Friday, July 07, 2006


I'm quite a literal person most of the time. I think I'm crafty but not artistic but my Mum disagrees. She is artistic, a good painter, good at drawing. She enrolled in a Fine Arts degree a year or so before she left Australia but gave it up to come back 'home'. For me being artistic means creating something from your own imagination whereas being crafty is being able to follow instructions to create or reproduce something. Now I know there are people who will disagree with me! This is only my own view, only the way I think about me. Not a sweeping generalisation of all things creative, artistic or crafty!

If I sit down with watercolours or coloured pencils and a blank piece of paper, blank it remains. I know what to do and what I'd like to do but I never seem to be able to get it on the paper. Fibre things seem to have broken the mould for me. I can get my dyes out and just do it. Making it up as I go along and so far, its always worked. Touch wood. :-)

I still have trouble interpreting what I see and turning it into a colourway. This is where the literal side of me comes to the fore with a vengeance. I look at a photo of a tree and I see a... tree. Someone can say 'but look at the colours, look at the play of light and shade' and I see a... tree.

So what is the point of all this jabbering on about the way my brain works? Well, I came across this post on Cledry's blog and had a light bulb moment. She thinks the way same as I do apparently - nice to know I'm not alone. Yesterday I took a picture of the oak tree in the field at the back of my house, you've seen it before, it appears in most of my 'sky' pictures. :-) It was late in the day and about the only time we saw anything approaching sunlight. It had rained all day and we had the most amazing thunderstorm that lasted about 5-6 hours! I liked the different shades of green and could see the potential for a colourway but how to do it? My brain still said 'tree!'

Using the Cledry method I started to manipulate the image. Here is the first and best I think. I used the liquify filter and just dragged things around until I liked the result. I'm going to print these out and start a design journal with ideas and samples. I can look at this and think only of the colours and how to reproduce them in yarn and dye. Later today I'll have a bash at dyeing a colourway using this pic as a starting point.

There's an article in the Summer 2006 Spin Off by Amanda Hannaford from Cornwall called 'Color Inspirations' that covers similar ground but goes into detail on the dyeing method.

Of course, once I started playing, I mean experimenting, I came up with all of these too. Some are still too 'tree' for me but I like the way the different filters highlight different colours. Although I haven't tried it yet (because I only just thought of it!) you could apply a filter to an already manipulated image.

Coloured pencil

Paint daubs

Palette knife


Stained glass


Ocean ripple



wendy said...

I like the stained glass one, lots of potential there.....

Woolly Wormhead said...

Your new email addy doesn't come up on blog comments, so can't reply! I know you understand the fun of a new wheel, and being completely biased and so in love with it ;)

Anyhow's, the art versus craft thing... there are many differences to many people, it also boils down to a) form versus function (the age old arguement) and b) confidence. Just go for it!

Photoshop and other image manipulating programs are a great way to start, as the filters remove the definition of the 'said' image, and turn it into something else. The best one on here is the first one, where you have no idea it started as a tree. Try combining filters, and try the polarising effects too.

As a teacher of Art, it seems an inbred idea that all good drawings are suuposed to look like the object, and in the end the best way to get round this and encourage further creativity is to get the student (person) to look at things differently.... photoshop will help do that.

And we all get daunted by a blank piece of paper, even those of us who have been to Art College ;)

Ooops, I've blahhed....

Woolly Wormhead said...

Oh poo, should has said 'as a former art teacher'...

I'll get my coat.

Mary-Lou said...

Must give this a try, and can't think why I hadn't before ...

Leah said...

This is Really Really Cool! I have some pics I want to use for dyeing inspiration and will definitely have to play with this! How's the Tour de Fleece challenge coming along?

acrylik said...

What an inspirational post - thank you!

DianeM said...

I agree with you on the artistic vs crafty question - I am very good at recreating and even adapting but hopeless at coming up with something really new. I always feel a bit wrong when people say 'oh you're so creative' when all I've done is follow a pattern. that's not creating, it's just building. I'm not putting myself down though - building is not necessarily easy!