Blog

On the Value of Making Mistakes

Before I got my fancy new sewing machine with the capacity for doing free motion sewing, I’d already decided to try fabric collage. This is my first attempt, on my old machine, with just the ability to zig zag and sew in only slightly curving lines. Lots of colour and a bit of movement. I used some great material I found in Hawaii.

"Hawaii" Free Motion Fabric Collage by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

When you are learning something new you have to be willing create something that is not perfect. Well, actually, I think perfection is over-rated anyway. In fact, most artists make use of “mistakes” and find a way to use them in the composition. So, when I decided to teach myself how to do free motion sewing, I was ready for “mistakes” and jumped right in to practice making lots of “mistakes”.

free motion thread side 1, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

I think free motion sewing was actually meant to be used to make very controlled quilting lines on large quilts. In fact, I’m a great user of internet tutorials and most of them are really into making very controlled patterns, with no variations or “mistakes”. Of course, like many artists, I’m sort of in the camp of just using scribbly lines and being loose and free with it all, more of an “abstract random” you could say. I must admit, I do like some of the effects that “mistakes” like bad tension and random movements can make. I may use these somewhere, someday. Quite like them.

free motion thread side 2, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Anyway, here is one of my first attempts at free motion collage. Trying hard to get in lots of spiral, circular and scribble-y lines.

Free Motion Fabric collage by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Even the back is kind of interesting to me, with just the thread lines….

Free Free Motion Fabric collage underside threads, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Share

Meanderings in Creativity

I haven’t posted much on our blog for quite some time. My excuse is that I had to find out how to use the new blog editor on the website, and wouldn’t you know, it really wasn’t that difficult, once I finally , finally stopped procrastinating and dived in. Don’t you just love those youtube tutorials? Not posting doesn’t mean I haven’t been up to something in the meantime. No really.

If you check out my Pinterest boards, you’ll find I’m a great fan of Pinterest. Lots of boards and pins. I love it because I can visually bookmark things I find on the net and very often I also discover things that I may never have found any other way. So, I have been meandering and poking about in new areas of media to use.

I’ve always been quite interested in collage and have posted a bit of my paper collage work in the past. But, I’ve also done a bit of quilting and sewing in the past too and have quite a few bags of fabric stashed in various closets. Most of my fabric is in the form of old shirts I find at Thrift stores, a really thrifty way of collecting fabric for projects, by the way. One of my discoveries on Pinterest was “free motion sewing”. Now that’s a cool “rabbit hole” to wander down. I have discovered that you can actually, on some machines, put the “feed dogs” down and draw with thread. Too cool for an artist….so I treated myself to a sewing machine that has that ability. It’s not too fancy, not got all the bells and whistles that the expensive computerized machines have, but it has just enough to have some fun and hey, why not?

One of my first forays into free motion was creating jewelry with fabric. It started in the form of making a couple of cuffs from some lovely shiny bits and pieces in sort of a Boho style. The first one shown here, is just as I was piecing together the bits and stitching them in place… And the second image below shows it as finished piece.

Floral Fabric Collage Cuff by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Floral Fabric Collage Cuff by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

The next was a bit more jazzy and abstract, with bits of gold netting and lovely jewel tones again. I had a bit of fun playing with the zig zag on both as well.

Abstract Fabric Collage Cuff by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

My next attempt was a necklace and cuff on beach theme. Most of the fabric came from a thrifty find of a men’s shirt with a Japanese fishing theme. The button on the cuff and the little dangling jewels on the necklace are actually little bits of beach pottery that we found on the beach in Sidney. A big thanks to Will for drilling holes in these little fiddly bits pottery for me. And did I mention he also created the driftwood hanger and the cording too?

"Beach" Free Motion Fabric collage Cuff and Necklace by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Still meandering and having fun, I then wandered off into taking my paper collage investigations and applying them to creating collage with fabric instead. That’s coming up next….

Share

Some New Products in our Society6 shop

We have three POD or Print on Demand shops online. For those of you who’ve never heard of POD, it’s basically taking the technology of printing into the 21st Century. It used to be that if you wanted to create a print of a painting for instance, you had to, for cost effectiveness, get it printed in the 100’s or 1000’s and then hope you could sell them. But today, with printing technology it’s possible to just print one at a time and even better, just as it’s ordered. Hence Print On Demand or POD. Very cool. We have POD shops on Society 6, Zazzle and Red Bubble.

It’s something that has been kind of fun and interesting for us. Fun in that you can take a design, artwork, mosaic, photo or collage, and apply it to all sorts of “products”. And there really are ALL sorts! You start with the usual things like art prints, and posters to really fun things that you didn’t really think of seeing your artwork on….like shower curtains, pillows and curtains and even lampshades and runners! BTW just click on the photos to go to the Society6 Summerhouseart shop

And you never know just what these companies are going to come up with next to showcase design and art … like these credenzas

The credenzas have a shelf inside, have a choice of wood, a choice of legs and come flat packed for shipping.

Triange Treat Credenza by Summerhouse Art on Society 6
Blue and Orange Credenza by Summerhouse Art on Society 6

They recently added curtains which you can order in either black out….

Triangle Treat Credenza by Summerhouse Art on Society 6
Moving Parts black out curtain by Summerhouse Art on Society 6

or transparent….

Moving Parts Sheer curtain by Summerhouse Art on Society 6

Trust us, these are just a small sampling of what is on offer from our Society6 shop. Enjoy!

Share

New Mosaic Class hours now available!

Student Jude, with her lovely mosaic mirror, summerhouseart.com
Student Jude, with her lovely mosaic mirror, summerhouseart.com

 

Usually, when I offer my Fall/Winter classes, I’ve had to limit my available hours to weekday mornings.   I’m happy to announce that due to some changes I’m able to offer more choices.  So you can now  book a weekly class either in the morning from 10am-12:30, or an afternoon from 1:30-4pm or an evening class from 6:30-9pm.   Just call or email to see if the time and week day you’d like  is available, and we’ll go from there.

The class would be 2.5 hours per week over 4 weeks.  Lots of time, lots of one on one instruction and a chance to create a project of your own design, something unique to you.  Have a look at my Mosaic Class page and also the FAQ page for all the details.

Student Jane, cleaning grout on her mosaic, summerhouseart.com
Student Jane, cleaning grout on her mosaic, summerhouseart.com
Student Irina, cleaning grout, summerhouseart.com
Student Irina cleaning grout for a lovely finished mirror
Share

A Little Gif of a Small Mosaic Pot

Another pot that hasn’t been seen on the blog before.  The thing with pots is that you can’t see all the sides at once, so we thought, why not show it as a gif so it turns?

This one is set on a fancy little stand I found in Chinatown here in Victoria which just happened to fit it perfectly and add to it’s look.  It’s made from a selection of thrift store dishes.  It’s a small pot,  just 5.5 inches by 7 inches or approximately 14 cm by 17.75cm.

Small mosaic pot on stand by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Share

All Sides of a Mosaic Umbrella Stand

I realized the other day, that there are quite a few mosaics that have never made it to the blog. Ones I like but have never gotten around to photographing. I’m trying to remember when I actually made this umbrella stand. Years and years ago. It spends it’s time in the front hall, bristling with umbrellas, canes, long handled shoe horns, and in direct site of the couch so I see everyday and I still enjoy looking at it. That’s the thing about mosaic, it’s like eye candy, always something to look at.  Watch the cup handle as it turns from pic to pic.

Mosaic Umbrella Stand, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.comMosaic Umbrella Stand, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com Continue reading “All Sides of a Mosaic Umbrella Stand”

Share

Bobbi’s Romantic Floral Mosaic Table

Mosaic Student Bobbi's table, summerhouseart.com

In my mosaic classes I teach Pique Assiette Mosaic, which is a type of mosaic made from broken dishes. This romantic floral table is the creation of my latest mosaic student, Bobbi. Most of the dishes were found in the “Shopping Class” where we poke through thrift shops looking for good dishes to break. By the second class we had a good start on a design. But before the 3rd Class, Bobbi had discovered while out shopping, a lovely little plate with a floral design that just begged to be featured as a focal point in the center of the table. The only problem was, she needed something to outline that focal point to set it off. A rummage through my stash of dish fragments presented a perfect dish, a pale green dish with embossed flowers, that I’d forgotten I even had! Continue reading “Bobbi’s Romantic Floral Mosaic Table”

Share

“Migration” a new Paper collage

"Migration" paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Will often helps me come up with titles for work. To him, it felt like the red pieces were moving or migrating, even.  Hence, the title.  I’m playing with creating framing within the composition.  And I’ve been saving the little blue crosses on my correspondence from Blue Cross and like them much better as little blue X’s. Sort of X marks the spot.

Share

“Sidecar”, new Paper Collage

"Sidecar", paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

This is a 6in Square paper collage, again using double sided adhesive.  All the papers are created or found.  The speckle is a favourite, the security inside of envelopes in the post.  And that little orange bit in the middle, that is actually a series of numbers with the edges muddied in photoshop and then colored.  Most of the colors come courtesy of junk mail, proving again that artists see a use in junk.  I’m quite happy with the over-the-top color.

Share

“Northern Arrangement” another paper collage

 

"Northern Arrangement", paper collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Another little,  6 inches square, paper collage.  It sort of feels cool in contrast to those hot red x’s, so I called it Northern Arrangement.  Also done with double sided adhesive and a variety of created papers.

Share