Category Archives: craft

Ecoprinting throughout the year – May

This post is about different pots and how new versus used equipment gives different results, as well as continuing my ecoprinting throughout the year theme.

If you want to see the posts for the rest of the year type “Ecoprinting throughout the year” into the search box.

May.

Pot – Rusty roasting tin, and also a new roasting tin. Also new tile supports as well as used tiles.

Water – Tap water with vinegar.

Paper – Cartridge paper, mixed media paper, watercolour paper.

Mordant – alum acetate

Leaf dip – rust water

Plants – Cranesbill geranium, red elderberry, herb robert, cow parsley, red ligularia, astilbe, beech and rowan leaves.

Cooking time – 40 minutes, turned, 40 minutes.

Blanket -none.

Images

This bundle was left overnight before going in the rusty pot. I don’t think it has made any difference to the prints.

Plants from the rusty roasting pan

The print below was cooked in the new roasting pan.

Plants from the new roasting pan

Below is a comparison of prints, on the left is the old rusty pan, on the right the new pan was used.

A comparison of the rusty pan on the left and the new pan on the right. The new pan print is much brighter but less tonal contrast than the one done in the old rusty pan.

This ligularia leaf is a good example of how some leaves give different prints from each side of the leaf.

A great example of how some leaves print differently depending on which side is in contact with the paper.

Conclusion – The plants in the rusty roasting tin are less vibrant in colour than the ones with new tile supports, cooked in the new roasting tin. The prints done in the rusty pan have more tonal contrast due to the iron in the pot. The ligularia leaf prints show how sometimes each side of the leaf prints differently.

My next post will give step by step instructions for ecoprinting on paper, I hope you will try it for yourself. You need some rusty water so if you haven’t started yours off I suggest you do so now, you can read about making it here. Adding some fine grade wire wool and vinegar will speed up the process.

My First Willow Basket.

Having a skill swap with a creative friend is a wonderful way to share our creativity. Last weekend my friend came to stay, I showed her how to make a simple pair of cropped trousers for her holidays, and I made her a boiled wool coat. The next day she showed me how to weave a willow shopping basket, she made me a large vegetable basket as a swap for the coat.

We always share the cooking and refreshments on these weekends, a good time is had by everyone including the husbands. Personally I feel like I’ve been on a residential course and I’m very inspired to learn more about basket making.

This is the base of my basket, it came out quite flat but a heavy weight on top also helps.

The basket started to look like a very large spider.

There were various techniques involved in weaving the basket, French randing and three rod waling. Basket terminology has me intrigued, I wonder how old these names are, they must be very old.

Here’s my finished basket, I needed quite a lot of help with the handle. I’m really pleased with it, I know it will get a lot of use.

Once my friend left I had a go at making a small basket with the leftover willow to see how much I could remember. It turned out a bit wonky, maybe because I couldn’t trim the willow much as I didn’t have enough withies.

I do have problems with my hands and they are quite sore so I will have to rest them before I start my next willow project. I need some more obelisks for the garden, and maybe some plant supports too.

Ecoprinting throughout the year – April

It’s April and there’s lots of new foliage about now to print with. I have deliberately picked new leaves from my favourite plants which I know print well throughout the year. Also I had to try some of the flowers that are out this month.

If you want to see the rest of the year type “Ecoprinting throughout the year” into the search box.

April.

Pot – Rusty roasting tin

Water – Tap water with vinegar.

Paper – Cartridge paper, mixed media paper, watercolour paper.

Mordant – alum acetate

Leaf dip – rust water

Plants – Flowering currant, rose, cranesbill geranium, elder, astilbe, herb Robert, grape hyacinth, dandelion, bluebells.

Cooking time – 40 minutes, turned, 40 minutes.

Blanket -none.

Images

New rose leaves, the top 2 pictures show both sides of the leaf.
Flowering currant, the one on the left was printed this time last year in a different pot.
Cranesbill geraniums showing both sides of the leaf.
Herb Robert and astilbe.
Grape hyacinth, dandelions and bluebells.
Elder leaf.

Conclusion – As I already mentioned I chose leaves from plants I know print well, but a lot of plants are not so good at this time of year, the bluebells, grape hyacinth and dandelions didn’t print so well, but it really depends on what you want to use the prints for, sometimes a delicate print is what’s required.

I used a very rusty roasting tin for these prints which I believe has interacted with the leaf tannins to produce the dark prints. But there are so many variables, which for me makes ecoprinting exciting.

Ecoprinting throughout the year – January, part 2.

This is the second post about my ecoprinting / botanical printing journey throughout the year. During my journey I will share photos of my prints in order for you to see what works best at what time of year. Even in the depths of winter we can still achieve good results.

I will try different papers and mordants, dye blankets etc along the way.

If you want to see the results for the rest of the year ( I will post each month) then sign up to my blog to get email notification of new posts or type “Ecoprinting throughout the year” into the search box. There will be other posts comparing plants at different times of the year for example, and a beginners step by step guide to ecoprinting on paper, my way.

January – Boil 1. The Control – no mordant or leaf dip.

Pot – Rusty roasting tin

Water – Tap with vinegar, about 2 tablespoons to 2 litres of water.

Paper – Seawhites and Windsor & Newton cartridge paper, printer paper.

Mordant – none

Leaf dip – none

Plants – cranesbill geranium, rose, strawberry, bramble, fern, herb robert, spleenwort.

Cooking time – submerged and boiled 45 minutes , turned and boiled 45 minutes.

Observations -This is my control reference with no mordant or leaf dip.

Images

Boil 2 – as boil 1 except:-

Leaf dip– copper sulphate 2%

Images

Boil 3 – as boil 1 except :-

Mordant – Alum Acetate 2.5%

Leaf dip – copper sulphate 2%

Images

Conclusion – Copper leaf dip gives brighter colours, more gold/ yellow/ brown prints. The fern that printed a light blue green and was totally unexpected. Spleenwort printed rust.

Comparison photo

Top left no mordant or leaf dip, top right no mordant and copper leaf dip. Bottom AA mordant and copper leaf dip.

Christmas Gifts In My Etsy Shop

Hello, I thought I should let everyone know that although the house renovations are taking a lot longer than expected and I’ve not been able to do much making I still have new stock going into my shop regularly as I kept some work back for pre Christmas listing on Etsy. It’s something I do every year as it saves me having a mad rush making stock in November and December.

Click on the images if you would like to see more information.

There are some gorgeous acer leaf pieces including ecoprinted silk scarves, this one is in gorgeous muted shades.

Ecoprint silk scarf

Also acer leaf prints on paper, both framed, or to frame yourself. I’m always conscious of the price of posting so I like to have some lightweight gifts available.

There are some smaller ceramic gift ideas as well including snowdrop hearts which are usually sold out at this time of year. I made twice as many last January and held some back for the run up to Christmas.

There are a couple of ceramic soap dishes left but I have some waiting for a glaze firing so hopefully I might get them done this week.

I need to get a raku firing done as well as my hanging leaves are selling fast.

Mackerel are still available and small fish too, but these sell out really quickly.

There are days I wish there were more hours, I’m still decorating and waiting for the kitchen and floors to be finished, hopefully the house will be finished for Christmas. Maybe Santa will find my oven and oak flooring on the container ship and bring me a surprise delivery soon 🙂

Have a great weekend.

Jill

Spring is in the air, getting back into work!

We had some lovely weather for a while then it changed, however everything in the garden is starting to grow and the spring flowers are blooming so it’s time to get back to work. I feel in the mood for making, what a difference a bit of sunshine makes. I even finished my second lockdown waffle blanket, you can find the pattern here. I made the first one a year ago when the first lockdown started.

I managed to take my work into the garden, I sat in the sunshine and put some colour on the snowdrop ceramics.

Now they have been fired for a second time, see how the colour changes. I love rustic ceramics.

As well as hanging hearts with snowdrops there are ring or trinket dishes.

These are glazed on the back.

And decorative ceramic tiles to hang on the wall.

They are now ready to add to my shop, I hope I’ve made enough this year to last until next spring. That’s one of the issues with working with the seasons.

The pulmonaria and brunnera are flowering now.

These are drying, then the firing and decorating process will start all over again. 🙂

My Sock Knitting Progress

There a a few things that stand out for helping me deal with the past year, one of those things has now become a bit of a passion. I’m now a sock knitting addict.

I’ve knitted one pair of socks in the past, on 4 needles but I wanted to try one of the small circular sock needles. It seemed strange at first but well worth persevering with. I love it, you can pick up and put down whenever you want, it’s on of those things you could easily do if you were out somewhere.

I have a beginners tip, If you use self patterning yarn, wind off half the ball( I weigh it ) then lay both ends out and find the same point in both yarns and cut it. Now make your cast on loop both at the same point. Now when you knit the second sock they should match up. I discovered if you knit matching socks it’s easy to know where you are up to on the second sock without counting rows. I check the rows when I think I’m there.

The pattern came from Winwick Mum Blog the site has full clear instructions and videos on all aspects of sock knitting.

This is the first pair that I knit in December, I was pleased with the fit.

Then I knit a pair as a gift. I love the the way the heel is knit, it grips and it’s cushioned too.

I knit myself another pair, this time matching the colours.

Now I’m knitting OH a pair, I really can’t put these down as I love the way the random pattern is working out. I had to measure his foot and follow the instructions to size the sock up. I did decrease the toe on every row on the last few rows as I thought the sock would be too long, it fits perfectly.

Updated to say they are now finished and he loves them.

More sock yarn has arrived but there’s no rush to knit it up yet, I’ve a crochet blanket to finish..

So what to do with all the oddments of wool?

I have just discovered scrappy socks 🙂

Another Great Raku Day!

This week we braved to weather, which was cold but still, to do our first raku firing of the year. It’s always exciting and unpredictable, hopefully in a good way. This time things started off really badly but we sorted the issues and re-fired the first couple of pieces. We also had a few breakages but you come to expect that it’s the nature of raku work.

Here are some leaves that have made it into my Etsy shop, I had a few customers waiting for new stock to arrive so they are going quite quickly.

colourful wall sculpture
hanging ceramic leaf
raku leaf wall art

I have restocked the small raku fish and there are a few larger fish as well, these ones have a lot of copper, the others are turquoise and blue.

ceramic fish for wall

I have a few moon gazing hares too, these would be great Easter gifts to let someone know you miss them.

Here’s a closer look.

moon gazing hare ceramic hanging

The snowdrop trinket dishes and hearts that I showed you a few weeks ago are in the kiln now, I can’t wait to open it up but it’s still cooling down, patience pays off in the end.

I am watching things growing in the garden, soon the bluebells will be out, I have some pulmonaria flowering but no sign of the brunnera flowers yet. It’s going to be a busy time in a week or two, watch this space. I like working with the seasons.

Last Minute Gifts From Kiln Fired Art

Looking for a last minute gift ? Here are some gift ideas that I have in my shop.

I can post directly to the recipient and if you want I can include a message for you too.

I can’t guarantee delivery in time for Christmas as this is out of my control but I will do all I can on my part.

Ten pounds and under.

Handmade gifts £10 and under

Ten to twenty pounds.

Over twenty pounds.

I may decide to close my shop on Tuesday but you can always message me if there’s something you would like.

My punch needle cushions are finished.

Not sure what week we are on now with the lockdown, I’ve settled into the groove and I’m enjoying the tranquility of this new slow lifestyle although every morning I wake up thinking it’s Sunday and I do miss family and friends.

I thought I had already posted my punch needle adventure but it seems I forgot so I’m sharing the process from start to finish. My Oxford punch needle has been sitting around unused for ages, once I finished the waffle blanket I needed a  new simple project with a repetitive process as it’s kind of meditative.
Punch needle cushionsI wasn’t sure where to start in terms of design, I didn’t want anything too fussy just blocks of colour. I turned to my ‘Lansdcape’ sketchbooks and found some drawings I liked, then I did a few quick sketches before drawing the design onto hessian with a sharpie. I’m using rug wool from my stash as well as some Aran wool. I chose the colours to match the decor in my home, nice calming colours that I like living with.
Punch needle cushions

Punch needle cushions

Punch needle cushions

I have a frame which pulls the hessian taught making punching quite easy so long as there isn’t any tension on the yarn and you don’t pull the needle too far out of the hessian. My hessian square was bigger than the frame so I had to work around the edges out of the frame. This turned out much easier than I expected.

I soon got into a rhythm and found this process so relaxing indeed, I almost fell asleep a couple of times.

There’s a little video of the punching process on my Instagram.

Needle punching

Needle punching

This is the second cushion, I had to order more wool, also some linen for the backing. I had some manmade fabric that I could have used but seeing the cushions are wool and will be very hard wearing as they are rugs really and will probably last for years I thought natural linen was more suitable.

Needle punching

And here they are, I’m so pleased with them I’m going to make another pair of punch needle cushions for the sofa in the lounge, they will be similar in design but different colours, also I have some ideas for wall hangings and maybe a footstool.

I think I am hooked 🙂

Punch needle cushions

Punch needle cushionsHave you learned anything new during lockdown ? I’d love to hear what you have been doing.

Stay well folks.