Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Back to faces

I have been trying to take Goethe's advice, as per the featured phrase in my embroidery. Have been bashing the sewing machine to produce yet another face in stitch..... they have featured a lot over the last five years...... don't worry this is just a short Renaissance, whilst I get my head adjusted. Normal colour and abstracts will be resumed as soon as things get back to normal. Why is it we go back to trusted and safe practices when things get difficult??

I have been reading a thought provoking book called "Masterpiece" by Miranda Glover. Have a look here for more information. Just loved her choice of ladies featured by famous male artists and selling herself as a masterpiece at Sothebys. Hope you get the chance to read it. I borrowed mine from the local library. Has my vote for a good read. It is fiction, but uses " real" paintings. Certainly I suspect many of us can empathise with the notion of "struggle to reconcile the value of her art with the fundamental values of her life".Seems to be a constant struggle.......... to my mind!

I have also been reading " Concerning the spiritual in Art" by Kandinsky. I bought this from Amazon and have made lots of notes in the margins..... I will also have to re-read it I think. I would love to read the original version, mine is translated by M.T.H. Sadler. Not such an easy read as the last volume.
I am finding it quite hard to settle to concentrated art work.... I seem to be skirting around it all, and doing "safe" stuff. Maybe it is a combination of the time of year and dark evenings and!

Carrie, in answer to your question about the the coloured shibori in the last post. I used transfer crayons and paper, then wrapped the paper, fabric around a tube and so when it was heated, the string made the impressions on the fabric. I just loved the effect. Have not got a clue how I will use it at the moment... no doubt something will occur to me soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanks for all the lovely comments about my return after a break. Spent some time yesterday digging around in my room and found the coloured Shibori I did at the beginning of the month, it was still wrapped around the pole and all stringed up ( is that a word?). So I untied it and am really pleased with it. Can you guess how I did it?

Ventured out into the garden today, lovely sunshine but bitterly cold. A hedgehog has been driving Herr schnauzer to distraction every evening with his presence in the garden. I really thoought they were supposed to hibernate this time of year. So I went to have a look in daylight.. No sign of the hedgehog, so maybe he only visits late evening when it is dark. Had a peek at the gardening catalogue that is in the garden being distressed. ( blame Maggie Grey for all these mad women collecting catalogues to put in the garden... quite ritualistic!).

Have also been playing with Gesso and making books.. just have some hand stitching to do and then put some pages inside..... was going to play this afternoon, but am now thinking after the groceries have been delivered, I may go for a walk, as its a lovely day. Weather men are promising us some rotten weather again tomorrow. But first will watch the Aussie soaps on the TV whilst I eat lunch.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I made the heady decision that I would take a sabbatical for a month from blogging... and so here I am exactly a month later and back again. I have missed you all very much......

Its has been an exciting and enjoyable month of activities with lots of stitching and artwork. My original thinking for the sabbatical was not to mention what I had been doing over the last month on the blog, but I have found that difficult as I treat this blog like a diary for my own information. So I am just creating an update of the past month. A couple of birthdays needed to be celebrated, the first one was a five year olds and the other was a celebration of four cousins all born in the same year. We were last photographed together in our mothers arms as babies... I will look for that photo and try and add it in to the blog.... but here is the up to date photo.

We met over a weekend here in Swindon, and had a great time and lots of reminiscences.... we visited Steam for the BBC's Remembrance event and also went for a visit to Faringdon where our shared Grandmothers parents' lived for a while. Now to get back to stitching done this month.. and quite a lot of playing has gone on too.

The meeting of the GWE this month was really good fun and we stitched all day and we intend to do the same next month. We had the opportunity to report back about the West Country Embroiderers AGM in Exeter that took place just before. A lovely day and we were so impressed by the friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We treated ourselves to travelling by train... .. so relaxing.

Back in Swindon the week later I had a most enjoyable talk about peg looming at the AGM of the Swindon Branch of the EG

and at Marlborough Sian Martin gave a talk and workshop with Shibori.

It is ages since I worked with Sian and also ages since I played with Shibori. Needless to say I had a really good time and enjoyed myself immensely as you can see by my samples.

The masterclass weekend at Urchfont was tinged with sadness, as Julia Capara our mentor had died on the 24th October, we all missed her enthusiastic support for our work and her inspirational advice. The view from my room over the parklands of Urchfont Manor seem an appropriate image, however I suspect it is not colourful enough for Julia.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that my "Art in the Garden" contribution is featured in the new prospectus.. ... gave me that lovely warm fuzzy feeling. Julia was so supportive about us taking part in this outside exhibition. She had hoped to exhibit with us and you may recall the private view was in May 08, unfortunately she was too ill to finish her piece of work. So it was with some sadness we took our work down and away on this weekend at the end of October. I have to say considering my work had been outside on a sunny wall for one of the worst summers for years... the work looks the same as the day I hung it for the exhibtion. Amazing.

We focused on Drapery over the Urchfont weekend, artfully draping some white silk in preparation for some observation drawing. I decided to create a homage to Julia and recorded my drapery in a spectrum of colour rather than white..

Now this would not be a proper UK blog without mentioning the weather would it??
We have had some wonderful sunsets and some quite warm spells... but generally a very mixed bag of tricks. Today it has been sunshine and hail and a very cold and biting wind, not a day to venture out.

Back to the stitching. More recently, I had a last minute call from Gill....... could I please give a talk to her WI group for her , as she had forgotten she had to go to Paris? What a wonderful group of ladies they turned out to be at Avening WI. I had a wonderful time... we stitched by hand with lots of attitude!!! What fun, and very much a hands on practical type talk. I understand I am visiting them again next May and we are going to do some crochet. Really looking forward to it.

Last Sunday I visited Lydiard House which is only a few miles away, they had a small exhibition of the clothes from the family who owned the house. Most interesting, but could not resist taking some photos of the grounds. Here is the view over Swindon, I had not seen Swindon from this angle before.

However some of the trees in the parkland were beautiful.

So in true Disney fashion
That's all folks!!
Well for today anyway.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Great Western Embroiderers- meeting

We changed the format of our meetings for the next couple of months to a whole day of stitching together. We are so keen to get our exhibition work for Steam Museum created in time for the showing in February 2009, that we decided to have stitching days....this is how far I have got... still loads to do, but its exciting.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Scrumptious Saturday with GWE

Spent this glorious day working with Annette Emms of Fairy shoes fame. We were working on Concertina books and slip cases. A really good day and lots to do.
Here is some of the the work created by Annette which we used as our inspiration.

We used lots of different arty materials to create the slip cases and then moved onto making the little sketchbook to go inside. We experimented with a number of ways to get a digital image onto cloth and Annette was very generous with her tips and advice.

We did not quite finish the sketchbooks, but a few more hours working on them at home should do the trick. They are lovely aren't they?

The weather was glorious and I could not resist joining a photography class in shooting some photos. Look at that blue sky!

When I got home I could not resist playing with the photo in the software.... anyone like blue berries?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Knitting and Stitching Show 2008 Ally Pally

It was a wonderful day, weather wise and so was the K & S show. My first stop on arriving at Ally Pally was to leave my crochet coral with the Crafts Council for the hyperbolic coral reef. It was displayed in the entrance Hall, so that was straight forward. It was also good to see some teenagers learning the craft.
There was lots to see and buy and do.... but best of all was meeting up with lots of Internet chums. So here are the sexy six!

Thank you to Annette ( a helpful passer -by) who took the photo for us.

There was such a lot to see at the show, Maggie Grey had her new book on her stand, I wonder how many of us now have catalogues in our gardens? Think the online work, related to this book is going to be great fun. Have a look at the blog of my internet chum Mags, the catalogue she found is wonderful
Maggie had also just collected Julia Carparas' book from the printers in the morning. It is a wonderful inspirational book on colour. Wish I had had it last Tuesday when I was teaching the teachers. Would have been an inspirational visual aid for them to see.
Talking about colour, Ruth Issetts stand was a delight.. so bright and full of primary colours, just what we expect. It was lovely to see Jean Drapers new work too.... lovely distressed and burnt books.
Our Internet chum Anita Bruce was showing her work in the graduate showcase.... and wow soooooo fantastic! A definite "must see" for the future.
Gill was helping on the WI stand, whereas Paulene like me, was free of supervising any stands and so we had the opportunity to wander around together. Great company, thanks Paulene. We also had to visit our Internet chum Dale and we both succumbed to buying some of her wonderful slushies for our embellisher work. Fortunately Dales suitcase had finally arrived from Perth and so she had some clean clothes to wear, so we were told by another chum!!
It seemed that all too quickly it was 5pm and we had to leave. I had travelled to the show from home with Kath so we met up to travel home together. After a lovely meal at Victoria station we went to catch the coach. It was delayed by 30 minutes, however our one and a half hour journey actually took four and a half hours. We arrived home just before midnight... due to 3 accidents on the motorway. Thank goodness we had eaten!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Colour- teaching the teachers

Today, what a wonderful day. I had the pleasure of teaching a group of receptive and hard working teachers. They had been teaching all day and then came ot a two hour inset with me to work on "colour and wet media- how to teach to children". There were 25 in number and were the most well behaved and creative class of adults I have had the pleasure to teach in a long time. All primary school teachers and assistants. I look forward to seeing the results of the teaching and inset with their students. I feel sure it will be fantastic work.

Monday, October 06, 2008

A very special Day

It has been a very long time since we have all been together. What a fabulous family. I am so lucky.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

In a 2 and 8

Its an old saying that my Dad often used... it always meant I was in a muddle, and it has certainly been a week of muddles.

Thank you to Rosalind and Gill for the advice about the sticky residue on the plastic ruler from the last post. It has worked a treat and I can now use the ruler without it sticking to the cloth.

I finally managed to get my work sent to the exhibition at Ilminster. The Private view is tomorrow between 12 and 2pm... so if you are nearby and at a loss for something to do, you may like to go and have a look. I still am hoping to make it to the private view, but hubby's leg is still very poorly and he does like to come with me and take photos, it is a long way from home though. So we will make the decision in the morning.

(click to enlarge for details)

The weather is pretty foul here, and cold. The eldest son is having the last race of the season today, in this appalling wet and windy weather. Hope he enjoyed himself. I was quite happy to stay at home!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Weaving, a way of life?

If you're not scared of spiders click on the photo for a larger image. Woke up this morning to a very grey and misty day, which just about sums up how I feel at the moment.

I seem to be doing lots of things for other people, not that I mind, but I need some "me" time this weekend. In preparation I have tidied the studio/workroom of all the left overs and tidied threads and machine bobbins. Some photos on my photoblog

The fabrics are still in a mess, but I know I shall be using them a lot soon, so there is no point in sorting those out to look neat, as I actually need to use them.

Paint brushes have been cleaned and put back, although not for long as I need to use them again soon.

Full sketchbooks are so difficult to store, I want them within reach, as I do refer to them often.... but they also get in the way, being so bulky. What is the answer?

Well for the moment I shall be using an old new one... if you get my drift. Its one I started using and still has lots of empty pages, so I shall be a meany and use it up.

Suspect my grey mood this morning is also partly due to the fact we went out to dinner last night with some really good friends, lovely enjoyable evening, but maybe too much wine? Maybe I will leave the machining I had planned until tomorrow. Could I be charged with Drunk in charge of a sewing machine... probably as lethal as driving a car ! Know you can be fined for being drunk in charge of a bicycle or horse. Interesting thought.

The exhibition in Iliminster is being put up next weekend, still have to post some of the work for that, and I am also looking forward to going to the Kitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace on Friday 10th October.

In the week before K & S I have been asked to teach the teachers again, apparently they really enjoyed the "how to teach drawing " I did with them, and now would like me to do a session on colour and mixed media. Lovely group of people. I am really looking forward to that.
Wonder if any of you can help me with a problem... this little quilters ruler came with a huge sticky label, which I have removed. However it has left an annoyingly large sticky patch on the plastic. How do I get rid of it?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Stitching and other stuff

A strange month and certainly time to catch up. I have had the chance to do lots of work and most is still quite embryonic, but I have been missed my blogging sessions. Thanks to those of you who have regularly visited and apologies for the lack of news for you. So what have I been up to?
Well, I was inspired by fellow GWE members to get involved with the coral reef crochet and have been idling my time away with this, its quite mindless. This yarn is really hard on the fingers as it is weaving wool. I shall take it to the knitting and stitiching show in Alexandra Palace in October, and add it to their mountain of coral.

Our GWE mini Exhibition last weekend at Steam was a great success and was well attended, and even though I did a lot of talking, I also managed to do a lot of hand stitiching. Angela has some great photos on her blog.. look here

(Thanks for taking this photo Shirley)

The studio session on Monday at the Blackthorn Art Centre got off to a great start and again I managed to get a lot of printing done for the exhibtion next year. I played with transfer dyes and crayons. When I have done some more work, I will share some photos with you. If you would like to come along next month, then please let me know, we have room for another two people.
I have also received a new toy, which has kept me very busy uploading CD's. If you know of any really good podcasts for textiles, embroidery, dyeing etc... please let me know.

My BQL bag for September is also finished, I was dreading this one as it involved log cabin patchwork, and way back in the olden days Log cabin made with strips onto calico is the technique that made me giveup doing any more patchwork... I hated it. However this newer way with rotary cutters and rulers is so much easier...... I actually managed to make the bag. Such an achievement.

Needless to say, Mr Siamese is rather thrilled with it too, he is using it as his latest body warmer.

As it has a zip, I thought I might use it as a project bag. Thats if I can get it back!!
I shall finish today with a sad blog entry Our Moggie passed on at the beginning of the month, and I was much sadder than I expected, she was 18 and has had such a good life. We had fostered her for 17 and a half years, she was very independant, and her biggest joy was to scratch the life out of the stair carpet. The local vermin lived in fear of her too, and she frequently was known to throw temper tantrums if she did not get her own way. Mr Siamese is missing her very much as well as us.

Thanks to everyone for the messages of comfort for poor hubbie and his knee and for Daughters ill health. I am not good with the nurses hat.. but some times that just has to be!
Must get back to loading the i-pod with my music...... see ya!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

End of the month and New workshop group

It has been a very busy time here, some emergency hospital attendances, which involved lots of baby sitting and the donning of nurses hat, and as you know that is not one of my most endearing past times.
As I write this I am also putting the final touches to the workshop I previously wrote about in a previous blog.. see here...
We will be meeting on Monday 15th September for the first time from 10.00am -3.00pm and then every 3rd Monday of the month thereafter. If you would be interested please e-mail me and I will give you more details.

However I have managed to escape to the workroom whenever possible and am pleased with the creative moments I have managed to snatch. I think it saves my sanity! Just a snippet of the work for you, as its a secret at the moment.

I am also trying to get some work resolved for 2 exhibitions, the first one is a mini exhibition for the Great Western Embroiderers at Steam Museum.. click here. It is the Swindon Railway Festival, so something for all the family. If you live locally , I would love to see you, I will be there on the Saturday 13th. On the Sunday I hope others can take over from me!

I see that my buddy Ken White will be there as well. He is a now famous mural artist, but He worked with us about 25 years ago before all the fame. A great guy. Of course if it all gets a bit much you can always give the plastic cards a bashing at the Designer outlet village.. just 10 paces away. click here .......

The other exhibition that needs my attention at the moment is in Ilminster.. I still have a week or two to get stuff together for that. I was very chuffed to see they had used one of my images for the publicity brochure. So although I had not planned to include that piece... I will.. there is nothing worse than being attracted to an event by an image and then its not at the exhibition! So it will be there....

Then I must start thinking about the big exhibition next Spring at Steam Museum. Lots to do....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Beijing bag

I have been watching the closing ceremony of the Olympics on TV as I was putting the finishing touches to my BQL August bag.... so I have christened it my Beijing bag. It is made of silk and I have tried to base the stitching on Chinese ornamentation. Another fun bag to make.... thanks Kandy. As you can see I made a decision about which colour to use in the end, it was blue..... no contest really.

Friday, August 22, 2008

London - my city of culture.

If you are going to read all of this you may need a cup of tea and a box of favourite chocolates, its rather a long entry.

Hyde Park photos

(as always click on all photos to enlarge)

I know that Liverpool has been voted that title, city of culture 2008, but today I have been overpowered by the joy of visiting London. This was a day I had promised to myself, "doing" some galleries. A day just for me... no children.. no friends.. no family... just me! Yesterday it seemed a rather selfish notion and I nearly had to cancel due to husbands ill health. The journey to London was by coach, with Marvelous views of all the sights.. here is a composite of Knightsbridge and Piccadilly.

from L to R----View down Knightsbridge, Burlington Arcade, Harrods, Harrods shop window, Royal Academy and Harvey Nichols shop window.
and the first drop off was the National Gallery

It had just opened and was fairly quiet as you can see.

I started my exploration of the National Gallery in the Sainsbury wing and greeted the Wilton Diptych like a long lost friend. ( I do not wish to infringe copyright, so if you click on the highlighted words you see will images of the paintings I am talking about) I am always astonished at the brilliance of the blue against the gold and how small the piece is. Then into another room to find my other Friend The Arnolfini Portrait I have seen this lots of time, but again it is the colour and composition which enthrals, and all the tiny symbolic motifs to be found by close study.

Then I just had to see Turners work again... the colours in the Fighting Temeraire, never ceases to enthrall me and a note on the gallery wall tells me it is the favourite of the nation, that's no surprise to me.
Another painting I always have to re-visit is Constables rendition of Salisbury Cathedral and I know Turner painted this too. Interestingly most visitors graft towards the Haywain, These 2 painting are huge and are well hung in the room at the Gallery.

It was impossible to get close to the Ambassadors, seemed to be a number of guided tours in Spanish today, but that's OK, I can always look another day. I did however have a chance to look at Corbets Still Life, Apples with a pomegranate in detail. It was an example I often used with my year 9 students when we looked at Still Life painting, and usually I trawled a friend's Orchard for fallen apples as our source. Must admit, the apples became rather brown and manky... so were ideal for drawing and painting. I suspect Corbets may well have been close to the same level of decay!

The rooms with Van Gogh, Monet, Manet etc Paintings were very busy with tourists, and so I thought after a cup of tea, I would venture to the National Portrait Galllery, just around the corner. However as I was leaving the Gallery, I noticed a lot of activity outside around Trafalgar Square and decided to stay and watch. It was the Trafalgar Square Festival and from the steps of the National Gallery I had a wonderful view of the dance of London. The big screen is a wonderful idea, but not sure what the lions think about it.

I spent so long enjoying the performance, that there was no chance to get to the Portrait Gallery it was time for the coach to pick us up again and take us to Tate Britain for the Afternoon.

First exhibition I decided to look at was" Drawn from the Collection" and I was not disappointed. An excellent thought through exhibition, which really got me thinking about drawing and recording what I see. Tracey Emins were mostly angry words, and the Great Masters were represented with some wonderful detailed observations. I was amazes at how small in size some of Turners drawings were. Some of the fantasy and detailed drawings reminded me of some of the talented male students I had taught through the years....... truly inspirational. My next rooms to visit were Turners work, and then up the stairs to the Colour and Line exhibition
and an amazing interactive display. I had hope the bookshop would have some reference material/booklet for it, but alas no, so I was pleased to find this online. A truly informative and must see Exhibition. Going back to his dedicated Gallery rooms and seeing his large canvases was even more enjoyable after the colour and line.

I then decided I wanted to see modern work, so I looked at the Victor Pasmore room, here I was enthralled by the variety and scale and media used, and have to say I really enjoyed his abstract work.

Next to the collage and montage room. something I do a lot of as a textile artist.. perhaps in the future textile artist will be better represented in this room, certainly I have seen more thought provoking quilts than Tracey Emins... however I am grateful to Tracey for heavily influencing one of my A level students 2 years ago into producing a significant body of work. I think this is something artists often forget nowadays, the influence and inspiration to the next generation of artists that they engender.

For me though Kurt Schwitters was favourite. Richard Hamiltons room is worth a mention. It was good to see a variety of his work. I am used to seeing one of his works quite regularly at the Swindon Art Gallery, Swindon have a wonderful and large collection of 2oth Century art, but no where to display it. The gallery is tiny and poorly funded. Such a shame. Refering to my notes and sketches, I see I was also drawn to the Tudor and Stuart portraits having an avid curiosity to see the patterns of blackwork and embroidery on their costumes.

It seemed no time at all before I had to return to wait for the coach,
I had planned to take a short walk along the embankment, but ran out of time as I made the acquaintance of a fellow teacher from Waltham Forest who teaches the 18-25 year olds. We were chatting outside the Tate and then suddenly my coach arrived to take me home.

Then inspired by all the visual recording I had seen, I decide to use my camera to record London scenes.
So for all you window addicts out there here is a photo collage for you

Of course if I were very rich I could have stayed Park Lane.

or maybe hitch hike a lift home with them.

So glad I do not live at Number 10...the neighbours are not very considerate, look at all that building work, no wonder the PM is on holiday.
A wonderful day out, but it was good to be home again.

Its late summer Bank Holiday weekend here in England, wonder what we can do?