Monday 28 September 2009

The Coincidence Debate

Hi Everyone

Many thanks for all the comments and for being so on-side. I have got over the need to rant now, but it did help. I found your answers very thought provoking - as always.

Doreen - I do think your comment was great and your experience, I'm afraid, is fairly typical. I have had people come on my courses and say 'I must write it all down so I can show the girls when I get back'.

Love stitching red (welcome to WoW, by the way) is right when she says it's unfair to those who subscribe. That's just what I feel.

Beverley and Wabbit's stories about their idea appearing elsewhere are very similar to mine - I'm sure that it makes us ahead of the game but it has taught me never to assume that copying is deliberate as it does happen. When I edited Embroidery magazine, I was often approached by people asking me to publish an article on their latest technique to 'prove' that they had thought of it first. I don't think your friend is correct about that Wabbit - sounds like the old copyright myth about copying trademarks (just change three things) that was dispelled in the courts.

So glad you enjoyed the talk Sue. Your branch is lovely and it makes a real difference, when giving a talk, to have such a responsive audience.

Ruth - yes, photos are another headache, aren't they? I do sympathise. It does make people more inclined to hide work at the development stage, I think.

Fibrenell - I think your experience is even worse than mine. How can people be so shameless?

Thanks for the support, AJ. It doesn't matter how many times you download if you are a subscriber and if anyone loses their passwords we are happy to re-send them.

I am so glad you are coming on my course in Italy, Amanda. Do let me know how your Jan and Jean one works out. I love the fact that we have transport there to go out and about for photographs and sketching. Also the small class numbers make using the digital images much more feasible, especially as both Clive and I will be working together on the printing aspects. I'm not teaching much next year so I'll make the most of the Puglia trip. If anyone else can make it, book soon as the places are going quickly, I believe. Details on this site The villa is owned, and the classes run, by the team behind the K&S shows so the commitment will be total.

I shall be playing with lots of ways of using photos and sketches - including my Aussie rock stuff technique, which is coming on well. The group I belong to, Wessex Textiles, is going to be at the Knitting & Stitching Show next year so I shall take walls as my theme. Lots of possibilities there.

Have also been finishing off my free workshops with the Stitches, Straps and Layers book, They begin on 19th October - see for details.


Saw Smudge yesterday and he sends his love. He will be back from his holidays in a couple of weeks as we shall have finished our travelling by then.

Such wonderful weather that I can't bear to pull up my summer planting. Here is the view from my kitchen window - showing flowers amid the mugs, and me taking the photo .....a watchbird, watching you!

Thursday 24 September 2009

Great Days and Grumbles

It's a lovely day and we're taking off for a National Trust outing. Going to Uppark, near Petersfield to celebrate Clive's birthday, followed by dinner this evening with Fiona, Phil and Sophie. The other gang, daughter Claire and the four kids are all laid low with various lurgy so Claire is going to push Clive's pressie through the letter box in case we catch it. I had a panic call from Claire yesterday, 'My car's broken down and I can't get to the school to pick Leo up - he's poorly'. Then there was a pause and she added, 'Take a bucket!'

Thanks for the comments:

Yes, Nancy - the classes are free for anyone who buys the book, wherever they get it. I've got carried away again and my three sessions are already turning to four. I've moved from beads to books and danglies. Exciting. Here's a pic.


Viv - welcome to the blogging world. As you know, I have always loved your work so following your blog will be a rare treat. I tried to leave a comment but it wouldn't let me so I'll try again later.

So glad you liked the Jae's book, Gilby -it's so great. Very flattering to be chosen as the publisher of such a high-calibre artist. I'm getting lots of excited emails about it. I like this publishing lark.

Thanks, Aussie Jo for getting cross on my behalf over Beryl's Metal, Paper, Stitch book. I am surprised that it got through the ISBN checks. I can't imagine that they did it on purpose though, as it's quite likely that people will think they have already got it. It is very difficult naming books and I always run prospective titles through Amazon, although that doesn't count the ones that are just about to launch. We must also take account of co-incidence when two similar books arrive. Books from mainsteam publishers take up to a year from the date they are handed in, so if it's a topical subject, a self-published book can leap in first, even if written later.

Coincidence can also happen in stitch. When I was doing my C&G I invented a new technique involving smocking and gold kid (well, it was innovative then). I based it on fungal studies and worked really hard on it. Blow me if an almost identical piece didn't appear in a new book just before the assessment.

So I always believe the best of folk when things like this happen. However there are some things that really do annoy me:

  • I try to be a generous tutor and never hold back information. I'm also very laid back about people teaching techniques I've written about or shown them. Once they're out there that's common knowledge. But sometimes tutors take an entire workshop, even copy handouts word for word and teach it themselves. I once had an entire summer school copied! Annoying.

  • The other rant I have is the number of people who give their friends the password for Workshop on the Web. We know from the logs that this happens and one day we will follow it up. It only costs a small amount to register but it costs us a lot of money to get really good tutors, solid web hosting and admin. For me it's not just about making money, but I would like to earn a little bit for all that work. We even had someone once who emailed her friend to say 'Thanks for sending this issue's password'. She hit the wrong button and sent it to us! Whoops!

Rant over - but I'd be interested to hear your stories of conincidence and rip offs.

Off for the outing.

Monday 21 September 2009

It's a Jae Day

Last week just got away from me. Meant to blog again but it didn’t happen. Highlights were.
  • An exhibition at Highcliffe Castle Dorset. I was invited by Yvonne Morton, who has work in the show. There are three other artists and I think it’s a great balance with painters and a super origami artist – loved her wall hangings.

  • Finally putting away all my teaching stuff and making the house look tidy.

    • Meeting Purple Mister in a garage in Bournemouth. No, not a secret assignation – see below for more details.

      Thanks for all the comments on the lovely metal pieces. I’ll pass them on to the Scottish girls.

      Sandra – loved the cat story. A cowboy cat, obviously.

      Mags, the IT rep - is that you Margaret R, wearing another hat. Love the blog.

      We’ll certainly be at Ally Pally, Penny. Stand number TGE6 (but that could change - they sometimes switch stands without telling you). I have some great stuff to display from the d4daisy books and will be demo-ing techniques, too. Come and find me and perhaps we can grab a coffee together. I must warn you though that we will have to join the long queue for the decent coffee. I am a coffee snob.

      Hi Gill – it worked.

      Sorry to hear about the op, Diana. You’ll be able to get a head start before you go in, and use the time for some planning.

      Glad you liked the metal and paper technique, Love2cre8. (Good name that). I do plan to include this technique as one of the free on-line lessons for those who have purchased the Stitches, Straps and Layers book.

    There will also be free lessons from Lynda and Carol, based on their Stitching the Textured Surface book. Here is a pic from one of their lessons.


    All lessons start on 19th October (details on the d4daisy site – see below) and will have a Yahoo group for all folk doing the d4daisy classes. Should be fun. Sorry if this sounds like an advert but I do love the fact that a book can be a starting point for us all to get together on-line. It is one of the things that I have always wanted to do, ever since I started writing books. Plus, of course, the fact that it makes a really good value package – so much more than just a book. Here is a piece from my metal and paper workshop.




    Talking of books I have an announcement. Ta-da.....Jae Maries book, Contrasting Elements, is launched today on the d4daisy site. Pics from the book below.


    It is such a super book and one that sent me scuttling into the workshop while I was editing it, to try her techniques. I can honestly say that it has changed many aspects of the way I handle contrast and I think my work is the better for it. There is so much more to contrast than just colour and Jae has lots of stitch and paper ideas for using this element to bring the piece alive. Do go to the site to see the new book and the details of the classes.

    Now I will reveal how I met up with Lynda Monk’s husband in a garage. He helped us to bring down Jae’s books from the printer in Essex, together with a goodly stock of all the other books. Thousands of them. I tried my best to help but, although the spirit was willing the arms soon gave out. Thanks to the Monk clan the books are all safe in the lock-up. I can’t tell you how good it feels to look at them all, tucked up in bed and I really can’t say how grateful we are to Ray and Lynda et al.

    Do look at the d4daisy site and get geared up for the classes.

    Monday 14 September 2009

    Och aye!

    This is going to be a visual blog - plenty pics, minimal chat!

    First your comments:

    Diana. Yes, there will be free on-line classes. With my Stitches, Straps and Layers book and also with Lynda and Carol's Stitching the Textured Surface. They will begin on Ocober 19th and there will be details about early next week on the d4daisy site ( I wanted to wait until after the Knitting and Stitching show as we sell a lot of books there and then we can all start together. There will be a communal Yahoo site for all the classes so that should be great fun. The long-awaited Jae Maries book Contrasting Elements will also be on sale from Monday.

    Heather - we had a cat who used to bully our dog. It would lie in wait under a bush when we came back from a walk and then stage an ambush.

    AJ (note abbreviation) Hope the cats make it to the Final.

    Yes, Pat. Bliss would be a great title.

    JP - it has been rather more hectic than I'd like but things quieten down after the Knitting & Stitching Show. I am burning to do some of my own work - especially on the Rock Art theme.

    Scotland was lovely. On Friday afternoon I did a seminar, which went really well and was followed by a talk in the evening. Great fun and a good turn out. Then the workshop on Saturday where they produced some stunning pieces - as you can see below. I worked everyone really hard and we tried lots of options for decorating metal. We made water soluble paper borders for the metal, which softens the lines, and I had made all the strips, ready for painting, beforehand as I knew they wouldn't dry - over and above the call of duty, but worth it.

    Aren't they wonderful - and that was just a few of the creations.

    On the way up, we went to Newcastle as I had discovered a long line of ancestors who were shipbuilders on the Wear. I went to the archive office and looked at old maps to see where the docks and yards were sited. The maps were amazing and we were allowed to take photos. I can feel a new project coming on - the illustrated Allison. Here are some pics from the 1700s maps.

    We went down to the river to see where the shipyards used to be and found that what was once like this:

    ... was now:

    or university buildings.

    There was a sculpture remembering the past - rather good, we thought.

    Back soon - off to do a talk in Newbury tonight.

    Saturday 5 September 2009

    Cool Cats

    Wasn't going to blog today - mad panic setting in about getting to Scotland. Not the work - that's all under control, now all I have to do is chip a room out of the chaos so that the cat sitter has somewhere to lay her head. I'm sure I've got a spare room somewhere!

    I just had to tell you this catty story - yet another visit to the vet, this time for Cat Stevens to have a check up. She's still on borrowed time but the vet was pleased with her. Anyway, when we came out I sat down to wait for the bill, Stevens at my feet in the carrier, shouting her head off. A lady came and sat next to me with a large black cat, also howling. We got chatting and I asked her cat's name - somewhat apologetically she said it was called Hendrix. We had such a laugh about Cat Stevens and Jimmy Hendrix doing duets and having a jam session at the vets!


    Stevens was quite worn out by the excitement and has been doing her dormouse impression ever since.

    Maybird - wish we could have met up. I missed the Dingleys - don't think my heart was in it this year - too cold.

    Looking forward to seeing the piece Doreen.

    Likewise Aussie Jo - hope it works for you. We do send reminders but they sometimes fall into spam traps. Ask Fiona about the password
    She'll soon sort it out

    Wednesday 2 September 2009

    WoW Rocks and so do my Oz Pics

    I could get inspired by the coat too, Joy. I fancy one made from ‘patches’ – little papery pieces with delicate decoration and messages. I’m into lettering at the moment and want to explore it more – could be the next book, but not for a year or so. With the 'd4daisy' hat on, I can say that we have Jae Maries' book at the printers so that will be available in a couple of weeks.

    The stove is super Wendy and is still a big novelty. We can’t resist the urge to light it on a grey day but it’s not very eco-friendly when you have to open the patio door as well, to let the heat out. We are resolved to wait for really cold weather for the next lighting.

    I wish you weren’t going too, Christine. It’s always so good to meet fellow bloggers.

    Heather – it would have been lovely to say Hello. Thank you for your thank you! Glad you are enjoying Workshop on the Web. (For a free taster go to

    I thought it was a good, well-balanced issue. That’s not always easy to achieve as the Grand Plan sometimes goes awry. I loved Jackie Langfeld’s vessels.


    Carol Mcfee’s surfaces are amazing – their book is galloping off the shelves and

    I’m so pleased for them.
    I am working on my rockart pics from Oz. This panel is stitched and ready for joining
    This has yet to be stitched but I love the colours.
    A group of figures which need more stitch for definition. Then it will all be joined somehow. To be decided!