Additional experiments from chapters 8 and 9

These are another two photos of the folded paper shape in chapter 8.

I played around some more with paper shapes, using circles and triangles as well as rectangles.  The last image is a plaited rectangle.

Stitched pieces

1).  The next piece is another paper napkin sandwich.  I folded it in half in a slight curve and stitched close to the fold: then cut uneven strips and twisted the whole thing. Iin the first image the two ends meet.

2).  The following is an experiment with wetted and then stretched mulberry bark glued to khadi paper.  It was folded and stitched along the seam, cut and the strips rolled using the back of a pair of scissors.  The mulberry bark stiffened the paper quite considerably and added a nice texture to stitch on.

3).  Printed khadi paper cut into a bag shape, stitched and painted with acryllic wax.

4).  I’d been using some kitchen towel to mop up paints and liked the effects produced, so when dry I sandwiched calico between two layers and then pleated this both ways before stitching the corners together to form a rough bowl shape.  I left the edges rough as I liked the rustic appearance of the piece, but they could have been trimmed.

5).  As the previous piece was quite stiff,  I then used  thin layer of interfacing between two layers of paper napkin.  This made quite a flexible piece, maybe too much so as it was more difficult to manipulate into the shape I wanted. I cut some triangles out before stiching darts into the top to form the bowl shape.  On reflection, it would have been better not to have cut anything away, but just relied on the darts.

6).  The following is a circle of wire mesh lined with blue gauze, stitched with normal and cable stitched patterns.  Darts were then stitched all around the top edge to form the bowl shape.  I had heated the mesh to some degree but this isn’t really visible.  I cut strips into the gauze that protrudes above the edge of the mesh.


I use these two books to press leaves, flowers etc.  This is Merlin’s latest prefered sleeping place!



Module 2 – Colour

So many ways of using colour, so many things to try!  Here is my first work for this module.

I  decided to add some colour to this image from Module 1 in order to try to better integrate the photo into the page.  Watercolour wash, a collaged mug and oil pastel.

Watercolour pencils

Watercolour paints

A study of apples, pears and leaves using watercolour paints.

The garden falls into Autumn

I decided to get a bit more adventurous with this next project where the first page is cut away to show the pages underneath:

First I put a wash over the whole first page spread – green first, then a bit of brown and used a scrunched up paper towel to add texture.  I’d done some watercolour studies of leaves on watercolour paper which I cut out and fixed to the left hand page with gel medium.   The pear is painted using watercolours.  The leaves on the right hand page are drawn with water soluble pencils.  I cut away a shape to reveal the pear underneath which is painted.  The one on the right is collaged, as is the leaf on the reverse of the cut away page.  The rest of the leaves are painted.  Finally I added the words.

Oil pastel and watercolour

Oil pastel was used first as a rubbing on card shapes and wire, watercolour was added to the forms and the oil pastel below the line.  Finally a wash was added to the rest of the page.
Oil pastel and watercolour 2. Same technique as above.

Watercolour wash

 I did this on watercolour paper and had the page at a steep angle.  First the blue wash to which I added some salt, then I turned the page upside down for the red wash.  I added some soft graphite pencil once it was dry.  I love the unpredictability this method gives.

Watercolour and clingfilm


While the paint was wet I crumpled clingfilm over the whole paper and waited until the paint was dry to remove the film.  This has a landscape feel to it so I intend to add other marks.

Chapter 9 Stitch and Manipulate

 Samples of manipulating stitching papers

I glued the ends of the strips in place in thesample above, while below I cut slits and slipped the ends in to them.

The sample below is stitched into 2 layers of paper which have been torn into strips.  The strips are glued in to place.

The paper for the sample below has been painted with acrylic wax both before and after stitching.  It didn’t quite do what I wanted so I stitched where I needed to hold the shape, leaving an opening on one side.

Stitching thinner papers

One layer of paper napkin, bondawebbed to calico in the middle with another layer of napkin on the back.

I loved stitching these, using free embroidery on both sides to enhance the patterns.  I like the way the stitching adds interest to each side.  I couldn’t bear to cut into them!  I did two samples.  The first two images are the two sides of one sample ,  the third and fourth images form the second sample.

Experiments with wire mesh

The above sample has been heated though perhaps this isn’t as evident as it could be.  I like the way the shapes twist around themselves.

The samples below are mesh snwiched between sheers.  There are also a few scraps of blue sheer beneath the green layer. I like the effect given where the sheer lifts away from the mesh.


Alysn Midgelow Marsden

Alysn uses wire mesh and cloth in a very versatile way – painting, burnishing, embossing, stitching, manipulating – and combing it with fabrics.  She also uses solubles on which to stitch in order to link pieces of metal.

I particularly like her series of panels ‘Line in the Land’.  These have a highly textured look to them.  There appear to be layers of metals and sheers,  often heavily burnished to give wonderful colours,  then sometimes printed with pattern and lettering.  Stitching is both by machine and by hand and there is a real 3-dimensional quality to the work.  Very inspirational.


And finally…. I had found a huge wasps’ nest in a hole in the bank of our track some weeks ago.  When I looked again recently, something had started pulling it to bits, so I rescued this piece.  It is the most extraordinary work of art – to think that the wasps shred bits of bark, masticate them until they can glue everything together in these wonderful swirling patterns.  I could just see some of the cylindrical sctions behind, where the eggs must have been in the nest.





Creative sketchbooks – Module 1

We start with home as the place of inspiration for this module.  This is an initial piecing together of a few images that I hope give a feel of what my home feels to me.  The flowers are dried poppies that I have stuck down with acrylic medium, both underneath and over the flowers.

Into the kitchen

I photographed my cutlery drawer and did some drawings of spoons, looking at the way the light fell on them.

First attempt – didn’t fill the page.  Second attempt below, did fill the page and is a better drawing I think.

Now for some tracing…

minimum linea bit more detailed line
takr a line for a walk
tonal values

Rubbing away – I covered the page with graphite, used the eraser to work into this for the shapes, then added more detail with the pencil.

Adding pages… image on the left, one layer of tracing over the entire photo, on the right, a second layer on the left hand side, slightly offset.


Finally, the last piece of tracing on the left hand side of tonal values.

Rubbings over shapes cut from a cereal packet…

Rubbings over wire shapes…

Using water soluble graphite pencils… water added to the shadows on the spoon in the image on the left, to the shadows on the right.

Cutting away page edges… three spoon shapes cut from the page, left attached at the spine of the book, with the photo laid beneath two of them.  A rubbing of wire spoons underneath, laid hapharzardly to represent the way they usually are in the drawer.  An additional tracing of more spoons laid over this in the image on the right.

Combing phot with drawing … an attempt to seamlessly meld the two.  Koh-i-noor wash over the backgrounds, a line added to represent the edge of the table and some graphitint used for some of the shadows.

Putting different techniques together… an imaginary composition.

A hole was cut into the page in the shape of the mug to see to the page below where I stuck in the photo and painted the background with a pale black wash.  Then I added a piece of tracing paper with overlapping outlines of the mug over this.

Below is the other side of the main page where you can see the blue mug which is a photo stuck on to the previous page.  This reverse side probably needs a bit of colour too.