Sunday, 5 June 2011

Day 2 summer sampler

My wire birds! I made these!! I'm so chuffed! Drawing with wire was such amazing fun
After selecting a bird to copy, we had to draw the outline in wire.

 Next you join the wires using a binding action to hold each piece in place.

Legs are made separately form one piece of wire. Unfortunately I didn't cut off a long enough piece so later I modified the back claws to overcome this problem.

To attach the legs to the body, I had to use some thinner wire, binding it either side of the legs, to the body, checking that they were the right height and position with the original photo of the bird. It already looks bird like by now though it is a bit unstable. The head kept plonking onto the table as if it were inebriated!

 Long swooping side lines make the bird take on 3D qualities now. I added a few more lines to give it a more substantial look before choosing some scraps of fabric to bind together leaving a length of wire to attach it to the inside of the bird. I was so excited that I started a second bird which I later completed at home.

Cathy was such a delightful tutor, encouraging and helpful. I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop and intend to make many more things from wire.

My final workshop was making this bag. I will add my photos of each stage another time, but here is the finished article.I might be making some of these for my girls at Christmas time. Shhh! Don't tell them!

I can't make up my mind whether people would want to see the different stages of making on my blog or not. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

day 1 summer sampler

 The grounds at West Dean are so beautiful. Ox eye daisies bob in the breeze amongst the tall grasses.
What a grand entrance. Below is the view from the doorway! There is a haha which keeps the sheep away from the main house.
What a fabulous setting for a weekend course! The summer sampler offered 4 workshops out of 8. I chose printmaking and silver jewellery for today. Tomorrow I am doing wire sculpture in the morning and making a fabric bag in the afternoon. It is quite intensive as you only have 3 and 1/2 hours to complete each task, so no time to dither or be precious about your work, which is good! It is too easy to spend time worrying about whether or not your idea is the best you can do and sometimes just going for it is liberating!

Jane Stobart, the printmaking tutor, got everyone cutting the lino within about 20 minutes! I had a photo from my holiday in France, of dandelions which I liked, so that is what I settled on. She showed us how to ink up and then we were away! I added more lines after proof number 1 and then experimented with several colours on the plate. I quite like the black version and the final blue and brown version was pleasing.

We had barely got into the swing of things before it was time for lunch. Jane was fantastic during the critique at the end. She left eveyone feeling that they had achieved something special. More please!
Although I have made rings before with Sarah Macrae, I had lots of fun making this ring by using 2 stamps to decorate the surface. Each time I do it I learn more and it has made me keen to get back on the jewellery course in September. What a great feeling to come away with about 10 prints and a silver ring from one day's work!

Of course I had to go into the shop and buy some books! I chose Printmaking for Beginners by Jane Stobart, and Sculpting in Wire, by Cathy Miles. Only thing is, I will wear myself out looking at the books and planning a million projects, only to find I will have run out of time!

Thursday, 2 June 2011


Dragonflies ready to be fired above. Below was one I made earlier, in true Blue Peter tradition!
As part of the Havant Arts Trail, Making Space had some open access workshops available, so I took the opportunity to go along and use the time in the studio to make some more glass panels and coasters. It was fairly quiet as the weather was still a bit dull and windy, which allowed me to get on with making!

I have always been fascinated by the iridescent quality of dragonfly wings and love the way they dance and hover over our pond. My birds seem to have worked quite well so I decided to try dragonflies.

I had made a couple, the week before and was happily planning the next pair when a visitor came into the studio and asked to buy one I had already made. Exciting! But I hadn't thought about how much to ask so I guessed a price and she was happy with that. I find pricing very difficult. I hadn't expected to sell at all as I was just making for the day.

My husband is always nagging me to work out how much each thing costs to make, against how much I have spent on glass etc but I keep avoiding it because I know it will prove that it is very difficult for me to make money. At the moment I am just thrilled that anyone wants to buy my work.

steep learning curve

This weekend has been really busy. After a tiring half term, I was looking forward to a craft fair on the Saturday. My first outdoor event!

Apart from the diabolical wind, the organisers (a group of students), were not ready for over an hour after arrival time. They had promised a marquee, which turned out to be only the roof section, so no protection from the wind! Anyway, I thought lets give it a go so I bravely tied everything down that I could and began to set up shop.

Several other stall holders had given up already and there were mumblings about the impossibility of selling in such conditions.

The lady next to me gave up after her photographs dispersed themselves across the lawns! Then I noticed that, after carefully displaying what looked like lovely bags and textile items on a nearby stall, the whole lot had been blown onto the grass. Disaster! It wasn't long before she had packed up too.

With rapidly dwindling numbers of craft stalls, it seemed unlikely that I was going to make any sales on that occasion. I finally admitted defeat and gradually packed up my stock. I felt terrible, like a rat leaving the sinking ship, and I hope not to have to go through too many more days like this. I'm sure those of you with more experience might have decided not to go in the first place!