Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Non-Committal Collage Anything Goes

Have you heard of non-committal collage?   I hadn't until one of the other participants of the 100 Day Project started doing this each day and showing the results....  Here are  Peggy's  rules : 
1. Select 9 scraps of paper from  collage box/stash 2. Make three  different compositions using each scrap at least once.  (some pieces can be used more than once) 3. Do not alter the scraps of paper in any way. 4.Do not use glue. 5.Take photo, disassemble and return scraps to box. 
 I thought this would be a fun and quick exercise to do for Tag Tuesday's theme , Anything Goes... so here are my "non-committal collage" tags.... 

Did you spot the nine pieces? Would  you like to suggest some titles?  And I repeated the exercise before putting back the 9 scraps of paper, so these are different items. 

Hope you will try this exercise -  it is lots of  fun and anything goes ... in nine different ways!  While I have done this using a tag as a background, you can use any size background or paper. 
Thank you Collage Explorations for this idea.... check out Peggy's  creations on Instagram ! 

Monday, April 27, 2020

The 100 Day Project - Do you draw first?

"Do you draw first?" - I am often asked this question about my works which are collaged and machine stitched, like these from #The100DayProject.  In the last post, I shared a drawing  and the resulting stitched work. (left below) The simple answer to the question is 'yes' ....but ...
I can't claim that  these are drawings - they are more like 30 second sketches.  In the top photo, you can see that I have photographed  a scene from my front verandah and I also sketched it very quickly and not accurately , blocking in shapes with multi directional lines. Then the drawing has been scaled to fit my preferred size for a wearable art pin - I also took some artistic licence and omitted the house. Sometimes I work directly from the photo doing a similar thing - adding and subtracting elements for the sake of the design. 

 And here is the stitched interpretation of the sketch.... 

Day 21 #100pinpoems 
"Morning mist softens 
Loud kookaburras laughing... 
Light refreshing rain."           
Materials; cotton fabrics, silk organza, threads safety pin. Techniques: collage and stitching. 

The two previous days are stitched from photos. 

 Day 19: Anzac Day 
"Lest we Forget" 
Materials: recycled fabric scraps, thread, safety pin. 
Techniques: collage, stitching 

Day 20 
"A change of seasons
Sprawling garden trees are trimmed 
Hopeful bare branches." 
Materials: cyanotype fabric fragment, thread, safety pin. Techniques: printing, stitching. 

Please note: From today, I will be posting about  #The100DayProject once a week.... I am finding it quite time consuming posting about the project on other social media daily as well as here three times a week. To follow my daily progress , follow my unique hash tag #100pinpoems ... on Instagram  or on Facebook 
Thank you. 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

The 100 Day Project Machine Stitching Diversion

Details of 17 &18 #100pinpoems

Days 17 and 18 of #The100DayProject , I decided to stitch the wearable  pins rather than collage them with paper and/or fabric.  I diverted a little from my original plan for the 100 days.... I free machine embroidered them on my sewing machine - a very simple, quick and easy technique of drawing with thread. The technique involves moving the fabric from side to side or up and down,  while the machine is stitching ( with the feed dogs lowered). While the needle and thread are making the marks on the cloth, it is the control of the movement which ensures the marks go where you want them to. You don't need a fancy machine - just straight stitch and a bit of practice. 
   Sometimes, I work from a photo I've taken but I have also been making very quick sketches and working from them.  They are only a guide to follow, so are not meant to be accurate or artistic. 
Sketch for 18 #100pinpoems 

Day 18 
'In eerie silence, 
Mounds of cut grass are bold guards- 
Abandoned playground. " 
Materials: cotton fabric, sewing thread, safety pin 
Technique: Free machine stitching/embroidery.

Day 17 In celebration of World Earth Day 
" While humans retreat, 
The world's renewal begins, 
Celebrate the Earth." 
Materials: calico, sewing thread, safety pin 
Technique: Free machine stitching/embroidery. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The 100 Day Project - going back, going forward

As #The100Day project enters its third week, it's time to do a little re-assessing.... the coordinators of the project keep in touch throughout and we are given prompts along the way to encourage us all to keep going. Today's newsletter asked us to ask ourselves these questions ... and my answers are in red.
  • What’s getting you energized lately?  Finishing & posting by 6pm every day, 
  • What are you learning?  To let go and not overthink the process. 
  • What do you do when you don’t feel like doing your project? Just do it. 
  • How are you measuring progress? Blogging 
  • What’s working, and what’s not? Setting a time limit- and keep to it! 
And here are my latest two #100pinpoems 

 Day 15 was easy . When I woke up, there was a discussion on ABC radio about tea on British National Tea Day....   and the usual questions... 
"Debating again
Pot or bag, milk first or last? 
National Tea Day." 
Materials: fabric , tea bags, threads, safety pin. 
Techniques: paper fusion, collage, stitching. 

Today (Day 16) , it was a beautiful warm Autumn day, and the sky was a clear blue and then all of a sudden while I was walking a  large clattering of cockatoos flew overhead filling the sky 
"White flares in the sky ,  
Screeching invades the stillness. 
Crested cockatoos."
As we are reflecting and re-assessing today, I thought you might like to revisit Days 15 and 16 of my project last year for #The100DayProject. 


Monday, April 20, 2020

The 100 Day Project - Cool Colours

Cool colours 
As I proceed with #The100DayProject, I often notice that I have a preference for certain colours in a sequence of a few days.   The last three days have certainly been cool colour days.  Cool colours include green, blue, and purple, are often more subdued than warm colours ( the red/organge/yellow palette). Cool colours are reminiscent of night, of water, of nature, and are usually calming, relaxing, and somewhat reserved.
I am not sure if there is any hidden meaning here - perhaps I am now relaxing into the COVID social isolation restrictions and the slower pace of life? 


Day 14: 
Stepping quietly,
Too loud an interruption 
Startled magpies fly. 
Materials: paper, fabric, thread, paint, safety pin 
Techniques: painting, stitching, collage. 

Shy flower faces
Spreading soft gentle colour
Native violets 
Materials: cloth, upcycled doily fragment, thread, safety pin 
Techniques: dyeing, stitching, collage. 

Day 12: 
Walking local paths
Nature's marvels are revealed
Green seed pods hanging. 
Materials : paper, fabric, paint, thread, safety pin 
Techniques: paining, stitching collage. 

And now Week 3 begins... if you would like to see  my other wearable pins in this series, follow the hastag #100pinpoems on Instagram or look for the other blog posts tagged with the same label. 

Gold and Silver Trees

Signing in late for the fortnightly challenge "Gold and Silver" for Tag Tuesday..... 
This tag is created from a cyanotype* print of a photograph I took a couple of years ago of winter trees in our neighbourhood, with a circular mask. The stitching - couching- is done in gold and silver threads.

*Note: Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. Engineers used the process well into the 20th century as a simple and low-cost process to produce copies of drawings, referred to as blueprints. T

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The 100 Day Project - Capturing Moments in Time

Today , Day 11 of #The100Day Project is International Haiku Poetry Day... What is haiku? 
Haiku is a type of short poetry that is usually three sentences long. First popularized in Japan in the 17th century, Haiku as a poetry genre has been adopted by many languages around the world. In English, the genre first became mainstream in the early 20th century. In its Japanese avatar, haikus traditionally have three lines with 17 syllables. The first and last sentences have 5 syllables and the second line has 7 syllables. Haiku tend to give an interesting insight about something trivial, usually some aspect of nature or the seasons. from

11/#100pinpoems Materials : paper, fabric, thread, safety pin 
Techniques: Collage, stitching, painting  

Having decided to complete my 100 day Project by each day writing a haiku (or at least a pseudo haiku) and create an accompanying wearable pin , today  should be  a special event in the project. However,  I always find the first 10 days the most difficult until I get into the swing of things.  This year, I think I started to settle after the first week, but for some reason, today was really difficult to think of something, so I wrote a haiku about writing haiku 
"Writing modest poems, 
My thought unravel slowly
Moments re-defined." 

Yesterday, my wearable pin and poem celebrated the most simple - a cup  of tea.. It happened simply because of a "red" challenge - to draw something red, and I  chose my red mug  at breakfast time (even though I ended up drawing a little lantern).  

"Banishing blue moods
A bright red cup and hot tea 
Transient blessings."  

10/#100pin poems Materials : fabric, thread, safety pin
Techniques : collage, machine stitching free form embroidery. 
To see all of  the days in my 100 Day Project, Instagram #100pinpoems @empress.wu.designs 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The 100 Day Project - Leafy Inspiration

Over the last two days, inspiration for #The100DayProject has come from my garden.... Today, 9/#100pinpoems celebrates the weeds! 
"In April sunshine, 
Dandelions multiply- 
Yellow extroverts " 
Materials : cotton fabrics, thread and safety pin. 
Techniques: Fabric collage and  machine stitching. 
The leaves of our grevillea , Robyn Gordon, have a beautiful deep colour in the afternoon and although not really blue, I really love the colour combinations of this piece of disperse dyeing. 
8/#100pin poems 

The colours are replicated in 8/#100pinpoems 
"In the fading light, 
Grevillea leaves darken 
Like evening shadows. " 
Materials: polyester and cotton fabrics, thread, disperse dyes, and safety pin 
Techniques: Dyeing and stitching. 
I really did like the colours in this dyed piece of fabric, so I couldn't help myself- I played around with them in a photo editing program and enjoyed creating some images which may turn into other textile art works. ? 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

LOST - An Art Dolls Only Challenge

Enjoy these two minutes of amazing art dolls created  by artists world wide in response to the theme LOST ...  (Tip: This looks much better on a full screen if you able to view in this mode .)  

The 100 Day Project - Pink with Nature

7/ #100pinpoems 

Today was Day 7 #The100DayProject ....  You may remember that I have undertaken to make 100 wearable pins with coloured safety pins and an accompanying haiku or at least a pseudo haiku with three lines and a 5-6-5 syllable structure. 
No. 7 was "in the pink" . This one came about  because my granddaughter and I are having a daily challenge from afar... the challenge today was to wear something pink and do something with our hands or feet. We then swap photos of each other  ( see left) - a diversion from social isolation and school holidays. 
No 7 : Materials : paper, fabric, buttons, threads,  safety pin. 
Techniques: collage, stitching. 
No. 6 was in response to the beautiful day we experienced on Sunday, yesterday - clear blue skies and warm sunshine. I took a photo in the morning as I was drinking tea on the verandah and the clear rays of the sun in the photo became stitch lines on the little wearable pin. 
Materials: fabric - cotton, cheescloth, organza, threads  and safety pin 
Techniques: collage , stitching. 
Inspiration photo 6/#100pinpoems 

Stitching down the collaged fabric 6#100pinpoems
Background fabric 6//100pinpoems 

View from the back 6/#100pinpoems
Seeing a magpie on the front lawn isn't really much to get excited about, but it became the subject of No.5 This one is a small fabric collage, with machine and hand stitching - the outline of the bird was added last with simple back stitch 
Materials: fabric,  threads, safety pin. 
Techniques: collage, stitching .

Next update on #The100Day Project will be on Wednesday.... watch this space.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Egg and Hare

Eggs and hares were symbols of fertility and a new beginning in spring. Since time immemorial, eggs have been associated with world or universe by many cultures. So, it is not surprising that eggs for hundreds of years have been used for rituals, decorated and were hung in temples in Babylonian time. They dyed, painted, decorated, and then used egg as a symbol for spring festival since eggs represent new life and a new dawn. When Christianity spread out across the world, egg becomes a symbol of man’s rebirth rather than nature or spring. Christians symbolize the egg to Jesus Christ tomb from which he broke forth and rose again. Likewise, they painted the egg with red to symbolize the blood of Christ, and every year the decoration becomes elaborate and colourful. Today, Easter eggs decorated with myriad of colours to make it more fun to look at, and children  can better understand their importance to the celebration of Easter. 
From Ten Easter symbols and Their Meaning  

Happy Easter! 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

The 100 Day Project #3 & #4

Days 3 and 4 #The100DayProject #100pinpoems

My pin poem for day 2 was rather dark and I heard that my granddaughter was finding self isolation and schooling from home was a bit difficult last week. #3 then became an affirmation, far from a traditional haiku but still with the  3 line formation with 5-7-5 syllables. 
Be like a princess
Wear your invisible crown 
Love the self you are. 
The pin is a machine embroidered one - free form. This is done fairly quickly, directly onto the fabric. As you can see from the photo above, I use a "darning"  or "embroidery" foot , with straight stitch, and the sewing machine feed dogs lowered. For this kind of small exercise, I put the fabric into a hoop and I usually do a warm up before tackling the "real" work. I think the main tip with this sort of machine stitch 'drawing' is to always remember to keep the fabric moving and foot on the pedal. 

For Day 4, I made a small collage depicting the super moon of the last few nights. I started with an amateurish photo ....
 I am often asked how to start a collage.... I always start with a photo or a drawing for reference. Then ...choosing materials - fabric and/or paper. I usually sit the materials around me and "rehearse" them together, in different combinations, checking for good contrasts, complementary colours, textures and weight. 
 For this collage, I used very little variety of material, a dark blue, painted paper, organza and snippets from an organza ribbon After laying out the fabrics, I did some machine stitching as well as a few stitches by hand around the moon. 
'Super Moon aglow 
Dismisses cloudy darkness
New day beginning . '
And if you hadn't already seen #1 and #2

Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Winter Book

It is not a secret that I like making art with recycled materials, especially paper - newspaper, brown paper and tea bags especially. The Winter Book is a project that started when I  made the cover a few years ago - flowers past their prime , made of  torn newspaper and tea bags. I really enjoyed the approach - in a workshop we were given a piece of newspaper and were told to create something 3D out of it. I liked the spontaneity of this exercise and the "imperfect" results which seemed to have a beauty all of their own. And then, after deciding to make a Winter book , I lost interest in the concept after a few pages .... it sat in the unfinished pile for a long time, but I still liked the cover and the few pages I'd started. Every now and then, I added something to the book. Last week, I filled in two last remaining pages and here it is.... 

 "Winter plays a tune of isolation and darkness, 
and curls up inside you only to challenge you 
to warm with generosity,
 to walk with light,
 to dance with sunshine and 
to laugh at the cold."  

Wilma Simmons 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The 100 Day Project: the beginning

Each day for 100 days, I will try to create a small wearable pin, with a coloured safety pin, and add a haiku to reflect the day's feelings, observations or experiences.

This project began with the idea of using supplies I already had at home and in the quantity to create something for 100 days... so I found 100 coloured safety pins and I have an even larger supply of the luggage tags as I could only purchase them years ago in lots of 500. 
I wanted to make something that perhaps could be gifted to friends and family , so as "brooches" have also been on my mind, I thought of "wearable pins." The addition of  the little three lined poem, a haiku, was just an idea to fill the space on the tag! I decided on haiku because of the simplicity of its  three lines and 5-7-5 syllables formation and the recording of a "moment". Well, I did think it was simple until I tried the first, and found myself counting the syllables over and over again for each line - not as easy as I first thought.However, in this blog, I thought I would share some brief details on each of the 100 pin poems. 
 Day 1 : 
Flashes of loud red
Promise a lunar new year
Now, deathly quiet. 
Materials: paper, fabric, threads, safety pin, luggage tag. 
Techniques: collage, hand stitching, tassel. 

Day 2 : 
Inside he's alone
Outside a single leaf falls 
Autumn memory
Materials: paper, thread, fabric, coloured pencil, safety pin, luggage tag. 
Techniques: photo transfer, machine stitching, stamping and colouring.  

Hope you will join me on  #The100DayProject  here on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays or daily on  Facebook  or  Instagram 

Monday, April 6, 2020

The 100 Day Project - tomorrow

Ready to get creative? Join the global community participating in 7th annual #The100Day Project . This project is a free art project that takes place online. Every year, thousands of people all around the world  commit to 100 days of creativity. Anyone can join. The idea is simple, choose an art project, do it every day and share the process on Instagram with the hashtag#The100DayProject or join the private Facebook group. 

Here's a hint of what I'll be doing... I have 100 coloured safety pins and one hundred tags.... can you guess? 

 Three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday,  I will be posting my progress here on this blog with explanations of the techniques or  you can follow my project on my Instagram or  Facebook page