22 December 2011

Automaton of a Fairy with a Bug

I have sent my first automaton through the post and it arrived all working and in one piece.
One of the highlights of each Christmas is the strange fairy that I receive from my friend Sue. We have been doing a fairy swap for years and this year I used my fairy for Sue to see if an automaton would survive a transatlantic crossing. The fairy is a bit experimental as I gave it strings to work the wings and arms, she has quite a puppet like suspended arm swing. But the automaton surviving the posting is great as I can now start selling them.
I think that I always come off the better for the swap as I get the most fabulous fairy from her. I have a superb enamel one this year.


15 December 2011

Embroidery Experiment with Painted Faces

I have been struggling for ages to work out the best way to embroider characters so that they don't just look like badly drawn art. In the past I have used Biro to make the faces. Having looked at a Russian icon I thought that I would try and inset painted faces, a possible way forward if I work on my painting skills. I quite like the idea of contrasting the heavily embroidered cloth with painted elements. 

The Biro faces seem to fade over time, I made these about about 28 months ago 

And the original monkeys doodle.

13 December 2011

Free Machining Embroidery and Applique Doodle

It's been a bit cold in the garage so I thought I would go back to playing with my sewing machine. I decided to do a random doodle to start me off. Somehow I always doodle scary cats.

The reverse is interesting.

And a previous scary cat doodle. Sorry the picture is so fuzzy but I have it in a frame to remind me not to make scary cats.

06 December 2011

A Fabric Beetle

After being bothered by stink bugs I've had a go at making a fabric beetle. I thought this may be just the character that I need to add a bit of drama to some unfinished works.

He has a good creepy underside. I am going to enjoy making more beetles.

And now this problem piece has a sort of group dynamic and some composition.

30 November 2011

Half Finished Things

After a few weeks of drawing I am going back to finish characters that had been half finished and very unresolved. I am still not sure about this one but I love her dress and her flower friend.

As I am posting this I have already had a better idea for the bugs in her hands. I think as she looks so disinterested the bugs that she's holding need to be doing something spectacular.

These two are a bit too benign. Agghhh still unresolved!

09 November 2011

Automaton of a Boy with Gnats

I am working slowly through finishing automata as I have been completely sidetracked by the urge to draw. I also do need to get a camera to take moving images. In this automaton the gnats wobble wildly when he stamps his feet.

29 October 2011

Drypoints of The Proximity of Insects

Three silly drypoints based on my insect obsessed work. I haven't done any printing for a while so these are my test pieces before I start some proper work. Now that I have done these I want to make them into embroidery pictures as I think this is the perfect line to convert to stitch.

27 October 2011

Automaton of a Bug in a Box is Finished

Painting done and bug made, this is my favorite automaton so far and she still slams that lid with a good smack.

A few seconds looking at the bug and then smack! and the lid is shut.

21 October 2011

Automaton of a Bug in an Box

Another automaton at the test stage. This one is based on a comment from the fabulously talented printmaker Sue Brown re. not letting people know that you are collecting dead insects as your friends may send you samples in match boxes which can be disarming!! So this is the sketch I made after her comment. 

And here is the automaton in the raw.

I did try to make a match box but the friction of the box inner and shell kept jamming, at the moment this has a good slam to the lid. I have a little shaping and sanding still to finish but I can't wait to get painting and making a disarming bug. 

12 October 2011

Automaton of having Ants in the Pants

I have a few automata on the go at the moment and have just finished my first 'Insects are after me' automaton. This poor victim is being bothered by a couple of red ants and is stamping her feet to shake them off.

10 October 2011

Automaton of Mr Punch and a Crocodile

I have finished my first Mr Punch automaton and the mechanism works! The crocodile bites and Mr Punch judders.

I am most happy with the fact that the girl isn't looking too sad and pathetic and is enjoying scaring Mr Punch.  

19 September 2011

New Automaton

I have just started two new sets of automaton, the weather is cooler and I can work for longer in the garage. I have planned various 'Encounters with Mr Punch', many drawn up, some now modelled in card and the first one ready for painting and dressing. 
Here roughly assembled to test the mechanism. 

The other set are of figures being a more animated about the proximity of insects. 

Rust Dyed Silk

I did a felt making course a few years ago with the most inspiring and talented teacher, a textile artist called Lyn Griffiths. I was really excited to find her blog before I had started mine and found the perfect technique I was looking for to add age to fabric. I didn't want to use old and precious fabric and have frequently used tea to soften the colour of new fabric. From Lyn's blog and her fabulous dyeing experiments I had a go at using rust to add an unusual effect and I am very happy with the results.
I folded wire wool into small pieces of  damp silk, I am working on a small scale as making puppet clothes.

I left the silk for a few days in a zip lock bag until I could see rusty patterns.

This was interesting but with too much contrast and still didn't look very old so I soaked the samples in tea and got a fantastic new blue grey colour appear, some chemical reaction happened I'm sure. 

I am really delighted with the results! Now think I need to go on another of her courses and learn to dye properly and more of her fabulous techniques. 

13 September 2011

More Wooden Figures Keeping Very Still

I have just finished another couple of wooden figures with an insect problem.

Protecting her little brother from a bee. 

Drawn to scale and marked out in wood.

Worked out final composition.

Underpainting before adding final ageing and finishing touches. 
The dark bird made the atmosphere a bit morbid, a bit heavy and oppressive on top of her head. He has joined all the weird things that have gone wrong and are now in a box in my basement. 

08 September 2011

A Puppet Character that is Keeping Very Still

I have combined my recent experiments in making bugs and in aging/distressing fabric to dress and accessorise this latest Puppet Character. She is keeping very still because she has wasps in her hair.

 I haven't quite got my fabric insects to look as creepy as the real thing and I'm not sure really I want to.

01 September 2011

Wooden Figures with Bugs

Another group of wooden figures, mainly because I enjoyed making the bugs. I have started a macabre collection of found dead insects with the aim of getting a more lifelike finished fabric bug.  These were meant to be cute bugs but I do want some less friendly and as yet I just can't make them as terrifying as the real thing.

26 August 2011

Flowers that are Romantic Thinkers

I have been playing at making faces, then made the faces into a few flowers. The faces seemed to have quite complex personalities and reminded me of 18th Century Romantic poets and heroines. So I have had a go at giving them suitable plant names.









I don't think they are quite right because Heedful looks far to smug and Placidity is clearly completely bonkers.