Design Focus Friday – Scale/Proportion

I was thinking about the size of work that I usually produce in relation to scale. Probably the smallest pieces I do are postcard (4″x 6″) size. Smaller scale pieces have to be designed carefully so that the small piece isn’t overwhelmed by too many elements.

I have found that the concept of “keep it simple” works best for me. Every time that I try something elaborate in a small scale piece, it ends up being very difficult to get all that detail in such a small space. I haven’t really done any of the “inchies” but those are definitely small enough that they really only need one element to fill up an inch of space.

How do you approach working in a small scale? Do you do any miniature type of work? Do you think working small helps to refine your design skills? How does working small affect how you then approach a large piece? Leave a comment and let me know how you approach working small. Thanks for stopping by!

Wooly Goodness

 Finally, something that I’ve been working on that I can show you. I dyed wool all day Thursday. This is from a merino fleece that I got locally. I washed it last weekend.

 Then today, I spent all day carding. I have borrowed a drum carder from my friend Bunny and boy is it fun. It makes beautiful batts and you can mix all kinds of fiber together. I want one of my own now.

This is the same batts without the gray and black ones. It just looks so colorful. Hope you all are having a great day and have a wonderful weekend.

Hand Stitch Course

 Finally, a post that isn’t about design! I got my notebook back from Gail Harker after it was graded for the Level One Hand Stitch course. She made some very nice comments and seemed pleased with my work. I know there were several pieces that I didn’t show you because I forgot to take photos before I sent the notebook off. The piece above is my fly stitch sample. Not my usual color selection but I like how it turned out.

 This is chain stitch used as a filler. This one took a while. I followed the lines of the dyed material to achieve an organic design.

Here’s a little closer view. I used mostly hand dyed threads but some were ones I purchased. It is hard to find a good gradation of colors in this subdued color palette. I enjoyed this class and I hope that I can take level 2 hand and machine embroidery the next time it’s available.

Design Focus Friday – Value Scales

Have you used a value scale when you work? It’s a tool that shows the range of values from white to black. It can help you see the values more easily in your work. There are lots of value scales online that you can print and use to help clarify values. Or you can draw your own. Hold the value scale in front of your work, squint your eyes and match the values in your work to the values on the scale. On what part of the scale are most of your values located? Are they all towards the center? Do you need to add values from either end of the scale?

Another useful tool is the value finder. It is a square of mid value grey with a hole in the middle. Hold it over your work over different colors. Is the color lighter or darker than the grey? The white value finder works the same but can be used for seeing and understanding lighter values.

Have you tried either of these tools? Do have trouble sorting out the value of colors in your work? If so, try one of these to see if it helps. Leave me a comment and let me know what tools you use to determine values.

Value scale and finder from

Playing with Gelatin Printing

 When my local surface design group met last month, we played with gelatin printing. It was messy but fun. Louise made up the gelatin plates ahead of time and we used printing inks to print.

 Here’s one of the plates after I tore it up a bit. I like the organic lines that you get after the plate starts to deteriorate.

 Here’s Bunny adding some ink to the plate.

 Here are a few of our prints. I’m not sure what I’ll do with these but I can always make postcards out of them if nothing else comes to mind.

 The other project we tried was screen printing a color grid. You just set up your screen with a 2″ rectangle to be screened and then you screen the various colors on top of one another to see how they mix. We goofed up at the beginning putting the yellow in the wrong places but figured it out eventually.

 Here’s Carole putting paper over the wet parts and getting ready to screen a horizontal line across.

Here’s the outcome. The paper covers seem to soak up some of the colors but it was a fun experiment.