Saturday, 9 November 2013

Internal conflicts

I made this blog to be about crafty things, but I feel I need to to post this too. I wrote this earlier this week and posted it on a forum for cfs/me sufferers. It helped a lot of people, so I'm posting it here as well.

'Dear' CFS, Anxiety and depression.

You make me tired. You stop me from sleeping at night. You make it hard to wake up in the morning. You make me want to sleep during the day. You make my brain sleepy. I don't want to sleep during the day. I want to sleep at night. All night. I want to drift away to sleep easily. The Human n me wants to get up early, be productive, carry on til dusk, and then some, doing what I love best. Then fall right asleep.

You make it hard for me to do the things I love. You make me think I'm not doing enough, or that I'm doing too much. You stop me concentrating. You skew or twist people's perceptions. You make up your own perceptions. You stop me from being productive. I want to do all of the things I love, but you make it complicated. I want to crochet all day if I want to. I want to make earrings if I want to. I want it to be ok that I want to do these things.

You make my muscles ache. I want to move around

You make my legs constantly ache. I want to sit without pain.

You make me not want to do things. You are manipulative, cruel and sly. You make me believe I'm not good enough. Therefore, I'm not. You don't help me when I need help to escape from you. I want to escape, I want to be a good person. Not lazy, not tired, not blind, not useless.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Using glass as an Abstract Expressionist medium

I've been getting my Art on reading about abstract expressionism. I'm not sure how I feel about today's multi-million pound Damien Hirst - esque "art" ... I could get myself tied up in knots trying to explain myself and end up contradicting myself and going around in circles. Also, I really hate the term "artist". I refer to myself as a glassmaker/craftsperson. Artist just sounds... merh. Overused? Pretentious?

BUT I do know that, after visiting the Tate Modern in London (after I finished my craft degree, would you believe), my favourite section was the "Surrealism and Dream" section. I was really interested in the messages that the pieces were communicating, the images the Artist was showing us from dreams, memories or surreal past experiences.

So after the confusing headspins I was having trying to explain my opinion on Art and "Art", I got my paws on the book "Isms". This really helped me define my feeling on some areas of Art. and then I found my favourite pages...

I find Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism (AE) fascinating. You get an insight into the artist's mind. You see a visual translation of what they see. Surrealism pieces embody the internal images that the artist experiences. The artist mirrors what he sees, onto canvas. As a dabbler in painting, I have trouble visualising such detail and extravagance in my own experiments. It usually boils down to a rough form of AE, with some figurative flecks in there as well. Surrealism is certainly something I would like to practice. When I view Surrealist pieces,if there is an explanation, I always read that first. Before I view the image in detail, I want to experience the visual with the concept in mind. However, some of the pieces I have been viewing recently (on a facebook page that features Surrealist art spanning decades, up to the most recent art of today), they do not have explanations. As an observer, I am left to my own devices. I try to experience the piece myself, imagine myself inside the image, as a character. I use the colours, the mood, the subtle aspects that create a feeling or atmosphere. Since researching more recent surrealist art, I have found myself really absorbing the image, feeling quite moved by some of the pieces. I feel a sense of comfort in some ways, that that particular artist that painted that particular painting, could have experienced the particular emotion that I felt when I observed said painting. That someone else has experienced those things.

Abstract Experssionist art, in the same way as surrealist art does, shares emotions, feelings, actions, through raw pen to paper. Paint to canvas. Clay to table. Colours are my favourite element to experiment with. For others, Reds and Oranges may convey anger. For me, they symbolise activity, well-ness. For others, blues may 'give them the blues'. My blues merge with greens and mean happiness, uplifting thoughts, fresh mindedness. This is where my experimenting is successful- I can visualise my emotions and feelings through colour, and shapes. A strike of black amongst a red-orange sea is disruption. Disease. Other shapes, such as a sharp star, convey pain. Etc.

I really enjoy using water colours. They are slow, patient, and they put up with me piling on colour and water. I find painting theraputic, especially when I am visualising and physicallising (another word?!) experiences and emotions I have had. Having CFS and Anxiety gives me quite a lot of those. I am a visual learner and teacher. It helps me to teach when I can draw something to explain it. Using my rough little paintings, I find it easier to explain to someone outside my head what the elements are, and how they are interacting on the paper.

So AE and Surrealism can be put onto canvas, paper, and sculpted using clay. I fancy a go at making some glass to represent my AE internals. The colours I use in my paintings are easily found in my glass stash. Glass is a fantastic material to work with. Maybe I can make some beads that people can relate to. A necklace with ANXIETY written all over it. You know what I mean. Art is great in the way that only the artist and the interested observer know the concept or meaning. If I make a bead with my coloured codes on it, only I, and the person/people I explain it to will understand it. Any Jack on the street will just think it is some weird jewellery. It's like a secret club. Art club.

Friday, 27 September 2013


Bit of a makeover. Website built from scratch over a few days. New ish Logo. Nice new font. New business cards. New stalls booked. New glass designs. New glass. New Kiln. Lots of tea with lots of milk and sweetener. New Desk. New area. New people. Old shed. Reclaimed stuff. Finding a job. Making glass. Studying for qualification. Battling with "The Wall". Battling anxiety and CFS.

So lots going on. 

At this very moment, I am constructing a "master" listing type page layout for all of the items on my website. The pictures might be big enough. The space for descriptions might be big enough. I can hide this "master" layout on a page unconnected to my website navigation, so that I can only access it from my website builder. And you could too if you knew the address. But I won't tell you. muahaha. I can then copy and paste this into each item page, then I just replace the text and images in the gallery. Sounds simple, right? I might have to do that little routine over 100 times for all the things I have in my website. Good thing I'm self employed!!! This will bring me business this will bring me business this will bring me business

THEN I've got to do the same for Etsy. Little bit simpler, as all the boxes are in the right place, and once I've listed something it will stay on there, but copying and pasting everything might hurt my little ctrl c and v fingers.

Little rant over. See you on the other side!!!! I'll update facebook when all the many listings aree up. You can still look around my website, except not all thumbnails will have an associated "description page".

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Cotton Tape Labels

Cotton "twill" tape Labels

As I've been making a few Viking Hats for people, I needed some labels to sew onto the inside. I also thought that I could attach labels to my necklaces. I started off hand-printing each character onto the cotton tape... The ink was faint and it took forever, and it was usually untidy. SO a few blogs recommended Tshirt transfer paper, and here are my results!

I bought some Cotton tape stuff that was bright white. I dyed it with a thin solution of beige dye to make it look more.. oldererer.

Little colourful rivets on either side
1) Look cool
2) Help keep the excess from fraying

So you'll be seeing these on any of my necklaces, hats, crochet items, or anything!


Friday, 2 November 2012

Halloweeeeen 2012!

The making of the Viking Hat

I used these patterns: (with a little artistic license)

Hat (with a few alterations)

Horns (made twice as big)

For the beard:

Crocheting the hat took about a day- including some hiccups with the pattern (start with 12 sts in magic ring)

Don't the horns look fab! One of my favourite forms, aesthecially. Plus, loving the colour gradient I totally planned and didn't just happen to have in my stash... They were a real joy to make, the pattern turned into a rhythm that was easy to memorise 

Horns rolled at bottom 2 or 3 rows, and stuffed.

Bloke wearing his Halloween costume for 2012. We visited the Hob Goblin Pub. And he drank Hob Goblin. I should have made him a Hob Goblin costume... Next year.

In total the Viking hat took me about 3 days... Which isn't bad! I could wriggle that down to 2 days, maybe even a day and a half if I stapled the crochet hook to my hand permanently. 

My Costume

 I made a witches hat but I never wore it as part of my costume.

This was my costume. Spider. Web. Hat.

I sort of winged the spider pattern. (If spiders had wings I think arachnophobes would crumble into a corner and whimper for the remainder of the Winged Spider World Domination) 


Unfortunately I do not have a good enough picture of my costume on.
This little spider will now by my practical joke for the year. Or however long it lasts. I think it could last a while... 

All for now!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Noro - The most beautiful wool I've set my eyes on

Ok, so there's this fancy wool shop in Chester. Top stuff. I might have spent .. lots on this little stash.

I think I'm in love.

I usually only buy wool when I have a plan for what to use it for (this is to avoid this situation) however... Don't you think this wool is worth the exception? After thinking dreaming about my new Noro on the way home from Chester, I came up with a plan. I have always wanted a sort of long sleeved cropped shrug thing. So, I'm going to endeavour to write my own pattern. Heck, if I can successfully hook around other people's pattern I could probably wing it on my own. As for the Araucania stuff, I don't have a plan for that yet. That will stay in my "pretties" draw for now. This drawer is only opened when I need inspiration. I do get excited by pretty wool.  Bloke ensures me this is normal... as normal as any other Bloke getting excited with a deconstructed engine strewn all over the floor.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Current Crochet projects

First post! I thought I'd start off showing you what Crochet projects I have with me on holiday on the go right at this moment.

Granny square blanket

My lovely collection of cheapo acrylic wool

The blanket is 66cm / 26in across (the bit of paper on the blanket is a 100g ball band to compare sizes. I seem to like rainbows ^^ I've got a huge stash of blue wool which I'll use to bulk it up after I've finished the current round of colour. With a few stripes of cream. and more blue. Maybe a bit of green too.Very excited.

Men's size 13 socks

Making some super-sized socks for the Bloke. One sock uses almost one ball of 100g super chunky wool with a 6mm hook. I had about 12 inch strand left of the stuff from the first one- not bad going I'd say!
I must confess- I use crochet patterns like I do recipes. I get an idea of the shape of the thing of which I'm making, then sort of wing it. Hence why I can make a women's size 6 sock into a men's size 13. I'm just magic. To be honest, it isn't very hard with super chunky wool and a 6mm hook. I would have used an 8mm but I couldn't find it- but I think it's worked better this way, there isn't too much pull on the stitches.

Sheep Tea Cosy

The Bloke has an 8 pint teapot which needs cosying. Cus y'know, no man can drink 8 pints of tea in one sitting. Ok, that's debatable. But anyway, Project Giant Sheep Cosy will be another "make-it-up-as-I-go-along" sort of thing with a few measurements thrown in. Planning to do a bobble stitch for the body, then a simple arigurami head. The little black blob on the left hand side of the image is one of the legs. I tried to teach bloke to make a leg but working with a 4mm hook with black wool is difficult to teach with :D

Grandma's stash

Because Bloke's family are so lovely, his Grandma bought me a stash of wool from the charity shops. The perfect find! 8 balls for my blanket, and some sort of fluffy stuff (gorgeous colour too) to make cushion covers. Ooohh exciting!

My weapons of choice

A simple rectangle made with chunky wool with a length on the end to wrap it up with ^^ Cheapo hooks too. I wouldn't get those fancy wooden ones or the ones with handles- I learnt to crochet with these, so my movements are suited to these hooks. I twist the hook a lot so the handled ones would get in the way. The wooden ones I found to be too light, and the hook bit is very narrow. I just like these ones kay :D Oh, and a trusty biro, and some scissors. 

That is all for now! I have many more projects on the go at home, so when I get back from holiday I'll document all those too. And update you on these ones!

See you soon!