story. Despite the misfortune of the characters- the book was fun and light-hearted. The characters were all trying to carve out a normal life for themselves but circumstance was holding them back.
Although the novel was fun I didn't find it to be as 'laugh out loud' funny as previous reviews have suggested. It was more pleasant than hilarious for me.
Jonasson's writing style isn't what I would normally enjoy. I ordinarily engage with authors who write very detailed works but the characters stories were more than enough, too much detail would have drawn out the length of the novel and the enjoyment and quirkiness would have been lost.  

So what's the verdict? if you enjoy novels filled with details of quirky characters and almost unbelievable tales then this is for you.

Thursday, 3 July 2014