Friday, October 23, 2009

Learning to Draw

I brought home my second charcoal drawing from my class with Jim Kavanagh on Thursdays. I am currently working on the violet acrylic underpainting based on this drawing and will move on to adding colour on top in oils next week. Again I learned a huge amount by doing this drawing, proving to me that if I can learn to draw, anyone can!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wallhanging in progress

A friend's mother asked if I would make a wall-hanging using the only ties she kept after her husband died some years ago. Having seen a quilt I made to save the memories associated with my son's baby shirts she thought using her husband's favourite ties to make a wall-hanging would be nicer than keeping those ties in a drawer somewhere. She looked through some quilting books and found a wall-hanging she liked and I used that as inspiration to create a wall-hanging 20 x 30 inches to fit the space she has on her wall for the finished piece. Full credit for the idea and original design goes to UK quilter Mary Mayne. My interpretation is now finished. There are 5 flowers in the piece to represent the 5 children in this family. And the main flower has 11 petals to represent the grandchildren. But there are lots of other there's still room for this family to grow!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Aran Island Hand

This is the oil painting I brought home after my 1st course of 5 classes with Jim Kavanagh. I learned a huge amount from Jim while working on this one painting. It was underpainted in violet acrylic for 2 weeks and then painted with oils on top for a further 2 weeks.

I 'dabbled' with painting in watercolours, acrylics and oils on my own in the past, but probably never understood how to make it all work the way I wanted. Having the help of a teacher made a huge difference!
I enjoyed Jim's classes so much I've signed up for another course. We started a new drawing last night, so I'm hoping to learn some more as I do my second oil painting.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Womens Support Project, Leitrim: Day 5

Today was my final class of creative journalling with the Women's Support Project at the Leitrim Design House in Carrick-on-Shannon. We talked about how a journal can help:
  • identify themes that are important to you.
  • work out the design elements before you start to make something.
  • record your journey through the process of making something.
  • 'park' other ideas that come into your head which might distract you. You then have another source of inspiration in the notebook to explore at a later time.

These photos are from my journal which started with a photograph of 'Chinese Lanterns' from 'Country Living' magazine. Using drawings, notes, photographs, stitched samples, the journal records my steps through the process of designing wall-hangings, bowls, and silk evening shawls from this one source of inspiration. I still dip into this journal for design ideas and it has also proved useful as a teaching aid at classes in creative textiles or journalling!

From the ideas I have seen the Leitrim women express in their journals I know they will have plenty to explore in the next phase of the course making 'identity boxes' with Erika Marks and then drawing and painting with Laura Gallagher. I hope the journals provide a gentle introduction to creative expression and take away some of the fear of trying something new. Good luck ladies! I look forward to seeing you all in February when we will explore ideas in textiles!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

'Seed Heads' & 'Butterfly'

These 2 pieces are stretched over 8 x 8 deep canvas frames for the Cork Textiles Network's exhibition at the Knitting & Stitching Show at the RDS (29 Oct-1st Nov).

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Rocker

Finished this piece on Friday 9th for 'The Long Note' Exhibition at the Cork School of Music from Monday 23rd November to Friday 18th December. This is an exhibition of textiles from the Cork Textiles Network. The School of Music is open from Mon-Fri 10am - 7pm and Sat 10am - 5pm.

This piece entitled 'The Rocker' includes laser printing, foiling, applique, free-machine embroidery & quilting on Irish linen and cotton. The inspiration came from my days growing up in Cork when my brother played his Thin Lizzy albums non-stop and I was hooked! Once I had the idea for this piece it came together very quickly as I sang my way through a few Lizzy songs. I discovered it's hard to sew and head-bang at the same time!

My trip to Cork at the weekend involved a drink with family and friends where a local band 'Amadans and Bodhrans' played some Lizzy and Rory Gallagher especially for us, ending the night on a perfect note!

The Rocker (detail)

More detail of the Philip Lynott portrait.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Studio Photos

My buttons and beads are now in little red suitcases. These suitcases remind me of a little case full of paper dress-up dolls from 'Bunty' and 'Twinkle' that some friends of mine had when I was a little girl. I always wanted a little red suitcase like that! So here they are, keeping buttons and beads handy for when I make notebook covers.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Womens Support Project, Leitrim: Day 4

Today was the 4th of 5 classes with the women of Leitrim. We had a day of sharing stories, sketching, journalling and collaboration. Every day brings more stories of connections between past and present experiences, serendipity and personal growth. We had a 'field trip' to the Leitrim Design House downstairs, stopping at whatever pieces we connected with to take notes, sketch, develop our powers of observation and record our own emotional responses to what we saw. Here are some journal pages, collaborations and sketches from these women.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Learning to draw

Thinking of doing a stitched piece for the Cork Textiles Network exhibition at the Cork School of Music on the wonderful Philip Lynott, whose music provided the soundtrack to my younger days in Cork city. So a sketch or two of me oul' hero Philo seemed in order....

Learning to draw

A sketch of Charlie Chaplin....kinda!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Learning to fraw

Quick 10min sketches of Wb Yeats and another guy from a newspaper photo.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Womens Support Project, Leitrim: Day 3

Learning to draw can be scary! Especially if it's your first time in front of a group of people. Some people remember previous attempts where the emphasis was on the outcome and not the process. Lots of us just simply say 'I can't draw'. Today we used charcoal and learned a few little tricks to put aside the fear and tackle a drawing. Like most things in life, taking the first step is the hardest part. But once we stop worrying about the outcome, we can just enjoy learning something new. With a little practice we might improve. These are some first drawings for these women, and it turns out they weren't so scary to do at all!

Womens Support Project, Leitrim: Day 3

Today the women made some 'Crazy Dream Collages' and explored ideas of 'what if?'

Learning to draw

Trying to sketch every chance I get. I'm working from black and white photos I find in magazines and newspapers.