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By jane2012, Jul 22 2018 10:04AM

Hello!


It's been a while, I know! I would love to be more disciplined and post more regularly here, but life has a habit of getting in the way!


It's been a busy summer here at Chez Sharp and between preparing for and completing my charity walk in June and working full time on top of that, there hasn't been a lot of time for creativity. Now that the walk is done (more of that in a later post) I have been throwing myself into some creative projects and it's been so nice to come back to!


Alongside my more traditional textile batik work I have been experimenting with batik on wood and have to say, I've been really enjoying it! I started off by having a go on some cheap off cuts from our local Scraps Store here in MK. They take discs of wood discarded in the making of speaker boxes at Marshall's in Bletchley and sell them on to artists and makers to do with what they will. The wood is only cheap ply so the finish was not brilliant but I was pleased with the overall result and it has definitely spurred me on!


The principle is the same as for textiles; you map out your design and apply wax to the areas you don't wish to colour. It is a lot more immediate than with textile though, which is quite satisfying, and when done on a nice piece of wood, the dye can really bring out the grain. This is definitely something I will be developing, so watch this space!


I've added the images here and as you can see I've also upcycled a star light purchased from Mrs B's Emporium in Wolverton, and an old Ikea mirror I bought years ago. My next project is another purchase from Mrs B's; a small ornamental dresser. Can't wait to post the pics of that when it's finished!

By jane2012, May 7 2017 10:34AM

As mentioned in my previous post I have contributed a batik to the Get Making MK Roadshow which kicks off later this month with a ticketed 'Soiree'. You can find details of this on the Events page.


This all began a year ago with two women who wanted to research artists and makers in Milton Keynes for the town's 50th Anniversary year. Linda Wilks and Ann Pegg have put together a wonderful book and very kindly asked me if I would like to feature in it. I of course not being an idiot, jumped at the chance and one grey afternoon Linda came to my house and we spent a very pleasant hour in my studio drinking tea, eating biscuits and have a lovely chat! The photos were taken by Brian Tomlinson whose pics and link are on the front page of this website.


There are copies still available for £25 each from various outlets in and around Milton Keynes, including my good friend Mrs B's Emporium in Church Street, Wolverton: https://www.facebook.com/MrsBsEmporium, Milton Keynes Tourist Information Centre situated outside John Lewis in CMK and Waterstones also in CMK. You can also ask me and I will put you in touch with the authors.

By jane2012, Dec 18 2016 11:39AM

The second new piece of work I presented to the world this week is another skull. This one has been done specifically for MK50 which happens next year. As the name suggests, 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the founding of good old Milton Keynes, my home town. There will be lots of events and celebrations happening throughout next year to mark the momentous occasion including a touring exhibition organised by Maker-Artists of Milton Keynes. You can find our more about them on Facebook by searching for @makerartistsMK.


For those that have grown up in the town, the red balloons will make more sense. For those that didn't and don't remember the adverts, then I will explain: In the 1980s when MK was at the height of its growth period and the Tory government was pushing home ownership and aspiration, an advert was produced to raise awareness of the new city. It followed a young boy and his red balloon; he and his balloon got on a bus and travelled through the old and new areas of the city, finally ending up at what is now the National Bowl where there were thousands more people all with red balloons. At the end of the advert, they all released them into the sky. Heart warming eh? ;)


Anyway, I will post more information next year about where the exhibition will be visiting, so if you live in the area or will be coming to see MK then check back shortly. In the meantime, I hope you have a memorable Winter Solstice/Christmas and New Year, and lets hope 2017 is less of a shit show than 2016 proved to be!

By jane2012, Dec 18 2016 11:19AM

This week I've added two new works; I know, they're like buses right? Nothing for months and then two come along at once!


Well, they do take a long time to produce - the batik process itself is generally quite quick and if my time isn't interrupted by the mundanities of life, such as going to work, eating and sleeping, then it can take me about a week to produce one. It's the stitching that takes the time. Not one for socialising a lot, I am more than content to settle in for the evening with my favourite programme on the TV, my lap-top tray, magnifying lamp and some embroidery cotton! If I could I would do this constantly but I have discovered through extensive research that I can only stitch for a maximum of 2 hours at a time. If I do more, my eyesight starts to fail and deep vein thrombosis sets in. Oh well, we are supposed to suffer for our art aren't we?


This particular batik incorporated bleach into the process to lift colour out of the background. I wanted to go for a print effect; I love Japanese woodblock work with those bold outlines, and I'm really pleased with the result of this one. It's definitely something I'm going to try again.

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