Saturday 30 May 2020

Challenge reminder

Are you going to join in?

Remember I suggested a 30 day challenge for June!

Here are my paints, papers and inks ready to start on Monday.

I am going to make a collage everyday through June.  I'm not going to have a theme, but there will be a colour scheme.  Plus I'm limiting the size to the size of the sketchbook.  The aim is to fill a page each day and maybe at the end I'll have ideas to develop as pieces of work.  But for now, it's just about playing.

Here are a couple of collages I made in January at Committed to Cloth.

I'd love it if you decided to join in. You don't have to do a collage. You can choose any creative pastime you enjoy. I suggest you do something you already know how to do. Stay in your comfort zone for a month. Innovation might come from it, but comfort zones lessen anxiety. However I would definitely limit the size of what you do.

Thanks for joining me today.

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Word of the Year Journal

I have continued to use my Word of the Year Journal but really more as a lockdown diary.  I've put in it what I have done each day to make me feel as though I've achieved something.  I have recorded the distances we have walked each day.

I started the month with a calendar page even though everything was cancelled!

Each double page spread is a week.  If I haven't written much I fill in with stickers or washi tape.

During the month I wrote on the calendar the rest of what I had done.  Basically full of zoom meetings!

Have you been recording your lockdown activities?

Thanks for joining me today.

Saturday 23 May 2020

Travel Journal

Do you remember right back at the beginning of lockdown I shared my holiday in Australia?  Today I thought I'd share how I recorded that in my Word of the Year Journal, rather than have a particular travel journal.

I wrote in the journal every few days.  I also had a notebook that I wrote in each day so that I noted what we had done that day.  I also had some post it notes with me to leave gaps for the photos.  When I got home I printed out the photos and stuck them in.

I went back to my March calendar and filled in what we had done!

I'll share some of my other journal pages next time.  I'm recording the things I've done each day through lockdown, just so I can feel I've achieved something each day.

Thanks for joining me today.

Tuesday 19 May 2020


Can you believe we're over half way through the month of May!  I feel May has gone by quicker than April although I don't know why.

During May I have been doing a challenge of colouring or collaging a one inch square every day.  I've been doing it in my Word of the Year journal.

Although I love working small, an inchie is even too small for me.  So I'm going to set myself a challenge for June.

A 30 day challenge to make a collage every day.   My friend Mary is doing the 100 day project and is producing amazing collages.  You can find her on Instagram @foundonbrighton

I'm going to limit the size of the sketchbook so that I know I can complete a collage each day.   I am going to use a Dina Wakley 6" square sketchbook.   I'm going to continue with the colour scheme I was using for the Virtual Studio ideas plus add some papers, inks and possibly fabric.

I'd love it if you decided to join in.  You don't have to do a collage.  You can choose any creative pastime you enjoy.  I suggest you do something you already know how to do.  Stay in your comfort zone for a month.  Innovation might come from it, but comfort zones lessen anxiety.  However I would definitely limit the size of what you do.

Let me know in the comments if you think you might join in.

I'll post a reminder of the challenge at the end of May.   I'll show my collage pages here on June 9th, June 20th and June 30th. 

Thanks for joining me today.

Saturday 16 May 2020

Just Do It

Did you know that my name, Bernice, comes from Berenike which means Bringer of Victory.  It's also where Nike, the footwear company, gets its name from.  Valerie Sjodin made this piece of artwork for me.

If you are a regular reader you will know that I used to be addicted to online courses and that I tried to give them up.  In their place I became addicted to in-person workshops.  I was trying to give them up when I had to go cold turkey in March due to them all being cancelled.

I'm sure you'll guess what came next.  Yes, I succumbed to the delights of online courses.  However rather than them being particularly art or textile based, I signed up for one on developing creativity and one called 30 days to Purposeful Habits.  I'm half way through both.  And have signed up for a creativity based one starting next week.

Through all these courses I am trying to find out why I work, or don't work, the way I do.  I haven't struggled with not being creative through lockdown, because I wasn't being particularly creative before.  There has been some creativity simmering away below the surface - the last few blogposts on zine making for example.  And I have kept up my Word of the Year Journal.  The most creative thing in that is using different coloured pens and some washi tape!

So what have I found out so far?

That I actually need a schedule and deadlines.   When I retired I had a mini rebellion about schedules.  From childhood my life was scheduled around school timetables.  More timetables as a teacher and then again as a parent.  So when I stopped working I decided I should do without and be as free as a bird!

And how has that worked out for you you might be asking.

Not at all well really.  I don't get much done and I don't feel any sense of satisfaction with some of my days.

The course that officially starts next week had an opening exercise of a piece of work that captured the essence of my life's journey so far.  In doing the two recent courses I became very aware that I keep asking the same questions maybe at a different level on a metaphorical spiral staircase.  I learn a little each time but never make big breakthroughs.

I think it's time to make the breakthrough.

One of the things I have also realised is I should stop hesitating and 'just do it!'

Thanks for joining me today

Tuesday 12 May 2020

A collaged zine

I thought I would have a go at another sort of zine.  One with a collaged background.

Collect together a variety of papers that have a similar colour.  Use book paper, patterned tissue paper, maps, music paper etc.

Tear up the papers into small, but not to small, pieces.  Very small pieces take longer to glue down!

Take an A4 sheet of paper and start glueing the torn papers to the A4 paper.  Use PVA or gel medium.  Put a layer of glue on the A4 sheet and over the top of the torn piece to ensure contact.  Make sure the collage pieces overlap with the next piec.

Cover the whole A4 sheet.  It's better to let the collage pieces go off the edge of the paper.

When the glue is dry trim the edges.

Take some gesso or white acrylic paint, and wipe it over the collaged papers.  I used a wet wipe.  You could use an old credit card.  Doing this blends all the papers together.   When the gesso is dry put the paper under a weight to flatten out ready for the next activity.

Make the zine as in previous posts.  Fold length ways from the collaged side

Fold inwards from the untouched side.

Then fold to make your zine.

WIth this zine, I'm going to make pockets.  You could just have 2 pockets with the tops open or as in this zine have two top opening pockets and two side opening pockets.  I've used double sided tape so you can see where to put your glue.

To make the inserts I found some Kraft paper tags.  The one on the right was a perfect fit so I cut the other smaller one to match.

I tried one out in the side pocket but decided it was too narrow.

I measured the size of the pocket and drew out the rectangles on the larger Kraft tag.  You can use any type of card.

To cut matching 'shoulders', put your two cards on top of each other.

The cut one corner off both pieces of card.

Turn the bottom card over and using the top card as a template cut the corners off at each side.

Punch holes in the tags.  You can thread string, ribbon or wool through the holes.

Your collaged zine is all ready to decorate with words, pictures, photographs.  Whatever takes your fancy!

Have fun!

Thanks for joining me today.

Saturday 9 May 2020

Using your zine

In my last post I showed you how to make a zine of zine with a woven spine.  Here are some photos of what I have done with it.

I used printed paper stickers

And transparent stickers

I've left empty pages for sticking pictures in or doing some journaling.

I stamped with waterproof ink.

If your sticker is too wide for the page then put it up the other way!

This isn't finished.  It will be an ongoing project.  I might give it to a friend.  Who knows!

Thanks for joining me today.

Tuesday 5 May 2020

A stitched zine

Last time I showed you how to make a cover for your zine of zines.  This time I'm going to make a stitched one.

I painted 5 pieces of A4 (letter) sized paper with watered down acrylic paint and put cling film on the top.  You could use watercolour paint instead.  If you use acrylic remember to take the cling film of before the paint dries completely.

Then I folded and cut the papers in the way I showed you in the first blog post on zines.  I glued the pages together in each zine and then sewed through the spine of each one.

First you find where the middle of the spine is on each zine, and make a hole with a big needle or a pokey tool.  Measure 3.5cms each side of the middle and make another hole

Take your threaded needle from the outside of the zine into the inside using the middle hole.

Take your needle from the inside to the outside through the top hole.  Make sure the end of the thread still hangs outside.

Take the needle to the bottom hole and into the inside.

Come back up through the centre hole with the two sets of threads either side of the long stitch.

Tie a knot in the two loose threads so that it holds the long stitch.

Make sure you pull the trheads tight before you tie the knot.  It should look like this

And NOT like this

Put all your threaded zines together.  Hold them together with an elastic band or bulldog clips.

Using another thread - I like to use variegated - start weaving in and out of the stitches on the spine.  Leave the end of the thread loose for now.

As you weave in and out use the needle to push the lines up tight to each other.  Don't pull the thread to tight at the sides as you want an even edge and width.

When you run out of thread, push the needle up the part you have already woven

Cut the thread off and start a new thread as you did in the beginning.

Work as closely as you can to the knots.

When you get to the base of the weaving take the thread up through the weaving and cut it off.  Where you started wach thread there will be tails.  Thread these into the weaving.

The woven spine.  You can leave the spine threads as they are, or cut them shorter or maybe add beads to them.

When you open the zines you will be able to see a bit of the weaving.

Next time we'll look at how we might use the zine.  Yes, I know I said that last time, but I got sidetracked by the weaving.

Thanks for joining me today.