Wednesday 28 January 2015

The Art Chain

Last week over on Facebook a friend nominated me to take part in the Facebook Art Chain and post an image of my work everyday for 5 days. I enjoyed taking part and looking back on previous work (especially looking back to college days) so I thought I'd share it here too! So this is the journey of my work from 2008 to today!

Day 1

I graduated from Colchester back in 2008 with a degree in fashion and textiles. Since starting to make things when I was little I've always loved to recycle, using all sorts of bits and pieces my Gran used to give me, and my work at college really cemented my Make Do and Mend philosophy. 

For my Graduate Collection I created an installation of three, three metre long cream knitted hangings. They hung from floor to ceiling and were embellished with all sorts of recycled and found objects, from meat hooks, to nuts and bolts, plastic packaging and broken glass, all of which I spray painted white. I really enjoyed looking back on this, it was stressful but such a great time! 

Day 2

When I left college I was lucky enough to win a studio space for a year at Cuckoo Farm Studios in Colchester. I stayed on there after the year was up and in 2010 I had a solo exhibition in the gallery there. This piece is a detail from the installation of knitted hangings, which hung on the ceiling like light fixtures. I was exploring light and texture and for this piece explored the Shibori felting process to create a really unusually textured piece

Day 3

When I finished college I started making jewellery, like this knitted necklace embellished with found objects and spray paint, straight away. I wanted to capture the ideas from my Graduate Collection but in a wearable form. Louise Dawson Design jewellery was born!

Day 4

This is a selection of my knitted and Harris Tweed Button Brooches, embellished with a scattering of recycled materials. I first started making these because I didn't want to throw away leftover scraps of fabric, so I decided to make something with them!

Day 5

At the end of 2014 I was super chuffed to have an article about my work published in Green Craft Magazine. Here are my Knitted Button Rings, embellished with recycled fabrics

Thanks for indulging me on a little look back. I nominate you all to take part in The Art Chain and share your work too!

Sunday 25 January 2015

The Small Project Challenge, Knitting in the Round and Woolly Hat Day

I don't know about you but I always have a lot of crafty projects on the go. I think it's only natural that crafty people are always thinking about what to make next, but that can mean that projects take a long time to get finished/never get finished (like the Rowan Drift cardigan that's almost finished but has been sitting in my project bag untouched for about a year). 

So, in 2015, what with this being the year I'm trying to get organised, I've set myself the challenge of finishing one small project each month. This will still satisfy my need to always be making and always thinking of the next project, but should hopefully leave me time to get on with and finish the bigger projects too (cardigan, I'm coming for you!) I'm calling it The Small Project Challenge!

For my first small project as part of my challenge I thought I'd knit a hat in the round. After the hectic end to 2015 I treated myself to a set of Denise Interchangable Knitting Needles, which were recommended by some friends from work. They are so handy as they are really portable and the sizes range from 3.75-10mm. You just slot the cord and the pins together and away you go

Save for a few experiments I've never knitted anything in the round on circular needles before, but I impressed by how quickly the work grew. I made the hat in a few hours and the bonus of knitting in the round is no ends to sew in! I used Rowan Creative Focus Worsted yarn which is a Wool and Alpaca mix. I like to keep my ears warm!

These Rico Faux Pom Poms are great fun so I stitched on one of those

Incidentally, this Friday 30th January is Woolly Hat Day in the UK to raise money for homeless charity St Mungo's Broadway, so I will be wearing my hat and donating to the cause.

How do you manage your crafty projects? Do you like to to finish one before starting the next, or like me, do you have lots on the go?

Friday 23 January 2015

New in my Etsy Shop

I've just added this Green/Brown/Blue Harris Tweed Button Ring to my Etsy Shop! Embellished with upcycled fabric pieces for a pop of colour and a perfect way to wear the traditional Harris Tweed fabric all year round. The Silver Plated ring back is adjustable to fit most sizes.

If you're looking for a quirky Valentines gift, check out my other handmade jewellery pieces here

Sunday 18 January 2015

Photography... Practicing

I'd love to learn to take great photos and for Christmas Mr Writer surprised me by gifting me a DSLR Camera! I'm loving learning how to use it and I figure that the only way I'm going to learn how to use it well is to practice, practice, practice taking photos of all subjects. I'm going to get this book to help me 

I live in a little town in Essex, close to the park by the river and here are the first photos I took whilst out and about on a chilly afternoon walk. I grabbed a hot chocolate to warm up and enjoyed being out in the fresh air!

Next I'm going to practice taking photos of my jewellery using my lightbox- I'll share this in a later post!

Do you have any photography tips to share?

Friday 16 January 2015

New in my Etsy Shop

This handmade Harris Tweed Button Brooch is new in my Etsy Shop. All of my Tweed brooches and rings are made from off-cuts of beautiful Harris Tweed (this one is a lovely blue/green/brown mix) and embellished with colourful pieces of upcycled fabrics. Take a look at my other brooches here

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Baking Day

I just thought I'd share a pic of the Lemon and Pistachio Cake I made this afternoon! I found the recipe on the BBC Food website, check it out here if you'd like to give it a go. Asides from crafting, cooking is my therapy, so it's a lovely thing if I get some time to bake.

I'd love to learn how to decorate cakes- the one on the website was very elegantly decorated- perhaps that's another challenge for 2015!

Sunday 11 January 2015

Fabric Covered Notebook/Blog Planner How To...

 I'm determined that 2015 will be the year I get myself organised. Sometimes it just seems like the to do list gets longer and the days get shorter; So, I'm ditching the random bits of paper and arming myself with a Blog Planner, Diary, Weekly Planner and Calendar!

Here is the How To for making a fabric covered Blog Planner/Notebook Cover if you're getting organised too! 

1) You will need

Ring bound notebook, Tweed fabric, scrap of calico, letter stamps, ink pad, needle and thread, double sided tape

2) Fold the Tweed over by 1cm along the long edge and press. Stick it down using double sided tape

3) Lay the notebook cover on the Tweed. Measure 1.5cm around the cover and cut the Tweed to size

4) Stamp your chosen wording for your notebook onto the calico. I love my cute alphabet stamp set! You could stamp your favourite inspirational quote or phrase.

 Allow to dry and then cut out your wording

5) Stitch your wording onto the Tweed using decorative hand or machine stitches

6) You could leave the planner cover as it is or embellish it with some scraps of fabric, ribbons, buttons or anything else from your stash! I cut slithers of Liberty fabric, tacked them in place randomly and machine stitched them onto the Tweed.

7) Cover the wrong side of the Tweed with double sided tape and stick onto the cover of the planner.

Now it's all ready to fill with plans for the year ahead! If you make one, I hope it helps you stay organised too. Have you got any tips for staying organised?

Friday 9 January 2015

New to my Etsy Shop- Mustard Harris Tweed Button Brooch

I've just added a new Mustard Harris Tweed Button Brooch to my Etsy Shop! I love mustard tones so I was super excited to discover this shade in Harris Tweed fabric. I've been wearing mine with my favourite navy blue dress.

My Harris Tweed Button Brooches are a lovely quirky way to wear this traditional fabric (embellished with a scattering of recycled fabric pieces) and would make a great gift, or a treat for yourself!

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Bead Embellished Gloves How To

January has got off to a chilly start, so the hats, gloves and scarves have been out in full force! I wanted to bling up my plain gloves (the more sparkle in January the better, I get sad when the Christmas decorations come down!)so here is my Bead Embellished Gloves How To...

1) You will need

A pair of gloves or mittens, crystal beads in two colours, matching thread and needle

2) Choose which colour beads to use for the first row and stitch a straight row of them close together, just below the fingers of the glove. Repeat with the other glove

3) With the other colour of crystal beads stitch another neat row of beads directly below the first. I stitched the beads in rows because I like the effect, but you could stitch the beads randomly onto the gloves, or stitch hearts, circles or any other design

Happy making and keeping warm in your spangly beaded gloves! 
If you try any of my How Tos I'd love to see, share your photos in the comments below!

Outtake! I left the room for a minute and came back to this! He loves to get involved