Wednesday, 22 June 2016

How to push a rope

Some time ago an artist created a site specific installation that we tried to move into our backyard without success. This installation of rope and metal languished in our yard, sad and broken and defeated for quite some time.  It became heavy with dirt and rain and the sadness of the fallen dreams. 
Determined to up cycle the rope to glory I enlisted the help of a great metal smith artist and she agreed to help me with the new rope installation. 

Clare created a beautiful metal structure for the rope and we installed it inside the curve of the staircase at my husbands office. (Clare also designed, created and installed the beautiful handrail of the staircase). 

From above the rope looks like a bird's nest that you can see as you are walking down the stairs. It's just waiting for the golden egg. 
I love the way the rope has developed different tones of colour and how well it blends with the staircase wood. 
It stands about eight and a half feet tall. A great representation of the nature of my husband's work, the teamwork required to join forces to get the projects done. He is very happy with his Father's Day present. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Dining room chairs details

I am so grateful for all the positive feedback I have received from this experiment. Many people have asked to see close up details to see the stitch work. Who am I to refuse?
At times I used thread that blended with the tones of the paint, but at other times I chose contrasting. Each chair looks completely different

Please feel free to make any other suggestions or comments. I love hearing from you!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Dining room chairs

After much time, and a few mis steps, my dining room chairs are finally finished!
I had this crazy idea to paint my own upholstery fabric and found a wonderful family based upholstery company to join me on this wild ride. 
First we had to agree on a fabric. Ineeded it to be an organic fabric that would take the dye. They needed it to be upholstery weight.  We agreed on this plain weave cotton and the order was placed. There was no looking back!
I received the bolt and started experimenting with the circles. My teacher, Jane Dunnewold suggested using "Dynaflo" and this worked really well. Once I got the hang of applying it with paintbrushes, the colours blended well, and I was able to apply and blend the tones creating brights, darks, and shadows. 

Once the circles were done, I was pleased with the results but found the whole effect was a bit static. Again after a little mentoring from Jane, she agreed that a wavy line might be fun and dynamic and suggested I use a pressurized pen with an air compressor to shoot out the dye. 
Why not?  I had no idea what she was talking about!
Off to the craft store to find out what this meant, bought the tools, filled the pen with black Dynaflo dye and I was off to the races. (After I figured out which end the dye flew out of). This too, was a long learning curve. I had to learn how to regulate the flow, with the speed of my hand movement as well as how far away from the fabric my hand had to be, and the angle....this was a bit like free motion stitchery,except with two more variables to contend with. 
Next time you see a spray painted mural on a building, be impressed! It is very difficult to do well. 

It was a lot of fun to do the spray painting although it took a while to get the hang of it, and there was lots of spilt dye along the way. And yet I still felt they were not completely done. 
I thought if there was absolutely no stitching on the fabric, they really wouldn't be me. The kind upholstery team allowed me to take the pieces home again after they were cut, and I added some bold hand stitching with 6 ply embroidery floss and big eyed needles. 
And finally I was satisfied!
Returning the work to the upholsterer, they did a fabulous job turning my paintings into chairs, and now I can't wait to have you over for dinner and let you try one out!
Just let me scotch guard them first!

Many thanks go out to the team at Vogel Upholstering for being so patient with me and my slow learning curve, and doing such a fabulous job in the end!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Scrap basket

I decided to try and make use of the drawers full of fabric scraps that I have accumulated over the years.  If your situation bears any resemblance to mine, I could swear that mummy and daddy scraps mate over night and multiply while I am busy creating masterpieces elsewhere. 
These photos are of my scrappy bowl upside down being "shaped" by a combination of a huge plastic salad bowl, cardboard bent into the shape of the edge of my salad bowl to extend the sides since I had made such a HUGE bowl and the whole thing turned upside down over a bar stool. 
The scraps were different lengths, all about 1-2 inches wide, twisted together, two at a time and then knotted together end to end. 
I hand sewed the braid together.  At first it was laying quite flat, and I thought it would make a cute little rug, but then it started lay less flat and I decided it was going to be a lovely vessel.  I love vessels!  Very womanly!
After it was all sewn together and it was stretched over the bar stool, I used two whole bottles of spray starch to try to give the shape some integrity. As you can see, this was only somewhat successful. 
But again, as all womenly vessels go, it is taking on a shape of its own, over which I have only limited control, and I am ok with that. 
I am not sure what I will use it for. I am open to suggestions.