Thursday, 5 July 2018

Cosmic is Finished!

My Cosmic blanket is finally finished after blocking.

It was a Helen Shrimpton crochet-a-long over 9 weeks.

I’ve worked out that I crocheted it just about every evening for about 3 hours at a time.

It must come out at about 190 hours work.

As well as the usual crochet stitches there’s also ruffle, bead, puff, long, star and crab stitches, treble and front post clusters, popcorn, picot trebles, crossed doubles and the cosmic stars too.

The colour way is Peace and Tranquility and the yarn is Stylecraft Life 75% acrylic 25% wool and Stylecraft Batik with 20% wool and it's 64 x 55 inches.

Cosmic is now on eBay being auctioned for GSP Rescue Trust HERE.

As for daytime creativity I've been letting the brain simmer on a few things whilst working on a pulpit fall for the church we had our Art Weeks in.

The church has very little ornamentation but has lovely shaped window reveals, around the outside of the fall, and a simple wooden cross on the altar. I've laid that over a background of the gentle hills around us and the cross is in the stream which runs through the middle of our valley.

As well as a thank you for letting us use the church I was also, as a textile artist a little sad at the lack of stitch work in our church and what was there was in terrible condition. I may not use the church for worship but it's still a part of where I live. The green velvet has photographed very dark. I hope they like it!

Saturday, 23 June 2018


About 5 years ago I bought a Cyanotype kit.  Between no time, losing it and the weather I had never actually managed to use it.  Until now. 

My first use, despite watching several YouTube videos, I still managed to do it all wrong.  I mixed up the chemicals and painted the mixed media paper with it and then laid on the plant material whilst it was still wet.  

Of course it went strange colours and steamed up under the perspex.  I still went through the motions though. 
I washed it off after several minutes.  You can see where the perspex touched the wet liquid on the paper and made a nasty mark.  

The keys were ok though as they didn't need weighing down. 

After re reading up on what I was supposed to do properly I prepared some new paper which I'd cut down to the size I wanted to use.  I am lucky in that one of my spare bedrooms has a blackout blind for the grandchildren and it's really dark when it's pulled.  I sat in there with a small side light on and painted the paper, some very carefully leaving a border around the edge. 

I left them overnight in the dark room to dry.  I also put some plant material under the weight of books overnight too.  They don't have to be dried but I thought if they were flat it would help especially as I was doing such small pieces. 

Today I laid the plant material onto the papers on my art boards and laid the perspex sheet over the top. 

I put them outside in the direct sun for a few minutes and watched as they changed colour to a greeny blue.  

I had also used up the last of the chemical on a piece of white cotton and used that too. 

When I thought they had finished developing I took them inside and washed them under the tap for several minutes to wash out the last of the yellow that was still under the plants before it too changed. 

I was really quite pleased with the results.

Including the papers without the borders.

Now which do I prefer???? 

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Did I tell You About My Moth Trap???

Well the Art Weeks is over for another 2 years and everything is disorganised all over the place in the house.  I will try and sort it out over the next few days.  I also need to sort the notes and thoughts I made whilst sitting in the church unable to get to my studio!  Of course the little spare time I've had so far to go in there I sit and find all the thoughts have disappeared!  Good job, I hope, I made notes!  I'm sure I'm not the only one who's brain goes into overdrive when you don't have the ability to carry things out and then blank the minute you can. 

I did have a group of GCSE students from a local school textile group come and visit which was interesting.  

One of my book sleeves inspired the church committee to ask if I could make them a Prayer Request book for the church, which of course I did, and it's already in use.

After three weekends, and the weeks between, away from home I spent a fourth weekend in the local garden centre exhibiting as part of a group for the village of Cranborne Open Gardens.  Just a glutton for punishment!  We are now at mid Summer and I feel I've hardly been at home at all this year.  I'm now staying as put as possible for a while. 

I told you about the moth trap they put out while I was staying at Kingcombe and the amazing moths that were caught.  John knows I have always wanted a trap of my own and he went and bought me one for my birthday!  

Early I know but it's National Moth Week next month and he wanted us to be ready.  We've had it out two nights so far. It's like a sunrise all night long it's so bright. This was the first night.  I did warn the neighbours!! 

The second time we put it at the top of the garden behind the trains as it has a really long lead.  You could still probably see it from space.  On reading up it's preferable to leave a few nights between each setting out to allow the moths to feed.  You're also less likely to keep catching the same ones then too.  Also the release is quite important and they really are a bit daylight dopey and then of course a good meal for the birds!  We have been releasing where there are plenty of hiding places and hanging around to keep the birds away.  Good job we have a huge garden! I'd feel so guilty if they were just an easy breakfast, birds are very sly like that apparently.  

Anyway, I will leave you with some photos of our star moths.  There were dozens of different ones, (we seem to have thousands in the UK!!!) and now I have time, and some bug pots, I will start to keep a log of what we find.  

Privet Hawkmoth

Elephant Hawkmoth

Small Elephant Hawkmoth

Poplar Hawkmoth


White Wave

Burnished Bronze

Blood Vein
Plenty more we saw and I haven't logged but we're doing well so far, especially in the Hawkmoth department!!

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Dorset Art Weeks is Well Under Way

DAW opened on Saturday 26th and for Karren Burkett and I it is at my village Church.

The Church Warden is so pleased to have the space used he even grabbed some of Karren's paintings and put them up in the chancel.

We worked out our working area quite quickly.  Sitting doing nothing for 16 days is not an option!

But the table

And display boards

All look pretty good and we're having some lovely comments in the books. 

I've had to gird my loins and say good buy to quite a few favourites including

Rock of Ages and Relic Jurassic

New Moon

and And the Sun Shall Rise

As well and lots of bags, book covers and the cards.

It's what it's all about after all!

Monday, 21 May 2018

Kingcombe and DAW

After coming home from Devon I had a few days to gather my things together for a residential course with Lynda Monk at the Kingcombe Centre. I've never been there before and was really impressed with the barn for teaching and the standard of catering.  The bedroom was ok, at least most are en suite, but my bed was a bit hard for me.  It was all far too exciting to sleep much anyway! 

Lynda showed us her techniques for making fabrics with Tyvek and Lutrador.

As you can see I had a huge pile of good sized samples to bring home by the time we had finished.  We did use some of them up whilst there too.  We also experimented with textured surfaces and paint effects. 

I'm almost finished with the tall vessel.  I've painted it fairly lichenish but need to add a few extra bits.  The bowl was a clever effect and several people have asked if it's metal.  It's not but you'll have to go on a course with Lynda to find out what!!!!  We also made a stitched book, which I had to help several people with but then I do make a lot of stitched books, and a Grandma's Boasting Book which is origami folded pockets.  

I'm now making some of the fabrics into other things including these screw spine sketchbooks. 

She is a full paced, non stop tutor and I've heard rumours that people refuse to go on a second course with her as they can't keep up!  I loved it!!! We were allowed in the workshop anytime so a lot of us started around 7am and often finished after 9pm.  The superb food was copious, fresh and very delicious with continuous tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits.  Good job there were lots of walking paths around the estate! 

On one night the wardens put out the moth trap for us, something I've always wanted as I love moths.  We had quite a collection of the usual suspects the next morning but, oh joy of joy's, we had a Poplar Hawkmoth!! So pleased to see something exciting. 

Isn't he beautiful?  

I seemed to be on a bit of a wildlife spree whilst there.  The first night I rescued a huge queen hornet from the bedroom area.  The following day a swallow had managed to fly in too so I had to capture that as well.  So amazing to see the beautiful iridescent colour feathers on it up close.  The next evening there was an escaped lamb which no one would go near but I managed to get it back into the field with its friends.  Oh and about a dozen bees needs rescuing from various windows.  All good fun.

Next event is the Dorset Art Weeks which starts this Saturday 26th May.  I'm pottering now as I think I have enough to show.  I've just about run out of time now anyway as the rest of the week is taken up with other appointments.  We're hanging Friday. 

Enjoy your week! 

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

We've Been Away!

We've been on a dogliday with the girls!  Ruger and Tully were looked after by a friend as their age doesn't agree with sitting for long hours in a car and romping around big beaches any more.  So sad. 

The girls enjoyed themselves though! 

They explored rock pools for ages!  It was hard to see them in amongst the weed a lot of the time.  

And then there was the big, sandy beach too. 

John even found me a dolphin skeleton which he refused to let me bring home!  I was still a little juicy in areas though.  

We even had a day up on Dartmoor though it was a bit blustery and sometimes wet. 

We managed to really up our stepcount but I would really have loved to put a counter on one of the dogs!! They did not stay still for long at all!! 

I took Mandala Madness with me and managed another few rounds.  

Now I'm home I've also caught up with most of Cosmic.  A new part is released today.

I've also put together another set of cards.  These were very popular at the last Art Weeks.

Other than that we had the pub's Spring festival yesterday and Iwas there all day serving ale and cider.  It was a hot one but much fun.  We're off on a long dog walk now before the heat gets too much.

Have a lovely week!!