Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, and a wonderful day tomorrow.
We are celebrating the festivities with family and friends and I hope Santa brings us all lots of surprises and happiness in the gifts given and received .

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wonderful Christmas post

I am now the proud owner of this lovely piece of work created by Marlis Egger which arrived in the post, it now hangs in my new studio. Thank you so much Marlis.
I find it quite amazing that this beautiful piece of work can find its way across snow laden Europe, very quickly, yet stuff posted in England is subject to big delays because of the poor weather.

Really feel sorry for any travellers who have not been able to return home for the festivities because of transport problems. Hope the marginal improvement in weather conditions means you are successful in travelling home.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Festivities can start now!

The trees are up and decorated, one in the porch and one in the sitting room. Neighbours have also made a show again this year, and the street is looking very festive. It was truly magical yesterday evening as darkness fell and the lights were switched on. The reflective snow certainly helped to give a feeling of festive cheer.

I seem to be better prepared for the festivities than ever before. Which is wonderful, especially as the weather does not entice me to go out to go shopping or even to go out for that matter. I am happy never to shop, it is not one of my favourite activities and never has been.

This is the scene in the garden this morning, but do not be deceived by the charm of this photo it is bitterly cold -7C and a fairly strong and bitter wind. Time to hibernate perhaps.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

White today

Have been working on some white fabric recently, its quite fun to do. So I thought I would start this post with some fabric work for a change. Not a lot has been happening in the studio this week, other than some tidying up after last weekend.

Christmas preparations are well under way and plans for today have stalled to a stop... the reason why... is in this photo.

Its been snowing consistently since 6am, on top of some heavy overnight ice and frost. Absolutely treacherous out there, whether you want to walk or drive. I put out a lot of bird food in the hedges last night before it got too cold and today the birds are feeding non stop.

Thought you would like the update photo on your thread intervention Sal.. it looks quite wonderful.
Right I have promised to get some Christmas decorations up today...... so better get to it. Nothing else to do ;0)

Monday, December 13, 2010


Time is something we use up in huge quantities in our creative activities. Just as Margaret Charlton has in this piece of artwork, which she kindly gave me recently. I am not sure we always give "time" a philosophical or critical review in relation to what we do or allowing it to inform our artistic practice..

I have just returned from a weekend at Urchfont with masterclass mentor Helen Mastrandeas. "Time" was the theme of the weekend. We explored the theme of time through Art, particularly in relation to textile practice.

We discussed the way that static visual arts such as painting and sculpture have grappled with the problem of how to show a purely sensual and intangible phenomenon in visual terms.

Valerie Constantino suggested that "the greatest strength of art expression in fibre media may be the impermanent quality of textiles.

Turners' famous painting of 1844 depicts the passage of time with the latest interests of the era, whereas in medieval times the passage of time was often depicted by pictures of death and skulls.
Perhaps it could be said that today the emphasis has evolved through the viewers experiences of Action Painting as depicted in Pollocks work and Goldsworthy with his art pieces which uses a natural palette.
The modern understanding of Wabi Sabi has also influenced many modern artists in pursuit of time references. Matthew Harris credits wabi sabi as being central to his work.

We looked at this water butt which sits next to the greenhouse in the grounds of Urchfont Manor.... the recent icy then milder weather has reacted with the water..... the result is beautiful, but fleeting. We used this as a reference for drawing or photographing and our attempts to depict time.

We broke this piece away and took it into the warmth of the studio and watched and recorded the melt. the passage of time.

This is a piece of work left by a member of the Thread Interventionists at Urchfont Manor. It was created in the Summer of 2009, and has survived animal, human and weather interventions and has survived the ravages of time.
A very thought provoking weekend of work and critical thinking.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Its a bit cold!

When I woke up and peeked out the window this morning, I was quite surprised to see how busy Jack Frost had been last night. According to my daughter some light snow fell too.... I did not see it though.

I have been enjoying myself using the embellisher machine and then chain stitching on the W & G machine, meanwhile watching everyone slip and slide on the pavement outside my studio window.

The hedge outside the window looks likethis ........ really frosty and it is midday now. Its also quite foggy. The freezing sort.
I am staying home and stitching. I have no desire to go out in the freezing cold, especially as I seem to have picked up one of the virus's doing the rounds. Its not too bad, as I have had the flu jab, but enough to make me feel less than well.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Just once a year.

Think this proves that I like chocolate. Thanks children for making this a fabulous day for me.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Snow or stitching ?

Thought we would start this post with the weather.. very English! More snow overnight, and I am so annoyed with myself for not getting the fountain put away in time. Just hopes this weather is kind to it. I do love the icicles on the umbrella.

Have been doing little bits of stitching, they relate to my experiments with the colour circle.

This is not a repeat of a previous photo, the eagle eyed amongst you will notice no blades of grass are showing in this one. It has been snowing most of the morning.. but not heavily. We were not supposed to get any of this at all.... but the forecasters got it wrong.

I have been warm and cosy working in my studio most of the day and only ventured out to retrieve the dustbin after the refuse collectors had been. They did look very cold, but were whistling whilst they worked. Back to the weather -10C tonight apparently, but the wind seems to have dropped. The news report said it was exceptionally cold in Scotland last night -21C.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

At last

Whilst a lot of the country and my chums have been enjoying the delights of huge snowfalls.. we have been just freezing cold here in Wiltshire. It Finally warmed up lasts night to 0 C... so we woke up this morning to some snow.

Quite pathetic compared to the rest of the country, but at least we still can get out and about. I have managed to get quite a few chores completed too like getting the car serviced.

And I have also managed to get some stitching completed that has been hanging around for years. I am going to enter this piece into the South West Region of the Embroiderers Guild Exhibition 2011.
I have finished the sketchbook, and have tried to create a small video... but need to redo the whole thing.. light levels have been very poor, and so may get it ready for the next post. Here are some stills. I will need to send the sketchbook off to the US soon.

Its mostly a lot of doodles, but as I mentioned before, I have enjoyed the freedom. top photo shows, machine stitching and ink drawing, bottom photos - on the computer using the graphics tablet and printing on paper.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Danger---- artist at work!

Do you remember how tidy this space was? Click here if you need to refresh your memory...

I have been doing some more work on the sketchbook . A few health issues have kept me pretty housebound and the sketchbook has been quite a good distraction. I have really been messy though, but it is so liberating having all this space in the studio........!

I also ordered this book and it arrived today.... it has come highly recommended by a lot of my blogger mates and I am looking forward to reading it. Will let you know what I think when I have read some of it.

I asked this question on one of my Internet lists.. -how do you organise your machine threads ?- ... until now I have kept most of mine in plastic chocolate boxes, you know the boxes which have a brown base and clear top.
A couple of years back they changed the containers to totally clear and much squarer.... great for machine threads.... but the chocolates are becoming quite expensive AND.. I have to eat lots of chocolates.......

My Internet chums recommended these ---

The thread storage containers arrived very late yesterday afternoon after I had ordered them online, and they are really fantastic. they are filling up fast.
So no more chocolates for me for a while!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Sketchbook project

I signed up for this sketchbook project, have a look here.
So the real creative mess has started in the studio, stuff everywhere, and although I dyed the fabrics ready to finish my hanging of the previous post, my concentrations have been diverted to the sketchbook.

It was supposed to be a filler activity whilst the fabrics dried...... but you know how it is...... I became absorbed and am so enjoying myself. The freedom of being able to doodle without constraint is really wonderful.

As many other members have stated the sketchbook paper quality is very poor, as you can see when you apply a wash the paper buckles badly and if not totally dry, tears into shreds. Reminds me of the cheap recycled paper the suppliers tried to offload onto the schools a few years ago, when to be "green" became fashionable.

The colour from one page bleeds onto the reverse of the paper..... however I am not letting that stop me, I am carrying on regardless and letting serendipity play its role.
Leonardo must be rolling over in his grave !;0)

Such wanton abandon. I am loving it!

If I post this off to its destination.... .. you can all go and see the- wanton abandon- for yourselves.... except of course you will have to fly to the States to the Brooklyn Art Gallery to see it.

Shame really that once I send it I shall never be able to see it again. So I will have to take lots of photos as a reminder. Somehow though, the photos are not the same as having the book in your hand and seeing the marks made by your hand. What do you think?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hanging in there!

Whilst these leaves are damp/wet they stay put on the front garden, as soon as they dry out they all migrate to my front porch. I appear to collect all the leaves from the neighbourhood on my front garden. All a bit like my children and their problems..... ;0) There seem to have been lots this year. ( of problems that is!)

However like this geranium which is still flowering , I am hanging in there, and am greatly spurred on by the studio space I now have. I found myself just sitting in there this morning and enjoying the peace and quiet.
I then took the opportunity to peruse my next set of commitments for exhibitions. 2011 at the moment will be a year of creating .. just one exhibition, and that's a small one..... but 2012 .... maybe 4 exhibitions.
That's a biggie, so must start to get designs and ideas together, that is of course if the galleries are still in business by 2012. All the arts grants are being culled in this economic climate and any spare money going to sports in preparation for the 2012 London Olympics.. short sighted IMHO.

However in the spirit of optimism.. I dyed some fabric yesterday, to finish my first piece of artwork made in the studio.
My glass is half full and long may it continue as such....... to all readers whose glass is half empty, I shall say ----" cheer up, it may never happen". ---- those were my dear Dads favourite words.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Chaos and Contemporary work

This piece of work is the first to be put under the sewing machine in the new studio. It may not be my best piece of work, but it summarises a lot of my recent feelings. I am going to call it " the chaos" some of you will know what I mean.

It is not quite finished, I have run out of blue fabric, so tomorrow am going to dye some more. Originally I was going to bind the edges with yellow, but have changed my mind and want to use blue, and of course I do not have enough fabric.....;0)

I have loved stitching it, and though notone of my best, but it has been stitched with a lot of feeling. It is a very contemporary piece and I can imagine others will interpret in their own way.

Talking of contemporary work..........
You may be interested in a new website that has just been launched. It features contemporary quilters and I feel sure that it will develop and grow in the future. The contemporary quilters are certainly a forward thinking group, and it is easy to join them in their adventure. Go and have a look here

Sunday, November 14, 2010

From the mouth of Babes and Meadow Larks

Went along to the Meadow Larks exhibition in Cirencester this afternoon, and just loved seeing all the work together. I knew it would be wonderful, but did not quite realise how wonderful. The Great Western Embroiderers have certainly produced some fantastic work again. One of the advantages of visiting on a sunday afternoon, is the Car parking is free.
These 2 images are close ups of a piece of my work on show, called ( not very originally) North meadow. The work is inspired by the natural 12 monthly cycle of the meadow, the colours reflect the harvest, the flooding and the frost. The imagery includes cattle, fritillaries and roman numerals. The materials are primarily, hand made and hand dyed felt, machine embroidery and hand stitch

Here is the view of the gallery from the street.
My daughter accompanied me, and we had a wonderful time chatting mainly about the exhibition.
It was whilst we were going round, that my daughter, revealed to me that 3 year old grandaughter took a session at her nursery school at story time last Friday, quite an occasion for someone who is quite shy. So I asked what did she talk about?
Imagine my surprise when I found out!.
She very bravely stood up and told all her classmates about the "special" pencil cases we made the other day and how good she is at using the sewing machine. It never ceases to amaze me how young children take everything in, and then reveal their thoughts to others. According to the teachers she remembered every detail of how we made them.
I am very proud of my grandaughter. Check her on the sewing machine here...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remember these and the local radio.

Remember these?

They were part of an Interesting feature on grandparents on the local radio today.... click on Radio to hear the transmission and move the slider along to approx 1.22 to hear about creativity and the genrations. Thanks to Mark O'Donnell of BBC wiltshire Radio.

We're working again!

Well, the new studio celebrations are over, and its back to the reality of working. The piece under the sewing machine has been lurking in the old work room for quite a while. So am happy to report it is now all stitched up.
We are starting to make a mess as well, you will all be relieved to know, you wise readers of blogs knew the tidiness could not last long.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Meadow Larks Exhibition -Cirencester

Have just handed in a few pieces for our next exhibiton, hope you can go and view, its taking place at Cirencester Museum and features the work we have been doing with Natural England and the North Meadow at Cricklade.... click here

Monday, November 08, 2010

Open studio

I invited a few friends and neighbours to come along and see the studio now the builder has finished. Interestingly some of the lovely people I invited asked me what will I actually do in the space. I found finding the right words to explain quite difficult.

So in response I put some of my work and sketchbooks out for them to see what I do and how I will use the space. Certainly proved to be good talking points.

I have decided that I have some wonderful neighbours and friends... the response was very encouraging and the questions very searching and interesting. We also imbibed some wine in celebration. One of the advantages of inviting the neighbours, they can walk home and no worries about the drink and drive laws!

This morning I tidied everything away and then spent the afternoon finishing off and packing and labelling the exhibits for the Meadow Larks exhibition in Cirencester. More details soon.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Filling the blank canvas

Well Ros, I am slowly filling the blank canvas, and yes Dorothy having lots of fun doing so. The whole house is in chaos! I am really trying hard to just put the necessities into the studio Helen Suzanne, but it is hard to decide. I suspect it will evolve over time as I use it. It is lovely to have the extra storage area in the old workroom, I must admit.
So Helen is it filling up OK? Did you find that you changed things in your new studio once you started working in it?

I cannot wait to get working in there and as Rachel wisely said, get started my first project , but I also feel I must tidy the old work room at the same time. Think it may be time to "lose" some of my treasures to eBay and freecycle too. When will I ever use some of the stuff I have?

So Gill, it did not stay empty for long.... and the creativity will start soon, well fingers crossed, as I have another exhibition looming shortly - like the deadline is- next week!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Studio opening is now!

Great excitements today, the vertical blinds came and are fitted, the flooring came ..........along with some great flooring fellas who did a great job of laying it.... my studio is now ready for creativity.
Still lacking some basic facilities like furniture in these photos.... but I can soon change that.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Photos at last

At last have managed to borrow some of the pencil cases back to take photos... unfortunately not all of them, as the others have been taken to school!
The one above belongs to the 3 year old. I think it is fantastic, she wanted to have a rainbow on hers and so that is what she did. Such a decisive young lady, she will go far.

All the building work in the studio is finished now, tomorrow morning is the final coat of paint on the walls and the vinyl flooring is being fitted in the afternoon. I can then start putting furniture in there.

I am having a grand opening this Sunday between 3 and 6 pm. Its bring a glass for the refreshments.. I decided I did not want to do loads of washing up. Look forward to seeing you if you can make it.