Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Crazy and busy times

I think I have the most wonderful job, now that I have retired early from my profession. I am able to indulge my passion for creating my own work, visiting exhibitions and shows, places, meeting people and now I also have secured some freelance work training teachers to teach art....... I love it.
My life is a sort of patchwork, all sorts of interesting bits and pieces are sitting together.. rather like this strange piece of embellished absract work I did.

As part of my remit I can also engage artists using a variety of media to join me, as artists in residance. It is fantastic. I shall never be rich in terms of money.... but in terms off fulfilment and happiness, what more could I ask for????It not really a job is it? It's what I want to do. Think I am so lucky.

Friends and my internet chums Mags, Sara, Dorothy G and Gill to name but a few, said I would be so busy when I retired.... Okay .... you were right. Its been quite hard to find the time to blog. So folks --- retire. Its great!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Swanning around

Do you have a piece of work, that reminds you about overcoming a long term illness? Continuing to think about blackwork embroidery, I remembered stitching this piece. I knew I was better when I had completed it.

The Assisi work border is not an original design. It is taken from a tray cloth I made at school when I was 11. The blackwork swan however is all my own work and design.

At the time we lived next to a big lake and the swans regularly came to our glass front door and tapped on it with their beaks until I fed them bread. I often drew them after they had been fed. This is one of the drawings, translated into blackwork. I was very ill about 15 years ago and knew I was well on the way to recovery when I started working on this and then finished it.

Also taken from one of my drawings of swans , is the swan batik I showed you back in the summer. I have worked some more on it and am pleased with the result.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tudor blackwork as an influence.

It has been a really exciting end to the week. A new venture has opened some wonderful possibilities for me and I am so excited about it, working with artists and training teachers in the area I live. The opportunity still allows me to continue with my own art work and teaching for other adult groups, so brilliant. In February another opportunity has arisen for me locally, teaching adults. So now you have caught up on my exciting news.... lets continue.

The tiltle to this post refelcts what I have been up to. I love the Tudor period, and in the past have done a lot of traditional blackwork.

As I explained in a previous post, here and here- the watching of the TV programme The Tudors, has rekindled my passion, as well as the talk about Mary Tudors wedding dress. Also another big influence, memory jogger, was seeing Val Campbell -Harding's work on display at Birmingham- here and Ally Pally here. I did not blog properly about it as I found it so emotional seeing all her work again. Maggie G has some wonderful photos of Val's work at the moment... check out her blog - here
I recall working closely with Val throughout 2002 as internal verifier for a City and Guilds course - also I had been on the committee of the CTDG. Why am I telling you this?

Well, because I did some work with her, using blackwork designs, and the computer and machine stitchery.... she inspired me a great deal. I have searched the work out and will continue doing some more work to it. I think I will then use it as a tribute to her inspiring teaching and share the designs and thinking with others, when working wearing my new "hat".

The taster photos are throughout this post .... you will easily recognise Val's influence.... (despite the colour not being hers), and here is one of the final samples:-

These are not my favourite colours... but even now I can hear her saying.... "go out of your comfort zone Maggie and use colours you do not normally use,,,, and see what excitement happens."

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I had such trouble posting the photos to my blog entry yesterday... and today I found the photos would not enlarge.... so I have just sorted them out so they will enlarge now..... sorry folks... 'tis the wonders of technology!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Empty diary.......dream on.......

When I looked at my diary for this week, it was pretty empty and I thought I would have loads of time to be a lady that can lunch and enjoy the leisurely life style. Amazing how quickly a diary can fill up. Leisurely is out of the window, but boy it has been great fun.

Monday evening was the local Embroiderers Guild meeting. It was the AGM, which can be a bit hard going, but we had an entertaining talk by a local embroiderer as well.

Also Angela bought along her postcards to show us. They were featured on her blog recently , and I can really understand her difficulty in parting with them. They are beautifully stitched. Well done Angela.

On Tuesday we needed to go up the road to Cirencester, it was not particularly enjoyable, just look at the weather.... needless to stay we did not stay long. Gloucestershire is renowned recently for flash floods. So we headed home fairly quickly.

However it was not all gloom and doom despite the heavy rain. When I got home I had 2 lovely phone calls with exciting propositions for me and a letter through the post which was a big surprise.

From the Secretary of State, Ed Balls,

"..... thanking you for the contribution you have made to education throughout your career. Teaching is such an important job that makes a real difference to the lives of individuals and to the well-being of our society. Thank you for all you have done."

It does feels good to be appreciated.

Today the weather was sunny, and really pleasant... so we decided to go to Wells in Somerset. Now this was not a spur of the moment thing , you understand....... I had heard there was an excellent exhibition by the South West Textile Group at Wells Museum, Cathedral Green.

Its called "Bound/Unbound" and entry is free.

Wonderful space for an exhibition, and what an exhibition... wow... really made me think more deeply about books.... do go if you can. You can touch the work..... plenty of white gloves you can borrow to enable you to touch. Brilliant idea. The exhibition runs until the 31st October 2007.

Opposite the Museum is this famous building... amazing inside and out. Check out the sunshine and blue skies.... so different from Gloucestershire yesterday.

Here is a closer view. Click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.

And another view. Impressesd yet? Yes Wells Cathedral, pretty impressive.

So enough of the Cathedral... Wells is a beautiful city.

We were going to Midsomer next, my husband did not fancy it much... said too many murders . Yeah right. I took this photo thinking it had something of the flavour of the TV series.... and have since discovered none of the filming has been shot in Somerset. What a let down. The wonders of TV. If you would like to see where the locations for the series actually are... look here.

However I digress again. We were travelling to Radstock Musuem on the way home, to the exhibition organised by Midsomer Quilting. Check them out here.

This is Janet Webb and her husband, they were looking after visitors today. What a wonderful, welcoming couple they are, willingly answering all of my many questions. Thank You.

The exhibition is excellent ..over 180 quilts. worth a visit, it runs until 30th November, open afternoons only

There is an entrance fee of £3.

The work is stunning and well presented as you can see.

It felt good to return to the familiar landscape of Wiltshire with the late afternoon sun...... this photo is worth enlarging ( and the next one) can you see the wildlife in the harvested corn field?

Yes those specks are deer. (click on photo to see them a little clearer). Great day out. Suppose better beat up the dust gremlins at home tomorrow with a duster and vaccum.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Knitting and Stitching Show - Alexandra Palace

Photo of my lamb as promised. He was made by Raymond Wirick... check out his other work .........Isn't he cute? (I do mean the lamb!)

Had to leave the lamb to fend for himself today, as went up to Ally Pally in London to help look after the CTDG stand. It was wonderful to meet and talk to so many stitchers. Met up with some friends too.... and look who else I found lurking behind the Thread Studio stand .... yes Dale from Oz

Jane from Dorset is on the left and Dale in the middle, we had a lovely chat. Great to see you Dale and Jane.

Took us ages to get out of London onto the motorway, as the traffic was so heavy. Football match at Wembley followed by a Rugby match in the evening. You think they would be a bit more considerate and put all these matches on a different weekend to our Ally Pally!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Teaching the teachers

And what wondeful attentive students they were too. My brief had been to deliver a training session to a number of reception and early years teachers, to enable them to teach Drawing with more confidence. The Art co-ordinator at the Primary school is very supportive and provided the media and papers that we needed to complete the tasks I had set.

We spent an hour working very hard, and I really enjoyed working with the teachers, who are not Art specialists I hasten to add. It was a great way to spend a Friday afternoon.

I have been invited back for a repeat session for the Junior teachers. I am really looking forward to the opportunity. Hopefully the teachers from today's session can show me the results of their training and how they have interpreted the ideas to deliver to their young students.
This morning we also picked up our lamb..... not a living one you understand, but one made of oak and "fashioned" with a chain saw.... my photo software is playing up, so you will have to wait for a photo ... sorry. Herr Schnauzer is very impressed, he now has a new friend. He keeps nuzzling its nose. Sort of love at first sight.
As I am off to the Knitting and Stitching show at Ally Pally tomorrow, it may be Sunday before I manage to re-install the image software. I am on the Computer Textile Design Group stand - so please come and say hello if you go to the Show, I would love to meet you.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Great Western Embroiderers-2nd meeting

What a real pleasure these meetings are. Wonderful enthusiastic artists who are totally interested in textiles.... such a delight to get to know.

We had a hand stitching session - with attitude!! I had prepared some samples to hopefully get the creative juices going and it was a lucky dip as to which stitches you worked with..... great fun.
Here is a sampler of looped stitches. All in white.... but as much variety as possible

This one is dear old chain stitch...... an old favourite.

There were 2 more, my thinking was... enough reference material to inspire stitching with attitude! Hope fully using unusual materials too.

My preferred way of thinking for stitching is to try different ways of composing the stitches ...using pen and paper... then get out the threads and fabrics ...once the creative juices start flowing.... others need to get the threads and materials in their hands ... before they can be inventive. How do you get going?

Here is a page from my sketchbook for Fly stitch ideas and distortions:-

I only managed to do a little bit of stitching at the meeting.... my excuse was... I was leading the session! It has been really inspiring to get fabric in my hand and stitching like this again.

But pop over to Angelas blog and see how creative she has been with her 2 stitches. This was Angelas first meeting.... well done indeed..
We are having a small exhibition of our work in the sewing shop near the Designer Outlet village in Swindon next month. Will let you know more about it nearer the time.
Our next meeting is on November 13th at Cricklade, let me know if you would like to join us.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Tudors and Rusting

I have been re-reading a favourite book of mine.

This is a library book, think I will need to buy it for myself. The rekindling of the interest in Tudors started a little while ago at a local embroidery meeting and the talk by the maker of Mary Tudors wedding dress. See previous post

The BBC are televising a great series called the Tudors and I am really loving it. Click here for more information.

Mmmmmm .........So inspirational.

Have also done some more rusting dyeing.... this is becoming addictive. I thought I would try with some silk this time. Rather strange...some pinky red has appeared on the silk and on the cotton.

Here is the silk.

Here is the cotton...... as always you can enlarge the images by clicking on them. Can you see all that ready pink? Strange.
Tomorrow we have our next meeting of Great Western Embroiderers, we are doing some fun stitching, I might take this fabric with me..... will need to iron it first though. Really looking forward to it. Wonder if I have some threads to stitch this with?
Right better go and do some ironing!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Lazy blogger and tagged

Where has the week gone? I'm not really lazy, but have had no time to sit down at the computer. Autumn is certainly with us here in this northern hemisphere.

This is the Coach House at Urchfont.... where I stayed last weekend, and most productive it was too. Got loads of work done.

There was a bit of a mix up about the working rooms... but it was amicably sorted out. What it did mean was I managed to get a large space to work on my own. Its not what I would normally want, but as I was working on a fairly large piece of work and tonal values... it was enormously useful. Also it meant I managed to chat to folks on other courses. It was great to meet Jenny and thanks for showing me around your groups' work. Met up with Ann again and we had a good chat.

Some of the Art in the Garden exhibits were still around, as you can see the sheep above.... reminds me.....still waiting to have my lamb delivered.

A view of the kitchen garden... sure sign of the end of summer when the Dahlias are out. Overlooking the garden is this green man... created by Gordon Dickenson, he and his partner Toni work a great deal with local children and schools. I promised Gordon I would photograph his green man on my next visit. He really wants it to rust heavily... it has started Gordon... I was sorely tempted to fold some fabric over him for the weekend and do some rust dyeing....but need to ask Gordon's permission first.

The croquet lawn is being re-designed by the moles, but at least they are creating in wonderful surroundings.

Any of these pictures will enlarge if you click on them.

I have been tagged by Susan, and have been asked to follow the following instructions.... so here goes.

1. Link the person who has tagged you.

2. Tell seven honest things about yourself

3. Tag seven new people.

Leave a message with the person you have tagged so they know about it.

So my seven honest things.

  • I love eating, especially puddings, desserts, cakes and fresh fruit, and I hate cooking.
  • I have lived in this town longer than I ever expected to. It took my husband a full 12 months to persuade me to move here with the children.
  • My childhood was spent moving house and travelling, and for years my ideal holiday was to stay at home. Something my friends found strange - as they jetted off to all the places that I had spent my childhood living. I stayed in the UK and loved it.
  • I had intended to be an air hostess when I grew up- how did I become a teacher?
  • I grew up happily with dogs as family pets and my best friends..... I have also grown to love Siamese cats. I am terrified of cows and horses.
  • I love Art, what more can I say? I have always "done" art. The love of fabric as an art material was thanks to Oma, she taught me, at an early age, a love and appreciation of the skills needed.

Now I need to tag 7 people, always difficult. Here goes.....

Helen at Hebart

Maggie at Magstitch

Dale at Downunderdale

Carol at Textile Tales

Sally at Grumpy shopkeeper

Bea at Capricorn Quilts

Helen at Textile Goddess

Right back to the handstitching ... which I cannot show you at the moment.-Sorry.