Friday, February 29, 2008


I have had a few requests for more details about the Bridport Exhibtion, so I have posted the poster for you. Its at Bridport Arts Centre.
The Exhibition starts on Tuesday March 4th and runs for 3 weeks. If you manage to go and see it, please leave me acomment to say you have been.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


I have been furiously stitching this week... all by hand. Today I indulged in a little machining on this exhibition piece. I had to lay it out on the table to check that I had tonal values right. When hop, skip and jump..... there he is posing in the middle of the stitching. Obviously nice and comfy!

All my other pieces are ready, and this one is too, at last!

I had an inkiling I would manage to get it all done, my other half has had a knee problem and some treatment this week, so we have been a just a little housebound. Its a good excuse to get stitching.

So Bridport, really hope you are ready for these pieces of art.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tea at the new Brewery Arts.

The new Brewary Arts centre is open at Cirencester, and Gill and I had a good look at their current exhibition after a lovely cup of tea in the new cafe area.. The Exhibition is called "Made in the Middle", one of the textile artist featured is.. Karina Thompson. I last saw her work at Art in Action a few years ago. Her pieces today were slightly smaller in size. It is a mixed exhibition of work... with some very interesting wire sculptures. Quite a number of the pieces had sold.. always good to see.

However I was absolutely thrilled with a small gift Gill had made for me..can you see it in the photo? A brooch made with a red tape measure and buttons. She is so clever. Thank you so much Gill.

Could not resist taking photos of the windows at Brewary Arts.... a sort of inside out... mind you the weather was lovely and sunny. Made all the difference.

Gill was quite surprised to hear it had rained on my journey to Cirencester this morning.

(these photos will enlarge)

We also went into the artists shop, and admired a local artists textile work. Her subject matter was generally Still Life, and she obviously enjoyed examining tonal values. She used very delicate colours and worked to a square format, using a simple machining applique technique. She said she dyed all her own fabrics using procian dyes, and had only been doing textiles for 18 months. Lovely work.

We perused a number of the local trading establishments in Cirencester, including the fabric shop, which gave our purses a minor bashing. However I was very proud of Gill... she managed to walk past the wool shop, after we had done some window shopping of course.

As promised Gill - here is the bag I have been making for the BQL internet group. Its made with very lightweight fabrics. Make a good knitting bag (giggle!).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Steam Museum sketching Visit-the journey

Exhibition Journey for the Great Western Embroiderers:-
Destination - Final Artwork----,
Calling at all stations,--- Steam Museum, researching artefacts, drawing, sketching, textile techniques, sampling, meetings, workshops, advice, critique, final artwork.
Time of Arrival --September 2008----no delays envisaged.

Great Western Embroiderers had a great sketching day at the Steam Museum this Wednesday.

There were so many fascinating features to look at and sketch, we were spoilt for choice. I cannot wait to see everyone elses photos and sketches. I would like to say a huge thank you to the staff at the Museum, they were so kind and welcoming. Many of the volunteers at the Museum actually worked in the Railway sheds at Swindon so it was great to talk to them.

I do remember the last time the whistle blew at the Railway works.
Just a few of my photos and one of my sketching pages.

So where have I got to on my journey?

I have started the next stage of the design preparation... thinking and sketching about possible formats and for the finished pieces of art work which will go on display in September at the Museum. Its really exciting. I hope we can arrange a second day of sketching, as I realised I want to look at some things in more detail, now I have thought about my compositions. The museum has a good picture library too ... see here... so may use that for ideas too. Think I need to visit the local Library, as soon as my focus has narrowed a little. Sure to be loads of books on "Gods Wonderful Railway".

This is the stage of the research I enjoy... finding out more.... need to think about colour too.....

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Progress-as promised

I have been working to some rather loud music......have a look at this chocolate advert for a sure to turn the volume on your computer up as loud as it will go! Have to say I have no affiliation to the company..... just love the music they have chosen ....and I do like to eat their chocolate..yummy!!

So Phil Collins has been blasting out of the stereo... and the postcard for Susan is finished.

Here are the 2 of them together, before they are parted .......... I do hope Susan will like it.

Off to Steam Museum to do some sketching, this morning with members of the Great Western Embroiderers. Think we are going to have lots of fun.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Don't you just love the postman??

This arrived in the post yesterday... thank you so much Susan....all the way from America!

Susan is organising an incredible Cyber Fybre art exhibition.... go and have a look. Here.
My exchange will be on its way shortly.... just a little more machining to do. One of my tasks for today. Then mine will be winging its way to America to you Susan. Wish I could go with it!

Here were the sheep yesterday morning in the field .. covered in frost.......aaaaah..cute. They mistakenly thought I was going to feed them!

However swiftly got down to my learning work.... which was natural dyeing... onion skins and indigo. Great results and no mordants used. I also managed to ply my spinning and dyed one of the hanks indigo. Rather pleased with that. Of course I also took along some calico (USA -muslin)... such fun.

Here is a closer look at some of them.

By lunchtime yesterday , the sun was wonderful... but do not be deceived.. it was still very cold. If you click and enlarge the photo, you will see the sheep right down the bottom of the field.

So whats this then??? Another new craft to learn? My poor brain!

This is peg loom weaving, such fun........just lightly twist, washed and natural dyed fleece and weave.

Must go and do some stitching now... what coffee time already....?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Taking a breather.

Phew... busy times this week. There have been three birthday parties to celebrate, nine year old granddaughter and then her sisters first birthday, and not forgetting my youngest sons birthday as well. Also a host of baby sitting duties, due to illnesses.

The stitching this week has involved a wonderful meeting of the Great Western Embroiderers. I was showing them some of the stuff I do with the embellisher, and everyone had a go. Some great work was being done by the members.

Anna also demonstrated how to do embellishing by hand... think it is called needle felting when it is executed in this way. She is very good at it. I always end up spearing myself.. give me the machine every time!

Next week we are going into Steam Museum in Swindon, and will be sketching on site, in preparation for our exhibition with the Museum on their open weekend in September. Don't worry I will remind you nearer the time if you want to go and see the exhibition.

This week also saw the end of my teach the teacher sessions. We ended our series of sessions with one of my ex. students Fred, (Made me feel quite old) showing the teachers how to do cartooning and sequence drawing. He is a very natural teacher and we had a wonderful time.

Can you guess what I have been doing today? These should be a clue, aren't they beautiful. Aparently they are a Dutch breed of sheep. Zwartbles. If you want to know more about the breed.. click here

If you have not guessed what I have been doing this should help.......

Got it ? No ......!

Ok this is the final photo.

Yes I have been learning to use a spinning wheel. Great Fun. I was allowed to borrow a spinning wheel as I do not have one. I have never used one before, and the teacher said I should get one straight away as I am a natural. Praise indeed! I was really chuffed. So I suppose I had better start saving my pennies.

I have one full bobbin of Zwartbles wool and another full bobbin of white fleece ( from Jeremy.. the sheeps name!). They just have to be plyed together now. The sheep reside on the nearby farm and their wool is fantastic to spin... each sheep gives an enormous amount of wool too. The farmers wife sells it at a very reasonable price ... but I have no wheel!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Wanderer returns

I have been away for a few days at Urchfont Manor working at the Embroidery masterclass. I was rather pleased with myself as I achieved quite a bit. Resolving designs and getting to a point with work, so that I can take it to the next stage. However my work did not stop me from appreciating the wonderful grounds in the sunny weather this weekend. - and of course the food!

Onr of the groups I exhibit with -Losing the Thread-have an exhibition shortly in Bridport. I will give details about the venue, nearer the time in case you can visit it starts on March the 4th.

So that has taken over my thinking at the moment, as well as my Great Western Embroiderers meeting tomorrow ( information click here) where I shall be demonstrating and showing some of my work completed on the embellisher. Busy day and week ahead of me, but great fun.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

TIF February Challenge- Ist posting.

I have been thinking around the February Challenge.

My first response was to the colours. I felt I wanted to work with these, but the concept of past came into my thoughts too.

Sharon said "So this month stop and think what are you old enough to remember" I have been thinking , and came to the realisation that what I experience is only a product of experiences others have had in times past.

Where I live , the culture I live in, the artefacts I use, the civilisation I take for granted..... these facets have evolved over time, in fact since the Roman invaded this area of England. My experiences are but an extension of what has emerged before, in time, in space and conceptually.

I have decided to research deeper into Roman culture by investigating the area where I live. There are the Roman Baths in Bath click here:- Chedworth Villa- click here:- and Cirencester Museum click here:-

Here is my first set of research ideas in my sketchbook... and some Bridget Riley colour schemes:- click here You may like to listen to what she has to say about colour. I found it fascinating and may use some of those ideas in my work too.

As always if you click on my photos they will enlarge. I am really thinking about mosaics and hypercausts at the moment.

Anothe source of Mosaics I have visited is on my visits to Trier in Germany. The mosaics there are fantastic, so fine and so detailed. Click here:-

So back to the sketchbook.......

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Oxford - a nostalgic day

A fellow artist invited me to her Private View at Wolfson College today. Click here and have a look at the Virtual tour, can you see the Marble staircase... incredible. The building is modern and light, built in 1966, and the exhibition space is brilliant.. overlooking the River Cherwell. Her artwork was presented well in the setting. So the day started with some modern textiles. No photos sorry and she does not have a web presence.

Of course Oxford is known for the number of bicycles!

We then decided to do the nostalgic tour of Oxford... many years ago I worked there for the University, and my Aunt still lives there. It was a bitterly cold day and very windy. It was wonderful as many sightseerers decided not to venture out. The roads were fairly empty, we managed to park the car very easily and for free and wondered around. We walked down the Banbury Road into St Giles and stopped to photograph the Taylorian Institute

and the

We wandered down Broad Street towards the Bodlian Library. My most favourite place. Investigate their website, its worth clicking around, there are some real treasures to be seen (click here).. the manuscripts are unbelievable.
I was lucky enough to be able to see many of them in the flesh when I was younger. No chance now, they are deemed too valuable. However their website is comprehensive and with excellent images.

They were shut today, being Sunday.

We wandered to the end of Broad Street, and resisted the temptation to go into The large Art bookshop for a warm up and spend up.

We then strolled in the bitter cold wind, down The Parks Road, until we found ourselves outside the Pitts Rivers Museum (click here).

We decided to go in for to warm up. A good move as I found the Exhibition I had wanted to see (Treasured Textiles) is still running. I was so pleased.

If your in Oxford at any time it is running until June 2008.

Returning back the the car, it seemed to be getting colder, and the view of Oxford became very wintery. We were glad to be going home after a very enjoyable textiley day.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Footsteps into February

(So have you guessed who these footsteps belong to?)

I am taking some tentative footsteps into the new month, with some careful planning I may achieve my goals. I have promised myself that I will bring lots of different projects to a conclusion, whilst maintaining enthusiasm for new ventures.

Time will tell.

The start to this quest was accomplished this morning.... I have been re-photographing lots of my art work. and I have decided that for the month of February, I am going to share the close-up photos with you all on my other blog...Maggies365photo blog . I have been practising using the macro facility on the camera, and just for once the light today has been very good.

Now must apply myself to the new TIF challenge set by Sharon for February... already had a few ideas. Will share those when I have got some visuals together for you to see. Have also realised will have to move a bit on this month .... there are less days than in January.