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


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....