Thursday, 28 April 2011

My creative space - my nervously beating heart!

My friend Annie is getting married in a few weeks time and she asked me a while back if I would make a bag for her to have on the day for all her bits and pieces - lippy and what have you. Such an honour to be asked! And of course, time slips on by without you realising... and suddenly I only have a tiny window of time to get it made as we are away for the next 3 weekends. And we have all these crazy bank holiday weekends (I'm not complaining, mind) Cue much panicking and mopping of brow and holding of a limp wristed back of hand to forehead. I have a rough design:


And some fabric chosen by Annie - a nice bit of dupion that she saw and lunged at like it was a long lost friend, plus this fancy twinkly netting stuff:


And I made one of these tiny little cuties recently and thought that scaling the pattern up would be straightforward...


But no. The bigger frame I bought is curved rather than straight and every test I've done so far looks a bit shocking and rubbish. A bit too puffy in the bottom area (a problem I seem to share at the mo, all that Easter choc) and an odd shape and not very glam.

I shall no doubt be continuing on into the wee small hours. Getting very sweaty about this one. Help!

For some successful creative brilliance, try Kootoyoo.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Hackney lampshades

Went on a lovely jaunt around Hackney recently, checking out all the markets and chi chi whatsits around and about. A badly needed pit stop for coffee (at a theatre I think it was) revealed a lovely collection of lampshades. When I grow up and have my dream house (somewhere cool with more than the 2 foot of head room I currently have in my tiny weeny London flat) then I too, will have lovely lampshades. Loads of 'em. All together in one big moosh. Brilliant.

Hackney lampshades

Monday, 25 April 2011

Blue skies, sea winds and good times

I love London. I really do. And then I hate it just as much, as it can be so in your face and crowded and miserable and impersonal and I want to up sticks and leave. We are fortunate enough to have distributed our family far and wide to many picturesque locations in the UK and we've just returned from an utterly brilliant stay at The Magnificent Mum's. North Norfolk. By the sea. Beach hut an' all. Plenty of vino and banter and beach action and walks and sleeps and general lazing about. Just what a bunch of tired, hang dog Londoners needed. Thanks Mum, you rock.

Easter wishes sent up in a big candle thing

Big Sis sending up one of those lantern things. It took our Easter wishes up with it.

Uncle and nephews

Uncle Charlie actually smiling which is a rare, rare thing.

Trouble most definitely flocks together

And these two have trouble written all over them. Happy days. There was much sewing talk between The Magnificent Mum, Big Sis and me. But it was definitely a case of all talk and no action ;-)

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Drafting patterns

If ever you want a lesson about patience and calm, then try and make a pattern. Any pattern. For anything. I've been at this puppy for most of the day as I bought some new, larger purse frames that are different to the ones I usually use. You'd think that applying the same principles from a brilliant, robust and awesome old pattern would do the trick; and mostly those principles help, but then there are so many little bits and pieces that need tweaking and adapting so that the new frame works well.

Trial and error

Unusually for me, I made some test ones out of old, nasty fabric and it generally seemed to be ok; will post the result of the spangley new design once the glue has dried. Holy moly, I hope it looks great and justifies the amount of time and swearing...

Saturday, 2 April 2011

The Artist's Way

Many, many moons ago I read an article about a book called The Artist's Way. It's sort of like a self help book for creative people, to get you out of those awful ruts that hit from time to time and to make you generally more open to creative stuff. I meant to buy it, but never got round to it. Fast forward a few years and my most marvellous friend Becci said she was reading it and following the tasks so I thought I'd give it a go. This is the badger on Amazon.

There are two central activites in this book - morning pages and artist dates. Morning pages involves getting up 30 mins earlier than normal and writing 3 pages of stuff. Anything that comes into your head. Mostly stuff about how knackered you are that you're up 30 mins earlier than usual. And you just freeform write, any old rubbish. And you're not allowed to read it. You write it. Close the book. Get back into bed to warm up your toes. I've just done a week's worth of morning pages and it's quite hard work. Feels a bit like being 14 writing a diary again, all moan moan moan, me me me. However, I'm hanging in there.

The artist date is the promise you make yourself that you'll spend 2 hrs every week going to look at/do something by yourself that involves wakening your mind. Sort of like a date with yourself to look at stuff. I'm down with that; I live in the middle of one of the most culturally affluent cities in the world and how often do I go and get some for myself? Rarely, if at all.

So I went (with myself) to the V&A for a mooch. I wanted to go to the fashion and textiles section, but woe! They were closed for refurbishment. So I just mooched about. And had a brilliant time finding things I might not have looked at before.

Two key moments: I saw a lute. And I cried my eyes out. I used to play the lute when I was younger, I got quite good, but gave it up, as you do when you're young and clueless. Not entirely sure what the crying was about, but hey ho.

Then I went into the tapestry room and nearly passed out. Darkly lit and quite cool to protect the tapestries, it was a full on body experience - I was overwhelmed with the sheer scale of the work, the brilliance and skill of the craft and the entire dark environment. Needed a bit of a sit down.

And then, then, I popped into the Yohji Yamamoto exhibition and saw all sorts of brilliant ways with fabric and folding and wierdness.

Artist dates? I am ALL OVER THEM from on.


A bit of midnight surfing took me to a most excellent website. It was selling this. I had to buy some. Brilliant. Every time I look at it I laugh. Surely, it is the best fabric ever?

I just scored the best material EVER. Yeehaw!