Monday 1 February 2016

Sew And Sew. . . . .

Today sees the start of a new challenge at Our Creative Corner and your host is the lovely Jan. Here's what Jan has to say:

'Fabrics, wool, threads, lace - this months challenge is all about texture, layers and loveliness!
What scraps have you got hidden away? Any snippets of favourite clothes you can't bare to part with?
Anything sewing related can be used in your piece. You could use stitches, sewing machine or fake stitches. Don't forget to get out your sewing themed stamps and dies.
Have fun and create something!'

I was going to go down the route of gorgeous lace, fabric and some stitching with matching stamps but my mind kept wanting to go elsewhere! I've had some sheets of canvas (ready primed with gesso) for ages which have just been sitting there and I really wanted to use these to make some covers for a handmade journal which I need. So, the lace, lovely fabric and wonderfully feminine make went out of the window and this is what I came up with:

A journal with rigid front and back covers and the facility to grow as I fill it - hopefully!

The front and back decorated sections are A5 size. The first thing to be done was some random freestyle stitching using black thread. I went for a circle pattern as this is easy to control without the machine feed in position. Red and green fluid acrylics are used for the circles and yellow for the background. This is the front cover piece early in construction.

A close up to show the stitching and the paint application which wasn't quite as time consuming as it looks! The texture of the canvas is visible through the layer of gesso which seals it.

The addition of the background colour helps the circles to be integrated into a design.

The back section had the paint applied with a credit card and the shapes were then stitched in black to frame them. The circle theme is added using junk stamping (old lids, bubble wrap etc), stencilling, pens and a little more freestyle stitching.

Freestyle stitching. Stencilled large black cirlces. Small dots made with acrylic pens. Green acrylic paint rings are stamped on using an old plastic lid.

Some white stencilling with added acrylic pen work.

The vertical black lines at the bottom middle are made with a credit card and some paint. The circles to the right are produced using bubble wrap and paint.

I love how the stitching shows through the stencilled paint to add texture. The canvas has a built in subtle texture too which isn't lost after the addition of paint layers.

I stuck with the red, green, yellow, white and black scheme to give continuity.

The back and front covers are made from very thick grey board which is cut larger than A5. Both pieces of grey board are covered with sticky backed white canvas both inside and out. The canvas is painted with black gesso followed by two coats of black fluid acrylic. I hope this will seal the board from any paints and mediums which may leak through.

With lots of brute force I managed to pierce two holes in each cover. These are strengthened with metal washers which have been finished with black alcohol ink. This can be touched up at any time when it becomes scratched by the folder rings. The edges of the coloured canvas panels have been distressed - I would like them to have a more frayed appearance but the gesso tends to hold the edges in place rather well so I've had to settle for the scruffy look you see here!

Before sticking the coloured panels to the rigid covers, I machined around each to give a border. The stitching is changed to zig-zag for some sections just to give added interested. I hate wonky stitching but had to be a little freer with the lines so they had a more arty look - very hard when you're a perfectionist!

I've used a spare long red boot lace for the closure as this can wrap around the journal and hold it all together including any little bits and pieces I may keep in there. I covered the inside canvas pieces with some card. This needs further development as I'd like it be fairly easy to wipe clean and I'd like to add some pockets for loose items at some point. For now the card will do but I know that I will be working on these again at some point.

I'm holding my pages together with metal rings for the time being. I wanted to be able to remove the pages to work on then replace them completed into the journal. I also don't like ripping pages out of stitched/glued books but with this design I can simply remove pages if I need to! My biggest problem is that I only have small metal rings so if anyone knows where I can get larger ones please do let me know! 

I've added pages cut from a variety of materials: manilla card, watercolour paper, discarded gelli prints, brayer clean off sheets with some 'try out' stencilling, vintage music sheets and plain white card. I will also add others as I need to. I'm thinking of adding some kraft card too.

I was given some wonderfully thick black felt by my MiL and I knew it would be perfect for my journal name. I die cut some letters from the felt and adhered them to front of the journal. When the journal is tied shut, the red lace sits pleasingly below the letters.

Detail shot to show that gorgeous felt! 
I loved the freedom I found whilst making this journal. The stitching was entirely random and was such fun to do. I adore bright colour so I was very happy to use this in your face palette and I feel it is really relevant to a journal which I shall be using for an on-line art course this year. I've got a commercially produced one too but this home made journal is going to be my very special book for all kinds of stuff over the coming year.

You really must pop over to Our Creative Corner and see the beautiful pieces made by my fellow teamies - gorgeous inspiration for you all!

Our generous sponsor for this challenge is the wonderful company: 

You need to make sure you play and link up with us to be in with the chance of winning their wonderful prize! You may even be chosen as our winner and be invited back as our Top Talent! What are you waiting for? Can't wait to see what you come up with!