Monday, 23 July 2012

Chocolate hat

Ok, so it's not [I]actually [/I]chocolate....

....and as usual, a just finished, rather than current project (never have time while am actually making).

But made for a college competition being run by the Chocolate museum in York.  The brief was to make a hat that represents chocolate and sweets that originated in York.  So Rowntree's, Terry's, etc.

I decided to use sinamay (despite my dislike), because you can do big shapes with it, with minimal structure.  I also decided to cover the whole gamut of sweets, rather than focusing on one or two.  Others in my class went for classic simplicity, and elegance - I went for explosion in a sweet shop!

The big swoop at the right of the picture represents a Chocolate Orange, and the swirl at the side represents a Smarties tube.  I had wanted to use a real Smarties tube, only to find that Smarties no longer come in tubes.  (Very dull.)

Forgive the poor pictures - my camera died, and I was photographing just before leaving to hand it in, so didn't have time to charge the battery.  And it was raining outside, hence the 'living room' backgrounds!!

I decided to experiment with trapping sweet labels between the layers of the sinamay (extra bonus - legitimate excuse to buy sweeties :o)  ).  I wanted to stress the long history of sweetmaking in York, so I also printed out the 'years of origin' of the sweets - so 1935 for Kit Kat, an 1882 for Smarties, etc, etc.

Across the hat is a scattering of assorted beads - first fimo Fruit Polos, then brown Goldstone beads, which represent the bubbles in an Aero bar, then Jelly Tots, Fruit Pastilles, and finally, Smarties.

I bought most of the beads ready made, but I couldn't find Fruit pastille or Jelly Tot beads, so I made them from air-drying clay, which I painted in acrylics, and then rolled in glass glitter while the paint was still wet. 

My second proper sinamay hat, and I'm quite happy with it - although it's notable that I've once again done it as a variation on a cut and sew hat, not a blocked one.  That's partly because I couldn't go to college for the workshop days, so didn't have access to the blocks, but I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing, because I probably wouldn't have been as open to letting the sinamay do its own thing (to an extent) had I had the blocks to fall back on.  I love blocking, but I do think it can sometimes be quite limiting.

Definitely need more sinamay practise though.  Might even get round to using it on a block that's bigger than a button base at some point!!!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Festival of History (Kelmarsh, or Kelswamp?)

In theory I was meant to have my stall at English Heritage's Festival of History at Kelmarsh Hall this weekend just gone.

Well, I was there, and my stall was there - unfortunately most of the stuff was never unpacked from the plastic boxes I left it in after unloading our van on Friday night.

For on Friday night, at around 11.30pm or 12am, an (unforecast) rain that I can only describe as 'Biblical' hit us.  I lay awake in bed listening to it pouring, and getting heavier, and heavier, and heavier,  And just when you thought it could get no heavier, it did.

As it turned out, almost a months worth of rain fell in a few hours.  We awoke to find the ground our tent was on to be sodden, but not too bad.  Then I got a 'knock' on the tent door from one of the event staff, letting me know that the event was off, and that if we needed any help, to give them a shout, and if I wanted to open that was fine too.

I went off to see my friends (in my re-enactment group), to find a large fast flowing stream running through half of the camp, and several friends' tents.  Fortunately, a sort of 'Blitz spirit' pervaded the whole site, and everybody pitched in and helped everybody else.  The weather improved, meaning that the exits that were at first flooded (trapping us onsite for a while) cleared, and the site was slowly cleared - we got off home at around 4pm.

From my point of view, the weekend wasn't a total washout - I got a couple of nice orders, and handed out a load of hat-related business cards in the beer tent, and wandering round the assorted streams and lakes on Saturday.

The staff onsite, both English Heritage and event staff, and the site staff from the Estate were wonderful, and couldn't do enough to help anyone having problems (we played the new game of 'towed by the tractor' three times)!  And I'm now off to find some new wellies - although waders may have been more useful in some parts of the site at the weekend.  Waterproof boots are fab - till you wade into water deeper than them to help a friend, and it pours in over the top and gets trapped - because they're waterproof...

Monday, 9 July 2012

Eggshell carving

I just had to share these, that I found via a friend on Facebook.

These are real eggs - and absolutely unbelievable!