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?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

After the Show

Life always seems a bit flat after the excitement of meeting lots of stitching chums at a big show. So I have been looking at my purchases in detail and planning how I am going to use them.

I am pleased with my goodies, and have to chuckle when I think about these threads Dale.... I know Sarah has been out to Perth and stayed with you, so I just had to buy these from her stand at Festival of Quilts. It certainly is a small world. These are well travelled threads. Love the simple colour choice with a multi...... have lots of plans for this combination.

I bought this silk for a certain bag challenge, and cannot decide which colour to use. Could not decide at FOQ so bought all 3.... still cannot decide! Help!

Was bought back to reality yesterday with another plea from the grandchildren, they had used up all the pages in their sketchbooks...... so could I please come and help them make some new ones. So we made simple Japanese stab books. I allowed enough paper for one drawing a day for the rest of the summer holidays that are left...... I had a phone call this morning. They enjoyed the painting and collage we did yesterday so much. The sketchbooks are nearly full as a result. Best laid plans. However I did leave the instructions with their parents, so over to them.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Festival of Quilts 2008

Gosh, just hit the magic 8080 visitors from 88 countries on the Nero counter and this on the 18-08-08. Auspicious occasion.
My day yesterday was spent going to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham for the whole day. Travelled by coach, and I love the views from so high up, so much better than having to drive by car.

We arrived at 11.00am and had until 5.30pm to shop till we dropped and lots of time to look around the wonderful exhibitons and quilts... it is quite an event. I really felt that English speakers were in the minority. So many foreigh languages were being spoken as I walked around. Brilliant.
The quilts were wonderful and congratulations to all the winners. If you would like to see them click here.
The quilts that really shone out for me were in the childrens!.... If you want to see this wonderful work fully have a look at my photo blog for more details

My purse was very much lighter when I returned home ... but my shopping bag a lot heavier. I also met lots of cyber mates, which was wonderful. I really wanted to buy the new CD about Lutrador as Marion kindly sent me some tips way back about using it, not only did I manage to buy the CD, but also met Marion.... and it was so good to chat. Great to meet you. Hope we can set up the session on working together with Myfanwy.... think it would be great fun.

Altogether a wonderful show, wonderful international exhibitions and some wonderful stalls and lots of goodies and of course a great day out. Best of all meeting some fantastic people and friends.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dodger meeting day

This year has been so wonderful, I have had the opportunity to meet many of my cyber pals and fellow textile artists and yesterday was no exception. I was rather nervous as I had never met Penny before, and she and her husband John were over in the UK for a short holiday. Such excitement when she agreed to come and visit me at home. A number of us have chatted over the years via the Internet and posted photos and of course blogged about what we do, and recently we have taken to meeting up if possible, if we are in the same country or sometimes at one of the big UK shows.

Penny arrived for lunch yesterday and had bought along some of her wonderful bead work to show me.

We were just starting to look at the canvas work she had created, when Gill arrived she could not stay long as she had to prepare for her next visit to Saigon. (Its all right for some!). Whilst Gill is in Laos she is taking part in a natural dyeing workshop see here, she has promised to blog about it. Can't wait. Fascinating.

Shortly afterwards Sue arrived. After all the greetings, we were all sat on the floor around the chow table and became totally engrossed in the show and tell.

We looked at Penny's wonderful bead and canvas work and sketchbooks to die for..... Sue had bought her rust dyed fabrics for us to oooohh and aaaahh over, as well as her Willcox and Gibbs machine. Gill had bought a tiny printer with her to show us. So cute it prints tiny "moo" size photos which are sticky backed. Very " Blue Peter!" ( sorry its a Brit Children's show for anyone who does not know). I took the opportunity to show my machine embellished samples from the course Dale has been running in OZ.

Interestingly Penny had not seen an embellisher machine before, and as Gill had bought hers along for Sue to borrow, we set them up on the dining room table so Penny could have a play. We had great fun too. John had videoed a lot of our chatter and a lot of the meeting on his camera, I still need to edit it, as it is too large a file for blogger. But here is a short video taster of Penny using the embellisher machine for the first time. This is on my little camera... so am very sorry there is no sound.

Regrettably, Sue then had to go home to her family, and Penny, me ,and our husbands went out for a meal together at a local hostelry. It was a wonderful evening which bought a great day to a fitting conclusion. I hope we can meet up again one day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kensington Musuems

It was a day of planned culture and fun for 2 of the grandaughters. A very early start as we had to be on the coach by 8am and as its the school holidays, the two girls were still very sleepy, but chatting away with excitement.

The weather report was threatening thunderstorms and torrential rain, and the sky above Windsor Castle was rather suspect. Nothing was going to dampen our spirits though... we had packed a picnic lunch and had our rain macs too.

On arrival in Kensington, we went straight to the V & A. We were looking for the Peter Rabbit exhibition and clutching the map.. went off in search. My map reading skills were as usual non-exixtant and we found ourselves in the British Galleries on the 4th floor. The grandaughters were thrilled, sketchbooks were out and they sat on the floor drawing, much to the amazement of the stewards. This was the first thing they wanted to sketch... wish I had taken a photo of their sketches... amazing detailed work for 8 year olds. Of course they wanted to know all about the coach and the Queens coronation..... Behind this glass case is the most amazing doorway with red silk wallcoverings on either side, taken from the Strand residence of the Duke of Northumberland before it was demolished...... Not sure you can really see it in the photo as it is in darkeness.

The Steward gave us directions to find the Peter Rabbit exhibition and it involved passing through the 20th Century design section. Have a look here

We were all fascinated, the Art deco and Bauhaus pieces and a Matisse drawing.. lots of sketching of the pieces on show was undertaken by us all, and one of the grandaughters was fascinated by a pendant on display, with lots of tassels. We also passed a clever exhibition on books and Font styles.

Further into the exhibition, and then the children suddenly kept saying to me.. Nanny we have seen pictures of you in dresses like that, and look Nanny you have that dining room chair ( G Plan), and we have seen a photo of those curtains in your photo book..... I suddenly felt ancient!

To see the Peter Rabbit drawings was wonderful experience and the girls were very impressed, the Steif toy also made a good impression.
Have a look here for more information

Luckily the weather remained dry and we had our lunch in the Garden, which is a quadrangle in the centre of the Musuem buildings... here.

We also went along to the Natural history Musuem... but it was far too hot and stuffy. So we only stayed long enough to visit the creepy crawly exhibition and the Musuem shop to buy some dinosaurs for the brothers left at home!
After an Ice cream outside in the Natural History Museums garden.. we went back to the V & A. In the Sackler wing, where the Grandaughters could take part in a special workshop on jewellry. The girls made necklaces and bracelets and headbands. Their work was much admired by the V & A staff who enquired about how they were made and how old the girls were... the girls chatted away merrily to them... then I suddenly heard ... of course our nanny is an art teacher.... I cringed and wanted to run away!

After a cup of tea for me and milk for the girls we made our way back to the coach still wearing the jewellry they had made. Two very happy girls. A little tired.... but they sketched all the way home in their sketchbooks.

As we crossed the county border from Oxfordshire into Wiltshire we could see the rain clouds in the distance.

Then as we came over the hill.. down came the shower of rain.... we were home.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ready to race

A very excited son arrived today with his racing car, it will be racing at Castle Combe next weekend. Scary stuff! I like the colour, but I think I am supposed to be impressed by the engineering!
Might think about sponsoring him with some graphics on the body work... do any other textile artists advertise in this way?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Lucy Locket and a trip to Wales

Went to the Museum at St Fagans in Wales yesterday. We did not need a passport to enter the country, but it was interesting to see all the road signs, which are usually so familiar also in a different language. ( I have no idea why this photo has loaded sideways!! )

We travelled by coach, on a trip organised by the Marlbrough branch of the EG. The highlight of the trip was to be able to go into the textile storage area of the museum and see their wonderful collection. We were given permission to photograph as well... wonderful. these pockets were on display last year at the Bath costume museum -find out why Lucy Lockett lost her pocket.

There is also a great collection of love spoons.

(click on the photo to enlarge, an interesting read)

In the vast grounds of the Museum, they have restored a medieval Roman Catholic Church and are in the process of painting the murals. so colourful.

I walked all round the site and noticed how much my feet were aching, when it was time to catch the coach home. It did not seem long before we were leaving Wales and crossing the Severn Bridge again into England.

Then in no time at all we were nearing home.

A lovely day out and some very interesting textiles too.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Preparation for printing

Earlier this month I enrolled on a screen printing course with Dawn Dupree at Cirencester Workshops and when I told my cyber mates.. they enrolled too. Fantastic. So had to do a bit of preparation for ideas for images to use. I went back to my Steam sketchbook for ideas, and feel all enthusiastic again. The Exhibition is in February 2009, so it seemed a good idea to work on ideas to develop the images further.

We had a fantastic day and my cyber pals Gill and Paulene produced some wonderful work, so inspiring to be able to work with others.

We were working in a workshop which was situated up in the eaves and the washing line was excellent for drying.

This is one of my pieces.