Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Jungle to the Ocean - Unfinished

A bit late and unfinished but, I had another idea for a bag and just had to go with it.

I wanted to depict the Inca in some way.
At it's height the Incan Empire stretched from Peru to Chile, from the Andes to the ocean and encompassed many peoples and lands.
That is what I have tried to show in the colours and textures.

I had some lovely batik fabrics in the colours I wanted to use but wanted to make them a little more personal.
I decided to stamp on the fabrics. I used dye based inks that can be heat set and stamps that I had carved myself some time ago.
The stamps are leaf shapes and I used copper leaf shapes for decoration.

There actually is more green in the fabrics than you can see here.
The greens and leaves are to represent the jungles, the blues for the oceans and the oranges for the deserts.

The front is embellished with beads and seeds. Some of the beads are from Peru and represent the modern world.
The back is fairly simple with just a little decorative stitching.

I still have to line the bag and make the strap but I don't have enough of the fabric I want to use. Roll on Pay Day ;0)
The strap will be long so that the bag will lie across the wearers body to show it off ~ the bag not the body!
I will post more pics when it is finished.

Hugs, Alis

Monday, 4 May 2009


I ended up making two cuffs from an entirely different piece of fabric than the one pictured in my previous post. I think that fabric will eventually become another cuff but I went back to using one of my most favourite backgrounds - silk paper. The theme chosen by Ali and myself for these pieces was Byzantium. I hope I have captured something of the richness I associate with Byzantium. The top and middle photos are of the finished cuffs and the third picture is the work in progress.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Cuff Work in Progress

This is the beginnings of a cuff based on Byzantine patterns. The base is hand dyed felt layered with angelina and patterned lacy fabric. I then have added machine stitching, handstitching and beads. I am having a think about how to finish the edges.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Evening Bag

I enjoyed making this little evening bag. The first photo is of the front of the bag and the next photo is the back. I took the handles from a paper carrier bag and machined over them adding snippets of the same fabrics that I used to decorate the bag.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Jan's Bag is Finished

At last my bag is finished. I have struggled for a while to come up with any ideas and then suddenly all fell into place. I think Ali will be pleased that I have finished this piece if only to stop me moaning about my lack of inspiration or rather motivation. Anyway hopefully I now have loads of both and there will be more from me so watch this space!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Alis' bag is finished.

Well here is my finished bag.
I am rather pleased with it.
It has been very difficult to photograph, however. The colour is much better in real life.

There are a couple of things I would do differently another time.
For one, I should have left more room to cut off the batting round the seams. They would have been less bulky then, especially at the top.

I even have some more ideas. Now will I get round to another bag before the end of the month? We will see.
Hugs, Alis

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Alis' bag is progressing.

I love the stonework at Teothuacan. I love the way the blocks fit together and flow in fabulous patterns. I decided to use this inspiration for my bag.

I used a base of crushed velvet and layers of coffee, red and grey coloured organzas and quilted a pattern on to it. I cut through some of the layers to show the colours underneath.

Some beading became necessary of course.

I am happy with it so far but what will happen as I put it together is anyone's guess.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Designs for Bags

At the moment Ali and myself are working towards making bags using our Mesoamerican research as inspiration. These are a few ideas I have been playing around with and I am now making some fabric samples. Hopefully over the next couple of weeks I will be able to show you a finished bag.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Quetzalcoatl Neckpiece.

I find it such a shock, a nice one of course, when something you make turns out just as you saw it in your minds eye. That happened with this piece.
This is my scribble inspired by the neckpiece seen in the various images of Quetzalcoatl.

In my stash I found some wonderful pattered leather that set the colour scheme and size.
I placed it on batting before satin stitching it to the handmade silk paper.
I decided to go with the silk paper instead of a quilted background as I like the contrast in the materials.

Beading came next and it nearly stayed like that for a long while.
I knew I wanted to hang copper leaf shapes from the leather. I hadn't got any so it would have to wait until I could get over Christmas, like everyone else, and buy some.

While working on something in no way connected to this I found some soft copper strips. I have no idea how long I have had them or where they came from, but they were just perfect for my leaves. Yay!
The leather measures approx 6ins wide and the silk paper approx 10ins, very roughly, square.

Hugs, Alis.

Friday, 20 February 2009


This piece is inspired by Quetzalcoatl's headband. Above is a scribbling (I can't do it if I call it sketching - I know, I know!) from my scribble book and below the piece as it is at the moment.In retrospect I think it would have been better to have used a firm backing under the velvet, I don't think it would have distorted as much. However this piece is destined to be mounted in a frame so it should straighten out a little then.


Peek at Jan's Work Revealed

Here is the full view of the piece part made and then the finished piece. It is a painted tissue background with added dyed paper, gold foil, painted cork, handmade bead and square beads, machine and hand embroidered.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

A Peek

As you will have seen from previous blog entries Ali and myself are not showing each other the pieces we are working on until we both have completed them. So here is a corner of the piece I am working on at the moment inspired by the picture in the previous post.


Thursday, 12 February 2009

The first picture.

This is the first picture Jan and I have decided to get inspiration from. The character on the right is Quetzalcoatl and his Twin Xolotl is on the left.
Now, I know that Jan is inundated at work at the moment, but she is sketching away.
I don't want to show you too much of my work as I don't want to influence her but here is a little peek as the piece I have been working on.

For this I focused on the headband. I love the shapes in it.
I started with navy dress velvet and applied handpainted and embroidered fabrics. All was covered with a chiffon scarf and stitched in place. I cut the chiffon away from the velvet using a soldering iron. I added some beads along the orange shapes and satin stitched the edges.
I think I will frame this piece.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

A small start

To give us a kick start we decided to make a small piece of art work that would be able to go on a large greetings card.

We wanted to show what we first thought of when we said "Maya".

As you can see Jan thought of treasure and I thought of the sun.

Both these pieces measure around about 3 inches.

Jan's Mayan Treasure is made using different handmade papers and painted paper clay with tiny beads.

My Mayan Sun has a layered organza background with the sun made from handmade silk paper with seed beads for dimension.

We find it interesting that we used similar materials.
We are trying hard not to look at each others work, while it is in progress, just to see how similar we really do work.

Hugs, Alis

Tuesday, 27 January 2009


Jan and I have been friends for more years than we care to think about.
For most of that time we have talked about working on a major project together.

During the last 9 years our excuse has been that there are 300 miles between us. But thanks to the wonders of the Internet that is not an excuse any more.

So this is the year that we set off on our big project. Our chosen topic is Mesoamerica.
We can't wait to get started and see how each of us interpret this theme.
We hope you will enjoy seeing our work too.

Hugs Alis