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Lino Printing Workshop 10th November

On Saturday we had another successful lino printing workshop in Rochdale. There were 6 people this time who came along and everyone produced fantastic and varied work.

It always amazes me what everyone comes up with even though they have had none or very little experience of working with lino cutting.  It shows how accessible this craft is for all.  You don’t even have to be able to draw, tracing a picture can be just as imaginative as an idea from your head.

Tracing an image

Jo created some wonderful images. You can visit her blog here: http://jozartdesigns.blogspot.co.uk  The first lino print she created was inspired by an olive wood angel figure which she loves.  The detail and the colours she used were perfect, the imperfections in the print are really effective creating an almost aged, weathered look as if it has been on the outside of a church.

Jo’s Angels

Her next image was a dragonfly which she cut with wonderful markings on the body and wings.  She inked it up with jewel  like colours which looks beautiful.

Lino Printed Dragonfly

She then used this lino cut to print onto a cotton bag

Lino printed dragonfly Cotton bag

Carol (read her blog here: http://carolcsstuff.blogspot.co.uk ) had done a lot of work before the workshop deciding on images and it shows in her wonderful birdcage and quirky house prints.  It took time and patience but it was really worth it for the great detail she cut into it.

Carol’s finished House Lino Print

John had played around with images he found in a book and created a wonderful styalised tree that he printed in autumnal colours.

John’s Striking Tree printed tea Towel

The image his lino cut left in the ink was lovely and worth a picture when held up to the light.

Reverse Image in the ink

Barbara created lots of Christmas tags using an image of a seed head which she had cut out to create a small stamp.  It is such a simple idea but so effective.

Lino Printed Christmas tags

She also played around by mixing rubber stamps and her own lino cuts to create this cute little robin.

Lino Print Christmas Robin

An even had time to create this beautiful tea towel.

Lino printed Leaf Tea Towel

Anna created a lovely little patterned stamp. She was using it to practice with the different cutters and seeing what effects she could get out of them.  This is a fantastic way to get used to the cutters but still create a usable image, a lino sampler.

Lino Print Pattern Block

She then got more adventurous and printed this wonderful Angie Lewin inspired flower head lino cut.

Seed head Lino Print

Annette created this cute little robin print which would look lovely on a card.

Bird and Apple Lino Print

She then created this lovely sweeping butterfly cotton bag.

Butterfly lino Print bag

The lovely Lynn (http://www.oneimadeearliertoday.blogspot.co.uk/) who didn’t take part in the workshop this time, still managed to make these lovely little tags in between keeping everybody fed and watered with lots of hot drinks, sandwiches and yummy biscuits.

Lino print Tags

Saturday was a great day from start to finish and I hope everybody enjoyed it as much I enjoyed teaching them.  It was lovely to meet lots of new people and seeing what they created. I hope they carry on with it at home, it is a relatively easy and cheap craft to learn.  You can buy the basics from most craft shops like Fred Aldous in Manchester or shops such as Paperchase as well as online from Amazon and Ebay so everybody can have a go.

Below are the links to some of the groups blogs who have written up a review of the workshop.

Jo’s blog: http://jozartdesigns.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/linocuts-with-left-handed-lucy-in.html

Carol’s blog: http://carolcsstuff.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/lino-cutting-workshop.html

If anyone would like to come to a lino printing workshop I am running 3 over the next few weeks in Wilmslow, Cheshire so get in touch.

Monday 19th is no longer available

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Lino Printing Workshop 3rd November

Yesterday we had another very successful lino printing workshop up in Rochdale. Four lovely ladies attended the day including Karen who came to my first workshop back in August and created her beautiful leaf tea towel, also Lynn Holland who has helped out so much with organising the day and promoting the workshops.  There were two new faces this week, Lyn Robinson who creates wonderful artwork and many crafts also Reverend Gillian Peel who makes beautiful quilts and has the most amazing doodle sketchbook of black and white work or zentangling.

Cutting the Lino

We all had a cup of tea and coffee and a little chat, getting to know each other and then it was down to work. I gave a brief introduction to the tools and a quick demonstration how to create a small lino stamp and then it was over to them. I think the best way to learn is just to get going and learn on the job and ask questions whilst you are working.

I brought along a selection of different autumnal leaves, seed heads, holly with berries and feathers for a bit of inspiration.  Both Lyn and Lynn created some wonderful stamps with the holy and berries and are going to make personalised Christmas cards and Lyn even added a pretty little robin which looks so striking printed over the tissue paper back ground.  I am a big fan of mixing medias together.

Lyn’s Robin Print

Lynn’s Printed Christmas Card

Karen had brought along a sketch she had designed prior to the workshop with the idea of printing it on a cotton bag.  The pattern was made up of simplified flowers in a lovely backwards L shaped design.  She started by creating individual stamps which makes the positioning and colours much more flexible.  The end result on the bag was beautiful, the rich colours blended together against the cream bag was stunning.

Karen’s Printed Bag

Karen’s Finished bag

Gillian had never done lino cutting before but from the prints she created you would have thought she had done it many times before.  I love this styalised flower and leaves.

Gillian’s Floral Print

Lyn also had never done lino printing before and she decided to do a lino block of her cat (also called Lucy).  A difficult image, especially for a complete beginner but the result was fantastic.  Even the lino block is a work of art.  The way the blades cut into the lino creates a beautiful soft fur texture that prints so well and it looks fantastic on the cotton bag.

Lyn’s Cat Lucy

Lynn was inspired by a book that I brought along, Printing by Hand: A Modern Guide to Printing with Handmade Stamps, Stencils, and Silk Screens by Lena Corwin.  She created a great rectangular block with different patterns and marks which is really effective.  Pattern blocks like this make great backgrounds to then overprint if done in a pale colour.

Striking Pattern Prints

It was a great day and everyone produced such a variety of fantastic work and it was hard to believe that they were beginners!  Lino printing is such a fantastic craft, reasonably simple to learn and gives such wonderful and satisfying results.

Below are a couple of write ups of the day.  If any one is interested in attending a lino printing workshop please contact me for more details.  My next will be on Saturday 10th November in Rochdale which is already full but I am running 3 sessions (10am – 2pm) at Dean Row Village Hall, Wilmslow, North Cheshire on the 19th, 23rd November and 3rd December.  Places are still available on all dates at £25 per person all materials and refreshments included. You can contact me via this blog or my e-mail for more information:  woadbutterfly@hotmail.com 

Lyn’s blog and write up of the workshop: http://lyn-everydaylife.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/weekend-workshop.html?showComment=1352059661892

Lynn Holland’s blog and write up of the day: http://oneimadeearliertoday.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/lucys-lino-print-workshop.html?showComment=1352056699474

Gillian’s Work in Progress

A selection of Lyn’s days work

Promoting a Workshop

Since doing my first workshop with Lynn Holland in the Summer I loved it so much I wanted to do more. Lynn has been so kind and together we are doing another two workshops in Rochdale this coming Saturday 3rd November and the following Saturday 10th. It has been smooth sailing so far but apart from getting all the materials, designing a plan and then teaching on the day, Lynn has done most of the hard work getting people signed up for them and providing the venue. To be honest I never really thought much about the advertising and promotion of the workshops and have been more concerned with the content and the quality of the actual day……until now.

Hard at work

I am now branching out on my own into unknown territory! Since moving out of Manchester I have had ideas to start workshops in my local area (Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and Knutsford) and so I began to make my ideas a reality. Since it is coming up to Christmas, I thought it would be perfect to have a festive themed workshop so I have decided on Print your own Christmas cards; idea one done.
Next, where to host this workshop? I have spent a considerable amount of time trawling on the internet looking at village halls, leisure centres, church halls and school halls amongst others, making lists, comparing prices, hall size, facilities and availability. Eventually I found Dean Row Village hall in Wilmslow http://www.drvh.co.uk/ which looked perfect. I then organised to view the hall to make sure that it would be suitable and after a short correspondence I went last Friday to meet Julia Dean who kindly showed me around. It is a lovely venue, with nice bright rooms so that it will show up printing colours which is important and it has good tea and coffee facilities, a must for any workshop.


I then went home and got out my diary and picked days when I was free and then looked at Dean Row’s booking schedule. It is a very popular venue as I found out and so I was rather limited to days and times that I could book. It was quite time consuming cross referencing diaries and booking forms but eventually I booked three initial dates. I would love to do more but I thought, start with a small amount and see how it goes.
Workshop decided, venue booked, dates booked, now to advertise and get people signed up. This is where I have my downfall, I am quite a shy person and the idea of getting out there and talking to people to promote is pretty scary to me, I just don’t like bothering people. My lovely husband has been so supportive and he just gave me a bit of a talking to and basically said if you go out and try as hard as you can, even if you fail (which you won’t), how much better will you feel than if you didn’t try at all?

Positive head on, I decided to create a flyer on my computer and print it out myself to save money. It took a while to decide on what to put in and what to leave out but I am happy with the outcome. I feel it is inviting and just enough information. Then it was a question of how to get it out there. I actually tried googling (it always has an answer), how to flyer, but nothing really came up that was useful. I just wanted a few pointers of good places to start.

Today I decided to head into Wilmslow and go around shops and different places to see if they would take some flyers or put them up. I started with the library as I thought it is a place where people to go to find out local information. They had an information folder that I could put a flyer in that showed local events so I was off to a good, positive start. I tried a couple of larger shops who were nice but said they couldn’t promote anything that charged, just charities. I did ask if they knew of anywhere I could try and I ended up at a little newsagent, Cards & Candy on Water Street who, for a small fee, will put your advert or flyer in their window. I then went to a few sandwich places and coffee shops and even a stationary shop where I left a few flyers. To be honest I didn’t really know what I was doing but I just stayed confident and asked people nicely, and if they couldn’t help they were always very helpful with telling me places I could try. I ended up walking around for a good few hours and I actually ended up quite enjoying myself, meeting and talking to lots of people. Having only just moved to the area it definitely got me more familiar with the town which was a bonus.

Meeting other creative people I have found that the promotional side of craft and art business is quite often the most difficult part. If you are like me, you are at your happiest lost in your own head designing and creating new pieces and items. Sometimes hours can go by without me realising, all because I have found a great leaf that has inspired a new design. I need to get better at getting out there and getting myself known as I know that no one is just going to stumble upon my work. I have to work hard and actually treat it like a job. It is definitely a very steep learning curve but I am getting there, I am even about to attend my first WI meeting so watch this space.

Some of my Christmas Designs

  • Does anybody have any stories about promoting their art/ craft work?
  • Any Advice for promotion?

I would love to hear from you about your experiences.

Lastly, if anyone is interested in attending one of my workshops at the Dean Row Village Hall in Wilmslow, the dates are;

  • Monday 19th November 10AM – 2PM
  • Friday 23rd November 10AM – 2PM
  • Monday 3rd December 10AM – 2PM

All material are provided as well as lots of tea, coffee and cake.  Please feel free to contact me via this blog or my e-mail woadbutterfly@hotmail.com

Who Has any Unfinished Projects?

I know I can’t be the only one that starts an art or craft project and then doesn’t finish it.  Mine is a painting that I started maybe 4 years ago.

That is a long time.  I went with my boyfriend (now husband!) to Rome and had a great idea for a painting of the Colosseum.  I took varoius black and white and colour photos of the building at different angles and when I got home, put them together to create a collage effect.

The Photo Collage

 I then numbered each photo so I could remember where they went and sketched onto a 76cm x 60cm canvas.  I think that it stayed as a pencil drawing for at least a year.

The Pencil Beginnings

I then started to paint it which ended up taking another 2 years.  I put it away as I wasn’t happy with it and then last year I found it and started thinking about it again.

The Drawing Becomes a Painting

I decided it needed some embroidery and so the slow process of hand embroidering poppies, wheat and seed heads started and I still haven’t finished it.

Embroidered Poppy

 I am hoping that by sharing it with you, it will give me the motivation to finish it once and for all.

The Current Stage of the painting

Samplers

If you are like me you will love experimenting with embroidery and what better way than to create a sampler? The word ‘sampler’ comes from the Latin ‘exemplar’ and in relation to needlework simply means an example of stitches.

Samplers have been used for centuries as a type of pattern book that you create to learn new stitches and can then refer back to them for future work like an embroidered notebook.  In the 16th and 17th centuries rare and expensive pattern books were being published and so women collected and recorded these stitches.  The patterns were sewn randomly onto the fabric and the woman would add to them throughout her lifetime so we are left with fascinating works of art.

Linen Sampler Early 18th Century

By the 19th century, samplers were an important part of a girls education and were seen as examples of their proficiency as a needlewoman but their style became much more uniform.  The main stitches used were cross and tent stitch.  The designs were typically made up of the alphabet, the makers name, age and date.

Sampler by Elizabeth Laidman, 1760

I first started to sew under the guidance of my gran but learned proper embroidery at school when I was 8.  Once a week on a Tuesday we would have an hour of needlework.  We started our own small samplers with basic cross stitch and each week learned a new stitch to add to it.  I remember being so proud of my work and I still have it 20 years later!

My First Sampler

I still love to learn new stitches and so still create small samplers so that I can practice and then go back and see what works and what doesn’t.  I experiment with colour and thread types.  Sometimes it can surprise you and give amazing results and sometimes its a reference you can look at for what not to do.  Recently a friend Lynn Holland http://www.doodlybird.co.uk loaned me a wonderful book, The Left-Handed Embroiderer’s Companion by Yvette Stanton.  Being left handed, I have always had to reverse patterns and stitches and suddenly I could see all the little mistakes I had been making, it is a brilliant book for us lefties.

I experiment with embroidery and sometimes my work can be random.

A More Random Approach

Sometimes I like to make up a square with sections for different stitches and slowly build it up.

Structured Sampler

Different stitches also make great finished patterns such as on one of my needle cases.

Embroidered Needle Case

Have a go and play around with different stitches, you never know what you might create.

Resources:

Mary Thomas: Embroidery Book (1948 edition)

Mary Schoeser: World Textiles, A Concise History (2003)

Golden Hands Magazine Volume 1 p72-73 (Marshall Cavendish publication from the 1970’s)

The V&A Museum website: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/h/history-of-samplers-18th-century/

Basic overview: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampler_(needlework)

 

Lino Printing Workshop

Teacher For the Day

On Friday 3rd August I took my first lino printing workshop in Rochdale, Lancashire. All week I have been preparing and working out a time table for the day and getting all my ideas together so that everyone gets the most out of the day which was running 10am – 4pm. I got some printing books from the library and some of my own books and magazines for inspiration and a little collection of my own printed work.

A few Books for Inspiration

I decided to collect a few leaves for some design ideas as they give a great simple shape for your first lino cut. On Thursday I could be seen scouring the streets of Manchester City Centre looking for interesting leaves and shapes and definitely got a few strange looks as I emerged from the bushes clutching a bunch of leaves!

On Friday I loaded everything into my car and drove over to Rochdale where the workshop was taking place. I had two wonderful students, Lynn of Doodly Bird fame http://www.doodlybird.co.uk and Karen.  After and lovely cup of tea and a chat I started to set up all the equipment and got prepared.

Leaves and Equipment

The aim of the day was to start with a little introduction to lino printing, a look at all the different equipment and then get them to have a go and mess about and get to grips with all the cutters and what effects they give on prints and eventually have a go at printing their own design onto a tea towel.

I did a quick demonstration of how to use the cutters by showing them a simple leaf pattern and then they had a go. They were both really good straight away and needed very little help. I love lino because it is such a simple method of printing and has such satisfying results, you can just let your imagination take over. Something as simple as a leaf can spark something amazing.

Simple Leaf Prints

They both started with leaves but Lynn then decided to have a go at one of her Doodly Bird designs which worked so well.

Lynn’s Doodly Bird Design

I got them to start with prints on paper to get used to the inks and the pressure to use to get the desired effect.  We were printing everything by hand with no press which is how I do my own prints and means you don’t need any expensive equipment to start.

Lynn Hard at Work

Lynn used a paint brush to apply specific areas with colour on her newest Doodly Bird.

A Pyramid of Doodly Birds

Karen used a simple sponge which gives great texture to a print and mixes colours really well. Some of her prints had a great ethnic look to them. They used plain white paper and also some lovely handmade paper sheets both giving different effects and textures to the prints.

Karen Starting on her Tea Towel

After a lovely lunch and quick browse through the books it was back to work. I brought along some plain white tea towels for them to print, so the afternoon was dedicated to creating a design for the tea towels. Karen had created quite a few leaf and flower lino cuts so had to decide which ones she was going to choose. Her final design was really striking and the colours looked fantastic.

Karen’s Final Design

Lynn used her Doodly Bird and created a friend and printed them both so they were talking to each other. Up the side she designed a pretty stylised flower. Unable to resist she finished the tea towel off with the help of a black fabric pen, giving it her trademark look which definitely made it look amazing.

The Star Students and their Tea Towels

I had such a fantastic day and two brilliant students and am looking forward to more workshops in the future.  I loved being a teacher and passing on skills and techniques that I love and I hope that they both carry on with lino printing.  Lynn has done a little review of the workshop on her wonderful blog ‘One I Made Earlier’ so take a look: http://www.oneimadeearliertoday.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/another-string-to-our-bow.html

If anybody is interested in lino printing I am happy to do a workshop for you either in your own home or in a rented space close by.  I am based in the Manchester area and am happy to take groups of up to 5 people.  Please feel free to contact me to find out more.

Everybody loves a Cosy Blanket

With all the wonderful weather we are having in the UK at the moment, there is nothing better than sitting under a nice cosy blanket or quilt, with a warming cup of tea and a good book or a great movie. I love blankets; they can really make your home feel…. homely. If you are in a rental they can make even the ugliest sofa beautiful and they can also become a wonderful heirloom to pass down the generations.

Blankets can be made from anything, knitted or crochet, patchwork, quilted, woven, plaited the possibilities are endless. Blankets of all kinds have such amazing history.

Mariner’s Compass Quilt, Pennsylvania c.1840/1850

Take the American quilts for example. After the War of Independence, American cotton manufacturers found it difficult to compete with European and British imports and textiles were expensive so small scraps were used in geometric shapes to create quilts. By the mid 19th century designing a patchwork quilt had become one of the major forms of domestic folk art. Traditionally an American girl should have up to 12 quilts in her ‘hope chest’ with a 13th being her Bride’s quilt. Quilting blankets became a major social event with ‘Quilting Bee’s’ taking place where pioneer women who lived far apart would meet up (Betterton 1982: 7-8).

Another wonderful type of blanket is the Welsh Quilt or Carthens. All are woven on a Dobby loom, two different pieces of cloth being woven together to form a double cloth. These are heavy blankets weighing over 2 kilos. The most recognisable of Welsh blankets were made across Wales from C18th. Some are still produced at the few surviving Mills such as Rock Mill Capel Dewi , Middle Mill sova and Tregwynt in Pembrokeshire. (http://www.welshblankets.co.uk).

I love making blankets of all kinds and so am sharing a few of my creations here with you so you can see my eclectic love of craft. I will never be able to choose one favourite crafting method, every time I look in a book, read a craft magazine or browse another crafters blog I find a new technique I want to try out and end up loving. Crochet, patchwork, quilting are all methods I love. I am not a great knitter and a blanket would probably take years not days. My next aim is to learn more about weaving. My mum can both spin and weave so I may have to go to her for a few handy tips to start me off.

First to crochet.

My first crochet project

The above blanket was my first ever crochet project. I taught myself so that I could teach a friend. I found it incredibly difficult as I am left handed and therefore have to reverse all of the instructions you find in books. The left handed crafter is definitely at a disadvantage when it comes to craft books and guides. This blanket I started and just kept adding to it and ended up with a huge double blanket but I was so happy with it and it now has pride of place on my sofa.

The current crochet blanket project

This second one is still a work in progress. I found it in a magazine and loved the pattern so much that I decided to make it. It is great as you can use all your wool odds and ends as no two squares have to be the same so very economical!

A crochet Present

Third is a blanket I made my parents for Christmas, I love the colours together.

Patchwork.

A Personal Memory Blanket

This is one of my favourite blankets I have ever made. I made it in January this year for my sister Emma’s 30th birthday. The idea is that of a memory quilt. I cut out 30 squares of different fabrics, some with meaning such as the tartan of our school kilt, some of Emma’s old clothes and some of my grans fabrics and then embellished them.

Our school kilt tartan

Some square have embroidery with significant words, dates and occasions.

Embroidered Personal Details

Others have photographs printed on or appliqué.

Felt Storm Clouds and Ballet Shoes

I left a few plain as I didn’t want to overload it. It is a warm blanket as inside is a layer of wadding and it is backed in a plum coloured cotton. It fits a double bed so pretty large but I wanted it to make an impact when I gave it to her.

Quiting.

Personalised Quilted Blanket

This blanket I was commissioned to do as a present for a baby. Both the pillow and the quilt are personalised with the little girl’s name. The client said that I could design the blanket myself with anything the only instructions being that it had to be pink and girly, hope fully the finished blanket achieved this. I loved doing this project, I think creating something with a personal touch that you know someone will treasure is such a wonderful thing for a crafter or artist.

Has anyone else made a blanket or quilt? What is your favourite crafty method? Let me know your latest blanket project.

If you are interested in commissioning a blanket please feel free to contact me to discuss it further, I am always happy to hear from you.

A few References

Betterton, S 1982 Quilts and Coverlets London:L Butler & Tanner Ltd

Kort, E 2008 Wisconsin Quilts: History in the Stitches Krause

A wonderful website and business about Welsh blankets run by Jane beck. Although not a weaver herself, she is interested in the social history associated with the industry, there is so much information on the website so take a look. http://www.welshblankets.co.uk

An interesting little article about the Whitney Blanket http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/g_IeloABTraJ_FvU0m1elg