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Planning a Seaside Garden

Update on House Planning:

The builders are asking me to outline just where I would like the garden beds to go on our block. Already? I thought to myself.

Before the house has even started and before the final plans for the house are even drawn, I have to envisage and draw up a garden plan. Not the easiest request to fulfill.

But this is the process of construction that we follow. So I comply. Here is my rough sketch.

My scratching of the garden placement in front yard

We have saline soil, it is also a silty clay, and it is reactive, meaning it is prone to movement – the ‘triple bunger’ of worst soils. Fantastic! Not really.

Even sandy soils would have been easier to deal with, I think. But the soil tests don’t lie.

Salty Silty Clay

Garden Design

What kind of Garden do I want?

  • One that is private, but not claustrophobic – some hedging plants
  • Plants that require little weeding or maintenance
  • Palms in pots?
  • A retaining wall or raised garden to improve drainage as the soil will become easily water logged.
  • A climbing plant espaliered along the fence?

Choosing Plants for Clay Soils

What plants would like to grow in poorly drained salty clay soil?

Beautiful lavender bushes at Amandine nursery

Lavender bushes will grow by the coast and will also tolerate salty soils, but need good drainage and thus a sandy soil. (which I don’t have). So they would have to grow in pots.

Perhaps I could grow some Bamboo in pots as a screening plant/informal hedge?

vegetables tomato salad

Apparently I could grow certain veges –

“..most productive plants require good drainage and soil that’s well cultivated to about 30cm depth for good root growth and development, beans and shallow-rooted vegetables such as loose-leaf lettuce can be grown in clay soil.

And then there is some ornamental species such as Day-lilies and Hydrangeas that like clay.

The BHG website describes Daylillies as Tough-as-nails. “It’s trumpet-shaped blooms each last only a day, but plants can bloom for several weeks because they produce many flower buds. Some varieties bloom several times through the summer.”

Grow Daylilies

Nandinas are also very tolerant of clay soils and there are loads to choose from.

Winner Winner!

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I was hoping to grow something easy to maintain – like this Nandina – tolerant of clay soils

As clay soils can tend to water log easily, care should be taken with garden design to allow for good drainage. Few plants are tolerant of water logged soils. If I lay down a good layer of loam on top, some ground covers might thrive as long as their roots do not become water logged. I can also improve the soil with compost and organic matter to aerate the clay, but it still is salty.

There are not that many garden plants that tolerate salty soil in high concentrations.

Here are some:

  • Blanket Flower – sounds positively dreary
  • Lantana.- No – it is a noxious weed
  • Viburnum – maybe
  • Yucca – Yuk! Enough said
  • Cannas – I have an inexplicable aversion to these plants for some reason
  • Prickly Pear Cactus – Seriously? – This is a pest that threatened to overtake farmland in the nineteenth century. Why would anyone want this in their yard? A definite NO.
  • Lavender Cotton – previous info seems to exclude this range
  • Seaside Goldenrod – another new plant I wasn’t sure about

Flowering native shrubs such as the Bottle-brushes, Melaleucas, might do okay in moderate clay whilst two Banksias: spinulosa and ericifolia are apparently very tolerant of clay. Even a Westringia might cope and they are a coastal plant. Sounding better.

I have successfully grown Banksias before from seed. You have to burn the cones to release the seeds

Lomandras and Dianellas are tolerant of all but the heaviest clay soils. Some sites recommend the ornamental grasses such as Pennisetem, for heavy clay soils, but as I am highly allergic to grass, perhaps I should forget about that species.

I think the iconic Australian native plants prefer free draining soils, and will struggle in clay soils without some soil improvement. Yareena™ Myoporum parvifolium is a native ground cover tolerant of a heavy clay. That might be useful. But sourcing this could be a problem.

The Native hibiscus might survive and Lilly Pillies are reliable for hedges or screens in clay soils.

“Clay soils can be very heavy and hard to dig, with a tendency towards water logging. While heavy clay soils will need significant improvement before most plants will happily grow.. Improved clay soils can hold nutrients well and therefore can be very beneficial to plants which like a lot of water and nutrient, including many large leaved or tropical plants.”

Kate Wall http://www.bestplants.com.au/about-us/a-guide-to-using-the-right-plants/choosing-plants-for-clay-soils

There seems to be hope that there will be plenty of plants that might grow successfully in my salty clay garden. Something I’ll Ponder About.

More things to research. Do you have any suggestions for me?

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Community

We are Building a House

I have never done it before.

Build a house, that is.

My husband has built a house before, with his father, so for him, this is not so special.

For me, this is my first and last time to decide how a new house might look from the ground up. I will never do it again. This is it.

new house
An example of the style of house we will build

There are so many things to decide. We have to chose absolutely everything – colours, tiles, mortar, grout, locks, window frames, cornice, shelves. For every part of the house and every single thing in it, there is a choice. A good thing, right? But it makes my head spin, just a little bit.

Sandgate foreshore

A Block of Land

First things first.

We recently purchased a block of land in a new development that was close by the water’s edge. We wanted to be near the water. Two people, done with raising a family, growing old in a house by the sea. Sunset walks along the water’s edge. Cool breezes in the sub-tropical summer. Sounds idyllic? We think and hope so.

You can almost see the Glass house Mountains from here

Selecting a block of land wasn’t as easy as we thought. I was very fussy about micro-climate and orientation. After living for many, many years in a house that was like a furnace in summer and a freezer in winter, I knew I was going to be particular about aspect. And I was lucky. I found one that ticked almost all the boxes.

schnauzer at beach
Rebel is looking forward to a #Seachange

The block in question was already registered with the governing body, as opposed to buying a pile of dirt way behind a barbed wire fence and shown only on a paper plan to prospective buyers. Whilst I was particular on the right environmental aspect, my husband was definitely not going to buy anything he couldn’t step on and feel, with his own hands. So we were lucky. We found it. First step done!

designing A house

Next we had to find a design we liked. Will the design we picked fit on the block of land, we wondered? My idea of this, might be a little different to local councils and also the idea of the land developers which is different to that of the builder. Negotiations await a pen pusher’s whim. We wait for that.

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Our land has two frontages, that is: it faces a street on one side and a smaller lane way on another. This is great because it gives us uninterrupted sea breezes and views.

However, there are certain rules about how close the house can be situated to the street and neighbouring houses, called setbacks. They don’t want you to build your house right next to the road, as they did in years gone by.

Knaegemoelle, Denmark – in this beautiful house you could reach out the window and touch the cars going by

What colour and materials will the exterior of our house be? How many windows? What type of fence will the garden have? How many plants will we get? The developer has a say in that too. It is called the covenant.

Banksia
Banksias love the coastal conditions

The developer in its wisdom, wants to keep selling their land for a good price and thus, they want to maintain certain standards for the houses getting built in their community. But when is a house really your own to design?

Soil Testing

The land was previously low lying land that was filled and raised by creating an artificial lake that opened to the sea. This is coastal land – a tidal area now filled in with soil and a lake.

Our block

This means the soil test showed the soil is saline and highly reactive. That translates to more expensive foundations for the house and raised garden beds. But who wants their house walls to crack when it rains, or doesn’t rain? It has to be done that way.

Inspired by Anne- Christine

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Something to Ponder About


designing bags red work
Community

Kicking out Plastic – Tutorial Signature Shopping Bag

embroidery hack
Design penned onto calico shopping bag

I really hate using plastic bags and avoid them at all costs. As supermarkets here are phasing out single use plastic bags, there is even more need for consumers to have their own environmentally friendly and sustainable shopping bags.

And it is not just reusable bags for groceries. Even when buying a new outfit, I will carry a clean cotton bag for my purchases inside my regular handbag, rather than use a plastic variety that is not only bad for the planet, but also advertises companies who make absolutely no effort to take care of the future of the environment and wildlife. Why would I want to promote them?

In less than ten minutes, you can create an individual environmentally friendly solution. A solution, so easy, that even the children can get involved and create their own reusable, plastic free shopping bag.

Back in 2012, I began making a variety of D.I.Y, “plastic free” bags: in Redwork embroidery, painted Norwegian Telemark and floral designs, and also with a pen and painting technique.

Here are a few samples from my existing bag stash.

But I needed more bags to have on hand, and as plain calico is rather plain, and ‘Redwork’ embroidery makes such a pretty and easy adornment. My initial plan was to embroider some designs on the new calico bags, in redwork technique, with a needle and thread. However, I am not the world’s neatest hand sewer ( far from it, really), and embroidery takes me for-EVER to complete, as I have an aversion to sewing, itself!

Solution: Enter the Evanscraft craft and cross stitch pen…. a permanent, acid free pen in a Barn red colour, that can simulate cross stitch or other types of embroidery. Wonderful! With this technique, you can create a pretty cottage garden or folk art design on fabric, (or even wood), and the result is something unique, and useful, created in a matter of minutes.

More time for plastic free shopping!!

It just might inspire others to take up plastic free shopping as well.

flower pattern

You will need:

  • A Calico or Cotton bag in a light colour from your local haberdashery store, ironed flat.
  • A pattern such as the one above, which you can trace over in thick black pen. NB. If you aren’t feeling particularly inspired to draw your own design, you can find plenty of free ‘Redwork’ or other embroidery patterns, (there are some here on Pinterest); in colouring books or even on google image search, itself.
  • A permanent pen, preferably in barn red or a dark red colour, but any colour will do, as long as it doesn’t bleed or run when you wash the bag. I used an Evanscraft Craft and Cross Stitch pen but please patch test the pen of your choosing, on a hidden corner, to check its colour fastness and suitability.

Instructions:

  1. Tape the design on a glass window to create an impromptu light box and trace your selected pattern in thick black pen.
  2. Tape the traced design on top of a piece of cardboard and slip both inside the bag, centering horizontally. The calico is fairly thin so it is easy to see the traced design through the bag. Mounting the design on the cardboard prevents any bleeding of the penned design, through to the rear side of the bag.
  3. Then it is just a matter of re-tracing over the pattern with the chosen pen, and adding a few embellishments of your own, within and around the design.
  4. A final press of the bag, with the iron seals the design and you are ready to shop!

Tip: A ruler may be used to keep long lines straight, or you may prefer to keep them loose and rustic, as I did in the border design. Use the ruler turned upside down to prevent smudging on to the bag.

A major complaint of those who continue to use plastic bags, is that they forget to bring the re-usable bags, along with them, when they shop.

I purchased the plain cotton shopping bags from Lincraft for a dollar each. Not only are they strong, bu they can be scrunched up to a really small size, for carrying inside my handbag, (see in photo to the right above).

In this way they are always on hand, for my use just when I need them.

No more forgetting the bags!!

What design would you choose?

Something environmentally friendly and creative to ponder About.

Hallingdal Rosemaling
Community

Traditional Art – DIY Hallingdal Rosemaling

Norwegian Rosemaling is the style of traditional painting very popular in parts of America, where it is a favoured style of interior decorating, especially amongst those folk with Scandinavian heritage.

Each region, or ‘fylke’, in Norway, developed its own individual interpretation of traditional Rosemaling style and design, which initially appeared around the 18th century.

Hallingdal style on a cupboard in Geilo

History of Rosemaling

As early as the 17th century, itinerant painters brought new ideas and artistic trends from the cities of Europe into the mountains and Valleys of rural Norway, painting Renaissance and Baroque motifs on the walls of the wooden Norwegian Stave churches.

The relative geographic isolation in the Hallingdal, Telemark and Vest Agder provinces led to further development and evolution of this peasant folk art form into a highly distinctive and unique art.

Reaching its zenith in Norway during the 18th century, Rosemaling was then revived by the Norwegian peoples during a fiercely Nationalistic decorating movement in the 19th and 20th centuries, following the country’s political separation from Sweden.

A similar resurgence in Norwegian traditional painting began amongst Norwegian immigrants, living in the American Midwest, in the mid to late 20th century, and this trend continues to flourish there today.

Read more here

Hallingdal style of Rosemaling

The Halling Valley, itself, is situated in an area of southern central Norway, covering towns such as Gol, Ål and Hol and this is where one finds many examples of Hallingdal Rosemaling, appreciated and loved, even today.

Elements of Halling style can be found in the Embroidery on the Norwegian women’s national costume, (called the Bunad), in Norwegian wood carving, on hanging cupboards, and on wooden objects around the Norwegian home.

Features of this Style:

  • Hallingdal Rosemaling colours: rich, varied, exuberant and strong
  • Background colours: red/orange-red, in later years, blue and green
  • Black appeared as a background colour following influences from Telemark
  • Flowers colours: – Blue, White, or Gold on Red grounds; Red and gold on blue/ green backgrounds
  • Early Hallingdal Rosemaling had more floral elements; scrolls were minor. Over time, scrolls became a frame around which the flowers were placed, in order to achieve a sense of balance, either side of the design’s vertical axis. Scrolls still maintained a simplistic form, with little or no shading, and were heavier than the lyrical scrolls seen in the Telemark area
  • Motifs: symmetrical in round/rectangular design shapes, often depicted in mirror image split along the vertical axis
  • Round floral patterns could also be segmented into 4, 6 or 8 divisions, typically with blossoms of four or more petals
  • Leaves: large, often surrounding a central flower,  or mirror image split vertically
  • Design elements are sometimes filled in with fine, cross – hatched lines.
  • Flower shapes of Hallingdal are classified into 3 groups: circles, triangles or half circles.

Claudine Schatz

Circle Flowers

  • A circular centre is painted first and then concentric bands of colour added
  • Petals are added around the central circle in an even number, four or more, with petal length limited by the sectional diameter of the circle, and defined with liner work.
  • Ball flowers are circular flowers painted as a series of round balls surrounding a centre circle.

Triangular Flowers

  • Simple flowers with three petals, similar to a tulip; usually painted in strokes from the outside tip down to a base at the centre.
  • Blooms with more than three petals can have an oval centre, similar to a daisy.  Are  also combined into more elaborate and complex floral designs.
  • Triangular flower petal strokes can double as leaf forms.

Half circle Flowers

  • Usually are seen as larger elements within the Hallingdal design.
  • Comprise a semi-circular band of colour around a base.
  • Adorned with over strokes and details that illuminate the flower in a new way.
  • Half circles can also become petals of a flower form.

Leaves

Two types are seen in Hallingdal Designs

  • Stroke – work leaves, similar to the triangle flower petals
  • Shaded leaves, which are large and heavy and used in conjunction with large round central flowers. They do have some liner work stems.

Scrolls

  • Scrolls may represent leaves, but take the form of C and S shapes.
  • They are not shaded or blended in Hallingdal designs.
  • Used as a frame around flowers or as a cartouche border in a band that circles a round floral motif.
  • Painted in one colour; the light source is indicated by over strokes of white/ lighter colour on the top side of the scroll.
  • Scrolls are quite tight. They are not airy and lyrical, as in pieces seen in Telemark regions

Hallingdal Rosemaling even had some features borrowed from Oriental art forms. It was although typical in many ways, also malleable to outside influences. These characteristics overlap and interlace with other Rosemaling styles, and as such, should not be used as limits or boundaries, in one’s own Rosemaling journey, but merely to establish guidelines when one is starting to study this beautiful art form.

Free Hallingdal Rosemaling Designs

Why not get a feel for Hallingdal Rosemaling by painting or colouring in this design:

Free project

Something to Ponder About

[Parts of the description of features of Hallingdal style was taken from Rosemaling in the Round by Pat Virch, 1976] 
Rosemaling
Painting, Traditional Art

How to Design your Own Artwork – Space

If we are ever to begin to design our own art, we need an understanding of the various elements and principles of design, and how they combine to create an overall pleasing visual effect. So far, in previous posts, we have looked at Line and  Shape, and how they contribute to art forms. This week, we focus on the element of ‘SPACE’ and find how it can assist to create a better design.

kornaehren

Week 3 – Space 

Space as an element of art that refers to the area around objects: either Positive Space: that is areas occupied by an object or form and, Negative Space: the area in, between, around, or within objects. Every positive shape is surrounded by negative space.

You can further divide Negative spaces into: –

  – Passive negative space – this separates visual elements, and includes things like margins and the spacing between letters, words, or lines.

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-Active negative space – this draws the viewer’s eye to something, or help viewers focus on the objects that they should see, instead of making their eyes look all over the place.

Notan negative and positive space

 

Continue reading “How to Design your Own Artwork – Space”

Community

Blind Drawing: Good Practice

Blind or Contour drawing is a favourite with drawing teachers to develop hand-eye communication. It is essentially outline drawing, and blind contour drawing means drawing the outline of the subject without looking at the paper.

A Blind drawing hand using  the right side of brain

The end result doesn’t matter. What is important is carefully observing the subject in order to follow contours and space, with your hand and eye. This trains your brain to tap into its right hemisphere, which aids us in drawing shapes, lines and angles, positive and negative space, instead of objects that we can “name.” Naming objects is the domain of the left brain, logical, realistic but also one that shackles our drawing ability to that of a ten year old.

Above you can see my first blind drawing. My vegetable patch in the back yard. One can just make out the garden edging and the tomato plants, and stakes. I used a soft B pencil which made a nice effect when I drew on the rough Gesso finish of a hard cardboard backed frame. I painted a little colour in a pen and wash technique and then soaked it in tea overnight.  I added a little outlining in pen.  I was surprised by how much my right brain could do without the dominant left hemisphere taking over.

Continue reading “Blind Drawing: Good Practice”

Rosemaling fabric shop
Community

How to Design your own Artwork – Week #2 Design Challenge

Rosemaling

Every artistic piece contains some, or all, elements of design. These elements are then combined with a number of design ‘principles,’ in order to bring together an eye-pleasing, cohesive visual unit. Knowing these elements  and how to use them, can make all the difference between being able to produce an eye pleasing piece of art, or a disjointed, unattractive one.

Elements and Principles of Design*

Every visual piece is comprised of certain design elements or parts which may include Line, Direction, Shape, Size, Texture, Value and Colour – in that order. Design Principles, (which I will talk about later), are applied to the elements in order to bring them together into a cohesive unit. How the principles are applied, determines the overall effectiveness of a design.

This week we will examine LINE as an element in art.

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Week 2:   Line

As an element of visual art, line can be straight, swirly, wavy, jagged, dotted, dashed, broken, thick, thin, zig zag, diagonal, vertical, horizontal, curved, bold, parallel or perpendicular. It might outline a shape, form a pathway, (as in a curvy line), or a stroke. The line has width, or thickness, direction and length.

  • Lines can also convey movement and mood. Thick, straight lines convey order, stoicism and rigidity and this can sometimes be monotonous. Flowing wavy lines create softness, interest and melody.
  • In surface decoration, all lines should flow from a parent stem. No matter how distant, a line should be able to be traced all the way back to its branch and root.

Using Line in Rosemaling and Stylized Designs

A beautiful flowing design feels more natural and appealing to the eye, as the lines grow out from the other in gradual undulations. “If you have free movement in the lines and scrolls, you must have freedom in the flower and leaf forms to continue that feeling.” Nils Ellingsgaard said in his book,”Norwegian Folk art,”to “..beware of leaves painted at such an angle that they look as if they are falling off, or flowers that are way out on the end of a long stem.”

20170317_141507.jpg

The lines depicting the leaves on the flower on the left, are set too far apart and seem separate. The leaves on the design on the right, are implied as being part of the flower, and the base is hidden underneath the flower, thus, they have become an integral part of the design element.

Lines might be used as a border framing our design; lines might be cross hatching and even tangential lines can indicate a change in value, such as that which may simulate depth of an object, or a three dimensional quality.

 

Week 1 Sketch - Shape

 

Whilst our design ‘lines’ should aim for a cohesive design, it is okay to deliberately use broken lines in certain instances. In this case, our minds will fill in the gaps. Using deliberate, broken lines and varying their thickness and length, adds interest and moreover, is an excellent opportunity to add small details or embellishments, if you so wish.

Embellishments or liner work is another way to use ‘line’ to add vitality to a drawing or a Rosemaling design.  Nils Ellingsgaard said, “The skill of the Rosemaler is in direct proportion to the amount of variety he/she can get in his strokes.”

Nils Ellingsgaard liner work

 

Something Arty to Ponder About

Previous weeks:

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Forestwood
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How to Design your own Artwork – Week #1 Design Challenge

I love art but I don’t feel I am artistic; I love to draw, but don’t feel I am adept; I love to design but don’t have any technical training. What to do about it?   Thanks to the World wide web, we can learn a lot more about design techniques and apply them to our art.

Rosemaling

Every artistic piece contains some, or all, elements of design. These elements are then combined with a number of design ‘principles,’ in order to bring together an eye-pleasing, cohesive visual unit. Knowing these elements  and how to use them, can make all the difference between being able to produce an eye pleasing piece of art, or a disjointed, unattractive one.

 

Elements and Principles of Design*

Every visual piece is comprised of certain design elements or parts which may include Line, Direction, Shape, Size, Texture, Value and Colour – in that order. Design Principles, (which I will talk about later), are applied to the elements in order to bring them together into a cohesive unit. How the principles are applied, determines the overall effectiveness of a design.

Week 1 – SHAPE

Firstly, let’s look at the element: ‘shape’ and its role in design.

“A shape is defined as a two or more dimensional area that stands out from the space next to, or around it, due to a defined or implied boundary, or because of differences of value, color, or texture. All objects are composed of shapes and all other ‘Elements of Design’ are shapes in some way.”[Kovalik and King]

  • Mechanical Shapes or Geometric Shapes might be the shapes drawn i,n a design, using a ruler, compass or drawing template or tool. Mechanical shapes, whether simple or complex, produce a feeling of control or order.

geometric border
Geometric border using a ruler to space the mechanical shapes

  • Organic Shapes are freehand drawn shapes that are complex and normally found in nature. Organic shapes produce a natural freer feel.

dnikias.wordpress.com
Rangoli design using a combination of mechanical and free form shapes

Rangoli is a traditional and transient form of art drawn in chalk by Hindu women, in southern India, on the front steps and entrances of buildings as part of a daily devotional practice.  The decorations use ‘shape’ in a variety of styles and motifs which vary according to different tribal groups and festivals. There is more information about Rangoli here.

Rosemaling Styles

The Acanthus leaves is an organic shape used prolifically in Norwegian Rosemaling: particularly Gudbrandsdal style. Os Rosemaling frequently uses mechanical shapes such as circles and diamonds.

Rosemaling
Acanthus leaves in Gudbrandsdalen Style of Rosemaling

Norwegian Rosemaling
Os Rosemaling

Design Challenge

I am currently running a Design Sketching Challenge in a Facebook group I admin, and I’d love to extend this invitation to you, to join a blogging version of this challenge here, on our blogs. The challenge is a great way to encourage those who would like to sketch, but don’t yet have the confidence or motivation, to try.

Seeing others strive for, and share, their artistic journey can increase inspiration and awareness of one’s design skills. You never know what you are capable of, unless you try! You can opt in and out as you wish. See more about joining in below.

Here are my sketches based on the first prompt: Shape

Using organic shapes of leaves and flowers I found,  in my garden, I created this sketch:

Week 1 Rosemaling design challenge.jpg

It needs further adjustment and improvement, so I try another.

image

Still not satisfied, my final sketch for this first prompt, comprises circles, semi-circular arches, some natural elements in the leaf like scrolls and the heart-shaped flowers. I used a simple border to frame and hold together the design in one cohesive unit.

Week 1 Sketch - Shape

Would you like to join me in the Design Challenge?

What you Need to Do:

  1. Draw a 15-20 minute sketch or sketches using your own idea, or the prompt ‘shape.’
  2. Write a post about titled Design Challenge Week 1, upload your sketch and include a link back here to Something to Ponder About
  3. Next week I will post links to those blogs that participated.
  4. Leave a comment here on this post, so others can find their way to your blog.
  5. Follow me to view each week’s prompt posted on a Sunday.

Something Creative to Ponder About

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* N.B. I am not a tertiary qualified Art teacher and don’t purport to be one. I have based this information on my own research and experience. I am happy to take on board further input and or any corrections, deemed necessary, by way of comments on this post.
Community

Sorbian Inspiration – Traditional Tuesday

In 1734, South-eastern Prussia a guild was founded for the blue and Schönfärber crafts, wherein linen, and in later years cotton fabrics, were printed using a particular indigo blue dye and a resist process.Kornaehren.jpg

History and Development

Although Blaudruck or Blueprint fabric design is highly parochial and a traditional folk art, rather than existing on a commercial level,  the ideas and inspiration for this form of textile design, had its roots in the wider art forms of the eighteenth century. Peasants from Cottbus and Lusatia were influenced by elaborate tapestries, expensive furnishings and blue and white porcelain styles  they saw in around them during the 18th century. Blueprint then developed into a cottage industry of hand-woven linen fabrics, made by the rural population, and then dyed predominantly in indigo blue but occasionally in red or yellow.

For many handcrafts, as well as Blaudruck, industrialization spelled the end of most blue printing workshops and only a handful remained to carry on this craft.

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The Process

The color is transferred directly to the fabric surface and appears first as brown. After drying, the material is placed in a developing bath, in which the brown ink changes to a bright blue by a chemical reaction. The fabric is finally boiled, pressed and then ready for use. Printing must be done very carefully, as errors can not be corrected. This craft process is a further development of the original reserve print and is used when a blue pattern is to be created on a white background.

It is a dyeing process, not a printing process as the color is transferred directly to the fabric surface and initially appears brown. After drying, the material is then placed on racks in a developing bath, and a chemical reaction turns the brown ink to a bright blue. Lastly, the fabric is  boiled and pressed before it is ready for use. The fabric is hung on an iron frame in layers and dipped into a deep ‘Färbebottich,’ or vat.

An alternative process can create a similar blue colored fabric using a form of etching using a corrosive substance (etching), which also leads to a white pattern on a blue background.

blaudruck.jpg

Motifs

The ornamental motifs and patterns that are used, in Blueprint textiles, are some of the oldest known patterns used in textile design. Florals, perpetual borders and Christianity motifs were popular themes and clearly an integral part of folk’s lives.

“Blueprint” have been used to decorate such items as tablecloths, pillowcases, curtains, and wall hangings.Even in clothing fashion, it was used as as an element of  ethnic minority from the Lusatian region. Aprons, in particular are printed with different patterns on the front and back

Read more here.

Rosemaling traditional art
Something to Ponder About

Blueprint textile design is something I will be pondering more about.

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pottery
Community

Traditional Art – Boleslawiec Stoneware

The Polish Pottery Festival in Boleslawiec, Poland celebrates a tradition of ceramic pottery dating back to the 14th century. Largely unknown in some parts of the world, it has become a sought after souvenir by tourists visiting the German-Czech border region. In this month’s Traditional Art Post, I explore Bolesławiec (pronounced Bowl-e-swa-vee-etz) stoneware.

linktopoland_boleslawiec-swieto-ceramiki
Polish Pottery Festival in Bolesławiec

 

Using a fine, white kaolin clay found in the river basins of the surrounding area, Boleslawiec pottery is molded or turned, and then fired in ovens, at temperatures in excess of 1350°C with a clear, lead-free glaze, thus making it non-toxic and highly impervious to abrasives. Incredibly, it doesn’t chip or crack easily and can not only be used in the oven or microwave, but is also dishwasher safe!!  The perfect stoneware!!!

boleslaw

Traditional Boleslawiec patterns were punched using hand-stencils,  originally using vegetables such as the humble potato. [Remember doing this kind of stamping in kindergarten art?]

This was the preferred decorative design standard for hundreds of years until the master potter, Johann Gottlieb Altman, introduced designs of circles, dots, scales and clover leaves in the early 1830’s.  The colorful and durable work of arts on white backgrounds appealed to the European nobility and as a result, Boleslawiec’ popularity grew.

Today, the contemporary ‘Unikat’ series has taken Boleslawiec ceramic design to a whole new level. With ever more complicated motifs, patterns and colours, and complemented by hand-painting techniques, this means a finished piece of Boleslawiec pottery will now easily command a high price in the marketplace.

Tradycyjna-polska-ceramika-z-Boleslawca

The fine grain white clay, Kaolin, is of such high quality, it is used to make fine porcelain dishes as well. Once processed to the right consistency it begins its metamorphosis from earth to heirloom quality stoneware. Either molded or formed on a potter’s wheel, the piece is air-dried, trimmed and cleaned, then pre-burnt in preparation for the application of the final design. Originally stamped or “punched” using vegetables, the artists’ tools have evolved to longer lasting media like sea sponges or rubber stamps. This time-consuming process may require from one to ten different sized or shaped stencils to fill the ceramic’s surface design.  Moreover, the number of punches may reach into the thousands on a particular piece. The paints used are completely non-toxic, free of lead and cadmium. Source: http://neveradulldayinpoland.com/boleslawiec-poland-aka-polish-pottery-heaven/

Boleslawiecpottery

Stamped pottery decorations with the famous “eye of the peacock’s tail” motif have been produced since the beginning of the 19th century and are recognized among the finest examples of European pottery. Village craftsmen and peasants of lower Silesia, inspired by the peacock’s feather motif, have added incredible strength and beauty to these objects, which have long been admired for their quality and decorative appeal. Each piece is hand painted and initialed/signed by skilled artisans. 

 

boleslawiec talerze wzory

In 1897, the Professional School of Ceramics was established in Bolesławiec.  The many technological advances and innovative methods taught helped town of Bolesławiec to earn the reputation, “town of good clay” in the region.

However, World War II took its toll on the Bolesławiec ceramics industry. The ceramic workshops were destroyed. In 1946, efforts began to revive the ceramics industry in Bolesławiec. Over time, new cooperatives were formed and the skilled and talented potters in the region began rebuilding the pottery industry in Bolesławiec to what it is today. Source: (http://www.polishstoneware.com/about_polish_pottery/sec_polish_pottery_history/)

 

Traditional art is always something so inspiring to ponder about.

Rosemaling traditional art
Something to Ponder About

 

Painting

WP Photograpy Challenge Monochrome Art Project

Wedgwood and Sons, produce Wedgwood, fine china, porcelain, and luxury accessories. The company was founded on 1 May 1759, by Josiah Wedgwood.

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It is not my favourite thing but I do admire the artistry in its production. I used wedgwood and the Moravian designs frrom the Czech Republic for inspiration for this jewellery box.

A simple monochrome palette can look effective on a blue background.

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Linking to WordPress Daily Post Photography challenge
Monochromatic<a href="http://Monochromatic“>http://Monochromatic

Acrylic on pine
Pattern Available (free shipping)
Are you a fan of monochrome designs? If so, why?

Something  to Ponder About

Community

Good Design Balance – A matter of Maths?

  • The Elements of Design Rhythm and Repetition. Rhythm is the repetition of design elements at regular intervals. This helps to give a composition visual harmony by creating unity in a layout.Examples include the repetition of similar shapes, colors or textures.

IMG_3281 (Small)In the above design, you can see some various lengths of stylized acanthus leaves, in the form of ‘s’ and ‘c’ shaped scrolls, repeated throughout the design. Can you also see the repetition of floral elements:  main flowers, heart shaped petals, and lilies, as well as the repetition of colour.

  • The Elements of Design Direction. The lines and forms that lead the viewer s eye through a composition are referred to as direction. Direction can help to create flow of how information is processed. (FLOW – rhythm in a design, everything going back to the root)

The following design has ‘flow’ and direction, but is it balanced in terms of colour? Rosemalingwork13

  • The Elements of Design Weight. Weight refers to the contrast in thick and thin lines within a layout. Variation in visual weight can add interest to selected areas of a composition and can help draw the viewer s eye through a piece of art, emphasizing important areas of information and de-emphasizing others. (Variation in liner-work and embellishments)

Telemark rosemaling

  • The Elements of Design Contrast. Contrast refers to any variation between elements within a composition, such as difference in weight, size and texture of a composition. (Differences in sizes of flowers/scrolls/elements)
  • The Elements of Design Balance.  Balance refers to the distribution of visual weight within a composition. Lack of balance disturbs the harmony of a composition. A work that is unbalanced visually creates tension. (Divide a round plate into 1/4s and ensure each colour in represented, and each elements in the design albeit different sizes, for rectangular designs see note re Rule of Thirds, below)
  • The Elements of Design. Symmetrical Balance. Symmetrical Balance is when elements are arranged in a mirror image of one another on the vertical or horizontal axis of a page. Also known as formal balance. This type of balance is often seen in the architecture of buildings.This is the most familiar type of balance to the viewer. Rogaland Rosemaling has such balance in its designs.
  • The Elements of Design. Asymmetrical Balance. Asymmetrical balance occurs when elements in a design are not arranged as mirror images on a page. Also known as informal balance.Can be created through the use of value, texture and size of elements within a composition.
  • The Elements of Design Symmetrical vs. Asymmetrical Balance Piet Mondrian, Composition in Red, Yellow, and Blue (1930)- Very dark or saturated areas of color demand attention within a composition.An area of high contrast, even at a small size, will automatically draw the viewer s eye. (Especially the colour RED) Forms placed near the edge of a page can also draw more visual attention than forms placed directly in the center of a page.

Rosemalingwork13

  • The Elements of Design The Rule of Thirds.  The Rule of Thirds refers to the idea of dividing a composition into thirds based on a grid. The most important elements of the composition fall on the lines in between to create a strong composition.A slightly off center balance is more visually interesting and harmonious than an evenly centered composition.
  • The Elements of Design The Golden Mean. Golden Mean: Relationship between sizes that is pleasing to the human eye. This concept was first formally recognized by the ancient Greeks, and examples of the golden mean can be observed through Greek artwork and architecture. The Golden Mean or The Fibonacci Sequence is also one of the most elemental building blocks found in nature. The golden mean appears in everything from atomic structures to galaxies. Graphic designers can use these proportions to create work that instinctively looks right. The Fibonacci Sequence is also one of the most elemental building blocks found in nature. The golden mean appears in everything from atomic structures to galaxies. Graphic designers can use these proportions to create work that instinctively looks right. Proportions for the Golden Mean are based on the number Pi, in which measurements are approximately 1.618 times one another in a layout. In the example above, segment A is 1.618 times the size of segment B, and segment B is1.618 times the size of segment C.B and C added together equal the approximate length of segment A. This principle is based on the Fibonacci sequence, which is a series of numbers to denote proportions: 2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89,144,233, etc. Each number in this series is the sum of the two numbers proceeding it.  Each number in this series is the sum of the two numbers proceeding it. Keep in mind when adding elements to a design.
  • The Elements of Design. Design Harmony Design Harmony: The overall effect of design that is visually unified and in which elements flow together to make a successful layout. When all the elements of design work together in tandem, harmony is achieved.[Source: http://www.slideshare.net/JenniferJanviere/design-elements%5D

IMG_3281 (Small)  Good luck and practise lots. Your designs will improve.

Good design should be pondered about

Traditional Art

Rangoli – What is it? (Women in Art)

rangoli1

Rangoli

Rangoli is a traditional women’s art form common in Hindu households throughout southern India. Designs are drawn directly on the ground and entranceways as part of a ritualistic religious practice. The front steps, entrance, and walkways of buildings are properly cleaned and then decorated with designs and patterns made with chalk powders. There are a remarkable variety of styles and motifs which vary according to the tribal groups and festivals.

The activity is a welcoming of deities into the home or space. In particular, the way is prepared to welcome  Lakshmi, the goddess of good fortune but many gods and powers are honored. The activity of drawing the forms is a religious rite and the devotional intention is more important than the end product. The temporary nature of the designs make it clear that the significance is in the deed for it is not creating an object to be held aside and preserved. The designs are quickly lost to the passing of feet, wheels and paws, fading into the dust and bustle of daily life and the ritual of washing and drawing is rhythmically repeated, particularly on auspicious days.

It is one example of the blending of religious practice and art within the rhythms of daily life that are found quite commonly throughout traditional Indian culture. Unfortunately, rapid urbanization and westernization are negatively impacting this remarkable tradition. However, even in an urban environment of modern apartment living the tradition continues on for the blending of religion, art, and everyday life is very much at the heart of Indian culture.Rangoli

HOW IS IT MADE?

In the early morning hours when the world is just awakening, the woman of the house begins preparations for the day ahead. Daily rhythms include a thorough sweeping and cleaning around the home as well as the courtyard and entranceways. Special care is given to prepare a particular space for drawing rangoli designs and patterns in front of entranceways and along walkways.

The designs vary according to tribal groups and in terms of complexity and scale, there is a very wide range. Designs are generally done with white chalk powder but all reaches a colorful and exuberant zenith during festival time. The designs are laid out with a regular grid of dots or hatching lines which are developed into a wide host of motifs. Designs using a regular grid of dots are created by either connecting the marks or looping around them.

Designs are built upon basic geometric shapes and are further developed into mandalas of swirling lines flowing, curving, and twisting into complicated knots of undulating, rotating, and repeating patterns. The grids  also lend themselves to designs of fixed shapes and mosaic like tessellations of stylized flowers, plants, animals, birds, conch shells, chariots, lamps, and much more. The are also given borders and embellishments of running lines, undulating patterns, and mandala like emblems and symbols.

All the designs have an underlying wholeness built upon primary geometric shapes such as circles, squares, hexagons, octagons, and a very wide range of running forms, spirals, rotations, and looping patterns. Most commonly, a simple motif or shape will be rotated and layered to build up the designs, creating a flowing movement or spiraling gesture. The result is an organic and dynamic balance between the fluidity and movement of the hand and the fixed order and determined boundaries of direct line and shape.

The remarkably diverse forms reflect the expressive and devotional impulses of the women who make them. The variety of designs while traditional in origin, often have a very personal character and are a result of the creative vitality working to enliven the energies that connect earthly and cosmic forces. From a social perspective, rangoli is an outward sign that “this is a proper household where the gods are honored”.

Patterns are taught to girls by their mothers and by the time they are young brides, their skills with this art form are most impressive. Quite naturally, the rhythmic nature of the activity leads to some highly developed skills in terms of draftsmanship, control of hand, and balance of form.

But, all things return to the earth and the designs quickly fade into the scuff and dust of comings and goings, creating another layer to the cycles of daily life. Over the past decade, I have marveled at this Hindu practice, appreciating it’s many creative and dynamic forms as well as it’s devotional intentions. This common, everyday aspect of Indian life is a rich artistic and social tradition which imbues spaces with positive intention, heightened purpose, and deeper significance, as well as beautifying the meeting of public and private spaces. As an artist and teacher, I have been fascinated and inspired by the creativity, the endless variety, and sheer beauty of this powerful and dynamic art form.

[Source: D. Nikias]

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Something that should be pondered about and celebrated

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