Handmade Fair 2015

I managed to get some early bird tickets to the Handmade Fair for the second year.  Last year’s Fair inspired me to do more crafting and not to be afraid to try new things. It does help that my friend Miranda has been with me for both years too.

There were a heap of people who’ve benefited from things that I’ve made since last year or gift wrapped or received cards.  So I was hoping that this year’s Fair would introduce me to some more crafts and reinspire me further.

Collages12A little origami lesson.

20150919-094456And now I’m hoping to create the swan below… reckon I’ll do it?

Collages11And a class learning redwork embroidery… I’ve still to finish the pincushion.

20151011-171359A fun day out.  Great weather and lots to see, buy and do.  However all the workshops and demonstrations are definitely geared to crafting beginners.  Although it was lovely to learn redwork emboidery the workshop was called ‘Quilting’ which isn’t close.

I do hope that next year they run some more intermediate/advance workshops or perhaps extend the time (currently 45mins) so that people can get their teeth into some crafting and come away with something finished.

Glass Memories of Washington

When I visited Washington at Easter, we (Andi, Sam and I) chose an object that I could use to create something in glass.  The object we chose was a pine cone.  You’d think that’d be simple to use.  Perhaps to create the object in glass?   Perhaps use the texture from the cone?  Or something else?  When I showed the tutor she dismissed creating it in glass as the cone was open and difficult to cast.  She suggested I use the base to create a latex mold and then add these ‘flowers’ to a piece.

Over several weeks, I’ve been making the wax ‘flowers’.  I decided that I’d like to do a bowl with the flowers around it.

The process is the same, create the was ‘flowers’, create a wax bowl, affix the ‘flowers’ securely and try to close up the gaps to reduce risk with plaster.  It takes an age to get the completed wax model.

Then I mixed up the plaster and flint mix to pour over the wax model.  Next stage is to steam out the wax.  I purchased some emerald green gaffer glass which flows faster than bullseye glass.  I then handed it over to the technicians to fire in the kiln.

All the above I did without telling Andi how I was creating the piece.  I was excited to create it and then present it to Andi as a completed piece in the future.  In June I’d not heard from Andi for a few days and was worried.  A few days later she messaged me from the hospital… and told me she was wrapped in her AnnaBlanket which made me smile.

AndiBlanketAnd I let her into the secret and told her what I was doing with the pine cone and a few photos.

IMG_0362After all that work and with the terrifically important reason I was making this piece, the pressure was on for this to be perfect.  Only a few days later I was at college and the piece was cooling in the kiln.  I could tell that something had happened as the technicians asked me to look in the kiln.  The mold had cracked and glass leaked.  So incredibly upset.

GreenAndiBowlI love that damaged imperfect bowl.  It’s not useable and needs a lot of work to clean up or reuse the glass.  Right now, I can’t do anything with it except be disappointed and sad.  Maybe one day soon I’ll create something with the glass that will work and be an Andi treasure.

Idle hands…

I discovered I love to crochet in front of the TV.  Actually I also discovered I like to decoupage and bead and well just about anything crafty!  But right now it’s crocheting after first picking up a needle and making the little blanket for Andi.

So I’ve been hunting for a project to continue my rediscovered crochet crafting.  I found Woolly Hugs and also their Facebook page.  There are lots of fabulous projects to knit and crochet items for Nepal, World Child Cancer, Yorkhill Hospital Glasgow, Great North Children’s Hospital Newcastle and the one I chose, Angel Hugs for the Royal Brompton Hospital in London.

My task was to crochet a small blanket in pure white cotton to be sent to the parents of some of the sickest babies in the country at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London.  Devastatingly not all survive.  The Angel Hug blankets are crochet/knitted with love and a hug for the baby and their family at a really difficult time.

This is the beginnings….

AngelHugBeginningsThen after rushing back to the shop (StitchUp) for more Cotton, I joined the squares together and added a surrounding edge to the blanket.

AngelHugNo1It’s not perfect….. but it is made with love.

Why don’t you knit or crochet one too?  Great ideas and causes on the Woolly Hugs website.

I’m happy to keep crocheting for this project or another but would love some help financing the cost of the wool.  If you fancy supporting me, I’ve chosen some wool on my Amazon Wish List, feel free to purchase and send them to me (white for Angel Hugs and coloured for other projects).  Thank you.

Ooh and if this post does spur you on to knit or crochet something, let me know.  I’d love to see what you’ve made.

Images on Glass Course – Final Week

Firstly an update on the pieces that were fired during the week.

Screenprint after firingAs you can see the screenprinted images using black ink have worked well.  Sadly the blue ink is fairly pale on most and the orange ink has in most places burnt away.  Personally I love the unpredictability of some areas in glass and it’s why there’s a need to test everything as you go along and continually learn.

My small Teddy Wolfe images have been stuck together and will be fire again into a stack (see below).  Which, with a little bit of hard work and a grinder to neaten up the edges will, hopefully, mean that I have a sort of 3D image of the picture.

Our tutor also had back sheets of decals using images that we’d emailed to her.  I wanted to use some black and white images of my parents.

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As this was our final class in the course, today our tutor encouraged us to re-explore the different methods we’d learned in the short course.

I concentrated mainly on using the decals we’d had printed and screenprinting.  I was keen to revisit the idea of screenprinting one image and then laying them over each other to create a multi-dimensional image.

So that the images would be as close as I could get, to being in same spot on each piece of glass, I first set up my screenprinting area.  Under the screen I taped a piece of cardboard from which I’d cut the size of the glass pieces.  Masking tape was stuck around the image I was using on the screen.  The screen was then stuck to the table at one end and then each corner marked out once again with masking tape.  The rest was up to me and my dodgy eyesight!

IMG_8969First the area is ‘flooded’ with ink by carefully dragging the ink over the area.  Then the glass is placed under the screen (in the cardboard slot) and ink is pulled over.  As my images have incredibly thin lines I dragged the ink over it several times, hoping that it would be a clean thicker line without being smudged.

This time, instead of firing the pieces and then stacking them, I chose to leave the images to air-dry and stack them for a single firing.

Stacking GrannyEeek it was mightily difficult to get it lined up perfectly!

Some of my peers in this final class concentrated on using powders on glass.  Others drew with enamel and then used powders and frit.  Some used their decals and screenprinted.  Here’s a selection of what’s being fired this week (including a batt of my stacks).

IMG_8973 IMG_8972Fabulously diverse and once again will be interesting to see what comes out from the firing.

Finally we lay out a selection of our pieces that we’d finished so far on this short course.  (Obviously there are some in for firing during this week and attendees will need to pop back to the college to collect them).

IMG_8971I think you’ll agree there are some wonderful pieces demonstrating different methods.  Certainly something I’m keen to understand further and do more of but most of all I can honestly say we’ve had a huge amount of enjoyment on the course.  Thank you Richmond Adult Community College our tutor, Monette and not forgetting the technician, Sally, who ensures our pieces are fired for us.

Images on Glass course – screenprinting

Today’s excitement was to learn how to screen print a photo onto glass.  Below are two images drawn by Edward Wolfe that I chose to use.  Our tutor resized our emailed photos and printed onto transparent plastic sheets ready for our class today.

Images on Glass sp1First we prepared our canvas with photo emulsion.  This was applied in a thin layer by pulling the photo emulsion upward using a trough to evenly spread the emulsion over the screen.  This is then immediately placed on a dark shelf (with no light) to dry.  This will absorb the image once exposed to light.

Images on Glass sp2Once dry, we readied the light box by warming up the bright light and positioning our sheets of images.  Quickly we transferred the now dry screen and placed this over the images, covering quickly with blackout material.  Finally we put old heavy telephone directories on top to keep it in place whilst the image is exposed.  3mins and 20seconds later we switched off the light box.

The final step was to remove the screen from the light box (with fingers crossed) and to take it to the sink.  As we watched the screen be showered with water, the images started to emerge.  Witchcraft!

[I was doing the ‘washing’ so didn’t get any pictures of our screen at the final stages]

Images on Glass SP4Finally with the images now on the screen, it was time to create some enamel paste and to screen print them onto glass.

Images on GlassSP6Different results with different colours used.  Below are a selection of the glass with images from the group awaiting firing in the kiln.  (You will see that I reused the red striker glass that hadn’t shown the orange powder before – let’s see how it works).  (Also one of my classmates reused a powdered image with screen printed text on top.)

We’ll all have to wait until next week to see the results.

Images on Glass SP7Finally, our tutor also showed us a slightly different method to utilise multiple colours via screen printing.  You apply the enamel colours in splotches over the image.  Then a line of the acrylic medium and pull the squeegee dragging the medium first and picking up the enamel but forcing both through the mesh.  Again an interesting image created and I’m intrigued to see how that will look once fired.

Images on Glass SP11

Images on Glass course – Glass Powder

My second week on this course our tutor showed us to apply images to glass using powder.  Using different mesh levels we saw how to use objects to create an image.  Sticking paper to the mesh, drawing with wax crayons and freehand sprinkling of powder.  Al these methods give different results.  Thickness of the glass powder.  Layering colour and depth.  Refined sharp edges and gently smooth, smokey sprinkling.

Below are images of our tutor demonstrating a couple of techniques and the middle picture is the fired glass with the images burned into the glass.

Images on Glass11Below are a few of the classes attempts prior to firing.  You can see we’ve used different methods and differing levels of artist expertise too!

Images on Glass12Post firing below.  I was pleased with the orange powder over black bullseye glass – I hadn’t been sure if it’d disappear into the black.  However the same orange powder did disappear into the red striker glass to leave just a solid fired red tile!

Images on Glass13My attempt at creating an image by drawing with wax crayon onto the mesh (red bottom left picture).  Then the powder was gently applied (orange and yellow – top left picture).  The other two images show the fired finished glass.

Images on Glass14

Images on Glass course – Decals

I started a new glass making course at Richmond Adult Community College – “Images on Glass”.  No surprise but I’m already loving the course and it’s only week 1.  Three more Saturdays of exploring and experimentation with different methods of applying images to glass.

First and foremost a quick introduction for ‘newbies’ to types of glass to use (Bullseye or Float), compatibility and how to cut glass.

This week we rummaged through an old box of decals and found our images to practice with.  I selected poppies as I loved the vivid red but was unsure whether it would remain so vivid once fired.  (I did say there was experimentation, right?).

We painted on other glass with enamels (mixing with acrylic media (water based and gloss)).

Another method was by using leaves and grass.  We made prints from them by rolling ink over the leaf/grass and then rolling this over the glass to leave the image on the glass.

One further experiment was to see if we were able to create our own ‘transfers’ using enamels, contact paper and leaves.  We printed a leaf onto paper.  Then covered this with sticky paper.  With the back of a spoon we rubbed the image right into the sticky paper.  Next we ran it under water and rubbed the paper away, leaving the image on the (now not) sticky paper.  Once dry, the stickiness returns.  This was then stuck onto glass, like a homemade transfer/decal.

A selection of images prior to being fired in the kiln.

Images on Glass decal 1Below are photos of our glass images after firing.  As a group we used different decals, painting techniques, colours and depth.  Sadly (and oddly) the experimental own transfer/decals didn’t work – the images had disappeared.  I’m going to try it again before the end of the course as this SHOULD work so we’re not sure what happened.  Watch this space.

Images on Glass decal 2I was also intrigued to see what would happen to some of my images if I stacked them and refired them.  I stacked (with 2 layers) some handpainted glass tiles.  I stacked (with 3 layers) butterfly decals.  And totally as an experiment I didn’t think would work was 7 layers of poppies!

Below top left is the firing tray loaded with stacks and the remaining pictures are post firing.  The one that worked best was the poppies.  Next job is to grind and polish the edges and then I’ll show you the 3D element to the stack.

Images on Glass decal 3

Crocheting

Whilst in Washington I attempted to do a few rows of Andi’s crochet project.  Actually I found it really rather addictive and so rewarding when it looks great.  Sadly I clearly needed a little more practice as I dropped a few stitches on Andi’s piece – but hey she’ll know the bit I ‘helped’ with!

So I decided that I’d try to crochet a small blanket for Andi.  Either as a throw over for a bed or to snuggle up with on the sofa.   First things first was to find some wool and crochet needle.  I found a wonderful little shop nearby StitchUp and naively went in to source supplies.  I left with a bag of wool and a new crochet hook… a little nervous as I can’t remember how to do it.

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YouTube.  I found a fabulous channel Bella Coco and managed to get to grips with creating granny squares in about 15 minutes!

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Another YouTube Video to find out how to do the outer edge.

IMG_8694And finally another video to learn how to join them together.

IMG_8693And the finished present for my lovely friend Andi.

IMG_8699Can’t explain just how proud I felt when I wrapped up a parcel for Washington with my handmade blanket.  Between the folds I snuck in a few extra little gifts for both Andi and Sam.  Homemade card, decoupaged heart, British chocolate and sweets, crazy mini tic-tac boxes that I thought Sam would love and finally a bracelet each for Andi & Sam from the wonderful company Rebel Rocks.

10422531_10152792599246814_8336563909036861021_nLoved the message I received from Andi and Sam when the package arrived in Washington.  “Received a wonderful package from @annagoanna1 !!!! Kept digging hoping to find Anna in there! What a great day!”

There’s something so very special about making gifts for people.  Made with love and care.

Decoupage reindeer heads with Kaffe Fassett material

As you know I fell in love with the material of Kaffe Fassett at the Handmade Fair.

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What I probably haven’t confessed to is that I’ve been purchasing small pieces of his material with a little project in mind.  Although I did confess to the project in my Affordable Art Fair post.

Finally all the pieces have come together.  I first practiced with a heart.

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Then I sourced the papier mache heads, glue and together with the pieces of material and YouTube, I’ve been busy decoupaging.  How fabulous is this method of crafting.  For the most part everyone said to use paper and looked at me very oddly when I suggested material.  So I wasn’t quite sure what would happen if I used material.  In fact I suspect it’s easier as it stretches beautifully around corners and edges.

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This fine fellow looks amazing on my living room wall.

But I felt he needed a girlfriend….

IMG_8288 IMG_8290Great fun making them and easy to do.  Perfect crafting with small people or to make something colourful and fun for yourself.

Update on the red and black glass piece

My previous post showed you the story of my ‘drop’ glass piece and keeping our fingers crossed as the kiln cooled down.

My task today was to carefully finish the edge neatly so that it was even and with no sharp edges.   I used lots of different machines to finish the piece.  Great experience and I’m sure in time I’ll get more confident.  At the moment I’m very cautious and I’m sure in some instances this hesitancy isn’t good for the glass work.

So here it is, the finished piece.

RedandBlackGlassLike it?