Playing with Stitches and Scraps

I’m one of those people who keeps little bits and pieces, scraps that anyone else would probably toss. In each of these three compositions, there is a little scrap of dark periwinkle silk, which originally was the frayed and torn end of a favourite scarf that I mended. When I put them aside, I hadn’t even thought of making fabric collage. Hadn’t even heard of it yet.

Fabric collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

The other materials are just me snapping up scraps of remnants in colours that attract me, found at garage sales and thrifting. The orange and violet and purple just wanted to be arranged together. It doesn’t really show here, but except for the turquoise, it’s all very silky and sensual material.

Fabric collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Those little scraps of turquoise are the best bits of a really old cotton square scarf. I think I used to wear it when I was painting walls in the house. Just love that texture in the black and turquoise.

Fabric collage, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

So here they are, three new abstract collages. All about 8inches by 10 inches or 20 x 25 cm aprox. I’m quite liking working on a set of three at a time, using the same set of scraps and pushing them around until it feels right. And the stitching, well, that’s pretty well intuitive, as well, just letting it happen. And this was before I discovered “couching” cord into a design. That’s coming up next. So MUCH to learn yet. And I’m still pondering how to present them.

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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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How I arted up a Garden Gnome

Ok, I admit it.  I bought a garden gnome at a garage sale last summer.  Will shook his head, he could not believe I actually paid for it and brought it home.  It was, I must also admit, really awful.  Made out of resin which had cracked, the paint job on it was an attempt to repair a fading mess.  It was dirty and covered in pine needles.  And then it sat on our deck all winter because, although I meant to repaint, it I hadn’t decided quite how….yet.    Until today, when it all clicked, out of the blue or pink as you can see.

gnome-landscape

OK, I also admit that this inspired paint job was not without a bit of inspiration from another artist.    One in Italy, of all places, with a web site called The Good Machinery,  that I happened to see and of course, Pin, on Pinterest.  And what this artist did with little plastic toys was, I thought, pure genius.   Well I thought so…..

So here it is,  my garden gnome, inspired by,  but after all, totally reinvented and refurbished by me.  And it was fun too.  He did need something to hold and in another inspired moment, I fitted him with a solar garden light.  I think he’s going to fit right in.

gnome-close-up

 

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Amaryllis Blooms – So Beautiful From Start to Faded Finish

Every Christmas I’ve always indulged in growing an amaryllis bulb. Sometimes I’ve been lucky with old bulbs sending up new flowers but this year,  all I saw coming up was leaves and more leaves. So, when I spied a lovely plant already in bud in the grocery store, on sale, I swept it up with the groceries and carefully hauled it home.

fresh-from-above

And it was so lovely! And quite prolific! All in all, eight blooms in a most luscious, gorgeous scarlet.

fresh-close-up

But the show was not over, for a couple of artists, when the blooms began to fade.

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The lines and furls of it’s spent blossoms were quite gorgeous too.

And when they fell off I carefully transferred those beautiful spent blooms to the window sill to keep company with a very old Hydrangea bloom, a collection of Buddha ornaments and some blue and white pottery. Very nice company indeed.

 

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International Color Day! Who Knew??

 

brollieswm

How wonderful! There is an International Colour Day! Apparently proposed in 2008 by president of the Portuguese Colour Association, Maria Joao Durao, to the International Colour Association.

Thank you Maria!

I love color, can’t get enough of it! Almost, no definitely, more than chocolate, which runs a close second. Anyway, who knew? I only found out today! And it just so happens that I, as a colour nut, a color aficionado, a colour fan, have been taking and collecting colourful photos for ages.

I could have done a garden of color. But no, as an artist,  I see colour everywhere, and capture it for later enjoyment. Like chocolate. My eyes are attracted to colour in odd places like fire hydrants surrounded by bright yellow poles, to boxes of curtain rings found at a garage sale. Even a fan in my studio. Then there are things like wind socks, unique and colorful cars, even sewer covers. I could own these cars! Well the list goes on.

So, without further ado… colour from a color addicted artist’s point of view.  Enjoy.  Please.

 

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yellow&bluechairswm

 

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blue-fanwm

 

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box-of-lureswm

 

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