Genuinely don’t know where August went. I say this every month, I know. Every day seems to pass in a blur.
I had some reservations about this template, but it’s turned out to be my favourite so far this year.
There were lots of options for how to stitch the radiating segments but generally my preference is for keeping things simple. Running stitch is restful to work, and can look really effective.
I was thinking about first harvest for this month – that’s grain – and running stitches/small isolated stitches look like seeds, from which all things grow. And seeds are the culmination of a plant’s annual work too, so an end and a new beginning all at once.
The back, as always, is a kind of map. Or a mirror, perhaps. Beginnings and loose ends, which is what life is made of.
Next month – well, we’ll see how it turns out. The template was designed to indicate second harvest – that’s fruit – berries, apples, etc – but somehow I’ve made it look like hagstones.
I like hagstones. To me they are magical. Let’s see how they turn out. There’s no real plan, and no right or wrong. Just days, waiting to be filled.
When I left the day job eight months ago, I thought I’d have loads more time to create. Hooray, I thought, at last I get to be a full-time artist. All that extra time for stitching and drawing and designing and sketchbook work…
The reality isn’t quite as I expected. I have a lot of tasks to complete, sometimes simultaneously, before I can get anywhere near anything I want to do for myself. This definitely isn’t a complaint. I love being my own boss, and I love the freedom that gives me. I also enjoy working, and I like to be busy.
It’s a good job because at the moment there is So. Much. To. Do.
There is a little heap of fabric scraps to sort into packs for the shop:
And then there’s the thread mountain. Newly-dyed threads that need sorting, photographing and listing:
And thread taster sets, which take days to assemble:
Everything takes twice as long as I think it will – I am optimistic by nature – but all of it is more pleasure than work. And dyeing is a kind of artistry too, I guess. So is curating fabrics and threads, and also creating any kind of online course. Interesting how the universe interprets and delivers your dreams into reality. It’s better than anything I could have anticipated.
I will take a break when all of this is done. But in the meantime, thank you for keeping me busy.
It’s been a hectic few weeks, and another very steep learning curve, but my new online course is out now. All lessons are pre-recorded, so you can learn in your own time and at your own pace, and you get lifetime access once you’ve enrolled. You can watch the introductory video and read the notes for free.
In this course you learn how to paint your own fabrics – I show you some basic techniques and then away you go:
You learn to plan and develop your ideas in a sketchbook using some easy drawing, painting and collage techniques:
And you learn to layer and stitch fabrics to a foundation to create a unique little landscape. I show you how to stitch distant trees and hedges, how to add a sense of perspective to your picture plane, how to add buildings, structures, fences, and paths, and finally how to add foreground details using some simple hand embroidery stitches:
The videos are very informal and are intended to look as if you’re in the room with me. Occasionally I dither about whether to move a scrap of fabric or paper up or down by a few millimetres, but feel free to fast-forward through the less engaging bits – and my video-editing skills are minimal, as you will see. However, I think it’s probably as good as it’s going to get, and I think it’s good enough for you to learn the skills I’m setting out to share.
I think there’s somewhere over three hours of video in total, and each lesson has written notes beneath the video section, so you’ll need to scroll down each lesson to see all the information. There aren’t any subtitles for this course, but the written notes and the video together should be enough for you to understand what to do.
I’ve also made up some little fabric packs in the shop here (undyed fabrics for you to paint yourself) and here (hand-dyed sheer, semi-sheer, and textured fabric scraps for layering).
I think the customary way to introduce a new thing like this is for me to say something like, ‘I’m super-excited to share details of my new online course…’
The reality is that middle-aged British people rarely get super-excited about anything, and frankly it feels terrifying, rather than exciting, to put this much of myself out there. But – well – feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Every day a new adventure, and every day a little braver.