Available from www.nicolarbell.co.uk
These dogs are made entirely from up-cycled materials!
Available from www.nicolarbell.co.uk
These dogs are made entirely from up-cycled materials!
For the last couple of weeks I have been learning the basics/experimenting with ‘Inkscape’ – an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X. I used to use Illustrator while I was at university, and enjoyed the ‘trace’ function which allowed me to turn my illustrations into vector images, and luckily Inkscape has a similar function.
While I was messing around with the ‘stars and polygons’ tool, I ended up accidentally making shapes like this:
This has kind of got me wondering how I could use images I’ve designed with Inkscape and apply them to embroidery or pattern design… hmmm…
The reason I wanted to get to know my way around Inkscape is that I had recently been asked to design a logo for a permaculture group. This is what I have experimented with so far:
I’ve adjusted the spacing between some of the paths by using the path and ‘node’ functions. I think it looks pretty nice in green:
I’ll have to wait and see what the verdict is!
Update: They liked it 🙂
I never thought I’d be particularly glad to see January, but I feel like I have endured and survived a mince pie avalanche for the last few months. I’m glad we can start being normal, and eat meals that aren’t 90% sugar or gravy again.
I have a slightly different plan for my design work this year, which is as follows:
I’m going to go to more craft fairs, but I’m not going to get stalls at them…
This is because over the last couple of years I have found that the only fairs I have done well at have been during winter, and even these can be hit and miss. I think too many hours spent sitting in the cold, not daring to leave my stall in case I make a sale have taken their toll, and I would prefer to spend that time working on new designs, talking to people, looking at other’s work that interests me and focusing time and energy on web promotion.
I will look into getting some stock into shops…
I have tried this in the past, but didn’t much energy into it as I could have done. I also don’t think my work was as good, so I think I can make use of a few years experience, come up with some better designs, and see what happens! I would like to send stock to shops outside of Yorkshire, so will do my research!
I will work on some new designs and experiment more…
Not everything I have made in the last couple of years is stuff I really like… I want to use embroidery more in my work and possibly make more sculptural pieces. I have been offered some horsehair by an ex-upholsterer, which could be an interesting medium!
I will carry on learning on my pattern drafting course…
I’m still learning to make clothes; it’s a slow process but it’s helping me work out how to use fabric in new ways.
I will reflect on what inspires me…
The natural world is one of my biggest sources of inspiration and I want to reflect this more in my work. The news a couple of days ago that Japanese cameramen had filmed a giant squid for the first time in its natural habitat was so exciting, and a recent David Attenborough documentary introduced me to the world of trilobites which was equally AMAZING AND COOL:
I am also excited by so much folk-law and traditional folk art from around the world. The more surreal/uncanny the better….
So that’s the plan! More updates soon….
I’ve booked myself a stall at the Victorian Christmas Fair at Leftbank, Leeds!
Saturday 8th December, 12:00pm until 7:00pm
‘High Spirits’ choir will be singing, hot mulled cider will be mulling,
I’ve got a whole selection of fabric decorations to sell, along with some fun sausage dogs to exclude your draughts this winter.
I have only just realised that all stall holders MUST BE IN VICTORIAN CLOTHING. Possibly a good excuse for me to buy a top hat.
Hopefully see you there!
The ‘Home Tweet Home’ project was an interactive family art trail in Pudsey Park during October 2012, as part of ‘I Love West Leeds’ festival.
15 identical wooden bird boxes were painted, decorated, pulled apart and played with by artists from near and far. Luckily I was chosen as one of those artists!
I’m not sure when the idea to create a space rocket first hit me, but I really liked the idea of creating some kind of alien or space being for the interior…
I used paper to make a maquette of my space ship before creating it in a shiny charcoal wetsuit-like fabric, and then created a fabric astronaut bird to pilot it!
All materials save the astronaut’s helmet were up-cycled from scraps purchased from SCRAP in Leeds and the lovely metallic fabrics were salvaged from student change over in Hyde Park, Leeds. (This is a locally famous period of time over the few weeks in June/July when students move from one property to another, and unfortunately cannot be bothered to recycle or charity shop a lot of their unwanted items so simply dump them all in the street.)
How I made my Home Tweet Home bird box, in pictures…
I really enjoyed making my bird box, however I think if I was to do a similar project again I would use a lot more colour within the rocket. Other artists used colour to great affect.
Its October all of a sudden, and I’m wearing about eighteen layers which just goes to show…that it is.
Today I went to look at the New Allotment and to plant some of THESE:
Green Manures! I have chosen Hungarian grazing rye because it seems to be a good over wintering weed boshing ground cover, and holds on to moisture in the beds. Also, Crimson Clover, which I HOPE will grow and not die during winter. It’s a good nitrogen fixing weed bosher and also has great red flowers which bees get pleased about. These should hopefully grow and stop soil/nutrients getting washed away over the next six months or so. Then in spring I will chop them all down and dig them into the soil as a green manure, a couple of weeks before planting veg.
While I was shouting at some dockleaves that didn’t want to die, I noticed all the rose hips that are fruiting around the borders of the plot and thought ‘they look really tasty but I can’t remember if they are poisonous’ and made a mental note to see if you can do things with them, and it turns out that Rose Hip Syrup is a thing and is relatively easy to make if you have a massive jam pan, sugar and water and some kind of strainer. Apparently very good on ice cream and stuff, so might give it a go.
I also collected around 2000g of blackberries and have at long last bought all the crap that you need when making home brewed wines. (It also helped that my boyfriend has just finished making some beer as I don’t think I would have got round to any of this otherwise.) I have been meaning to try and brew something for approximately… nine years?! During which time, I seem to have misplaced about five demijohns in and around Leeds, which was a bit careless, but inevitable really when you’re in the habit of moving house every year with eight large at-that-time-pointless glass vessels. Nevertheless, I still have three, so I’m going to have a crack at making blackberry wine when I have another bunch of blackberries.
This afternoon has largely been spent working out how to make a bird box look like a space ship. This is why. I am hoping to make some small fabric astronaut birds to go inside it.
Tomorrow night I am starting a ten week pattern drafting course at Leeds College of Art and Design. I am hoping that by the end of it/subsequent courses, I might also be able to work out how to make bras. Bra shopping usually makes me want to scream slightly, so the ability to make myself reasonably priced and fitted bras in a fabric I like and that don’t give me stupid pointy boobs would make me quite pleased. Possibly easier said than done. I also want to make loads of pencil skirts because I enjoy them a lot at the moment. Hooray!
This time next week I will be displaying/selling work as part of Headingley Cardigan Triangle Art Day. The art day is in it’s seventh year, and features 21 artists hosted by 17 houses and gardens in the area.
Some featured artists:
Christian and Lisa Bristow
“This year’s Cardigan Triangle Art Day creates a whole new genre with its ‘Great Cardi Challenge’. In between all the artists hosted in residents’ houses, you’ll discover a trail of cardigan connections you never knew existed. You may be lucky enough to spot a diamante-encrusted Cardigan Hurst or wicked knitwear from movie blockbuster, ‘The Devil Wears Cardis’. Vote for your favourite as you feed your artistic inspiration with home-made cakes at the Art Café, this year in the church of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Browse, buy or just enjoy prints, jewellery, illustrations, landscapes, portraits, photography, poetry and painting across a whole range of artists, including lots of new people and work to see. You can also make your own art in activities run for the Art Day by Left Bank Leeds.”
I am anticipating this to be quite a cake orientated event which is pleasing. Not just any old cake. Proper oh-crikey-I-need-to-hold-on-to-the-table-because-this-is-excellent cake. See you there!