Thursday, 28 April 2016

Final Placement.

After much moving around of the stems and flower heads I've decided that this is it. I have stitched down all the elements, although that can't be seen in the photo. It was quite easy to actually stitch through the acetate, but since it's stuck to a cardboard frame I've had to stitch from the bottom of the stems up for the items on one side and the top down on the other so as to be able to move the work under the sewing machine. Bottom up is fine, but starting at the narrow points of the stems with a couple of backwards stitches first is pretty tricky. I did do quite a few trial pieces to get the tension right, but even so there are plenty of loopy stitches on the back. I can't decide whether to glue down the rest of the flower heads, or to leave them loose apart from where I have continued the stem stitching.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Fern and Acetate.

 We were so impressed with the re-development of the Fern Gully that I posted about last time, that we decided to donate this Elk Horn fern of ours to the Botanic Gardens.  It's huge as you can see and will really fit into the theme of the Fern Gully. The staff were delighted to have it and took it away with them today on the tray of a truck.
 Besides fern gardening I'm still busy with my current project. Here I'm laying out the stems on a piece of acetate prior to stitching them down.  I did do a trial to see if it was possible to stitch into this medium weight acetate, and it works well, just as long as I don't want to re-position a stem, as of course any prior stitching leaves needle holes.
        I'm not sure about the placing of the flower heads yet, but this looks more or less O.K.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

New Fern Gully Walk.

 The Botanic Gardens here in Melbourne has had a Fern Gully for many decades, but recently the area has been getting very tired looking and the hordes of people wandering through not always staying on the designate paths hadn't helped.  Nor had the 300 or so large fruit bats landing and taking off, breaking branches and leaving their smelly droppings on the path helped either. As a protected species it was a difficult decision to move them on, but with the aid of lights and loud noises they were persuaded to move to another area up the river.
 The gardeners then had the huge job of restoring the Fern Gully, and in fact they have made it so very much nicer than it ever was I think. They have added a metal boardwalk to keep visitors off the plants, redesigned the wandering creek and have opened up more of the area to new plantings
Now it's an oasis of lovely ferns and rain forest plants, and with the trickling of the water as a background noise together with the various bird sounds, it's just beautiful.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Adding Some Paint.

Here I've added printed leaf veins and some flowers to the leaf print from yesterday. I coated the back of the leaves with paint and pressed them onto the same sized leaf print. The flowers are a stamp that I hand carved some time ago.
 More of the same, although I think that perhaps the massed leaves are better than just a few scattered prints.
Here I've added some butterflies to the print, but since it's a night scene perhaps they should be called moths.
Another grass 'tree' this time with an owl about to land in the branches. The owl is another of my hand carved stamps.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Gelatine Printing......Again.

 I needed a break from my current project, so I got out my trusty home-made gelatine plate for another printing session. I had a lot of dry pressed 'shivery grass' that I wanted to try for printing as it tends to suggest trees which I wanted. However the grasses were so dry that pieces kept falling off and getting stuck in the paint on the plate.
    This makes little white dots everywhere, but in the end I decided that I quite liked the effect.    
           However, it's hard to pick the tiny seeds off the gelatine without making a little hole.
 Having had enough of the dry grasses I tried out some fresh leaves, in this case geranium leaves, and they worked quite well using either side.
 All these prints will of course be either over printed with my hand carved stamps, or played around with in Photoshop, like the one below.
I've added stamps of grasses and a tiny owl on a branch in the print below.
                 These last 2 prints are simple Inversions in Photoshop, from orange tones to blue.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Two heads are Better than One.

 I decided that I liked this way of working the flower heads, so I made another one and still I liked the format..... except for the one flower on top of the lower head, so I cut it off!
I've now worked four in all, so  to keep to the saying that you need an odd number in art, I'll need to make a fifth one tomorrow. I've actually used 2 different types of variegated thread, one has the orange tones and one the brighter yellow. It's hard to see the difference in these photos, but there is one.

Monday, 18 April 2016


This flower head is much more to my liking than the others that I made a day or so ago. Here I've stitched the flower stems in a dark grey onto black felt, attaching the  main stem at the same time. Then I've machine embroidered the flowers with the same variegated thread as before. I've tried to change the size of the flowers as I went along, but at a quick glance they look pretty much all the same size.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Back to the Drawing Board.

I wasn't happy with the yellow flower head so I tried out a similar technique with dusky blue, but I still don't like it. The flowers are too densely packed and quite unrealistic just perched on top of the thick stems. Maybe I need to have more spaces around the flowers and thinner stems...........although I'm not actually looking for realism. I just don't like these samples!

Friday, 15 April 2016

Moving Right Along.

 Here I've cut the middle out of a stretched canvas panel and painted it black. The strips are narrow bias binding fused to a slightly wider ribbon to give the black strips a white edging. A lot of trial and error here, as the bias was supposed to be self fusing, but to a slightly shiny ribbon, it wasn't. In the end I had to cut strips of  fusible webbing, iron onto the black binding and then try to line it up accurately with the ribbon in order just to show a white edging. Tricky!
This is the first trial of a head of small flowers.  I stitched randomly onto a piece of silk fibre, then used a programmed stitch on my trusty old Pfaff work horse machine. With a variegated thread I sewed lots of flowers onto the  silk which was sandwiched between soluble fabric. Once washed away I have a passable massed flower head. I'm not sure about the colour though.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

'Song of the Sax'

         At last I have 4 halfway decent copies which have been safely delivered to their destination.
        It's been a bit of a challenge, but I was determined to realise the image that I had in my mind.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Paste & Paint.

 About a week ago I was playing with a medium made of cornflour, glue and other ingredients to make a thick type of modelling paste that can be coloured and painted onto heavy paper.
 The idea is to sculpt the surface with stamps or anything else to give it texture. After the paper  dries over night, it can be ironed flat (it curls as it dries) and further embellished with rubbed oil sticks or more stamps.
Here I've used a spiral stamp.
This is one where I've inverted the colours in Photoshop.
 I think the image now looks like waves and a choppy sea!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

A Touch of Gold.

   Here I've added a touch of gold to the gelatine print, and added a frame in Photoshop just for fun.
          The butterfly is actually gold too, but for some reason it's come out white in this version.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Gellatine Plate Layers.

 As the music themed pieces are pretty well finished, I thought that I'd have a bit of a rest from 'perfection' and have a play with the gelatine plate instead.
 I have a box of pressed foliage that I dip into from time to time and these are random prints done in layers with a bit of stamping on top.
                     I'll probably only use bits of each of these, but they are handy to have for cards.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Moving Right Along...

 Well here are 9 more or less O.K pages with the 2 different sized flying saxophones, a few are a bit less than perfect, but I can live with those.
 But below is the next stage, and let me tell you it's been extremely problematic, holes in the screen, blurred printing, too much ink, too little ink, and ink where I don't want it to be.
I only need 4 useable copies, but I'll be very lucky if I get that, bearing in mind that there is one more image to apply in the blank space at the top right of the page. Plenty of room for error unfortunately!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Next Stage.

Having collected up 9 pages of background notation that are more or less blemish free,  I took courage into both hands and printed the first motif, a small flying saxophone. You might remember that I used the wings from a dead dragonfly to make the image in Photoshop. I'm allowing it all to dry well over night, as I couldn't bear to smudge one of them at this stage, having had quite a challenge to get this far!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Teaching Aids of the Past.

 These incredible botanical specimens are all made of papier mache and come apart to show students of botany the parts of the different types of flowers.
 They were made many, many years ago and are now in a collection held by the University of Melbourne.
Now of course, students would just look up the relevant species of plant on the internet to understand how one flower differs from another. I wonder though if the students from the past got a better understanding of the parts of the flower by being able to take it apart and put it back together again.