‘Peace Talks’ chairs made for All We Are Saying.

Over the past month, I have been working on part of my piece for the Artists for Peace ‘All We Are Saying’ exhibition at the Holy Biscuit. Until, I have finished the whole process and made all the pieces, it’s still a fluid concept. But, the two chairs I have reupholstered in patchwork signify difference, getting together, comfort and talking. I have used many fabrics from different cultures and countries, patchworked side by side.

Wing-back arm chair.

Wing-back arm chair.

A while ago, I bought two wing-back arm chairs from Tynemouth Market, lovely old stable chairs covered in what looks like an old Welsh textile weave. I chose these chairs for the exhibition as I wanted them to be homely, the type of chairs families would sit on if they were having a family dispute and trying to ‘sort things out’ over a cup of tea. As far away from the large, grand, gilt covered chairs that heads of state would sit in to have their ‘Peace Talks’.

Making patchwork

Making patchwork

The two chars were stripped and using fabrics I had (I’m a terrible hoarder), including clothes my children had grown out of, they were patchworked together. Both chairs has a African seed bead square on the front, which can sometimes be found in other pieces of my work.

Hand stitching the cross sections of fabric.

Hand stitching the cross sections of fabric.

These patchworked panels were tacked onto the chairs and cross sections sewn.

Seat back and wings finished.

Seat back and wings finished.

The last stage I really don’t like doing – pipping the cushion! But as it is a free standing cushion pad, it had to be done.

First finished AWAS chair.

First finished AWAS chair.

The two chairs are the same but different. Like we all are, really.

Second AWAS chair with Wilf.

Second AWAS chair with Wilf.

There are a few little fiddly things I need to do to finish the chairs off, but as long as they are ready for Friday 11th September – preview night- then I’m not too worried!

Next, to continue this piece, I plan to redecorate  small ‘pedestal’ side table. During the preview night and during the exhibition, I plan to encourage people to sit in the chairs, have a cup of tea, talk about their thoughts the whole exhibition has evoked in them and maybe document these discussions in a small table book… The ideas keep evolving…

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Mini OC’s Pebble Painting

Although it’s Summer, recently it’s been rather stormy, cold and wet. So recently we decided to do some indoor crafting after a very cold and blustery trip to the beach. Having successfully decorating my ukulele with nail varnish, I thought that a good, hard wearing way to decorate pebbles would also be to use the left over nail varnish. Inspired by images we had seen on Pinterest, the girls made ‘Thank You’ pebbles for their teachers, little fairy houses and many other designs, of which these are a few.

Painting the clean, sand free pebble.

Painting the clean, sand free pebble.

Inspired by Fairy Houses on Pinterest.

Inspired by Fairy Houses on Pinterest.

Some of the pebbles are destined for our allotment, so the girls thought it would be lovely to paint little Fairy Houses which could either sit in or by the vegetable beds – they already have a collection of Gnomes which hide amongst the plants there!

Finished painting the pebble, just needs further decoration.

Finished painting the pebble, just needs further decoration.

Fairy House finished and ready for it's close-up!

Fairy House finished and ready for it’s close-up!

Once the painting as finished and dried, using marker pen to add further outlines and details, really enhanced the finished piece.

'Welcome' stone for the allotment.

‘Welcome’ stone for the allotment.

This is such a fun activity, cheap and easy to do. My seven year old had a great time, mass producing presents for friends and teachers.

Dog and Cat Pebbles made by my youngest OC.

Dog and Cat Pebbles made by my youngest OC.

Gorgeous Fairy House made by little OC.

Gorgeous Fairy House made by little OC.

My eldest two daughter’s made these lovely Fairy Houses – I love the detail!

Fairy House Pebbles.

Fairy House Pebbles.

Once we get some of these pebbles down the allotment, I think it would be great to make more with either the bed numbers on them, the type of paints growing or just more fairy houses…

School has now broken up for the Summer, so I am really looking forward to spending a lot of the time making with the girls, as my eldest daughter recently started Secondary School and she is very concerned that Textiles is being discouraged at G.C.S.E. So the plan is to gain as much knowledge and practice at home, so that she can have that wonderful, relaxing and productive skill for life – regardless of what she wants to be ‘when she grows up’. Rant over…

Birthday on a Budget/Best Present Ever!!

A Unitopian Birthday!

A Unitopian Birthday!

At the weekend my youngest daughter turned seven. For a long time now, she has been obsessed with unicorns. In fact I think many of her presents from previous birthdays and Christmases have involved unicorns. So much so, it can be very difficult to get in her room for them. When asked what she would like this year for her birthday, unicorns were once again her answer.

This year, as I work as an artist, money has been more tight than usual. There has been massive cuts in the sectors I traditionally work freelance for and I need to ensure I can still pay my studio rent, insurances etc. So spending on day to day has tightened and certainly what we would normally spend on our girls for birthday presents has cut right down.

Luckily, as you may have seen on my previous pages, I can turn my hand to most craft/making/arty thing. So, I decided to hunt out some unicorn related crochet patterns and make her seven unicorns for her seventh birthday. Which was quite time consuming, proved inexpensive. The pattern I used is Amigurumi by Lan-Anh Bui and Josephine Wan, published by GMC Books. I’ve used this book before and it has great, simple instructions for outrageously cute amigurumi creatures. I adapted the horse/zebra pattern by adding a unicorn horn, plus using very bright colours.

First crocheted unicorn, in sparkly wool.

First crocheted unicorn, in sparkly wool.

Each unicorn took about three hours to make and the wool we already had around the house or was topped up from our local Poundland. The fun part was choosing the colour combinations!

Unicorn with fairy-tale house.

Unicorn with fairy-tale house.

Over a couple of weeks, I worked on the unicorns.

Five made, two in pieces...

Five made, two in pieces…

Once the unicorns were finished, we decided it would be even more fun to make a unicorn head band! So, mixing three wools together, I crocheted a triangle shape which could be sewn into a cone shape and attached to a headband.

Crocheting the unicorn horn.

Crocheting the unicorn horn.

On her birthday, her two elder sisters had created a treasure hunt for her unicorn presents. She was given her unicorn headband to where and the first clue to find them. Then she was off, racing around the house to find all of her seven new friends. Since then, they have not left her side and great fun has been had, giving them all names.

A new uni-tastic friendship has begun!

A new uni-tastic friendship has begun!

All in all, I probably spent about £15 on buying more wool, stuffing and the headband. Not bad for the Best Present Ever’!