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Surface pattern

Creative journal course

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For the past six weeks I’ve been attending a creative journalling/sketchbook course at Metal in Southend. Having completed an art foundation course and a degree in textile design, over 20 years ago (gulp!), I haven’t really kept a sketchbook since then and I really wanted to reconnect with the process.

The course was run by Heidi Wigmore, a local artist and fine art lecturer. With 18 people attending this was a large course and the students demonstrated a wide variety of styles and abilities.

Each week we explored a different approach including repetition, absence and sensory deprivation. The purpose of the course was to help develop your own personal style using the methods suggested and to be as free as possible  i.e. not over-thinking or planning the outcome but allowing it to happen. All in all a liberating experience and I immediately connected back to my previous studies but with a fresh approach.

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These are some examples of the work I produced, which demonstrates a strong pattern, collage and mixed-media style.

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Examples of all of the work produced will be exhibited at Metal @ Chalkwell Park from Easter 2015. There is also another six week course starting 14 April 2015. You can read further details on this Journal series 2 flyer.

Lino printing

lino-cutting1Over the past couple of weeks I have been experimenting with lino printing. I dabbled with this at college on my art foundation course (which feels like a lifetime ago) and remember it being quite fun to do.

I’m always taking photos of flowers and plants, so this seemed like a natural place to start. These are a few photos I took during the summer:berries

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I wanted to keep the design simple but interesting. I really like 50’s textile designs and the outline style of the images in ‘The Secret Garden’ book by Johanna Basford.

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I started by doodling some simple flowers in my sketchbook before drawing up a design approx 10cm square.flower-doodles
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I drew the final design onto tracing paper, then traced this onto the piece of lino (remembering that the finished design would be in reverse). I bought a selection of lino cutters and set to work cutting around the design. Its very easy to slip and cut through a bit of lino that you wanted to keep but thankfully this didn’t happen too often. I also made myself a small wooden cutting frame that mean’t I was guaranteed to keep my hand BEHIND the lino cutter!

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Using a black, water-based, block printing ink and rubber rollers this is one of my first prints…

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…which I then added a few hand-painted colours to…

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As I remembered, this was a lot of fun to do 🙂

Writing bureau restoration

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I was given this writing bureau to restore, as it had a few scratches and was looking a bit sorry for itself. At first I simply cleaned and polished it to remove the scratches and lined the drawers. It was a perfect addition to the lounge, giving me a writing desk and storage for my wool.

So, having lived with it for a while now I wondered what it would look like painted. I had been reading an Annie Sloane book on painting furniture and also reading about decoupage on furniture, and I thought I would try to mix the two.

Rather than purchase chalk paint I used one of the home made chalk paint recipes that I’ve used previously on my catalogue drawers to paint the outside. I then used wallpaper to cover the drawers (luckily the height of the three drawers was exactly the width of a roll of wallpaper!). I cut the wallpaper into three pieces and glued them into position. To seal the drawers and to protect them from general wear and tear I coated them with two layers of Mod Podge.

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I replaced the drawer handles with these antique-looking ones. I was still able to use the existing holes from the original handles.

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I painted the inside with an off-white egg shell paint, recovered the leather using a black leatherette and added the wallpaper to the back of the desk.