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28 December 2011

Personal Post

I don't really like personal posts on my blog - because I feel everyone has enough issues of their own without reading about mine!!
However, my Mother died on 27th December, not something expected or on the radar a week ago.  Unfortunately this is not the first family bereavement at holiday time, and we have other family members who are no longer here who have birthdays at or around Christmas.
So, I am now moving into a new life phase - and somehow it seems appropriate with the New Year around the corner.  My brother and I now become the senior family at least on my Mother's side.  My husband's niece has moved in with her boyfriend, so its all life moving on, the next generation on exciting ventures, the cycle continues.
Throughout my whole life my stitching has sustained me.  It may get put aside at times, but it has always been the one constant, since... forever.  So I have no reason to abandon my plans already in hand, just they may need adjustment to achieve, as long as the brain fog is kept in order, things will work out OK.

21 December 2011

Tis the Season....(for plans to change)

Well, not a lot is happening on the art front... and I had such plans this week, as I've done all my Xmas things.  That's not me being super efficient, its more we live away from family so things have to be delivered. Each day this week I was going to do something... well here we are at Wednesday, and not begun, and doesn't look like it will at all.
More paperwork for our Canadian element of the Material Girls Bridging Waters Exhibition, tick.  Also received an Art Trail application form, so need to note deadline in the 2012 diary!!!
Saw the ERTF Essex ladies on Friday and had a good time.
The laptop went to be checked, and it will cost too much to repair... but lovely people that they are, waived the fee to look at it.  The shop is a little independent, and has a big (about 6') metal man/robot standing outside - he, cos I'm sure its a he, is dressed for Xmas, with his hat, waistcoat and a tie.  Not really sure about 'him' because in the summer he had a sun hat, pink scarf and a handbag!
About 4 miles away we have a cycle shop which did have two mannequins outside, but obviously there's been a divorce cos only the lady is there now - in her high vis police jacket!!!
And now I'm off to make Lists.....
Personal family issue has arisen, which at the moment means everything is hovering.  I'm guessing I'm spending Xmas 100 miles away, and himself gets to stay at home with the cat and share the Xmas dinner!!  Its not my decision to make, just got to await advice of others.
Wishing Everyone a Happy Christmas

15 December 2011

Catching Up with Textile Friends

Busy this week....it was my Embroiderers' Guild meeting past Saturday. We made a little bookmark.
Really enjoyable as we all made it in the afternoon - well I ran out of thread about 2" from the end so had to reverse stitch at home (pull it out) - but I did that straight away. Got in, got a cuppa and completed it. Lots of fun, laughter, a real teaser of a quiz. So glad I put off seeing relatives that day!
Tuesday it was The Material Girls meeting, including munchies. Can't believe how fast my time with them has gone by. I've not yet started my 3d piece based on water... sigh believe me this has been a struggle. Not short of ideas at all, just nothing seemed to gel with me. I've spent hours pouring over poetry, quotations, sayings, but still none of it shouted "this is THE thing to make" - spent hours on the sewing machine only to abandon that idea too. However, thanks to my friend, Anne's, casual remark - I thought that's it, go back to what's you. This is the problem you are trying to be what you are not, square peg, round hole. I have to take hold of this, because this trying to force myself into a niche, practically crippled me during CandG studies. I do like what others do... I love to see it, and on Tuesday I saw some truly beautiful things, skills I so admire - but for me to do that, its just not the right fit and it truly makes me anxious. A challenge is good, and that's part of why I joined MG, but I don't need to have anxiety over it and I do need to hold on to what is me - after all that's why they accepted me in the first place, seeing my work as it is....  It's MY mind set that is taking me back to these conventions, apart from subject matter and 3d, we've not have strict rules about it.  Its odd when you think you've mastered and sent away these nagging gremlins, and they come back to sit on the shoulder and nag in the ear!! I think the lime green post-its will have to come out - big reminder "stay true to the art that makes you... you"
I did see the rellies yesterday - 250 miles round trip, gosh the roads are busy - huge amount of lorries on the move.
Tomorrow its back out for the ERTF Essex meeting - more munchies... a different group of people to meet and catch up with, so that will be nice. Then tomorrow night I intend to crash out in a heap - my Xmas is done and dusted. Cards gone, presents gone, collected ours, people seen. I get a whole week to do nothing Xmassy at all, no other outings in the diary, bliss.  I've been loaned a paperarts book, and the latest Crafts magazine - so me, some relaxing stitching, nice read, oh... and poss opening the choccies early, and I can be smug and watch everyone else go mad.  Sounds like a good plan!

07 December 2011

Remember I said I needed a paper fix.  Well this is what I made.  Its called a Kusudama flower.  Do as I did, and Google for the instructions for it - I followed a video.  The paper is a new purchase, which I love love love.  Its by Tim Holtz, Tissue Wrap.  Comes on a roll just like cling film or tinfoil - this is Terminology, and has dictionary type meanings on it, so very me!!
I've still not worked out what I need arty wise for Xmas.... but I have bought choccies, for me!!  Him indoors tells me the shops have sold out - so he won't want any of mine then, will he?
But now a question…. Jan/Feb time my magazines come up for renewals on their subs. So, should I renew or not? I will renew Embroidery, no question of that. I’ve been taking it since 1992. It was the magazine which led me to the Guild itself, it used to publish lists of all the Branches and contacts. It came at a pivotal moment in my arty life. Bought the magazine, attended my first Guild meeting and started C&G studies all within weeks of each other. Its now the only magazine (since Fiberarts demise) that gives me a wider viewpoint on textile art. Some issues are better than others, or rather some of course hit what resonates with me, but I can’t imagine giving it up because what I don’t like or am not drawn to gives me cause to think. I am the sad person who reads everything in my magazines and I mean everything, all the ads, the lot.
I also take Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors – via digital copy as that way I can afford them both. I’ve taken CPS since issue one. Honestly, I’ve never made a project in it….  and I don’t like twee – things like pages and pages of Halloween novelties, Xmas decorations also leave me cold. QA I’ve taken for a while now – but I don’t quilt!!! In fact I don’t really know where to start with quilting. However, QA merges the edges between embroidery and quilting, and I’ve come across several artists I like, and now follow their blogs. So if I don’t take these two magazines any more, what do I put in their place? I don't tend to stitch in the evenings very often - I use that time for my reading.
Btw we have a calamity, I can't function.... the laptop has died.  Would have been nice if it hadn't failed 3 weeks after a new battery.  Looked it up, was bought on Boxing Day in the sales four years ago.  Guess where we are going this year?  It has had a huge amount of use.  We have a netbook, which I'm not keen on, keys in different places and I always type the wrong stuff, too small to see, and.... I can't play Mahjong Tiles on it - see calamity.  I mentioned the i-pad word.... and judging by the response, no mini flat do dah thingy is coming in this house!!

05 December 2011

The Dyed Pretty

Here's a couple of pics of the pretty after its been dyed.  It did start off with turquoise, but the colour was too pale, so then I plunged it into one called hyacinth.  Its come out a blue/purple - like a bluebell!!! or may be a hyacinth.
Tomorrow it will go out with me to my stitchy meeting and have more coloured stitching added by hand, pinks, oranges, yellows....

01 December 2011

Pretties.....

I'm going to have a blitz on some things today - well that's the plan - who knows, days seem to evaporate somehow.
People for some reason, often say to me, you don't do handstitching do you?  I beg to differ... I see myself as a bit of a butterfly, because I like all sorts of techniques.  Quite often I end up with layers of both hand and machine stitches - and certainly to the couple of stitch groups I go to, I always of course by necessity take hand work with me.  So what am I stitching by hand at the moment (of course they might also get put under the machine at some point, who knows).
The fabric has history.... belonged to my gran.  It had a huge dirty splodge on it and without thinking I threw into the washer - stain came out and the fabric lost all its dressing and came out beautifully soft.  This is coloured with acrylic paint.  I've stitched it in white because its about to go into the dye.  Hopefully the bits of white base fabric will colour along with the white stitching - we will see... might be turquoise, might be hot pink.  Anyway I want to move it on to the next element to take it with me on Tuesday.
This is the very fine weight lutradur painted again with acrylic, in hot pink, red and a bit of white.  This is for an EG project which has to be pink!!!  This will likely follow another hand technique, lots of beads, bits of metal chain....over the top.
I don't have a dedicated space all of my own to work in - so I tend to like to paint fabrics rather than dye - I find it easier, more controllable to get the exact colour I want and where I want, plus I don't end up with yards and yards of fabric in a colour which I likely may never use again.  Been there, done that.  I use acrylic paints because I'm all for one product which does many tasks - and I don't find it an issue to stitch through it by hand as you can see from both above, or via the machine.
Btw, I call these pieces of work Pretties.  Because that's what they are to me, using the pretty colours and techniques and being a bit choke girly.  They are also free spirited, conscience reactions if you want to be posh - but if not, I just sit and play and stitch where and with what the mood suggests.  I have had and  recorded here, great trouble with working this way.  Because I do enjoy it a lot, but because there's no 'design' no paperwork to support it, it didn't seem like proper art.  Add in one or two people accused me of as much.... and I doubted severely the worth of doing this.  However, wonderful Jae Maries book, listing the types of artist and one of them : Materials Lead.  And this is it, letting the fabric and thread in your hands tell you what to do with it.  Such a freedom to me to know its legitimate to work like this.  I also think it has elements of something Jean Littlejohn said to me once on a class.  Asked about how long it took her to make a piece, she said "oh, about 30 hours plus 25 years".  And that's what's in these Pretties, all the knowledge about design and colour and contrast and texture that you absorb, making such decisions almost without thinking as you work.
I should be doing something else rather than the above, but despite hours of research its not happening... and I have a huge need for a paper fix - so I'm off now to make a paper flower....

27 November 2011

All I Need for Xmas Is ?????

So, the C word is hovering around us... no not Cake - Christmas.  So what do I absolutely, imperatively, cannot possibly live without, need to buy, arty wise?
I have stitched all my life, and I mean all my life, cannot remember not doing it.  I had some idyllic situations as a young child - tiny country primary school (only 4 of us the same age!!!) taking our sewing outside in the Summer to work on it in the playground instead of in class... ahhhh.  I still have the embroidered Radio Times (tv guide) cover I made - in our house we only bought the RT at Xmas!!!
Every Christmas I had something creative - and it became a ritual that after lunch on Boxing Day I would start work on whatever it was - the embroidery kit of a kitten.... playing with my pink paisley knitting bag - although I can't knit - I've crocheted since I was 7, I still have my wallet of crochet hooks, bought as a present. A couple of years back I bought myself a flower loom, as I remember having one of those as a child - was it K-Tel who made everything naff!!!  Rediscovering I made my flowers in wire....
These days I spend part of the public holidays alone - which doesn't worry me, actually I rather like it - box of posh chocs, "It's a Wonderful Life" to watch, quite content, and its even better with something creative, preferably fun and relaxing rather than making to an agenda.  But of course I've now lost the childish excitement over the stitch kit, but I still long for the ritual, and for something new to lovingly look at, stroke and coo over.
So.... what should I have to keep me company?  And no.... a Readicut rug won't do - did every family make those, we did, Gran did - more than one.

24 November 2011

Avoidance techniques

Well for the past few days I've been consumed in paperwork,  sent off to Canada for Material Girls and then had other things to look at.  I've had to take a deep breath and get on with it, purely because just soooo not in the mood to even look at it.  Managed to move the pile of paper around the table, on the floor, even almost got ready to look at, and then husband took over the table so again it got moved.... and I didn't object!!!   But I self-lectured and did the come on "one bite at a time".  Its not that its onerous, just it simply doesn't match my mood and that of itself makes it a hard slog.
Anyway forgetting that I had a play... this is it - no idea what it actually is, or even what its for... but its a mix of gesso, writing ink and Craftynotions colour sprays.
Ooooh the smell, yeuk.   I bought a pot of Gesso from one of these discount stores.  Deciding at the time that was a good idea rather than the more expensive branded.  I do use gesso quite a lot, and this is fine, except the smell of it, its really horrible.  And as for the writing ink... well I did have two bottles of Quink, but found one ages ago had evaporated... couldn't find the other one, but did know I'd seen some ink cartridges only last week....somewhere.  Found those, and oops think they must be over 20 years old.  So to use this involved taking scissors to them and cutting off the tops, not much ink in those pesky tubes, and of course who never wears her latex gloves or thinks about them until after.   The coloursprays are excellent for dyeing hands too, actually I figured as they did that so well, they'd be OK on my experiment!
I've got another "one bite at a time" thing to do - Xmas cards and/or decorations.   I don't do this for myself, its just absolutely not me at all... so this is really going to be one of those - you must sit here and do something, no cuppa, no walking away until you've achieved something.  I know it will invovle severe irritation, can feel it already and haven't started - well I bought some tartan ribbon, now I need to lay down to recover!!!

16 November 2011

Tea Making for the Flustered!!

Well its all doom and gloom – and that’s just today’s weather. I hate this, constant grey, we have heavy mist this morning – its like the colour gets sucked out of the world, even the lovely autumnal shades lose their zing against this backdrop.
Saturday at EG, had the most wonderful talk from Lynda Monk. She is a very very generous lady in terms of sharing both her actual pieces to look at and the information on how its done. She did give me permission to take photos, but I didn’t ask for permission to put on my blog – so go to Lynda’s and see for yourself, I can tell you in the real they were stunning.
I’m feeling sad….. PaperWEIGHT of which I’ve been a Member for many years is struggling. Actually it’s a sign of the times, so many organisations are struggling for volunteers to run them, and also with finances being what they are at the moment, people have to make more considered choices as to where they spend their money.  I don't think anywhere is safe.
There was a time when loads of people volunteered, when all sorts of things, not just art, sprung into life and were realised by people with strong conviction and a willing attitude.  Times have changed, we don't live the same way as we did, time is precious.  Plus these days we can be overburdened by officialdom - I know several things have disappeared because of Health and Safety or insurance premiums - I do wonder what's wrong sometimes with common sense and being responsible for you and yours.  This brings about another problem because someone will say: "when I did it back in..... we did it like this" and they can't understand why it now has to be so complicated, thinking its now excessive in the minute detail.  But we've seemingly progressed this way, "risk assessment" everything has to be thought of and covered from every direction.  No wonder what was a pleasure to join in, help, organise and participate in the end result - by necessity has become lots of box ticking and headaches.  But it has to be like that, so everyone knows what's what, there's no bending and manipulating because once one does it, others follow and soon everything is more of a muddle, tasks get duplicated or not done at all, and lots of precious volunteer time is wasted chasing things up, checking on things, and volunteers end up thinking - never again.  So sorry but we do need some rules, just to make sure we all know we're talking about the same thing at any given time. When people get on and do the tasks they're allocated, the end result is so often brilliant  But still I think we ought to volunteer, we ought to try - because belonging to things is a joy, and if we want to take away, we ought to contribute, in whatever way we can - even if its just tea making for the flustered!!!  I don't know what I can offer to PaperWEIGHT, but ideas and thoughts have been requested, so, as someone who has taken - the very least I can do is to answer that request - to ignore would be very rude and insulting to all those who have put efforts in...
Terre Verte went to its new home at the weekend.

11 November 2011

Let's Catch Up

Gosh where do I start.... a few days have gone by. Found out my charity postcard via the Rochford Art Trail was sold - and the new owner likes it and is known to me.  Enjoy, Helen.
Saturday I went off to Herts for the ERTF Conference on Colour.  So nice to have Juliet with me - as she is excellent at navigating (sat nav in the car is for shouting at!)  Ran into thick fog, and where did we go wrong?  Missed the turning for the car park!!!
Brilliant day - so much new to learn about colour, for a start that there are zillions of different colour wheels.  Joyce Honeysett was the guest speaker, very informative and kept us using our brains with various paper exercises.  Mhmmm what colours are these..... I greyscaled them at home.
Any ideas?   We used the same 3 shapes in different colours and arranged them differently each time to see what affect one colour has on another - right, this one was......

Our Vice Chair, Janet Cook also gave a talk.  Beautiful quilts and art dolls, a very funny entertaining talk.
It was a lovely day, if a long one, so Sunday it was collapse in a heap.
Tuesday off to The Material Girls for the monthly meeting.  A full on day, lots to go through, and yipee I've completed my hanging.  Wish it wasn't so dull as I need a photo of it to send on to Canada.
I've also been out in my capacity as ERTF Website Manager, to discuss ways of taking that forward.  Thank you Sally/Lorraine, and thanks to Sally for the excellent Lemon Drizzle cake to help discussions!!!
I've been in touch with someone who wants a small Art Works commission, and transacted my first ever PayPal income!!!  And I have a second commission of this ilk to make.  I wasn't sure about asking, you kow how it is when someone mentions, and you're not quite sure, is this a done deal or being polite?  Same as a sale I've made.  Wasn't terribly sure about it - but that was confirmed this morning.  Actually I joke with the person that they are my Saatchi sponsors, as the family now have a few of my pieces.
And tomorrow, off to the Embroiderers' Guild for a talk by Lynda Monk.

02 November 2011

Splash of Pink

This is a photo of the book cover I made last week.  Sorry if it looks grainy - problems with the operator of the camera (ie moi).  The very bright pink is something like a vilene, or tissue paper - and we each were given a piece and someone said... why don't we make something with it by next meeting.  Hence the above, and it being done at speed, and not measured etc properly.  Anyway two of us were good girls and did the task.....
I removed my work from Rochford Art Trail on Monday... and they said "see you next year" - remains to be seen of course if I would get allocated there again - but I'm very happy with it all, now worked out how to manage putting work into glass cubes, and they are glass, not acrylic!!!
Remember I said there's always the "can you just" - and I'd had some pre-warning of that - well last week the proper request came through, so I've to consider what I can do for that within a couple of weeks.
I am making my hanging for the Material Girls exhibition - just painted gesso on calico.
Paperwork and admin wise I've still stuff to do - preparing a questionnaire with someone, researching another idea (must learn to keep mouth shut!) and likely having a meeting soon about managing/changing a group's website.
I've a commission to make - and possibly have another sale of a piece made a while back.  So why am I sitting here blogging - I ought to be getting on with it all now, whilst the light is good.  Still not found a daylight bulb for my sewing machine - manufacturers please note - huge market place for these I'm sure, don't just make for selected machines, we all want them!!!
And Saturday - off to Hertfordshire, to the ERTF Conference on Colour.

29 October 2011

A Whine, Books and some Fun

Last chance to see ROCHFORD ART TRAIL - charity postcards still available - lots of lovely artwork throughout the town.
And now for a rant......  I went to visit one location yesterday to arrive just as art was being whisked out of the door.  I'm sorry but this makes me angry.  The Terms and Conditions clearly state how long the work has to be in place for - we all have to sign these - it IS a Contract.  So why do some think its OK not to comply?  Sure it might be more convenient to take down on this day rather than that - but TOUGH.  When you apply this information is known, its not a sudden thing - and if you don't want to follow what's on the schedule then don't apply - simple.  And on the off chance it was asked/agreed that work be removed earlier - then why not have a sign to apologise and say so.  Does make me mad when the Trail is quite new and its to help the town, the businesses, the artists, the community - hardly of the right spirit.... right growling over.

Finally I made it to the cheapy shop we have out of town, similar to a pound shop but more expensive - sells all sorts of junk must have items and I went to get next year's desk diary - huge expense of £1.  Sounds posh that we have a desk diary, but over the years its been invaluable.  Having only one car, its important to put down who is where and when, and I also write in all the post we get, that sounds particularly sad... but proving when something arrived has been invaluable in the past.  Anyway enough domestic - I stood there looking and decided to also buy a small A6 page a day diary for my textile life!!!  Again the grand outlet of £1.  I have never ever had a diary for my textile life alone.  Seems a bit pretentious - but just this week Chris from Material Girls has sent us the schedule for next year - lots on.  As you will have seen in previous postings, Sept/Oct has been mad for me and I had to draw up a timetable, which inc who needed the car when!   I do keep a monthly schedule pinned up, can't miss it.  That's easy to do because my ISP provides a calendar so I just print it off.  Its not quite a to do list, but I do flag up what's on the horizon as weekly or sometimes even couple of days, reminders.  Anyway I know I have things to put in my new textile diary as far away as next September.
Oh, and sneaking into view under the scissors above is a book cover I made yesterday.  Not that brilliantly as I didn't measure or pin it, or even clear enough space on the table to work properly, but it was a case of I MUST do this now, and I MUST not stop until its finished - otherwise I will struggle.  Its made in response to a challenge, to be shown off to the others on Tuesday.  And actually its been nice to do.  As in yes I have "proper" work to do and deadlines, but this has refreshed things, a bit of fun and helps recharge for the next phase.  And its also good to feel  the challenge was set and I've achieved it.

24 October 2011

Chatting, Tea, and Playing!!!

Rochford Art Trail is NOW ON. Take a look around, lots to see, including an anonymous postcard sale, for charity.

I went out for my Playday with my friend Mary. Its been absolutely eons since we've done this. We didn't get so much playing done, as by the time we have consumed tea, lunch, I put some bits on Mary's computer for her, and we watched a Jan Beaney/Jean Littlejohn dvd, we only managed the one sample!!!
Having been doing this creative stitchy lark for sometime now - very little seems to be new any more, product wise. Sounds pretentious but it does get a bit, seen that, done that, lots of the new books which come out, I take a look and realise, did that 10-15 years back. Or I know techniques, or products by another name.  But as they say there is very little new to be discovered, just probably better ways to design and use, and of course the skills and individuality involved. What keeps every artist of any kind going... the need to keep trying things.... to keep on scratching that creative itch. The "what if...."
So what did we play with, something that is new to us.... Aquabond 2... its the sticky dissolvable fabric - of course both of us have used many different types of dissolvable over the years - but the sticky has been around for a while, but we'd not tried.  First problem finding an edge to peel it off its paper, and then to stop it welding itself to everywhere, scissors, table top, fingers. I used the sticky as it was, sprinkling chips of fabric on it. This is the difference between the two of us. As I go for just testing what it will do, so I'm more interested in will it hold, chiffon, net, cotton - but Mary sees design in everything and carefully cut out and placed her fabric shapes. I used pinks, reds, oranges, colours I never use, with a lime green thread, again a combination that I wouldn't normally bother with - whereas Mary considered the tones of her autumn colours, swapping out things until she had a pleasing design. She put her piece into a hoop to free machine, whereas I did it flat with no other support, again I wanted to know if you could move it around without need for a hoop - and yes you can. We've made dissolvable sandwiches before, but there's still an element of things moving during assembly before stitching. So we were pleased with the ability to place a fabric and have it stay.  Now I want to play with placing paper - will it disintegrate when the sticky is washed out........ I'll let you know - but actually that idea also sounds appealing!!! Here's my sample - its not about design, or beautiful stitching, just about playing with a product, which, ironically.... you can no longer see!!!

19 October 2011

More Work on Display

As far as I know, I've just put up my last display of work, for the year. But.. as I've said before, there's always the "can you just..." request which pops out of the blue.
So today I've put up Rochford Art Trail work - although the trail doesn't start properly until Saturday. The people in Mendozas, are lovely, and I got a cuppa this morning too!
I've got some rather bad photos of it at the moment - the window is in full sun even at 10am, and we did suffer a bit with operator failure (me) - plus I had another appointment to get to. Will try to take some more on another day.
Monday I was at the ERTF committee meeting in Newmarket - its a long trek there and back, and attempting to use the brain in the gap in the middle!!! (That's the hard bit) I managed to get home with half an hour to spare before going off to the Trail Launch Party.
I am so very tired now, the hustle and bustle of Sept/Oct's diary is almost at an end. Its easy to say, I don't want such a full on schedule again, or things which don't involve physical distance - but that's not how life happens - its has all been achieved. Just need to realise its a balance between the times when nothing happens and everything happens. Make sure the supply of post-it notes, and highlighter pens are in hand, teach the cat how to cook meals, and everything will be fine.
The 2012 schedule is building already. Of course my display at Braintree Hospital continues until the end of March. The Material Girls have 3 venues to display the Articulated Materials Bridging Waters Exhibition. Art Trails of course, hopefully, will exist again next year (and some new ventures on that front are pending) - so I will apply for 2 in my own right - and there's potential to be involved in another 2 via various organisations. I've still to buy the house diary - and now I have things to add already for September!!
But..... at some point this afternoon, I will stop, for tea and cake - sorry I bought a single cake for one - so no, I'm not sharing!!!

12 October 2011

Slowing Down and Keeping the Pace!!!

I am soooooo tired now. The pace is now slowing down art wise, and I’ve time for the exhaustion to hit. I feel like I’ve driven miles too, roads I’ve not been on for 3-4 years and now twice in a little over a week. My suitcase is back now from Norwich, with grateful thanks to Kirsten. Actually it set me thinking – I know as always, after the event. I chose the suitcase because of all the meaning and interpretation of my ideas. And also because it was not like one big panel – which you have to make in its entirety. With a collection of small objects, if life got in the way, there would be fewer, and more, if time permitted. But until the exhibition end I had also not thought of the obvious, especially for another person collecting on my behalf. It was a suitcase, so everything fitted inside it, easy to collect and transport for whomever. Note to self – remember this for any future distance events, lightweight, ease of transportation also a factor.
I am pleased to say that two of my small art works were sold. It is re-assuring to know you make something which another enjoys. Affirms its OK to carry on trying! If anything I make, which can be seen on my website, appeals, do get in touch.
So at the moment I’m down to the one exhibition at Braintree Hospital – but next week set up Rochford Art Trail.
The Sept/Oct immediacy may have slowed, but I’ve still plenty in hand either as a deadline to reach or as a fun task. My Embroiderers’ Guild Branch have an event to make and apply for in January. The Material Girls of course have their exhibition next February, and I’m busy making for that. Already I need to start thinking of Burnham Art Trail, which although not until the end of June, has submission also in February. The Material Girls have further projects simmering for next year – which will be revealed on their blog/website when finalised. Good job I already have my personal diary for 2012 – need the house diary now, to prebook custody of the car!! Added into the immediate diary are the fun tasks of making something with my little stitch group before the next meeting (oops about 2 weeks away)…. and a ‘play day’ with a friend. Its been a very long time since we’ve had one of those. Then it will be the ERTF Conference on Colour.

05 October 2011

Rochford Art Trail

Its still busy busy.... but walking pace now, not headless chicken!!!  I've made my postcard for the Art Trail charity sales - will deliver that tomorrow.   Can't show this to you as its anonymous - hope someone likes it enough to buy.  To be displayed at Venue 15. 
You will see from the map I'm at Venue 17 - same place I was at last year.  If you are lucky there is on-street parking right outside, but only for an hour, the parking in the square is also free, but only an hour.  But there's a tiny (pay and display) car park almost opposite my venue (accessed via a one way system) or the main (pay and display) car park accessed via Locks Hill.  Tuesdays its Market Day, so no parking at all in the square.  Juliet Bryson is also in the same Venue as last year - 4, and she has her work on the poster which is in the righthand menu.  Please click on it to be taken through to the Art Trail website.
Next task is to sort out work and means of display.... well, may be next task is to make a cuppa!!!

03 October 2011

ERTF Stewarding

Today meant an early start. Up to Norwich to steward at the ERTF Concepts and Meanings Exhibition. I now live almost at the bottom of Essex, not far from Southend – but Norfolk is my home county. It turned into a very long day. I was 30 minutes late due to a bus being on fire, on a long bypass, with no turn offs, so wait we did. Coming home was just as bad, passed one accident and then immediately queued to pass another, another 30 minute wait. All the years living down here, rarely encounter such delays, but at both ends of the journey…. exhausted now.
Back to the plot. When I picked out the day for stewarding it was more a case of, I can’t do this day or that, and my Mother goes out on these days – so unless I cancel something then the choice of when I can steward comes down to only around 2 days out of the whole exhibition duration. However, the significance of today’s date didn’t dawn until about a week before the Exhibition opened.
Today would have been my Grandmother’s birthday.
102, although her own Grandmother lived beyond this age, alas she did not. It has significance for me because of what I’m doing on this day… showing off stitched work. My Gran had great influence over my stitch life – we sewed together since before I started school – and I spent almost every Saturday with her until I married, when we would sit and sew after lunch. When I embarked upon City & Guilds studies Gran sent me a letter wishing me well, sadly she died unexpectedly just as I completed Part 1. I think she would have been pleased to see me with work on show. So an exhibition in my home city….
Him indoors (Norwich born) came with me today, so that he could go and fetch my Mother and bring her for a look around. She lives in my home town about 15 miles out of Norwich. Not sure what she thought of it, she didn't say much - don't think she really 'gets' textile art.  Although she knits, its for practical purposes.
So here's my piece - thought it could have an outing at last, given the exhibition is part way through.  Did you guess what my disguised photo was of - it was actually this, closed. So a real sneak

The piece is called "Secrets from the Attic" - a made up scenario, a case of treasures which meant something to someone... but what do they signify?  I was going to add an explanation letter, as if from the owner to another generation, but then I thought not, its for the viewer to look and wonder what - just as many of us have done when we've come across artefacts from our own families.  The case belongs to Elspeth - and that's where the first mystery begins......
BTW those 15 tasks?  I've still got to make the Trail Postcard, but otherwise that list is done - and yes, I've bought chocolate, but not eaten it yet!!

02 October 2011

New Gallery on Website

At last I've added a new gallery page to my website   Under "Gallery" is a new section entitled Small Art Works.  I've chosen a slideshow presentation, there are images plus close up details, but no information as such - as that is the nature of this presentation, with so many I thought being able to flick through was better.  But I welcome you to ask if you have any questions.
These pieces, so far, are what I generally term as "Postcards" - in no way should this be considered as a casual term.  Each piece has hours of work, multiple (hidden) layers, and are stand alone art pieces in their own right.  However, I have deliberately made them with a high quality cartridge paper backing.  This has my name, series and website details printed on it - just two lines.  Each one is approximately 8" x 6" so you can frame if desired.  But it means you can add yor own message to the piece - particularly helpful if its a gift.  Sending through the post however, is entirely at your own risk.
At the moment, 12 were sent to the ERTF Concepts and Meanings Exhibition and there are 11 on display at Braintree Community Hospital (see previous post).
If you would like any information about these, and other pieces on my website, do please use the Contact on my website, or email me by following the link to be found via my Profile in the righthand menu, here on the blog.

29 September 2011

FOUR Exhibitions NOW ON!!!

Yes that's right... for FOUR days I will have work in FOUR different exhibitions. After the weekend it will reduce, and then I add on another, but come end of October will just have the one long term in place.
How on earth did I manage to do this. I'm almost baffled by it myself. Actually only One of the exhibitions did I apply for, was accepted and that's been in the diary for a few months. The six month display at Braintree Community Hospital. Yes, six months, another gobsmacking occurrence, and a big event for me. I put it up today.




Of course I didn't think this through in a thorough manner, or perhaps I just assumed otherwise. When I checked the boxes for dates to suit, I didn't take on board that it could, and indeed has, meant two Exhibitions going up in the same week - delivery of work 100 miles apart.
Exhibition Two, is of course the ERTF Concepts and Meanings in Norwich, which continues until 9th October. Of course I've known about this a long time, but final submission wasn't until July, way after One had been decided, and being selected, it wasn't a done deal at all... and I truly didn't expect to be chosen. So its on filling in the diary with details for this one that I suddenly panic over the close dates.  See
Number Three has been running a little while. Its one of these "it would be nice if". A quick invite/take up for Rochford Art Trail Taster Exhibition. As you can imagine now I'm starting to think what I can I put in this which isn't gong to be needed elsewhere.
Number Four, which finishes on Sunday, is the Primarily Colour Exhibition with The Material Girls. As I'm a new Member to the group, and only formally met them all in June, this wasn't on the agenda at all either. But I was asked if I could supply existing work on the theme to join in with them, so I have. See
Its needed a bit of thinking, editing, planning, not least with work away for six months, it also means the display methods will be tied up, and I do need my display easels etc for the Art Trail. Certainly a challenge. Above all I never expected this to happen in my art life, it could be a one off, who knows, and a few years back I would have talked myself out of just one opportunity, let alone saying yes to all of these. Sales would be nice, but hey we can't expect everything!! Its enough that I'm saying Yes to being out there and trying.
The old learning curve certainly shot up at a fierce angle for all of this.... can I sleep now please?

27 September 2011

And another thing....

So last night I decided I'd better make a List of what's to do this week. A list, is that me, getting old I need a list, and post-its on the puter, yes they are there, and the highlighter pen... and for seriously needing attention its the lime green post-its - really can't miss those.
I came up with 15 things to do this week, so OK number 15 was more "if all else fails eat chocolate" - but still.
Why so much... well some of the things are things I knew were coming up, just the other party involved now needs them sooner than I'd anticipated. Also in this art world of ours I do find a lot of "can you just..." - "it would be nice if..." and usually the task is small or manageable so the answer is "yes of course I can".  So why am I delaying and writing a blog post?  Well because it shows how suddenly things can turn and change in terms of art work, and also because there is a saying "that which gets recorded gets done".  I know only I will know if I do it, I could lie and pretend, but that's not me, also the process of writing it down helps to clarify what there is to do.
Actually its not the doing of I'm finding a challenge, I know if I work through steadily I can get it all done, its not overwhelmingly unmanageable. It is the fear though of missing something vital, or becoming so immersed I fail to see the obvious mistake, either written or what I've done wrong or not done at all. This is a problem when you are working alone, because you can't say to someone else, just skim your eyes over that, have I done everything I'm supposed to. Hence the highlighter pen, to show up every task to do, and another pen to cross them off! Actually a large tick with a flourish is very satisfying!!
I also find its not the doing, its the switching of the mind between one organisation and another. I have found that I have to finish one set of tasks, and then actually walk away from the worktable, get a cuppa, chill for a few minutes just to separate out what's what. Physically I can go straight from one pile of stuff to the next - brainwise its needs the separation, otherwise I find I start to mentally muddle everything up, thinking I've got to do X when it belong to another task. If its actual arty making then I can flit from one stitchy thing to another, but paperwork, admin, computer stuff, I'd rather deal with one thing start to finish before the next, even if that does mean sitting watching the puter whilst it does something.
Yesterday I received more paperwork with a "it would be nice if...." but at least that is giving warning about short notice, as in, the request proper might not happen until November.
I am actually enjoying the challenge of all of this... it is a new strand to my arty life to be so busy with a variety of tasks. (remind me I said that when I'm screaming)  I want to put a slideshow of Mini Art Works onto my website - not added one of those, so that might end up last on the list, think it might take the longest and might involve screaming!!
Good news ERTF Concepts & Meanings Exhibition OPENS TODAY - look at the blog for a tease of what's on offer. Hopefully more photos will appear at the event progresses.

22 September 2011

Counting down.....

Tick, tick tick… that’s the clock and also my brain. Its countdown time to delivering my piece for the ERTF Concepts and Meanings Exhibition in Norwich, opening next week. My piece was finished for submission, but I keep looking at it, I added a label to it, rather proud of my efforts actually, how sad it that – but the label is integral to the piece, not just identification of me.
I’m also sorting out the pieces for the ERTF shop. I hesitated over showing you what I’m offering, as you know the actual exhibition piece has only been hinted at here – because I believe visitors should have first look (might add it here part way through event). But I have decided to show you my intended shop pieces, hopefully to:
a) remind to take money with you, lots of opportunities to buy. Exhibition pieces will be for sale – but also in the ERTF shop, an opportunity to get small pieces of affordable art from the Members, also goodies to use in your own creativity.
b) the ERTF needs the sales, commission from the sales helps with funding for the organisation.
c) I NEED the sales, ha ha. Nice to sell something but as well as money received, its also very nice to know that others like what you make, a validation that you are getting something right.
So come along, I’m sure you will find items to suit every budget – early Christmas present buying, and the ERTF Members will be stewarding, so you can chat to the people involved with the Exhibition. I will be there on Monday 3rd October.










And still tick, tick, tick, as I’ve another exhibition to put up next week….
Plus tick, tick tick. The Material Girls need the hanging finished by our October meeting.
Another plus, tick, tick tick. Rochford Art Trail to make a postcard for and to prep for display.

14 September 2011

Fresh Air to Recharge the Soul

Well the madness of last posting continued for a while... the contract I received wasn't right so that had to be checked up on. The car eventually went off on another day, sigh. One or two other little tasks needing to be done for other things when you think its all finished, like him indoors saying your cheque hasn't been cashed from months ago. Huh, no-one has queried it, so that's added into the mix of sort out. Another quick email textile task and the email bounced back, arghhhh, thankfully must have been something in the ether cos it went through OK later. See I'm just convinced September is trying to be awkward. I do feel like some old hag, having to keep track of my life with highlighter pens - actually I think I need staff!
So since last week I've bought more staging to present my work on - the hospital project work is committed for six months, so that also means the presentation equipment is tied up. So lots of research on that, because although I have a record of when I bought the last lot, my notebook doesn't actually say who from!!! (or is it from whom?) Also attended local EG Branch AGM - I'm still the IT Rep!! Went to the monthly meeting of The Material Girls yesterday. Lots of things moving forward with that, and I managed to do the required paper tasks for that one.
Today I went off for a textile exhibition visit. As always time sucks away and its, go today or tomorrow or miss it. The venue was a the RHS Hyde Hall Gardens. Right on the top of a hill, I choose the golf buggy to transport me up and down - great fun.


I just love and spend ages just sitting and looking, its so peaceful. The exhibition itself was by the Chelmsford 93 Textile Group. I started at College in '92 having to do a Foundation Year, so this group was a little ahead of me, as I started City & Guilds properly in '93. So I have known many of the Members for all this time, some are also in other Groups so our paths cross frequently. And indeed today by chance I met some of them and had a lovely chat. The work was really lovely, small woven pieces as in 3" sq to large quilts, silk painting, to machine embroidery. There is something about 'embroidery' and flowers/gardens - they seem to go together. Of course I come home full of ideas... but none of them bearing any relation to what I've actually got to get on and do. But... as you've seen my efforts at textile flowers on this blog, you can rest assured the natural world has nothing to fear from me.

07 September 2011

Mad, Mad, Mad

What's happened?  A new month and utter madness has erupted!!!  I always knew September/mid October was going to be a trial for me, which is why I had to draw up a timetable to work out what and where and when and who, and custody of the car etc.  The latter irritating, because it should be serviced today, not turned up for it, several phone calls later and can't collect it today, will try again Friday.  Argghhhh.  I had today all planned out and by 9.30am its all awry - only thing to do, put the kettle on!
I can't believe what's come into my inbox in the last 36 hours or so.
As the EG IT Rep I've had to send out things for that, relatively easy, except the puter kept deciding to add in extra addresses to the Group listing, duh - why do I want to send things to an ancestry email.
I've also things to do as the ERTF Web Manager - again not onerous, just switch brain from one organisation to another, and making sure I don't muddle the two!!!
Material Girls also have some paperwork tasks to be completed, asap.
And the Contract has arrived for my exhibition at Braintree Hospital.  So I need to read that, look at what's required for that.
I've to label up my pieces for the Rochford Art Trail Taster Exhibition, and deliver those tomorrow - I know a 5 minute task which will turn into some stupidly long time.
Oh and I must find an idea for the Art Trail postcard I need to make...
See before all of this happened, with no car, the plan was to quietly get on finish my things for the ERTF Shop, make my small postcard for RAT, literally clear the table, and then have a fresh start tomorrow on the bigger stuff.  Now, I need to look at emails, get out the post-it notes and a highlighter pen, to make sure I don't miss something amongst all this information. If the cat could make me lunch, that would be a good idea, heck if it could make lunch it ought to do the ironing as well....
If all else fails.... there's always chocolate.... and cake....  may be chocolate cake???

05 September 2011

Shopping....

Despite what him indoors thinks, I actually don't buy a lot of art supplies - in fact I can't recall the last time I bought hand embroidery threads.... I've got mine from years back, my gran's and others donated to me, as well as what I was buying when doing C&G - so the biscuit tin of threads has increased to a huge box, and I mean huge. I keep a record of everything I buy - partly cos I'm registered Self Employed and partly so I can properly cost out anything.  I do a lot of searching around for the best prices - beware P&P is often prohibitive.  I get a bit fixated to track down best prices and what products are really called by manufacturers, not the fancy names given to them by individual shops.  Repair Tissue for instance I've been using since mid 90s, and I know it by at least 10 different names.   I do however wrestle with my conscience, best use of my money versus taking trade away from small businesses.  Unfortunately mail order is often the only way to get what I want - because its not available locally.
But above are two of my latest purchases which came this past week.  I always have a little play with everything - would make more sense if I kept all this info in one place, but it usually goes onto the next blank page of my sketchbook.
The paints - wheeee so pleased with those.  Golden Fluid Acrylic.  I won these on Ebay - a pack of 10 brand new sealed, for just under £25 inc p&p,  On their own they are around £5.50 a bottle - and I discovered the bright red is over £8.  I have some others of these, so I know how they work,only need a small amount, good job at that price!!  I love products which do more than one thing, so acrylics as they will go on paper and fabric suit me fine.
The threads, sigh.  I have been thinking about these for months and months.  They are King Tut - and what's been drawing me in is that the variegation changes about every inch - whereas other threads 4"-5" or more.  But I'm not a quilter, so I wasn't sure if they would meet what I'd want to do with them.  They are 100% cotton too, not normally a fibre I go for.  Again quite a considered outlay when you don't know what they are like, which is why my hesitiation - and what colour?  However Barnyarns offer a Try Me, at the cheapest price I could find for them - max of 5, but they choose the colours.  So this is what I got, and I love them.  Did my little test, stitched beautifully, on zig-zag the colour change is about every 4 stitches, yipeee!!!
Embroidery magazine came too this week, waving to Gina who has a piece in it.  So lots and lots to absorb and play with.... goodies are almost better than a supply of choc (I said almost!)

30 August 2011

Primarily Colour: 20thSept/2nd Oct


Further information: Craft Arena Gallery, Barleylands Craft Village, Barleylands Road, Billericay, Essex. CM11 2UD telephone 01268 523780; Opening Hours 10am-5pm (closed Mondays)

There will be an opportunity to attend a workshop at Craft Arena run by Diane Kelsey, for more details contact Denise Gannon at Craft Arena, 01268 523780

28 August 2011

Been Thinking.....

... always a dangerous pastime.
More spooky muzak stuff.  Sometime back some textile friends were chatting, and a person's work came up for discussion, it was remarked upon how good it was and unusual - but then another person piped up "but its a copy of someone else, its not original to her".    And I thought... yes there is a familiarity about this work, but I can't quite place it.  Then last night reading and there it was, not the same at all, but enough so you'd think they came from the same person, or they'd both attended the same workshop, and gone on to make their own interpretation.  Perhaps in this case it was a shared experience, who knows, but equally it could easily be a shared vision. Some people can be really nasty when they see work which they believe you've copied from them.  I've heard of threatened legal action and all sorts.  And of course its always - who had the idea first?
Back at the April ERTF Conference Stacey, the speaker, commented that we should make notes of our ideas, and date them, so we have a record.  But lots of these things grow over time, and a snippet first thought of can take months or years before it emerges into work.
Many years back I bought a stitch book opened it and stared at "my" work.  It was obvious that both the artist in the book and myself had used the same source picture.  In my case from one of these coffee table books which are nothing but pretty pictures.  Of course beyond the source material and colours, the pieces weren't the same, mine was all hand stitch, the one in the book machine.  But working back publishing timelines/date the source book came out,  I guessed we'd likely both been working on the piece around the same time.
If you look back at textile history you can find textile techniques which are very similar prevalent in countries hundreds of miles apart - the only way to share would be by rowing in primative boats across vast seas.  Similar ideas and techniques do develop without reference to others.
Its really difficult when you have an idea for a piece, or a technique and its sitting there on your table and you open a magazine, a website, attend a lecture and ta dah - there it is.  Am I on trend  and having these brilliant ideas the same time as others.... or don't I possess a single idea of my own?  I think we just have to have the courage to continue, to do so with integrity, to work it out for ourself and not study another's version - and come to a piece which is your own.  But its not easy to continue, so I've found, when looking at other similar ideas and pieces, because there's a world of difference between knowing 100% you've not seen the other things, you've not met the person, copied their work in any way, and yet with their version in the public eye, it looks exactly like its not original to you.  I guess that's why we're Artists, to keep trying, exploring, expanding and to put your own style onto something.
Perhaps after all that thinking, I need to lay down!!
Did You Ever Stop to Think
and Forget to Start Again.
Winnie the Pooh - A. A. Milne


25 August 2011

Effort and Return

Finally I am doing some work... well cough choke, attempting.  This is the "before" - various old maps, in the queue.  After a bit of processing, part done, we have this:
which will have further surface additions.  But I'm struggling.  I can do these with my eyes shut, and actually in lots of ways I find it a comfort to make them, there's a rhythm about the process.   Its all contradiction because I like doing them because I know how, I have multiple variations of this technique, its soothing and yet repetition irritates - although I like pieces which are the same but different!!!   See  I give myself a headache just thinking about it all.  But the problem at the moment is one of "I've got to make them" - which immediately turns it into a difficulty.  Even after a stern self lecture "just get on with it" - I do and I have but it still feels like my fingers are made of lead.  See, I should learn... should make when there's no pressure, no deadlines, then I'd race through them.  But everything is a struggle, even fetching out the portfolio case where maps are kept is an effort, and incidently its not gone away again, cos that's even more effort!!!
The Rochford Art Trail has added in a Taster Exhibition - aside from actually writing it in my diary and sketchbook, I've not got round to what to submit for it yet.  Still take in is only 10 days away - plenty of time - I suspect Emperor's New Clothes might be the idea!!!   Its a masterpiece darhlink, what do you mean you can't see anything... except a price tag....
Tomorrow more PL work - Production Line, may be, after a cuppa or three.

22 August 2011

ERTF Essex Day at the Seaside

 Bit later than planned, but these are photos from Friday's ERTF Essex Day. I certainly had a wonderful time. I didn't go on the beach, wretched arthritis playing up big time, so I parked myself on a bench on the promenade. The above left was the view when we arrived, tide out. This is Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex, in the distance those buildings are in Kent! By the time we left to go up into the cliff gardens, the tide was coming in, second pic - at quite a speed.
So I sat on my bench did the response type recording, as in not trying to make a beautiful drawing (which for me is a non starter), but rather recording the things which speak to you as an individual, so colours, or shapes, or converting sound into lines or stitches etc. I did a lot of writing to describe things. I found myself sitting in the sun humming away to myself. What a difference a day makes, Thursday has been like Autumn, dull, cold and wet, and here we were in sunshine.
After lunch it was into the Beecroft Gallery to see the Essex Open - remember the one I failed to get in. As usual there are some pieces which are stunning, some which you think, huh, how did that past the grade. And although they accept textiles, its always very few - only three this year. We thought we might bombard them with textiles next year!!
It so nice to meet up with people, and especially those who are new to your acquaintance - there is so much talent around, its nice for it not to be hidden, and to be able to sit with others and chat art/textiles etc I'm not sure I'm continuing with the sea project. We are going to have a follow up meeting to see what's developed. But as this was my first time recording in this way, now I know what I'm aiming for, I think I will be able to choose something more considered and thus take the correct colours or tools with me, most of the stuff stayed in my bag!! So first steps learning.

17 August 2011

Fresh Look - New Ideas

Hello all - have you noticed, we've had a change.  I was looking for something else in the Design area, didn't find, but here we are with a fresh look.  Of course it has to remain purple... my fave colour... and its all about branding darhlinks!!!  Its not just thrown together you know, I've learned bits about branding via names and colours, so my website is also purple/white.
I'm having spooky muzak moments....  remember my posting a couple of weeks back referencing being a Materials driven artist and Jae Maries book - well, duh, lightbulb, the whole reason why this blog is called Fibre-Reaction is because my art is my Reaction to my Fibres (materials) - see I knew that even before Jae wrote her book!!! ggg tut, she only had to ask.....
Sat. at our Embroiderers' Guild, we had a lovely talk by Penny Lynne - illustrating a true event with a series of work.  Another shiver down the spine, work made for a story - and my ERTF piece has a story made for the work... not such a daft idea after all.
This coming Friday I'm out with the ERTF Essex Members, we are doing Location Response artwork.  Whoah, sounds exciting.  Not done this before in the sense that this can be anything, ie drawing or stitching in response to what we see, hear smell.  Another spooky moment, quite like the idea of 'recording' sounds via art.  Remember the November Conference, and a talk by Debbie Lyddon on her work based on music, this (excuse pun) sounded very exciting.  I've done lots of drawing, well mark making to music in art classes but I've never done it otherwise.. why?  I've written here before, I also learned to type to music - I know hysterical laughter at the very idea - but we did.  So I think I must at least give it a go on Friday, listening and recording.  What the point of going if not to challenge and learn something new.
Years back with an art class we were doing location drawing, all of us sitting on a wall, drawing without looking at the paper - so we sat there staring into the middle distance, scribbling, gave much amusement to the coach party which turned up right in front of us and gave us a good look!!!
Oh yes, just heard the 2011 Sketchbook Project has finished its tour... think mine was looked at once, or may be twice - so funny - but at least it was opened!  Would love to do it again, but too much to do for this year, so will see if it runs next year.
And now I must get on... need to make work for the ERTF shop, and other things.

10 August 2011

Happy Dancing - It's a Yes!

Yes!!!! Wheeee, Happy Dancing, My piece has been selected for the ERTF Concepts & Meanings Exhibition. (so sorry keeping it secret for the Exhibition viewers to get first look).
I received the news but just thought, Oh OK. I think its because you live with something for so long, it was 8 months back that I had to give in my Intent form, and it was hovering within knowledge before that. And for me that's actually a long time for the one piece to be in mind. So its taken a little while before realisation that I've achieved something. I don't know and I'm not really interested in the who, how, why aspect of the decision making.  I gave it a go, it worked, (actually to my surprise - I was making plans of what to do with the rejected work) and that's enough.
I've tried one or two other selected events, where the wording is required too, before realising everyone else had their work professionally photographed, so this is realistically the first juried/selected exhibition where I've been able to feel on a level with everyone else.
I can't help but think back to one of the first things I put myself forward for, just after completing C&G studies. I was sooooo convinced I could comply with the criteria and I was going to immediately achieve greatness, I remember, honest this is truth, barely being able to make my legs move to take my application to the post box, so full of nerves. Of course I was naively confident, and devastated at the obvious mistake of the selectors not to choose me! These days I still travel hopefully, but far more realistically. I enter things and put myself through the angst, I guess because I need the challenge of trying, stretching myself, deadlines.  This piece is a totally new Concept for me (pun intended). I've made a piece which I've created a back story for, a whole imagined scenario. I've never done that before. Its not for the viewer to know, but it makes sense for me for the project. I liked the whole idea of this, and may do it again.   And... the big news is that the exhibition is in my home city, but already nerves wondering what my friends will think. That may be one of the bigger challenges with this project, trying to explain my art to friends I've known since I was 11.... who have proper jobs!!  (See the poster on the right)
PS Since writing the above earlier - I've had my Rochford Art Trail venue confirmed, so all systems go for that one as well. 

03 August 2011

The Material/Abstract Artist - Moi!!

Just to prove that I do actually stitch, sometimes.... and to prove that yes I can also stitch by hand!!  This was started yeserday at the stitchy meeting I go to once a month.  No idea what is is, or where its going, just me, being a Material Artist.  Thank you so much Jae Maries for this section in your book, Contrasting Elements.  In the past I'd felt such a failure because I often don't have pages of drawings, or artwork, of the gorgeous sketchbook kind.  I do get a very clear vision of what I want, but can't express it, except by just getting on and doing it.  I also fall into the Abstract Artist category.  I had hang ups about not being a 'proper artist' because I don't work in this way so many people coo over.  As I've shown you in the past, my sketchbook is wordy, and technical, full of measurements etc. But this one page describing the various types of artist was like a breath of fresh air.  No one can help but work the way it feels natural to them - but as I've said before on the blog, I've come across some sniffy attitudes because I don't do realism, or don't have pages of gorgeousness (Its absolutely not that I don't like or admire, but for me its like pushing a snowball uphill).  My imagination/vision is almost like a photo, I can see everything, all the detail.  I've just spent past few days mentally working out how to hang a piece of work.  Its been looked at and examined and revised, all in my head.  I'm going to actually make a little physical test sample, but its not stage 1, because of all the thought processes.  The above piece is.... of course... all papers, and something else I'm noticing, by chance - lines.  Mhmmmm, note to self, 'do you realise how often lines appear in your work'.  Do you think I could make my USP (unique selling point) - Lines on Paper?  Doesn't sound very exciting does it and reminds of school and the endless, "I must behave in class"   shudder....

01 August 2011

Nature's Colours

At the weekend I attended a family gathering and met two new additions.  At one household I met a West Highland Terrier puppy, and at the other household I met... Drake.
He's a Bearded Dragon. here he is running about the carpet (that's a shaft of sunlight in the background).  When I first glanced I thought its just orangey brown, but actually the more you look the more colours he has.  And I became more and more fascinated by not only the colours, but the teeny scales.  The changes from one colour to another because of tiny scales - almost like pointilism.  As well as lots of different shades of brown/cream., there is a blush of pink, a soft pale peach, different shades of orange.  I'm told when he's an adult he gets a red/orange ring around the eyes.  I didn't pick him up to inspect closer, not being aware of how to handle him properly or whether any eye contact is threatening, and those eyes look in all directions!!!  It is a reminder to look closer to nature, in whatever form, because the colours are stunning, and nature really doesn't get things wrong. He is certainly more intriguing to study a colour family, than looking at colourwheels!  I must remember, another autumn project a tiny smidge of blush pink may make all the difference.
I hope to go to a Conference in November, where the theme is colour - I doubt we'll be looking at Bearded Dragons though!!! 

25 July 2011

I'm a bit sad.... ;-)

At first it feels like an avoidance technique, especially when I have deadlines to meet - but actually having completed, it is a form of liberation.  Iam feeling really really smug - I have tidied out the drawer where I keep my beads. Yes I can open my own shop with the amount I have - but they are almost my drug of choice. I do have to tell myself "step away from the beads" in a shop or at an event. I can watch my hand reaching out for them, swear its not in my control, and before you know it, kerching! I found beads I didn't know I had of course... beads I thought I must have thrown cos I couldn't see them... and the dreaded several packs of the same colour all part used, cos I obviously bought more thinking I didn't have any. Whoops. Wheeee finally got all my Nymo threads in one place, found the reel of pink I knew was somewhere. Embarrassed squirm, I found a pack of self made 'sequins' square ones cut from coloured plastic bottles. I remember spending ages making those, cutting out, squashing under books to get them flat - nice selection in blues and greens - never ever used of course, grin!

I decided how utterly useless the containers I had were, so bought some new. Back in the day we used to visit diy stores and buy all sorts of boxes and things to store our stash in.
And I had 2 of these for my beads... but after day 1, things have never been sorted, its been a case of shove stuff in where it will fit, wedge packs around them in the drawer. Then you can't see what you've got, can't get your fingers in, nor the bead scoop, so let's not bother and only use the beads which are on the top and have easy access.

I have huge quantities of some, from the days when it was a trend to make beaded neckpurses - sigh, we all did them at the time - heck I even taught a class in making them.
So now things are together by colour, so hopefully it will be much easier to pull out a selection, and it will make me actually use the wretched things.



Ssssh we won't mention the bead loom which lives in the bottom of a wardrobe. I have offered the diy boxes to him indoors for the garage... his eyes rolled and he said they could go with the other boxes I've so generously donated to him over the years. Well, as a Textile Artist - there's is nothing quite like a nice storage box!!!
See the one thing they never ever tell you when you embark on an artistic life - is the stash expands to occupy every bit of the house.  A bigger house would be good - cough, I suspect that would mean more space to fill with very important must have stuff!!

19 July 2011

Done It - Next One!

Hooray, I've submitted my piece for the ERTF selected exhibition.  Here's a piccy of it.  Ha!!!  Its a smidge and I've tweaked it.  You may know what it is.  I'm not going to show you photos of the item properly, as that's not fair, for one its still under the selection process, and for two the Exhibition should have first dibs on it.  If it doesn't make the grade then I may reveal all.......
Also attended a committee meeting yesterday.  A long way from home, but this time I choose the pretty route.  Mileage shorter, journey longer - but lots of very pretty villages to pass through, we'll swiftly ignore driving past the Category C prison in the midst of the greenery!!  But its a reminder really, ought to get out and explore more of what's around us.  Its good to see the decision making processes at work, and just how difficult this can be, and how you have to find an answer which is the best for the circumstances, if not the ideal.  Everyone who volunteers to run organistions are faced with this, and I think it would do ordinary members well to take a stint at some point, just to see how much consideration is given to making something suitable for the majority, it really is talked over and considered, and sometimes hotly argued.
I do have other deadlines to work to... paperwork in this morning requiring my approval.  But I'm also in need of tackling the age old problem, of stuff everywhere, bags and boxes emptied to get at the one thing, time to force their way back into the cupboard.  I'm going to have a couple of days to clear the head of one set of work, before getting on with others started - sometimes I can't make decisions or think straight about work, because there are too many thoughts bouncing around in that empty cavity attached to my neck!!!

13 July 2011

Dead fly, anyone?

I'm aware that I'm not showing off anything exciting - well most of my making is for other purposes, which have first dibs, so I can't. But I am doing stuff, honest. The ERTF selected exhibition for instance - deadline a little over a week away, cough choke.
The above is what we did at our Embroiderers' Guild meeting this past Saturday.  We, a rather loose term, this is what I did - everyone else made nice pretties, I got out the paper string to make mine.  They want me to make a spider to go on it.... I told them I'd leave it on the windowsill and wait for a dead fly to land!!!
Yesterday I went to my first meeting as a member of The Material Girls.  Again I can't say what I'm up to for that because its only the beginning of an idea for one, but also that too is for exhibition next year.  Enjoyed the meeting immensely.  So nice to be able to sit and chat textiles with others.  Whilst of course we do that with the EG and I do value it, its not the same as within an exhibiting group.  All of the various organisations or magazines I take give me little bits of what I need to make up the whole - and I like that.
So today I need to crack on with the ERTF piece.... it is an absolute masterpiece - in my head!!!  But before we start, as always I need a cuppa - want one?  You will have to provide your own choccy biccies I'm afraid.

06 July 2011

Sun, Sea (and Wind and Rain)

I still feel like I'm running to stand still, art wise.  Nothing finished, deadlines approaching. The Burnham Art Trail I ended with my two postcard sales.  So if you went to the Trail but would like more information you can always contact me, look up my website.

You know how us British always talk about the weather, with good reason, yesterday was stuffily hot - today its chucked it down with rain, but I've been out to the seaside, which is not many miles from me, when the rain stopped.  But its blowing a howler of a wind - so obviously the wind surfers were having a good time.  Sun was bright so I couldn't actually see what photos I was taking, - not like the photographer in the corner with his super duper camera.  Mine was more like a 'lucky dip' sweetie bag, had to wait until I got home to see what I'd captured.The expedition is to do with another project which I can't tell you about - not least cos its got the tiniest smidge of an idea, as in - I think I'd like to base it on.................
But this pic, is literally at the bottom corner of Essex - its open sea to the left, and straight up to London/beyond on the right - this is the Thames Estuary.

30 June 2011

Sales, Stewarding and Scrubbing!!!

I've been over to Burnham Art Trail to steward today.  Hooray, found out I've sold a couple of Postcards - this is one of them.  I hope whoever has purchased enjoys.
Alas I don't have a photo of the other...  I'd sealed it up in its cello bag before I realised and of course photos through plastic aren't so good.  But it is one of my map pieces.  Must do more of these, as they seem to get comment and be appreciated.
The Trail is on until Sunday, so plenty more time to go out and buy!!  I've heard some nice things said about my actual pieces on display, so that's good.
Art wise I am working, but not on things I can show you.  My piece for the ERTF selected exhibition is coming along - slowly.  Actually its a bit like the days of studying C&G - lots of part bits laying around, trying to plan out when to do, as for instance I'm out at a stitchy meeting on Tues, so makes sense to have something of this I can take with me to do.  My fingers bear evidence to working - no, not blisters - rather dye ingrained into the nail bed - cough, it was navy blue, so they look a bit grim.  Didn't you wear gloves I hear the cry - errr no.  I'm useless with gloves, have a box of them, do wear them, but also manage to get everything inside them anyway.  So its a scrubbing brush, followed by a large dollop of hand cream.  At least this is better than the bloody massacre of the other week - when I foolishly decided to remove a spray nozzle from some paint, as it wouldn't work.  Except once dismantled I pressed it and it squirted all over me, the table, notebooks - and it was red.  See its not the creative art stuff that's a problem... its the time it takes to clear up the resulting mess.