Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Year of the Pig _ Happy New Chinese Year

This Little Piggie...stayed at home.....

After discovering the qualities of Angelina Fibre and Film from the previous post project (sourced from Colourcraft Ltd) I was keen to work with it some more.

With the Chinese New Year  and last month, a wonderful challenge on the FB page United by Art showing two little piglets, I took my inspiration from there.

I love these groups as I love a challenge
Photo is taken from Pixabay so free from Copyright

I sketched this little guy in my sketchbook and worked out how I was going to approach this.

I already had alot of left overs of the fibres and film from the fish project, but wanted to create a new sheet with more pinks to represent his skin.

As this is a piglet, he/she is also quite hairy too.                       SEE VIDEO HERE

Materials Used 

Angelina fibres (warm sample pack)
Angelina Film 
Card for template and pen
Sewing machine
Matching and contrasting threads

Scrap of denim and Raffia

I traced him from my sketch 

 To create a template to use with my sheet of new fabric created from Angelina

Template on far left

I selected the colours that I wanted to blend together and then pressed
with a medium iron to fuse them together

This gave me a sheet of pink hues that I needed
I then used my template to draw and cut around the head 
I cut out some ear shaped film (from the top)
and pulled some white strands and pressed to the top of the head

 Using my sewing machine I followed the detail from my sketch that I wanted to include and
added a trough and some straw

This is what she looks like from the back - so very little details
But effective

I added the trough with some bleached denim and added the yellow middles
with a yellow sharpie
and added the straw (raffia)

If you missed it above

I think I will change the frame for a larger one and make sure the background is smoothed out more by ironing on some vilene interfacing.  It will help stiffen the piece too

Great fun and more projects on their way.

Angelina materials were supplied by Colourcraft Ltd My goto  for craft/textile materials

A bientot
Bix x

Friday, February 1, 2019

Angelina Fish - January 2019

Fish Project using Angelina Fibres

Guest Crafter - Bixxy Nash

This month I will be working with two elements from the Colourcraft Ltd catalogue that I have never used before.  Actually I had never heard of the material before. I chose these items because of this. I like the challenge.

So before I knew it I offered to create a project using both Angelina Fibres and Angelina  film together with some other bits and bobs that I have lying around my studio and that would suit the project.

This will mainly be a textile project and I will be using my sewing machine set to free motion stitching.  More of this can be found on Youtube if you are not familiar with the concept. 

I have also selected some papers and fabrics that I had previously Gel printed and kept in my “maybe later” draw.

Materials Used 

Angelina fibres (warm sample pack)
Angelina Film 
Netting from vegetables
Card for template and pen
Iron on Bondaweb  (to secure the stitches if cutting out fish)
Sewing machine
Matching and contrasting threads
Any other scraps of lace or thread 

The fibres and the film are selected by colour choice and pulled apart thinly (or as much as you wish) and  are fused together by heat, in this instance a medium iron. 

They need to be pressed between two sheets of parchment paper (baking paper)

Keep the iron on a medium to low setting till it works for you. 
 Too hot and the medium will burn .  You will know when it does not look right

Play until you are happy with the look that you get. 
When the film is heated it is normal that it changes colour and is really beautiful in different lights.

Pull apart the fibres and mix the colours and lay them down on the sheet in a thin layer working out where you want the colours.  the fibres and film will adhere to each other, but not to most other things.  This in turn will effectively become one sheet of unique material that can be used in sewing and collage.  Here I have used the netting from a fruit bag and laid it between the fibres.  Other materials such as beads and threads and lace can also be used. I also tried bubble wrap and although the wrap didnt cling to the fibres the indent of the bubble remained.  

 Angelina Fibres can be found here in various colourways

I recently did a commission that needed to include Mackerel and since then have decided to look a little closer at these pretty fish and this led to my inspiration for this project

Gone Fishing - by Bixxy Nash 2018

This painting is called Gone Fishing is depicting fishing for mackerel in the Solent in the south of England to include a fort and the Portsmouth spinaker as well as the fish on a line.

Reference pic
Have you have ever studied fish? Its amazing how many colours you can see in their skin, especially fish like Mackerel and Tuna being the most common.  I did this sketch on craft paper so that the colours showed up more and tried to define the patterns in his upper body.  This will be shown in black thread on the finish piece

I began with choosing my colours carefully in both the fibres and the film and laid them out carefully in between baking parchment and pressed them using a medium iron.  I inserted some netting to represent the scales and the the colours included pink, yellow and white  and the top I used the film Green/bronze.

The result was a fused sheet of fibres and film and net will represent the colours skin of the fish.

The "fabric" is now very easy to cut and shape. I drew around my template to create three fish in total and reviewed the effect.
I cut them out.

I decided to add another layer of film along the top so that the green/bronze would be the stronger colour and made sure each had a piece of netting integrated into the weave

I decided to lay the fish on a piece of Gel printed baby wipe that I had in my "to use later" box.  These wipes are great when dried and very manageable in sewing

 The effect at this stage is quite subtle and wont really come together until the details are stitched

I then did a larger one as a test piece so I could practice stitching the details.

Here is a close up

I was ready to zigzag the fish onto the backing to secure them.

This is what they look like from the back

 I found some calico to use as a total background.
 and stitched the details of each fish in black,  taking my time with the machine.

 You can see this more clearly from the back of the work
(mmm I should have used a larger piece of fabric.....oh well next time!!!!)

Here is the finished piece called Rip Tide

and in detail.  

The effects are very subtle but at the same time very strong.

I was very happy with the results of using Angelina Fibre and film and see great potential in future projects.

After I cut out this fish I decided to add this fish a Gel print I did of the lake

I have already started other projects using Angelina and will try and do a video for a more detailed demonstration of the medium.

Colourcraft Ltd have many other craft materials for the textile artist and crafters alike. Perfect for schools and groups too.   Well worth a browse at their website

I hope this has inspired you to have a go and thank you for reading this article.
If you have any queries at all please  free to ask.

Please visit me on my blog for more about this and other projects

Bixxy Nash 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Happy New Year!

Belated Happy New Year

New Year, New beginnings.

 Last year saw us for the first time in 8 years not hosting art holidays and to be honest I was bereft.  Its what I do, its what I love….but….things move on and things change.

We are planning to move but in the meantime I decided to find more time to discover what I Iiked to create and discover new ways to do it.

I also had the opportunity to go out and do workshops outside Bandouille to teach and to learn taking in a part of France I did not know.  It was a joy. And I think that is where I left you.

  Sketch  into Castillon le Bataille
First was Chez Castillion on the grand Dordogne.  A beautiful venue specifically for writers as a retreat hosted by Mickey and Janie Wilson.

I met some wonderful talented people there.  

The weather was perfect, although maybe a touch on the "too" warm side and the scenery wonderful. The pool helped..

I have many sketches from there and many that I would like to paint at a later stage.

After this crazy week I spent a few days a couple of hours further south near Aiguillon where I painted for a day with Christian Couteau and a group of keen followers.  I stayed in this lovely abode which I found on Airbnb for 20 euros a night with my own pool.  Bargain and such nice people who ran it.  It was only 10 mins from where I was to meet my fellow painters. 

Again an amazing experience and so much learnt in such a short space of time.  Cant believe how many sketches we managed in a morning.  Here 3 of 7

After my short spate in the Dordogne I spent a week in the Bordeaux area with my bestie and my girls.  Another area I had not before investigated fully.  Our day in St. Emillion was particularly lovely and ironically 10 mins from Chez Castillon.   We also visited Saintes.

House sale
The house is now officially on the market after not succeeding in finding a suitable agent here sell it.  So we have found on online company who specialises in this field.  If you click here you can see what we have to offer.  So if you are interested please come through the site with your enquiries.

TRAVEL - Madrid
 After the worst cold of my life over Christmas and New Year I went to Madrid to visit my daughter and partner and was warmly welcomed into his fathers home.  I had never been to mainland Spain and the city was beautiful and so calm.  A very strange experience next to London or Paris.  We ventured out into the country and stayed near beautiful Toledo in Grandmas house and visited La Mancha, site of the windmills from the fables of Don Quioxte.  I was able to relax there and sit and sketch together with Jose (my daughters boyfriend) and we did these in very little time.  It was the first time he had sketched let alone plein air.  I love this work.

La Mancha                                                 Mine                                                                Joses

I have now returned home, armed with pictures that I want to sketch including a photo of Jose's Nanna Fernanda who passed last year.  This is a quick sketch before I attempt a larger portrait of her.

And a great pic of his dad to whom I am very grateful for his hospitality in his home.

A very special time was had there (even with the three of them ill with the same cold I had)..

So much to see to see....But I intend to be back very soon.

Now to plan the rest of the year.

I have been asked by to feature in their February blog.  So I have selected some materials from their catalogue that I have never used before….just for fun.

Watch this space…..I will send a link when I have completed the project.  I promise it will be fun and very much out of my comfort zone.

If you have not heard of Colourcraft before, they are the original producers and suppliers of Brusho, but that is only a fraction of what they supply. Please visit and discover the treasures they hold for the keen crafter.

I use them for nearly all of my creative needs. 

So with that in mind I shall be on again very soon and feel free to comment and ask any questions.

A Bientot 


Of course obligatory picture of my fluffy boy Arty!  Bx

Monday, August 13, 2018

Different Pastures


No we havent moved yet.  

Nor is Bandouille properly on the market. Yet....Not until we can found someone who is actually capable of marketing and selling our beautiful home.  Finding an estate agent here that is worthy of their commission is proving extremely hard.  I say no more.

As most are aware we are currently not running art holidays as we wish to sell.  And I am relieved that this year we did not do them.  What with the atrocious start to the year with the rain and constant storms till the beginning of June and since then the incredible heatwave.  France has also been hit with air and rail strikes which has hindered tourism.  And indeed would have left us with alot of frustrated people, not to mention how awful we would have felt to.

So what to do?  Gardening is out...pretty much since having both my hips replaced, but mainly due to the fact the gardens gone mad and its too hot. Cooking exotic meals is not really practical for one....I am sewing and crafting and sketching, but need to be fulfilled.  I miss my guests terribly......

A couple of months ago my son Toby and his girlfriend Angelina surprised us with a visit from New Zealand.  Toby also arrived with his drone and has made a stunning film of Bandouille both inside and out.  So I spent some quality time with all three of my children in Brighon and then here at Bandouille and also in La Rochelle.  . It was the first time I had visited La Rochelle properly as a tourist and we had alot of fun cycling around the town, which was so easy as it was so flat and we also spent a couple of days exploring Ile de Re. Not enough time though and I will be going back there again soon, with sketchbook in hand.  It amazed me how close to the airport it was and how huge and wonderful the bridge was.  The beaches are gorgeous and the small white towns a joy to wonder through.
Gare de La Rochelle
Since then I have spent alot of quiet days sketching from the myriad of pictures that I had taken.

Faye L'abbesse
But truth is I am also re evaluating me...and what I want to do in the future.  I know now that I still want to teach and paint and to create and to be with people.

Then the blood moon eclipse happened and was aware that big changes could be taking place, not only for me but for everyone.  That day I received an email  asking if I knew anyone that could fill the place of an artist/tutor that had fallen ill and could not attend a venue near Bordeaux at short notice...Instantly I knew that it should be me to fill that slot.  I'd not really thought of "being the tutor" outside of Bandouille before.  But it made so much sense and I jumped at the opportunity.  I love coincidences and they certainly didnt stop there.

Chez Castillon
So I wrote back and offered myself et voila.....I'm off to the gorgeous Chez Castillon in a couple of weeks, to join my hosts Janie and Mickey Wilson and  a house full of authors which looks like lots of fun.  

Janie herself has just launched her latest book and its rapidly becoming a bestseller.  I have just myself bought it and am hooked as it touches on my life in many more ways than just one.  You can find it here.

I found a photo of their gorgeous venue and decided to get to know the place by sketching it on brown paper with gouache.   Being  in a "townscape" is going to be new to me in France and fits in perfectly with my recent new pastime of urban sketching.

I've not in the years of being here spent enough time travelling around France and now I am going to take the opportunity

Since then I have been revisiting my lesson plans and gathering my tools together and have also been making some sketchbooks and a brush roll too.  Such fun and I hope to share those ideas with my students too. 

Brush roll

The sketchbooks are made with watercolour paper and are made in accordian style  which is fun when out and about and creating a flowing record of your visit. It can be covered with anything you want including maybe maps of where you are going and inside you can attach an envelope to collect tickets and souvenirs that you pick up en route.  I also use my Gel prints

Accordian Sketchbook - watercolour paper
So I have alot planned and in the meantime the weather has become cooler and I feel some gardening coming on and also some eco printing too whilst the leaves and the flowers are still fresh.

In a few weeks I will be sketching with Christian Couteau which I am also looking forward to so will fill you in on that adventure too.

Watch this space 

A bientot

Oh here is a picture of Arty too to show that he is still alive and kicking ....or not as the case may be  Bx