Archives for the month of: September, 2011

I’ve had a hectic week, taking Miles back to Penrith, another weekend of insight open studios and then yesterday back at uni myself.

I had my Summer Project (various drawing topics) to pull together and collate, ready to present to the group this afternoon. When I started looking for the various leaflets, notes I’d made, photographs I’d taken I surprised myself with how many things I’ve seen and done over the break. A whitework workshop with Tracy Franklin (it’s nearly finished), a day at Art in Action at Waterperry House in Oxfordshire (must put next year’s dates in my diary, need two days), various days out with the French twinning visitors including a day at Spurn Point, a week in the Czech Republic including 4 days in Prague and area, a day at the Quilt Show at the NEC in Birmingham, a day at the sewing exhibition at  the Showground in Harrogate and I’m sure there are some that I’ve missed. All of these things have and will continue to have an effect on my work. The huge bank of photographs (several thousand just over the summer) that I’ve taken are useful reminders of things that have caught my eye and attention and good starting points for pieces of work. These leaf faces were a couple of images I used for accidental drawing. They are just  such fun.


Another good day visitor-wise for the ‘open studio’. First job today between visitors was to fill the big hole from yesterday’s sale. I’ve framed up the other piece that was on my page in the insight brochure. A felt piece called ‘Autumn’ that was inspired by a photo taken in our local woods when the beech leaves had fallen on a beautiful autumnal (love that word) day when the leaves were at just  at the right crunchiness for kicking through.

It had that lovely autumnal feel this morning when my son and I walked the dog just before it was time to open. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, a slight nip in the air but the promise of one of those beautiful golden days. We are so lucky to have the woods on our doorstep (5 minutes away). But it will be back to uni next week, so I’ll only get to go at weekends then and Miles not until Christmas, so we must make the most of the last precious days of the holidays.  We both love the courses that we are doing and are keen to get back really ( and who wouldn’t want to go back to the Lake District?).


I’ve had a really good day for the ‘open studio’. Lots of lovely comments and interest in my work. More people through than I’ve had in a whole weekend before. A few familiar faces but also some new ones.

I’ve not had much time to do any current work or to start anything new. Although I have nearly finished stitching a beautiful jellyfish that was inspired by some we saw in France on the west coast last year. They were really difficult to photograph but the photos supplement the images I have in my head to work from. I’ve not taken any pictures of it yet , but its done on hand dyed fabric for the background and the threads were done in the same dye bath, and layers of organza. I ‘m planning on hanging it from a piece of drift wood, but haven’t found a suitable piece yet.

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Had a lovely time discussing textiles, art work and ideas with my friend underatopazsky and her two daughters this afternoon. It was the first time she’d seen my studio – we usually only see one another at Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild and then only erratically. It’s good to see her work for real, beautiful miniature pieces but at least by looking at her blog I get a fix more often. Also the way she stitches through meetings etc in her busy schedule is inspirational, she showed me her mini kit that she takes everywhere. I must make myself one and then I could stitch on the bus once I’m back at uni. I’d then  also always have things to take on my travels instead of not having time to find something to take when I’m frantically packing at the last minute.

Then right at the end of the afternoon when I thought I’d have no more visitors, a couple arrived and shortly afterwards a lady who has bought ‘Drift by my window’ (see earlier blog). Sad in a way to sell it but feel it has gone to a good home. My work becomes a little part of me or  me a part of the work or something, so I feel an attachment to my pieces, which makes it’s a little hard to let some of them go. Anyway autumn is well on it’s way, so I’m sure I’ll be inspired by the colours and the falling leaves over the next few weeks

It’s the first day of the open studio tomorrow, I’m nearly ready – just a few things to do. The signs to go up outside, and a few more things to move. Not sure what I’ll work on in between visitors, several on-going projects that I could get on with, but also some ideas for new work. I’ll decide in the morning.

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Nearly forgot about my little Cow Parsley ‘book’, it’s only
2 1/4 inches square when it’s closed. The front and back are embroidered in silk threads on a raw silk background and the inside twisty pages are my photos of Cow Parsley and it’s relatives at different times of the year.

I’ve spent part of the day moving things around in my studio, ready for the first weekend of insight (artists’open studios).

Still plenty to do, but I’ve hung my Colour Spinner. It has had a slight adjustment so that it fits – the ceiling is higher in the dining room where it normal hangs.

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The slideshow shows it during construction in my studio space at uni. It is much better to see in reality and to have a spin of it for real. My idea came from the circles of card we all played with as kids to change the effect of the colours as it spun. The first one I did was CD size and worked, but the next few experiment were total disasters, so it was a case of sorting out the technical problems before I went big. The disc is 500mm diameter and the overall length about 2.5 metres hanging. It has 24 colours changing slightly all through the visible spectrum – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet back to red.

The finished 'Colour Spinner' in my space at uni.

My son has helped me make a 50th birthday card for my little big sister. She’s been taller than me since I was about 5.

We’ve been fumbling about PhotoShop again – I’m working on the principle that the more I use it the easier I’ll be able to achieve what’s in my head.

49 images of cats on the front and the one on the inside.


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The centre section of the first side of my reversible Rose Window quilt in progress.

I’ve had a  really busy few days, started off on Friday, going with a friend to The Great Northern Needlecraft Show  at Harrogate. It’s much more manageable in a day than the NEC  Quilt Show, nearer for a start, actually arrived before it opened!! The first thing we did was to book two workshops for early afternoon, both on machine applique but using different techniques. This worked well as we did some buying of a few bits and pieces, looked at some of the quilts – some stunning work, loads of photos, quick stop for lunch outside for some fresh air and sunshine, by then we were well ready for a sit down and a change of pace.

The first one was a how to  on ‘Creating Hand Look Needle-Turn Effect Applique’  with Eileen Blood  this was  a really neat way of creating flowers, leaves etc using a fusible nylon mesh, the sewing machine (or if you have one an embroidery machine) and an iron. It looked really simple (but doesn’t it always) and I’m looking forward to having a go. (We’ve spent all day moving things around again, trying to sort out and make more space and put things in sensible places. The main thing was to create more book shelves to move some of the piles off the floor and we’ve made very good progress on that. It’s also made (nearly) a new work area for my sewing machine, so I”ll soon be able to sew and leave the machine out, which really helps.) I have several ideas already to use this technique.

The second one was An Introduction to Invisible Machine Applique with Dawn Cameron Dick.  This was a technique I used several years ago for my king-size  reversible Rose Window quilt (above – i can’t move it to the end for some reason.). It has lots of uses and was really good timing because I’d forgotten how to do it (think I’ve got a note somewhere of my machine settings, but goodness nows where – it’ll save me looking specifically for them). She gave us lots of hints and tips and useful information about needles and threads – I have bought 4 packets of needles and vow to change them regularly (I only usually change one when it breaks). We were given a kit  of a tulip to try out the technique which we started in class and need to finish – again I need the sewing machine! Hopefully tomorrow.

This is the centre section of the second side of my reversible Rose Window quilt which was done as crazy patchwork and then the ‘stone’ (pale yellow fabric) appliqued on top. Eileen Blood’s method would have worked better, but you live and learn. Everything I do is a steep learning curve, but that’s part of the fun and challenge of it.