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Hanna-Mae Illustration

Illustrator & eco clothing designer

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Monthly tutorial: St David’s Day

For those of you not from Wales you still may have heard of St David’s Day but not know much about it. Saint David’s Day is the feast of Saint David, patron Saint of Wales, and is celebrated on the 1st March as this is the day he’s said to have died in 589 AD. Today we mark the occasion in different ways, including wearing our national emblems the leek and the daffodil. Schools often hold concerts and special assemblies and I remember being so excited to wear my traditional Welsh lady outfit to school. As this special day is coming up soon, I’m dedicating this month’s creative tutorial to it and will be showing you how to make a decorative pinwheel daffodil. I got the idea from when I helped out at a children’s summer art school where we made paper summer flowers and have adapted it to fit this specific occasion.

Decorative Pinwheel Daffodils

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You will need:

  • Light yellow thick paper
  • Darker yellow (or orange) thick paper
  • A yellow or orange button
  • A split pin
  • Glue
  • Glue dots (or strong double-sided tape)
  • Thick craft wire
  • Any tape (I used masking tape)
  • Green beads (optional)
  • Green floral tape (optional)

Start by cutting out two squares from your papers. I cut mine to 10x10cm but you can make them larger or smaller depending on how big you want your pinwheel.

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Draw a line from corner to corner on each piece of paper and mark 2cm from the centre on each line.

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Cut from the edge up to the 2cm mark and stick the lighter paper on to the darker paper using glue dots.

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Now you need to start folding your edges over. Start at the top and alternate. You need to bend to the right and stick the end with a glue dot until you have the shape below.

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Make a hole through your pin wheel and secure with a split pin.

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Take your wire and cut to the desired length. You can get coloured wire or you can jazz up plain wire by wrapping floral tape around it and adding some beads. Leave a little of the end unwrapped so you can push it into the ground. Attach to the back of your pinwheel using tape.

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Use all purpose glue to attach your button to cover the split pin. This step is optional but I like the look it gives.

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These pinwheels are decorative so don’t spin, but they look beautiful placed in plant pots. You can get creative with your pinwheels and add glitter glue or use any colour paper you want. All the materials used for this tutorial are available in Hobbycraft.

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

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An art lovers’ guide to Caerphilly

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In previous posts I’ve mentioned my involvement over the past two years in the Y Galeri Caerffili Open Art Exhibition and this month my ‘monthly review’ brings you an introduction to the small but blossoming art scene in this little Welsh town.

Type ‘art in Caerphilly’ in a search engine and the first thing you’re likely to see mentioned is Y Galeri. This small gallery, which moved to its current location in 2015, has become a hub of creativity, displaying work from talented local artists and makers, and bringing together creatives, as well as offering the wonderful opportunity of guidance and gallery space for each year’s Open Art competition winner. The gallery, though small, is a must-see for any art enthusiast visiting the area, and is just a stone’s throw away from the impressive Caerphilly castle, which has been the subject of many entries in to the yearly competition. One such piece which was shown at this year’s exhibition was a lino cut by Elanor Whiteman, who lives and works in Caerphilly, and has taken part in an extensive list of solo and group exhibitions around England and Wales. You can view Elanor’s work on her website here: http://eleanorwhiteman.wixsite.com/print/about

The Gallery is a great place for visiting art fans to begin, especially as just upstairs you’ll find the visitor’s centre (link) where you’ll find information leaflets, a café, and local crafts and gifts. The friendly staff are also on hand to answer any questions, and it’s open daily from 10-5:30 (The gallery is open Tues-Sat 10-5:00).

If you’re planning a trip to the town and want to cram in as much creativity as possible, Caerphilly holds a number of craft fairs throughout the year, with handmade items from talented local crafters, conveniently near the visitor centre. You can find out more by visiting the Caerphilly Craft Fair facebook page here:  link

In addition to craft fairs and the gallery, Caerphilly also has an art society, which holds a week-long exhibition each Autumn displaying members work, from enthusiastic beginners, to professionals. The society also holds demonstrations and workshops and guests are always welcome (prices apply). To find out more email caerphillyart@gmail.com

Useful Links

Trip adviser reviews for Y Galeri Caerffili: link

Y Glaeri Caerffili facebook: link

Twitter: link

Website: link

Caerphilly art society facebook: link

Website: link

 

A change of schedule. You’ve got to see this…

A bit of a change in schedule with this month’s review! I’ve pushed the promised Graphitint review back until next month (I was surprised by how they handled – more next month) to allow you plenty of time to visit this inspiring exhibition:

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What: Nature’s Song; Chinese Bird and Flower Paintings

Where: National Museum & Art Gallery, Cardiff

When: Until 23/04/2017 Tuesday-Sunday 10-5

Admission: Free

About: An exhibition showing and explaining traditional Chinese flower and bird paintings from as far back as the 16th century. 

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What really stuck me about this exhibition was just how thought-out and thorough it was. It was evident from the moment I stepped through the double doors into the space that whoever was behind the curation of this exhibition had passion.

Far from being what most would expect of an exhibition of paintings – walking around a space, looking at pictures on a wall, this exhibition is about becoming part of something. As you step into the space you’re immersed in a culture. You’ll initially be greeted by an information board offering introductory information, behind it a Chinese room divider, with a table offering high quality colour exhibition leaflets.

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Not only are they informative, but also multilingual – another example of thoroughness, which is continued throughout the entire exhibition. Video/audio adds a whole other dimension and interest to the exhibition, with the sound of spoken Chinese and traditional instrumental music wafting through the space, accompanied by English and Welsh subtitles! This exhibition accommodates thoughtfully for their most likely visitors.

I was surprised by the size of the space too. However, the space wasn’t sparse nor jam-packed to the extent of feeling claustrophobic. Visitors could move around comfortably without bothering each other, but never be short of points of interest. A wooden bench in front of the projected video was a sensible touch, and again, a thoughtful one.

In addition to the large screen there was also a small video station situated in front of what I’d describe as an installation, showing a replica work room, displaying traditional-style furniture, paper scrolls, and tools such as brushes and holders (copies of which are available in the gift shop). This allows you to truly appreciate the process and situation in which the surrounding artwork was created, especially as the video demonstrates how the tools would have been used.

notsoIt’s hard to find fault with such a well thought-out and intriguing exhibition, however there was one aspect that I’m still on the fence about: the lighting. Whilst I can appreciate the intention behind the decision to include ambient lighting to create a certain serene atmosphere, I feel that by allowing the lighting to be a form of creativity in itself (there were also lighting effects – patterns on the floor resembling waves) it took focus away from the real beauty – the exquisite art. I feel that this should have been pared back a bit, and I personally felt I wanted to turn the lighting up to properly see the detail in each piece, though some may argue that the dim lighting reflected the delicacy of the work.

concludePersonally speaking, ‘Nature’s Song’ proved to be one of my favourite temporary exhibitions of the past few years, and has real substance to it. For art history fans, cultural studies students, and of course artists and art appreciators, this exhibition offers not only beautiful visual aspects, but also a peek into a whole way of life and working.

In regards to child-friendliness, I feel this exhibition is more for older children, who can appreciate the art as more than just a ‘painting on a wall’. This is an exhibition to take your time in contemplative silence around. With Easter half term around the corner, it’s the perfect opportunity to keep GCSE and A-level art students immersed (and hopefully inspired) for a while. I may just go back for a second look…

 

 

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Monthly tutorial: Scrap daffodil brooch

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Here in Cymru we’re celebrating Saint David’s Day, so as promised I’m bringing you a special Saint David’s Day tutorial. Today I’m going to show you how to make a unique daffodil brooch, using just scraps of fabric and a brooch back.

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  • Yellow/orange/green fabric scraps
  • Matching cotton
  • A small sewing needle
  • A brooch back (You can find these in Hobbycraft, independent craft shops and on Amazon)
  • Fabric scissors

If using thin fabric:

  • Iron-on interfacing (available in craft/sewing shops and online)
  • Iron on adhesive (Therm-o-web, fuse-a-web etc, again available in craft/sewing shops and online)

method

 

 

 

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Start by drawing out your templates. The template for the centre of your daffodil (the spiky part) should be around double the width of the bottom of your petal template, as shown in the diagram. The good thing about this project is that you don’t have to obsess too much about measurements. The template for the centre of my daffodil was approx. 7.5cm width and 6cm in height. My petals were approx. 3.5cm in width with a peak of around 5.5cm. The leaf can bee free-hand.

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Cut your template pieces out.

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With pencil or fabric marker/chalk draw around each template and cut the shapes out. You will need to cut 10 petals, 4 leaves, and 2 centres.

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If you’re using a very ‘sturdy’ material which will hold shape well (such as felt sheets) you can skip this and the next step. If you’re using up your cotton scraps as I am, you’ll need to draw around your templates and cut out the same amount as in the previous step. Interfacing will make your fabric much more sturdy. Be sure to read the pack, as some interfacing is sew-on.

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Draw around your templates and cut out 2 leaves, 1 centre, 5 petals, and follow the instructions on the iron-on adhesive pack to stick all your pieces together, until you’re left with 5 complete petals, 2 leaves, and one centre. Don’t worry too much about precision, as we’ll be trimming the uneven edges before moving on to the next step. (NB: be very careful not to melt iron-on adhesive on to your iron! – I learnt the hard way a few years ago)

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Once you’ve trimmed any uneven edges, bring the two sides on the base of the petal together, one slightly overlapping the other, to form a slight trumpet shape.

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Sew a few little stitches to secure. Do this for all of your petals.

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Now for the centre of your daffodil. Slightly over-lap one side, and secure with a pin. Use matching cotton to sew along the edge.

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Once you’ve got you tube shape, pinch the bottom part of the tube together and secure with a few stitches.

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Now we need to attach the petals to the centre. This can be a bit tricky, so I recommend using the shortest needle you can, and allow yourself more cotton than you actually need, just to allow you some ‘manoeuvre’ space. You’re just putting  a few stitches through your petal and centre, up along the line where you’ve stitched your petal sides together.

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Repeat the above step until all of your petals are attached.

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Now our flower is complete, it’s time to work on the leaves. Just to get the leaves in the position you want, put a simple cross stitch in the centre of your crossed-over leaves.

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Take your brooch back and attach it securely to your leaves.

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Attach your flower to your leaves. You can use this step to make your brooch back even more stable; sew carefully through the centre of your daffodil, going in and out of the brooch holes each time.

 

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