Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Great book

Today in the post I recieved a book on the embellisher from Australia. Dale has created some wonderful work to illustrate her techniques and to encourage you to experiment. Just my sort of book. Have a look here.
I have been playing with my ideas of cubism with a photo of an iris I took at the weekend in the garden of Urchfont Manor. I am just Thinking about whether I can use some of Dale's inspiration AND use the embellisher. It is quite a complex compostiton. what do you think?

Wot no broadband?

Have not had our broadband connection for 36 hours.... a real nuisance. So it is good to be back, talking to everyone again.

It will not be long before these will be back as well. June is the normal time for the English strawberry harvest. Yummy.

(click on photo to enlarge)
Saw this wonderful poster recently, and I am really trying to do my bit..... tea bags, eggshells, as well as grass cuttings and potato peelings. I have bought one of those green plastic composters, and have hidden it, out of sight, behind the shed. Hope it works. Right better go and do some stitching................

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Weekend away

Have been away at Urchfont Manor with my mentor, Julia Capara and a group of fellow artists, this weekend. The weather yesterday was truly English, warm and sunny, it certainly bought the croquet enthusiasts out to play.


The borders in the garden were lovely to see, and the flowers were truly fragrant.

However that was not the purpose of the weekend. We go to work and we do that with enthusiasm and dedication to our art. The format of the weekend is structured. We have tutorials during the weekend and talk about our own work, and as all of the attendees exhibit in Galleries regularly, it is so encouraging to be able to dicuss our artwork at this level.

We also partake in a number of drawing activities through the course of the weekend as well as continue with our own work. This weekend we looked at cubism as a movement and its influences on textile art.

On this piece of work I was inspired to transpose the visual language of Picasso, by concentrating on the planes, composition and tones he used. This is A2 in size and the media used is graphite. It is not finished yet, and I will continue working on it over the next few weeks.

This is one of my compositions I shall call it "Bottle on a table" . Is that a good title do you think?
It was drawn from observation, then cut up and significant lines redrawn, and then tone and blended pattern added.
Many people do not understand Modern Art and in particular Cubism. I am always willing to learn about new ways of seeing if that may help me with my self expression. How do you feel about Modern Art.. Love it ---- ot hate it??

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Stitches Book

As promised in yesterdays post, here is the stich book I made. The outer cover is "J" cloths.

This is the front cover. The thread is a variegated, and hand dyed. It is a finer quality cotton thread. Great to work with. The stitches are straight stitches.

The back of the book uses the same thread and straight stitches too. The beads are all hand made too, from Fimo and others from glazed clay. The cord is made on the sewing machine and the book is quite soft as the backing to the embroidery is felt.

Inside the pages are brown wrapping paper, torn to size. Each embroidery stitch is completed in Anchor soft embroidery thread on a fine evenweave linen. It was fun to make.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Butterfly chain Stitch - TAST -week 20

What a lot of headaches to get on the internet and into blogger this weekend....... I gave up in the end. So at last ...... here is my effort at this weeks challenge.

I decided to continue the idea of using primary and secondary colours for the thread. Whilst looking through my stash for the right colours. I came across something I had prepared for a class a number of years ago. Thought it was a good way of using up the stash.

I had taught a class on cross stitch and I used to design for a number of UK magazines. This was one of my teaching aids on colour. In the stash I found the threads I had used as well.

The threads felt as if they were inviting me to use them.

The background " fabric" was some dyed and marbelled "J" Cloths - I also found in the stash. They used to only be available in light blue, and they dye beautifully. I had dyed a batch dark blue and marbeled some of them. I think they are available in a range of colours. The advantage to the "J" cloths were they had perforations, unlike the cheaper all purpose cloths you buy from the supermarkets now. As this stitch would be easier to do on evenweave fabrics, I made my choice.

What I hadn't remembered was, the fabric is not as even after dying! My stitches came out a bit crooked. I enjoyed the exercise though and found it very satisfying to " chain" the groups of upright stitches together. As you can see I chose to use complementary colours of threads together.
I decided to back the J cloth with some yellow cotton. It does give a warm glow to the fabric, the subtlety may be lost in the camera image, but it is there in reality.
I also found a stitch book I had made out of a J cloth, but I will blog that another time ........I need to get some work done.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Another Exhibition

One thing I love about the summer in England is............there are always lots of art exhibitions to enjoy. Went to see one locally, paintings and drawings by people who live in my area. It made a pleasant contrast to the Stroud exhibition which was featuring national and international artists. Have a look at the Gallery via this

The group meet twice a week and are obviously very enthusiatstic about their art. Wonderful. The exhibition finishes on Saturday, if you want to go and look. Now to find the next exhibition.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Textile Festival - Stroud

It was something of a last minute decision to visit Stroud today.

The Stroudwater Textile Festival is taking place until 21st May, and if you have the opportunity go along, you will not regret it. admittance is free. The map on the website is most helpful for finding your way around Stroud,

The first exhibition I went to see was at the Museum in the Park , Stratford Park. The work on show was by Sue Lawty, Dail Behennah and Maggie Shaw.

Stratford Park was beautiful in the sunshine, full of wonderful trees, and there is a bandstand as well as tennis courts and a bowling green!

I had seen Sue Lawty at the Vitoria and Albert Musuem last year (and you can follow her V & A blog,)so it was interesting to see some more of her work. I had been fascinated by her attention to detail and this exhibition certainly illustrated this perfectly.

Sue's work was complemented beautifully by Dail and Maggie's work. I had seen Dail's work in Crafts Magazine, and it was good to see how she built up the layers of wood, creating wonderful shadows in the process. I had not seen Maggie's work before.

I seemed to pick up lots of leaflets, one in particular interested me..... in June ....the Stroud valleys are having Open Studios.

We drove back into the Town Centre, parked the car and then found our way to the Subscription rooms. Laura Thomas was exhibiting some wonderful colourful pieces, many of which were embedded in Acyrilic. Fiona Rutherford was exhibiting some beautiful tapestries, I do not recall having seen her work before.

I could not help myself, and bought some wonderful hand spun wool dyed with natural dyes. They were quite expensive, but aren't they lovely. I am thinking embellisher machine....... suspect most of you are perhaps thinking...... knitting.

After a quick lunch we wandered through the town and found " The Space". I was looking forward to seeing Yvonne Mortons work, unfortunately, no work at all. I was a little disappointed, as I had enjoyed working with her last year.

However the exhibition of Kuba cloth from Africa was a delight in line and pattern, and Gaynors limewood carvings were very textural.

We walked back to the car in pouring rain. Quite a sight with the mist of the rain.

We were pleased to get back to the car and out of the rain. Ten minutes down the road on the outskirts of Cirencester, it was dry and sunny. Look at this turbulent sky, John Constable would have really loved painting this.

We arrived home to sun and blue skies, this image is a mile from home!

Do not be deceived though.... we have just had what the weatherman has called a "beefy storm". We have just had black skies, thunder, lightening, hail, and flash floods. How the weather can change within a few miles and a short space of time.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Basque Stitch

Gosh .... I managed to get the TAST challenge stitched since I last posted. Have also cooked dinner, cooked home made apple crumble and home made rock cakes......... quite a productive evening. Fed the animals too.

I made the decision to use only fabric and threads I had previosly space dyed myself. The threads were varigated as the procian dyes were lemon yellow and violet . I used the same dye batch for the linen evenweave fabric. One thread was quite thick, a shiny rayon, and I found this quite difficult to stitch through the linen fabric with it. The other two threads were cotton, medium weight and fine. These were really easy to stitch with.

Can you see the letter M...hope so. The photo is not brilliant , as I had to take it with flash switched is 11pm at night here after all.

Monday morning post note ( addition).
Have taken a photo this morning in daylight..... is it any better than the one I took last night with flash?

I will let you decide which photo you prefer.

These were the threads and the fabric I used. ( hand dyed with yellow and violet procian dyes)

Close up of the different weights of thread.

A lazy sunday afternoon

After a strenous walk around the garden in the pouring rain.... its time to get in a comfortable chair for a Sunday afternoon nap, and to dry off..

In the meantime I decide to sort out my blog a bit more. Really needed to put more links on the blog as I get so frustrated looking for the blogs I like to read. So pleased I have made a good start to this... still lots more I need to put in -but that will be another day.
Snoring is starting to come from the other chair, as well as the smell of wet dog hitting my nostrils.

Whilst surfing the blogs I have noticed many of you getting involved with Tuesday stitching.Have often wondered what it was about. Great excitement today........ I found out...It is Sharon B. blog. I have also put a link in my link bar on the blog.

The excited howl from me woke someone up!

So I thought I might give TAST a go tooo........ so dug around in the studio and found an old box full of left over bits from C & G days. Seemed appropriate as I have been posting about the colour yellow recently and also complementary colours. Also be able to use up some of the UFO stash.

So have printed off the instructions for Basque stitch..... here goes...............did I read somewhere it needs to be posted on your blog on a Sunday? Better get going then................... what ??? I am 5 months behind the rest of you? Better late than never I suppose!

Someone else has gone back to his slumbers....... it's a dogs life!
Rain is still pouring outside....... miserable weather!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Missing in Portugal

Rosalind from Down by the River blog has asked us all to publish this poster on our blogs. Bloggers are worldwide, and you never know, it might just mean she is found. Regular updates are on the BBC website.

Please feel free to copy this poster to your blog.


Perhaps I should have titled this post differently. Seduced by textile goods ?

Went shopping in Cirencester. yesterday afternoon. In the pouring rain of course, so the shops were fairlly quiet for a Friday afternoon. Drove through rural Wiltshire and Gloucestershire to get there. The wild flora is certainly enjoying this wet spell of weather.

Popped into the craft shop of Brewery Arts, its is still housed in the theatre, I suspect the renovation work will be finished by the end of the year, the builders seem to be making good progress. Did not buy anything there though.

Then popped along to the sewing supplies shop and really had to buy some stuff there, as you can see! Then along to the Art shop at the back of the church. Just had to buy some "Inktense " pencils to try out.

I merely purchased the basic colours of the pencils, as I wish to experiment. I know that some of my internet chums love them. So thought I ought to give them a go. Think I am also being badly led astray by Gill . (of An Elegant Sufficiency - who knows this area well!)

The gold thread is needed for a project I hope to be working on soon. That is if I ever find the other reels after all the help I received from four-legged friend with the unpacking of my treasures!

I tried to buy a 5 reels of the same gold thread on e-bay. The bidding became silly - The thread sold for £18. Think some people have more money than sense when they are on e-bay! The postage was a pound and 5 reels X £2.45 = £12.25 total £13.45.......the buyer paid well over the odds!

Now why did I purchase the fat quarters of cotton...... you may well ask............I could dye my own. -Yes I know.- but when the local hobbycraft opened I bought a bundle of bright primary colours, and last week I did buy some more dyes. So I can dye some of my own..... when I get some time.

Meanwhile some more colour inspiration for you............

Yellow - of course.

Just for a change, some blue and white. These pansies were on special offer when they were babies. Well.....have to save some money somewhere.

Well Papoosue, lets see if these pictures will enlarge. Cross your fingers. Have followed your directions...... here's hoping.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Birthday presents

As part of his birthday present , he received a Sat Nav. So we thought we had better try it out, just for fun. So we programmed for the shortest route to Lacock Abbey. We had also treated ourselves to membership of the National Trust and decided to make use of that at the same time.

So we duly set off from home, Picnic lunch in the basket, and plenty of hot coffee, following the Sat Nav, implicitly to reach our destination. Just around the corner from our humble abode, we came across this wonderful sight, literally just down the lane. This particular family arrive every year, and camp in the same spot.

Sorry image is a bit blurry, but the photo was taken from a moving car. The gypsies had gone by time we got back home. They had 4 horses, which were grazing happily in the morning. Do feel sorry for them this year, as behind the hedge is a building site for a new college campus....... wonder if they will be back next year?

We left home in sunshine, and were surprised by the route the SN decided to send us on. I did not know we had a level crossing just 2 miles from home. It was down a very narrow country lane. This was the shortest route we had programmed, it seemed to be as the crow flies. Must remember in future that -short ( in Sat Nav vocabulary) =scenic=drive with care=narrow one lane, country roads.

Unlike the gypsies and their horses, we did have to stop for petrol. Did wonder what Sun tuning was? Apparently it is some thing real not just a spelling mistake. I seem to be obsessed with yellow again, buttercups in fields, yellow signs.

This is a field of buttercups and in the far distance the cows grazing. True rural life. We travelled along single track inclines and lanes, we turned into lanes that were not even signposted. We saw three different " Postman Pat" vans delivering mail, so we knew there had to be life out there somewhere.

The Sat Nav did get us to the correct destination, ( we were beginning to wonder) we arrived in Lacock with the rain!

Lacock, besides being famous for film sets is also famous for the place ( allegedly), where the first photograph was taken by Fox Talbot .We started by visiting the Fox Talbot Museum, as we are both interested in photography. Great exhibition at the moment on the upper floor, which we enjoyed. Then we looked at the invention of Photography exhibition on the ground floor.

This is Fox Talbot's version of the Oriel window at the Abbey. This is the first photograph that was printed. Here is my digital version of the same window.

It struck me when I was reading about his experiments at the exhibition (he took watercolour paper, soaked it in salt, then painted silver nitrate over the paper) that we prepare fabric with chemicals to transfer our images from computer through printer onto fabric. There is nothing new in this world is there?

The House that Fox Talbot lived in has also featured in many films. Harry Potter was filmed in the cloisters of the Abbey above. Lackock village itself has been the setting for many period films and plays.


Isn't this sheep georgeous? Her lamb was bleeting over the otherside of the meadow, she just shouted back and then ignored it! Motherhood?

A lot of these images were taken from under my umbrella........... it was raining the whole time! We had a great day out though.

We arrived back in the rain, to find the workmen were digging up the lane, near our home.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Eat cake-chocolate preferably

So we have another Birthday, he said he only wanted chocolates this year as presents, due to the fact that - he has everything a man could want...... hairy chest, beer belly ( all his words- not mine) and of course he has me ( my words).

So in keeping with the request he received this from me: - those of you who know me well, will know this is a huge achievement. Hand made by me!!!! You are welcome to congratulate me , as I am most pleased with myself. This is handmade by someone who doesn't "do" cooking.
Jamie Oliver - eat your heart out.

We have not tasted it yet, am saving that for later, when we visit a restaurant for our evening meal. ( You do not expect me to try and cook a meal as well do you ???) Dream on.............

Am hoping the restaurant has cake forks. A pet hate of mine is trying to eat messy cakes with fingers.

Just as well we had the birthday celelbrations last Sunday- BBQ and family, its raining cats and dogs here today. The garden is enjoying the rain. Must get on with the celebrations......

Monday, May 07, 2007

What to do on a rainy Bank Holiday?

Looking through my camera's memory card, I realised I had not downloaded the photos for April. Thought it was a good activity for a rainy day. Had also promised myself to work on the journal quilt for May. So after a final tidy up of Sundays activities, I set about perusing the photos.

Quite odd..... lots of them were recording spring, and the primary colour of yellow. We had travelled down to Hampshire and into the depths of Wiltshire and into Gloucestershire. Here is a small summary....... notice the yellow!

That's enough of the photos ( do not wish to bore you into a melancolic state). There is artwork and stitching to come......... I promise.

So sketchbook time and permission to play with the colour yellow. ( all my photos have been put into a file called "yellow" now) Have decided these sketchings will go into my textures sketchbook for using in my textiles ------eventually!

This page is thick layers of oil pastel and then swirls scraped with the back of a paintbrush, inspired by the gorse bushes from the photos taken whilst driving along the A34.

This page is inspired by the yellow fields of that bright smelly stuff you find all over England now. Whatever happened to our traditional crops? I suspect there is some EEC subsidy to grow this stuff. Most people I have talked to hate it with a vengence. I heard recently that they are now making substitute fuel for our cars from it........ is this the organic world gone mad.

My little sketch above shows the bright yellowof the crop ...with tyre tracks......a picture of the future? Someone please tell me this is not going to happen.

The next page in the sketchbook, plays with colour here I have used acrylic paints, bright yellow and 2 shades of gold. Dabbed with a large paintbrush.

Same colours here as the last image, but have been inspired by the perspective of the Photo of the M4 motorway with the yellow blur of a field at the point. Let the stitching work commence.......

Do you work in a muddle as well........seems to be the only way I get anything done!

Did a quick line drawing of the daffodil and digitised it on my Bernina software, this was stitching away whilst I was doing the colour work. I think modern technology is wonderful...... the machine embroiders whilst I do something else! Just like the dishwasher works for me!

This was stitched with gold on the bobbin and yellow thread on the top, onto bright yellow felt.

Then of course, there is the journal quilt, I made quite good progress on this,( felt, transfer paint, embellished fabric, embroidered organdie and lots of layering) thought I would depict the green fields of England turning yellow, in part due to this new crop. Its not finished yet............ but then there is always tomorrow ......if it rains again. The sun is out now....................