Art Elements May Challenge – Tide Pools

When I saw the theme for the May challenge on Art Elements I was very excited, you might say obsessive as I thought of nothing else for 3 days. Then we went to Liverpool which gave my brain a rest. I wrote a list of at least 10 ideas before I left so not to forget, but on my return I knew which two I wanted to investigate further.

I gathered together my rock pool photos,  none of which are turquoise or azure blue like those on the internet but I do feel connected to these less colourful pools of the UK as I grew up near the coast.
Robin Hood's Bay 230 (2)
P1340455Both ideas use techniques I’ve not used before, or I have only just learnt but isn’t that what a challenge is all about, stretching oneself?

I started with something that was familiar, out came the clay and my shell moulds and I got to making the ‘rockpool’. I was so engrossed I forgot to take photos.

While the bowl sat drying I started on the textile part of my make. I have only just learned about water soluble fabric but thought it might be perfect for making anemones, and the seaweed was made from tyveck which was stitched, painted, cut out and burned along the edges with a soldering iron.



Whilst waiting for the bowl to dry I was thinking about the term tidepools, as well as rockpools. While going through my photos I  came across a photo with the tide going out, there are shallow pools left in the sand. Tidepools right?

I decided to make a stitched picture, as I need the practice having only just finished a stitching course, my thread painting technique needs working on.
Photos from a happy day at Newton by the Sea with friends.

It didn’t start well, I had some tension issues on the underside, and not enough colours of thread!
P1500171 I realised that there was something wrong with the darning foot of my new machine, it’s fortunate that I kept my Gran’s old 1970’s Singer machine, the feed dogs don’t drop so I covered them with masking tape. It worked like a dream. Two days of stitching later I had something resembling the picture in my head.
P1500176This is stitched on felt which was placed over a larger piece of soluble fabric so it would fit my hoop and also because I wanted seaweed spilling over the bottom edge. I love the way the stitching distorts the shape of the piece, I wonder if you can have some control over this. Next the fun part of dissolving away the solvy fabric.
P1500173I stitched some seaweed and a weedy thread on the spare soluble fabric rather than waste it.  I wasn’t  sure if the weedy thread would work but it did, apart from getting tangled up in the bowl of water.
P1500179 The next stage was to drill some shells and while I was going through my seaside stash I found I had a piece of driftwood the exact length for my hanging.

When the fabric was dry I hand stitched some pebbles and then assembled the piece, all will be revealed at the end of this post.

Back to my rockpool bowl now ready for firing.


The fired the bowl didn’t quite live up to my expectations, not sure why but I don’t really like it. It’s probably destined to be a bird bath in the garden. I wasn’t sure if I should spend the money on the resin but following a discussion with OH, who asked what had been my intentions with this piece, and did I meet those intentions, (which it did so far apart from adding the’ water’, I just don’t like it) so I decided to continue with the rock pool as it’s all about learning new techniques and answering those ” I wonder what if” questions, so I ordered some resin.

The resin arrived , I couldn’t wait to see my seaweed and anemone’s underwater.

And here is the finished rockpool, my lovely husband drove me 4 hours so I could photograph it on the beach.




Saving my favourite ’til last here’s my finished wall hanging, which I love. It’s the first thing I see in the morning, and it reminds me of a lovely day at Newton by the Sea with friends. Happy days!


Ebb Tide at Newton by the Sea.

P1500187I have started anther ‘rockpool’ inspired project but I will save that for another post.

Here’s a list of everyone participating in the Art Elements blog hop, why not head over and see what they have been up to, I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s blogs.

AE Team Members:

Thank you Lesley for a very inspirational challenge.

38 thoughts on “Art Elements May Challenge – Tide Pools

  1. lesleyhw

    Jill – wow! Both your pieces are beautiful and no one would every know you re new to stitched textile art – your hanging looks perfect to me. As for your ceramic tide pool – I love it! I have some soluble fabric that I’ve not got round to trying yet but your use of it is so imaginative I’m feeling rather inspired to dig it out. Thank you very much for joining us in this challenge.

  2. eganj1 Post author

    Thank you Lesley. You must have a go with the soluble fabric as there are so many possibilities. I have lutradur and tyveck as well but I haven’t done much with them yet but I think they have a lot of possibilities.

  3. Susan Kennedy

    Beautiful! Both of them! I love that bowl – even if you did use it as a birdbath it would be wonderful! And I love your fabric wall hanging – so creative! The use of the tyvek, everything – WOW!

  4. cathysmendola

    OH Jill- I cannot believe you are new to thread painting. That piece you stitched is amazing! The seaweed made with the soluble fabric is the perfect little touch at the bottom. I am blown away by this!! And your bowl also lovely. I love how you added the tyvek algae and those little thread anemone looking spheres. Just the perfect touch. So well done!!

  5. Sarajo Wentling

    Wow! Both of your pieces are just amazing… and so creative! I’m glad that you continued with your bowl and added the resin. It really looks like a baby tide pool! I’m having a hard time wrappying my head around your wall hanging being stitched… it looks like a painting! Gorgeous!

  6. Cat

    Very cool! I never used a sewing machine in my life, so the stitched painting impresses me most although I really like the bowl, too.

  7. Kelly

    Wow! This is wildly creative – and SO beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing such an interesting and engaging process with us!

  8. Anita

    What a beautiful thread painting! You’re a natural at it, and I’m so glad you’ll see it first thing every day! 🙂 And the bowl, that’s so creative, and I love how it looks.

  9. Saraccino byCF

    I am in awe! I really enjoyed reading about your process and seeing how your pieces evolved. The wall hanging is beautiful but I so love your rock pool! The way you incorporated your pieces into one and used the resin, I love it! I could also see this made as a big flatter pieces for a gigantic wall art installation 🙂

  10. rcintron2

    WOW!!! The bowl is creative and fun and never having used soluble fiber before I LOVED seeing your making of photos! Such a great technique.

    But the wall hanging is SPECTACULAR!!! I would so hang one of those on my wall. The idea of thread painting is something I just discovered this past month by accident and I am so impressed with your seascape. I love the addition of the driftwood for mounting and the dangle of sea shells. Fantastic piece!

  11. Niky Sayers

    I actually gasped! I have throughly LOVED reading your post, you kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through! Your first 3 pics are exactly what I see when I think of rock pools, muddy browns and greens very UK! I have never heard of water soluble fabric and find this idea intriguing, (thats my something new learnt for the day) I think your wall hanging is simply stunning, a really work of art and worthy of an art gallery, the drift wood and shells just make it even more stunning and I am so glad that you continued with your bowl, I liked it when it was just fired but the effect of the resin just brings it to life and the shells on the out side are a wonderful touch! Thank you for such a wonderful post!

  12. Tammy Adams

    I had no idea a sewing machine could be made to do anything like that wall hanging. I’ve seen machine embroidery, but still. I add my “wow” to the others. The final composition, with the shells and wood, is perfection. The bowl is truly spectacular as well. The tyvek makes particularly realistic seaweed.

  13. jdaviesreazor

    I am not sure where to start. Your ceramic bowl is enchanting. And the items you added and the resin – wow. But then the road trip and the beach and the pictures and the rocks and seaweed…. Love. I have so many !!! regarding the fabric piece – I dont sew so the idea of dissolvable fabric blew me away. It is gorgeous, and evocative, and memorable. Thank you SO much for joining us this month. What a treat!

  14. alysen55

    Jill, both of your designs are Absolutely AWESOME!!! I have some soluble interfacting and have never tried it, now I’ll have to wait to get back home to try. May I add that your hubs is a dear to drive you 4 hours just for pix!! He must have had an ulterior motive, HEEHEE.

  15. blueberribeads

    I smiled when I saw your ‘old’ machine. I have my grandmas which is in a table the same as yours although mine isn’t quite as modern, It still works brilliantly after all these years!

    Both pieces are absolutely amazing, I love what you did with the bowl… I had ideas for resin, but time got away from me this month, and I’ve always been interested to see what you can do with soluble fabric and your hanging is a stunning example! Gorgeous work 🙂

    1. eganj1 Post author

      They were built to last, I have a hand sewing machine as well which was going g to the charity shop but I’ve decided to keep it for sewing rusty eco dyed stuff as it can damage the machine.

  16. Chatelainecreations

    Oh Jill I love your bowl and hubby was right to carry on and do it, but sometimes just because we don’t like it doesn’t mean that it’s not beautiful. The resin rock pool is fabulous and your stitched picture is also beautiful…. you are so clever and lady of many talents. 😊😊😊

  17. Laney

    that wall hanging is just incredible!! I love the bowl but like you I think after you added the resin it came alive. I thoroughly enjoyed reading how you worked the fabrics and materials though, you definitely need to explore this technique more x

  18. Jennifer Cameron

    What is this voodoo magic you just performed? Both pieces are AMAZING!!!! I don’t know why you didn’t love that bowl, but I’d happily take it off your hands. In fact, I think I will be in Liverpool next spring sometime as my husband is getting an online masters degree in public health from University of Liverpool and our son goes to school at Newcastle Uni so we can pop by to visit with him too. I cannot get over that wall hanging either. Its just stunning. Thank you for participating in the challenge and for reading AE! Hope to see you in future challenges!

    1. eganj1 Post author

      Thanks Jennifer. I hope you enjoy your visit to Liverpool and Newcastle, funnily enough I have blogged about both places.


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