Finding Connections While Experimenting with New Mediums

Experimenting with and immersing yourself in a new medium is always fun. For years I was cutting up dishes and making my way through learning the “how to” of mosaic. That lead from making some crazy wall pieces full of ornaments and pattern, to doing more and more work, in an abstract way, playing with the basics of colour and texture. I’d say the surfaces of mosaic still attract me, the glinting of china in the sun, against the dull grout acting as a foil.

"Speckle and Stripe" ,mosaic, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

While still creating mosaic in a more abstract vein, I was also messing about with bits and pieces of stained glass and creating some abstract and colorful compositions with that. To say I loved the colours in the stained glass would be an understatement. I’m like a kid faced with “Allsorts “candies! And the layers I could make, colour over colour and best of all, the effect of the sun shining through!

"Momentum", stained glass composition by Helen Bushell,  summerhouseart.com

Alongside these experimental works I was also creating with paper and collage, mixing it up with papers and texture that I’d created into, again, abstract comps. Paper collage has so many possibilities, so many surfaces and colours, movement of shape and line.

"Moving Parts" collage by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

And now, with fabric, I’m finding that there is a bit of a correlation with all that I’m doing. Each set of materials presents it’s own learning curve and challenges. And I’ll admit to doing a bit more swearing while sewing. Me and machines, well, there is need for patience, I’m finding. But, the results and excitement of mixing up patterns, textures, lines and most of all colour, in fabric… well let’s just say I’m having fun but it has been a challenge.

Colourband, fabric collage, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

And I’m liking the sense of seeing that all my work somehow relates, whether in broken dishes, stained glass or paper and now fabric. So, today along with a few examples of my other forays into other mediums, I’m sharing a few new fabric collages. As with all the other mediums, often it’s finding a pattern or texture on a dish or glass or paper and now fabric, that leads to a composition.

Squares and Stripes, fabric collage, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

With these, it was finding fabric with some lovely exciting stripes. I’m a sucker for stripes.

Red Rocket, fabric collage, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

And then of course, colour. Colour is my talisman, and also the thing that attracts me every time. Like a hummingbird to a red flower. Each medium has it’s own qualities and permissions. Glass allows movement and space without having to think about how the grout will affect it all. Paper allows more texture than glass and more line. Then fabric, well, now I’m exploring creating line with thread, texture with layers and applique. More to come! But nothing abandoned. I’ll still create with mosaics, glass, paper collage and now fabric. Just more to add to the pot.

2 Turquoise Circles, fabric collage, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
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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”

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A Foray into Fabric Design

A while ago I created a mosaic from broken dishes, in a few of my favourite colours and patterns, all the pieces were Triangles.

Mosaic in Broken Dishes, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Now we are a couple who do NOT just sit around doing only things we already know how to do.  Oh no!  We sit around in front of youtube and watch tutorials on things like creating seamless patterns for fabric design.  And eventually we’ll manage to make a lot of designs, because it’s kind of fun.  Zazzle, which is a great Print on Demand company, happen to have fabric by the yard in Print on Demand.

So, after much work and learning, we created a seamless pattern based on the above mosaic.  We are rather pleased with the result. We called it Triangle Treat.  We’re offering it by the yard, in Combed Cotton, and you can also order Swatches and Fat Quarters of it for the Quilters.

Triangle Treat fabric, close up, Zazzle, Summerhouse Art
Triangle Treat fabric, close up, Zazzle, Summerhouse Art

Triangle Treat Fabric, on Zazzle, SummerhouseArt

BTW, it’s really worth it to check out Zazzle and get on their email list because they are constantly having sales. Check out a little sample of what we have on Zazzle in our Zazzle shop page, where you can click directly to the shop itself.

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A Couple of Mosaic Studies Transformed

Triangle Treat-mosaic-prints by Summerhouseart on Society 6
To see this product on Society 6 just click the image

My last post was about a couple of rather colorful mosaic studies made with broken dishes, one in small squares and the other in triangular shapes. These days we look at everything we do and wonder where else we can take that design. With all the print on demand opportunities you have a huge number of products you can put that artwork on.

We’ve both become interested in fabric and surface design and have been teaching ourselves how to take an idea and make it an all over pattern. So the mosaics presented an opportunity for experimentation. It was one thing to just take the original and make a print of it. Which I think worked out rather nicely…

Square On mosaic-prints by Summerhouseart on Society 6
Click the image to go to Society 6

But to create more with it, especially to create an all over pattern required days and days of trying things out, experimenting, and repeated trips to youtube tutorials as we refreshed our memories on the steps to take. Then back to Photoshop and Illustrator.

The triangles were actually quite successful as an all over design. We took out the grout digitally, of course, and basically blew the triangles further apart, did a bit of rearranging and created a quite seamless surface pattern with it. It looked quite wonderful on some of the Society 6 products like leggings

Triangle Treat-mosaic-leggings by Summerhouse Art
see this on Society 6 by clicking the image

or a phone case…

Triangle Treat-mosaic-cases by Summerhouseart on Society 6
click the image to see this on our shop on Society 6

and even entire comforters.

Triangle Treat-mosaic-comforters by Summerhouse Art
click the image to see this on our shop on Society 6

In fact, in the future we may even venture into fabric design with it.

The squares were a bit more difficult and in the end we decided to go with just more or less tiling the pattern, which is basically taking the square and repeating it over and over as it was. This too, looks quite good on a variety of products. Society 6 also allows you to scale the pattern so that you can have it larger on some things, like a tee

Square On-mosaic-all-over-print-shirts
click the image to see this on our shop on Society 6

or travel mug,

Square On-mosaic-metal-travel-mugs by Summerhouseart.com
click the image to see this on our shop on Society 6

or even smaller as an all over design on a duvet,

Triangle Treat-mosaic-leggings by Summerhouse Art
click the image to see this on our shop on Society 6

or a rug or shower curtain. But we’re not done yet and are coming up with even more products on other sites. We’ll have those up soon. It’s proving to be fun and challenging all at the same time. What more can you ask?

(BTW, if you’d like to make a comment, just click on the title.  It’ll take you to comments….and we do appreciate comments )

 

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Two Mosaic Studies Created With Broken Dishes

 Studies are like sketches or perhaps experiments. I quite like the idea of doing studies, just to see where an idea will lead, curious to see what it will look like when done.

Just working on small 6 inch by 6 inch pieces of wood as a base for the mosaic studies, I went through my many many containers of dish bits and put together a small set of colors and textures that appealed to me. The first piece was made using bits of dishes that I’d cut into only rectangular or squarish bits. The pieces aren’t exact or tidy rectangles or squares like you’d get with normal mosaics, but the uneven, variances that you get when cutting up dishes which I think adds to the surface interest.

I arranged them in an intuitive order, balancing the colors and textures as I went.

Mosaic in Broken Dishes, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Then, looking at my work table, I realized I had quite a few triangular pieces scattered about and decided that, as my next study, I would use only triangular bits of the same dishes. An entirely different composition but still fun to look at.

Mosaic in Broken Dishes, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Looking at them now, I’m quite enjoying them and seeing many possibilities as well. We’ve become interested in surface design in the last few years and Will and I have been having a bit of fun teaching ourselves how to make repeat patterns. And we’ve also been applying our work to all sorts of other products from prints to pillows on our various online Print on Demand shops like Society 6 and Red Bubble. Looking at these studies, I can see some fabric design ideas, prints and other possibilities. It’s a whole new avenue to explore. Watch this space to see what we make with these…..much more to come.

(BTW, if you’d like to make a comment, just click on the title.  It’ll take you to comments….and we do appreciate comments )

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