Quite a lot of media, definitely mixed.

I declared some days ago that I wanted to work with this heady combination of media, which includes coloured pencils, thermofax screens, my new fabric, and recycled photographs.

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So I started by drawing leaves and fish using one of my photographs of the pond at the Botanical Gardens here in Birmingham as reference. I didn’t want to draw a picture, but wanted to isolate then make elements to use in a mixed media piece.

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I drew the leaves and fish in a mix of pencils, generally using non- soluble drawing pencils under soluble pencils. I used textured watercolour and Khadi paper, and cut the completed leaves and stalks out ready to apply to the fabric background.

I had previously printed the fabric using thermofax screens with acrylic, then over- dyeing with procion dye.

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I particularly like using the pencils in a speedy, sketchy manner. This leaf has an under drawing using Derwent drawing pencils, which are non- soluble and quite waxy. Over those I used Graphitint pencils, with a splash of water to achieve a loose water colour effect. Both of these sets of pencils come in a range of subtle colours, so I drew the fish using Polychromos pencils, which offer a range of very strong and bright colours, including metallics.

I had in mind Byzantine mosaics; I wanted to make a rich and colourful piece of work, although my daughter said the fish was on the steampunk side of the equation. Steampunk Byzantine, that’ll do for me.

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The whole piece, with the drawn leaves, fish and stems laid onto the fabric, then machine stitched. The leaves and fish were also collaged with organza and snippets of photographs. After machine stitching I applied some gold leaf to the fish. The photographs, mostly of my work, were cut up and used as a frame. It’s about 85 x 50 cm.

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I bought these rectangular beads some time ago, and they suited the mosaic/slightly mechanical look of the fish.

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The background fabric was printed with acrylic paints using some of my thermofax screens, then dyed; when the piece was constructed, I over- printed with another screen, using bronzing powders mixed with acrylic gloss medium.

Below are some details; I have more hand stitch and beads to add.

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6I’ll post more images when it’s finished.

If you want you can double click on the images; they will appear on a separate screen. One or two will be slightly bigger, but all are sharper images.

11 thoughts on “Quite a lot of media, definitely mixed.

  1. Wow it is stunning. I am trying to move on from traditional patchwork and quilting and you were recommended by one of my tutors. She was absolutely correct and if I cannot gain inspiration from this then there’s no hope for me. This is a first for me, as I have never commented on anything I have seen on the web before, hope I have done it right.

    1. Many thanks Judy, I am fortunate to be the recipient of your first comment, and what a comment it is! If you want to change and develop you will. I’m sure your tutor will help, but one thing I would say is just keep on making as much work as you can. It’s making one piece after another, allowing yourself to try new things, not worrying when it goes wrong [it may not though, but if it does save it for creative recycling] and generally taking your work seriously whilst really enjoying it that will move you forward. Do keep in touch, I would really like to know how things go; e mail if you like.

    1. Lots of thanks Shelagh, I must say it’s good to do something quite rich. It is one of those pieces that will absorb many stitches though, so I’ll have to be careful, and make sure I do draw it to a conclusion quite soon. I think I’ll try some smaller pieces in the same vein, next. x

  2. J’admire beaucoup votre travail, j’ai d’ailleurs un tableau que j’ai acheté au Festival quilts à Birmingham. Je suis très intriguée de savoir comment vous faites pour que votre tissu soit parfaitement plat et comment le fixez-vous sur vos photos?
    Félicitations pour ce dernier travail.
    I admire your work, I have also a picture that I bought at the Festival quilts in Birmingham. I am very intrigued to know how you do that your fabric is perfectly flat and how do you fix your photos?
    Congratulations to the latter work.

    1. Hello Marianne,
      Mant thanks for your comment. I have two ways of keeping my fabric flat. I either use quite stiff fabric that I have already painted using acrylic paint, or, if the fabric is quite flimsy, I will bond it to something stiffer such as Vilene, or Lutradur, using a heat fusible product such as Bondaweb. The photographs were glued around the edges and then machine stitched.

      Bonjour Marianne,
      Merci pour votre commentaire. J’ai deux façons de garder mon tissu plat. Moi non plus utiliser un tissu assez raide que j’ai déjà peint avec de la peinture acrylique, ou, si le tissu est assez fragile, je le veux lier à quelque chose plus rigides tels que Vilene, ou Lutradur, à l’aide d’un produit fondant à la chaleur tels que Bondaweb. Les photographies ont été collés sur les bords, puis cousu à la machine.

  3. Steampunk Byzantine sounds a perfect description! It’s all so rich and vital Steph and I particularly love that it’s framed by some of your previous pieces. What a lovely comment from Judy too. Now that’s she’s found you she will be hooked like the rest of us and it’s good to be reminded again of the mantra to just make, make and make. You are the one person I know who definitely practices what she preaches (not that you preach but you get my meaning,,,,)

    1. Thanks Lesley, I hope to keep up the rich and colourful theme, hopefuly in combination with black and white, too, and although I keep trying to stop myself I think a large piece is brewing again…

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