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Looking ahead

So Christmas is over. Gone in the blink of an eye. I hope it was good for you?  All was quiet here, with a beautiful walk down to the sea on Christmas day; the sun shone, but I remember there was a bitterly cold wind. Since then it seems to have rained and rained and rained.

It’s taking me a while to get into the rhythm of the new year and I don’t feel I’m quite there yet. I’ve still got several projects from last year that I want to finish, but I can’t seem to settle. I have made one decision though: in 2013 I plan to concentrate my stitch work on developing my quilting and textile pieces and let go of the more practical things I seem to have made in 2012. So I finished last year as I mean to carry on this year, and finished this small wall hanging (it’s a bit bigger than A4).

It was a birthday present for Kim’s dad, belated it has to be said. I started it in plenty of time and then lost confidence in it half way through. I think that if it was a drawing I’d consider it a sketchbook work. What I mean is that it’s the burgeoning of ideas; experiments with materials, themes…

'Dusk", Stephanie Boon, 2012. Hand quilted and embroidered wall hanging. A little blackbird in lovely textured fabrics with silver thread accents that glint in the light.

Dusk

I see areas of weakness (this is a perfectionist writing), but I’m trying to train myself to think more positively: it’s not weakness, it’s potential and opportunity. Potential to develop the work further in another piece and the opportunity to learn and enjoy the process. (The cynic in me is trying really had not to mock as I’m writing this!!!!)

I spent time experimenting with fabrics, appliqué, quilting, the ‘mechanics’ of making an image  work. But next time I want  to give more attention to content. The birds in my art have always been a metaphor for self – they’re usually dead with their toes curled up! I wanted to see if I could do something a bit different this time; not being dead was a major challenge. (I kid ye not!)

Goldfinch - drawing in compressed chalk, Stephanie Boon 2001

One of my older dead bird drawings! (A goldfinch)

And that’s another thing I plan to do more of this year: drawing. I’ve missed it. And since I was given these wonderful, wonderful, wonderful soft pastels for Christmas, it would be a crime not to, don’t you think?!

Unison soft pastels

Heavenly!

My mouth’s watering at the thought of all these luscious colours, but where to start?! I think maybe I need to purchase some luscious paper to draw on first…

For now though I’m headed into the garden to sow some sweet peas and maybe do a bit of digging before some sewing this afternoon. It’s such a beautiful day here for a change – and it’s dry! I was outside planting tulips in the pouring rain the other day, thinking about the spring colour to come, so it’ll be a nice change! Despite the miserable weather here most Januaries and Februaries it’s a good time of year really, what with all the planning and looking ahead 🙂 What are you up to?

Happy New Year!

Stephie x

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Blackthorn

Here’s one I made earlier. Earlier in the year, when the blackthorn was in flower. I don’t know why, but I forgot to show it to you. I really like it, but I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. For now it’s on my pin board for me to look at and remember the spring.

Machine embroidery 'Blackthorn', by Stephanie Boon, 2012

‘Blackthorn’, machine embroidery on linen.

 

Machine embroidery, 'Blackthorn' detail. Stephanie Boon 2012

Detail

Sorry the photos aren’t brilliant, I’ve tried photographing it about 20 times with my camera phone and it looks out of focus every time. Time to borrow Kim’s proper camera I think.

More knitting planned for this evening. And maybe some stitching this afternoon, if I finish all the dull jobs I have to do first! Hope you’re day’s full of lovely things – and no dull jobs 🙂

Stephie x

Pinning v pasting!

Pinterest. Will it replace this?

Scrapbook cover 2012

Old fashioned?

Scrapbook collage focussing on rhythm and saffron colour

A page from one of my scrapbooks, 2012

Natural history themed scrapbook collage

Trying to get things to ‘work’ on garish sugar paper is part of the fun!

Natural history themed scrapbook collage by Stephanie Boon 2012, detail

Detail of one of my favourite subjects 🙂

I’ve resisted the online pin-board phenomenon that is Pinterest for some time now. It has a huge following in the US and is really beginning to take off here in the UK now. My resistance wasn’t because I didn’t like the idea of sharing images, I’m an artist/designer-maker and I want people to see my work and the things I love, but the possibility of breaching copyright laws by the simple act of ‘pinning’ someone else’s work to a board of mine seemed very real to me. And then there’s the restricting factor that you can simply ‘pin’ an item (videos as well as images), whereas a real scrapbook allows you to do something more creative and make collages of your favourite subjects.

So it was with apprehension that I recently opened an account. I set up a few boards and began pinning some of my own images; I know I won’t be breaching copyright there! I’m beginning to get a bit braver now though and have begun pinning images from websites and other people’s boards that I like. It’s so quick to do that it’s very satisfying, like ripping out a page from a magazine and storing it in a sketchbook for playing with at a later date. I think of Pinterest as being just like a magazine shelf really, you can browse around all these pages, some of them really obscure and esoteric, and discover not just interesting images, but get real glimpses into what makes people tick. It’s fascinating stuff!

I’ve only got 6 or 7 people following my boards so far, but I’m following quite a few myself – have you got an account? Let me know your Pinterest name and I’ll follow you to see what you’re all about, I think that would be awesome! Also, if you have any recommendations for your favourite people/boards I could follow (me and the hundreds of readers I have, ha, ha!!!), leave them in a comment below – it’s such a big arena that I’m sure it’s easy to miss stuff that you’d really like to see.

I’m happy if you’d like to add any of my images to Pinterest too, as long as it’s done in the spirit of the community – sharing the stuff you love. But the copyright’s still mine ok, so please don’t use my images in any other way, nick my designs, copy my work etc, (which I’m sure you wouldn’t dream of anyway) and if you do pin some I’d be really grateful if you could add a link back to this website. I promise to do the same for you 🙂

 

Happy pinning!

Stephie x

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I love birds – an embroidered wren

 

mosaic of free motion machine embroidered singing wrens, 2012

Little singing wren sketches,  2012

I spent a few hours making these sketches on Mrs Jones the sewing machine the other night. The colours in the photos aren’t particularly good, but I love the texture that they show. That one on the top left makes me laugh, he has a beak more suited to a crocodile I think! That’s because I didn’t draw the birds on the fabric first (a vintage 70’s/80’s-looking linen table cloth), I just stuck the fabric in a hoop, put it under the needle and off I went. I love the spontaneity you get doing it this way, it feels much more like ‘real’ drawing, which is the medium I feel most comfortable in most of the time. Can’t rub out that beak though, but an unpicker (seam ripper) will probably do the job!

To continue with the bird theme a little further, it was my birthday a few days ago (too old…) and I was very generously given a bird table for my garden. There are always plenty of wrens in the hedgerows, but I doubt they’ll come to the table. Still, I placed it where I can see it from the kitchen window, so I can stand with sketchbook in hand and draw the other birds to my heart’s content. In theory.  I haven’t had any winged visitors yet…

Spot The Bird Scarer

No prizes awarded!

View of garden with bird table and cat sat at thr bottom of it.

Not camouflaged quite well enough Daisy!

I love the lushness of the garden from this view point and the new bird table adds the perfect focal point. I’m a very lucky lady!

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com