Suddenly Smitten

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

Hi Everyone!  Early Spring I came across the Golden Fairy Lantern wildflower and was instantly smitten by it.  Photographing these little flowers took me on an unexpected creative journey.  I painted them, made block prints, and hand bound books. Along the way I learned a lot about trying new ways when things do not work out as expected.  I love to experiment and play, so I was completely in my element.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

The Golden Fairy Lantern is a flower that is endemic to Northern California.  These flowers are no larger than 0.5″.  I had to play with the camera settings a LOT before I could capture a few sharp photos of this beautiful little flower.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern drawing yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

There are little green butterflies that I also see on the trail, the same kind that flutter around in our garden as well.  They are so sweet, I love watching them.  After coming home, I drew this picture of a butterfly with two Fairy Lantern flowers and set to painting it.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

Then I ran into a little problem.  I could not paint them to my satisfaction using watercolours.   There was nothing wrong with them per se, but I was looking for something different than what I got on paper.  After painting a few flowers with unsatisfactory results, it was time to change course. 

I pulled out my markers, Inktense pencils and my FW acrylic inks.  I painted little areas on this sketch with each kind first to observe the behaviour.  I really liked the markers, but unfortunately the colours bled to the back of the paper.  So, I used the the FW inks instead.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

This was one of the unsuccessful paintings.  Instead of throwing it away, I cut the part out that was alright and tried a few new things on it. It was great not to have to worry about lines and shapes here, but simply play with paint.  Then I pasted it on to one of my scrap book binding covers and it became a bookmark.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

The FW inks worked a lot better for the painting, but there was something still missing.  Then I realised that I was trying very hard to copy the shadows from my reference photo and making a mess in the process. 

With “Let go, Luke” from Star Wars in my head, I put the photo away and started painting following my instincts.  It worked.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

Once everything dried, I used watercolour pencils to add the details and shadows to the butterfly, and the painting was done.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern drawing yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

However, the idea for a block carving was already stirring in my head.  I made another line drawing in my larger sketchbook.  I spent a lot of time smoothing out those curves in the drawing.  I decided not to ink the master copy in case an accidental nudge of the hand derailed the pen from the line.  I apologise for the faded photo, I draw with a light hand.

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals with Fairy Lanterns Lino Print @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

You know the rest.  The block was carved.  

Since I didn’t purchase sharpening supplies early,  one of my old tools had gone dull beyond sharpening and also got notched.   I decided to recreate the edge of the tool. 

I had never done this before, so of course I mucked up a few times and had to restart from the grinding-down step.  I finally found the right angle, and it clicked.  It was a long process. 

 

 

 

Lino print on Japanese rice paper @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

During the printing process my roller bid me adieu and applied ink unevenly on the board.  Get new roller, clean block, wait till it dries, repeat printing.

I played with printing on different kinds of paper,  both heavy paper and Japanese rice paper. 

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

I made bullet journals with the print on the cover.   I am using the blue journal for my Japanese studies.  A few of the others have also found new homes.  The journals are available in my shop.

 

 

Printing And Bookbinding – A Perfect Pair

You can read about the carving and book binding here. 

 

 

 

 

 

As I get bored very easily when working on repetitive things, I very rarely work on multiple things with the  exact same picture.   However, I was smitten by these little flowers and I delved more and more into the world of creativity centering around them.  Each one was different enough and they tossed me a few challenges along the way.  It was fun to play along.

I hope you will also find something that piques your interest, and try something new and fun!

Until next time,
-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.   They are always a source of new inspirations.  Please pay them a visit.

 

 

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Little Owl handmade journal book by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

Little Stories – After Hours

 

Little Owl handmade journal book by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

 

 

Hi Everyone!  Little Stories are posts I write every now and then where I share odds and ends that I work on or things that happen around me.  This time I want to share a few finishes consisting of knitting, sewing and this impromptu little owl book I made.  I love to keep my hands busy by working on projects like these, mostly after dinner.

 

 

Knitted mitts and hats by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

 

 

Previously I wrote about an exchange that Mary and I did.  She made me an amazing artist apron ( you can see it here ) and I knitted her a couple of sets of hats and mitts.  Since Mary and I both love autumn colours, I had fun shopping as if I was buying the yarns for myself.

I used the patterns Westward Hat and Westward Mitts by Rebecca Woelber for this set.  The cable part of this design required my full attention.  I mostly worked on this one while my husband was playing a video game and I was “helping”.

 

 

Knitted mitts and hats by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

 

 

For this set, I paired Prim hat by Andrea Mowry with Staghorn Mitts by Pamala Jane Patterns.  Both were quick knits and easy cables too.  They are not beginner patterns, but very well written.  If you are a generally a confident knitter, and want to try cable knitting, both of these are very good patterns.  Once you get used to the cable patterns, they don’t require so much attention either.

It was so wonderful to make them for a friend, and I am happy to hear that she got to use them a lot during the colder months.

 

 

Autumn Leaves Line art clip art @ inktorrents.com by Soma Acharya

 

 

During the time I was knitting for Mary, I decided to donate my serger.   The lady who was fostering our kitten was delighted to hear that I would donate the serger to the Rescue.  She lives an hour away, and halfway along the way is a JoAnn fabric store.  I wanted to remake this blanket for our kitty Charlie ( You can read about it and download the leaves file for free here ), so my husband and I made a quick pit stop to pick up some fleece.

 

 

Double layer fleece kitty blankets by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

 

 

I had to pick up some extra fleece for a few more kitty blankets, of course.  I cut the pieces in half to make them double-layered.  I like both the slow process of binding by hand, and also the look of hand binding.  Instead of matching bindings, I decided to use contrasting colours and designs.  They had to have an autumn and winter theme to them as those are my favourite seasons.  I specially love the wispy and wintry tree branches of the binding on the top blanket.

 

Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –

 

 

Now they are all ready for my little kitties when the weather turns cold around here.  These would make cosy and quick baby blankets too.

 

 

Current Play List

It was good to see my old play list slowly winding down, making room for new experiments and play time.

Finished –

New and In Progress –

  • Indigo leaves printing – In progress
  • Painting  – Flowers and butterfly
  • Sew flower blocks for Garden Path quilt – Almost there!
  • Book binding – New cover design for Everyday Journal

 

 

 

One of the original Fairy Lantern flower prints is going to a new home soon, as are a few of the everyday journals, which is always exciting!  They are available in the shop.

 

 

Little Owl handmade journal book by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

 

 

Most of my work is thought through and planned ahead.   This little owl book, however, was a complete exception to that and was certainly not on the list.   At the end of one day, I was so mentally exhausted that I needed a feel-good project.  I had a little 2″ x 3″ book made from before that needed a cover.  I pulled out washi tape,  some scrap pieces of book binding boards, paper, micron pen, glue and scissors, and set to work.

 

 

Little Owl handmade journal book by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

 

 

I didn’t even feel like drawing anything new.  I have always had a soft spot for owls.  I traced the owl from one of my old marker paintings, copied it on the cover and inked it with micron pen.  I love designs by Morris Brown, and I got this washi tape from Jet Pens recently.  After affixing the front and back covers to the book,  I attached the spine board with a strip of the wide washi tape.  I added some scrap washi tape triangles to the corners and the book was done.  It took me a total of around 30 minutes and it certainly uplifted my spirit quite a lot.  Paper, pen, glue and tape – ingredients for utter happiness.

 

These after hours projects have a calming effect on me.  While I work on them, I mentally prepare for the next day too.  Do any of you do anything special to wind down?  I would love to know.

-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay them a visit.  Also linking up with Favorite Finish Linky Party @ Meadow Mist Designs.

 

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