Monday 23 January 2012

The Winners and Materials (Various)

I feel that this blog should have an index as it seems to be composed of fairly random topics. But they mostly seem to fit in the materials category, so bear with me.

First of all the lucky winners of the book give-away.

Erin Fish
Ann Swanwick
Gill Watson
Ann Sparkes
Pamela Wardell
Maureen Thompson
Emma Siedle-Collins
Anna Nowicki
Chris Angiel
Sylviane Caradec
Margaret Vincent
Christine Young

You should all be hearing from Fiona shortly. Thank you so much to all those who added messages about how much you enjoy the d4d books and Workshop on the Web. You can't imagine how encouraged I feel when I read those - especially when it has been a bad day!

We've just put up the second instalment of Lynda Monk's free classes for buyers of her Fabulous Surfaces book. The first one was based on tissue and rust and the current one shows a lovely folded book with step by step instructions. I must say that I'd never thought of rusting tissue but it works well. My biggest adventure with tissue was this embellished piece - here is a detail.

It was made from felt, Bondawebbed and lightly foiled with painted abaca tissue applied with the embellisher. If you work from the back, the felt is pushed through the tissue. Here's a closer detail.

When complete, the top surface is given a coat of acrylic wax. Then I zapped it with a heat gun and painted parts with acrylic paint - that is the cracked, distresed bit.
It became much more distressed when Smudge took an interest. See below.
I tell people who don't have an embellisher machine to get a cat (or a personal rodent operative as the Sunday paper called it).

Talking of the embellisher, I love the way that the velvet ribbons from Mulberry Silks behave when used with the embellisher


Patricia was having a delay with her ribbon supplier recently. When I ordered more, she sent me this heavenly silk velvet (below) on a CYO (cut your own) basis. Made me smile. She is so good with her colours and her silk thread packs are so hard to disturb that Jean Littlejohn used to offer counselling to those who couldn't bear to open them. I based a whole piece of work on the colours in one of her packs. She has a sale at the moment so I have been stocking up.


Had a giggle last night - found myself watching a rerun of Day of the Triffids while making these plant based forms for a vessel I'm working on.

Not too sure now about those tentacles!

Back soon. Have to get on with dissolvable book this week.

Monday 16 January 2012

Urchfont, WoW and I wish I was Hockney

Sorry about all the gaps - it's not me it blodspot. I've had so many emails about the give-away and would like to say thank you for all the kind words you've said about me and about how much you enjoy Workshop on the Web. I'm really touched. When we started WoW, I thought of it as being a continuation of the distance learning classes I was doing at the time - was expecting a few hundred people at most. Within a month we had thousands and were in a state of total panic so it was just as well that we got Fiona on board quickly to sort out the admin for us. Many wowies, I know, have been with us from the start, such loyalty. For our part we try to keep the costs low and £15.50 for around 30 workshops a year is good value, I think.

Talking of WoW, we have put my interview with Jim from Urchfont College on the free taster So much for all his talk about Wiltshire Council putting into practice Cameron's Big Society'!! Do email (thanks Kaffie) to register your objection to its closing. They have my interview on their website so perhaps that could be mentioned.

Have you seen the fabulous stuff that Hockney has done on the ipad. I felt inspired to have a bash on my Galaxy Tab - not that I can come anywhere near a Hockney but I do think he has underlined the point that computer design is not cheating but is a perfectly valid art form. This was my starting point - a photo of me, sitting on the sofa. I took it by accident when I was pressing all the buttons on the tablet. It is such an awful photo that I'm not showing the original so here it is in negative. I used three apps for the following sequence and they were all free in Android marketplace. Most of them did negatives but here I used the Photo Editor program.

Then I used a line drawing app which goes by the catchy name of C4LAa. It is very adaptable in the size and number of lines - just as good as a 'proper' image editor.

Filling the colour back in and adding some extra lines gave these images.


Then back to Photo Editor for some colour swaps.

Finally to an app called Picasso for some of my own drawing - painting over the lines with low opacity colours.

Not very flattering but good fun.

Finally, I am humbled and horrified by love2cre8's minus 28. I loved my visit to Calgary but I'm glad I'm not there now.

Friday 13 January 2012

A Link, a Stitch and a Bad Cat

Thought I’d give you the link for the Flickr group, ready for tomorrow. Here it is – do hope you will all use it as it’s great to see what others are doing.

I have been working on the vessel I showed you a couple of blogs ago. The ‘flowers’ are stitched on water soluble, using a circular stitch.

It’s interesting that people now seem to call any similar stitch granite stitch. Val Campbell-Harding was very ferocious about her version of granite stitch which had to be the tiniest of circles, hardly visible to the naked eye. I was always in trouble for my too big circles. Anyone else remember Val’s machine embroidery classes at Urchfont college. So sad that Urchfont seems bound to close this year.

Anyway, back to the circular stitch, which I call bubble stitch. I love it and many of my drawings use similar shapes for texture


It’s freezing here, minus 3 this morning – cold weather at last. When I looked out, all the pigeons in the big tree looked huge as they were so fluffed up against the cold. Then I looked at Smudge, also huge and fluffy. He looks so funny – so much fur makes his legs look stumpy

He is in big trouble as he spent yesterday helping Clive make a new garden – very much a work in progress. We discovered that the horrible hedge at the bottom of the garden was taking up six feet of space so it’s gone and now we are landscaping and trying to cover the new fence.

Smudge was obviously carrying on the work. He came in late last night with so much mud on his legs that he looked as though he was wearing wellington boots. Needless to say much of it was on the new pale carpet before we caught him. Sigh.


So glad that my messy workroom made you all look good! It is now much better and I am working hard. I do agree about it being hard to find things when you tidy up. I like designlouise’s comments. I think my best solutioin wa in the last house where I had a smaller workroom but an absolutely enormous wall to wall cupboard in another room. I then went along with my basket every time a new project was to begin, just like at the supermarket. In this smaller home I have to keep it all in situ.

Emma – just visited your blog. It is a treasure trove and I’m so glad you have agreed to do a WoW article. Can’t wait.

Hope you scanned in your photos Sheila – Displacement maps?

Robin – I expect you found the requirements on the last blog.

Hi bois-fleurie, good to meet you.

Heather – I must find that utube clip. Love the H chorus, great to sing. Clive loves oratorio and once sent Fiona to buy him Bach’s St Matthew Passion for a birthday. The guy in the shop said ‘They a new group, then’!

Jane, interested in your flash mob – it is such a good idea. Can’t wait to try it. We are doing lots of African chants at the moment so we’ll probably have to come up with choreography as well. It’s impossible to keep still singing those.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Requirements for Lynda Monk's course

Wow! What a response to our book giveaway. We've increased the number of books to twelve to give more of you a chance. Still time to try your luck - see my last blog.

I promised that I'd put the list of things needed up on the blog before the class. I imagine you will have most of them. I've never tried rusting paper but I shall join in and have a go. Looking forward to it. Do join the Flickr group - the details will be on the d4d site on Saturday morning.

We go singing on Saturdays so I shall be joining a little later but I will make sure all is up and running before I go and will pop in to Flickr as soon as we return. I do love our singing class - it is called Local Vocals, such a great name. We sing four part harmony without any instruments and our teacher is amazing - she sings our parts and we sing it back to her. We are all in touch with our inner parrots and it is surprisingly good for one's soul, as you have to concentrate so hard that all worries vanish. In the spring we are going to do Guerrila singing - works on the flash mob principle - a text message and all who can, will turn up at a shopping centre, sing and run away before we're moved on! With my voice, I think I need to run away!

Anyway here are the requirements. I'll answer comments in the next blog, there were some lovely ones.

Here is the list of materials for the first lesson.

Different types of tissue paper as described in the book
Fusible webbing
Steel wires, steel wool, anything that will rust
Water-based media for colouring
Acrylic wax or PVA
Transfer foil
Walnut ink

More news soon.

Monday 9 January 2012

Book Give-away

We've been busy setting up the site for the free clases with Fabulous Surfaces. I'm quite taken with Flickr and can see that it will become another obsession - when I've got time.

We are doing a book give-away, either a choice of d4daisy books or one of Dale Rollerson's Sari Ribbon books, which she has kindly donated - your choice.

You've got to work for this one, though. On the d4daisy home page you will find a pdf download of a useful glossary. What is the first item described? Email me on - don't comment here or everyone will know the secret! Clue - it is something that Lynda Monk uses in her book. Closing date January 23.

I have instructed Clive to lock me in my workroom this week to finish my book on Dissolvables. Luckily I smuggled this laptop in so I could write my blog, possibly spend my itunes voucher and generally engage in displacement activities.

First I have to turn this chaos into a space where I can work.



Glad you all liked Ted, but Diane is quite right - I really suffered with my poor thumb and haven't been able to finish him. I had decided not to have the thumb operation yet but it has been so bad lately that I'm re-thinking it. I know someone who is having the same operation next month so I might wait and see how she gets on. I am booked in for the end of March - after the next book publication.

Interesting about people making a living by selling work. I agree with Diane about having to teach - I'd encourage anyone to write articles as well, if you can write and produce good work you will be much in demand.

Thursday 5 January 2012

Happy New Ted

Firstly, a Happy New Year to you all. May it be good and stitchy.

We had our first 2012 meeting of the Beyond Stitch group and decided to do something just for fun so Jane W led us in a feltmaking class. We were making animals, using the single needle technique and it was great. I’ve only got a Ted Head so far, but I love him.

My granddaughter knitted teddy heads to sell for a school charity project. She made them as bag charms and called them ‘Shrunken Teds’!

Betty made a Persian cat, with flat face and all the shading in the ears. Not a good pic but you get the idea.

I have been to Eastleigh College to talk to Sue Chapman’s graduate class about making a living out of textiles. It was supposed to be based on setting up a business, and we did that as well but I think most people start by teaching, selling work etc. I posted about it on Facebook and the general consensus was that it is very hard and selling alone is not enough. I think I agree with that. Even if you are top flight and get taken up by a gallery, they take a huge commission so I can’t see how it works.

Excitement! The Lynda Monk free classes begin on 14th January and they are great. The first one has exciting ideas for rusting. I have never even thought of rusting tissue paper. What a clever girl she is. There are three classes and each one will be followed a week later by a project made using the technique. We will have a Flickr group (ta Wabbit) to chat and show photos. More details later so make sure you go to and get the book.

This is my first free day to go to the sales so I’m now dashing off to see if there is anything left.