I would like to begin with a huge thank you to Abi Burlingham for inviting me to take part in something that I never thought I would ever get close to! The Grand Blog Tour! I am slowly finding out what it entails, and feel more than a little honoured to have been asked to join! Abi is a lot of things, she writes children’s books (and I’m happy to say I have read and highly enjoyed a few of them), she also teaches and is a great lover and practitioner of all things arty! You find her inspiring website and blog here.
We are all given four questions to answer, here comes #1.
What am I working on?
As much as possible at the same time. My flat is decorated, lined and littered with works in progress of different kinds, but there are some that have priority over others, or at least they should have.
One is a cosplay outfit for a character called Xerxes Break from Pandora Hearts. The finished costume should look something like this.
At the moment it looks like this.
Not all that impressive, there is obviously still a long way to go. I have another six weeks to get it there, but as I am easily distracted, it may not prove enough. I have however found that blogging about different sewing projects leads to me finishing them. I should have thought of that years ago 😉
There is also a corset I would love to finish, it lies in a corner looking at me each time I pass, but so does a lot of other things, together with new ideas that keep popping into my head trying to grab my attention.
Another project is this Afghan Nomad Dress from Folkwear Patterns, a beautiful garment I want to start right away.
I have already decided on parts of the embroidery to go on the front bodice. That is if Abi gives me permission to use some of the gorgeous bird drawings on her blog for referens. I thought it a
mean good idea to ask here, as it will make it difficult for her to say no 😉
Some other projects I want to get started is a night shirt for my son who has specifically ordered one in flannel with the Arsenal football emblem embroidered on the chest. And there is this beautiful twig
that I want to use as a base for a doll with the upper body made of polymer clay and dressed in sheer fabric. I also have plenty of ideas for fairy garden miniatures and clay accessories that call for my attention, a post of some things I made last year can be found here.
Then there is a couple of smaller mosaic projects I would love to engage in, and a ton of lovely garments to sew for my boyfriend. Mm, I think I need to stop here since there is three more questions that need answers 😉
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I haven’t got the slightest idea really. I suspect that others doing similar things are better organised when it comes to materials and working space and everything else. A lot of sewing blogs also show that seamstresses often have at least one cat to “help them out”, and also pose sleeping on piles of fabric, hihi. I don’t have a cat, but I do have a bear and he is slowly picking up on how to be an adorable nuisance when I sew 😉 His name is Deano Bear, and he’s got a little brother too 🙂
Why do I write/create what I do?
I make things for the simple reason that they want to be made. Sometimes it starts with seeing something I find beautiful. There is, of course, always the option to buy the things you see and like, but they usually come with a price tag the size of a month’s rent, and if you can’t buy it, make it!
In our day and age, not knowing how to, isn’t much of an excuse. Whatever you want to learn you can, as long as you have the time, interest and patience. The internet is a vast how to manual for absolutely everything, most of which I have not tried yet, hehe
I need to have something in my hands, be it fabric, needles or thread. Tile cutter, shards of glass, pieces of wood, twigs, glue, soil, seeds, cement, clay, wire, buttons or tin shears. Make things is what I do, not necessarily because I need them, or even want them, but just because I think they are beautiful or decorative at the moment I spot them. It may not make much sense, but it’s rarely the item itself that is the real reason behind making it. It’s the process of learning how to create them, or get better at doing so. It’s the thinking and planning, the trials and errors of figuring out how to go about making a solid thing of what I see in my mind or somewhere else, and then let my hands into the process.
After a project is completed I often lose interest in it, that can happen just before it’s finished as well, because by then I have already figured out the approach and want to try it on a new project to improve it. This is why I have more corsets than I will ever use. I mean, how often do you go anywhere where one is required? Not often, never really. But I learned how to make them in different styles because they are beautiful pieces of clothing. Made them by machine and by hand, with steel spiral boning or plain steel boning, some with hemp or plastic covered copper cable as cheaper alternatives. With busks and without busks, you name it, I have it. While it is a great joy and a special feeling to dress up in such a gorgeous piece of clothing, the greatest joy lies in sewing row upon row of hand sewn eyelets that make your fingers look like they have been chewed by vicious minks 🙂
I have kept a few things over the years, but nearly everything has been given away as gifts or just given to someone who happened to pass and say a thing was nice and that they’d love to have one. On occasions I have got commissions to make this or that, and while that carries its own charm, I find it takes away a lot of the joy that is part of the process. That is probably the reason why I have never really tried to make money on the things I make, it adds elements into to work that I rather do without. Still, it would diminish the clutter I live in, and add some well needed cash for new materials, so who knows what I might get up to? ;o)
How does your writing/creating process work?
Well, that naturally depends on the project. If it’s sewing a garment I either find a model I like and a pattern that goes with it, or I draft a pattern from instructions or by my own head. Some pieces of clothing come without pattern, if I still want to have a go at it, the work with drafting a pattern looking at the model is started.
You often end up having to do a lot of changes, which is why making a mock-up is a good idea, especially if sewing historical clothing. You then make all the adjustments on the mock-up that is sewn from cheap scrap fabric or an old sheet, before you cut into the fabric you intend to use for the finished piece. As I love hand sewing I usually make eyelets, button holes and hems by hand, if not the whole garment.
It can also be seeing something I’d like to have but find too expensive to buy. I then look into if it is possible to make, and if so, how to go about it. One can find tutorials for most things, but I particularly remember seeing this wonderful concrete pillow online. I had been doing a lot of concrete garden ornaments and other things in concrete at the time, and it was a challenge to come up with a working solution for a pillow like the one I had seen. That took its time and included a number of failed attempts, but so one night it hit me how to do and my joy was immense 🙂 Even ended up selling one, covered in red mosaics, that was quite the boost!
These days, Pinterest is a great source for finding ideas and instructions for projects of all sorts. I have always been very thankful for the many talented people who’s tutorials online I have found very helpful through the years. It’s lovely to see how they kindly share their knowledge instead of keeping it to themselves like chefs do with their secret recipes.
I would love to make tutorials that might end up helping someone to create something of their own, but there’s a lot of work included in doing them, and doing them well. At some point I hope to get there too 🙂
I would like to nominate Dean Harkness to take the Grand Tour forward to a blog I think, and hope, you will enjoy a lot. I met Dean online some years back and as strange things happen, he proved to be the love of my life. He will be joining the tour 19th May.
Dean is an artist blessed with a great many talents. He’s a book cover designer and illustrator among other things, such as being an inspiring poi performer, philosopher, poet and master of sour dough! You find Deans website here, do pay it a visit and check out the lovely gallery pages and recent works! On his blog you can e.g. read about different artistic approaches, and follow the process of the making of a gorgeous terracotta woman with big feet!
He is also the author of a small collection of honest and sincere poems titled The Heart and The Hand!