Category: Uncategorized

2016 – A Year of Cake and Completions

Happy New Year!

I don’t know about you, but I’m slowly emerging from under the warm duvet of festivity into the chilly resolve of 2016.

While I wait for my blood double cream levels to reach equilibrium, here’s a quick overview of my (very) vague goals for this year.

Address the phone addiction

I’m suffering through an extended inability to pick up handwork and do it, which (I posit) is due to a rather alarming attachment to my phone. I’m planning on treating it like a desktop and moving towards it rather than keeping it with me around the house. Any hints and tips would be appreciated.

Finishing rather than starting

There are quite a lot of partially finished projects that are making me unhappy in their semi-finished state, so apart from two new things for Little Lion (birthday bunting to be put together before the end of March and her Hebrew name done before she moves out of our bedroom), I’m sticking to things that I’ve already started.

Hand quilted hamsa - Misericordia

Conveniently, this allows me to join Scrapiana in her hexie adventures, so that should jolly me along a little.

Paper pieced hexagons - Misericordia

Sit on the floor

My life as a Pilates teacher and my life as a hand embroiderer frequently come into difficulties. My movement brain knows I shouldn’t be sitting on the sofa hunched over my needle quite so much, so I’m trying to encourage more natural movement in the style of Katy Bowman (go read her, you’ll thank me) by sitting on the floor and wiggling my toes with abandon.

Writing on the floor - Misericordia

Get back to dancing

I need some challenging movement in my life, and if it’s set to music, so much the better.

Bake instead of buy

Extended searches for palm oil-free biscuits have led to the realisation that since we like baking and can control the ingredients we use, we should probably do more of it. Plus, if we do our mixing without mechanical assistance, we’ve practically used up a biscuit’s worth of energy before they’re even out of the oven.

3D gingerbread dinosaurs - Misericordia

So those are my goals for this year, have you got any? If not, can we persuade you to join us in making more cake?

Kintsugi Update and Alternatives

You may remember the rather disappointing attempt at repairing a broken bowl using the Japanese technique of kintsugi.

Broken bowl - Misericordia

Recently, Scrapiana posted a video from the Pitt Rivers Museum who ran a workshop on the technique (with much greater success than I had). Some very useful comments include this blog post by Carys Davies with an alternative technique.

I realised that I had never posted an update on the bowl, so I thought this would be a good opportunity.

I got some really useful comments, especially from Laura who had bought a kit to play with prior to stocking them in her shop. She said that she had had some success in using nail varnish remover to tidy up spills and extra glitter. The next time I was in the same country as the pot, I had a go.

This was how I had left it, rather tearfully, on the way to the airport.

Kintsugi Repair before - Misericordia

This is how it turned out with a careful swab of nail varnish remover.

Kintsugi repair after - Misericordia

Kintsugi repair after - Misericordia

Where does it leave me?

I’m still interested in the technique (I’d really like to try it in a guided way, that workshop looked great), but I think maybe the kit isn’t the way forward.

Perhaps the materials didn’t suit my way of working, or I’m not experienced enough with glue (this isn’t facetious, I don’t use liquid glue very often and I struggle with not having a feel for it the way I do with thread or even nails and screws), or even that the formulation sacrificed adhesive quality for ease of use.

I think I might look into some of the techniques in the links above, but part of me really wants to try to lacquer to see if the rhythm suits me better.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Hello Friday, are you here already?

Matches and candles - Misericordia

It feels like I’ve hardly turned around and this week had disappeared in a puff of sulphurous smoke and a rustle of wrapping paper.

Brass menorah and blue and white ware - Misericordia

Hanukkah started on Sunday evening, and Dragon announced he wanted latkes every night (shortly before deciding he didn’t like latkes). I gamely carried on for four nights, but after suffering intense salad cravings, I’m letting it slide.

The craft fairs were successful, I sold some things and got quite a few enthusiastic commission possibilities, so I’m looking forward to seeing how those shape up.

Scissors and embroidery hoop - Misericordia

I have one piece to finish up and then I’m going to devote my holiday to regaining a bit of making inspiration. I’ve been finding myself aimlessly scrolling through the moderately entertaining dross of the Interwebz instead of making, so I’m going to pull out some family projects that have been neglected of late to see if I can get my needles dancing.

Knitting and Bunhilda - Misericordia

Derwent Inktense Blocks on Fabric

Ever since I cleared out my art supply collection before we moved, I’ve been thinking about what sorts of supplies really fit my needs.

My default colouring mechanism is watercolour, usually straight from the tube, which is great on paper, if a little slow-drying for the amount of time I usually have to work on things.

Evie 's Treasure Map - hand painted and stitched - Misericordia 2014

I tried watercolours on fabric, but all my successes were tempered by some pretty frustrating failures when the colours bled.

Today has not been the best day ever… #fail #paintrunning #perilsofstarch #badday #workinprogress #wip

A photo posted by Katy Bromberg (@mymisericordia) on

I was searching for a more portable watercolour solution that would let me work on paper in shorter bursts and came across Derwent Inktense Pencils and Blocks. The idea is that you can put them on paper dry and then use a water wash to blend for a permanent colour. They’re great for layering with watercolours, because you can put in a background or base colour and if you work over it with other water-soluble colours, it won’t wash out.

Derwent Inktense Blocks by Misericordia

I thought I’d try out some of the blocks for big backgrounds and colour washes in Little Lion’s baby book and really enjoyed using them. Recently, I invested in the pencils, for more detailed work, but I must admit that I haven’t even taken them out of their box yet!

Derwent Inktense Pencils by Misericordia

I have an embroidery which is languishing while I work out if I can use Inktense bars or pencils on fabric, so I’ve been fiddling about with different ways of making them colourfast.

Heat Setting Inktense Blocks by Misericordia

Washing Inktense samples by Misericordia

I’m not entirely happy with the bleeding I get after washing, but I wonder if:

No heat Inktense samples by Misericordia

a. The bars lay down more pigment than the fabric can hold, which is causing the excess colour to wash away, or

Heat set Inktense bars by Misericordia

 

b. I diluted the medium too much so it can’t do its job. (It was a very unscientific process, I’m ashamed to admit.)

Liquitex Fabric Medium by Misericordia

My next steps are probably to try the medium with the pencils, which is how I’m most likely to use them on fabric.

Inktense heat set samples with medium by Misericordia

I’ll keep you updated!

(If you’d like to profit from more of my colourfast disasters experiments, why not check out my tutorial on how to tell if your thread is colourfast?)

Cooking up a Storm

Sometimes an idea takes a hold of me and I get a bit carried away.

So it was when I went looking for some fake food for my friend (and former Flat Buddy)’s two year old.

There wasn’t much interesting food online, so I decided to make some myself.

I had a blast, and duly sent off an always-fresh hamper of goodies. Of course, now Dragon wants his own set, so I have more to do, but it was a nice little project, and even more fun knowing that the recipient’s parents are just as likely to play with it as she is!

(Dragon took a lot of these photos while we were at his grandparents’ over half term, and that combined with an unfamiliar light profile means that it’s taking ages to edit these. I’ll keep adding them as I get through them, but consider this your amuse bouche.)

Returns, Reviews and Restitutions

This has been an ‘..already?’ week.

Between the first proper week of school, the start of after-school classes, a mountain of life administration and trying to new homes for all the stuff that has crept into the house while my back was turned, I don’t have much finished work to show.

But I’m trying to ride the crest of the end of summer wave and get myself back into the swing of coherent existence. I’ve had a nice few months letting things slide, but now I think I want to live in a house where there are flat surfaces with nothing on them and corners which only collect cat fur.

I’ve girded my loins for another attempt to finish the Lovely Young Man’s Christmas jumper (which I started a fortnight before Christmas two years ago), and I have moderately high hopes for this attempt.

How are things shaping up around you? Have you turned up to anything a week before it was meant to start? Have you put something down only for it to vanish into a realm from which nothing can return? Do you have any good ways to store Lego and dinosaurs, safe from the curious fingers of a soon-to-be-mobile Little Lion?

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – Blast Off

Here’s the ark curtain I’ve been agonising over for a year.

ELJC ark curtain - Misericordia 2015

Sometimes large pieces take a long time because of the time it takes to physically complete them, and sometimes it’s the existential crisis that takes the time. This piece was particularly hard-fought, and took lots of both.

The initial design fell together really quickly, and the applique went very easily. I decided to see what it looked like at that point in the ark, even though it felt unresolved.

10th ark open

I wanted to combine elements which reflected the community’s place within the Scottish and Jewish artistic landscape. There are nods to trade union and suffragette banners as well as elements of the Scottish Arts and Crafts movements.

The skeleton of it was right, but it needed more texture and movement.

ELJC ark curtain - Misericordia 2015

I was particularly pleased with the banner, the silk is gorgeously papery in feel, and lets me give a feeling of flutter into the text, but that contrasted with the flatness of the tree.

ELJC ark curtain - Misericordia 2015

I stitched things, I picked them out again. I added hundreds of seed stitches to the French knots in the etrogim (yellow things like monster lemons). I pondered quilting techniques, tone on tone embroidery, trapunto, and finally did a little tentative leaf embroidery.

ELJC ark curtain - Misericordia 2015

I stood back, I looked up close. I hung it on a door, I laid it on the floor. I took photos in black and white, and in colour. I haunted Pinterest, I copied Art Nouveau drawings, paintings and furniture. Finally, I decided on the only sure thing and applied an Arbitrary Deadline, Little Lion’s baby blessing.

ELJC ark curtain - Misericordia 2015

I think it’s worked in the end. At any rate, I now have a template to base the other pieces on, so hopefully I’ve paid my debt to my muse in advance.

Ark design and construction: Sorell

Metalwork design: Lauren Fox

How Do You Know When To Stop?

Do you struggle against the overwhelming desire to add one more strawberry to your pavlova, causing a near-fatal whipped cream slide?

Perhaps you just make one tap too many as you perfect the nose of your latest humano-leonine sculpture.

If you are drowning beneath symphony manuscripts or tarrying in front of nearly finished canvases, Misericordia Ltd can offer you the perfect solution.

For a practically trivial consideration we will post you an Arbitrary Deadline in plain, unmarked packaging.

Simply apply your Arbitrary Deadline (it is acid free and water soluble) to the medium of your choice and await developments*.

*Misericordia Ltd cannot guarantee results when product is not used according to the instructions. Common mistakes include spreading product too thinly or failing to allow product to dry completely. Please note that AD is not for human consumption. This does not affect your statutory rights.

N+S Wedding Commission

I got just about the perfect email the other week.

N & S hand embroidered wedding hoop - Misericordia 2015

It was from a lady that had seen my work at Out of the Blue Arts Market in December and talked to me about her sister’s wedding. She wanted me to make a piece based on the wedding invitation, and was very organised in sending me some photos of the invitation to look at.

N & S hand embroidered wedding hoop - Misericordia 2015

It was nice to be able to work directly from something the couple had designed themselves, and being the font geek I am, I had to modify one of the fonts to match the rather unusual Western/Art Nouveau font used on the invitation (even though the really interesting letters don’t appear in the hoop text).

N & S hand embroidered wedding hoop - Misericordia 2015

I also got to use a new 20cm sized hoop, which is nice and big for pieces with a lot of detail or that need some space around different elements.

I want to start to tweak my craft fair stands to show more of the commissioning process. Given the other constraints on my time, I need to start to concentrate on that part of my work. Do you think I should recreate the mess on the table next to my side of the sofa?

Happy Growing… Up

It’s my birthday today!

In addition to treating myself to a trip to the cinema (thank goodness for The Big Scream) and a promise to eat quite a lot of cake, I thought I ought to start a new tradition of doing stuff for other people, since I’m trying be a little more minimalist in my possessions.

I’ve decided to invest my age in Lend with Care, who provide micro-loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. It feels like a nice parallel to my own entrepreneurial adventures, and you get to learn about the individuals who receive the loans.

A little closer to home, and very near my heart, is something I want to ask you to do for me. There is a high school near us, which will soon be moving to larger premises.

It’s a beautiful building, and there is a bid from Out of the Blue Arts and Education Trust which, among other things, runs one of my favourite arts markets at the Drill Hall in Leith, to turn the school into artist studios, a teaching space, cafe and affordable housing. What could be better?

Unfortunately, there is a counter offer which will turn the school into flats, and given the way planning is going in Edinburgh at the moment, we need all the help we can get to encourage the council to reconsider the Out of the Blue bid.

So please, gentle reader, if you love me at all, will you read all about it here and consider signing the petition?

 

Copyright © 2021 Misericordia

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑