Matchbox Museum entry

So I reworked my matchbox entry and returned to my bead embroidery skills.

I did have an idea of making a box of paper dolls to represent my kids. I had made some beaded dolls a few years back based on some old photos of them. On working with a few ways of doing this, I knew this was non starter as the matchbox was too small for such an elaborate idea.  I must I was struggling to get an idea (2/20/2015) and time was running out as I needed to get it in the post by today (2/23/2015) if it was to get to London on time.

Out of interest, I typed in Matchbox art into Google search and was amazed at the number of hits I got. I hadn’t realised it was such a big movement.  It didn’t really inspire me though, as working so small seemed like an impossible task.

My studio is jumble of stuff that I have collected over the years but my biggest collection is from the time I did exclusively bead embroidery. I also have folders with samples of things I have done over the years, like embroidery stitches and making felt. So I decided to rummage through those folders and hope inspiration would strike. I came across a scrap of felting I had made with wool roving, a piece from a silk shirt which had been my husbands, some applique butterflies and some fabric daisies from a hobby store. I had machine felted them altogether and then just tucked it away in case I could use it some day. The butterfly and the daisy tied in with the previous painting so I thought I could work with that.  The following is the result. I just let my hand and needle just roam across the fabric and it grew much like the subject.

The little box beside the finished piece is the mock box I had made, so you can see it pretty small – 35mm X 47mm X 17mm however with the added beads and felt, that has added a few more mm, so I am not sure if that will acceptable. Fingers crossed.

Originally I was going to have the cover slide as it would if it was still a matchbox . As I worked though I though it would work better if was like little stage, like the one you made as a child and it would also act as a picture frame for the internal image.  So you could just view it as the butterfly or as the little scene, which ever took your fancy.

The material used were glass beads size 15, flower sequins, a fabric flower, white oblong beads for the daisy, flower beads and the 2 charms. The background felt included the main daisy and butterfly.

I really enjoyed making this piece although working with size 15 beads can be quite a strain on the eyes!

Almost back to square one

as the piece I was working on for the Matchbox Museum turned out to be too big to be folded effectively. I could fold it into the tiny little box  14mm X 37mm X 45mm as I did a mock-up but I couldn’t show any of the picture.  I knew this would be an issue a few weeks ago but I am like dog with a bone, so continue on with it. Now I have to rethink the whole thing over the next few days but I have a gleam of an idea, so I think it might be possible.

Anyway, I have a work that I am reasonably happy with as it was based on a still life set up and I was able to move away from that, to create another image which is the way I want to go. Here is the set up:




I am not good at angles so I used modern technology and printed the image to get the chair and tea set. I used the back drop as a guide.  I then used  2 tea towels the kids had printed at primary school where all the kids drew a ‘portrait’ of themselves.  I placed images from the back drop that seem relevant to the kids when they were younger.  I decided to enlarge the butterfly (a paper butterfly from a hobby store) as it seemed good way to unite the back ground and foreground Also the butterfly to me symbolises that time is fleeting, especially childhood.  I was  tempted to move away from the 2 tone colour of the paper butterfly and paint it as a Monarch which is the common butterfly around here and disappearing .  That wouldn’t have worked as it would have made the butterfly too dominant and it was already pretty much in your face!   In the set up the daisies are scattered (and paper) but a memory flashed in my mind of the happy times I spend as child and a mother making daisy chains.  The chair in the painting is my baby chair and has served as a play chair for me and my children and now for my grand-daughter. gillian and Jacqueline 001_edited-1The tea set belongs to my grand-daughter and like me as a child, she loves to make tea for her Mummy and Nanna.

I have finished with this although as normal I am tempted to fiddle with it. That is the reason I stopped, as I getting too fussy with details and getting too tight.  Also having a deadline helped.



Finished Painting – 30cm X 36cm acrylic on Rice paper coated with acrylic gesso.

The fog is beginning to lift.

About 2 weeks ago, I realised I was pretty depressed.  I have been struggling to do even the basic things like get dress, wash or even going to get the shopping. Everything was an effort, why bother getting dressed when no-one would see me until Gordon came home. He eats and then promptly sleeps for an hour or so. Sometimes less. Sometimes more.  Then he will do his thing for that night – gym, running, loading up podcasts . I get that, he has limited free time unlike me who has the whole day.  Eventually he will settle down to watch a Netflix show with me , maybe watch the first 15 mins of the Late show with Jimmy Kimmel. Then its snack time for Angus and bed where we either read or if Gordon is really tired, sleep. If I am tired I will sleep after reading but more often or not, recently, I have got up and watched the serial of the week/month.  At the moment it the French series ‘Spiral’.  Then the day starts over again, exactly the same.

Why have I listed all the above. Because I have not felt in the least bit creative since before Christmas. I finished the Buddha painting and I immediately set up a still life.  I looked at it and walked away from it for a month! Any way the realisation that I was in a deep depressive slump about 2 weeks ago, spurred me on as I know from experience that once I have that realisation, the only way out, is effort on my part.

To begin with, I started by revisiting the still life I had set up and making it the subject of the following project.



There is project ongoing on the Facebook  Bath Academy of Art alumni page  called the Matchbook Museum Project.  Here are the rules

Maximum dimensions for submissions – 47 mm X 35 mm X 14 mm

Anyone can join in!

The curatorial criteria are only that contributors were students who attended Bath Academy of Art, and the work is the size of a matchbox.

There is no need for an actual matchbox, anything with those dimensions is fine.

All media are welcome, sculpture, ceramics, illustration, graphics (or visual communication as we used to call it), painting, fashion, textiles, printing, concrete poetry (remember John Furnival?), paper engineering, screen printing (remember John Vince?), photography, and the other medium I forgot.

First things first,  make an approximate matchbox. Its tiny! Next is to work out how to make a piece this size. To start with, I will not be making a painting that is 1.85  X 1.38 X 0.55 inches, I don’t have the eyesight or skill to do that.  So I will need to some how to make a bigger painting/drawing and fold it to size.  So I tried out a few options and decided on some thick tissue paper, I think its rice paper but I bought it so long ago, I really don’t know. I know its strong and it took a coating of acrylic primer well. Now I am working on the painting but my concern is that when I fold it, the acrylic paint I am using, it will stick together. So I will need to work this out quickly as the clock is ticking and if it doesn’t work, I will need to go back to the drawing idea.

I have also decided to resurrect the idea of sketching. I have a fabric container box of slightly used or not used sketch books of all sizes and types. I do not need a new sketch book!  I bought a new one for this project!  It’s a Strathmore 400 series soft cover art journal. There was a mixed media option which would allow for some painting but at the moment, I am just working on trying to do a sketch a day.  I am not quite there yet. In 9 days I have managed 6 quick sketches.  To achieve what I want I have go outside.  This is an ongoing problem as I get really anxious about going out, especially to draw. By the end of the year I hope I have conquered this fear.

Order is latest (yesterday) to last