Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's been such a long time since I posted everyone's probably gone away and is looking elsewhere. Pushed into writing something today as we had Maggie Grey at the Oxford Guild yesterday evening. She's so inspiring. Reminds me so much of Val Campbell-Harding who was my totally inspirational City and Guilds tutor at Urchfont many years ago. I did several C&G courses with Val, the last one finishing just a few months before she died. Maggie is just the same - loads of wonderful inspiring suggestions thrown at you until all you want to do is get home to try and do some of them! Just at the moment I have some rather damp felt drying ready to start stitching into. I'll let you know if it works/how it works in the next few days.

Apart from that, I took part in Oxfordshire Art Weeks again this year. We had masses of visitors (I did it with two others - a ceramic sculptor and a potter) over three days and it was great, very very tiring though! Not huge sales but a lot of nice comments and enough to keep me at it.

Next week off to Windsor to see what's going on there and whether the Diploma is being axed as I have heard. Really want to do it starting September 2010 but may have left it too late!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thanks Carol-Ann for your comments; glad it's not just me worrying about the travelling books. Actually I'm really looking forward to them getting started, it's going to be great fun seeing how they're doing!

I've been playing with the idea for some time of applying to do the Diploma in Stitched Textiles at Windsor. I've never been tempted to do a degree course - too much research, when I really want to get on with the fun stuff. Need to talk to the other half, it's a big commitment.

Looking forward to a weekend getting down to some sewing. I also went to an art class on Wednesday, doing still life in charcoal. I really enjoyed it and felt quite proud of what I'd achieved. Took some photos the other day (when it was freezing) of things I saw on my walks with the dog. There's a house I often walk past on my way down to the river which seems to be lived in by an old type rag and bone man - there are piles of things left outside. Can be anything from old computers, to lots of fence posts and then the other day this amazing pile of old metal. There must be something I can do with a photo like this. I love the old Roses tin showing through the mattress.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Well into the New Year now and some work is beginning to come out of my workroom. I'm beginning a series based on city landscapes which I'm quite pleased about. More to follow.

We have a meeting of my local Embroiderers Guild (Oxford) tomorrow. I'm currently the co-Chairman. One great idea that my fellow Chairperson has introduced goes live tomorrow. Much to our delight we've got the vast majority of the membership interested. The idea is that those taking part are split into groups of six. Each person in the group has two A5 notebooks each. Every month you fill in a double page spread of both of you books and then pass one of those books to the next person in the group. The idea is to get people motivated and inspired, with the idea of our Branch exhibition in October in mind. Having kept a sketchbook for several years now, and being totally committed to and loving my stash of books I am now panicking about what to put in!! Of course previously the sketchbooks have been my property only and it's up to me whether I show them to everyone. I actually did, during Oxford Artweeks last year when I was amazed at how many people wanted to look at them. But this time is different - this time they're being passed around and so I want my double page spread each month to be PERFECT!

I'm being far too precious of course, the whole idea of keeping a sketchbook is to try out ideas and I must get over this. But I worry that if I'm finding this hard - when I've kept a sketchbook already - how hard are others finding it? I hope we don't get too many people falling at the first post. We'll have to have a go at maintaining interest/giving ideas etc. Anyone any ideas for some good websites to look at?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I found an old cream wool blanket the other day that my mother in law had given me. Also found in a drawer some acid dyes that I bought last year at Ally Pally and have never used, so set myself up for a morning of dyeing. It was so easy!!! All I had to do was weigh the blanket (which I cut into 18" squares for ease) and then wash it in some synthrapol (which fortunately I already had) and then rinse and add to the dye. This was warm water - enough to cover the blanket pieces - to which I added a paste made of a small amount of water and a teaspoon full of dye per 50g weight of blanket. Let it simmer gently for about 30 minutes, take it out and rinse it out and dry. Later I ironed it to 'set' the dye. Now all I have to do is decide what to do with it! But what lovely, heathery colours came out (well, not the turquoise obviously!).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Such a long time since I looked at a blog let alone wrote something on mine! Hopefully the worst is over, work wise, and I can concentrate on being more creative for (at least) the rest of the year.

The picture on the left is a close up of a piece I finished recently based on landscapes which are increasingly fascinating me. I walk a lot around the fields locally when I take my dog out each morning and love looking at the fields and trees and how everything changes over the course of the year.

I've been invited to take part in Oxfordshire Arts Week again (did I say?) - this time in a nearby village with a potter and a ceramic sculptor. It should be a good mix and we're only going to open for 3 days (instead of this year's 9!) which is more manageable, and hopefully a lot less tiring.

After that we have a Guild Branch exhibition next October at Wantage museum, which is a lovely little venue. We've decided to keep all exhibits to a uniform size which should work well within a small space.

The other week I took part in a fabulous workshop with Jacky Russell. Jacky did the Diploma at Windsor and Maidenhead with Jan and Jean, finishing a couple of years ago. She 'specialised' in lutradur which is a product I have heard of but never used. This workshop was all about lutradur and we had a great day. We painted it and printed on it, burnt it, sewed with it, put gesso on - the list was endless. The great thing is that if you put acrilyic paints on or gesso (either splashed on or carefully printed on with a stamp) this acts as a resist so that you can then get out your heat gun and burn away as much as you like around the resist. The picture above shows some of the samples I came home with. The small dots you can see were made with a fine soldering iron (on my Christmas list!). The picture further above is a close up of one of my favourite samples done with gesso and then machined and painted with silk paints after I used the heat gun.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Am having problems these days finding time for anything creative, so I've decided to make myself do 30 minutes a day - that shouldn't be too hard! Anything where I'm looking at colour, texture, shape etc, which means most things are happening in my sketchbook but it's good background for something - eventually!

I have been following Maggie Grey's online lessons at as I bought her latest book at the Knitting and Stitching Show. Here you can see my part-finished 'book'. I loved making the squirly design using a foam stencil and water soluble paper which was layered and dampened and then left overnight on top of the boiler before I could peel it off and stick it on the pelmet vilene. The lovely purply mauve colour came from gesso being put on the vilene quite thickly with salt sprinkled over and then painted with watered down Quink ink. Fantastic - I'd never have thought of it. Maggie comes up with some great tips.

Here's a close up (bit fuzzy, sorry).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I don't seem to get any time to sew at the moment - very busy at work. However, I was thrilled to see on the Twisted Thread website that my offering for the Embroiderers' Guild auction has been receiving bids!! How cool is that? (as my children would say) I do hope the auction does well, the Guild needs every penny it can get at the moment.

Still I have been keeping up to date with my swaps on various forums, but forgot to take pictures!

Looking forward to next week's Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally. I'm going with three friends and already have a shopping list (must haves!) as long as my arm.