Sunday, July 29, 2007

Private View......... in Gloucestershire.

I suspect my chum, Gill, will recognise where we are.. and probably aware of our destination.

So we were off on our travels again today, this time to a private view of a textile exhibition. We had to check up first that we could actually get the the venue, as a large part of Gloucestershire has been under water. No problems where we were going though... just 50 minutes up the road by car. Lovely journey.

As you can see, no flooding of the roads, and wonderful sunshine this afternoon. Such a change. So here we are almost at Slimbridge.

This is the canal... water is high... but at least it is in the right place.

Went along to the Private View of the South West Textile Group. I really felt inspired when I left.... the work was made to a very high standard, it was thoughtful and fun as well. They really need to be congratulated on an excellent exhibition. Hope you have time to go ... well worth the visit.

Here is a glimpse of the inside of the centre..... a brilliant exhibiton space can browse around and get to know the usual inhabitants of the wetlands.

Not all of them move or need feeding!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Drawing .................

As I promised yesterday, will share some of the drawing workshop I completed on Wednesday. The workshop was run in the village stores in Coleshill, which belongs to the National Trust. and the session was led by Amanda Hislop.

I like to experience working in the style of another artist, and certainly Amanda was very generous in sharing her knowledge with us.

We started with some warming up exercises, using pencil and then ink ( Quink) and we worked with a number of different mark making implements. Always good fun and something I enjoy doing.

We then were given some plants to draw, as it was not possible to go outside. this might surprise you... it was pouring with rain!!

We also created some wonderful background pages by sticking tissue paper onto the support, covering with ink and using dilute bleach to draw with or distress the surface.

Once some of these surfaces were dry, we started to draw onto those as well, creating layered effect. I love layering and the skills from today's workshop I know I will use again and again. Great day of self indulgent drawing , and excellent food produced by the village shop. If you pass through Coleshill... do stop at the shop..... well worth a visit.

This drawing is unfinished... it needs some more layers

An apt Art quote today:-

"I hate flowers - I paint them because they're cheaper than models and they don't move. "Georgia O'Keefe

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Transfer day

Spent today working with some children. It was very pleasant, I had worked with them last year, just one morning a week over the summer holidays. We worked on a number of simple arty crafty skills. These included tie and dye, clay work, transfer painting amongst others. We had some good fun.

These same children requested that I came back to work with them again. They range in age from 3 to 9. Not my preferred age group I must admit, as I definitely relate better to hormonal adolescents . However flattery won the day. I have not seen some of them for a year, and they succeeded in astonishing me, by remembering everything we had done when we last met. Their recall was far better than mine. How embarrassing is that?

They wanted to do transfer painting with crayons again. So yesterday I went into the local Asda branch and bought some cheap white T shirts ( 2 for £1.00). They are cotton, but they do take transfer crayons well.

I cut some thin printing paper down to size to fit the front of the T shirt and smaller pieces for the sleeves. Pencils were banned, they just drew and coloured with the transfer crayons. Having to read the colours on the crayons as the colours do not relate very well to the final transferred colours. The 3 year old was helped by the others.

No messing - we did lots of drawing first, and then the final design was put together. I love the spontaneity of this age group - none of that angst of adolescents bleating - I cannot draw!.. ......

so refreshing.

They proudly wore their T shirts all day...................... such joy.

One little girl even bought her tie dye from last year to proudly show me.... her mother says it hangs on her wall. Maybe a textile artist of the future... I hope so.
Yesterday I indulged myself by spending the whole day drawing..... my hands are stained with black permanent ink, will try and share the drawings with you tomorrow.
In half an hour our water will be turned off........ England is having awful water problems at the moment. We have plenty of fresh water stored for the animals to drink , and have put some aside for my painting too. The water butts in the garden are full as well...... one advantage of all the rain we have had. Lets hope the taps will run with water again before too long. Have been joking with dh that I will probably have to use up some of his stock of beer to wash my hair...... he's not impressed!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Meeting Day, talking and travels

Nothing really to post today, the meeting was in Frome and it was all about textiles. Very important..... but not really able to share.

I only did part of the driving, and Diana drove me the rest of the way. I was really upset because I had forgotten to take my camera...... so no photos of the wonderful countryside of Wiltshire and Somerset. Sun was shining, it was a beautiful day, 22C.

Sorry but you will have to make do with "official" photos - so please click on the links. We went through Bradford on Avon and Chippenham, it was good to see the river had subsided, it was swollen, but back where it should be. Have been busy tonight writing up the notes on the meeting.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Gadget Girl - what are you doing?

Okay------ -do not look at me in that accusing way....... why am I photographing my sewing machine instead of....................working at my stitching, feeding you, paying more attention to you.

However you cannot hear the purring going on..... because this is a blog without sound. Firstly from the Siamese helper who is purring so loud it's deafening, and I feel like purring too, let alone the sewing machine.

After a lot of indecision, I decided to buy a walking foot for my sewing machine. I was getting a little irritated at times with trying to plough through a variety of fabrics and getting minor irritating problems. Purr, Purr. Best thing I ever did..... why did I wait. Well I know why really, these things ain't cheap to buy.

The old chestnuts... do I really need it, will it work, will it do as it says on the box, rattled around in my poor old brain, then in a moment of weakness, I saw it a little cheaper than usual, brand new, on an e-bay shop. Before I knew it I had bought it..... I am a self confessed gadget girl.. but it has to be useful. I had never used a walking foot, so was really unsure.

Now I am sure you do not need one, far too expensive, but goodness me it was the right decision for me.

I am actually doing lots of stitching at the moment ... but ... probably like many of you.... I might decide to enter a competition or two with the work. Of course there are these funny rules about not publishing/seen before, and more and more , now seeing that includes blogs.

But be sure , my gadgets will be used. Just love them.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Rain and floods

Had these great plans to go to Art in Action on the outskirts of Oxford today. Its an event I like to participate in, its very inspirational. Lots of Arts, Crafts and Sculptures in Marquees and tents, the highlight being Pimms and strawberies as refreshments.
Gill commented on the event on her blog yesterday.
When I got up this morning .... the rain was pelting down, it was torrential. As Art in Action takes place in a field or six, I felt it might be more of a Glastonbury experience - lots of mud and dirt. So I stayed home. Just as well, the police reports at 9pm tonight were saying all roads from Oxford to home for me, were still impassable due to floods. Long queues of traffic with nowhere to go to get home. Think for once I made the right decision.
Two months worth of rain has fallen in the hours of daylight in one day- today. Sad day for lots of people, homes and belongings wrecked by floods, some have even lost their pets. Sad day. Lets hope the rain stops soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Clarity..........artistic quotes

There are times when I have to re-evaluate what I am doing, and the direction my artwork is taking... it is not always a totally pleasant process, and I find myself drawn to the philosophical thinking of others. I have always held this quote by John Ruskin in high esteem.

Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.

Sometimes I find it hard, despite my best endeavours to keep all 3 elements in perfect harmony. It is usually the head that I have to work hard at, to keep it clear, probably a by- product of female multi tasking.

The hands and heart tend to work happily in tandem, making me a happy craft worker. Once the head is clear and sure of the direction. I feel I am achieving my ultimate goal of creating Fine Art, when all the elements are co-operating harmoniously

I wish I could follow Einstein in his thinking :-

"I never think of the future. It comes soon enough"

Although there is a certain truth in this statement,my artistic happiness is a preference to work at a higher conscious level.

A work becomes a work of art when one re-evaluates the values of nature and adds one's own spirituality. -- Emil Nolde, artist

Mmmmmm....... can happily go with this quote, adding something of self is sooooo important.

Time to unclog the brain and just do it ...just hope the head keeps clear and co-operative.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Some days...........

Some days are just duvet days.

This led me to start thinking, as I know Myfanwy and others have been blogging about this. I had also noticed a logo appearing on some blogs, and decided to investigate during the duvet time of my late sunday morning start today.

It was on Mags blog I first saw it.

Was not quite sure what it all meant. If you click on the logo, it will take you to the explanation.
Thanks to Maureen for the link in Myfanwy's comments.
I get around the blogs-don't I? LOL.
So ... why do you blog?
When I started I was not sure what to do, or if I had anything to say. 18 months on.... I can now probably say I use my blog as a visual diary.... mainly for myself.
I have never kept a diary in my life. So this is a first attempt. I only have one blog..... everything goes on that.
I am really chuffed that others like to visit and see what I am up to. Even more chuffed when they leave me comments.
So I thought I would try understand my blogging - why ? - you may well ask.... no idea..... just felt like it.
I know that I enjoy visiting blogs in far off lands -- in parts of the world I would never get to visit. I like to see what art/textiles/crafts are being created. Like to see what the weather is doing, the local fauna and flora. Events/festival that are particular to the country , seen through the bloggers eyes. Exhibitions and holidays..
OK.... I am just plain nosy.... but I love to learn how others live, experience life and create their own craft/art work in those places.
Thats why I visit other blogs...... why folks visit my blog..... not sure... but I hope you enjoy your stay.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Cakes to celebrate.

Good day for baking today. Impossible to go anywhere by road, we are on one of the main routes into Fairford, where this weekend, its the Air Tattoo. Big event for these parts. So are effectively surrounded by traffic

I do have a good reason for baking a cake... this one is specially for Carol, of Textile Tales fame, who has had some great news this week... so here it is as promised ....

I had a very blonde moment whilst decorating the cake- thought the shaker had castor sugar in it.... and it had the icing sugar (which I thought I had mislaid). So the decoration is a little "different" to planned. Just to get you drooling... the centre is strawberry jam from Switzerland. Very tasty!

Also baked some smaller rock cakes, these are to be shared. Made one and a half dozen again as a celebration for Sara of Mainly Zaz who has a new exhibition just opened ... hope you get lots of sales, you richly deserve them.

Whilst the cakes were cooling had a quick look around the garden- like you do! Of Course I did have some help.

Can anyone tell me why these are so blue in the middle and so brown round the edges of the white flowers?

This is my prefered gardening style, demonstrated here by two likely lads! (notice the shadow)

If I were a truly diligent female, I would be doing this.........
Ok - time to go and eat cake - a la Marie Antoinette.(Allegedly)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Back to Cubism and stuff.........

Had another session at playing around with the concepts of cubism, from my weekend away in May with my Mentor -Julia Capara. ( for the previous relevent post on blog- click here). This is one of the ideas from my sketchbook.

Looking amongst my sketchbooks, generally for designs which I think will translate well into machined chain stitch, think this one might be OK. The inspiration to do this has arisen from the first sample I did with the W & G. I really like the way the machining creates the line drawing and shapes - click here for a reminder of the sample. Next decisions will be colours and whether to crop the cubist design image, and how to describe the shading with stitchery marks. Lots more to think about.

Went to an exhibition of last night of work by students I had previously taught. I am very proud of them. Seemed strange to go along as a visitor, with some-one else being responsible for the organising, setting up and associated headaches of the exhibition. One of the advantages of recent early retirement. No more headaches! Good re-union though. .

I was so distracted with chatting to friends and colleagues.... that I did not take many photos.... sorry!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My excitement- update

I have managed to get some stitching done today, my fingers have been itching to get back to my W & G machine. Displacement activity has taken place, digitally photographing the instruction book, and reading it!

However I know the piece of work had not finished"talking" to me. It was hard to get started again, but then the little machine inspired me all over again and "told " me where to put the marks.

Sounds silly, but if you have experienced this in executing a piece of your work - then you will understand what I mean. Sometimes the English language does not seem to have the right words. Or maybe.... you could help me ... suggesting word ( s) I could use to describe this feeling. I know in other languages there are often more appropriate words too.

Here is the result.

I think it is finished.............. but again it needs to be up on the wall for a while before I finally decide.

Here is a close up, the suggestion in the comments of Cezanne did influence the final outcome... did the mark making of another famous artist. Bet you can guess who that was in this close up.

To finish this post, I'd like to share another image from the famous Constance Howard mural. This is the only man featured in the hanging, talking/lecturing/instructing a group of ladies. Another of my displacement activities this week has been to refine my list of talks and gathering and sorting the visual images to support these. Just need to post my CV and list of talks and workshops to a number of organisations that may be interested. More displacement?

Just hope my future audiences will be just as attentive. I love the chicken feeding and apple picking in the background.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Textile Treasures

This seems to be a very relevant photo for my blog, it is part of a wonderful textile, described at the end of this post.

Unfortunately the dog portrayed is not a Schnauzer... but its a lovely dog all the same.

Went over to Denman College near Marcham ( Oxfordshire) today. They have a very special week this week..... get along there if you can.... you will not be disappointed. Click here for a link

An Exhibiton called " Textile treasures of the WI" drew my attention. Gill -my internet buddy had invirted me over to visit, as she is staying there all week to welcome members and non-members to see the work on display. You may be able to catch the full exhibition near to where you live, as ICHF are exhibiting the show around the country.... click here for details of where.

Some exquisite work is on show, drawn from the collection of the Womens Institute. Quite amazing. Banners made in the 1920's look as fresh and as beautiful as the day they were made. It was interesting to see work that had originally belonged to the Needlework Develpment Scheme ( which disbanded in 1970) on display alongside these WI banners and tablecloths. This is one of our favourites.

The staircase of Denman College also had some visual delights, a range of traditional smocks. The embroidery was so dine.

Then Gill took me off to see one of the highlights of textile art at Denman College. In 1952 they were given a textile mural designed by Constance Howard and made by students at Goldsmiths College. the mural is called Country Life. See here for information on Constance. It is rumoured that one of the students pieces is made by Mary Quant. It is in need of restoration, and must confess I would love to learn how to restore a valuable textile such as this.
This collaged Mural was made for the Festival of Britain

Monday, July 09, 2007

End of the tennis

Wimbledon is over, and we haven't eaten any of this seasons strawberries yet. However, a treat is in store for us this evening. Finding British Strawberries has been quite difficult this summer. The local Asda store had loads from USA, but the British berries were at the back of the top shelf in the chiller. A long way for strawberries to come, from the USA... global warming comes to mind, to get them here. I am sure they were delicious too. Pleased we found local ones though.

To go with them, we have some "naughty but nice" ....yes cream....

Making my mouth water just thinking about them.

Have not done any more stitching to the landscape picture from the last post. I am still thinking about what I am going to do.

Have spent some time photographing the instruction booklet that came with the Wilcox and Gibbs machine. It was very fragile, and I was going to photocopy it, but it is even too fragile for that, so I now have a digital copy. Brillaint.

Will have to add to this post later........ its strawberyy time......... yipeeeee.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Up and other stitching excitements...

The sun was shining today for a change, and it was sunny, so I could not get back to sleep. At 6.30am I was in the garden and noticed how everything had grown because of all that rain I assume. I have never seen such large buddhlia flowers, and last year these were pale pink.

The Hydrangea has managed to stay white, and is a joy to look at. Just starting to burst.

The Fuchsia buds are starting to open at last. Its been a long wait this year.

Then........................after some chores......back to the excitement.................but soon realised I had not engaged brain before I started !

I took some green calico ( muslin), that I had dyed last year, and also cut up a red chiffon ribbon that had been around a bouquet of flowers, and with my W & G started stitching it down. (Had an image in my head of ploughed fields in the summer.) This is called sketching with fibre, in other words no paperwork designs first.

It did not take me long to realise that the chain stitch is underneath, and I want it on top. How will I know where the ribbon is ---- if I stitch from the back (Have I lost you yet? bear with me).

My other friend came to the rescue............................

This is where 1883 meets Summer 2005 ( Have I really had the embellisher 2 years? How time flies). As you all know, the embellisher pushes the fabric through to the back... in other words...guidelines. How clever is that?

Feeling really pleased with myself..... so with Scissor Sisters CD (Ta-Dah) blasting out to the stereo, I am hand cranking my W & G to the music....fantastic rhythm

So here is a close up of some of it............ back to work now............... better give the W & G some more oil. Have loads more stitching to do........ when I have finished will let you have another look.

Have updated this a few hours later.......

Did you know it is 07-07-07 today?? ...... I have only just realised!

Have been stitching for a while this afternoon...... had to change the music to Phil Collins... But Seriously -Cd, the pace of the Scisssors Sisters was making my arm ache.

As promised next instalment. Now I think I need to sit back and look at it for a while, before I carry on. Any thoughts are most welsome..... leave them in the comments please.