Monday, 13 February 2017

Nearly Ready for the C4C Show!

As well as life in general happening including some more longer walks I have been getting a few bits ready for the Craft 4 Crafters show at Westpoint this week.
I put together this 8 x 11 inch piece called Opus Motif 1 inspired by, yes you guessed it, the Opus Anglicanum exhibition.
Background made on the embellisher, silk paper central motif and canvas and stitch frame with a 5 strand braid around the edge. I loved the Bishop's stocking and shoe and think I will at least be taking some more sketches from them. 
I also made some matchbox books to display with one of the articles recently done for Workshop on the Web by Lesley Patterson-Marx

Also to demonstrate what you can do with the embellisher I made this piece called Maelstrom this weekend. A pain to photograph as it's 1 metre by 20 cm and Blogsy wouldn't load it on its own so I had to tile it with a couple of close ups. 


All these will be on view at the show from Thursday to Saturday this week on Maggie Grey's stand 165. Would be nice to see some of you there! 

Friday, 20 January 2017

Dates for the Diary.

Today sees the opening of the Welcome 17 exhibition at the Shaftesbury Arts Centre gallery.  This exhibition has a piece or two from all the artists who will have shows at the gallery throughout the year.  I have sent up Relic, Jurassic.  Welcome 17 is on until the 4th February.


I will be there with Caroline Ireland (pastels) and Karren Burkett (painting) with our CAKE show from 15th to 28th March also I will be back there again with Karren but also Andrea Jenkins (painter) and Colleen Du Pon (blacksmith sculpture) 7th to 21st November. 

Before all that I will be at the Craft 4 Crafters Show, Westpoint Exeter with Maggie Grey so come and say hello if you're passing!  Dates are 16th to 18th February. 

Last Sunday we had a lovely morning at Salisbury Cathedral for the Christening of our grandson.  He looked lovely in his Daddy's christening gown and he was so good and seemed to enjoy himself.

I have been walking more with Ellie and Remi.  The longest one to date was up on Salisbury Plain with my friend Natalie and her two dogs Hobbes and Dimple.  
Dimple, Hobbes, Remi and Ellie

A total of 9.5 miles and I'm rather proud of myself as I did it with two rather sore toe nails.  They are both healing well now though so there will be more tromping over Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire very soon! 
Hobbes and Ellie

First I'm spending more time in the studio finishing off another wall quilt.  Of all my pieces at the Open Studios both Sunset and Moonrise were most often requested to buy, but they are not for sale so I have made this one in a similar style.  Not necessarily to sell but because people seem to like them.


Have a good weekend. 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Walk, Walk, Walk.....

Today I turfed out my hand dyed fabrics to see what I have left. Not a lot in reality.
The pile top right is for over dyeing. They either need pepping up or calming down, most of them are from my City & Guild days so a bit experimental. I'm sure they'll be back with the others before long once I've found all my white cottons and silks too. 

On Monday Ellie and I set off from the village at 8am for a walk. 


It was a beautiful, crisp start to the day and we had a lovely time but it did start getting greyer as the forecast had said it would. 

In this photo the faint hill in the very furthest distance, you can hardly see it in the middle there, is just about where we set out from. 


But 3 hours later and 7 miles further we made it to Badbury Rings. 

We walked down Ito the car park just as the heavens opened and John pulled up to take us home. It was the furthest I'd ever walked in one go! 

Tuesday I went to London to see the Opus Anglicum exhibition at the V&A.  My Southwest train took me to Clapham Junction and my ticket took me on to Victoria but the Southern Rail train part of the journey was on strike so I chose to walk it.  The map said 2.5 miles. My MapMyWalk said 3.4 by the time I had walked up the steps at the front entrance. 

The exhibition was really busy and it was hard to get close enough to a lot of the exhibits to see the minuscule stitching. It was still nice to see all the bits I had been looking at in my book over the past few weeks though. Silly thing that caught my eye was the huge size of some of the feet in the pictures! No photos allowed sadly.  After I had some lunch I wandered around a few of the other galleries for a couple of hours and then decided to walk over to Waterloo station as that would take me past quite a few of the sites of London starting with the Oratory and then Harrods which I haven't been to since the children were very small. Lots to see though and not just Buckingham Palace, Horseguards, St Stephens tower, now the Elizabeth Tower, and the Houses of Parliament but lots of really fancy fast cars going no where in the static traffic, dogs dressed up to the nines, street buskers, spray tans and piled on make up, suits of every colour and holiday makers wrapped up against the cold though I didn't think it was that chilly. Anyway that walk was 4.8 miles apparently so that, getting there and the walking around the museum totted up to just over 9 miles. I'm doing well!! 

Yesterday John and I did a bit of work on this little beauty. 
Only thing wrong with it was the paper didn't feed so we stripped the top carriage down, found a few missing parts in the works, gave it a damn good clean and it works really well now. It could do with some new feed rollers but we can do that another day. I'm over the moon with it. 

Tomorrow Ellie and I are off on another adventure but the snow is supposed to come. Nothing down here yet but it has been raining and now the sky is clear so it will be icy in the morning no doubt. I'm setting of early so I can go slow and steady. 

Red Sky in the Morning has a proper sleeve too now so that's finished and I've another piece on the go so if the weather does turn I've plenty to be getting on with. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Cosy in the Studio

Whilst coughing and spluttering I have managed some time in the studio where it's nice and warm.  At least this cold hasn't knocked me sideways into sleep recovery like the last one did when I lost two weeks! 

I put this quilt together.  It's 29 x 90 cms, or about 11 x 35 inches in old money. It needs blocking again to straighten it and I think I'm going to put a bit of stitch in the border too.  

Red Sky in the Morning
I've put some triangle corners on the back for hanging but I'm not too keen on them.  I usually have a standard sleeve which I split in two so it can be show hung on a batten as normal or on a single nail or pin in the middle like an ordinary painting.  These triangles don't give me the option of ever showing it under normal rules.  Won't be a long job to put the sleeve on though. 

I printed up some paper the other week with some shell stamps I carved from erasers. 


I've now used some of the paper in shell books.  This first one is Pectin Scallop Shells. 5.5cm or 2 inches across.

This is a very delicate and translucent pair of Saddle Shells. 10cm or 4 inches across.

Just right for writing seaside thoughts into. 

I went into Salisbury in the week to sort out some contact lenses, has to be easier to walk the dogs in the wet than in glasses!! It was really quite cold even in the city, - 4 when I left home out in the sticks, and I was really shocked at how many shops had thier doors open and these heat curtains blowing down instead. What exactly is wrong with having the door actually closed keeping the warmth in? Terrible for the environment let alone their bills.  Really daft.  

I'm off to change a hanging sleeve, have a great weekend! 


Sunday, 1 January 2017

Well Here We Are. 2017.

Happy New Year!!

I hope you've all have a good Christmas.  Ours was great but John did come down with the lurgy on Boxing Day.  He declared himself fit three days ago and I've been snivelling and sneezing since!

I made quite a few bits this year.  Olivia received a quilt.  Just a Jelly Roll Race but she can take it up into her playhouse and I or her mum won't be too precious about it.



Grandpups Remi and Polly also had their own quilts.

I made 2 more of these as part of a Secret Santa swap as well.  There have been moments of joy actually sourcing doggy themed fabrics in fat quarter bundles as they are so hard to come by!!

I crocheted Elsa a Margaret Button Cowl, pattern HERE, which was lovely to make and really comfortable to wear.

While I was at it I did a mini me one for Olivia.  I know this is my full size mannequin but it is small enough for a 3 year old.



I also knitted Elsa some mittens, again pattern HERE.  Nice and quick once you have reminded your brain to do Garter Stitch and not automatically go into Stocking Stitch as you have been knitting soooo many baby cardies in it!! I was pleased to hear that Gina Ferrari, whom I pinched the pattern from, also had a hiccup or two in that department!


I also restored this dolls house given to Elsa and Mike for Olivia.  It was in a bit of a state but came together nicely.  



A dog portrait I did for a friend was received and liked, always a relief.  The hardest thing with this one was that there were no decent photos to work from AT ALL!  We found one we liked the expression of but it was only a tiny snap of about 3 inches, any larger it pixelated.  I had to sort of make him up from several other photos too which is always a very dangerous thing to do when you're dealing with someone's beloved pet.  Up shot is, go and treat yourself to having some good photos taken if you're not very good at it yourself.  You won't regret it!!



Speaking of dogs, I had a lovely walk with Ellie and Willow on Wednesday at Hengistbury Head with 12 German Shorthaired Pointers, 2 Wirehaired Pointers, 2 Dachshunds, a Sighthound and Grandpup Polly the Rottie.  Here is a very brief moment of calm before Chris throws the ball again.

Today I started my 31 Days of Yoga with Adriene, thank you for the intro Jayne.  I did a 30 days back in the Autumn and loved it.  It's a good way to start the day stretching out from the night's sleep and finding that bit of focus and peace. If you want to join in the link is HERE.

Finally my word(s) for last year were Be Me and I think I managed to start that but it took most of the year to do it. I have finished the courses and won't be doing anymore of such intensity.  I don't need bits of paper to do what I love doing.  I have actually put my big girl pants on a couple of times and even managed to take myself off to Harrogate and will be going to London on my own later this month too.  I have also reminded myself that I do actually only do this creating for me, no one else, and that I don't have to put myself in such a panicky place thinking about all that is needed for things like the Open Studios.  If I don't feel I have enough to show then I don't have to enter.  That's fine.  It's not compulsory and there will be other things.  

This year I have chosen the word Determination. I can put myself forward if I want to.  I can do things I didn't think possible.  I can also lay things aside too, my decision.  I'm determined to not get het up about things, my views matter just like everyone's so I will state what I think rather than just let things build up inside.  I had 40 years of that.  I am lucky to have a wonderful husband who supports me in whatever it is I'm doing and is a very good sounding board too! 



I'm off the the studio to see what I can tinker with whilst trying not to sneeze over everything.  Have a peaceful day. 



Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Last of the Year

I picked up this little chest of drawers for £5 the other week.  It was in a bit of a state but you know how we all like little drawers!!! 

John cut the top off and replaced it with some oak and we added a plinth to the bottom. Because of some of the marks on it and the removal of the metalwork leaving unvarnished places I decided to ebonise it with some Black Polish.



I've lined the drawers with some soft bump and all my special, semi precious cabochons have finally found a nice new home. I'm rather pleased with it 

One thing I made for a friend for Christmas she has opened.  Only a little thing and it's a bit of an experimental piece.

Strangely while it was stitching out near the end it was still stitching but the needle stayed in the up position.  I'm not too sure if it's something wrong with my machine or the pattern as it seemed to happen in the same place each time.  In the new year when there is more time I will investigate further.  

And the sketchbook each day fell after day 9!!!!  No surprise there really.  Perhaps it's just the wrong time of year or I really am as useless as I know at using sketchbooks!!  I have this book...

...and I decided to randomly open it each day and take inspiration from the page.  Anyway, the efforts so far.  


I slash the pages down between the spirals so I can take the pages out to work on them and then slot them back in.  They are using all sorts of inks, pearl gels and pens I have around the studio that don't usually have much of an airing so that's a nice something to come out of it anyway.  Maybe I will pick it up again when I don't seem to be out of time!! 

It's that time of year to wish you all a Happy Christmas and creative New Year.  I seem to have a few interesting adventures ahead of me and I hope they turn out as well as they possibly could!! Keep creating!! 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Finished and a Trip

I finished the long piece. 100 x 30cm



It still hasn't a name but I'm working on it.  



Pleased with it over all and it will definitely be going in the exhibition in March.  


I finished the Drawing for Textiles course with Dionne Swift.  Wasn't too happy with this one.  I didn't find it inspiring and other things took priority.  Her Developing Sketchbooks one I did quite enjoy and found I came away with some things to take further.  Perhaps it was that the drawing was done very much in her scribbly style, one which I'm not a fan of, rather than pushing our own.  Still, you live and learn and if anything I can put it in the 'don't want to do that or that way again' box.  

Last weekend I took the train to Harrogate.  I managed a bit of a mooch around on the Saturday afternoon and met up with Hilary Beattie who had one of the galleries.  She soon raided some of my purchases. 

Unfortunately the fur was moulting everwhere and her black top was covered in it.  She was seeing what she would look like going grey like me.  

I finally saw the Hardhome Embroidery.  A great piece of colaborative work.


And the FoQ winner was there too done by Laura Kemshall.  Yes it's huge but other than that it's lots of programmed machine stitch on a printed photograph.  Not sure how I feel about it tbh. 

Anne Kelly was there with lots of her own work and several pieces done by others.  I really liked this piece by Leisa Rich called Mass Hysteria.

Also all the little insect pieces she had sent in including my glowworms which actually do glow in the dark. 

There really was lots and lots to see, I'm sure you've all seen or read about them after Ally Pally and Dublin too.  In between shopping on the Sunday I did stand sit with Hillary a fair bit too. 

We took it in turns and I think she quite enjoyed herself visiting others but she did manage to sneak a bit of playtime in, which she wasn't supposed to do in a gallery! If you know Hilary you know her joyous abandon when playing with her materials!! 

I've just read the latest Cloth, Paper, Scissors and seen the article by Robyn McClendon where she talks about her 360 days of collaging.  As you know I am pretty useless at these sketchbooks and there is no way I would be able to do 360 days worth!  However it is 1st December and if you remember last year I did the month of blogging challenge.  Well I thought I could just try to put something in my sketchbook for the 31 days of December.  It helped watching Hilary and seeing her books.  Yes I can do that!  Can't I?  I will let you know now and then!! 

Winter is finally here so keep warm and stay safe if you have it too! 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Again in Limbo, But It's Good!

Feeling much better this past week thank you for your comments.  Speaking of comments, I do reply to all of you when you leave them.  If you haven't heard from me it maybe that you are a no reply blogger and it's not coming through to you.  You have to adjust your settings for that.  If you have changed from Blogger to Google + at any point the default settings will have turned back to not letting people see your email address.  Easiest way to check is to go to an old post of yours on your own blog, post a comment and when you have the email come through hit reply and see what is in the email address box. If that doesn't work or you don't have a blog you will have to look up changing it on Google. I also have a couple of you who I am not receiving an email from when you post. Not sure who that is down to but I do try and catch up with you eventually!!! 

When I finished my City and Guilds in 2012 I remember the feeling that the rug had been pulled, or more like the crutch had been swiped away.  Suddenly Laura Kemshall wasn't at the end of the line or email giving out her wonderful words of wisdom, support and encouragement.  Now having finished these Embroiderers Guild courses I've had a similar feeling but instead of a plummet I've had a soaring feeling!  Freedom! That doesn't mean I've been making too much but I have had a bit of a clear out in some areas, there have even been some listings on eBay.  I have also taken back control of my time and diary which is most precious of all.  I've also cleared some other deadwood activities which I was feeling were unprofitable for me.  I am now in charge again rather than running madly behind trying to catch up.  A good place to be.

I'm still working on the long panel piece, not too much to do now.  It's going on a panel 100 x 30 cm so a good size. 

Lots of layering of stitches and they all have to have a cohesive feeling to bring it together.  repetition hopefully will help with that. 

I've now pinned it to a roller embroidery frame so I can see where I'm going and what I've done.  There are also a few bits of copper wire so I didn't want them crumpled and they also won't fit in a standard hoop or frame hence the pinning instead.  The red here is a drawing pin! 

A couple of weeks ago we went to Lewtrenchard Manor for a couple of nights. It's a very interesting place, full of character and history and I spent a lot of time just looking and taking photos on my phone.  Every ceiling was different.

Even the paneling in our room had lots to see.  Next time we go we're taking one of the dogs with us!  Lots of places to walk there and right on the edge on Dartmoor.  


I'm now actually trying to put some of these down into my sketchbook!  Yes, you may gasp, me using a sketchbook! But only as a source of keeping the information together, this worm hasn't turned just yet.  


We even popped up to Ilfracombe and saw Damien Hirst's Verity.  She may be tall but not as big as I thought she was going to be.  It was a bit of a grey day and the picture won't lighten but you can look her up if you want to see better.  


Next week if off to the Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate! Quite excited and my list it growing.  

Back to trying to finish the panel today.  My wrists and thumb joints are complaining mightily, it's gloves on for most of the day, but not too much more to do now.