Sunday, 29 June 2014

Chalkland Flowers

Just a skim through what I've created this week. It's a commission of local wildflowers.

First was the layering.  Lots of open weaves in very neutrals stitched down with free motion.

Then I let Bob strut his stuff and embroider the flower names on the panel.  I don't use this machine often enough really and it was quite a learning curve remembering.  What would we do without the internet!

Afterwards I had a bit of free motion embroidery to do.  I enjoy this.  I will enjoy it more when Bob learns to thread himself every time I want to change colour.  Four different greens in these stems!

And all four done on the panel.

I was asked a couple of times at the Open Studio how do I make my work so flat.  I dampen it, stretch it out and leave it to do it's stuff!! And every piece is treated the same.  Obviously the media used can dictate the water content from a thorough washing to no water at all just the pinning and stretching but they all have time to be put into their shape and relax into it.  I was also asked five different times if I could do workshops, weeeeeeeellllll, I don't really have a lot to tell apart from things most people already know or things like this. And the few times I have taught it has petrified me so much I've been ill!  Daft I know but that's just me.

And finally the pieces mounted.  They are on 10 x 8 inch canvas panels.

I sprayed up some Khadi paper to compliment the flowers and tore the edges on a deckle ruler which, much to my surprise, gave them a lovely white contrast edge.  Quite pleased with them, I hope the recipient is too.

A little bit on the wildlife front this week.  Monday just as we were going to bed John found a HummingBird Hawk moth buzzing around the lounge.  There have been a couple in the garden but it was a surprise to find one inside.  After a bit of a chase and clambering about we managed to capture it and set it free.

And last night we had another bat fly in.  No photos this time but once we'd opened another few windows and doors it eventually found it's way out too.

I hope you all have a good week ahead!


Sunday, 22 June 2014

Back to School

At the beginning of the year I signed up for an online class with Luthien Thye on Artful Gathering.  It began at the start of the month and it was just the thing I needed after the Art Weeks.  Creating with most of the thinking already done.  

She used a couple of things I haven't used in my books before, polyclay and stamps, which was my main reason for wanting to do it.  

As well as new ways with the polyclay I also found out that though I am a prolific coffee drinker, sadly decaf nowadays, I really don't enjoy the smell of it when used as a stain! Back to tea next time. 

The additions were fun and quirky and the metalwork a nice way to finish off.   I can definitely take some of the things learned further.

I have also been trying to perfect the glass and I think I am making progress! 

The picture on the left is of the first batch which were better and the ones on the right the second which were even more improved.  Top blue black set already sold as buttons for a velvet jacket from a Art Weeks comission.

I am often using items to weigh things down in the studio, things that need to rest to stay (like the rather curved pages in the book above!) or for glue to set for example.  I most often use a couple of house bricks I have covered in felt.  Quite large and cumbersome so I have been looking for a nice set of kitchen weights for a while and finally found this lot on eBay.

They were taken into the factory for a bit of blasting (don't nag me about the rust dying potential!  I want to use them!!)

And John gave them a nice coat of paint.

They are a great size, the 4lb sits nicely in the palm of my hand and should just about cover all the jobs I need them for.

And yesterday John and I were major Grandparental Units!  Elsa had arranged a surprise spa visit and lunch for Mike for his birthday and we had the honour of babysitting Olivia.  A bit nervous as it was our first virtually full day but there were no tears and I think everyone had a nice time.

Happy birthday Mike!

Have a wonderful week ahead!


Friday, 13 June 2014


Hellooooo!!! I'm back!!! Wow what a month that was.  The Dorset Art Weeks is now over and I think I've just about found my feet again.

There were a few scary moments at the beginning mostly to do with us being new at this sort of thing and not sure of what we were doing or if anyone would turn up!  The chapel was an interesting place to use, lots of seating should you need it and nowhere to hang anything.

It was also very cold and damp, it is over 900 years old after all, but we soon chased that away.  Jan also lives in a church so has hardly any vertical walls but she does have plenty of easels to display paintings on thank goodness.

To start with I think we didn't quite know how to approach things, which is daft as we've both been visitors to these events, where Jan was willing to dive right in and chat to people I held back as I'm really quite shy.  By the last week we were both so good at it you would have thought we'd done it for years!

These photos I took on my phone when I remembered to as we were setting up.  You can see how we put boards across the pews.  We also had three services while we were there but we could leave enough pews uncovered for them to use as there is usually only about 10 people attending.  Except the last Sunday when some others arrived and four extras turned up as they had been to see our exhibition and loved the chapel so much and, as one was a retired vicar, decided to come back.  It was rather crowed then but our vicar Mel was delighted!

There was quiet a lot of tweaking as we went along and, of course, as things sold.  Yes we had quite a few visitors, well over 200, and the visitors books had some really lovely comments in them.

Though the chapel isn't far from home I did miss John, the dogs, the garden and very much missed my studio! In the quiet times having access to that would have been wonderful.  We both did take things to do but it's not the same.

Will I do it again?  Most certainly! And I would do it from home next time too.

A lot of work went into producing enough items to show and I'm glad that the Dorset Art Weeks is every other year.  I'm not sure I could cope with it yearly!

On the last saturday there was a big BBQ at Sculpture by the Lakes, the gorgeous home and garden of Simon and Monique Gudgeon.

Plenty of people to chat too and places to take a stroll.

Views through the garden and statues beautifully placed.

Cedric!! What are you doing there in such illustrious company!!

Yes Cedric was sold and has moved on but not without a last farewell and a meet with his brother in beards Martyn.

There are still bits to put away and commissions to complete and I have a book full of lovely comments to remind me what lovely people we met.  If you were one of those people, thank you for taking the time to come and see us.  I was convinced I wouldn't sell much but the majority of things I was going to put on Esty did go, I made quite a bit for the Combat Stress and Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance charities and I'm over the moon.

Finally a hello to a few new followers on here!!  I'm glad you found me.  Hopefully normal service will be resumed shortly!

Have a great weekend.