Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Who is Elsie? What is she?

I have just revived my Elsie Jones Etsy shop, with a batch of handmade felt brooches, above. (What do you think of them?) I've decided to stick with my 'nom de plume' of Elsie, which as some of you know is not my real name. I'm actually Elaine, but Elaine Jones is a pretty common name and there is a rather good artist by that name, so when I set up a website for my art, I decided to call myself Elsie. This enabled me to get the domain name of ElsieJones.co.uk and I've stuck with it.

Around the same time, I started using Facebook, and because I was convinced I would only use it for promoting my work and networking with other artists (obviously that only lasted about 5 minutes!), I used Elsie as my Facebook name. That has become just a personal account, so now I've just set up an Elsie Jones Facebook page for my artistic endeavours. (I'd love to get more 'likes' there, so if you'd like to see my work in progress and textile art of all sorts, please visit/like/share etc.)
I still have my Kitsch and Curious shop and FB page for selling vintage stuff, but that might go on the back burner for a little while.

Instead, I'm going to concentrate on making things.  I'm really enjoying working with felt, and making small wearable items. I've tried needle felting now, which is great fun, although any craft that involves someone as clumsy as me me stabbing away with a viciously sharp needle is probably not ideal.

I'm also loving the opportunity to use vintage kitsch buttons from my stash. I have a huge stash of trinkets and knick-knacks, frippery and gimcracks and am trying to use them in various assemblages. Here's one I did a while back, which will be in my shop soon.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Felting, Melting, Feeling, Healing

So this is what I've been up to today. I'll be honest, wet-felting is not the most fun you can have on a hot summer afternoon. Rubbing bits of wool in very hot water and detergent makes you sweaty and tired, but I love the hot weather and I'd rather be melting felting than chilling quilling! I'm making these felt 'buttons' as the basis for brooches. The technique I use is a basic one for making felt beads, but I flatten each one slightly, to get a sort of 'Smartie' shape (or is it more like a Minstrel? And why are my analogies all chocolate-based?) But they do look a bit edible, once they're all laid out to dry.
 Here's one I made earlier, after I've sewn some beads on.
My plan is to start a new shop on Etsy for my 'makes', once I've got a few more designs finished. I know, I've been muttering about this for a long time, but as some of you know, I've had a few distractions lately. Ten days ago, I had an operation to have my gallbladder removed. It's a fairly routine op, normally done as day surgery, but unfortunately I had a very infected gallbladder, and had to stay in overnight. The stay in hospital seemed longer, as I'd already spent the day before in a hospital cubicle, waiting for surgery and then had to go home when they ran out of time.

I'm guessing they may have run out of time for some of the patients after me, as the surgeon told me my surgery, which should have taken 40 minutes, actually took three hours. As ever, I'm extremely grateful for all the lovely NHS people who looked after me.

I'm also grateful for Mr Kitsch, who ran round after me once I got home. He's a treasure. And now I'm nearly back to normal ('Normal!', she laughs.)

Yes, this is exactly how I looked right after the op. (It's actually work by Freddie Strickland, from the Falmouth Uni Degree Show.)

Embroidery seems especially appropriate as an illustration, as I've been thinking today about the links between surgery and needlework - they both involve cutting and stitching, invisible mending and sometimes patchwork. I just hope I don't start fraying!