Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Painting part 2

We have spent many long days in the studio over the last couple of weeks, having conversations and making decisions which are allowing the decoration of the wardrobe to move forward and develop organically. The overall finished look is now starting to emerge, and it is brilliant to see how our sketchbook ideas and scribbles are translating onto the wardrobe.

We have been building up patterns using a combinations of painting, paper cuts, stencils and hand carved stamps.

Today, Tuesday 31st August, we finally began work on the decoration of the main panels on the front of the wardrobe, and we're feeling very pleased with it so far. Basing the decoration on including elements from different fairy tales which are all tangled up in a beanstalk.

We drew the basic shapes out in pencil and have painted in the paler background colour before beginning to paint over the pattern in the same blue as we used for the sides.

The decoration is a combination of Cait's more traditionally figurative and detailed drawings and Jessica's pattern doodles, silhouette birds and other recurring sketchbook thoughts.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Making our Puppets

Having decided we rather liked the princess puppet, we thought it would be good to make some other archetypal fairytale characters. Having lots of fun making newspaper forms and applying newspaper and paste, and finishing them off with a layer of gumstrip.

We then coated them in a layer of emulsion.

Before applying their unique personalities.

Jess made a wig out of wool for the fairy, by herringbone braiding a strip of wool, and then tying individual strands down the sides of it. So when it was glued in place you cannot see the machanics of it.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Painting the Wardrobe

Our blank canvas ..... so exciting!

The wheels have been spraypainted gold.
We divided the surface into diferent sections, echoing our research into the decoration of old fashioned fairground rides and folk cabinets and boxes. Using basic stencil shapes we cut out to map the areas for painting. 
Ta Da!
We chose to paint the background in blocks of colour, which we will be building over with layers of illustrations and patterns. Our colour palette was again influenced by our research into fairgrounds and victorian side shows. 

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

pretty flowers

A lovely flower arrangement i spied from the bus, decorating the gate to the church in Rosset. It sparked some thoughts in conjunction with the enchanted garden theme weekend at Erddig which we are hoping to get our wardrobe to, about making some kind of crazy decorations for the wardrobe, possibly as a way of getting the children involved in some making. I also liked the way bits were hanging down, and we've been thinking about making some weather ... to the sketchbooks .... doodley doodle dee doooo .....

Princess Puppet

I thought it would be interesting to try and translate some of my character drawings into 3-D, so i began having a play with papier mache. I made a sort of puppet doll of the princess who has the central role in the story we were focussing on, the wild swans, with the thought that she could be useful to the storyteller as a focus for the telling.

Using scrunched up newspaper to create a form and pasting strips over in layers, I used a rolled up bit of cardboard to keep the structure rigid, and which extends long enough beneath the body of the puppet to be used as a handle. I had a lot of fun working out her appearance. Playing around with old hair pieces and false eyelashes which i had lying around.

Choosing the colours was simple enough as they are proscibed in the tale - red of blood, white of snow and the black of the ravens wing. I like that she has seems delicate and isn't perfect, she has the look of a victorian china doll.

I am using an old skirt to create her dress, i like the excessive amount of fabric, it helps to hide all the rough edges.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Crafty sock puppet swans

A fun afternoon was had earlier in august when we had a craft afternoon with tea, cake, some friends and lots of laughter as we attempted some basic puppets out of socks and wool and other bits and bobs we've hoarded over the years.

We think they have personality!

Printing Wallpapers

An educational day in the print room, being taken through the entire process from top to bottom. Plenty of technical process to worry those of faint heart and a lot can wrong, as we discovered. However the main lesson for the day, there is a simple solution to pretty much every problem.
Burning the image onto the screens with a 1000 watts of UV light.

Choosing our colours and mixing the inks 50/50 with print medium

Screen ready to print


We learnt quite a lot about registration and solutions for getting the pattern spaced correctly, mostly through trial and error, but adapting techniques from fabric printing, overlay and adept use of masking tape. Other problems we encountered were that the ink from previous print tended to make a ghost imprint on the under side of the screen, messing up our beautiful patterns, and over the several days printing we learnt ways to counteract this. Such as using a smaller squeegie and ensuing everything was kept as clean as possible. 
Cait aligning against the black and white image underneath the paper.
Important to make sure everything is cleaned up properly. Jess had far too much fun with the power hose.

Some of jess's prints left to dry.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Charity Shop Inspiration

In keeping with our aim to use recycled and found materials we've spent the morning mooching round the charity shops of Wrexham, and have found some pretty spiffy bargainous fabrics to make some fabulous costumes for our puppet characters.

We've also picked out some paint colours for the exterior decoration and are a bit too excited about the shiny gold paint with which we intend to add some additional bling to the wheels at least. Oh yeah, it's going to be truly fabulous!

pop up high street

image taken from the vintage at goodwood website

this just seems pretty cool, and links into some of the thoughts we were discussing in the beginning of our project ideas :-)

Friday, 13 August 2010

wardrobe in progress!

Meanwhile....back at Caits house....our carpenter, Oli, has been working on getting our wardrobe into a mobile state, there's still quite a bit to do...but so far....

...it's ricketty beginnings!

Fun and Frolics in the Print Room

This is the beginning of our wrapping paper, which we also plan to use in the decoration of our wardrobe.

After a hectic morning collecting acetate prints from Staples and rolls of paper we finally made it into the studio....after much trial and error involving mathematics and positioning, aligning...etc...we managed to create this frog prince print...which we think is starting to look pretty spiffy!

Jess hard at work...hiding behind realms of frogginess

Caitriona struggling to hold up the frogs...

...And ta-da! after hours of effort we managed to get a sample roll almost done...all we need to do now is print lots of golden balls...roll on next Tuesday for more print room muckiness!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

...and so it all begins....

Welcome! We will be using this blog to document the progress of our wardrobe from scratch to finish. Our idea as two children's book illustrators is to develop storytelling beyond the pages of a book and allow the audience to step into the fairytale in a more interactive way. We plan to use traditonal stories which involve themes of transformation such as 'The Wild Swans', 'The Frog Prince','Cinderella'....We want to champion the concept of handmade crafts and so, we will be creating puppets, masks, mini paper theatre sets, printed fairytale theme wallpapers, knitted and sewn objects as well as illustrated work. All of these will revolve around the theme of transformation in fairytales.

Our wardrobe operates on two levels: it can be viewed as a fairytale tableaux in itself, the visual contents displaying the story and allowing the audience to piece together the narrative. On the other, through collaborating with a storyteller, the wardrobe can become a live theatre, with props and interactive objects which can be passed around the audience and used, to bring the audience into the fairytale in a tactile way.

Our aim is to have it all ready to go by the 28th of August for a festival taking place in Wrexham, North Wales....so follow us here as we encounter a jumble of fun, making, hurdles and successes....will it triumph? find out here!