Thursday, 30 October 2014

Scary Stuff

So as you can see, we spent one afternoon this week carving pumpkins...

I know it looks as though she's sat amidst a building site. We're really pushing ahead with renovations and it's so exciting to see (and feel) a difference as we insulate the house. It feels so satisfying to wrap it up just in time for winter. 

If you're booked on one of my workshops then these next photos might leave you a little un-nerved, but honestly, the workshop space will be ready in time!

I think this is the first time I've shown a peek of what it's like inside. I know, rather shed-like at the moment, but give us a few more weeks and there will be white painted plaster, a beautiful tiled floor and lovely lighting. It may not look like it, but a lot of work has already been done. The entire structure been taken apart, old rotten wood replaced with new and last weekend we raised the roof!

Have to say though, I am more than a little heartbroken that some of the lovely painted surfaces will be covered up. I've been documenting it all very thoroughly first!

I really must do a little research and see if this company is still in existence. It's the maker's badge from the front door of the pavilion. Definitely a keeper - this won't be painted over!

Thanks for visiting,

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Hen's Teeth Scarves

We've been printing some really fascinating jobs here at Fingerprint over the last few weeks. Today I thought I'd share with you one that is particularly charming. I'm sure many of you will already know Viv Sliwka's work via her blog Hen's Teeth Art. Her whimsical embroideries collaged from vintage fabrics and found treasures have been featured in many publications.

In preparation for the Hen's Teeth stand at the Selvedge Winter Fair this week (31st Oct, 1st Nov) we've printed some beautiful scarves onto silk double georgette. As you can see the embroidery has translated into digital print perfectly. It's hard to believe those stitches are printed and aren't actually stitched onto the silk, and oh-so-tempting to try to pick up the buttons!

If you're tempted to start your Christmas shopping, but can't make it to the Fair this weekend, you can contact Viv via her blog.

Oh dear, I just said the Christmas word! Sorry everyone! Mind you, it is almost November and if you're going for handmade presents this year rather than the mass produced high street offerings, now is the time to get started. We can print custom fabrics to make all sorts of personalised gifts. Over the next few weeks I'll be sharing a few of my ideas to help get you inspired!

For now I'll leave you with another close up of the scarves. Thanks for dropping by, Laura x

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Art and quilts

Linda's taped a really interesting short series for DMTV, all about how it's possible to find inspiration for quiltmaking from fine art painting. I've just re-watched the first episode which'll go live on the website tomorrow and I have to say, I'm itching to start something new now! I hope you'll all feel the same.

Preparing for these videos raised an interesting conversation, I wondered if, generally, art quilts are about a generation or two behind fine art painting. Controversial? Maybe. I think though, as an artist who works primarily in stitched textiles that it's important to consider one's place in the grand scheme of art, right across genre, media and method. When I look at my own work, and that of other quilters, I do tend to find myself measuring it against traditional 'fine art'. I ask myself, 'if that was a painting would I be impressed?'. Sometimes I think it's easier, because we know that such a lot of time and often difficult techniques are employed by quilters in their work, to afford an art quilt more than it deserves when often composition and concept is tired, or too predictable or just not there.

I've walked into galleries in the past and seen paintings and installations and those moments have literally changed me, how I work and how I view other's work. I've had goosebumps and the hairs on the back of my neck have stood up. There are pieces I've seen both by recognised masters and contemporary artists that will stick with me forever, that I'll never forget and who's impact doesn't fade over time. If you've ever been in a gallery painted blood red with the immensely powerful sculptures by Pacheco then maybe you felt the same. That's the wonder of art, that it can affect a person so deeply, that it can resonate on a level that nothing else can.

So are art quilts merely following in the wake of other genres? Have painters already been there, done that? Look at this one by Vieira Da Silva:

The Theatre of Gerard Philipe, painted in 1975.

Nearly 40 years old, and there are other examples in a similar vein that take us even further back. Have to say I think it's a wonderful piece with a certain timeless quality. It could quite easily be a quilt made in 2014 don't you think?

So what am I getting at? What's the point of all this rambling? Well, just to tell myself really to never be satisfied with the predictable and the tried and tested. There's a need to always try harder and do more.

Better do some work!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Roses are Red

Hmm, well actually they're dusty pinks and peaches! I just love these fabrics. This morning I had the pleasure of pressing and cutting another batch ready to send our to our mail order customers. I couldn't resist stowing a couple into my stash. I think they'll make just the prettiest cushions and I've got some nice trim which I think could edge them well. I'll show you pictures when they're done.

These are printed onto our medium weight cotton which is ideal for cushions or other home sewing projects.

See these designs and more on the Fingerprint site.

Thanks for visiting,

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Digital Painting and English Roses

I've been spending any free time this week working on my iPad using digital painting techniques. I reckon I must have thousands of photos so it's good to be able to work with them and make at least some earn their keep. The technique involves starting with a photographic image but then transforming it into something much more painterly. I think it worked quite well with this study of two little china jugs. I've worked 2 versions of this and the next step will be to print the nicest to fabric and add some stitch.

I've demonstrated the digital painting step by step in this week's DMTV video workshop which is online now.

Meanwhile I've added some new designs to the Fingerprint Store. We launched these lovely rose fabrics at Festival of Quilts and with summer now just a memory I thought it was about time they were available in the online store.

I just love how packed they are with dusty pink petals. I reckon they'd make a beautiful set of cushions. Fat quarters are £6 each and shipping is free worldwide. You'll find these and some other new designs over in the store. Here's a link if you'd like to take a look.

Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Grand Designs

I'm not sure it truly qualifies as a 'Grand Design' or just feels like one, but our house renovations are still in full swing. We've been planning, researching and dreaming for so long it's now so exciting to see things actually happening, though of course, true to form the weather has taken a turn for the worse and it's been raining like stair rods for two days.

One job on the list was to put my greenhouse back together. It had been carefully dismantled and brought here and been leaning up a fence for the best part of a year. Very satisfying to see it back as it should be. We're only part way through the glazing so we're hoping for no more high winds!

If you're wondering what's happened to my daily drawing, then I'll have to confess that it's been put on the back burner this week. Now I'm deputy project manager, site foreman, designer and tea lady  there's unfortunately a very long list of jobs to do each day! To good an opportunity to miss was a research trip to Grand Designs Live at the NEC today. I love watching this programme on TV and seeing the trials and tribulations that homeowners go through don't you?

The show's divided into four zones and we spent most of our day in the 'Build' section as that's where we're at right now. We caught up with the company making our windows and reminded ourselves of how lovely they'll be when they're fitted (as I type the window sill behind me is covered with old tea towels to catch all the water that's raining in!).

Of course the resident sparky was interested in stands with anything tech, but this stand with vintage style lighting caught our attention too. We're planning a feature light in the day.

And here's the main man, Kevin McCloud taking part in a seminar.

We reckoned Amelie might appreciate us focussing attention on another type of house...

We came home with a big pile of bumph. If you've ever picked up a Fingerprint business card you'll know we like a quirky bit of marketing (our business cards are fabric), but a business card that's a chunky lump of eco wall?

 Now all we have to do is get on and...

Thanks for dropping by. Much as I'm enjoying all this house stuff I'm hoping to get back to something creative very soon. I might even manage a bit of drawing tonight...


Sunday, 5 October 2014

More digital painting

Yesterday's drawing seemed to work well so I've applied a similar approach to this image tonight. I'm not sure it's turned out so well, perhaps a little gloomy. It might benefit from a little lightening here and there. I think I was maybe just a bit to overzealous trying to eradicate the green! Turns out it's just as easy to overwork a digital drawing as it is a 'real' one.

Thanks for dropping by the blog tonight.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Painting rosehips

I've revisited the same rosehip photo tonight but have gone for a more painterly, sketchy style. I'm loving this way of working. This is drawn or painted, not sure how you'd describe it, in ProCreate with an Adonit Jot Touch stylus. I've used more layers this time, a coloured background, the photo with some erasing, a layer with painting, and a top layer with drawing and some spraying. 

I reckon something like this could print to fabric really nicely. I'll have to put that on the list for next week.

Bye for now,

Friday, 3 October 2014


Experimenting tonight with a bit more digital tracing. This time I've kept the background photo partially visible through the semi-transparent tracing. Quite like the way it adds some soft colour to a linear study. I reckon with the addition of more layers that could become more sophisticated and interesting. 

Drawn in ProCreate with an Adonit stylus. 

Someone asked how to print from an iPad. Some printers have AirPrint which means you can print from your device. My printer isn't fancy and doesn't have that function so instead ProCreate, (and presumably other apps), allow you to Export your drawing as a .jpg. So I email it to myself and then I can open it on my Macbook, save and print from there. By doing it that way, I can open it in Photoshop if I want, add or adjust and print at a size that suits my sketchbook. If you find yourself using an app that you're new to, make sure to check out the software website and also You Tube as there are often lots of tutorials and tips.

Have a great weekend, I'll try and be back tomorrow!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

All systems go

I've probably been conspicuous by my absence over on the Daily Drawing Flickr pool. Why? Well after 6 months of waiting our planning permission was granted earlier this week. Suddenly all the materials we've ordered and the workmen who've been waiting are on site and it's all systems go. It's not quite so easy living on a building site with a toddler, but I have to admit, despite the chaos, dirt, trenches and rubble I am loving it. So far it's all been about the groundworks, mostly drains, which is necessary but incredibly dull so no photos! I thought instead I'd share a picture of the pavilion which we're restoring:

OK, I know it looks like a shed, well, half a shed at the moment, but trust me, when it's all back to its former glory it's going to be lovely. As you can see the weather's been very kind to us, let's hope it lasts.

I'd missed doing the drawing and finding time for it today when I ought to have been doing any number of other things, was a real luxury. It's important to try to maintain some creative time each day though so here's a quick drawing of some of the rose hips I'd photographed in the garden a couple of days ago. Love these shapes, the long petal-ly bits (will really have to Google what they are) are so elegant.

Hope you're having a good week wherever you are too.
Thanks for visiting,

Monday, 29 September 2014

DD29 - a sneaky peek

For today's drawing I'm sharing a sneaky peek at some work I've been doing ready for a DMTV video workshop. I'm exploring ideas with digital photos and composition. This new video will go live on DMTV later this week.

Hope you've been enjoying your drawing and if you've not joined in yet, why not give it a go! I'd love to see some new names popping up on the Flickr page.
Thanks for visiting,

Sunday, 28 September 2014

DD28 - Finding Inspiration

I've not drawn today, I've used the time looking for some new subjects. It turned into a bit of a photographic survey of the garden; there's still some lovely colour out there.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

DD27 - One thing leads to another

You'll remember that yesterday's drawing bled through the paper onto the next page. While sometimes that can be annoying I've decided to use it as the starting point for tonight's drawing. I've just used the marks that came through as a guide and added more lines to them.

Thanks for dropping by,

Friday, 26 September 2014

DD26 - Five minute Friday

I wanted something quick to work on today so I've switched to using charcoal blocks. I love these as they lay down loads of generous tone really fast. They're not suitable for small scale, detailed drawings, but for something more gestural they're perfect.

Of course if you're using charcoal, and even just pencil, then you'll need to be fixing your drawings. If you don't fix them, then as you turn the pages and keep drawing in your book, the graphite will smudge and transfer. Disaster!

You can fix drawings with artists' fixative spray, but I tend to just use hairspray.

One word of caution, hairspray (and possibly fixative too) can affect different media in unexpected ways. Biro and markers like Sharpie are soluble in hairspray. This can either be a good thing or a bad thing! I quite like the effect and so encourage it by spraying fairly generously. If you don't want any bleed, then you'll need to do your charcoal or pencil drawings first, fix them, then add any pen work afterwards.

Ooh, and be aware that often when the pen bleeds after you've sprayed it, it'll go right through the page and show on the other side. Another disaster? Maybe not, maybe it's the start of tomorrow's drawing…

Thanks for visiting,

Thursday, 25 September 2014

DD25 - Mixed media approaches

Today I've gone for a layered, mixed media approach that makes use of what I've learned from previous work. The starting point for this page was one of the digital tracings that I'd done on the iPad. I printed it to the sketchbook page and the added a layer of watercolour wash.

The watercolour wash wash fairly light and I just used it to block in some tone to the background.

I'd really enjoyed using the water-soluble pencils yesterday so next I added some detail and extra colour and tone with that same method. Thinking it was all done I took some photos, but then I decided to add more...

I thought it might be interesting to give the sunflower head and stem more tonal weight so I've used a simple black biro to add some cross hatching.

I hope you're enjoying your drawing as much as me. I'll be back again tomorrow with more tips and ideas.
See you then,

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

DD24 - Wet Drawing

Here's my drawing for today, it's the one on the right hand side of this spread:

I feel as though I need to qualify it! It's a bit wonky and rather rough, but I only allowed myself 5 minutes which isn't long, well not for me, I like to labour over my drawings much more slowly and carefully. I've worked these little studies over three days allowing myself less and less time. It's an interesting challenge!

The technique I've used today is one that I thought you might like to try. I'm calling it Wet Drawing but I'm going to have to come up with a more glamorous name don't you think! Here's what to do:

Wet the area of paper you're going to draw onto. You can use a large watercolour brush or a spraymisting bottle. You don't need to soak the page. Next sharpen your pencils! They need to be watersoluble and you can use either soluble graphite or soluble coloured pencils. I used Derwent Graphitint and Inktense.

The damp page will be highly receptive to the colour and you'll get a very instant, strong mark that's much bolder than pencil usually allows. Because the wet page eats the pencil so readily, you do need to keep sharpening to avoid a dull line.

I hope you enjoy giving that a try. If you're a DMTV viewer then you'll be able to see me demonstrating this very method with lots of other examples in a new video workshop coming soon. If you're not already a DMTV member then we'd love to have you. Here's a link to all the info:

I think it was Susan who asked about the sketchbook. This landscape format is really lovely to work in. I can't remember where I got it, but inside the front cover it says it's a Hand.Book manufactured by Global Art Materials Inc. I just Googled them and came up with this:

I reckon mine is the 'large landscape'. Having looked at the site it says they're sold in the US and Canada so I guess I must have got mine when I was over in Vancouver. I just looked on the Great Art website and they stock some landscape format books. But enough of this talk, we're supposed to be using up sketchbooks not buying more!!

See you again tomorrow,