Tag Archives: Art elements challenge

Art Elements June Challenge – Sunflowers

I’m writing this post the day after the challenge was announced. I don’t have much free time this month so while England were playing a football match on TV I slipped off to my sewing room and made a start.

As much as you can’t help but smile at sunflowers there’s no denying that they are “in your face”. I’m not a bold sunflower person so my personal challenge is to make something related to sunflowers but in a subtle manner.

I headed off to Pinterest to find inspiration, there are some beautiful photos. I especially loved the fields of sunflowers in Tuscany. I love Tuscany, I was there exactly 10 years ago but I didn’t see the sunflowers although I do remember the rolling hills, the Cypress trees and the lovely villas dotted around the countryside.


I had a couple of ideas buzzing around in my head but as I needed to make something quick I decided to work small, this would also challenge my thread painting skills.

I did a very quick sketch keeping it simple as it was going to be small.


I cut a piece of felt, 5.5cm x 4.5 cm and placed it over soluble fabric in my hoop. I stitched it in place first as it was so small.


It didn’t take long to stitch, I used different shades to give some dimension. The building is tiny and was very hard to machine stitch. Looking now I think my trees are too evenly spaced but I was concerned they might end up growing together if I didn’t have enough space between them as I wasn’t too sure about my stitching control on something small.


I did a bit of work by hand on the roof and on the foreground sunflowers. Then it was cut out close to the stitching and run under the tap to dissolve the soluble fabric. I think it must be made from starch because as it dries out the piece firms up nicely.


I found some stiffening for making pencil pleat curtains ( it pays to be a hoarder) and cut a piece slightly smaller than the stitched piece, as well as a piece of felt for the back, onto which I stitched a safety pin. I could have positioned it better though, and why did I use a safety pin when I have loads of brooch backs??

That’s what happens when you rush things.


It was all sandwiched together and ironed, but it didn’t stick together. I thought the stiffening had lost it’s glue as it was old, but a bit of steam did the trick.


And here you have it, my Tuscan sunflower field in miniature.


I think I will pin it in my fleece jacket so when I’m out walking in the winter I will have a little bit of the Tuscan landscape to make me smile.


If you would like to see what everyone else has made head over to Art Elements, or click the links below.















AE Team








Thank you Susan for a lovely theme.

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.