Episode 5 – Fabric, Sketching, Watercolour and Mark-Making
Hello and a huge warm welcome to this blog article and to my studio. And warm it certainly is here in the UK – a scorching 30 degrees yesterday in my garden – I am literally melting.
It feels like ages since I have written a blog about what I have been up to, so hopefully I won’t bombard you with too much creative excitement. If you have read any previous blogs in this series, you may have noticed that I am quite the dabbler and am someone with a lot of creative pursuits – if I am making I am happy!
Quick recap of what’s been going on in Susan HQ and then onto showing some of my creative work. Don’t forget that I post my work regularly on my Facebook Page and my Instagram feed so you can follow along there for daily doses of creativity, videos and images of my work. Over the last two weeks I have closed registration for Inspire and welcomed loads of lovely people into the group, I have been painting, drawing, mark-making, updating the portfolio on my website and getting some of my fabric designs printed (now that is exciting!)
Ok, so on my list of things I wanted to do for about the last 5 years has been to convert some of my linocut prints and sketches into fabric. I LOVE fabric, I love pattern and I love bold prints. I have tons of colourful fabrics in my studio to sew from and be inspired by, which got beautifully folded and put on display recently. I always select clothes for their bold fabrics and just wanted to really create something like this myself.
During lockdown I set aside some time to study, and enrolled on a few in-depth online courses in surface pattern design. I have been quietly working away on refreshing my digital design skills (which were a little out of date) and playing with some fabric designs from existing pieces of work and a few new sketches here and there. It has been a super-fun process which, so far, I have kept mostly to myself. Importantly I decided to really take my time and not put any pressure on myself to create fabric collections or make approaches to companies – I just wanted to make fabric for me and for the fun of it. In terms of my own creativity my approach and mindset has changed a lot over the past 3 years and I have taken all pressure off myself – I just make for the sake of making. I embrace the creative process of experimenting, making marks, making mistakes, celebrating happy accidents and learning, reading and playing.
So here are a couple of snaps of the first batch of designs and samples that arrived with me recently. These are all created from original linocut designs that I carved by hand. I have a bunch more due to arrive with me this week and I will be sharing soon how you can get hold of the fabric, tea towels and cushions, if buying fabric is the kind of thing you do! I must admit this was super-exciting to see my designs on actual products and I will be sharing more on the process of how I did this soon, including where I got the fabric printed and how you can buy the products when they are available.
A few weeks ago I shared some small floral drawings in my little moleskin sketchbook. These were line drawings with a little colouring pencil on some of them to add a pop of colour. Well, I decided to scale up the designs and work in an A4 format, making each design larger and with more flowers. Check out the results below. These will ultimately either end up as downloadable colouring pages or I will scan them in and convert them into fabric designs. (Or more likely they will just stay in my sketchbook! Haha)
I’ve really been enjoying watercolour work at the moment and I have a number of watercolour sketchbooks of different sizes that I work in, very often they are all open at once as I allow them all to dry. I am loving the contrast between fine line drawings like the ones above and the freedom and bright colours that I use on watercolour. I tend to work in a very bold and modern way and I am all about the colour and the marks made. I’ve been working on some florals and leaves as well as some abstract rainbow-coloured work too. I even took a small sketchbook and my little portable watercolour set out for a picnic the other day and sketched away sitting in the sunshine.
I have also been mark-making using both black acrylic paint and indigo watercolour. These two different mediums have given me the opportunity to just explore making marks without worrying about making a finished piece. These really have been me playing or at times ‘warming up’ before I then complete a sketch where I have an idea of subject in mind. Check out some of the little videos of me working below. These can also be found on my Instagram TV feed and on my YouTube Channel.
Thank you for reading!
So that’s it for this quick visit to my studio and tour of my creative pursuits at the moment. Next time I will have some exciting news to share about fabric, a guest blog post I will be writing for another website and my pottery cafe might even be open my then too as lockdown in the UK eases up in July…
Take care and have a fabulous summer. Please do share your comments and questions below.