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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Out to play

Today's cycling adventure began with a puncture. Fortunately, my dearly beloved is a purveyor of bi-wheeled vehicles to the gentry (amongst other things) so he was able to put his puncture repairs skills to good use. We were soon underway to our favourite eatery where we wasted no time in getting the nose bags on. Don't be deceived by the sunshine. It was Baltic!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Fully grown

Last day at flower school. So sad. One little boy declared sewing to be 'hand and eye co-operation'. Couldn't have put it better myself.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Spade work almost over

Things are growing nicely at flower school. You'll probably see a pair of hands holding the spade at the top of the hanging to give us an idea of what the finish product will look like. Thinking of attaching it with fabric loops.

The children were passing the needle back and forth to one another today and one child was complaining how difficult it was. 'It's art!' replied her needle buddie, 'It's not supposed to be easy!'

More little flower pics here.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Ship Wrecked

We had a lovely adventure on our bikes today. More photos here if you're interested. I would suggest viewing them as a slideshow of one second duration. That's my favourite way...but then I have the attention span of a gnat!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Playing your cards right

Cracked it in Publisher!

Organic gardening, bugs and all

Just had the best day at flower school today. Taking the kids in pairs the classroom assistant and I actually managed to get the kids sewing on the big frame. They drew and cut out the leaves themselves, we used green straws for the stems and don't forget the fabulous googly eyed bugs.

We had one child on the floor beneath the table height frame and one child above. I made the pilot holes with a stiletto (?) - you know, pointy thing - and kids passed the needle and thread up and down through these holes, couching all the relevant bits into place. Worked a treat!

I think these would make the wonderful greetings cards but I'm not really au fait with the best programmes for doing that kind of thing. Any recommendations for printing out some cards? Which would be the best programme to use? Thanks blog buddies.

Child proteges

I was a little dumped today after saying goodbye to the puppets but my spirits were given a lift at flower school when one of the teachers told me she loved the calico bag she had painted and had taken it out with her twice. Even better, she had used the technique with her class. Can you believe these painting were done by five year olds? I couldn't. I think they're great!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The finale

The big day has come and gone and I'm as limp as a wet lettuce. The stars of the show were definitely the kids. Their presentation was great and they were thrilled with their puppets when they saw them again and dying to take them home. I'm just delighted that I didn't have to supervise the redistribution of said puppets, labeled in an extremely haphazard fashion.

On show were a rabble of bottledogs, a lemming leap of Benders, a mish-mash of mache and of course, the infamous jumping jacks, cable tied to the wallbars very successfully in the end.

My favourite quote of the day was from a teacher in another school who declared 'oh look, it's some of our parents'.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

You need hands....

Dearly beloved and I went on a bit of a distillery tour today but as I forgot to take my camera I don't have any picturesque shots of pots stills and mash tuns for you and you'll just have to take my word for how good the gaelic coffee was.

When I came home I did a bit more prep for the big puppet display on Tuesday. In the presentation script I wrote for the kiddiewinkles it says that I had converted one of the heads into a rod puppet - so I thought I'd better had.

I have a very good book called the Puppetry Handbook by Anita Sinclair. She says your face and hands should match (oops, have to dump the orange foundation then). It does make sense that there should be some correlation between texture and colour to make them look as though they 'belong'. I was too lazy to make proper paper mache hands so I settled from some pelmet vilene ones instead with frilly doiley cuffs. They seem to do the job. Makes me wish I had time to let the kids do the same with their. Ah well, maybe they'll give me a big hand and ask me back for an encore.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Thistles and sunflowers

You've heard of the Jets and the Sharks? Meet the thistles and the sunflowers (roses to be added next week). Not a stitch in sight of course, all held together by glue and I am a bit concerned what will happen when it reaches it's permanent vertical state. Not so much that things may fall off, but I do think petals might droop. Can always leave them my telephone number I guess for emergency petal restiffening.

The whole thing is meant to be hung from the ceremonial presentation spade that cut the first sod when the school was built ten years ago. Planning loops from the top of the hanging to accommodate this. I would like all the children to have put at least one stitch into the completed hanging so am also planning a ceremonial bug stitching on session once the roses are in place.

Summer in Scotland

Summer came to Scotland all of a sudden yesterday. Even the boys came out to play. You will notice that we are wisely adhering to that old Scottish saying 'never cast a clout until May is out'. In other words, keep your vest on. The boys are fully dressed under those dry suits!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

You have been chosen for an extreme makeover!

If the collab with Maggie is going to have a new life as a Jacob's Ladder it will need to be double sided. What's the opposite of soft and rotund and subtle? Me probably, or failing that, my drawing.

This is VL to her friends, who despite her hard life still has a couple of assets thanks to her friends on extreme makeover. If she meets with public approval she may well be going under the scalpel and needle yet again.

I had the pleasure of drawing the face panel for the fluffy version and would be pleased to extend a challenge if anyone else would like to give VL the lift she so badly needs. Just leave a link to your drawing in the comments. Have fun!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Mail from Maggie

Maggie posted the collab back to me today. I am very tempted to see if I could make it work as a Jacob's Ladder. Here's a paper and card one I made a while back. To work, it would need to be double sided, stiff and perhaps heavier. I also have a great desire to chop it up but hesitate to do that when it's not 'mine'.

In the meantime, I sorted them out at the school where the children's puppets are due to be displayed next Tuesday.

This work can't be displayed said head teacher. These children can't be disappointed I replied and so we parried, back and forth until we came to a grudging compromise and they agreed to let me tie things to the wallbars.

On a happier note, the teach at little school of horrors (whose puppets they are) was totally on the ball and in the process of displaying loads of work in process photos I didn't even know she had taken.

Off to flower school next where I wasn't scheduled to have face to face time with the children today. Instead I worked quietly in a corner cutting out the flowers the children had stitched. It's looking good!

When time came for the teachers continuing personal development session one woman declared herself too tired and not willing to take part. She complained long and loud and rallied the support of two other who also backed out. Eight did participate and enjoyed themselves whereupon one of the renegades declared she wished she had done it after all. Yeah......well....
Here are their bags. They declared the bondaweb technique to be flat (duhhhh) and seemed to take better to the 3D stitching. Enough for one day I think.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Quick on the draw

My art school chum Paulene was telling me about a drawing exercise using non tradition materials. This made me think of some of my past experimental drawings. The trees are drawing with a soldering iron on velvet covered with painted bondaweb. The face is drawn in glue and covered with dried leaf mould. The two torsos are string glued onto fabric

Joining the chain gang

Just completed first every crocheted garment from pattern. Very pleased with myself as you will see. Actually, the clenched teeth are for issuing instructions through like - is the macro setting off....not that, further away. Dearly Beloved not at natural David Bailey, even if they do share the same initials.


Next Tuesday is the much delayed display of puppets from the little school of horrors (and other participating schools). It was supposed to be held in the secondary into which all these primaries will feed. I have chums there and had organised lots of display materials for myself. Only now they've moved the venue. No tables available, they've asked the primaries to buy and bring a wallpaper table each. Doesn't fill me with confidence as my primary didn't even turn up at the meeting where this was announced. Oh, and they don't think I'll be able to show my life sized jumping jacks because there are no screens.

No way Hose! Not after all the blood, sweat and tears that went into the making of these pieces. I was encouraging the children by telling them about this exhibition. What kind of message is it going to sent to them if they see their artwork displayed in a one legged, half hearted kind of way? I'm off to the new venue first thing in the morning to baggie whatever display materials I can.

It was suggested I might like to tie 'things' to the wallbars. I know what - or rather who - I'd like to tie to the wallbars!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Miracle Grow

It was flowers as far as the eye could see at flower school today. A combination of the primary five helpers and the simpler stitching technique took the children ahead in leaps and bounds. Seventeen little flowers are now completed giving me the opposite problem to the one I thought I had. Am I going to be able to string the project out to fill the time allocated? Don't think it's much of a problem as all the flowers have still to be cut out and attached to their background fabric with addition of stems, leaves and bugs and I only have three weeks to go. The school would like it finished for parent evening - so no pressure then!

Beach combing

I had an enquiry the other day about a seaglass workshop which would be a nice after from the microscopic world of six year olds. Think it was my chum Sara who was saying that she hadn't yet found a use for her Swedish sea glass. Well get your wire out Sara and away you go!

Thrown nothing away

You just never know when something is going to come in handy like these edges off my ancient printer paper and some thin garden cane. I decided to use these to try and give the children the idea of gathering with a needle and thread. Their teacher way saying that usually she would start them off with paper weaving and work up from there but these children don't have experience of weaving with strips of paper yet. Perhaps I was asking a bit much of them so it's back to the drawing broad today making our wiggly caterpillars by taking the bamboo cane in and out of the paper holes. Keep everything crossed for me and I report back tonight.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

All ruched up and nowhere to go

Well it certainly seems to work in theory. Here is a little flower gathered up and stuck down. It seems a shame to discard the nice green background fabric altogether so think I will cut that out as echo petal shapes before sticking it to the background fabric. Looks as if mounting everything on frames for stitching has been a bit of a wasted effort but you live and learn. At least if keeps it flat and not as easy to throw in the bin or cut up by mistake!

Gather round

Difficult day at flower school with the small needles and thread proving too challenging for most of the children's fine motor skills. The staff could not have been more helpful and supportive and between us we hatched a plan B. Primary 5 are going to buddy the primary 2 children one to one. We're moving up to yarn darners and crochet cotton and concentrating on gathering our petals on a double strand before, I strongly suspect, gluing them into place on the children's faces and subsequently on the wallhanging. Would PVA glue be man enough for this job or have you a better suggestion? All information most gratefully received.

As I was having a drink of water before I started for home I heard the head teacher and my class teacher planning a church service and choosing the hymns. They were singing snippets back and forward to one another and it sounded lovely. Made me want to attend the service where the children from this school will be performing.

I also was given a present. One little flower had drawn me a picture. It really was for me, had my name on it and everything. Not just some picture she keep handy as a generic sook-in but a specifically target sook-in, just for me. That child will go far.

Gather some roses.

Gather ye thistles wile ye may.

You'll gather this is a sunflower.