Sunday, 29 December 2013

Friday, 27 December 2013

Plant-Life-Cycle - Residency

Cycle Thoughts:
Having relaxed slightly over the festive period I have found myself thinking a lot about this exciting residency that starts for me in early 2014. My work during the Plant-Life-Cycle residency will be developed in and around my Cycle Shed, a custom made flat pack shed, which will double up as a hide, a workspace and (eventually) an exhibition space. The shed is due to be built and delivered to me in early February, so in the meantime i will be developing ideas and concepts for installations, animation, digital paintings, light projections and cardboard sculpture, all taking drawings made in and around Dewsbury Country Park as their starting point. Exciting Stuff! FL
Cycle Thoughts:
Having relaxed slightly over the festive period I have found myself thinking a lot about this exciting residency that starts for me in early 2014. My work during the Plant-Life-Cycle residency will be developed in and around my Cycle Shed, a custom made flat pack shed, which will double up as a hide, a workspace and (eventually) an exhibition space. The shed is due to be built and delivered to me in early February, so in the meantime i will be developing ideas and concepts for installations, animation, digital paintings, light projections and cardboard sculpture, all taking drawings made in and around Dewsbury Country Park as their starting point. Exciting Stuff! More here

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Fun With The Wacom Creative Stylus

I received my Intuos Creative Stylus from Wacom yesterday and had a nice evening trying it out and revisiting a few neglected iPad apps. The stylus feels very similar to the regular Intuos pen, its comfortable to hold and is a real joy to use. The pressure sensitivity works as expected in both Adobe Ideas and Procreate without any setup (beyond selecting the pen from a drop down menu within the apps). The nib glides across the surface of the iPad Air without any friction, producing fast flowing lines, perfect for the way I draw.

Blue Cow  -Procreate and WICS

Polar Panda - Adobe Ideas and WICS
Even though Tagtool doesn't support pressure sensitivity, working within the app with the Wacom helped me approach the images in a different way, which made for some interesting results.
(Low quality iPhone movie of iPad screen below).

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Woven Narratives - Faunadelic Dialogues - New Exhibition

Exhibition Poster

Eagle, Robin and Bowling Ball

Cougar and Slo Worm Jamboree 

Birds, Bulbs and Bonces - Exhibition

Today I am working on framing a series of works made in collaboration with Photographer and friend Yvonne Roberts, for a small but perfectly formed exhibition to be launched on 21st October in The Gallery @Revive. The exhibition comprises of 4 collaborative works, 3 photographs from Yvonne, and 3 Drawings from me. 

Birds, Bulbs and Bonces: A series of work developed by Fabric Lenny and Yvonne Roberts which fuses photography and hand drawn imagery. The collaborative works take the photographic texture and imagery as a starting point which is then reworked using acrylic paint and Posca pens. These collaborations are exhibited alongside solo pieces by the individual artists revealing the photographic and hand drawn processes behind the collaborative images.

Pelican Hypnotist

Birdy Delights

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Live Projection in Hamburg - Reeperbahn Festival

Photo Credit - Heike Roegler

This weekend saw yet another great trip to Hamburg, to meet up with friend and Tatgtool Partner Benjamin Rabe. Bunny and the Beardman (that's Benjamin and I) were invited to run a couple of projection workshops along withs the creation of live animated Tagtool visuals for a kids storytelling session. The weekend was nicely topped with a great Tagtool projection session will all round good egg and digital music specialist @halfbyte. Splendid!

Bunny and the Beardman in Hamburg from Fabric Lenny on Vimeo.

Reeperbahn Tagtool Session from Fabric Lenny on Vimeo.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Article In Nursery World about iCollaborate

Learning & Development: Expressive Arts and Design - Top marks

An inspiring male role model, in the form of artist Fabric Lenny, has been encouraging creative mark-making alongside improved communication and collaboration. Helen Chilton explains.

Within minutes of the children arriving one Tuesday morning, the creative area was full of investigation and exploration. Questions rang out as hands explored a variety of mark-making materials alongside our visitor - 'What can we make? What is your name?'
At Littletown Junior, Infant and Nursery in Liversedge, we have been fortunate enough to have artist Paul Slater, aka Fabric Lenny, working with us in early years through a Lottery-funded project called iCollaborate. Our early years unit is a busy, chatter-filled, fun room with 51 children in nursery and reception.
Paul worked with us two days a week for four weeks and provided a range of media and starting points for the children to experiment with, although we quickly realised we needed to extend this project further, such was his popularity and impact.


The project aimed to encourage mark-making, exploring a variety of media and to use the work produced to begin storytelling. The ultimate hope was that the children's fine motor skills and writing would improve as a result. We also ran an after-school club, where the children could teach their parents and siblings the skills. However, our careful plan for the first couple of weeks of the project quickly went out the window because the children, as they are encouraged to do, took the learning in their own direction.
Indeed, Paul says, 'The plan was to ease into the project by setting out my stall and creating a number of images to hook the children. This plan worked well for approximately three minutes, as I was joined instantly by a group of enthusiastic young artists.'
Over the sessions, Paul showed the children how to use chalk, charcoal, pens, pastel, acrylic paint, and Posca pens. He taught them how to smudge, shade, make 3D models, use an Etch-a-Sketch, add water to pen work, layer different medias, use drawing apps on iPads, and mono print. His careful explanation, modelling and patience as the children experimented meant that these young children quickly learnt some very complex skills.


After two days of Paul working with us, we noticed that there were a large number of boys suddenly interested in the creative area, including certain boys who never normally accessed this area independently. Waiting for the following Tuesday to arrive seemed an age for some, with many asking, 'When is Paul coming again?'
As we enjoyed some warm sunny days, Paul was outside with chalks, mark-making on the ground and instantly surrounded by children. Other days, the shed was covered with paper to create a long mural or he simply put the easel outside. The children quickly learnt it was possible to mark-make outside in just the same way as indoors.
Paul showed the children how to start with a series of marks, before filling in the blank space with more marks. He encouraged the children to step back, look at the patterns and make pictures out of what was there. The wall quickly became a pop-up art gallery, with children regularly returning to add marks to different pieces of work.
The data for several of the nursery-aged boys who worked with Paul shows that those falling within the development age band of 22-36 months advanced to the 40-60 months stage between Easter and July in Writing and/or Exploring and Using Media and Materials.
The confidence and fine motor control improved and resulted in continued mark-making, even when Paul was not in - as well as neater handwriting.
Peter Cummings, a local authority officer, noted that we constantly 'focus on the development of basic and essential skills, while offering cross-curricular opportunities and giving the children the tools to be creative. The Artist in Residence is clearly supporting learning and making a valuable contribution to children's spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.'


Before the project started, parental responses were limited. However, after a couple of weeks of the children working with Paul, we had lots of parents asking to join in. We even had to put on extra sessions at a variety of times to accommodate the number of families getting involved. One mum came in and said, 'Where's Paul? I'd love to meet him. All I hear at home is Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul, Paul!'
A reception boy who had been very interested in working with Paul each week was so excited when his mum and younger sister joined him. He explained to his family how to use Posca pens - 'You need to shake it to make it work'. Together, he and his sister worked on a picture and when she said, 'No, don't colour. It's mine' he calmly explained (as Paul had previously done with him) that they were going to make a picture together. He started to make marks away from hers, slowly getting closer until their work joined.
A nursery boy, who rarely accessed the creative area and did not like getting messy and dirty, was working with his mum on a big piece of paper. Mum said, 'What shall we make a picture of?' Her child replied, 'No, just patterns.' Using a paintbrush and water, he painted over the black marks he had drawn and began to smudge them with his fingers. He then chose a different colour pen and said 'fill in the gaps' and he drew lines, swirls and dots until all the gaps had gone.


Initially, some children were unsure about sharing a piece of paper to work on. However, after using large pieces of card and paper that meant children could have a corner each to work on, and with Paul's skill of joining the four pieces of work together, we started to hear 'We made that!'
Gradually, children were happy to share smaller pieces of paper and collaboration, negotiation and communication improved rapidly.


After the project finished, staff still encouraged children to collaborate and make pictures together. Indeed, two boys got a blank book from the mark-making area and began to draw together on the same page. They kept the book in their drawer and regularly got it out and worked on it together. They then started to tell stories with their pictures.
When planning our focused activities for Expressive Arts and Design, we try to make tasks more open-ended. We provide fewer examples, work more with children on pieces and make our own at the same time.
Paul is coming back in September to do some more work with the children in Early Years and we cannot wait to see how their mark-making skills have progressed and what work they will produce this time.
Paul commented, 'The confidence and dexterity of the mark-making developed by the children throughout the course of the project has been staggering, as has the team working and general celebration of collaboration.'
Head teacher Fiona Cullivan-Ward says, 'I cannot agree more with Paul on how successful this project has been in supporting the effective development of Literacy skills within Early Years, but the buzz across the whole school has been infectious. We have all seen creativity blossom.
'We have an uncompromising and highly successful ambition for all our children and this applies to all curricular areas. Through working alongside an artist, we have been privileged to see our youngest children's communication skills, writing skills and above all else their leadership of their own and others' learning flourish through planned and highly effective collaboration - a joy for anyone passionate about Early Years to observe.'
The children have absolutely loved working with Paul and sharing their skills with their parents and siblings working with them. The project has truly captured the children's imagination and the work they have produced has led to storytelling, writing and role play.
Helen Chilton is early years co-ordinator of Littletown Junior, Infants and Nursery School, Liversedge, West Yorkshire
  • Our school website shows a further variety of photographs of the children's work - visit the Gallery 'Fabric Lenny',

Sunday, 8 September 2013

We Are All Acrobats Aren't I? Working with wire.

Over the past few days I have found myself drawing with wire (in 3D space), which I am realising more and more is a really lovely medium to work in. These two unlikely acrobats and their tiny birds developed out of the process of manipulating and bending the wire.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Faunadelic Dialogues - Woven Narratives

Our new set of Woven Narratives (a collaboration between USA based artist Jonathan Grauel and I) continue to progress in the form of Faunadelic Dialogues. Here is our latest image bringing together a North American Bear with the Scottish Capercaillie. We always get excited looking back at how these images develop as they are bounced back and forth across the Atlantic, so Jonathan suggested we share the process of this one in this post.

White Glove and a Head of Broccoli

Part of the Process

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Tagtool Fun

Fun with Tagtool in preparation for a few up-coming gigs!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Mail Me Art - Short & Sweet

The lovely little book which accompanies the Mail Me Art - Short and Sweet project and exhibitions arrived in the post today. The exhibitions open on July 30th and August 9th (more details below). My original mail art which appears in the book and exhibitions can be purchased here. All proceeds to well deserving charities!

Mail Me Art

Mail Me Art is a fun little project that was created by Darren Di Lieto of The Little Chimp Society in late 2006. He was looking for a way to connect on a real world level with all of the brilliant and talented illustrators who had become part of his community and network. Mail art was the perfect way to accomplish this task. The Mail Me Art project has held exhibitions up and down the UK, and was published as a very nice book by HOW Books. It has also been featured or mentioned by Digital Arts, Computer Arts, Design Week and The Telegraph over the years. Mail Me Art is still going strong to this day and there seems to be no stopping it!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

iPad to Press - Sexy Peat - Photo Polymer Photogravure

After having had a few days to reflect on my time in Scotland as part of the Sexy Peat project, I can now reveal that it was a truly amazing experience. The two weeks on Lewis exploring the Peatlands and producing a healthy body of work on paper, followed by a week working at the Highland Print Studio were invigorating and have reignited my interest in the printmaking process.

But for now, I want to share the process of liberating an iPad painting from the digital format to a rich paper print using a combination of age old and modern approaches in the form of a photo polymer photogravure plate process.

Moorland Discussions - Procreate
This image was fingerpainted on the iPad in the Procreate app using a range of grey-scale tones.
The digital file was then sent to Photoshop via Dropbox, and then processed through the Nik Silver effects plugin to enhance the contrast within the image. The image was then printed onto a transparency sheet with the aid of some clever under-lighting that tricked the printer into thinking the milky transparent film was more opaque than it actually was.

Printing a transparency on a large format Epson Printer
 This transparency was then used to expose the light sensitive coating on the test plate.

 Followed by the developing of the plate in water.

 The test plate was then inked and printed

The image on the iPad screen alongside the test print
The test print looked fantastic and held an amazing amount of detail, whilst adding a rich organic feel and a certain softness to some of the tones. Following this initial success a larger plate was prepared, exposed, developed and left for several hours in daylight in order for the plate to 'bake'.

The following day the plate was inked and printed using a wonderful traditional press.

The inked plate

Looking pretty pleased and chipmunk-like, printing the first full image proof

Print and Plate

This was a wonderful process, taking a screen based digital image back into the traditional realm and liberating it from its locked in format. As John at the studio commented, Apple are set on producing devices that are virtually obsolete within two years of purchase, whereas this printing press is likely to be still printing in another 200 years time. Thoughts?

Friday, 19 July 2013

First Edition of 12 Screen Prints in the Bag - Sexy Peat

I am nearing the end of my time on Scottish soil for now as I move into the last couple of days of working at Highland Print Studio as part of the Sexy Peat project. Yesterday saw the completion of a three colour print run, with two more print editions and a photogravure plate (to be printed from an iPad painting source, in an attempt to liberate the file from the digital domain)  to be printed today. I fear I am now hooked on printmaking!


Blue and Grey

One of the Final Edition

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

First Day at the Highland Print Studio - Sexy Peat

A great first day at the Highland Print Studio in Inverness as part of the Sexy Peat Project. A really enjoyable return to screen printing after 20 years, and a test print made! Images below are of some of the process.
Beautiful view from the studio window

Working with a variety of mark-making mediums on truegrain film

Checking the opacity of the image against the window before exposing the screen
Washing out the exposed screen

Clamping the screen in place prior to printing

First test prints

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Last day on Lewis for now - Sexy Peat

So here it is. My last day on Lewis. What a fantastic experience it has been. I am really pleased with the body of work I have produced in response to the blanket bog and peat lands, and  look forward to a week in the print studio next week, wrestling with the images and making a series of prints.

The final treat for the trip was a drive out to the Shieling Village near Sgiorgarstaigh, Ness. A fantastic site with a wonderful quirky aesthetic and amazing views of the coastline.