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The Artful Adorner. Artist/Crafter with a lifelong background in traditional fibre crafts, acrylic painting, beading, wirework, altered books, mini-albums & various assemblage shenanigans. I work to live and evolve artistically. I am a watcher and random photographer, an expert stasher of magical junk & multiple project procrastinator!  'A lot of people try to think up ideas. I'm not one. I'd rather accept the irrisistable possibilities of what I can't ignore.' (Robert Rauschenberg)

Monday, 17 September 2012

Scarf Blanket

Since last Winter I have been buying scarves from charity shops (no more than £1.99 each), with the idea of crocheting them together to make a blanket. It was a little tricky to collect these accessories over the Summer, but now that Autumn has blustered in again, so have the stockpiled scarves. 

I've looked out for colours that I love (deep pinks, purples, green and teal), variable textures and avoided those that are really overstretched. Here is the result of my double crochet seaming together 10 scarves so far. I am really surprised how heavy it is:


You can only really see the first 6 in this photo. When I complete this, I'll try and get a better photo up.

The piece, so far, is stretched over a king size bed. I reckon another 5 scarves would give it the perfect drape for a single bed, or for a sofa snuggle blanket - it's really cosy. This is great for upcycling any old, overstretched or no longer worn scarves you may have stashed away. What a lovely way to keep an array of much loved family scarves in use as an heirloom maybe?- You can never have too many blankets!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

"Wax on. Wax off."

Hahaha, I bring to you, not a reminiscence on Karate Kid, but a project I've been SO excited about trying since I clocked it on Pinterest some weeks ago (there are many, many links to this).... Making art out of melted wax crayons! I'm quite sure my dubious sidekick thought 'Oh my god, what has she got me roped into?' when I mentioned we'd be playing with hot wax, but I waited for us to do it together because I secretly knew he would have fun too. He did. I did. It was great. This is one of the many how-to-do-it links available out there http://megduerksen.typepad.com/whatever/2011/08/you-knew-i-was-going-to-make-one.html , and this is the result on the canvas. 'Such Fun!':


You can go as far as you like with the melting process, but I really liked how this turned out with the retro chic of the 'Crayola' graphic remaining in the wax crayon stubs. I bought to boxes of 24 Crayola wax crayons from Rymans. I think they were about £1.24 each. The canvas I'd had lying around for a while. The important thing with this project is to do it in a well ventilated area as the fumes from the wax and glue are pretty stinky. We did this outside in my yard, on a dry, sunny morning, with the help of an extension cable for my heat gun. I had glued the crayons into position on the canvas the night before with plenty of pva glue, then propped it up against a wall over some newspaper before we started applying heat.

We altered a hardback book cover too, that was just dying for this treat, with the remaining crayons (waste not want not and I kept the white crayons for wax resist). I think I'm going to play around with rubbing on some metallic oil pastels to bring out the contours created on the cover and then cover with gel medium to seal. More on that at a later date, but here is the result, I LOVE it!:


Sunday, 2 September 2012

Envelope Book

Enjoyed a fantastic day in York with my Mum. The weather was gorgeous. Warm and brightly sunny all day. We LOVE York.

Kicked off with a lovely brunch at Betty's - I've never managed to reproduce cinnamon toast just like theirs - then meandered around the shops. Mulberry Hall is an amazing shop to browse, "Ooh" and "Aahh" over unfeasible extravagances and .... actually hold one of Tim Cotterill's limited edition bronze frogs - small, perfectly, beautifully sculpted and deceptively heavy. Nevertheless, an absolute pleasure to shape your fingers around.
It was a marvellous day out. Thanks Mum.

A friend recently had a clear out and I came into a huge pile of envelopes. I wanted to make my Mum something special and decided to have a go at making an envelope book.

I dug out my copy of 'Unique Handmade Books' by Ailsa Golden and using a combination of binding techniques described in the book and studying Donovan Beeson's tutorial on instructables (here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Envelope-Book/?ALLSTEPS ), after rummaging around in my oddments drawer, came up with this:


I made a 5 hole jig template on some cardboard waste and used it to line up the punch holes down the 'spine' of the book, which comprises of 12 complete page faces with alternating page pockets (the backs of the envelopes), and front and back covers.   

I used a darning needle and a doubled up length of organza ribbon to bind the spine, covering each punched hole with a lovely velvet flower I threaded through. The hardest parts, I'd say, were the repetitive strain action of punching the 70 holes with my single hole hand-held punch (my thumb pad really ached afterwards), and the effort employed in trying to keep the ribbon from twisting as I worked it through the holes. For a first attempt, the binding was a little tighter than I would have liked, but all pages and pockets are accessible. Here is a picture of the back of the book:


Mum loved her envelope book, and I really enjoyed constructing it.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Bank Holiday Bluster

August 27th was Bank Holiday Monday. The day was more so reminiscent of a blustery, cold, wet, dim Autumn than tail end of the Summer. Depressing... It is a little known fact that people living in the north east of England are advised to take extra vitamin D supplements due to the lack of sunlight. Also, a taxi driver told me, last Winter, that he had a Norwegian passenger who said it was colder during the Winter in the north east than it was in Norway! He said she was grumbling that she couldn't cope with the 'damp', that the coldness of the season in Norway was a dry cold rather than a wet coldness. I've lived here (by choice) for the past eight years, and I've only this last year gotten out of the habitual need to sneak a hot water bottle on the morning bus journey into work during the Winter....

Anyway. I spent Bank Holiday Monday with my parentals. We kept company in the morning at home. Dad crosswording, Mum doing her lovely tapestry and some geneology research, and me (going nearly cross-eyed in the dim daylight) getting into one of four crochet projects on the go at the moment. This is my version of the 'Flowers in the Snow' blanket by Solveig Grimstad (from Ravelry, http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/flowers-in-the-snow). If you are unfortunate enough to have not signed up to Ravelry, or choose not to indulge in such delicious yarn adoring procrastination, then she (Solveig Grimstad), has provided an excellent translation of her pattern (using US crochet terms) with photos, on her blog, which you can access here: http://solgrim.blogspot.co.uk/2009/06/sirkel-i-kvadrat.html .

Note to self: This beautiful design is called 'Flowers in the Snow' for the reason that each motif/square is meant to be bordered in white. I, in the throes of 'Intent to Destash', chose navy blue around apple green, teal and purple flowers. Dim days + dark borders = strained, peeping peepers! However, these are a combination of my favourite colours and they look fabulous together nonetheless. Here is what I have completed so far:




The other project I am working on is 'Nancy's Waves Scarf' by Cori Dodds on Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/nancys-waves-scarf ), which is a free pdf download. I am using a Regia sock yarn ( 4 ply, wool and nylon blend). The yarn colours crochet out beautifully with the pattern, however, I am suprised how 'scratchy' and rough it feels and wonder if even using a little conditioner when I block it is going to make it any softer?  The link on Ravelry offers 'yarn ideas' for the project, and I'm thinking that when I do this again (lovely Christmas gift scarves), I might choose something more luxurious like Mini Mochi, Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball, Noro Silk Garden, or Araucania Ranco Multy.... However, those choices will mean new purchases and conscious avoidance of Intent to Destash!...Oh woe.

The Artful Adorner has taken a blog break to write out a hundred times 'I WILL destash!'.....

This is my Nancy's Waves Scarf thus far:




After lunch, we got on the bus into the city and spent a pleasant hour or so wandering around the Laing Gallery. The two exhibitions at the moment are 'The Family' and 'Quentin Blake' illustrations. My favourite 'Isabella and the pot of Basil' by Rossetti is out on loan alas, but I was delighted to see another favourite, 'Cat in a Cottage Window' by Ralph Hedley, remained for viewing pleasure. We convened for coffee and tea and cake in the Laing cafe before heading back to the bus stop home (their Rocky Road is delicious!).

I have not abandoned my art journal exploits, I managed to complete two A5 size pages for the day on some scrap paper (that I will paste into one of my books). Before I sign off, I 'd just like to mention that my parents saw a fantastic Rolf Harris exhibition in John Lewis (Newcastle upon Tyne), which is on at the moment.

Oooooooh, tomorrow is Woollee Wednesday!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Kate and Klimt

Every Spring and Summer I go down to Leicester to spend a few days with my friend Kate. She is retired, as she has Multiple Sclerosis. The disease has severely clipped her creative wings as this dear friend, fellow Muse and confidante through my adult life, has an amazing talent for personal style, accessorising and interior design.

I stay in the guest bedroom which is dominated with the most inviting, voluptuously dressed (in Kelly Hoppen), comfortable four poster bed I have ever had the pleasure of sleeping in... Before I get to slip under the duvet though, I have to undress the 'work of art' bed, keenly attempting to remember the order of the eight different styles of pillow, the shams, the throw, the demi throw, for when I try to dress it again the next morning.

The next morning is one of the things I love about staying with Kate. I will jump out of bed to throw the curtains open, letting the sunshine flood into the room. Then I clamber back onto that bed head at foot end and lie, staring up at the wall at the huge Klimt, Mother and Child, print above the head of the bed. I love staring at Mother and Child. The rich colours and patterns, there is always so much to see:



I have been thinking for some time about Klimt's art, so last night my art journal page was 'Klimt's Shapes'. I studied three of his paintings: The Kiss, Fulfillment, and Adele Bloch- Bauer. From these works I sketched out in black ink the main shapes he frequently uses, then coloured them in as closely as I could with my watercolour pencils. This is the finished result after about an hour of filling the page:
I am very pleased with the result, and this has led me to think about creating pages using other art forms.