Monday, 4 August 2014

Blog hop!

Well, this post has come a lot later than I intended! Not only has regular, crafty and blogging life been somewhat side-swiped by the arrival of Tiny Little Human no. 2, (a little boy born in late May) but two weeks ago my laptop rather suddenly refused to play ball, trapping this post and all my photos in limbo. To those few who were actually expecting this particular post a lot sooner (you know who you are), my apologies for the delay, but better late than never, right?

Anyway, back to the real theme behind this post - a bloghop! I was happy to be tagged in a blog hop by Cate at Bees Knees Industries. If you haven't already come across her work, I recommend popping over to her blog. Her illustration style is wonderfully quirky, and she turns many of her fab drawings into wonderful embroidery patterns. This particular blog hop involves nominating other bloggers to answer some questions about their creations, and then passing the questions on to others to answer. So, here we go with the bloghop questions..

1. What am I working on? 
I usually have a few things on the go at once, as I like variety and like having options depending on what I feel like working on. I mostly work with paint, pencils and thread. 

I'm currently working on a series of embroideries that are inspired by the many stories and comics that I have started to write or draw, but never developed further or finished. These embroideries are a way for me to pick out small yet important scenes from these unfinished stories , and complete them in minute stitchy detail as a way of enabling these stories to exist in some finished form. I was inspired to make this series of pieces after completing my wolfman picture - an image that was created without a story but which could suggest any number of situations or scenes to fit the mood of the piece.

The pictures below show the completed wolfman, and another three pieces in this series in various stages of completion. Watch this space for progress!

On the paper side of things I have a few paintings on the go, which I dip in and out of (such as the moon and badger picture below) , and I've also recently been delving into the world of papercutting  (see this post), and I have a few more ideas still in the design stage. 
Moon and badger - sketch transferred and currently getting the watercolour treatment
Papercutting practice
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
This is such a difficult question, but has been interesting to think about! I suppose since I follow my own muse and have my own illustration style, that that makes my work different. I'm very driven by character and story, and most of my pieces have a story or events behind them, or certainly the potential for interpretation beyond the image itself - I have written and drawn stories since I was small and probably always will - it's just the way I'm wired. 

My embroidery style is very illustrative and detailed, a little like painting with thread which I think makes it different, but it does mean it takes ages to complete each work!

3. Why do I write/create what I do? 
I have no idea! I have created and drawn for as long as I can remember - creating was a constant childhood companion, and its always been an intrinsic part of who I am. If I don't get regular creative time then I can start to feel a little (or a lot) out of sorts! I find it relaxing, re-energising and so very fulfilling. 

I am relatively new to embroidery, having only been working with thread for a few years, but I'm loving this new way of bringing my sketches and stories to life, and Iove losing myself in it's calm, measured movements of needle and thread.

My brain so full of ideas that I have to get out somehow, and the drawing and stitching helps!

4. How does your writing/creating process work?
Sometimes I have a very firm idea of what I want to create, especially if it links to a story that's been growing in my head. However, I frequently put pen to paper and just see what happens - it's exciting watching an idea come out of nowhere, though of course sometimes this approach doesn't always produce something worth developing.

Pretty much all my ideas start as a sketch or series of sketches in my sketchbook. For embroidery I usually use my lightbox to trace the sketch I like onto plain A4 printer paper, often repeating this process and adding new elements until I get a final design I like. I'll then use the lightbox again to transfer to my favoured calico before stitching. I try and choose colours and floss before hand but sometimes I'll just dive right in.

I also frequently look back at old sketchbooks and doodles to get ideas, or look through some of my own stories for inspiration. A large diet of books, comics, films and inspirational creative blogs also keep the creative juices flowing!

So, that's a bit about me, now on to my blog recommendation.

Asking for Trouble - A fellow maker based in Scotland, Marceline's blog Asking for Trouble highlights her illustrations and the wonderfully cute and cheery products she designs. I especially love how she incorporates her passions, such as Japanese culture/design and a love of astronomy, into her work. Go check her out -  I defy you not to lust after her many lovely creations!

So thanks Cate, for giving me some fab motivation for finding time to blog, and apologies for the long (yet surely understandable) delays in getting there!