Sunday 30 March 2008

Lazy Sunday

Chrissy, loved your pods and webs. You should take it further. There was a big move, a few years ago, towards outdoor textiles which were left out in the elements. Some were photographed to document the changes and ultimate destruction. You could start a revival.

Glad you got to the exhibition, Sarah. Seems to be well attended.

Thanks for the apple education (could that be application?) Annabelle. Loved the daisies and intend to go back to your Fibonacci stuff tomorrow when I have my head in better shape. At the weekend class we were discussing his principles and how strange the rules of proportion are. When we cut lengths of felt to work our borders all the students instinctively cut them so the length and width were just right.

Had a great time for the last couple of days with the girls on the embellisher course. We were supposed to be working band and border samples on the first day but they turned into rather scrummy finished pieces, like this one. I think this was made by Wendy.

Here’s a detail. Sheelagh’s I believe but I might have got them the wrong way round.

I do enjoy these courses as it’s possible to do so much more in two days. We went to the exhibition at Highcliffe (hooray, I’ve sold a Floating Fossil piece) and then out for a meal on Friday night. Great to have a chance to chat over a good meal.

We went on to experiment with embellished printed silks, always much harder working from a design source but we had some impressive results. Here’s a bag front from Sue.

Working in layers with Wiretex gives the work movement and allows for three-dimensional work. It’s lethal stuff and I was using tongs to handle it. Even so, it bit me.

Today I’ve been taking it easy - a lovely long walk, a good lunch and the Sunday papers. Bliss.

Wednesday 26 March 2008

Fruits and Fossils

Annabelle - I’ve been trying to think of an intelligent apple question but have failed. I did make a piece called ‘Genetics of the Fruit Bowl’ about how my oranges decayed so quickly while Clive’s apples lasted forever. I suspected genetic tinkering - hence the title. Photo below.

Detail of oranges. I was leaving one rotting in the garage so I could photograph it in various stages of decay. Then I forgot it and Clive found this horrible mummified green thing months later.

Sorry if I’ve shown these before - they seem to fit the apple theme. Can’t remember anything these days. There was an excellent programme on how memory works on TV last night but we forgot to record it!

Busy now getting ready for my weekend class - extreme embellishing. The great thing about this workshop is that it follows on from a previous class so I know everybody. We are all going on a class outing to the exhibition and then for a meal on Friday evening. It’s so nice to have a chance to chat to people as the workshops are always so hectic.

The embellishing is not really very extreme but I wanted it to cover the use of a design source so I asked everyone to send me a design. Now I have to print them all on habotai silk and it is taking ages. This is a detail of a bag front that I’ve been working on for the course.

The basic design was a fossil photo (still going on this theme). I twiddled a bit in paint Shop Pro and quite like the result. Unusual colours for me.

Thanks for the nomination, Margaret S. Very flattering and I will have to have a think about inspirational blogs. Problem is that I find so many inspire me that choosing will be hard. I see that you were in my neck of the woods in Poole recently.

Marie Roper tells me that we are both doing a talk on computer design at the Festival of Quilts on the same day. Whoops. We have decided to put our heads together to make sure we don’t say the same thing. We can then tell people that it will be ‘The Holistic Experience on Computers’. The tickets for both talks are selling well so I don’t think it will cause problems.

Sunday 23 March 2008

Metal Edges

Happy and peaceful Easter greetings to everyone. Just off to take eggs and other offerings to the gcs. Fiona is kindly hosting this year's egg hunt. I suspect it will be indoors.

I answered some of the comments in comment form so I hope you have found the right clay now. I'll blog some more on the clay but will talk very briefly about metal edges. The pieces are applied to blockboard which has been covered with handmade paper and painted. I sometimes work on heavy Vilene with gesso worked into it. Here is an earlier example from my Buddha series, with some cast water soluble paper forming a border. It is in a half painted state here.

Then I stitched a strip of fine metal shim around the edge. The shim was drawn into to make the embossed surface. The entire background was then glued to the board and the metal was wrapped around the edge and held with copper tacks.

I cut into it to make the scalloped edge.

Hope this helps. As you know, I don't like my work behind glass as textiles are so tactile.

So good to have West Country Mother back with us (aka Wittering Rainbow or Annabelle). I felt quite bereft when I got back from Jersey to find you had disappeared. Sorry about the problems with 'lady'. Elli Woodsford had similar troubles when her email was 'painted lady'! I have to say that West Country Mother sounds a bit worthy and not at all how I see you. Brings to mind rosy cheeked ladies at Farmers Markets but perhaps that's better than the Painted Ladies.

Well Hung has not caused me problems Aussie Jo, except that I think people think it is the name of the exhibition. I shall be in a lot of trouble with Highcliffe Castle as it is actually called Fusion.

Wednesday 19 March 2008

Well Hung!

I shall probably get lots of porny comments with that heading.

Thank you so much for the warm welcome back. Glad you all missed me - it’s great to be home.

Artisue - the metallic ‘tiles’ are made from Model Soft (from Winifred Cottage) - a similar material to Hearty clay. I squish it onto felt, pressing with my thumbs, impress with a stamp and cut into shapes when it is dry. Then paint and gild. The felt makes it easy to stitch.

When am I coming to France? Or Wales? Sorry, but no plans at the moment, I’m afraid. In fact I’m planning on taking a bit of time out next year to work on some new classes. Then, hopefully, I shall bounce back with lots of new ideas and energy. Have lots of teaching this year first, though. I shall still be doing talks next year but not so much teaching.

On Monday I finished the mixed media piece that I was blogging about. Here it is.

Not much stitching but I liked the effect - a different look for me. Here's my fossil fish. he was stitched with Stitch'n'Tear under the stitching. Then I turned the work upside down so that the paper was on top. Zapped the felt a bit to make him arch his back (felt a bit guilty when he writhed in apparent agony) and finally painted with dilute walnut ink.

We hung the Highcliffe Castle exhibition yesterday. Here's a tiny pic of the venue. Impressive but not actually as old as it looks - built in about 1830.

It was a mass turnout for Wessex Textiles, as most of us were present. Usually we are very good at persuading other members to hang our stuff. We were all allocated a section of wall and off we went. Some of the screens hadn't turned up so two of us had to leave our work to be put up by the gallery staff. I went in today to steward and it was all up and looking good. Here is my Triangular Disintegration piece with 'Triffid Seeds' underneath. This had to go sideways but I rather like the effect.

My deep box frames were horrible to hang on the wire fitting so some of the fossils went in a cabinet. Quite a good effect but the cabinet door swung open just as I was standing up and nearly knocked me out. I have a huge bump.

Here is some colourful work from Brenda Weeks

I love her Magic Mushrooms. Good to have some fun pieces.

Today I have been back to do some stewarding. It was colder in the castle than it was outside so I sat next to a small electric radiator. Then I sat on the small radiator. By the time I went home I practically had the thing on my lap. There were not many people about as it is so close to Easter so I gave up and came home early. I'm still not warm yet.

More exhibition pics soon.

Monday 17 March 2008

Home from Overseas

Yipee! I'm home and, apart from the outward-bound journey, I've had such a good time.

Nightmare journey over to Jersey last Monday. Driving to the airport we found trees down all through the New Forest and the wind howled, the rain lashed sideways and we were both sure that the flight would be cancelled. However, our flight was listed and we boarded. Before take-off, during the pilot's chat, one poor traveller grabbed his bag and got off. I think the rest of us would have followed but they shut the doors quickly and started to taxi. It was bumpy and we were the last flight allowed out that morning.

That wasn't the end of it - we had to keep an eagle eye on the rental car as the sea was up over the road where we were parked. Clive moved it to a car park up a hill and we decided it gave a whole new meaning to the term hire car.

It was all worth it as the week was great with excellent exhibitions, lovely students and a good chance to catch up with folk like Jae Maries, Ruth Lee. Wendy Hughes, Christine Witham and Alysn Midgelow-Marsden. I stayed in the same B&B with Bonnie McKerracher and she was lovely. Clive came home on Thursday and I flew back yesterday.

I was teaching mixed media and here are a few pics for a start. No names as there were so many students, but they kindly agreed to be anonymous.

I'm in a great flap today as I have a full in-tray and the exhibition hanging is tomorrow. I was one pic short and I'd hoped to do something over there but materials ran short so I've been madly painting Paper Perfect and gesso on to Vilene. Will show it if it looks OK.

More pics from my classes and views from the exhibition tomorrow.

Sunday 9 March 2008

Chocks Away

Thanks to you all for the kind comments. Muriel - I look forward to seeing you on the island.

Thanks to 'thebench' who commented on my hellebore posting and told me about Heronswood ( They have some fantastic hellebores. Which state are they in - couldn't find an address.

I have one more piece to finish for the exhibition but it will have to be done next week now. I finished this piece yesterday - based partly on fossil fishes and partly on the design that I was given at the Beyond Stitch (local group) challenge.

This was the original.

Here's the piece.

I tried to show a detail but it kept crashing.

I am all packed for Jersey but the forcast is for terrible gales and it is only a small plane. Gulp. Glad I decided against the ferry. My first ever plane trip was on a tiny Micky Mouse plane to Amsterdam. The weather was awful and it was so bumpy. Clive said to me, 'You only start to worry when they stop serving drinks'. You guessed it, just at that moment there was a bing-bong and that was what they announced. We made it, though.

See you all in a week or so, unless I find a handy computer on the island.

Friday 7 March 2008

Triffid Seeds

Thanks so much for the encouraging messages about the new site (and about WoW). It's a bit of a problem putting the dates of talks up, Wendy. As Clive comes with me (we have a video projector and I like to pretend total ignorance about it) it would rather advertise the fact that no one is at home. So I only really announce the things I do on my own, like Jersey.

Glad you had a good potter about, Annabelle. Olga is amazing, isn't she and I love her work. She was kind enough to let me use two pics of hers in my Image to Stitch book, out in June (plug, plug).

I had a lovely day with Fimbria in Fareham yesterday. we were very experimental and they did some lovely things. Today, I've been packing for Jersey and the exhibition work is all but finished . Here is a close up of one of the pieces, Earth Series, Triffid Seeds. This was a piece that I started at the Birmingham K&S show and finished at Ally Pally. It got longer and longer and wrapped itself around people's legs. Clive called it Quatermass but he's older than me and I don't remember that, so I called it the Triffid. Lots of organza embellished with other fabrics. The seeds are made from Model Soft (papery stuff like Hearty).

It was great fun to do but I had to cut it in half as it really was much too long. Not brilliant photos as scrunchy organza and flash photos don't really work.

Monday 3 March 2008

Pics yesterday, pics tomorrow but no pics today.

A very quick blog as I am missing you all. Still a little frantic but I am ready for both classes and Jersey. A little bit of work to do for the exhibition, but if I can get to the hand-stitching part, it can be finished when I'm in Jersey next week. I have a few free days so it should work out. In the midst of the panic we have completely refurbished my web site and it now actually has some of my work and a CV on it. Just like a proper site. Have a look at
Let me know what you think

Chrissy - so sorry about your crash . We depend on computers so much that it is quite scary. I think that Aussie jo has good advice about the back ups. We have Workshop on the Web backed up all over the place.

Daniela - the mixed media label could be a good way to sell. Most of what we do is mixed media. This subject of arty versus crafty needs more space and time - let's come back to it when things are quieter.

Many thanks to everyone who liked the fossil work and left comments. You lot really do keep me going. Also thanks to all who sent emails about WoW - I agree that it is a real goodie this time - sometimes all the articles come in and the balance is really good. I've just received a super article for the next issue from Jean Littlejohn. Lovely stuff on design and the embellisher.

Artiknot - thanks for the nomination - how exciting. I will put on my thinking cap.

Must go now as Clive is threatening to cook the dinner and may need supervision!