Oct 7, 2014

Marbled Paper Magic.

My workroom all set for a fun evening.
I do love my big workroom( /diningroom) and so now and then when I manage to tidy up and remove the bits left over from a project or 2, (3 or 4,) and set out my tables, there is a lot of space. Enough space to invite the little Crafty Chicks group I'm a member of, and have some fun together. As happened some months ago.
This time one of us wanted to show us how to marble paper, so that we could use it in the future for making some note-books.

The Crafty Chicks in action.
Of course I had seen this paper before in old books as the end-papers inside the covers, and I even have an old book that has the edges of the pages marbled. But I had never seen it done.
But it involved colours and paint and mucky stuff, so I was in!
Nothing better for a bunch of ladies in their 40's with busy lives to play, like you are at Kindergarten...!
Our wet marbled papers drying on the kitchen floor.
We made up a solution of water and wallpaper paste (2 tablespoons of "Sellys wall paper lightweight paste, step 3") stirred until it felt slimy like egg white. Acrylic paint was quite watered down in plastic cups and drops of paint were dropped onto the surface, which had sat for 5 minutes or so. These drops spread onto the surface, unless not thin enough, which meant they fell through the mixture to the bottom of the container. The paper only goes on the surface, so the paint has to lay on top.
 We swirled the colours on the surface with wooden skewers from the kitchen and we even used a plastic wide toothed comb, to comb the colours together.
Ooohs and Aaahs all round when the first pieces of paper were carefully laid on top of the mixture in the shallow containers and lifted up! Wow!!
My kitchen floor became a riot of colours with the dripping wet marbled papers.
That wasn't going to work for very long with my cats around...

A much better solution for drying the marbled papers.
Out came my old drying frame, which I popped onto 1 of the tables . That's where it stayed for the next 3 days( at least) because after the ladies left, I kept on experimenting for 3 more afternoons, and reading up on it on the inter web. The different patterns have names and history ( some more than 800 years!) and geographical links.
Oh the stuff you can learn ! And again: Youtube is just fabulous with little how to videos from all over the world.

Swirled nonpareil pattern with Spanish Moire water ripple effect.

Red Swirled nonpareil pattern with Turkish Ebru hearts and Spanish Moire ripples.

Small Turkish Ebru style shapes just big enough for a card.
I now have a lovely pile of different marbled papers, and have already made 3 notebooks!
Super Fun!
Have you learned any new techniques lately?

Oct 5, 2014

Exhibition Success!

Hastings Community Art Centre.
I belong to a local Fibre-arts Club, which in turn belongs to a group of clubs under the Hawkes' Bay Fibrecraft umbrella, which are all affiliated to the national body under the Creative Fibre umbrella. This way all fibre artisans; spinners, weavers, felters, machine-knitters and even basket weavers and others in our country are all connected with each other. Which keeps quality and information up to date. It is a good system, I believe. Our H.B. umbrella group holds a bi-annual sale and exhibition for all the local clubs in our province. So if you belong to a club you can put items in, unless of course they are shoddily made. The ladies will tell you so...
Nuno-felted wrap.
 I put in lots of hand-spun yarns for sale, and sold some too. I also put in a few items into the exhibition. And my red reversible wrap sold as well! Total bonus!

My Favourite; the Hobbit House!

Reversible silk and merino nuno-felted  wrap.
But the best thing about entering items into the exhibition part was getting the comments from the judges. These are people that know what they are looking at and usually experienced fibre artisans themselves. To get good comments from them is very supporting of your own skills.
School colours blankie.
At the beginning of the winter now passed,( judging by our glorious blue skies, and the daffodils and freesias all finished blooming) I made a felt lap-blanket for one of my special needs children at school. In playtime when it wasn't raining, she goes outside of course, but the icy southerly winds make her very cold just sitting in a wheelchair. The other kids run around like lunatics, getting hot cheeks, but her legs and fingers feel like ice cubes. Most of the time here in Hawkes' Bay children don't wear coats, and even when the snow lies on the ranges in the distance, and there was a frost in the morning, the day will have lovely sunshine and children just kick their shoes off and run around bare feet. Most boys wear shorts all year round.
Personally I wear layers of soft merino in the cold seasons, I swear by it. I hate being cold.
So I made a blankie for her to go out in to the playground with. Something she can pop her hands under. In the school colours of course, that way she won't stand out too much.
She likes it, thank goodness...

Oct 4, 2014

A Pondering Post of Success.

Winter Blossoms.
 I have been pondering lately. On and off like, not every day. 
But I am on school holiday at the moment with a lovely heavy bout of bronchitis, with a by-product of laryngitis, and unable to speak to anyone except thinking to myself, and I was therefore pondering the meaning of success. 
 What does success mean to me? And ought I not get some more of it?

Ruffled felt.
I know when I was growing up, in my family it meant earning lots of money, and getting a job that would allow you to do so, and probably also owning a big flash house in the end. Success seemed to be something very measurable in financial figures.
And of course it would entail a great deal of comparing your financial figures to other peoples' little numbers, and feelings of envy, because there are always people with bigger wealth, bigger houses etc.
For some people this works, and it makes them happy. It might even spur them on to get bigger figures.
So I married an apprentice gardener, because I loved him. And I became a stay at home mum, because we really wanted to have children and be a family.
The financial figures stayed very small, and I became extremely successful at budgeting, op-shopping, sewing children's clothes and preserving produce. It kept me very busy, and I never had time for envy. I took pride in the challenges.
My husband was home for family dinners around the table every night, and was never called away on the weekends. Our children learned the value of a dollar and knew when a treat was a treat and were thankful for presents. Our family was a success!

White merino and green silk scarf for a bride.
For a while there I pondered that maybe I should become very well known for what I do, maybe even famous. But seriously, fame isn't all that it is cracked up to be. It is basically having to live up to other peoples' expectations and getting pulled into directions you had not thought you wanted to go in. And then you have to please the audience, or you'll lose the fame. While you are famous, others will experience envy of you. Somehow that is not success in my book either.

Reds and Pinks, merino and silk scarf.
I experience success these days in my morning life as a teacher-aide (or our new name: learning assistants ), when the special-needs child answers a maths question correctly, without counting on his fingers, or when the meek child suddenly speaks up and asks for help. Or when I get a Thank-you-card from the parents who suddenly realise that they have never done so, after I've been working with their wheel-chair bound child for more then 2 years.
Small successes, but a success nevertheless. However immeasurable, as there are no figures possible.

River blues for a blond girl.
I experience success these days in my other life as a textile artist, when I dream up a new idea, scribble it down, perhaps sketch the picture in my head as well. Then I let my hands make it and it turns out just like the picture, sometimes even better! Awesome Success!

My idea of a successful day is one where I have been able to make something, or do just a stage of it, or figured out a new idea and how to get there. Maybe just a little crochet, a bit of stitching, a layer of paper and paint, or worked on a new technique.

 If I have been able in a day to go into that Magical, all Enveloping, (and for me) Mystical and Spiritual state of mind, known as Creative Flow;  then that was a Good day.
That is what success means to me.
And hopefully I'll get the chance again the next day. I'll strive for it over and over.

Forest shades in merino and bronze silk.
So I am pondering that I will simply keep going this way with success and what it means to me.
And see where it will take me.
Because it makes me so darn happy...without measure!
What is your meaning of success?