Here I am again – just when you all thought I’d gone for good. I do have valid reasons for the non-writing of the blog for much of this year. There are so many excuses in fact, that I could offer you a bullet list! You have already heard some of them but I am determined to extract the maximum amount of sympathy so I'm listing them all! If you wish to escape my hard luck story, skip to here ***.
Here is a pretty pic of a detail of some recent work to keep you going.
It has been a dispiriting year for many small businesses; beginning with the EU inspired digital VAT disaster. This was aimed at collecting overseas VAT from mega businesses selling online but most of those have managed to evade it while the smaller ones – such as one person selling knitting patterns – was caught in a bureaucratic nightmare that saw many small businesses ceasing trading.
We had no sooner got over that than the company that organises our credit card facilities for WoW and D4daisy changed some ‘protocols’ involving costly and time consuming work. As a result of these requirements, we took the opportunity to restructure Workshop on the Web and that took months of ‘deeds of variation’ and form filling.
However it did involve both Fiona and Sam taking a more in-depth role and that perked WoW up immensely. With a member-only blog and Facebook page, we now have lots of extra content, with more workshops and product reviews, kits for the workshops and lots of contact with members. We love to see their work, which is classy stuff, as you can see from this pic by Mardi Robson, based on a Lynda Monk workshop.
That was a popular kit, which included one of Lynda’s silkscreens. We even have the odd video. All this has resulted in increased subscriptions so WoW is safe once more.
I think everything is on an even keel again now but I have felt as though much of this year has been spent tied to a desk or a telephone and it was all rather depressing. In the end we have a better business model and are more secure, so there is a silver lining.
***I have been able to get in enough stitching to produce a new book, due out shortly. It was supposed to be out in February/March but the work was getting finished much more quickly than expected so we decided to make a monumental effort and publish before Christmas. It’s at the printers so should be around next week sometime. I have so enjoyed working on it as I have taken a new direction, with a theme of diaries and story-telling.
WoWies will recognise my long diary, subject of an article a while ago. I had so much feedback that it prompted me to explore the theme further in a book. It’s the story-telling that has really got me hooked and I have been working on a theme of Myth and Legend. In addition to my own textiles, I have included work by some of my friends and they have turned into characters in the book. Here you can see a wonderful oil pastel work by my good friend Jane Wild.
This chap became the hero of a tale about a band of travellers, seeking Peace Island to bring peace to the world. God knows that we need it right now.
He rather took over the story, which resulted in a completely different direction to the one I had planned, but he did engineer a happy ending. It was a good ending for me too as Jane has given him to me, so I shall get him framed very soon. I intend to pursue this theme of fantasy through several more pieces of work and make some illustrated stitched books.
As usual there are lots of techniques one of which involves making pressure stencilled patterns on silk. I spoke about this in my last blog but have developed more ideas. Val Campbell-Harding and I did this for a book once, but I’ve developed it further. The beginning is very simple – you just paint a piece of silk and, while wet, place a plastic stencil on top. As this was for a piece about a mythical wood, I used a Clarity stencil tree design. Putting a weight over the stencil as it dries caused interesting effects.
I have then scanned the resulting pattern into a paint program and worked on it by changing the colours and highlighting different areas. Such fun and I shall be putting ‘how I do it’ posts on here and the d4daisy books web site when the book is out.
I am really excited about continuing the theme and, as I have an exhibition coming up at Art Van Go in March and a ‘progress’ to Scotland in April, there will be chances to show the work. I shall also be at Craft4crafters in Exeter in February – a busy time ahead.
Now the book is done there is a lot of catching up for Christmas so I’m off to hit the shops. Tomorrow our unaccompanied singing group, ‘Local Vocals’, is performing at the local stately home so we will be feeling very Christmassy after that.
I will be back soon, I promise – I’ll need to tell you when the book is here!