Tuesday 21 October 2014

Marbling on silk

This Tuesday saw my first class at the AMAZING (caps because it is) Ardington School of Arts and Crafts.
I was there to learn about marbling on fabric (I took cotton & silk but the cotton didn't come out that well so in this post it will be just my silk creations on show. The course was taken my Silk expert Mary Day, seen here looking very fetching in front of one of the Ardington fireplaces. You can also find her website here
We started off with Mary showing us how to set up the marbling tray, then the different ways of dropping the paint onto the surface (you can either drop it using twigs or with a little dropper).This one was done by one of the other students using the dropper.
 The properties of the paints were then explained. If a colour spreads out quickly its referred to as 'fast' if it doesn't spread out at all, its slow & may need thinning (if its too slow it will just sink). Mary also showed us how to comb the colours to get the amazing effect below (which is one of my finished scarves)
and also how to use the stylus (old knitting needle) to drag the pain into different patterns. Here is my interpretation of the heart
and my freestyle, mad colour efforts
I also did one with teardrop type shapes utalising all the different blues I'd made. The course was absolutely brilliant. Mary was a fantastic teacher & I learnt a lot. The actual marbling itself was really relaxing (I could have played with the colours for an entire week, sadly the course ended & I ran out of fabric) but I'll be looking into buying myself a tray and some fabric as soon as out current house trauma (our heating is being replaced) is over. While looking for material in my stash I also came across these examples of Batique from a course I did in Cirencester quite a few years ago. I've always loved working with fabric & I should have an exciting announcement on that score very soon! But for now enjoy the colours.  

Sunday 2 December 2012


Hello everyone!

Apologies for the lack of posts I have been writing them but blogger decided I had used enough of their space and couldn't post anymore photos (cheek) so I've had to move to a dot com (sounds fancy but it should just give me a bit more room) If you would be so kind as to join me over there it would be fabulous the address is http://www.vikkirose.co.uk/  & I'll be adding my 'missing' posts in the next couple of days (once I've got slightly more to grips with wordpress :-)

Thank you & apologies for the disruption, normal service should hopefully be resumed shortly

Wednesday 7 November 2012

I do enjoy a good brew

Earlier this year Jam became a member of our local brewery the excellent Loose Cannon Brewery. It was a new start up in 2010 and as Abingdon hadn't had a brewery since the much missed Morland (who beautiful tile you can see below and which can be found on the side of all pubs past and present in Abingdon & beyond who stocked those beers).
Thanks to Jim for this image
We decided we would support the new brewery so as well as sampling a few of their beers Jam became a member. Monday night Jam received a text inviting us to go for an official tour of the brewery with 'nibbles' and beer provided on Tuesday. How could we refuse?
 The Brewery itself was basically a large room containing all the equipment for making the beer, but the story behind the enterprise was much more interesting... It turns out that Will (the chap who started the brewery) is part of the Laithwaite's family and its his older brother who is responsible for much of their wine production.
Will looking proudly at one of the enormous fermenting vats
 Being the younger brother he preferred beer so using a college nickname (Loose Cannon) and hiring most of the start up equipment he set out to make some beer.
  The first beer they made was the excellent Abingdon Bridge (being held by Jam here) the beer has a nice deep taste (or as my mum put it, it's tasty) and a beautiful almost red colouring). Dark Horse (a porter type beer), Loose cannon pale (paler, almost- whisper it, larger) and new addition bombshell (its blonde, need we say more).
The Loose Cannon team ready for action
We got to try a new beer that has just finished being developed & there was a competition to name it (with our recent luck with crating cheese we thought this was worth a punt. I went for Ridgeway Riddler (the ridgeway being a local bit of land & riddler as I couldn't quite put my finger on the lingering taste, whereas Jam went for Wittenham Warbler (wittenham clumps being another local beauty spot and the warbler in Jam's own words 'continuing the animal legacy set down by dark horse' (hmmm).
 Anyway we'll see if either of those is deemed worthy, the winner gets a case or Abingdon Bridge which would be nice! The nibbles consisted of sausage & chips from the chip shop down the road. All in all we had a fab night, got to drink some delicious beer and learnt a bit more about the strange art that is beer brewing (I'm hoping to start some more sloe gin this weekend but the micro brewery may well have to wait till next year).
Will showing off the different types of grain used in all the different beers
If your in Abingdon or an Oxfordonian or even visiting I can heartily recommend a visit to the Loose Cannon Brewery.     
The end, of this blog post and sadly my pint :-)

Sunday 4 November 2012

My first stained glass class

(The finished windows at the end of day two).
This was the week of my first stained glass lesson at Ardington School of crafts. Ardington is lovely & going back to the old school house really felt like going home. You'll remember that before I went I did some research into the type of window I wanted to create. I settled on an owl design and then narrowed that down to a barn owl type against a black/blue sky. I thought I was reasonably prepared, that was until our lovely tutor Sarah Glover
 started bringing pieces of glass out of her van. We had to choose colours for our creations (there were 4 of us in the class, myself, Janet who was there as a present from her husband David (awww) and was building a panel for a door in their house, David who was undertaking an artistic mixed colour panel and Ginny who had been taught by Sarah before and was trying to finish her latest design). While everyone else was making informed colour decisions, putting suitable colours next to one another I was running around like a kid in a sweet shop holding the different panes up to the light and being dazzled by the sheer variety of colours and glass textures and finishes. Before the course I had my heart set on a brown for my owl but the only brown Sarah had contained green streaks as well and was actually snapped up by Ginny (her design is below & I think you'll agree it goes perfectly!)
 Without a brown in sight Sarah remembered she had an orange sheet of glass in her van. She brought it in and it was perfect, so using that as a base I picked out some peach for the face, yellow and red to mix in with the wings and lots of different blues for the sky. Choosing the colours was really good fun but then we had to cut all the pieces to size. Sarah had some really easy to use glass cutters (with oil in the blades to help you cut more smoothly) so after a couple of practice shapes on some plain glass I moved onto the first of my colours, the light blue for the background (that was a nice one to start on the dark blue you can see was a nightmare to cut as it was really thick and you couldn't see through it so I had to make templates to cut around). All the pieces got a number to correlate to where they went on the design  and soon I had this.
The others in the class were working on very different projects. David was working on a piece inspired by artist John Piper (lots of blocks of colour)
And Janet pressed on with her design for an art deco inspired door panel (I loved this, the design (kind of art deco ish) & colours were amazing).
Once all the pieces were cut out we got the chance to take any of the sharp edges off using one of the machines that Sarah bought (here is David hard at work with it)
and then it was time for the leading. The lead had been hung up in Sarah's van so it was important that we stretched it. This bit was quite like tug of war & lots of fun. Here are Janet & David stretching their lead with Sarah.
He he. Next it was time to insert the lead between the pieces of glass (working from the bottom where the first two pieces of outside lead had already been placed on the board) making sure the glass was properly between the lead and keeping the lead and glass at tension (with spare bits of lead, glass and nails) till the a joining pieces were put in.
Once all the glass and lead (including the final two bits of exterior lead) had been put on, my owl looked something like this.
Then it was time to solder the bits of lead to each other, making sure to do all the joints on both sides (before doing this we had to make sure that all the joints were as clean as could be by rubbing down with wire wool and apply a wax type substance to make the solder flow into the gaps easier) .After that it was covering the piece in cement (no pics of this it was v.messy, but in a good way), which I worked into the gaps between the glass and the lead, then applying a white powder to start drying the cement out. Then the final touch was blacking the lead and then I had my finished piece. I'm really happy with it & the whole process of making it was very enjoyable indeed. As we bought our glass I have kept my offcuts and hope to be on another course and using them in another design before too long. As Sarah warned it seems stained glass is very addictive!

Tuesday 30 October 2012

A first for the arucana babies

My little Arucana babies are growing up. I went to clean them out at the weekend and to my surprise (as we didn't think they would start laying till next year) this awaited me.
I think its from Carmen as she seems to have gained a red wattle above her beak where there others are still pink. I got another yesterday as well but nothing this morning, perhaps she is having a day off? They are much smaller than the eggs from the ex-batts
 but the Arucanas are a lot smaller birds at the moment. Still they seem to be holding their own in the egg cabinet!
In other news it's (finally) my stained glass course tomorrow & Thursday, this was my birthday present from mum & dad & I'm really looking forward to it. I'm hoping to do a variation on this design
 which I found in my research (I really like that it has simple shapes but represents the owl so well). Better get some sleep an exciting day tomorrow!

Monday 22 October 2012

A weekend in Shropshire

 This weekend Jam and I packed our bags and headed off for a weekend in Shropshire with my mum and dad. They had rented a very nice 2 bedroom self catering apartment in 'the wilds' (a nice bit of countryside just outside Ludlow). They were able to pick up the keys from half past three on Friday afternoon, so we both took a half day. Then by happy coincidence it also turned out that starting on Thursday was Abingdon craft fair (which I was very keen to go to as we missed it last year as Jam was defrosting the freezer and we couldn't leave the house) and also our local farmers market! So the morning was duely booked off too. With no more hands to carry any more awesome (we got lots of Christmas pressies at the craft fair and lots of lovely bread, cheese, ale and veg at the farmers market) we set off to Shropshire.  This was the view that awaited us 

Isn't it lovely?
(dad enjoying some of the local Abingdon ale we bought on the farmers market)
Friday night we cooked a sausage stew with some wild boar and apple sausages we picked up at the market & it was off to Ludlow. There seemed to be shops and beautiful houses everywhere I looked, but by far the most impressive thing was the castle which overlooks the streets.
 There was an entry fee to get in & we thought we would rather spend the money on a nice cup of tea so I didn't get to go inside but there was a glass exhibition (which was free entry) so I did get a better look at the castle itself. I also got to meet this fine fellow.
For lunch we grabbed a bite at the bull ring, an old pub in the city centre (all the cafe's were full to bursting) my dad later mentioned that we should have gone to The Feathers which is known for its architecture and interesting history (it is very pretty).
There was a book shop just by our bus stop (because Ludlow is medieval there isn't really anywhere to park so we used their excellent park & ride) and there was a few minutes until the next bus. I'm so glad I went in as I found these amazing posters done by Polly Hamilton.
The chap in the shop had a huge selection from all the previous plays (apparently she has been designing them since 1979). They were all lovely but the two I bought were my absolute favourites (you can see a selection of her previous works here).
At £6 each I though they were a complete bargain (of course to make sure they look their absolute best I may well have to get some frames from this chap which may be slightly more expensive...)
The evening bought more good food (and quite a lot of rest, its surprising how tiring doing not much is) before we woke up early the next day to get to Aardvark books before we had to set off home.
We found this because of a leaflet at our accommodation. It is a giant book warehouse run by two ex publishers (all the best people etc) fondly known as 'the bookery'. The leaflet promised stacks of books and great coffee. Clearly we had to check that this was true, and by goodness it was! The whole experience was quite overwhelming, I don't think I've ever seen quite so many books. Jam an.d I both amassed a small pile each (Jam science & science fiction, me fashion design and erm bats) and then it was time for coffee which was indeed very fine (they also had a selection of very good looking cakes). If you are in the area its definitely worth a detour
Before we left we enjoyed one of my mum's hearty roasts and then we left bright sunny Shropshire (yes really) and returned to Abingdon, where there were chickens waiting to be cleaned out and it was of course drizzling. Shropshire and Ludlow in particular were stunning & I can highly recommend a visit although next time we'll definitely try and go for longer! 

(in other news sadly we didn't get chosen for a stall at the Christmas market, so I'll be setting out my wares on Folksy and trying to find another local fair to visit over the festive period instead).

Thursday 18 October 2012

I've got the blues

I've been a bit ill this week but before the lurgi took hold I had a very productive weekend making earrings. I didn't really realise until I lined them all up that they are all blue or feature blue in a pretty major way.
I'm waiting for confirmation if myself and neighbour Trish (yes she of the amazing cakes) have been allocated a stall at this Christmas fair (happening on the 2nd December) if not this little lot will be making their way onto my folksy shop, but we'll keep you posted! 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...