Friday, 26 July 2013

Paper Earrings

A while ago I made a pair of earrings using varnished paper disks and I swore I would never make them again, they were so fiddly! But then I got a request from my sister, so that changed everything - I laminated, varnished and cut a large number of disks to play with and also experimented with some other techniques using tissue paper, watercolours and superglue. Varnished tissue paper turns quite translucent and glass-like  The three-disk earrings and paper lanterns are my favourite. 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Finished Soft Birds

The first flock of 5 sweet little birds is finished, complete with leg tags ready for sale.
Made from cotton fabrics, polyester filling, modelling clay beak, and galvanised wire legs, they are completely original and hand made.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Soft stitched birds with wire legs experiment

I've just spent the last week or so developing the perfect pattern for a sweet little sewn bird with wire legs and the dining room has become like fabric-bird version of Frankenstein's workshop. I can't help but wonder if other people have similar projects taking over their homes... 

Bird 1
 Version 1 had too substantial and pointy a tail and was too chicken-like. In version 2 I snipped off the original tail and stitched in a wired contrast tail. I'm pretty happy with this one, better positioning of the legs, but the beak is too blunt. Changing the stuffing-opening to the tail meant feeding the legs in through the fabric from the outside which has its own challenges. 

Bird 2
So version 3 I made the bird a little smaller and sheared a bit off the head to taper more toward the beak, but I felt he looked like half of a larger kind of bird so I added 3 large wired 'feathers'. Again feeding the twisted wire legs through the fabric was tricky as the wire kept snagging. 

Bird 3

Bird 4
Bird 4 with gum nut beak
Feeling I needed to try a new head shape, for version 4 I eliminated the head gusset and extended the tummy gusset to incorporate the tail. Scouring the garage for an appropriate beak, I found a gum nut in a tub of nails which I thought might work. It looks ok but was difficult to keep in place with the springy polyester filling. Leg wiring experiments went a bit astray. The head looked too long and the bird seemed to have a bit of a goitre that bothered me. I began to think of how i could make a beak that could be stitched in place whilst stitching the eye. 

Bird 5
 So for version 5 I made a beak by rolling fabric and hot glueing it into a point. At this stage I lost interest in sewing wings but am pretty happy with the overall shape and method of beak-inserting. 
Bird 6 with modelling clay beak
By version 6 I had moulded purpose-designed modelling-clay beaks with a hole to stitch in place between the eyes. The beak is particularly difficult to position while stuffing. You can't really imagine the tiny scale this is all on till you get your big fumbling fingers in there.

Also a cunning plan to incorporate the tail and leg wire adds a bit more leg stability as well as reinforcing the look of a wren which I was after. 
I now have a saucer of legs and beaks right to go and can start producing the finished 'product' with variations on the tail and wing colours. Meanwhile the bird Addams family are assembled under the lamp on my sideboard and look very sweet despite their various quirks.  

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Tea-Stained, Coptic bound Notebooks

These notebooks are made from A2 sheets of paper torn to A5, dipped in a strong brew of tea, hung to dry and then folded into folios. The cover boards are punched, covered with fabrics, then the endpapers are punched and glued in place before the eyelets are inserted. Then the binding holes are put in position on the folios to line up with the cover holes. The covers and folios are joined with cotton twine in a coptic binding style. Coptic binding allows a lot of movement to open the covers and turn the pages.
Available for sale in Boobook in Huskisson.