Handmade Monday 99 – Spiralling with Butterflies

Welcome to this week’s Handmade Monday. If you’d like to take part, please pop over to Handmade Harbour for more info

Where life is not going at all smoothly just now and with a tax return looming I’m sort of in a fallow mode with regards to creativity – although I can feel ideas coming, especially around the new theme of HOPE that I’m working on. I have a suggestions list going on Facebook at the moment, as I’m collating people’s thoughts and ideas about what hope is to the them and what objects and colours symbolise hope. Not only will this inspire some designs but will also be used as the basis for a series of  blogs about  hope. If you’d like to take part,  please pop over to my page and leave your comments

Today’s post is all about making patterns and turning them into butterflies! This is a touch of serendipity as in between playing with butterfly ideas for a window display being constructed by Southampton Art House and sharing a photo over on Pinterest. The Art House are situated next to a currently emptyshop which will eventually form part of the new cultural quarter being created and have persuaded the local council to let them improve the front window area in the mean time…. and they’ve come up with this amazing design, and they now want local people to submit pictures of butterflies to add to it… To see the design please visit their blog

Anyway as I was pinning -that site is a dangerous distraction! – I happened across a Dutch magazine’s page which had one board themed around Spirograph. I had spirotot as a child as I think it was cheaper and our class teacher also taught us other ways to make similar patterns with compasses, pencils and  threads. I remember making those 70’s thread pics in fact! So only play true Spirograph at my cousin’s houses. But I loved the idea of making complex patterns from simple shapes and have been hooked on doodling in this style ever since.

On this wonderful page was a link to an Adobe Illustrator tutorial showing you how to use it to make Spirograph patterns. I have an old copy of Paintshop Pro 9 though and wondered if it was possible to replicate their ideas…… and with a bit of twiddling and a dredge into the deeply buried memory banks I did it!!

Then I got to thinking about how I could make butterflies, especially as I was already playing,  from the shapes I’d created and came up  with these design ideas:

butterflies The solid  grey and pink one was as a result of playing with brushes I have installed and although its pretty I have to admit I prefer my doodles!

I used a combination of ovals, stars and preset vector shapes to create my doodles. The plan is to replicate one of them in crocheted plarn and submit a photo of the finished item but the one I really want to do is going to be a challenge to do – I prefer the pink!

colour scheme

I then wantedto do a butterfly using the colours I’ve put together in a stripe pattern formy  Hope Design Board :

Hopeful butterfly

I have no plans to crochet this one but will submit it as a butterfly doodle……….. and go on to learn how to dye my own yarns so I can eventually make one!  What do you think?

Unearthing Your Creativity – Progress So Far

I’ve decided that I need to take some positive steps to get over this “I’m not a real artist / creative type person” block that I have. Its all well and good coming up with makes and displaying them to the world but if I don’t believe they’re good enough I’m not going to ever break through the lack of confidence barrier. A local artist and wonderful cafe owner Jani Franck has set up some online creativity courses and the first one is paid for by donation – much like all the lovely workshops she organises at the Art House, the community cafe she is a co-director of, in Southampton and home to our knit and natter group.

I thought about doing creative journalling but was a bit scared that all the proper artists would quickly see through me and came to the conclusion I needed to dip my toes into shallower water. My friend Elaine had done this course and said I should try it as Jani was advertising it again, so I duly enrolled. Most of week one passed without me opening the emails so after a verbal kick up the bum I decided to get on with it…..

The first exercise was all about what do I already do that’s creative…… mental block kicked in, so I went along to the supportive facebook group for the course, realised I wasn’t alone and had another go and came up with quite a list of things from making salads look pretty on plates to all my adventures with yarns. I also thought about the love I have for Mediveal and Tudor history and how that can influence my ideas and my imagination world. I have all sorts of whacky thoughts from time travelling monarchs coping in todays world where monarchy doesn’t equal power to how would life have been for me back then – would I have been a “Lady” or a serf! The exercise also brought my mind back to the world of architecture, how I love interestingly shaped windows, ceilings and reliefs – my dreams of using them to inspire design. I have loads of pictures of windows I want to turn into blankets for example – I just need to allow myself to make the leap!

Next task was to imagine what your creative life would look like. I have a dream of running a craft centre on the Devon coast – a fisherman’s or coast guards former home on a beach. There’d be the sea and sky to inspire, tranquility and calm. People could come and stay and be creative or just visit for the day. I’d love a little shop there and a cafe – a bit like an olde worlde tea shop with lots of table cloths and comfy seats with chunks of squishy cakes….. and I’d have a studio in the garden, a space of my own where I could sit and knit or crochet the colours of the changing seasons around me

The final task was to doodle every day for 7 days. It took me a while to start this as although there is a “no comparing” rule with the course I automatically viewed all the other doodles on facebook and decided I really wasn’t good enough. I was so worried that I made myself up a little chart with mini boxes to be filled. However once I’d done the first doodle and I admit, cheated a bit and read into week 2 – all about beating the creativty blocking monsters – I moved on to working on a much bigger scale….

Today I’ve done the 2nd exercise of week 2 but that’s going to have to wait until next week’s Handmade Monday….. its a special day out! And yes I loved, loved, loved it and am full of ideas and definitely need to do the creative journalling course soon!