Monday, 14 July 2014

My blog has moved!!!

I am excited to announce the arrival of my new merged blog and website, which you can find at - this is my last post here, thank you for reading (and I look forward to seeing you over on my new site!). 

Painted Cushion Tutorial

I really had fun making this one and I'm very happy with the result (it now has pride of place in my living room - I had to relegate an old cushion to fit it in). Here's how to paint your own cushion (and make it look like a simple screen print).....

I started with: 

A blank ready made cushion cover (you can buy similar here)
2 pots of fabric screen printing ink (I had these left over from a previous project - you might want to try a standard fabric paint, but these did give a professional finish)
Masking Tape

(and, not in the photo, plastic sheeting, an old plastic carrier bag (or more sheeting), an iron, greaseproof paper). 

1. Place an old plastic bag inside the cushion cover (so the ink or paint doesn't seep through to the back of the cushion).

2. Lie the cover, face up, on the plastic sheeting and stick your masking tape to it in a pattern of your choice. Ensure the tape is stuck well down. 

3. Start painting - I mixed the blue and red screen printing inks together and they formed the rather nice browny/purple shade. When painting, make sure you always brush away from the tape so as to prevent it bleeding under it onto the areas you want to remain white.

4. Paint all areas you want to - I added two bright red triangles in the bottom left corner for interest.

5. Wait for the ink or paint to dry - it does't have to be bone dry but should certainly be touch dry, then carefully remove the masking tape.

6. You then need to wait for the cushion to dry completely. One it has, iron it on medium heat, with no steam, and a sheet of greaseproof paper between the iron and the fabric. Iron for about 3 minutes on both the front and back of the fabric to set the ink (or follow the pack instructions if you are using a different product).

And it's finished! As I said, I'm really happy with this one.

If you have a go at this technique, I'd love to see what you come up with! 

Friday, 11 July 2014

British Folk Art

The Tate (both Britain and Modern) is one of my favourite places. I spend a lot of time there. But for some reason it rarely gets a mention here - maybe precisely because I am there so frequently. I decided yesterday that this needs to change....

Heart Pincushion | Artist Unknown Heart pincushion Beamish, The Living Museum of the North Photo: Tate Photography  

I paid a visit to British Folk Art at Tate Britain and it was simply wonderful. The exhibition is a showcase for a wide range of objects which are considered to be 'folk art' and are rarely seen in such a setting (although there was a lovely little corner group of Alfred Wallis paintings - which of course can frequently be seen in top galleries). It's actually the first exhibition of British folk art in a national art museum, which I found quite surprising. 

The selection of textiles on show was very good, and included several beautiful pincushions such as the one shown above. Lots of quilting too which has really got me in the mood for my next attempt at English paper piecing (watch this space!).

One of my favourite things wasn't a textile piece though, it was this amazing bone cockerel (which you may recognise if you've seen the exhibition posters). It was drawing quite a crowd (on a Thursday morning!).

Bone Cockerel (detail) | Artist Unknown Bone cockerel (detail)  Vivacity Culture and Leisure – Peterborough Museum

There's a varied selection of pieces on display and, I'd say, something for everyone. It felt like quite a small exhibition but that might partly have been because I enjoyed it so much (and wanted it to go on forever). 

Patchwork Bedcover made by James Williams, Wrexham 1842-52 | St Fagans: National History Museum

George Smart, Goose Woman c 1840 | Image courtesy of Tunbridge Wels Museum and Art Gallery

I think I may have to pay another visit before the exhibition finishes (and take my sketchbook as there are drawing opportunities a plenty!).

British Folk Art is at Tate Britain and runs until 31 August 2014.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Inspired by Porto

Our recent holiday took us to the city of Porto for the first time. We rather liked it. Only a limited amount of time for port tasting with a small boy in tow, but we did manage to wander around and take lots of photos. In particular I was rather taken with the tiles and the street art (and the street art involving tiles!). 

The QR code above takes you to this website (featuring lots of tile related graffiti - in Portugese). 

Monday, 7 July 2014

Month In The Life - June

I had a very nice June. It started with lots of orders, restocking and working on new products. I went to see Arcade Fire and the Family Rain (two bands in a month, almost like the good old days!), visited Birmingham for Blognix and then went on holiday for a week to Spain and Portugal (more inspiring images from my break to follow in future posts).

Here are my (non-holiday) highlights. Don't forget to scroll to the end for this month's Spotify playlist.

Making (and very quickly selling!) new samples.

My depleted stock.

Stayed overnight in town after Arcade Fire. This was the view from our room.

Shopping and restocking!

Working on a new tutorial.


Making my first lampshade - this one was a commission but I have a feeling you'll be seeing more...

Coming home from my holiday to lovely post.

Here's your playlist. You can listen to it on Spotify via this link.

eez-eh - Kasabian
Meanwhile Up In Heaven - Kaiser Chiefs
Ice Cream - New Young Pony Club
Don't Matter - Kings of Leon
Rocks - Primal Scream
Here Comes the Night Time - Arcade Fire
You Should Be Glad You've Got a Man - The Family Rain
West Coast - Lana Del Rey
Glory Box - Portishead
Dear Diary - Darlia

Friday, 4 July 2014

Mead Furniture

Today I'd like to introduce you to my new blog sponsor Mead Furniture.

Mead Furniture is a new platform for the beautifully crafted furniture designs of recent graduate George Mead. George studied for a BA hons in Furniture Design & Craft at Buckinghamshire New University, and previously attended Glasgow Metropolitan College where he developed his interest in furniture design and craft.

George designs his objects with longevity in mind - each piece is carefully considered and finished with a keen eye for detail. 

You can see Mead Furniture this week (until tomorrow) at New Designers in London. New Designers is the UK's most important graduate exhibition and George will exhibit his work alongside that of his fellow students. If you're going along, do pop and see him!

You can find out more about Mead Furniture and see more images of George's work on his website and blog. He's also on Twitter and Pinterest

Interested in sponsoring my blog and being featured here? See my Sponsor my Blog page for details. 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Made In Mexico

I went back to the Fashion & Textile Museum a couple of weeks ago to visit their latest exhibition Made In Mexico: The Rebozo in Art, Culture & Fashion.

Now, I'm partial to all things Mexican, especially after visiting a rather fabulous exhibition of Mexican death art when I was at school, so I was really looking forward to this one, and it didn't disappoint. 

The exhibition focuses on the rebozo, a type of shawl or scarf, which is seen as a symbol of national identity in Mexico. It looks at the garment itself, with many examples on display, alongside artworks and fashion garments which have been inspired by it.

Rebozos are woven across Mexico and have regional variations - some are woven from silk, others from wool, with intricately knotted fringes, and sometimes with added embroidery. 

It's quite a feast for the eyes and a great exhibition to visit whether your interest lies in Mexican culture or textiles (or in my case, both!). 

Made in Mexico: The Rebozo in Art, Culture & Fashion is at the Fashion & Textile Museum in London and runs until 31 August 2014.