Preparing For The “C” Word A Little Earlier This Year.

I’m preparing early for Christmas in these uncertain times and I suspect many people will be doing the same this year.

At the time of writing this blog post I have filled my shop with over 200 items, most of these are suitable for gifting. I hope to encourage my customers to shop early as I’ve decided I won’t be making any more stock before Christmas, so when it’s gone it’s gone.

I am happy to reserve items for customers, and also I will post direct to the recipient maybe adding a note from you, just add a message when you order. I hope this will take some of the stress out of Christmas shopping this year. So let’s see what’s available.

I have some gorgeous hygge hanging ceramic hearts with raku glaze, each one is different. These are lovely small gifts and will be well packaged to post through a letterbox, they are like a little hug to let someone know you love them. I think they will also look great on the Christmas tree where they should sparkle in the light.

I have hanging moon gazing hares, these wall hangings are raku glazed and each one is different, they feature a hare gazing up at the phases of the moon.

I have also added some of the ever popular hosta leaf ikebana bowls, a great gift for those who love their gardens or flower arranging. I love using mine, just a couple of flowers and some foliage or twigs from the garden makes a lovely arrangement.

Hosta leaf soap dishes and ring trays.

I have a stocked up on items such as bottle dishes, eco prints and silk scarves which are always popular as gifts, and there’s a lot more besides.

I’m taking a little break from making to pursue some painting but I will tell you about that another time.

Framing up Ecoprints.

This week my frames arrived so finally I got to photograph the ecoprints in a frame. I especially like these dark wood effect frames with the tones in the ecoprints.

Ecoprint pictures from real leaves and flowers

I hope you like them, if you would like to know more about my eco printing / botanical printing process just type in the search box.

Botanical art eco prints on paper ,framed or unframed, natural art
Nature art, leaf pictures made from real leaves, ecoprints on paper. Eco art.

Before I go I thought I’d tell you my kiln is on today, it’s a glaze firing so there will be ikebana bowls, incense leaves and soap dishes to come next week. see you later.

Botanical Prints – Holding On To Summer.

The swallows left last weekend and we had a ground frost yesterday. This week I decided to hold onto what’s left of summer, enjoying the odd sunny day in the garden collecting leaves to print as a constant reminder of sunny days.

Deciding to take my botanical prints onto another level I used some dyes along with the natural plant pigments and tannins from the leaves which produce the leaf prints.

Serendipity couldn’t have been kinder, I got some gorgeous colours, and even some yellow sunlight captured in a lot of  my prints, I wish I could say I planned this but I didn’t expect to get these gorgeous yellows, a constant ray of sunshine to hang on the wall.

Botanical art

Botanical art

Botanical art

Botanical artThese results were just perfect, expressing that particular day. I feel so connected to these prints, it’s the ritual of going out and looking at nature, picking, then layering up, printing and finally after what seems like a long wait unwrapping and seeing the results. It feels like capturing that moment in time. Consequently I could happily keep them all to myself but instead I will spread a little sunshine and just enjoy looking at them now while I mount them. There are quite a lot more botanical prints  to come, I’ve added some paper packs  for scrapbooking / journaling / card making to my shop too.

Soon I will get my head into Autumn mode, hopefully there will be a lot of good things to discover on my Autumn walks, it’s my favourite season. For now I will leave you with some scrummy botanical prints to enjoy.

These are individual prints with mounts  to fit a frame size 8 x 6 inches.

Botanical prints

These are framed, I did intend keeping these but I think I will add them to my shop so I will see if there’s a need to order more frames.

Ecoprint art

Some closeups, it’s hard to capture the detail and the colours when they are behind glass but I forgot to take photos I was so eager to see them framed.

Botanical artBotanical art

Art prints floralI hope you like them, I think I’m hooked on making these : )

 

Finding My Happy Place.

Now the days are getting shorter and the weather cooler I am spending less time outdoors, it’s time to tap into my creativity in order to find my ‘happy place’.

Thinking back to an art course that I took during lockdown called ‘Find Your Joy’ with Louise Fletcher I decided to do exactly that so I’ve spent the past few weeks  just going with the flow to find my happy place again.

I found ‘my joy’ when I turned to ecoprinting, bringing the outdoors indoors the connection with nature continues. I decided to make a pictorial memoir of the time spent in my garden during 2020 making a book of ecoprinted papers, something just for me. This started with a simple idea for a concertina book but the idea has grown into something on a grander scale with pockets to put things in,  I don’t know quite where this is going to end up but I am enjoying the journey.

This seems to be the correct path to be going down right now, I’ll let you into it as my little book evolves.

Here’s a video revealing the first set of prints for the concertina pages.

It’s Time To Ecoprint

It’s that time of year when I have a little flurry of ecoprinting activity before the leaves fall.  As you will have read in my last post, like a squirrel building a dray I’m collecting leaves when I’m out and about, I’m also using what’s in my garden.

Ecoprints on paper just need framing upI do love this time of year, foraging gives me great pleasure and the fact I can capture the emotions I’ve had when I’m out somewhere (also memories) gives me a lasting connection to a place.

I’m saving the leaves from my walk last week to print some linen when it arrives, meanwhile  I’ve gathered leaves in the garden to print on paper.

The first batch of ecoprints were ok but not as good as I hoped for.

The next batch were made on a different paper, I didn’t use a mordant, just a rusty pan and some vinegar in my water. I love the results.

As I printed on both sides of the paper it’s difficult to decide which one I like best. Which do you like, A or B ?

Ecoprints on paper just need framing up

Ecoprints on paper just need framing upMy cotinus did a great job, this plant never ceases to amaze me, I’ve never had blue prints before, or yellow green. Most of the time it prints a dark colour, often purple. So far this year it hasn’t printed with much colour so I was delighted when I got this pretty blue.

Ecoprints on paper just need framing up
I shall be printing using mordants this week so watch this space 🙂

Ecoprints on paper just need framing up

Ecoprints on paper just need framing up
Here’s just a few of this weeks prints, they are gradually making their way into my shop.
Ecoprints on paper just need framing up

Ecoprints on paper just need framing up

Ecoprints on paper just need framing up

A Restorative Walk In The Woods And Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian’s Wall, in a wonderful part of Northumberland was our destination yesterday.
Roman WallThis is Birdoswald Roman fort, below are the granaries. Above shows the remains of the Roman Wall, which you can see snaking across the countryside. I find it incredible that something this old remains, you can still see the tool marks made by the masons hand on the stone.

Birdoswald Roman fortThe views across Nothumberland are breathtaking, or that could have been the stiff breeze.

River IrthingYesterday  turned into one of those days of those days where plans go awry, instead of following a Roman road we decided to head off into the wood that you can see cloaking the river in the picture above.

Combcrag woodSome of the tees had faces.

Combcrag woodSome, like this red cedar were huge, and I wondered how it got to be there.
Combcrag wood

The path was steep in places, as we ventured down we started to get a glimpse of the river Irthing below.

Combcrag woodThis was truly a magical place to be.

Combcrag woodThis area was the site of a Roman quarry, and there’s Roman graffiti on the rocks although I didn’t know that while I was there.

Combcrag woodWe sat a while by the river, watching the dark amber peaty waters flowing by. Time stood still in this place.

There was a hint of Autumn in the air, berries, and signs of leaves changing colour already.  I gathered some from the path to ecoprint  at home. I love the connection this gives me to a place and time, which makes me very emotional.

Combcrag woodIt was a wonderful day out with such diversity to experience, the forest bathing  or shinrin yoku  as the Japanese call it was so restorative, I came home feeling refreshed and ready for some ecoprinting

Jam Making With A Glut Of Apples.

It’s been a strange year in many ways as we all know. Most of my crops started well and grew like Jack’s beanstalk in May with the lovely weather, then things turned very wet and windy and most of our vegetables failed to produce. The exception being our apples which thrived in the warm weather and swelled with all the rain.  So what do you do with a bumper crop of apples?

We eat them daily and I have stewed and frozen a lot. The blackberries ripened early so I had to rush out in a dry spell and pick what I could, unfortunately the wild bullace tree doesn’t have any fruit at all this year so no jam there.

I looked online for jam recipes using apples, I always make apple chutney and sometimes blackberry and apple jam, as we have so many apples this would be a great way of using them up. I found recipes for apple and raspberry jam  which I made using raspberries that were in my freezer.
Apple and raspberry jamApple and blackcurrant jam made using home grown blackcurrants which I froze as they ripened until I had enough to make something.
Jam making
Apple and ginger jam made using root ginger, I had accidentally ordered to much when shopping online.

Do you like my new jam pan? Well worth the money; I bought a digital thermometer as well having burnt marmalade to the base of my old jam making pot last year. When the thermometer reads 105 C the jam is ready to jar up.
Jam making
Apple and apricot jam as I had a bag of dried apricots in the cupboard.
Jam making
And of course apple and blackberry jam from my Gran’s old cookbook.
Jam makingI had to make some bread to sample my jams. 🙂
Homemade bread and jam made this morning 😊They tasted delicious, here we have apple and apricot and apple and raspberry.
Homemade bread and jam made this morning 😊
My task next week will be making some chutney.

Raku Love

I had a raku glaze firing this week and it reinforced my love for the raku process. What really gets me is no matter how many Raku firings I’ve done I always find something wonderful and unexpected, like each time is the first time.

I need new experiences in my craft and raku has a way of its own which fulfills that need. I do everything exactly the same as the previous time, same clay, same glaze, same temperature, same reduction bin process but results are rarely the same and there lies the wonderment and excitement for me.

So I  started thinking about what could be different if I look deeper, glaze thickness could vary, rate of heating, air temperature  when they come out of the kiln, combustible materials, temperature and  amount of oxygen in the reduction bin. 

Fish glazed the same way as 100’s before but this time some have a yellow green colours.Ceramic fishThere were a few new pieces too including cosmic hares and wrens. Ceramic decorationsAlso a few hearts and trinket dishes and pendants. Raku work from Kiln Fired Art
Raku work from Kiln Fired ArtAnd leaves of course. Raku work from Kiln Fired Art
Raku work from Kiln Fired ArtThese have all made their way into my Etsy shop Kiln Fired Art. If you would like to see little videos of how the colours change in the light ( you just can’t capture this in a photo) then follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

More Tie Dye with instructions.

More tie dye done this week, I needed some gym tops. My last tie dye post was so popular I thought I would give some more details on the process, there’s loads of how to’s on Youtube so I won’t go into too much detail. If you have any questions just ask.

I bought some 100% cotton T shirts from Amazon, I got Fruit Of The Loom XL this time as I want them baggy.

Firstly they were washed then soaked for an hour or so in soda ash solution. Maybe 3 or 4 tablespoons to 3 L of warm water. I rarely measure anything accurately.

They were rung out as much as possible then laid flat. Now to spiral them by pinching a spot and twisting.


Tie dye T shirts

   I kept pleating the fabric where needed and continued twisting.

Tie dye T shirtsNext they were tied up with some yarn.

The dyes are Procion M X , they are really vibrant saturated dyes and work well. I mixed 1 to 2 teaspoons of dye with 1 teaspoon of urea ( you don’t really need the urea but it helps the dye go into solution) then mixed with warm water to dissolve. I probably made about 1/2 to 3/4 of a yoghurt pot of each dye. Tie dye T shirtsYou get different effects depending how you place the dyes. I used a pipette to add the dye to the fabric, working in wedges I did all one side, then turned over and did the other side. I kept the same colour in each wedge on both sides. This one has red, orange and navy blue.Tie dye T shirts

The blue and turquoise ones used leftover dye from last week. One has 2 spirals on it. They were covered in plastic and left overnight . Tie dye T shirts

I undid the bundles and rinsed out as much dye as possible before putting through the washing machine.

Here they are after ironing. Tie dye T shirts
Tie dye T shirts

I don’t usually wear red but I think that one is my favourite. Tie dye T shirts

 

The return of my mojo and channelling my inner hippie.

I’ve not blogged in a while as my mojo left me, I really didn’t have anything  worthy of blogging about. A couple of ‘creative play’ days with my friend has got my creative juices flowing again and now I feel ready to get into making mode. I’ve also had a mega destash in the studio to make some space to work. Clearing the clutter always helps don’t you think?

We decided on easy projects that were fun to do. We got in tune with nature doing some eco printing with all natural dyes, the photo’s didn’t come out very well but you have seen my eco printing before.

It’s been years since I’ve done tie dye, these were dyed using Procion dyes, I really love the first T shirt.

Hippy days

Hippy days

Hippy days

Hippy days

Hippy days

The next day Jean showed me how to do an acrylic pour, I found it difficult to get large cells so more research and playing are needed. I love the effect on this one that Jean did, it reminds me of marbled paper.

Hippy daysThis one is mine, it’s the last one that I did, I was using up the leftover colours, it had more cells than my other attempts. If you would like to see some more of my acrylic pours head over to my Facebook page.

Hippy daysThese 2 days have been a tonic to me, there’s nothing to beat getting creative with friends to rekindle a flagging mojo. Happy days!