Sunday, 9 December 2012

Canvas Commisions

I go to a Toddler group every week with my little boy and for the past year we have been meeting in a different place while our church underwent major renovation work. The Clevedon Family Church welcomed our group in and let us share their lovely space. This week was our last week there before moving back to the newly refurbished church and I was asked to make two canvases as thank you presents. One for the church and one for the lovely lady who has been helping us every week.

This first canvas was the one I made for the church. It's a little bigger than A4 size. My stamping is a bit wobbly but I'm happy with how it turned out.

I started by sticking down pieces of patterned paper onto the canvas. You can see some of the paper showing through the paint here...

I dug out some old alphabet stickers and wrote out the words "love" and "thanks" repeating across the canvas, which I gessoed so they would disappear into the paint.

I then painted and stamped to finish the design, using a variety of stamps so that the Bible verse would fit in. I also discovered when I came to stamping out the numbers - I hardly have any number stamps!

This next canvas was for the lady who helped us every week. My friend tipped me off that this was a verse she liked.

I then painted and stamped to finish the design, using a variety of stamps so that the Bible verse would fit in. I also discovered when I came to stamping out the numbers - I hardly have any number stamps!

This next canvas was for the lady who helped us every week. My friend tipped me off that this was a verse she liked.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Praise God from whom all blessings flow - a banner

Wow, it been ages since I've written on here. Life has been so busy with the daily challenges of family life and lots of crafting added in too. The exciting news is that I have finished my first banner - yay! Our church moved back into our newly renovated building on Sunday and it was such an exciting day. It's a fantastic place which can be used by so many people in our community now. It's such an opportunity to bless others.

So, here's my banner. It was running around in my head for ages and it finally came together on fabric last week. I've had lots of lovely comments already from friends at church.

It started out as a patchwork of different fabrics which I ironed onto a backing piece of calico using Bondaweb. I bought a complete roll of Bondaweb before I started - 30m should keep me going for a while.

I did some free-motion stitching around some of the squares as I didn't completely trust the Bondaweb and had images of the whole thing peeling away from the backing cloth half way though a service. The stitching is completely invisible once you take two steps back from the banner, which is something to bear in mind for future projects.

I projected a line drawing of the church onto the banner and drew around it with a pencil before painting over the lines using brown fabric paint and a fairly thick paintbrush. I drew around a few of the kids at Sunday school and cut out the paper to make stencils. I used some spray inks from my scrapbooking stash to make the silhouettes (with varying success - Maya Mist doesn't seem to like fabric much).

The letters were traced onto Bondaweb (reversed) and then ironed onto black fabric before being cut out.

There is a backing of very heavy calico behind the banner to give it weight so it would hang nicely and then the edges were bound with red fabric.

I now have a team of 7 people to help me with the next banners, which are going to be Christmassy and (hopefully) quite sparkly.

Here's how our church looks now...

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

And his banner over me is love

I finished this canvas a few weeks ago for a prayer day at church. My friend Kate had an idea for a banner of writing this verse from Song of Songs over the top of a background of lots of Bible verses about God's love. I made the background using my Junior Dymo embossing label maker and a big bag of tapes I've had for ages. I spent three evenings clicking away to type out enough strips to completely cover the canvas.

I made a stencil from scrap paper in the heart shape and finger painted to add the heart, then rubbed paint around the edges of the canvas too. I really like finger painting at the moment!

I stamped white paint on the bubble wrap and used multi medium to image transfer some book text and some birds I found in an old book.

I added pieces of patterned tissue paper and strips of microporous tape. For the main text on the heart, I just went for it with a permanent marker and wrote the words on. I practised using the stencil to check where the words would go and how big to make them, but then I just wrote it on and hoped for the best.

I gave Kate the canvas after the prayer day (as it was her idea which sparked it) and she loved it. I'm now trying to work out how I could translate it into a larger banner (maybe using foam alphabet stamps and some kind of resist technique?).

Monday, 5 March 2012

Psalm 139 canvases

I have finally completed some of my own artwork - hurray! It was my scrapbooking group's day to meet up at the weekend but I didn't feel in a scrapbooking mood. I picked up a pack of three blank canvases and a selection of materials and headed out to spend the day with my creative friends. I was so pleased to have completed this series in one day. I've had the idea in my head for while and I often find that when I've been considering a piece of art for a while it can come together fairly quickly.

I decided to go for it with these canvases partly because we have a 12 hour prayer day coming up at church and a friend asked if she could borrow some artwork to decorate the space. The piece we used in the past is (finally) screwed to the wall in my kitchen so it was a good motive to create some new pieces.

The three canvases are all based on Psalm 139. This psalm was read at our wedding, and has been important to me at lots of different times.

Psalm 139 v 5 "You hem me in behind and before
You have laid your hand upon me"

I found some ledger type paper and some text paper that looks like an ancient law which I used in the background. My bible explains the verse "hem me in" as "to keep under scrutiny" and so i thought those papers represented that.

For me, knowing God hems me in is about freedom to live fully, so I included a travel ticket and a bicycle advert.

Frames seemed an obvious choice about being hemmed in, but I also think these rub-ons are pretty. There are aesthetic choices made here too.

Psalm 139 v 7- 10 - "If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast".

Here is an old map page under the painting of the bird's wings.

There is a bird silhouette here, along with an aeroplane motif and a postmark.

Psalm 139 v 14 - "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

In a pile of old papers I found a girls notebook from working in a laundry at the turn of the 20th century. In the back of the book is a prayer written in her handwriting. This canvas is about identity and handwriting is such a unique, personal trait, just like a fingerprint.

I included a piece of a sewing pattern here too in the background to represent our bodies.

One of my favourite Christian bands were called Eden Burning and they wrote a couple of songs which I have found myself humming while working on these canvases, "Hem Me In" and "If I Go Up"

Thursday, 1 March 2012

A little overwhelmed

Life here is busy busy busy! It is always going to be busy with three young children and a husband working hard and I have also had some exciting work opportunities come up writing for two craft magazines (Scrap365 and Sewing World). My artwork based on my faith has been pushed into the back of my head, but it keeps on popping up into my imagination every now and again.

The building work at our church is going well and moving into the finished building in September doesn't seem so far away now. You can see pictures of the progress here. I need to get some banners made, but first they need to be designed - I'm not even sure how big they are supposed to be yet? Then I have to organise a group of busy people to be available at the same time to work together on the project.

I have been fortunate to get back in touch with friends who are now working as artists, particularly Sheona Beaumont and Heidi Hinder. Their work is so amazing and it totally inspires me.

But now I have doubts in my head. What if I get it wrong? What if I run out of time? What if people don't like the banners? I know my artistic skills don't compare with others, but maybe it's about relying on God. I can't do this in my own strength so I will have to rely on Him. I have been trying to focus and concentrating on reading my Bible every day. I have also signed up for an online class called "Scrapbooking your Faith" which starts today. I am starting in a place I know (cutting and sticking!) and I hope to move forward from there.

Thank you for sharing my rambling. I look forward to sharing some artwork from the upcoming classes soon too.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

A textured banner

This is a banner by Linda Albrecht which was featured on the Maya Road Design Team blog recently. I love all the little details on this. You can see it in more detail here.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Light of the World

On Sunday a lady in our church leaned forward and tapped me on the shoulder. She handed me a little booklet with this picture on the front and said she felt like she was meant to give it to me. She told me her mother had a picture of it, so she always thinks of mothers with this image and saw me with my three children running around and thought I would like it. I do like it and I found it so inspiring reading about it in the booklet. This lady didn't know about my exploration of church art and so I thanked her and later explained how inspiring it had been for me.

This picture is called "Light of the World" by William Holman Hunt and was painted in 1853-1854, who was part of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. It's a really famous image and yet I haven't encountered it before. It continues to inspire so many people with all it hidden messages which were so popular with the Pre-Raphaelites. There is a great explanation of it here.

One of the reasons I found this so inspiring is the perspective of time, that an artist created something which is continuing to inspire over 150 years later and is being shared online too all over the world, which Holman Hunt could never have dreamed of.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Sheona Beaumont

I've recently got back in touch with my friend Sheona Beaumont. We went to a church youth group together when we were teenagers. Her artwork is completely amazing. She works with photography and digitally alters images to make astounding pieces.

Sheona has a degree in Fine Art and a Masters in Visual Culture and is currently completing her PhD - Wow! Sheona's work humbles and challenges me.

Her banners below from her Hope Soars exhibition are so beautiful. Check out more of her work in her gallery.

Sheona has two exhibitions coming up. She has a charity exhibtion at Paintworks in Bristol on the 14th-18th February 2012. Hope//Poverty is an exhibtion to raise money for Mercy In Action who work with street children in the Philippines. It will include work from her Hope series.
Sheona also has new pieces to exhibit in May 2012 as part of the Bristol Festival of Photography .

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Art of Wild Abandonment

I am slowly emerging from the hectic Christmas holidays and planning for the year ahead. The house has been tidied (almost) and the calendar is filling up with holiday plans and work commitments.

I haven't taken part in an online workshop for a while and the new year has brought some exciting opportunities with some great teachers. The first class I've signed up for starts on March 12th and it's called "The Art of Wild Abandonment". It's a class run by Christy Tomlinson and Junelle Jacobsen. It's a three week course, but it will be open for a year, so it will give me plenty of time to really get into the teaching material.

Junelle's fabulous work is shown in the top picture and below. Her blog is fabulous and her expression of her faith is so inspiring.

Here are a couple of canvases by Christy. I've been following Christy's blog for a while and enjoyed a few of her classes. I love her methods behind her artwork and the art journalling course I took with her has changed how I approach my own work in a major way. She chats about her faith so easily alongside her craft chats.

I am really looking forward to March now, but in the meantime I will have time to catch up with the last canvas class I signed up for with Christy, called "She Art". I have plans for a series of canvases based on Psalm 139. So hopefully, more on that later!