Sunday 31 August 2008

Displaced Translation

This is the second time I have written this blog. I had spent over an hour working on it, saving as I went and when I published it just disappeared. Couldn't get it back through edit, either. GRRRR. So excuse me if I don't answer all the comments and please believe me - I did do it last time.

Thanks for all the positive comments about the on-line classes to extend the book. I think it is a great idea and that we will have loads of fun.

I have been editing the Julia book and it is wonderful. Lots of helpful practical stuff as well as Julia's work. Mouth watering. I'm not going to Harrogate, Julie but I expect that the traders will have the book. I'm sure that Art Van Go will have it.

I've been working on the last piece - quite a large one. It is based on this Displacement map which you may remember.

I changed the colours as I am on a blue/grey kick at the moment. Went to PSP Adjust menu and then Hue and Saturation. Like this.

Then I flipped the design as it read better with the heavier part on the left.

Having madea simplified paper pattern I cut it out in four parts from Craft Vilene.

Then the motifs were added - made from cast paper and Model Soft (Hearty Clay) in the shapes of fossils and leaves. I stitched a fossil fish. These were all applied to the Vilene and bedded in with gesso. At this stage I had an assistant. Took ages getting it off his paws.

It looks very splodgy at this stage as the gesso shrugs off the page. The book will have lots of ideas for getting around this.

Finally I applied more paint and then used Liming wax to blend it and bring out the detail. This gives a grey/white effect but allows the bright colours to show through.

Jane Wild and I used this a lot in our Paper and Beyond CDROM. It is great fun and smells lovely.

This technique will be featured in one of the workshops to make a vessel. I'm really excited about the results.

Must go now and meet Michael Wicks somewhere on the A303. Back soon.

Saturday 23 August 2008

Exciting News and an Idea

I have been longing to share some exciting news with you - Michael Wicks and I are going to put together a book for Julia Caprara. It is to be called Exploring Colour and anyone who knows Julia's work will know how fantastic her colour sense is. The format is great, too, as there will be 'Colour School' workshop sessions after each topic covered. These suggest practical assignments to put into practice the ideas that have been discussed. I feel very honoured to be part of this and the photos are just fantastic. Here is a piece of Julia's work.

My book is progressing well and we hope to have both books ready for Ally Pally. I've just finished this triptych piece and it has gone to Michael's for the photos.

I have had such a good idea for my book. Do hope you all think it is, too. I keep getting asked to do on-line classes but haven't had the time recently. Then I thought - why don't I expand some of the ideas from this new book - the mixed media one? Everyone who buys the book will get a password for the free classes, which will take some of the book ideas a lot further. What do you think? I am having such fun with gesso, kozo and grungeboard that I can go on for ever. Well, not quite that, perhaps, but a lot further. Maybe we'll have a Yahoo group as well.

Michael is also doing a woodworkers. book with my WWSIL (wood working son in law) so, as you can imagine, he's rather busy just now. I don't know how he keeps his good-humour. Clive has also been overloaded as he has had to set up a web-site in double-quick time due to the fact that the WWSIL is demonstrating his skills at a show at Westonbirt and needed some flyers for his book. It is fairly basic at the moment but we all have loads of plans for the future. Find it on

We are going to see WWSIL at the show tomorrow with Fiona and Sophie. It will be fascinating to compare it with our stitchy shows and I love Westonbirt arboratum. Hope the weather holds.

Smdge went outside properly for the first time yesterday and lost another of his nine lives when he got stung by a wasp on his paw. He was only playing with it but it took exception. Thank goodness he didn't try to eat it - as it was, the swelling soon went down. Clive says he is now in negative figures with his lives. Last week he got out of a bedroom window on to a high ledge that runs the width of our house and had to be rescued by the man next door, up a ladder, as Clive was in the bath!

I bought him a collar with an identity tag and forgot he was a boy (we have always had lady cats). So he is in the pink and looking rather effeminate, I'm afraid. Good news is that he is not being so nasty to Stevens. She has really told him off and has been demonstrating her parsel tongue (read your Harry Potter) abilities. She has raised the art of hissing to Olympic standards.

Clive may have escaped the ladder work for Smudge but he was in full climbing mode when I lost a little precious piece when it blew out of my workroom window yesterday.

It was a wispy piece of Tyvek, like this one, so I don't think he had a hope of finding it. It didn't take long to make but it was just the perfect shape to go on this little book cover with grungeboard hinges. Isn't it annoying when things like that happen.

One of the joys of WoW and Quiltwow is that I sometimes get exciting parcels of work to photograph. This detail from a wallhanging by Katharine Guerrier shows just how scrumptious the article will be. We decided to put it in September, which is a particularly good issue. We did well at the show so I think all the new subscribers will be happy.

Sorry, rather late answering comments, got a bit carried away.

Thanks for the cake, Gina - I really enjoyed it but will have to work extra hard on the wii-fit now.

T'other Maggie - Smudge has to be removed for health and safety reasons when I use the sewing machine as he chases the needle (that was another life nearly lost).

Jude - so envy you seeing the Klimt. Can't see any way we'll get to it. Boo-hoo.

Judy - InkAid - I can't complain. Both Ario and AVG are very good to me.

Gilby - so glad you enjoyed the talk. I've never given one there before but I shall certainly do it again. The techies were great. Like the sound of that sweetie wrapper. I like InkAid just painted on fabric - going to try using drawing ink on it next.

Wednesday 20 August 2008

Festival of Quilts

Taking work to Michael for a photoshoot only two days after the show might explain why I haven’t got back to blogging as quickly as I would have liked. But here I am and I promise to get back into my normal posting rhythm very soon. I have missed you all.

The Festival of Quilts was really wonderful and the best part was meeting so many bloggers. Too many to mention, but it was great to see Margaret R, the other Maggie, Jude and Gina, Francoise and so many more. Guzzisue gave me a lovely ATC - here it is.

We had a very good show - so many visitors and lots of kind words about the book. I was demo-ing InkAid and found so many exciting things to do with it. There were some heart stopping moments as I tried to put exceedingly unsuitable stuff through the printer (yes, I took a printer!) Both Art Van Go and Ario ran out of InkAid. I should have been on commission. Here is black fabric painted with white matte InkAid and printed. More on this later in the week.

It was good to welcome the European quilters and surprising to see so many folk from the USA. They all said it was better than Houston but I think they were just being kind. It is true that the FoQ really has grown into a superb show and continues to get better. One delightful surprise was meeting Gloria Hansen, the American expert on all things digital. She did us a wonderful article for Quiltwow. She was over just for the show and was raving about it. Here’s a pic.

Laura and Linda Kemshall were doing a fascinating project - quilting their family tree. They were working on it all through the four days and it was wonderful to see it grow. The finished pieces were being pinned on the wall - as you can see here.

Another really interesting project was the joint exhibition of Sue Chapman and Terrie Hitchcock. This was a ‘quilter meets embroiderer’ theme based on figures. I loved all the work but I’m only going to show this one piece by Terrie as I am going to do a big interview with them for December WoW.

I have some exciting news for my next post but must go now as I can hear Clive telling Smudge off. Better go and see what damage he's done.

Sunday 10 August 2008

The Sunday Before

Another crazy week, getting ready for the Festival of Quilts. Complicated this time by the fact that I am teaching an academy session and we are also doing a talk. Teaching is not easy, as I want to paint and stitch but there isn't room to do both, so I've had to do all the painting first. Hope everyone is into walnut ink! We are working on frescos and fragments so a pale parchment colour should be good. Here's a quick sample with a 'grungeboard' top border. Not sure if I can get this material to use at the show. I do like it. More on the FoQ later.

It has also been the big renewal time for Workshop on the Web. I don't put 'Aren't we wonderful' letters in the mag unless they have other relevance, but I do so appreciate the comments that you make about how much you enjoy WoW. On a busy day, they really give us a lift so thank you so much. Poor Fiona has been working like a trojan - doing the renewals and getting all our printed matter ready for the show. All in the school holidays, too.

Comments on comments

Smudge is a ragdoll cat, Jackie. I'm not too sure what this means as far as breeding is concerned but they are supposed to be very docile and lay in your arms like a doll. Unfortunately Smudge hasn't read the manual. He is a pale cream now but will develop a pattern over the next couple of years.

Jacqui - I used to edit that magazine. Jo does a great job with it and I still get it. I have loads of back numbers and don't know what I'll do with them when (if) we move. Perhaps the Guild will take them.

Ibbygee - I'll certainly carry on and will hopefully find more possibilities while demo-ing at the show. I an going to concentrate mainly on transfer methods but I expect a bit of design will creep in. I'm going to take a printer instead of a sewing machine, so that will be a change.

Yes, Elli, we used to love doing those courses but the venue closed and evrywhere else wanted too much money to hire a computer suite. They were good courses and we used to do messy stuff too, using the printouts.

Artisue - just been reading about your Amazon purchase. I have had some silver clay for ages. Must try it - does it go off?

Maggi - your seven year old plant eater fills me with dread. Smudge was going to stay with Fiona, who has his sister, while we were away, but trial day yesterday was not a success. He terrorised his little sister so he will go to my other daughter who bred him - and therefore deserves to suffer!

I love your 'At the Lake' quilt, Twila. I'll have to get you to write a workshop for Quiltwow. Contact me on if you are interested.

I have some lovely stuff to display on the stand. Recent Quiltwow pieces include this one (Bursting Rainbow) from Jane Coombes. Wonderful colours.

It was designed using Electric Quilt which I used to play with years ago. I love the intricate look of the piecing.

And the machining is so accurate.

Here is Springtime Stitching by Olga Norris - I'm sure you all know her blog - She poses such interesting questions and is an ace reviewer. I count myself very lucky to have her in my book and she did a great article for Quiltwow.

Plus a detail of the hand stitching.

We will also have work by Jill Packer, Angela Bentley and Yvonne Brown - the latter two are great Workshop on the Web favourites. So come and say hello on stand L29 (if they don't change it at the last minute). I love it when people come up and tell me their blog name. It sound as though we are a secret society - Spooky Stitchers, perhaps? Back blogging after the show when I hope to get back to more frequent posting.

Sunday 3 August 2008

Froth and Feathers

A long gap, but a quick week - mostly filled with house selling stuff. We have only got to check the printed details and then hope for visitors. It's such a funny market that we are trying to resign ourselves to a long time with not much happening, although houses are selling around here. We're not going to look at anything else in case we get too excited. All the people who came to measure and check our energy efficiency etc. have been assisted by a small energetic cat and they have been very good about it. Some of them wanted to take him home and, after this episode with a feathery kitten toy, we nearly let them.

It was in the cat section at the supermarket and Clive told me it would be a mistake. He was right. Here is the demonic feather boa destroyer. I deliberately left off the red eye reducer on the camera. He has such big pupils that the reflections are truly scary.

Smudge is getting much bigger and his stripey markings are beginning to show. Meanwhile his Auntie is very po-faced about his antics.

Isn't she looking well? All on kitten-food.

Back to your comments:

Lovely to see Ellie blogging. Welcome - I shall keep an eye on your blog. I'm still planning a trip to your holiday cottage one day - the details are still pinned up on my wall.

Wabbit - you can always buy it from us through the secure site. Due to the reprint copies are becoming harder to get. I'm glad I bankrupted myself buying my stock for the Festival of Quilts early on.

Hey, Maggik1. Welcome to you, too. Your blog is looking good. It's very addictive, isn't it? I'm sure the Chester course will be great and will look forward to keeping tabs on you to see what you do.

Guzzisue and W in R - glad the hardware arrived. Tell me how you get on with it. Hadn't seen the Barcardi bat. Perhaps I should try again having had a couple of glasses. I fear that asI get older my bad habits are giving me up. I can only manage two glasses of wine, on an occasional basis, these days.

Judy - so glad you are enjoying the book. I have had such lovely comments and emails and some brilliant press reviews. I've been trying to persuade Batsford for years to let me do a book on computer design and only got this one through by saying it was about digital cameras!

Jane C: good that you got the btinternet thing sorted. We have been having a conversation with them that is based on the old song - There's a hole in my bucket! We keep asking them how to tell our subscribers about the problem. They say - just email and tell them. We say - you've blocked all our emails from their inbox. They say - tell them ...... So it goes on. Can't tell you how much time we've wasted!

Penny: so glad you like it. It didn't photo well as there was so much dense stitching. Better that than the other way round.

I am getting on with the book and just have two big pieces to make. I made some books yesterday based on Translucent Liquid Sculpey used in all kind of weird ways. This one needs more stitching.

This is a design from one of my drawings from the Earth from the Air book. I put it through a displacement map filter using one of their built-in maps.

I've cut the basic shape out of craft Vilene and now need to build the surface up with gesso, scrim and stitch. I'll keep you posted.