Sunday, November 05, 2006

The cold weather has arrived!

Remembered to get the Christmas Cactses in from the garden yesterday, just in time as we are having night frosts now. Lovely for Guy Fawkes night. Strangely the plants have decided to flower already.

Have done another large charcoal drawing- I like this one, might interpret it into free machine embroidery.

Have been working with animal patterns with my students , most enjoyable and also very inspirational.

This is one of my pieces as a response, think this could be a mixture of Embellisher machine and free machine embroidery.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Autumn in Wiltshire

Went to see a friend yesterday in Chippenham, it struck me how late autumn is this year. As we were driving into Chippenham town, the trees were just starting to change colours.

On the return journey along the M4 motorway ths sun was good to see.

So --- No stitching today......... but the evening sky was a pleasant surprise. Photo was taken at the bottom of the garden.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Its been a long time..........

Hope I am now back to blogging on a more regular basis. Its been a tough month, I have been working at my own work, but not blogging. Unfortunately was not enough time in a day to do both and work full time too.

My work recently has consisted of getting stuff ready for some exhibitions later this year and the start of next. This has involved framing and finishing. Takes such a long time to do. It is quite satisfying to see it all finished and ready to go.

Then followed a week of total lack of creativity......I was I did some charcoal sketches ( on A1 paper), I like to work to music and just let go...... here is one of the results.

Once I have done these sort of exercises - I can usually start playing in my sketchbbok. Still all very abstract. Tried to photograph my sketchbook tonight to show you and as you can see had lots of help!!

Hope you can see some of the sketches, despite the helper.

Not quite sure what is going on with this next page, have been doodling. We'll see how it evolves.

A quick refreshment break for some - that's my painting water, just as well I had just put some clean water into the jar. Will have to go and fill it up again to carry on painting.

A few more pages, am on a roll - so I think I will just colour pages and start drawing onto the pages afterwards.

Its good to be back.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tough Times

Its been tough going back to work this week. It is great however, to be working in a brand new 20 million pound (GB) building, but the hard pysical labour of unpacking and finding a place for everything is taking its toll at the moment, I have muscles I did not know I had!!! 'Cos they ache!!!

I am really excited and pleased with the new working environment ....its fantastic.

Have done little of my own work this week, as I have been getting home quite late.Just to cheer me up, will show you some work done with a drawing and then interpreted into fabric and stitches, using a variety of techniques on the same image/design. Hope you enjoy.

Hatched drawing.

Stitched ( machine) drawing

Cable stitched ( machine) sample.

Pattern repeat ( machine).

Stitched computer printout.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Stitch quick update

Have done some stitching this week, despite spending most of my time unpacking. Back to work on Monday and its still chaos, but thats another story!

Here is a snippet of the stitching. Its going for an exhibition later so just a tiny view. It is a lot larger and I am just about to do the final press and mounting etc. So this picture is still a bit bubbly on the surface.

A friend of mine has seen it and really likes it, which is a great morale booster for me. If she decides to purchase it, when it is finished. I will then be able to post a larger picture of it for you to see. Interestingly she sees some quite different objects in the picture to the intended...... so I am busy thinking of an apt title for it now. I just love it when a piece of work I have created sparks an imaginative response in someone else and they tell you about it.

Rural Bank Holiday Show

Living where we do, on the furthest edge of the town, has its advantages. We get a town style bus service, but all the rural agricultural shows on the doorstep. Last Monday was the August Bank Holiday in the UK, and usually we traditionally have loads of agricultural shows in rural areas. So we trotted off to the local show in the afternoon, as we have done for a number of years now. Its a big meeting up of the family clan! Here's a taster of the atmosphere, and animals rule OK?

Schnauzer talk? Our adolescent puppy is on the right, the lazy one, is a younger chum of his!

Horsey talk?

The main arena - centre of attraction? My granddaughter.

Owl talk? Isn't he georgeous?

There was a Marquee with craft goods for sale, home made cakes, home made cards and jewellry a couple of stands selling baby quilted sundries. Could not take a photo in there to show you, but you can probably imagine. There were a number of animal charity stalls, farm suppliers, vehicle suppliers, vets, ice creams, food stalls, flower shows . A great day and the weather shone brightly, despite the weather forcasters threat of rain!

My eldest son was one of the sponsors this year, which was great, and he thoroughly enjoyed himself and so did the family, and he will definitely sponsor again next year.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Carry on Stitching

Have been finishing those UFO's I have found during my big clear up campaign. Quite a few are ready for exhibition now, which is a great relief as I have some exhibitions coming up at the start of next year.
Also visited the local hardware store for pieces of wood and mirror fixings. They have a 10% off everything weekend, so seemed a good opportunity to buy some of the "fixings and wood" needed for the finishing of my work .......and save some money for a change!

Fingers are now better which has speeded up the process.... I now have 8 fingers and 2 useful!! Finished another one of my "kantha " style pieces last night. Just one more to do.

I am still interested in the textures and the movements in the cloth created by this hand stitching. Looking through my photos from the recent Festival of Quilts, I realised I was often attracted to looking at the surface of the exhibits for textural qualities as well as for the overall impact. This piece of work by Liz Hewitt probably illustrates what I mean.

Here is what Liz wrote about her work ( unfortunately blogger insists on writing it sideways!!!!)

Whilst at the Festival of quilts - I was also interested in how others mount their work for exhibition...remember I knew I had a lot of finished pieces of work I wanted to get ready for exhibition. I know it was a quilt show so there were lots of "sleeves, bindings and such like". I was not disappointed , lots of innovation on that front as well. Especially some of Judith James work and Michael.

I really found this piece of work appealing. It was one of those pieces, that I had to go and look at a number of times ......

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Stitching time

Its been a very grey, rainy day today, so perfect to get into the studio.

Spent a lot of time stitching, which was a really nice change. It is so much easier now I have sorted the studio out and can find everything! The downside of course is I have also found a lot of UFO's. So today I have made a start to finish as many as I can.

At the top of the pile was this one. It has been stitched - it needed to be prepared for exhibition and to be hung properly. So here are a few snippets - just in case I ever want to exhibit it somewhere special - and the jurors have seen it on this blog. Unlikely I know - but you never know.

These textiles were developed from some life drawing sessions I went to, just wished I had taken my sewing machine! I love drawing / stitching with the sewing machine.

As you can see I have not really thought about the techniques I have used, I have tried to achieve effects through layering and stitching of threads and fabrics. It's good fun. Well back to work, have a load of hand stitching to do to this before it is finished. by the way -there are 2 of them, made a pair- both different.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

And what did you do there.......?

I went to Tate Modern to see the Kandinsky exhibition- called - the Path to Abstraction.

I had printed out the room guide from the Tate website, as reading material for the train, and was so pleased I had read it too. It gave me an overview of information which I really need. In the Exhibition there was plenty of information on the walls and in a little booklet they gave us, but I find it very difficult to engage both sides of my brain at the same time. Either I like to be visual, or analytical, I really cannot do both at the same time very well at all.

I loved his early work and in particular the works in room2, the colours shone bright, the paintings were displayed so well. In room 3 my favourite was Study for Improvisation 8.

In room 5 the mood changes and the inclusion of the colour brown, made many of the paintings dreary in my view.

My real favourite was in room 6 Composition VII, there is not an image online but there is a study. Apparently Kandinsky did a lot of studies for this very large Painting, and then painted it in 3 and 1/2 days. His lover Gabriele photographed it as it progressed. I could have stood and looked at this painting for ever. I would even go and see the exhibition again if I could, just for this picture.

I made some notes in my sketchbook whilst travelling home on the train, I just loved the exhibition, then started to feel a tingle as the Berkshire Downs came into view, and home is not far then. Always good to get home after a brilliant and inspiring day out.

Where have you been......?

In the Nursery rhyme, it continues ........ I have been to London to see the Queen! (I continue -except the Queen is on her holidays!). The rhyme continues.......... and what did you there? I continue - I went to see the Kandinsky exhibition at Tate Modern instead.

Must admit the start of the journey from home was a bit dubious. My train had been cancelled, other trains were delayed. As it turns out I caught the earlier train( 'cos it was running late!) but we arrived at Paddington at the time I would have arrived with the cancelled train. Does that make sense?
I was a happy bunny, until I got to the tube (underground) where they announced that the Circle line trains were running late and off shedule, due to an earlier incident. My heart sank - I was meeting a lot of my chums at noon. Within 1 minute the tube was there taking me off to Blackfriars station!Someone was certainly looking after me today!

Decided to take the exit out of the station to go over the Millenium Bridge, the heavens opened up and it poured with rain! Stopped just as quickly and the sun came out. So here are some photos of London yesterday.

Tate Modern from the Millenium Bridge.

Tower Bridge from the Millenium Bridge

St. Pauls from the Millenium Bridge

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Festival of Quilts - The Quilts

All these entries in one day! I must be making up for lost time.
I have been quite selective with the quilts I have chosen to show you, which has been very difficult, there were so many I found to be inspirational, all for very different reasons. Sometimes it was the subject matter I found intriguing, sometimes the close up texture, sometimes the sheer ingenuity, sometimes the colour and sometimes I could not analyse - it was a gut reaction. I decided I would try and limit it to 5 photos, mainly because of blogger limitations. However as usual blogger has other ideas and is limiting me to 4!!!!

Anita's quilt was part of the Husquarna Viking contest, and I suspect many of my visiors from "across the pond" have already seen this exhibition.

Bailey is a member of the Contemporary Quilters and her quilts are made from hand dyed felt.

There were a number of Kantha's in a seperate exhibition area, they were good to see.

Another selection of quilts I would highly recommend to be seen is by the SAQA group....WOW! I found real inspiration there .

Another quilter to keep your eye on is my chum Helen, some lovely inspiring work that she had entered this year.

This is a view of the Entrance/exit - certainly plenty of room to look at and admire the quilts on show. This is only a very small selection in this photo. Rest spaces were basic but very welcome when needing to take the weight off the feet.

Festival of Quilts- The traders

As promised some more about the Festival of Quilts. I had asked my internet chum Carol to tell me of any good exhibitions and stands I should look at and she gave me good advice. Buy the programme and read it carefully before you start - she advised. I did Carol and good advice it was too.
I made the decision to visit the traders first this year, as it gets very crowded later on, and look at the quilts after lunch.
I wanted to buy a rotary cutter and that was my first purchase, I also bought a ruler to go with it, it is gridded so I will have to find out why and also how to use it. Any help gratefully recieved, please!

This is my little stash of goodies I purchased. The ruler is on top beside the rotary cutter. I also bought a little mini ironing/cutting pad. It was very expensive £6.00 but I thought it would be useful by the sewing machine and at workshops. I also bought some udder cream ( in the tube). Anyone else used it?

I also went to see my chum Maggie Grey. Her and Val's new book is just published "Stitch, Dissolve and Distort" - good stuff. It's been a couple of weeks since I have seen her so it was good to catch up.

Also went to see Myfanwy of Winifrid Cottage, she had some pages from her new book on the Embellisher as a sample to show me, its due out in September 06, You can see her leaflet in the photo above. Suspect I will be parting with some more of my cash. Please don't forget to bring some copies for sale to the next Urchfont weekend Myfanwy!

Then I found Bailey and Susan ( both members of the Contemporary Quilters Guild), so that was another long chat. It was mainly about computers, so dh became involved with that discussion.

One of the problems of taking dh with you, the unusual rear view photos of yourself chatting to your chums!

Will cover the exhibits from after lunch, in the next post.

The stash is sorted and excitements

Its taken a long time (a whole week!) to sort out the studio, but at last its done. As a reward for all my hard work dh took me on a trip yesterday to The Festival of Quilts in Birmingham ( UK). He very kindly did all the driving.

Following this vehicle on the Fosse Way in the Cotswolds, we both commented that it was like being on Safari. This landrover had obviously been to the Sahara, however we were hoping to get to Birmingham! Mind you the fields around us were badly scorched by the recent heatwave and drought, so the Saraha might have been an apt description.

However finally we were getting closer to Birminham on the M42.

When we finally arrived at the NEC, dh then came in with me too. That man deserves a medal!

On the approach to the doors following lots of ladies, he said to me " You are not grey haired enough for this Festival..........we'd better go back home!" Still not sure if that is a compliment or not!

Anyhow, just before we went I also did manage to finish my colour quilt, so I was really pleased with myself. So imagine what a joy it was when I saw that Helen Deighan had a stand at the FOQ and I was able to tell her all about my dying and making her style of quilt from her book Magic Dyeing. See my previous entries of how I did it - here.

I also visited the Bernina stand, I have had my 170 since 1997 and thought I would have a look at the newer models to see what they do. They had some very well trained staff, (I was impressed) who told me I did not need to upgrade as my machine does everything the newer ones do anyway. I have to admit that made me feel really good and I thanked her for her honesty too. That is what I call service!

Have loads more to tell you and pics for you, but will carrry on in a little while.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Sorting the Stash

This is one of the sculptures at the V & A, I love it.

No time to blog yesterday as I have started sorting out the studio, and the stash and all the UFO's. Really need to downsize the quantity of "stuff".
I have also been looking for some decent tables to work on, a long run of tablespreferably. At the moment I have two desks, both different and an old dining room table with drop leaves.
Happened to go into Staples locally yesterday and they had a reception table in the Sale for £44.99,which is a good deal. the desk is a right angle and the 2 long sides measure 160X140 cms. So pleased, but I have spent the rest of last 2 days sorting out. Two of the fingers are still out of action, so its a bit of a nuisance, but I am managing.

Have finished all the machining on the colour quilt, just have to finish hand sewing the sleeve on the back.

So back to sorting out. Cannot decide what to do with the stuff I have "outgrown" seems a shame to dump it, suppose I ought to try and get people who would like it to take it away. Know anyone??

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Day trip to London

Have had a wonderful day today in London with daughter and granddaughter, the plan was to be culture vultures. The coach dropped us off right outside the Kensington Museums and the weather was fantastic.

So to the V & A , first stop was the conveniences which is accessed via the British Galleries. GD was enthralled by what she saw there, especially the Latton Jacket and the interactive music from the Tudor period and Stuart periods. Took us quite a while to get to the conveniences!!
Eventually we ventured into the Sixties fashion exhibition, and it was pleasing to see some of Ossie Clarks fashions featured, as my wedding dress was made by him! I was also surprised to see a collection of paper printed dresses.

Those paper dresses.......Talk about a walk down memory lane! I can recall "Vilene" asking the College I attended, to print and develop some designs - block printing "Vilene" . I can remember the brief being to create designs as disposable childrens clothing- we had to create the design of the garments as well as the surface decoration and then make them as well. One of my original designs still resides in my loft space somewhere, the College and Vilene kept the rest. As you can imagine the work was totally original. That was how it was in the sixties though wasn't it?It was great fun and the results of our work went on display at the RCA and I can recall feeling very proud, I really had no idea how prestigious the RCA was in those days.......The innocence of youth.

So today I was the butt of a few jokes about clothes etc, we then ventured off to have lunch. The courtyard garden is now open and very pleasant it is too. Loved the sculptures in the garden as well. I had planned to go to Tate Britain to see the Constable Exhibition, however the little person with us begged to go to the Natural History Museum next door. So that's where we went. Not my sort of place at all!!! All dinosaurs and beasties! However squeals of delight from the smallest member of our party! I did find the section on rocks and minerals fascinating though.

Had bought GD a small notebook and on the journey home on the coach, she was writing about her day in London and drawing pictures of dinosaurs and beasties. Natural blogger?? Need to get her started on her own blog methinks.

I was going to post a few more pictures, but blogger is not co-operating...sorry folks.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Colour Quilt update

Have been working some more with the colour quilt and with expert guidance!!! Pictures tell all.

Siamese is fed up with Schnauzer stealing all the limelight with this colour quilt, so thought he would supervise the stitching on the machine!

Takes a lot of concentration this stippling.

Chief supervisor also wants to get in on the act. She is totally deaf, but certainly knows how to keep a siamese kitten under control.

All these wonderful bits of paper and fabric in the studio soon distract the attention of Siamese.

So its playtime.

So whilst Siamese is busy playing, the quilt is nearing completion, bindings nearly on, stippling all done. As you know I have been really unsure about "sleeves" but I must give a big thank you to my quilting pals for their help and assistance, especially Briony. I now know how to do it. thanks Briony, also she gave me some good advice about naming and recording the quilt. Brilliant.

The studio is in a right mess though, however I have some ideas for that........more later. I have to go and prepare for a day out in London tomorrow, I am going to be a culture vulture!

Planning to see the 60's Exhibition at the V & A, and then I want to go to Tate Britain and see Constable, and the cups of tea in the National Gallery are good. Should be a good day out.

Talking of Exhibitions, please remember to go and see the Exhibition of Contemporary Art Quilts , at Uffington until the 13th of this month, and then it goes to Wales and the start of next year in London. I have just found out that Jennifer and Carol create this wonderful Exhibition without funding or support from anyone, so please give them your full support, by visiting and buying the catalogue. Its only £5.00 and worth every penny. Above all enjoy it as much as I did.