Summer crafting

A quick recap of July-August for you: fresh off the exams and final projects at the end of my first year at school, I finished the last exam mid July and drove straight to work at my summer job. Around that time I also moved out of my apartment and back to my parents home. For a while I was just working during the day and couch-potato-ing in the evenings, feeling exhausted and weary of the mess that was my room (having filled it with boxes and bags of apartment things after the move).

The change was abrupt and suddenly I wasn’t making anything, homework or otherwise, and it really got me down. So I started clearing out my room, bit by bit, and set up a proper work area. And now I’m back at it, crafting, for fun and not for school even! Atleast till the new school year begins and I go back to being a full time design student.

The first project of the summer was one I’m most proud of. I made a wedding shawl for my friend Daphna, and got to see her walk down the aisle and stand under the chuppah wearing it. Not only was it fun to make, it was meaningful and personal and I can’t wait to see the professional photographer’s photos so I can show off my beautiful friend and the knitted creation. It’s a triangular white lace shawl and it’s lovely, if I may say so myself. Quality pics to come, but in the meanwhile, here’s the one I took with my phone, you can barely see some lace peeking there.

The second thing is also exciting news. I picked up embroidery again and I’m planning on opening an Etsy shop soon. It’s going to be an embroidery hoops wall art sort of thing of a shop and I’ve already started making them. It’s great fun, I can’t wait to get it up and open and share it with you. I have a few things to get done first and then I’ll announce the grand opening.

See you soon, with pictures of stuff next time, and hopefully shop news!

London Laser Cut

This is quite possibly the coolest thing I got to do this year:

london laser cut map

Our Illustrator class teacher decided that instead of just mailing her our final project we should get it laser cut.  We could design whatever we wanted to have cut and I chose to do a map (lifelong passion) of London (see previous remark). I’ve loved learning Illustrator (And Photoshop last semester), and so I tackled the laborious task of outlining the map with glee.

I was going to try and simplify an existing screenshot from Google Maps, but that didn’t come out clean enough so I built the paths from scratch based on the screenshot. It could, of course, be more specific and detail blocks (like my inspiration) but I had time and cost constraints. I love it like it is.

london laser cut detail

I got it from the laser cutting studio place like this, covered in tape, like a puzzle. I had to peel the tape off very gingerly (even though the cardboard is pretty sturdy) and let all the little pieces fall.

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laser cut thames

I just love how it came out exactly like I saw it in my head. And laser cutting is just a gorgeous technology (albeit pricey). I feel like creating more things to get cut now, maybe try plastic or wood or fabric, and do intricate designs or typography or what have you. It’s just too cool!

Knit design it is!

I know you were on the edge of your seat waiting for the obvious news.. :) I’m going to  specialize in knits. Who knows what that really means though. And I still want to take print courses as much as possible and combine the two. We’ll see… :)

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(Image from Randi Samsonsen, textile designer from Denmark)

The sorting hat

A friend compared the meeting I had yesterday to being sorted into Hogwarts houses.

Each of us first years had to bring selected works from classes we had this year to show the heads of the textile department, so they can decide whether we specialize in knit, print or weave in the next three years.

While it’s presented as ultimately their call, I think they take our wishes into account. This threw me into a tail-spin this last week, being torn between my old love (All things knitting) and my new one (Prints! Stencils! colors!).

We won’t know till next week. They were very nice and excited about everything I showed them, and while they said I could be in any of the three (yay!) they were so thrilled with my final knitting project, that I’m assessing it’s 80% Knit – 20% Print at this point. I showed absolutely no excitement about weaving (although I’ve seen amazing things done in weaving lately) so I don’t think they’ll send me there.

I guess I naturally lean towards knitting since, after years of hand knitting as a hobby, I feel like I understand what can be done with it, and I feel like I can read the structure of knitted items. I’m a complete novice when it comes to machine knitting but I’m anxious to learn. And I especially fantasize about computer aided design and knitting softwares. (I’m a geek).

I think knitting is considered related to fashion, and weaving to home interior design, and I really don’t know which field I prefer, but I take comfort in the fact that this won’t necessarily set the course for my future. I can take electives in all three, and I can find myself working in one of the other practices, or possibly combining different techniques.

Still, I’m very anxious to find out which is it. Anything but Slytherin…

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I’m still alive!

Hiya!

As I’ve mentioned before, this semester is much more brutal than the first one was. It’s just a few weeks from ending though, and I’m really looking forward to having a bit of time to share what I’ve been working on.

There are some things I’m actually quite proud of and can’t wait to photograph and show you. And then when the blessed summer actually starts I can maybe even go back to doing some crafting and DIY for fun. Imagine that.

So watch this space and I’ll see you soon!

Woodcuts!

Hello again! It’s been awhile.

We’ve been doing woodcuts in our print class and it’s the first time in a few weeks homework is fun and worth sharing. I’m kinda proud of how my first ever woodcut turned out:

wheat field woodcuts

The photo I used was one I took in England of an endless wheat field swaying in the breeze. The cutting process was easier than I thought, and I only bruised two fingers while doing it! And then the printing itself was exciting. I made a ton of prints and it took a while to get the swing of things. The one at the top of the middle pic is one of my better ones, but it’s still got some even pressure issues.

Next up – linocuts! I’m using pics of my doggie for that. I’ll share it if they’re any good :)

What I did on break

A few weeks back, before the new Oh-My-God-Hectic semester began, I had a week and a bit to rest, completely free and with no chores, and I did a bit of crafting just for fun. You already saw the nightstand makeover, but I didn’t get half a breath to show you I also picked up cross stitching!

rose cross stitch

I never tried it before, but I figured it must be pretty easy to learn and I stumbled upon this chart which is lovely. It was easy but it took *forever*, just this small hoop. I measured it in Supernatural episodes, at that time I also discovered Supernatural and watched marathons of the show all night and day. So I know it took long because it took me a full season to finish the rose.

And then boredom led me to polka-dot my nails with the head of a pin:

polkadot nails

Fun times were had!

50’s textile is funky

Tiny disclaimer – This is the first time since I began studying design that I stumble upon a bit of history that inspires me to write about here. Please bear with me as I haven’t fully researched the subject, I just did a very short and quick paper on it so this is more ‘oh look at the pretty!’ than an actual study in textile history.

In one of the new classes of the semester everyone had to pick one word with personal meaning, and the teacher gave each of us a different assignment based on what we chose. I chose “London”, and my assignment was to research women textile designers in 50’s era London. I didn’t have a lot of time so I didn’t hit the books (I mainly hit the search button on Google..) but I did use this wonderful set of pattern books from the V&A, a gift from my lovely coworkers. It was so much fun turning to my own private little library for school work, and it made for a quick source of photos as each of the books comes with a cd of jpegs – handy!

50’s era prints were bold, vibrant and fun, epitomized in the work of the most popular designer of the time, Lucienne Day. I love how the influence of modern art  is so apparent in her designs, specifically Joan Miró’s, one of my favorite artists. Looking at her fabric designs (that were mostly used for furniture) is uplifting. She really made home textiles an affordable form of art. A number of prominent women designers worked and transformed the field alongside her, and I briefly touched upon works by Jacqueline Groag, Mary White and Hilda Durkin in my paper.

Here are some of my favorites:

Calyx, 1951, Lucienne Day's most famous and sought after design

Calyx, 1951, Lucienne Day’s most famous and sought after design

Herb Anatomy, Lucienne day/Heal's, 1956

Herb Anatomy, Lucienne day/Heal’s, 1956 – So Miró-ish!

Coppice, Mary White/Heal's 1954

Coppice, Mary White/Heal’s 1954

Jacqueline Groag/David Whitehead, 1952

Jacqueline Groag/David Whitehead, 1952

Nightstand Makeover: Fabric Decoupage

I’ve got a full week of total freedom, since the last exam finished and till the new semester begins. It took me a few days of staring at the wall, watching Doctor Who and eating cookies to get back into crafty DIY mode. The apartment has seen no improvements since school began so now it’s time to prettify it a little.

First stop: this piece of salvaged furniture a neighbor threw out, which I’ve been using as a nightstand.

nightstand makeover before_1

There wasn’t much to do with the sunken top, but a few drops of carpenters glue helped strengthen the corners.

And then – the make over. All it took was paint (left over from a school assignment – yay for fully exploiting existing resources!), Mod Podge (Gloss-Lustre) and cotton fabric for the drawers.

nightstand make over after_1

This was the first time I did decoupage with fabric and I used many tips from this tutorial from Lolie’s Abode.

The steps for decoupage were as follows:

1. I traced around the drawer tops and cut the fabric with a few cm extra on every side. I made sure the placement was alright for the three drawers.

2. I found it especially helpful to spread a thin layer of Mod Podge on the cut fabric and letting it dry before gluing it to the drawers. The Mod Podge stiffens the fabric and makes it easier to work with. I also made sure I chose a thick non-transparent fabric to begin with so I wouldn’t have issues with the wood showing beneath it. It didn’t bubble at all which was a relief. On the contrary, the Mod Podge made all the creases and lines disappear and I didn’t have to feel guilty about not ironing the fabric first.

3. I used Mod Podge to glue the fabric onto the top of the drawer first and let it dry, then cut around the excess fabric to leave only a thin border, just enough to go over the edges.

4. I glued around the corners and the back one side after the other, folding the corners as neatly as possible. As a first project, I would recommend you don’t do as I did, and pick a rectangular surface with straight lines. The curved part of the drawer was tricky. I let go of any hope of the fabric looking nice and neat on the inside. I clipped the fabric so it would stretch better, and used my fingers a lot to pull and stretch it over the curve. I think all in all I did nicely but it was the trickiest part of an otherwise easy project.

5. I spread another layer of Mod Podge over the fabric front and edges (over the corner folds especially) to seal it. As I said my fabric didn’t bubble at all so I didn’t need any extra layers to smooth it out and once was enough. I also didn’t sand it afterwards. I’m very pleased with the finish. I think the fabric choice is crucial here so if you use a sturdy cotton fabric you’d be okay.

I only wish I’d dealt with the sunken top but otherwise I’m very happy. It was a poorly built little piece of furniture to begin with, one of those things people throw out and you just collect for your student apartment, but now it’s brighter and happier and it’s something I made, so I’m very fond of it.

I hope to get some more DIY done before the end of the week. And next week – new semester, new classes! I’m excited. Mostly because we’re going to have an embroidery class and I’m very much into embroidery and already have all the materials and tools. So watch this space for more school madness. Remember to sign up for updates via email or RSS down here at the bottom of the page or follow me on Pinterest!

Portraits

ציור 002The final presentation of the semester was today, drawing class. We had to bring in ten portraits, in any technique we choose. Most people went with charcoal or pencil, and I chose to use ink with a dry brush.

I feel like my strength is small detail drawings that are always too light (which is why I loved botanical drawing), and ink draws a more violent approach out of me. It’s also unforgiving as you can’t erase any lines, so most of these are so-so in quality, composition and proportions. I did more than ten and chose the best out of everything I had. I got many people to sit for me, wonderful and patient family members and friends. Sadly most of the portraits ended up not looking like them at all (I’m really not good at this.. and still kinda ‘green’ at drawing faces). Best ones were definitely the two portraits of my little brother, who sat perfectly still (once in front of the PlayStation and once with an Iphone…), those two are the ones that resemble reality most. Our instructor really liked this one:

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So I’m not a great painter yet, but it was a fun exercise and I feel that I’ve improved along the way. And the technique is super fun, as long as you don’t accidentally let a drop of ink fall splat in the middle of your drawing, ask me how I know.

We also had to bring all we’ve done in the past semester in class, which was a nice reminder that from time to time I can actually produce decent drawings.

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I hope to post about my other presentations as well, especially weaving as it was a lot of work and I liked the outcome. But now – exams. We have two written exams coming up, just up my alley after 3 years in university, finally some normal sit-down-and-cram, in PJ’s with coffee. Can’t believe I’m actually looking forward to it.