Creative Block Gone!

Today I received Cas Holmes’ book in the post, The Found Object in Textile Art. It is every bit as inspiring as going  on one of her workshops and learning from her personally. It is oozing with small and large ideas to develop textile and mixed media art projects. 

This  morning for example, I learned  about Momigami. It is the Japanese art of distorting paper and fabric. I am sure Cas will not mind sharing her techniques. Basically you take a sheet of paper (serviettes, magazine pages, brown parcel paper, sacking, cotton handkerchief, coffee filter paper etc. Oil your hands with cooking oil, fold the corners of the paper into the middle & scrunch up. Keep scrunching & gently massaging with the palms of the hands. Open it out and spread flat. With the oil on the palms and fingers, push gently outwards from the middle to the edges to stretch the fabric or paper. Repeat the process 3 or 4 times until you have a piece you like.

The resulting piece can be used as a starting point to either paint, stitch, stamp or embellish in some way. The one below was a 3 ply paper napkin left over from a barbecue. I show the before and after photos. What you may not be able to discern with my poor quality camera is that ‘after’ using the momigami techniques the napkin looks like a piece of silk! It is quite gorgeous and I now have to decide how to use it.

Being so inspired by this process, gave me a kick start to finish the Six Sweet Hearts I had started weeks before. I used a mixture of the collographed work I made in June and the recycled materials that I collected from the local animal charity monthly sale, then I got out the sewing machine.


Creative Blocks

I do love creative endeavour, and usually wake up in the morning thinking of creative projects to do. But occasionally I find there is something that holds me back, and that is working in isolation. I live on a small Spanish Island where teachers/mentors who speak in my language are almost impossible to find. I long to share my thoughts on a project, its materials and composition, its narrative and how its all going…or to go a course to help me develop my skills.

I have decided to surrender to the fact that I live where I do, I cant just up sticks and move. I’m married, and my husband and I have worked for 6 years to renovate a house to sell.  In the economic climate, in some cases, properties are selling for half their value on the island…so its not a good time to think about moving.

So I was thinking creatively today, instead of working on something. That’s when I came across the 2010 Creative Every Day of November Challenge and it gave me the little push in the direction I want to go. This  is the brainchild of Leah Piken Kolidas and her intention is for everyone to share their artwork and ideas online.

Art Every Day

The Art Every Day Month Survival Guide is a support network to help keep everyone on track. There will be a daily post (on a private blog) filled with inspiring artwork, quotes, writing, and occasional audio clips. A guide through the hills and valleys of this month long creative journey.
My blogs on this challenge are on a separate page titled Art Every Day of November.

I have also recently joined The Hand Embroidery Network where I noted some inspiring embroidery from all over the world.

I’m on a creative roll!

It is almost 3 months since I last blogged! So much has happened. I have come home from my holiday in the beautiful Basque Country, and flew straight to the UK to visit my daughter, who has just had her second baby, a gorgeous boy. Whilst visiting her, I met Cas Holmes the textile artist and visited her house for a day-long, mixed media workshop using recycled fabric and paper and making simple monoprints and cardboard collagraphs. Totally inspiring!

from Cas Holmes workshop

Textile and paper: from a workshop with Cas Holmes

Then I visited my mother in Wales who is 83 years old and has  just obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in  Fine Arts.  She is an inspiration to the whole family as well as woman everywhere. Picture below is part of her final exhibition work, using locally sourced clays and home-made charcoal. Now she is a creative genius.

My mother, Irene's Final Degree Exhibition

At her house, she showed me how to make lino-cuts in exchange for showing her what I had learned from Cas Holmes workshop.

Duck Print from Linocut

Her arts library is extensive and I soaked up as much information as I could about Celtic art and Celtic history, as I want to use the curves and swirling forms of the Book of Kells on some embroidered pieces. Being in her house is uplifting, as not only does she share as much knowledge as she can cram into me, but in every room I see some hand made project she has made or has some project on the go. For example there is an enormous paper machè ball by the front door, which she is developing into an enormous cauldron, so it will be cut in half. ! I love being in her house and being warmed by the  creative embers she generates.

Eagle Print & Linocut

On a visit to the town charity shops, where I love to browse for second hand books and curios, I found a paperback  book in perfect condition  The Art of Annemieke Mein. A bargain at 2 GBP. I bought a stash of embroidery silks, metallic threads, fabric paints and watercolour pencils to take home.

A few days after I got back to the island and spent some time with my neglected husband, cat and dog, I reorganised my art room to accommodate my growing interests. I realised that I have neglected my weekly dose of Andrea Schroder of, so I downloaded the journal prompts and meditations she so lovingly puts together for free. Now I’m back  home, working in isolation from other artists, teachers or textile exhibitions, I totally need this.

My  friend Julia called to ask me for one of my tiny Art on a Card textile pieces, that I had originally  made as hand made birthday cards for friends. She has collected three of them and has framed them into miniature works of art on her sitting room wall.


With my art-room ready for service, I took the textile piece begun at Cas Holmes workshop and embellished it on the sewing machine, adding a few more ideas… though I am not clear where it is going as a composition!