From making of

Behind the scenes

Uh-oh...

Uh oh... #embroidery #mishaps
 

Ler em português

Hello, hello!

A short update on the fundraiser in memory of our son Daniel: we have hit – and smashed! – our goal of reaching 2000€, so we are now aiming at 3000€. Thank you, thank you for donating and sharing the link! Please keep doing it so that more people can see it! Copy and paste http://www.airdesignstudio.com/daniel in an email, tweet, or your next facebook status update. Thank you!

Today I want to give you a peek behind the scenes of next month’s air Embroidery Club project.

As you may know, over at the Embroidery Club I send a different embroidery template to the members. So every month, when I’m preparing the following month’s project, I strive to suggest something different, incorporating a new stitch or a new technique. We have covered a lot of ground since we started, and let me tell you that I have learned a LOT since starting, not only because of the research and experimentation that goes into each project, but mostly because of all the feedback and input from the lovely members (thank you!!).

This month, my experiment is to embroider on a real garment, one that I own. I’ve had this idea for a long time but had a lack of courage to put it into action. What if it doesn’t look good? What if I ruin a otherwise perfectly looking piece of clothing? You know how the little voice goes.

This time, though, I tore this pink colored, linen tunic while putting it on. It was a big tear, impossible to conceal; but it was also a clean one, on one sleeve, so I could use up the rest of the fabric sometime, someday, who knows. So I diligently put it away.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when I was starting to plan June’s air Embroidery Club project, and was rummaging my supplies closet. I saw this pink linen and thought about cutting up the fabric, but then it hit me: I could embroider a garment – and use it!

The embroidery is based on my delicate flowers pattern, one that I designed a few years ago, and it is almost done. There is still a bit of sewing (or seam ripping…?) to have a wearable tunic, but I’m happy how everything is turning out. I used backstitch on the stem (I could have used stem stitch, right?), chain stitch on the petals and a little french knot on the center of each flower. I can’t wait to finish it and… wear it? Wear it! A new-old garment!

Thinking that embellishing and altering some neglected pieces in your wardrobe may be fun? Join the air Embroidery Club and share the fun!

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There's a new post over on the blog. My heartfelt thank you to all of you who are helping with our fundraiser in memory of our son. I'm using #embroidery to calm me down and bring focus. #airembroideryclub

Olá, olá!

Antes de mais, uma actualização em relação à campanha de angariação de fundos em memória do nosso bebé Daniel: em apenas cinco dias alcançámos (e ultrapassámos!) o nosso objectivo de 2000€, por isso agora colocámos uma nova meta de 3000€. Obrigada, obrigada a todos pelo vosso apoio! Por favor continuem a partilhar o link: basta copiar e colar http://www.airdesignstudio.com/daniel num email para os vossos amigos, num tweet ou no vosso próximo post no facebook. Quanto mais gente puder ver e doar dinheiro, mais crianças vamos poder ajudar, através da Operação Nariz Vermelho. Obrigada!

Feita a actualização, hoje quero mostrar um pouco do processo por trás do projecto de Junho do Clube de Bordado air.

Talvez já saibam que no início de cada mês os membros do Clube recebem uma receita de bordado diferente. Por isso, sempre que preparo a receita do mês seguinte, procuro incorporar alguma novidade, seja um ponto diferente, seja uma técnica nova. Desde o início do Clube que já percorremos um longo caminho, não só graças a toda a pesquisa, mas sobretudo por tudo o que os diferentes membros me ensinam! Obrigada!

Este mês, a experiência, para mim, é bordar uma peça de roupa. Esta era uma ideia que já tinha há muito tempo, mas que sempre tive medo de pôr em prática: e se sai mal e acabo por estragar a roupa? A vozinha fininha e venenosa que vive dentro da minha cabeça tenta sempre fazer-se ouvir.

Desta vez, aconteceu-me encontrar no meu armário de tecidos uma túnica de linho cor de rosa, que usei verões e verões a fio, até que um dia do verão passado ouvi um “craaaaac” ao vesti-la. Fiz-lhe um rasgão enorme na zona da axila! Já não dava para usar, nem para dar, então foi diligentemente arrumada para um dia (de simultâneos eclipses solar e lunar) usar o tecido para fazer qualquer coisa.

Pois bem, há umas semanas atrás andava eu à procura de um tecido adequado para fazer este bordado quando me deparei com esta túnica. O meu primeiro pensamento foi cortá-la, e só depois percebi que a poderia bordar, cortar as mangas e obter uma peça de roupa nova-velha! (Ou velha-nova?) Foi o meu momento lampadinha em cima da cabeça, não gozem, não?

Se estiver a pensar em “novificar” roupa antiga, junte-se hoje mesmo ao Clube de Bordado air e partilhe connosco as suas aventuras.

Join our community and get your free illustration. Seja o primeiro a saber as novidades e receba uma ilustração gratuita!

Learning by doing

#embroidery in progress: a preview of the #airembroideryclub April project. Metallic floss is tricky to use but I'm loving the way it looks.

I’ve been working on April’s project for the air Embroidery Club. This time around, I wanted to go back to the metallic floss I had bought for the December project, the holiday wreath. Back in December, I can’t say that I loved the experience of working with that floss. Actually, I hated it.

This month, though, I wanted to try it again. I started using one of the metallics on a personal project I’m developing (if you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw some pictures), and thought that the April Embroidery Club’s project would be a great way to experiment with it, too.

I was used to working with Cotton Perlé number 8, a really nice embroidery thread that gives a defined look to any embroidery. It’s very much like using a pen (on paper), so it was my obvious choice when transitioning to “drawing” on fabric. It comes in little balls, it doesn’t split, you work with it as is. It comes in many, many colors, so color lovers out there can imagine how happy I am when I enter a haberdashery and see shelves organized by color. My kind of happy place!

The metallics are a very different kind of floss, though. They come in little hanks and once I pulled the end of the floss, it immediately started splitting into six different threads. And because they are made of a man made fiber covering another fiber, they quickly become frayed with use, splitting even more.

So there are many adaptations to make in the way I embroider with metallics, one of them being cutting shorter lengths of floss each time I need to “restock” my needle. I also googled tips and some were useful, some were knot. (sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

This made me think how important the materials are when working, and how different materials condition the way we work. Different materials force us to adapt and use them in a different way. A cotton thread will never be the same as a mettalic floss, so the technique must reflect that difference, too.

This is a process for me, where I still don’t have a lot of answers to share with you. But this researching, this trial and error, this learning by doing make it all the more fun.

If you want to join the fun and learn by doing, sign up for the Embroidery Club today and receive this pattern in your inbox on April 1st. We have a really supportive facebook group where everyone shares knowledge and questions, and strangers become friends. We’re waiting for you!

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This will be my first time using metallic #embroidery floss. Coming soon to the #airembroideryclub.

Tenho estado a trabalhar no projecto de Abril para o nosso Clube de Bordado air. Este mês, quis voltar a trabalhar com os fios metálicos que comprei para o projecto de Dezembro, a coroa de Natal. Em Dezembro, não posso dizer que tenha adorado trabalhar com estes fios metálicos. Pelo contrário: detestei.

Este mês, contudo, quis experimentar outra vez. Retomei a minha relação com os metálicos num projecto pessoal que estou a desenvolver (já partilhei algumas fotos no Instagram), e pensei que o projecto de Abril do Clube de Bordado poderia ser uma boa forma de fazer as pazes com eles.

A verdade é que estava habituada a trabalhar de forma quase exclusiva com os fios Cotton Perlé número 8, um fio que confere uma grande definição ao ponto, um pouco como uma caneta de ponta fina confere definição ao traço no papel. Daí que essa tenha sido a minha primeira escolha quando fiz a transição do desenho no papel para o “desenho” bordado em tecido. Este fio é vendido em pequenos novelos, não se desfia (só ligeiramente na ponta que não vai ser usada), e pode ser usado tal como sai do novelo, sem qualquer preparativo. Vem numa miríade de cores, e acho que podem imaginar a minha alegria quando entro num retroseiro e olho para as estantes com os novelitos organizados por cores. É uma versão do paraíso, para mim! :)

Os metálicos são um fio muito diferente. Vêm em pequenas meadas e assim que se puxa pela pontinha do fio, ele começa logo a separar-se em seis fios mais finos. E porque são feitos de uma fibra artificial que cobre outra fibra, desfiam rapidamente quando se está a bordar.

A diferente natureza destes fios obriga-me a fazer adaptações na forma como bordo com os metálicos, sendo uma delas a de cortar porções de fio mais curtas do que cortaria se do Cotton Perlé se tratasse. Para aprender, também usei os recursos desta fantástica internet e pesquisei dicas para bordar com fios metálicos. Algumas foram muito úteis, outras nem por isso. Suponho que cada pessoa tenha a sua forma óptima de trabalhar, ditada pelas suas próprias contingências e gostos.

Todo este processo me tem feito reflectir sobre a importância da escolha dos materiais na forma de trabalhar, e como diferentes materiais condicionam os métodos de trabalho. Os materiais obrigam-nos a adaptar-nos às suas características de forma a usá-los da forma que mais os optimiza. Um fio de algodão mercerizado nunca será igual a um fio metálico, pelo que a técnica de bordado tem forçosamente de ser diferente.

Esta é uma aprendizagem valiosa para mim, que ainda decorre (e sempre decorrerá, imagino eu). Ainda não tenho muitas respostas para partilhar convosco, mas esta pesquisa, este processo de tentativa e erro, esta aprendizagem prática são um caminho que eu considero muito rico e ainda mais divertido.

Se quiser aprender fazendo, inscreva-se no Clube de Bordado hoje mesmo e receba esta receita na sua caixa de correio electrónico no dia 1 de Abril. Temos um grupo muito simpático no facebook onde todos partilhamos dúvidas, aprendizagens e experiências e estranhos se tornam amigos. Estamos à sua espera!

October’s zine in progress

making-of-airing-from-lisbon

October marks the seventh month-versary of our move back to Lisbon. It’s hard to think back objectively on the time that has passed: was it long ago? Or yesterday? It feels like it was yesterday, on the one hand; but, then again, so many things happened.

We traveled in March, received our sea-shipped furniture in May, felt at home in August. It’s October, Autumn is here; I’m now feeling the desire to cozy up indoors with my knitting needles – or pencil and paper! – and just enjoy work with a cup of tea.

Last week I showed you my studio and today I’m sharing a bit of the process of working on my zine.

I usually start by folding a sheet of paper in four, just like the zine. I jot down some ideas and start to write and distribute copy on the different “pages” to set pace and tone. Then I imagine what I’d like to use as illustration and start sketching!

When I’m happy with the sketch, I grab my favorite pen – or brush – and start inking.

This is where I am today as I’m writing to you. I’m documenting the process over on Instagram. You can check out my feedair_billy is my username – or search the hashtag #airingfromlisbon.

One of the changes I implemented over the summer was to change the accessibility of the zine. Although it is still free, current issues are only available to email subscribers.  It is thanks to you and your help spreading the word that I can keep illustrating, embroidering and knitting.

Speaking of which, tomorrow we will be meeting here in the studio for the first knitting workshop. I’m planning to add a new date for November. Want to join us? Let me know!

Have a great weekend!

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Outubro marca o sétimo mesiversário da nossa mudança para Lisboa. É difícil pensar de forma objectiva sobre o tempo que passou: passou rápido? Depressa? Por um lado, parece que chegámos ontem mesmo; por outro, aconteceram tantas coisas entretanto…

Chegámos em Março, recebemos a mudança, que veio por mar, em Maio. Em Agosto sentimo-nos finalmente em casa. Agora que o Outono chegou a Lisboa, sinto vontade de voltar para o interior, beber um chá e sentar-me a desenhar, bordar ou tricotar.

Há dias mostrei-vos um pouco do meu atelier; hoje mostro-vos um pouco do meu trabalho. De momento, estou a trabalhar na edição de Outubro da minha zine, “airing from Lisbon”. Normalmente começo por dobrar uma folha em quatro, tal como a zine se apresenta, e anoto ideias. Vou mudando o texto de umas “páginas” para as outras até chegar à versão que mais me agrada, e depois passo aos esboços.

O passo seguinte é fazer a ilustração numa folha nova, primeiro a lápis e depois – como vêem acima – a caneta.

E é neste ponto que me encontro actualmente. Se quiserem acompanhar o processo, estou a documentá-lo com mais detalhe no Instagram: air_billy é o meu nome e estas imagens estão todas identificadas com a hashtag #airingfromlisbon.

Uma das mudanças implementadas durante o Verão foi no que diz respeito à acessibilidade da zine. Apesar de ser ainda gratuita, só está acessível aos leitores da newsletter. Se ainda não assina, basta clicar aqui! É graças ao vosso apoio que eu posso continuar a fazer o que gosto: ilustrações, bordado e tricot.

Por falar em tricot, amanhã é o nosso workshop! Em breve haverá nova data para Novembro – quem quer vir?

Bom fim-de-semana!

 

The third anniversary issue of “airing from Lisbon” will be embroidered…

Some progress on my embroidered illustration. #airingfromlisbon (actually in #bcn)

…and I have been posting regular photographic updates of the progress done on instagram and on the facebook page.

This is a very detailed and slow project but I feel that it works like therapy for me.

Make sure to follow @air_billy (on instagram and twitter) and “airing from Lisbon” (on facebook) and sign up for my newsletter, which will show you exclusive, behind the scenes images.

How about you? Are you working on any project that feels therapeutic?

Lotaria à Portuguesa: making of

mosaico-copy

I love reading about other artists’ creative processes and thought it might be fun to share mine with you.

The project at hand was a call for entries organized by Santa Casa, the entity responsible for the portuguese lottery. They currently have a very specific public – male, over 55 – and one of the goals of this competition is to broaden their target audience, with a strong focus on the female public.

The theme was “Portugalidade”, which would translate as “Portugality”, and my idea was to focus on embroidery, an important art form throughout Portugal, with many specific regional techniques. Because Portugal is such a small country, this diversity is an important part of local identities, making embroidery even more special. I also wanted to focus on other icons of our identity, steering away from the usual themes of the sea and the maritime discoveries. I looked into embroidered icons and symbols of our natural and cultural heritage to create this illustration.

01_sketches

After brainstorming, I came up with the concept and some first rough sketches.

 

02-reserva_reviewed-and-completed-sketches
Four hours later, I had my tight sketch, ready to be transferred onto fabric.

 

03_transfering sketch to fabric
My low-tech approach to transferring a design involves a window and some scotch tape. I am so lucky to have been shown this wonderful blue fabric marker before starting this project: it is easy to use and easier to remove than what I used before (a pencil). Thank you, J!

 

04_embroidery in progress
Embroidery started!
I like to stand up and embroider near the window and, at this point, my legs and my right thumb were already a bit sore. It was excellent exercise, though!

 

05_embroidery in progress
Good progress here! We are a bit over halfway, which means about ten hours embroidering.
Next: the incredibly detailed bird…

 

07_almost done

09_last stitch close up
Mission “Bird”: accomplished! The very last stitch completes the red carnation and marks twenty hours of embroidery work.

 

 

10_finished
Here is the final piece!

 

Lotaria à Portuguesa
My finished lottery ticket!

 

This is the completed piece and, by the way, did you notice the choice of colors? Darker and lighter shades of blue are the tones more often used in azulejos, a traditional technique and artistic heritage left by the Arabic presence in the Iberian Peninsula, many centuries ago. Azulejos are very close to our national identity, too. The only color exception in this illustration is the red carnation, the main symbol of our democracy.

On December 15th I will find out if my entry was chosen as one of the twenty finalists. Help me gain visibility by clicking on this link and liking it on facebook, sharing it on twitter, google+ and pinterest.

I’m crossing my fingers until the date the finalists are announced. I hope to make that list, but if I don’t, I had a wonderful time coming up with this illustration and embroidering it.

Challenges and struggles

Best start to my day #painting #acryliconcanvas

Best start to my day II #painting #acryliconcanvas

I´ve mentioned here (too many times?) that my main challenge for 2012 is to paint everyday. I´ve been painting portraits, so far (I, II, III, IV), and I´ve felt different and mixed feelings about the process. Because of their nature – being a portrait, the portrayed should be recognizable – there´s an inherent lack of spontaneity in the initial steps, when faces and features are laid on the canvas. This has made me feel – more than once, I´m afraid – that I don´t want to “mess it up” in later stages… and there goes spontaneity again.

This has been a latent struggle in the work, so today I decided to tackle it by using larger brushes instead of fine ones and by putting more colours at once. It was a small step, I think, but a good one. The joy of painting is here again.

My first quilt

[flickrgallery setid=”72157629045866395″ limit=”10″]
Is this Thursday, already? Oh, wonderful, it means tomorrow is Making Friday (Skinny Laminx style). I have been dedicating it to my first quilt, and outstanding goal for 2011.

The top is sewn, so are the two back pieces, and the sandwich is made. Quilting is in progress, but being a beginner quilter, I prefer to take it easy and go slowly.

There were some challenges concerning the alignment (or lack thereof) – I realize, being a first-time quilter, I didn´t make my life any easier by choosing a pattern with two directions of alignment (horizontal and vertical).

Still, with all its quirks, this is a quilt I´m proud of, most specially for being my first one, yes, but also because it makes me happy to look at it, its colours and the way front and back match.

I´ll show again once finished, can´t wait!

Quilt top

Quilt top

The back

Needling

Embroidering the view from the top of the rock, in NYC

Easier to find the right colour like this

This is a long term personal project I´m working on. It involves embroidering sketches from trips… and then we´ll see if it goes where I think it is going.

So far I´m enjoying the feeling of using needle, floss and fabric as couloured pens and paper.

Whole flickr set, here.

“We´re in Panama!”, behind the scenes

It was time for a nice behind the scenes, “making of” post about issue 11 of my e-zine. Embroidery is a time consuming, very relaxing (albeit obsessive) job, and I love it more every time I use it as a technique. I´ve used it in January´s e-zine and in baby blankets. I find that the slight serendipity of the stitches provides a beautiful character to the technique, making it very expressive.

So, to show you around a bit, it all starts with sketches:

01. sketching

I scan them and make the layout in the computer, enlarge it and print it. It´s time for transfering the page onto the cloth to be embroidered. I use a very sophisticated lightbox – the window:

02. transfering

Then it´s time to take my needle and embroidery floss out of the box and start stitching, without fear:

03. embroidering

And go on stitching…

04. embroidering continues...

… and stitching.

05. ...and continues...

All text is embroidered too. I check three times and just hope for no typos:

06. letters are embroidered too

Then on to the reverse side:

07. on to the reverse side

And a good wash in the end to remove all graphite stains:

08. washing

You can see the whole flickr set here. Just don´t miss the zine itself!

Making of IF_Breeze

Making of IF Breeze_05

I´ve just uploaded a new series of images with the process of making IF_Breeze´s papercut. To check it out, click here. Hope you enjoy it!

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Uma nova série de fotografias com o processo de trabalho para a ilustração IF_Breeze, de ontem, foi colocada aqui. Espero que gostem!