Keeping busy…

I have found my creative mojo. There’s no telling how long I’ll keep it for this time so I’m making the most of every day!

As you know, I already design my own patterns for my larger embellished birds, like the peacock, swan etc. Lots of trial and error goes into those birds, even after I’ve used the pattern many times I’m still tweaking and adjusting.

swan main

But with my little birds, it was pure laziness that kept me going back to the fabulous pattern that started all of this, the Ann Wood Handmade pattern.

I had a massive clean up of my craft room, which had (to my shame) got in a bit of a state in recent months. It meant that I rediscovered so many different fabrics that I knew I needed to start using them or it was just a waste. It was this that got me fiddling around with paper and fabric to work on my own pattern. It’s very basic because I prefer the decoration aspect rather than the construction.

I know that my larger birds are out of the price range of many people (me included to be honest) but because of the sheer amount of work and hours that goes into them, I can’t realistically charge a small amount. I wanted to make a bird that can be affordable to most.

My first diversion with the birds has been to use fabric with lovely images on and incorporate them into the design. I had some gorgeous butterfly and peacock fabrics which were perfect.

Unfortunately I have a limited amount of these fabrics and the fabric shop that I use is low on them as well, so I’ll be sourcing more of this type of pattern.

My little ‘Birds and the Bees’ range has come into being purely by accident. I managed to find a shape that I was happy with and was messing around with putting embroidery on the bird itself when I realised that maybe the wings would be a better canvas. This resulted in my first, a vibrant green bird with a little ladybird on the wing.

ladybird 1

This has turned into quite a collection of birds with embellishment as you can see below.

Both of these collections have sold very quickly and I know that some of you have missed out. I will be making more of different fabric and embroidery combinations but if you see a design that you like, send me a message on Facebook (you’ll also find more images of the birds on there) and I’ll see what I can do. Remember, it won’t be exactly the same, the shape will differ and I will make the embroidery slightly different so that each bird retains it’s uniqueness.

You can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter and of course on my Etsy shop, where I currently have a few birds and where I try to upload a bird on a regular basis at the moment.

So, make the most of my creative mojo, it’ll likely be moving on soon!!!

Birds, birds, birds…

How are we in the middle of January already? We had snow for about three days last week but the same came out on Sunday and it was gone in a flash. Apparently we are heading for temperatures of 8 or 9 this week, with some sunshine so I’m planning to steam clean the patio and sort out my potting shed ready for planting some seeds. That’s going to involve putting the window and the door back on my greenhouse after those high winds last week though! 😀

Painting wise has involved me experimenting with feathers and fur! I’ve tried to incorporate some of the techniques I’ve learned with Anna Mason’s tutorials, they have proved to be invaluable and I will continue to recommend her online school to anyone who is interested in trying watercolours.

Flamingos are a favourite of mine, I’ve made quite a few in the last couple of years so it was only natural that I’d attempt one. I’m really happy with the feather work, not sure if the images are good enough to show the detail but there are LOTS of tiny brush strokes. I think the beak could do with a bit of work but I’ll go back to that at some point.

 

Someone suggested a puffin because of the beak, we all love puffins, they are real characters.

 

I’m having a few problems capturing the silveryness of the fish but I’m thinking of adding a bit of silver ink to it, that’s cheating isn’t it? I’m giving each layer of work, time to dry and also giving myself time away from the paintings so that I can go back to them with a fresh eye.

The other painting I’ve been working on, is a present for my husband. He’s not on Facebook so he won’t see the photo. It’s my attempt at painting one of our first dogs, Archie. Archie was this gorgeous little Jack Russell who we lost in the spring of 2001, 16 years ago but he is still a big memory for us. This is a very difficult painting for me as it’s one thing to paint a bird or flower from photos because it’s impersonal and easy to be happy with the result. As I work on this one, I’m finding so many errors and issues because I knew that little dog so, so well, it’s harder to capture his essence and personality. I know it’s at the early stages so I’m not giving myself too hard a time but even so it’s quite difficult.

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So far, I’m happy with the left eye! LOL

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing this week…..

It’s been so long….

since I posted anything!

We are still trying to tackle the garden of this beautiful house that we moved into last year, so whenever there has been a lovely day, I’m out there, if not weeding, then sunbathing 🙂

I managed to finish a small Snowy Owl, he’s still available on my etsy shop by the way.

I may not have made very many birds but tried a few new techniques. I know that my work, especially the larger pieces can be quite expensive so I really wanted to make some more affordable pieces but still retain the artistic and unique elements of my work.

I played around with fabric paints, there was a disaster which went in the bin, then a lovely robin, which gave me a little more confidence.

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Then I tried a flamingo, a lot smaller than the usual ones and bloody hell that was tricky doing that neck and beak! He’s ended up as a giveaway prize as although he’s lovely, I didn’t feel as though I could charge anyone for him…

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Then another Robin but this time with some embroidery elements, taking it back to my embellished birds.

And the most recent one, a Blue Tit!

 

Both of these birds are available on my Folksy shop 🙂

I’m not sure where I’m going next. It’s really hard to get motivated at the moment with so much else going on. It’s a strong consideration to wind the business down at the moment as well. Registering as a sole trader, having to do those bloody tax returns takes a lot of joy out of creating for me and am entering CBA (Can’t be Arsed) mode again.

I’m such a child! LOL.

Have a great weekend!

How do you do that?

It’s a question I’ve been asked on several occasions since I’ve been making my small embellished birds. So I’m going to tell you……

Let’s start with inspiration. When I first started making little birds, it was from the pattern by Ann Wood – she also has a facebook page. I never stop telling people about her patterns. They are incredibly well written with lots of photos and in some cases, like the little wire legs, video! I’ve only made her small birds but she now has quite a few patterns available for sale, including the very wonderful owls and adorable little mice. She’s one of the few textile artists who give permission for you to use her patterns to make things to sell. I still use her pattern when I make my little giveaway birds.

Go to her site, buy a pattern, you will NOT regret it.

There are many other great textile artists who make birds, Abigail BrownDi Osman, Daisy Chain Creations and Made by Aimee among others. Emma Hall makes fabulous birds and patterns as well. Pop along and have a good look at their work.

Now, how do I make mine? I can’t really tell you. I worked on some basic patterns, the flamingo was my first, a very fluid but easy to recognise shape. I did lots of sketches, lots of rough pattern drafts until finally, I had a pattern. Even then, it didn’t turn out the way I expected because as I decorate my birds, I alter the shape of them with stitches, pulling them around, pushing them into place, adding wire. It’s trial and error. Every single bird is unique. I’ve made lots of robins and kingfishers and each one is better than the last because I’m improving them as I go. Look at the Crows below for example.

 

new crows
Evolution of the Crows

The one on the larger white skull was the very first, made over two years ago and the one on the right, last summer. I’ve even used the same fabric. But they are vastly different.

I won’t be making patterns of my birds to sell, I won’t be doing tutorials or ‘how to’ guides. Basically because even I don’t know how I do it most of the time. My birds are constantly evolving.

I like to think that part of the charm of my work, is that every single piece is different, it’s one of the reasons they are covered in hundreds if not thousands of stitches. I don’t want to turn out many, many identical pieces or in actual fact, see copies of my stuff, selfish I know. Sorry 😦

I’m more than happy to encourage and point you in the general direction of great pattern designers. I will always say the same thing….practise, practise, practise. We are ALL capable of being good at something, it’s just a question of finding out what it is and working at it. It’s important to take inspiration from others but to use it to find your own way.

 

Get out there, do your thing, make it yours, make it awesome!

Revamp!

As you can see, I’ve revamped the blog. The main reason was because it was obvious that I needed a page that was dedicated to showcasing all of the birds I’ve made so far, that would be easy for you – the readers – to find. You’ll find that under ‘Portfolio’ in the menu bar above.
Continue reading Revamp!