Thursday, 17 February 2011

And Now for Something Different . . .

I've been doing a different kind of art today - textile art:

Journal Sketch Page ~ Oyster Catcher

In the hub-bub of life I sometimes hatch a little idea which I don't have time to pay attention to right away and it has to be quickly drawn into my sketch book so I can remember it for later.
This was one of those ideas, and it was born in September of last year whilst up on the Northumberland coast.

One very early (and particularly beautiful) morning, I was the first one up in our little holiday abode, and whilst enjoying a hot coffee I had a trawl through the rather fascinating book case that the owner had thoughtfully crammed full of fabulous reading material and discovered a very old bird book.

I wish I could tell you what the title of it was but I'm afraid I can't.  It was one of those little books bound in soft navy blue leather, and all the wording had been rubbed off.  The pages were well worn and yellowed with age on the edges, and did I just fall in love with those black and white illustrations?  You bet I did, and I hastily scribbled in my sketch book that morning as the ideas ran riot.

My idea was to create a journal type sketch book piece using mixed media mounted onto a small box canvas.
Using creamy white calico as a base to work from, I drew a lined journal background and my oyster catcher in pencil and then coloured it in with acrylics, adding a couple of smooth round pebbles he could nose about in and a bit of turquoise for the shoreline.

When the paint had dried, I ironed the calico and began my freestyle embroidery.  I used two contrasting colours of thread throughout as I like the fact you can see both colours if you look carefully.  It's also a nice way to shade.

I really love the freedom of this kind of sewing, it's a very organic process and I enjoy the occasional serendiptious mishaps that end up enhancing the work! 
To give it more of a page-like feel, I sewed in the lines and added text using a vintage typewriter alphabet stamp, and also a bit of my own hand writing.

To finish, the work was mounted on a painted box canvas.  What do you think?  
You will be able to find this in my Folksy Shop.


So onto other stuff:  I've been doing a bit more work on my shawl this week, in between looking after a poorly Small.  It's slow progress but it's coming on a treat.  I'm looking forward to sharing some new pictures of my current WIP with you very soon.

Talking of crochet...Oh my goodness did I go weak at the knees with the Wanties or what!?!  Being pretty much housebound this week playing nurse to Small, I decided to treat myself to a magazine - the ones I promised not to spend oodles of cash on anymore, except as a treat (but I reckon being a nurse qualifies to a bit of self indulgence).
Anyhow!  Flicking through the pages of a rather colourful and splendid Country Living I saw this:

Can you see it?  
Look closer...sorry to behead the poor woman in the picture but check out that crocheted waistcoat!!!  Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeals of delight, just LoOk!! LOOK!!!

Sorry the picture is slightly blurred - but you get the idea!  Apparently it's a CK one although I can't find it anywhere online to look at in more detail.  It's worth £68 squideroonies and you know what I thought when I saw it don't you?

I could make that.

It looks like a granny stitch affair to me - and it is ever so likely that this will be my next project once the shawl is finished. I'm already choosing colours for it - the other half raised an eyebrow and indicated with a slight nod of his head the rather full to bursting wool basket in Crochet Corner...'What about that lot in there?'  Well what about it?  It's all odds and sods, suitable for blankets and cushions, this is going to need New Wool!!  And that for me is half the pleasure of it all - picking new wool!

If any of you has a link to a better picture of this waistcoat, would you be a dear and send it to me please?

Thank you.

Sending you love ~ thank you for dropping in today, have a wonderful weekend!
Julia x


  1. Have you looked on Ravelry?
    There bound to be a pattern there, it's the first place I look if I see something I get the wanties for and know that 'L can make that!'

  2. Sorry - not 'L' can make but 'I' can make !'

  3. I love Oystercatchers and you've captured this one beautifully, I love the way you've drawn/sewn him on the lined page too!
    and that waistcoat had caught my eye too I've been squinting at it to see exactly how it was done, but I think I may have to wait and go inspect one in the flesh!

  4. I had exactly the same thought when I saw the waistcoat. Had a look on the CK website but can't find it. I'm going to wait to see how yours turns out before I attempt it, hee hee.

  5. Hi Julia, just recently discovered your brilliant blog!
    The Oyster catcher is wonderful, the dash of turquiose behind it shows it off beautifully.
    I too spotted the crochet waistcoat in CL, but I know I would never have the patience to finsh something like that!
    Glad to have found you

  6. Gorgeous work, love him! Also still loving your alphabet stamp, thanks for the info last week, I feel a purchase may be coming on! Ooh have fun picking your new wool... choosing new fabrics is totally one of my favourite things so I can completely understand your excitement! Enjoy the rest of the day xxx

  7. Lovely canvas and love that waistcoat too. Oooh can't wait to see what you come up with.x

  8. I have patterns from the seventies and I'm sure there's something just like this in there! I love all those colours and it should be quite quick to make I would have thought. You must show us when it's made, I'd love to see! You bird canvas is lovely by the way. :) x

  9. The Oyster Catcher is truly gorgeous! Love, love, love it!

    I saw the waistcoat in CL also and had the same thought as you! Especially at that price! I have been itching to make a crochet garment for a while and have something in mind. Trouble is, it's from one of those really rather gorgeous Japanese books and a) I don't have the book yet, and b) doing something a little more complicated than a granny square pattern is one thing, but doing it when it is in Japanese is another! Might just wade straight in though and fluff about with it until I make it fit! Hubby did say to me when I showed him a picture of it 'You seriously want to wear that Ness?'!!!!!!!! He might take a bit of convincing!!!!! Just have to finish off all the other little projects on the go first! he he!

    I hope the sun has been shining for you today!

    Much love

    Vanessa xxxxxxxx

  10. Loving both your oyster catcher and the eye-catching waistcoat. I am a devotee of waistcoats - and I do think they look much better when they are higher at the back and narrow over the shoulder. Just a younger look I suppose.

  11. hi love the birdy picture - i have lots of 70's waistcoat patterns - I guess you could just do sripes rather than plain. I could e-mail you some if you wish - well if I can get my daughters to do the scanning etc as I am a numpty when it comes to stuff like that. I am in the process of crocheting a granny square cardi from a 70's book which coincidentally I found in the CS shop the same day I saw a super GS cardi on Attic 24 blog.

  12. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that oystercatcher. How clever are you? How jealous am I? Off to see the price tag on Folksy... Ax

  13. I love the new painting and the sketchbook effect is great.

  14. What a lovely embrodery you have made! The oystercatcher looks very real. In swedish this bird is called strandskata. I also must say that I get a lot of inspiration looking into your blogg. You do so many lovely things!

  15. I love the oyster catcher picture so much! It has so many ingredients that I love - the sea bird, the stamping and writing and the lined page yummy. You are very talented, Julia! I also loved the crochet waistcoat though I couldn't make one myself as I can't crochet - but I would if I could! Lovely things! Hope your little one is better today (my grandbabies have nearly stopped coughing now!) Helen x

  16. The oyster catcher is brilliant! I love birds and have tried lots of different ways of capturing their movement/ colours/etc. I love the simplicity of the free machining (although its harder than you make it look!)

  17. Oh Julia your textile art of the oystercatcher is beautiful! I really love it. :)
    Looking forward to seeing your waistcoat!
    Vivienne x

  18. That artwork is beautiful, I love such textured works - and free machine embroidery is such fun isn't it!
    I hope the little one is feeling better soon.

  19. Love the Oystercatcher - I saw a couple of real ones on Tuesday at the Old Moor RSPB reserve.
    I spotted the waistcoat too, will have to look through some old books to see if I can find something similar.
    Carol xx

  20. Lovely canvas. I haven't tried freestyle stitching. There must be somthing in the air as I did some machine stitching on a scrapbook layout today.

    You sound like me with the 'I can do that' :) It normally accompanies a gasp at some extordinary prices.....and you could definitely do that. I look forward to a crocheted waistcoat appearing soon.

  21. Your Oystercatcher picture is wonderful. I need one of those attachments thingys for my sewing machine so that I can experiment.
    Lovely blog. Sarahj

  22. Hi Julia, your oyster catcher is a true delight, I loveall the colours and vintage print too. It's great getting inspiration when you least expect it.
    I must say that when I saw that CK waistcoat I flipped out at the price and thought I very much want to make that. had a go at looking on ravelry but found nothing appropriate! I would abosolutle love it is you could come up with a pattern for us... I haven't progressed to making my own patterns/designs yet. As for the buying of yarn... well what more can I say it's the same scenario in our house (hee hee) xox

    ps. I subscribed to Country Living for a year using £11.00 from my tesco's vouchers.I don't shop very often in tesco's but accumulated my vouchers and thought it was a great bargain for a year's supply of my favoutite mag x

  23. I love the Oyster Catcher. And I love the idea that you revisited your sketchbook and actually did something with the idea. I'm great at the ideas, bad about following through.

    About the stash in the corner...I have a basement full of yarn and material and doilies and tablecloths and books and I was just called a "yarn Hoarder" this week! I thanked her!

    Cindy Bee

  24. Julia ~ Your oystercatcher picture is wonderful ~ I love everything about it and the lined journal idea is very effective. As another who loves all things seasidey this is just my cup of tea :O)xx

  25. I absolutely love the oystercatcher, that would make a fabulous cover for a journal don't you think? Anything made that same way would in fact. Or you could stitch them all into a sort of rag book, a keepsake for your children of some of your work.
    And the waistcoat... I know I am going to love it when I look inside my CL... I tend to keep putting it off as I enjoy it so much I don't want to spoil the pleasure of anticipation, if you get my drift? I would think it would be relatively easy to do, I had the same idea for one in small squares. You can lay them out and fit as you go along, easier than knitting in a way.

  26. Your oyster catcher is beautiful and I love mixed media work...what a glorious journal cover. I will be very interested to see your waistcoat in progress!

  27. Dear Julia! I'm in...I saw the same crochet at Emma's and just love it! I think it would be also very practical in our warm weather.
    Your new art piece is wonderful! I like so much to see different materials used with other ways!
    Shall we crochet... xxx Teje

  28. Hello Julia,
    i love your new birdie artwork! You do create lovely things. The waistcoat is great, I think those colours would suit you, the palette seems very you. I would be interested to see the pattern you used. I searched for the CK one on the internet but found nothing. Next time I pop into the CK shop I will ask about it. It does look easy but would be nice to see it in the flesh. Have a lovely weekend (and half term!). Off to my research now. x Pati

  29. lol...of course you need new wool for that! And the waistcoat doesn't look that hard, as you said!

    I like your oyster catcher. Something about the simplicity of the design is very appealing :)

    Thanks for visiting my blog the other day :))

  30. I love your Oyster Catcher picture Julia! Beautiful :) x

  31. That makes two of us! :D I saw that waistcoat over at Bunny Mummy and it has been stuck in my head ever since. I have actually already started on my waistcoat project, improvising a pattern... I am not sure how good it will turn out but hey, it can't be that difficult. For me the challenge seem to be finding the right shade of green... Good luck on your waistcoat adventure!

  32. Love the oyster catcher or should I say 'monster catcher' as they are known in our house :D


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