24 December 2014

Fun for me!!!

Well the day is almost upon us, and I've still presents to wrap, but well, you know there has to be priorities, so....

I've mentioned before, a personal Christmas ritual, from childhood was always to have something creative to make.  I associate the making with Boxing Day afternoon.  Stitch kits, crochet...   So I like to have a Christmas make. Over the years I've bought myself all sorts of fun things.... the flower weaving kit to replace one from childhood, a mini portable spirograph, fancy yarn to crochet a scarf.  This year I've not bought anything.....

However, I've pinched an idea... I've filled a sketchbook with paint backgrounds, and intend to doodle, play, zentangle, as and if I feel like it.  No shortage of sketchbooks in this house, but why did I buy a DL size? Time to put it to use.... so here it is prepped.  Between mince pies, chocolate and fizz, it might not get used, but as I spend Boxing Day alone...... I will be happily content to play.

These are wet on wet with clingfilm overlays
Spectrum Noir Aquatints

A few stencils made on my
Silhouette Portrait, bought designs, well free cos I have a voucher!
Love the look of them with the paint left on.

Acrylic paint

Using a stencil which I won from

Wishing everyone all the very best

07 December 2014

Tales and Textiles Exhibition

The Material Girls current Exhibition is now open.  Tales and Textiles at Craft Arena, Billericay, Essex, - poster in righthand margin.

Because I've been asked, I will give the background information to my work on display.

Tales and Textiles is the theme.  Each Member of the group chose a style of decorative textile pertinent to a country, alongside which they found a Tale to compliment.  This may have been a myth, legend, poem, song, something passed on via verbal history.  The ideas and inspiration make for a diverse approach.

For my work, I chose English Samplers, I saw many examples of Sampler through the ages, inc to the present day.  To me, Samplers record a moment in time, not just the sewing skills, but names, ages, dates, family history, and with many constructed by young girls, it didn't seem a big step to associate the rhyme 'Monday's Child' - known as a fortune telling verse.

I found in my research variations of the same stitch patterns over many years.  Blocks of stitches, patterns, motifs.  To fit in with my personal way of working, I used a paper base to set out blocks and filled each with a variety of stitches.  Monday's Child in its entirety was printed onto specialist inkjet watercolour paper, and the words from each day were also stitched into the blocks.  The colour of each day's Sampler was driven by further research finding that days are associated with particular colours and meanings.

Update of pieces as of 14th January 2015

Here are my pieces, with the title ExemplumLatin for example.

Exemplum 1
(Monday = White = Purity, Wholesomeness)
Exemplum 2 - SOLD
(Tuesday = Red pink = Sacrifice)
Exemplum 3 - SOLD
(Wednesday = Green = Renewal, Wealth)
Exemplum 4
(Thursday = Violet = Creativity)
Exemplum 5
(Friday = Blue = Nobility, Tranquility)
Exemplum 6 - SOLD
(Saturday = Dark Blue  = Power)
Exemplum 7
(Sunday = Orange = Adventure, Change)

Each of the group were also asked to make a 'book' - in the broadest of terms.  I chose to continue the moment in time record, making a book of the year I was born.  It has a page for every day, month divisions and a gold page for my birthday.  I'll give you a clue, it was a Leap Year, and the book is entitled "Thursday's Child".  So 379 pages individually added in coptic stitch, it measures approx 65cms wide, making it very flexible to display.

There are some mini stitched canvases for sale, as part of The Material Girls shop.  Monday's Child is printed on the background, with a coloured heart motif, a symbol to mean, love, friendship.  Each comes with its own display easel (not shown in this image) and option to add a day of the week to the canvas.

10cm sq  Mini Canvas
Pink and White - SOLD

As the Exhibition has now finished, contact me direct for information on pieces.

All of the items can currently be seen at the Exhibition, any sales transactions to be dealt with via Craft Arena, as such I will not personally know of availability of any pieces.
Do look at The Material Girls blog for photos from the Exhibition.  You will find huge talent and variation in interpretation of the theme, well worth a look, and may be, an ideal Christmas present?

29 November 2014

Walrus has Spoken

The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:

Well I can't believe so much time has passed since my last posting, so lots of little stuff to catch up with.  I'm not going to reveal why... but the next two lines are also apt in my textile world at the moment.  Sooooo think on......
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--

I had a day out at a textile Conference with the Eastern Region Textile Forum.  Very nice to have a meeting in the same county as where I live.  And the next one is too, so for a change not leaving at some unknown time of the morning.  Amongst the things I found out about - Vedic Number patterns.  Its also really nice to meet up with people who have other textile interests to your own, especially as now its easy going to catch up and chat like you've never been apart, even though conferences are only twice a year. 

At our local Embroiderers' Guild Branch we had a lovely talk re millinery.  I didn't think I'd enjoy it, but it was a very good slide presentation to include history of hats and very accessible information about the modern bespoke hat maker.

Just this week a couple of things have happened.
~ received the application forms for the Burnham Art Trail which is due to take place 20th-28th June 2015  so I will be sending in my submission for that one.
~ also confirmation of the dates for the Rochford Art Trail, not due until much later in the year, 17th-26th September.  It will be a while before the applications open for that, but good to know the when.

Oh and excitement, I've won a prize from a blog.  Its a stencil and comes from Carolyn Dube in the US, this is the lady who I did the Gelli Plate course with.
Now, I do read blogs and Facebook posts, but I tend to only comment on things when I genuinely like something, having been brought up with the "if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all" attitude.  I do hate the gushing "you're sooo wonderful darhlink" posts some people always write on comments. There has been a bit of tongue biting this week, having seen plaudits for something which is misleading... can only hope it comes around and bites.  But, people are people, sigh.

I've also got my bag packed.  No, not holidays.  The bag full of goodies for this:
The Material Girls next exhibtion opens on Tuesday at Craft Arena in Billericay, Essex.  Click on our link to take you to our blog, and also take a look at our Facebook page and please like us.  As well as the exhibition pieces forming Tales and Textiles, we will have gift items for sale, so pay a visit for that artisan made Christmas present.

Please also take a look at my own Facebook page.  I've been posting a Sunday Share, with a weekly pic of a piece of my textile art.  Oh and guess what, its published on....... Sundays!!!

Hopefully I will be back, with somehting pretty to show, ideas not a problem, just need staff.

27 October 2014

Tales & Textiles Exhibition 2.12.14/11. 1.15

The Material Girls are bringing their recent exhibition to Essex.  So if you missed the opportunity to view at Cottenham, Cambs, come along to Craft Arena, Barleylands, Billericay, for a chance to see the diversity of work.
Art will be for sale, and there will be artist made gift items available.
Please tell your friends, and come along.

20 October 2014

Studying via E-Courses

Well having almost finished one mini e-course, I've signed up for another.  More on that in a moment.

Tasks from One Pull Wonders

During formal studies it was soon apparent that the information exchange wasn't enough and so I participated in many workshops.
However participation in such these days has dropped to almost nothing.  In the main this is simply due to my own knowledge base extending.  I have been on workshops I don't need, or particularly interest,  purely for the pleasure of the company of fellow students, usually known to me, or because a tutor always has something worthwhile to hear of.  However these days I wouldn't pay for a day out simply to be with good company, I can do that over tea and cake.  But equally I will go on a course knowing absolutely no one, if its something I want to learn.

My second course is also an e-course.  This way of learning, makes it interesting to see how things are moving this way and a new way to participate.... for me.

One Pull Wonders was a US based e-course.  Comprising instructional videos, inc 2 answering questions, the option to join in a private Facebook group, share work, ideas etc.  There's no time limit on the availability of the videos, and I can watch over and over.
My next e-course which has yet to start, follows similar set up, except there will be a Flickr account to share, not Facebook.  UK tutor this time.

So far I like this new venture, but these are purely leisure based courses, there is no criteria to meet, or end assessment. Benefits so far on this new e-study.
~ no time limit on completion
~ don't "have" to do anything, even in a workshop there is always the (self) pressure to do as asked.
~ taking a sideways step is possible, and importantly there is time to explore that, not usually an option in a class, or limited time for it.  Away from the workshop the idea can be forgotten or impulse lost.
~ supplies are all to hand, no more of taking too little or too much, its easy to substitute or find something else which works for the technique.
~ ability to study regardless of location

The downside.
~ lack of face to face contact, both with tutor and fellow students.
~ may be no interaction with tutor at all, in any form

I've certainly found the One Pull Wonders value for money, with 15 lessons over 5 weeks, sometimes with more than one technique, the cost of the workshop has been around what I've paid for a single day with a tutor.There may be another workshop to come with further Gelli Plate techniques.

So the next one.....

I am very drawn to the work of Karen Ruane.  I have no idea why, whether its the white on white of some of the work, the clean lines, or stitching on paper (can guess I'd like that)  I don't pretend to understand the whys and wherefores, but then its her work and it should be that, hers.  So I've seen that she has a little mini course on offer, and I signed up.  Doodle, Gather, Create, starts 8th November, want to join me?

Image - Karen Ruane
Click on the image to take you to details of the e-course

06 October 2014

Messy Fun

Well I've been having fun - following the One Pull Wonders course - can't believe it, already in Week 4 of 5.
When I first saw there was a new Gelli Plate out, I wanted it, I think it will fit right in with both my plans and the space I have to work in.  So was thrilled when I tracked down a supplier and it arrived.  So now I have the A4 approximation and 3x5.
So here's what I've been doing, with stencils and paintbrushes, and fingers.....
I have more than these of course, as there are three lessons a week, but I decided just to do the lesson and then when I need it in a more considered colour way, to do that.  Of course naturally I'm drawn to everything abstract.
I think this has been good value... about the price of a single day's workshop. There will be 15 techniques, plus some extras, and then seeing what others produce and their version, gives more.
I'm not a pink person... but find myself reaching for that hot pink over and over... in fact I ordered some new paints which included orange and the lime green.
I do remember eons ago attending a talk by Leslie Morgan  she made comment that thread on a reel can look massively different (of course, duh) to the single strand of thread, and that she often used bright colours or unexpected colours in her work.  That single line of thread isn't then so scary and makes things 'pop'.  I immediately bought a reel of what I'd call, bright leery pink.  Its a tip well worth remembering, and I think I should apply it to my paint plans!  See the print with the black paint, doesn't look like it has the same pinks and orange as in the bottom pic... but they are.
Oh, and I bought myself a charity shop book especially for the roller cleaning of paints.  Spent ages choosing, and thought this most appropriate.  Alice's Adventures in Wonderland!

21 September 2014

Rochford Art Trail

until the end of the day Sat 27th Sept 2014


My work can be found at Venue 10
15 North Street
Please contact me direct if you are interested in any pieces
Here are window views

Left hand window
'Roundabout Rochford' top with map postcards
'Roaming Essex' bottom
Right hand window
'Traverse 1, 2 and 3' top
'Travel Journal' bottom

There is a lot of reflection as the work is in glass cubes behind the window

Details of the work....
From 'Roundabout Rochford' - which is mounted on a window mount, ready for own frame.
Comprising machine stitched together paper circles, which have then been mono printed, overlaid with hand stitched street plan of Rochford.

'Roaming Essex' - a stitched and mono printed background, with an undulating map of Essex stitched in a bookbinding technique.

'Traverse 1, 2 and 3'  - each has machine stitched patterns and pathways.  1 Pink, has the addition of surface embellishment made from printed paper, enhanced with Spectrum Noir Pencils.  2 Blue, is hand stitched.  3 Green sequins.

'Travel Journal' - an accordion book.  Each page has a map of an area, decorated with beads of varying types, ie Scotland, white beads for crofters cottages.  With a meandering journey line across all pages.

I make many 'postcards' which in reality should be termed small art works, as they are 8" x 6" suitable for framing.  See my website for more images of those and of my work in general.

It was a very busy and successful launch on Thursday, after admiring the work of others, always a joy, jaw dropping at the skills involved, I found myself acting as a sudden teacher's assistant.  The launch had two school groups present, and I helped out with the sewing sessions.  Well behaved but there's a reason I don't have children.... I fear they would be taught as in Victorian times if left alone with me!!!  Now, was there actually a reason I had put on my witch hat brooch that day.... mwah ha ha!

Rochford Art Trail offers up guided walks for FREE.  11am assembly at the Water Pump in The Square.  Come along on Monday, where I will be available, to chat about my work, outside my venue.

07 September 2014

New Chapter - Print It

Well the creativity has been at nil level - this is due to the sudden death of a very close friend.  We met through textile studies and it was a continued shared passion.  But 22 years on, there was so much more to chat about.
We lived about 25 miles apart but spoke regularly, for ages on the phone, so I have a big gap in my life now.  So I'm going to start to fill it, with, what might sound odd.  But its like all the dots lined up at the same time.

One of the things I hate, and did you get that hate... is doing something creative which then takes fives times as long to clear up.  I can and have made paper, and being a paper person you'd think I'd do more.  Likewise I can and have dyed fabric and threads.  But I come down to, can I buy this, and if so is it worth doing myself.  When it comes to colour, for years I've preferred to add that via paint, because I can get the exact shade I want, and... only colour the amount I want.  I have fabrics and threads dyed by me which never gets used, I hate the faff of dyeing large pieces for the 20cm sq needed, or just as bad, getting out all the equipment to do just a little.  Last lot of dyeing I did, six different colours in separate lots, brilliant, then decided to abandon the entire idea, so yet another pile of stuff unused.

So fearing I was getting too far the other way, too far commercial product, not enough me, I bought myself a Gelli Plate.  I love it.  Its exactly right for me.  The clear up is next to nil, the prints dry so quickly there's no longer a trail out the bedroom across and round the landing and into another room.  Plus paints, brayer (roller) stencils, I already have those in abundance.  I just crave the baby Gelli - 3" x 5" but I don't see it readily available in the UK, yet.  I've asked a local shop to enquire of her suppliers.

The pink pattern here on the background is one of my prints.

So although I love this, I'm still not putting enough effort into it, and that's when all the dots lined up.  As if I needed an excuse, info re an online course was released on my birthday.  Its by Carolyn Dube, someone I've followed for a while, because she makes me smile, I love the attitude of not getting worried about whatever happens in the art. the changing minds and doing over.  See her blog/Facebook to find out what an Oops is....
Now that my friend has left this gap in my life, this little course, 5 weeks, will offer up focus, structure, sense of purpose.  I've no idea if it will be the right thing, if the end result will be my style or meet my needs, but I don't really care, cost wise its worked out to be roughly the price of a single dayclass, so its not like I have the "I've spent all this it has to work" mindset.  I already have most of the things to be used in the class, might need some US/UK translation.
So to borrow from another who uses the Gelli Plate and whose work I like, Hilary Beattie - I'm going to start Gelliping in a more earnest manner.
So with my birthday and a death, it becomes a new life chapter, I'll let you know how it goes, that is if anyone reads, but hey, its all about recording the how, what, why, for me.

Find out more about One Pull Wonders via Carolyn's website, here.

02 September 2014

Kitty Kat Update

For my none Facebook friends, and anyone who like a cat photo!!!

We've now owned the boys for just over a year.

when we first had him

couple of days ago
He will sit for hours in the garden under the honeysuckle, or find his toys and play by himself.  I'd describe him as a contented cat, happy curled up asleep.  Every night when him indoors goes to the main computer, Spike goes too for his hug!

first day we had him

couple of days ago
This one I'd describe as a very willful cat.  He's very soppy when it comes to fusses from him indoors, and my husband has to play football in the garden with him.  We think we make the neighbours jealous, cos their dogs don't play football.  This one though is very possessive over things, growls when he has his toys, and very sharp, can work out where you've hidden them, even if he wasn't in the room at the time.  So far he's captured one bird (saved) a mouse (sadly not) stood his ground against and made moves towards a fox, more than once, brought home the cardboard drinks carrier for takeaway drinks, and also a takeaway sauce pot.
Both of them have chased butterflies, but Spike is heavier than Bandit, and he threw himself into a bush and broke it.  Both eat numerous flies and spiders - eeewww.
They still have mad chases of each other around the house, I thought Bandit was a little too dominant, as he was always launching himself at Spike and making him squeal.  Spike has a "step away from the paw" - if things are too close to him and he doesn't like it, he puts his paw out, and that includes when your brother is trying to sit on you.  But I've seen him now sneak up behind Bandit and launch himself on top of him and make him squeal!!  Not sure they are full size yet, don't seem it to me, and definitely don't purr so you can hear - Bandit especially you have to put your ear on his chest to hear him.

love each other really
Bandit on the top being washed by Spike

19 August 2014

Rochford Art Trail - 18th-27th Sept 2014

18th-27th September 2014

Once again I will be participating in the Trail.  Here is the information for it:

Lots of exciting extras alongside the displays
(click to enlarge)

Here are the artists - find me at Venue 10
(click to enlarge)

A bigger version of the map
(click to enlarge)

If you would like to download a pdf copy of the Trail map, please go here
paper copies will be distributed by venues and artists shortly.

Also check out Facebook - Rochford Art Trail
for taster images of work from the artists, as well as updates

01 August 2014

Blinging the Beige

Well I have lots of things to do... and as usual I've designed and redesigned in my head a zillion times, but nothing is giving that "ta daaahhh" moment.

Sometimes I do wonder though about the drip feed of info into the back of the mind.  For a while I've been looking at a loopy stitch pattern, thinking I must do that... then as part of my research I'm looking at a document with this same loopy line.... duh brain taking ages to connect the dots,loops!!

Wednesday was the monthly EG meeting, where we stitch and chat, actually chat a lot, laugh even more.  We take along our stitching, I wondered what to take, I never like to take anything being made for another organisation, or for exhibition, and with so much chatter its impossible to concentrate, so nothing precious.  I had a look in things put aside.
Amongst them, I found this.... oh look it has loops - sigh.
Actually I think it looks quite good in retrospect, for the person who cannot do anything remotely realistic, at least looks like flowers.  I do have bigger versions, painted with watercolour.

However, instead I decided to take this.
Its one of three, where I was attempting something brilliant and failed.
It didn't improve after adding ink to it.
The colour is "old paper" but looks a dull green beige.
So consigned to the pile of Why, and that's where its stayed.
Until the EG meeting.
It now has some deep burgundy crosses on it.  Not exactly screaming gorgeousness at me - but now it has a purpose, it comes under that dreaded word so oft used in college by my P1 tutor - it has  potential.  The other two which go with this, are still in the "why on earth did you bother" pile.

In the meantime I need to get back to the main task in hand... I want to revisit some of this.  It wasn't right for the project I was doing at the time...wonder if it has potential now?  Ha

21 July 2014

Secret Revealed

Remember this previous posting, where my lovely piece of artwork to show, was just a ?

Well the secret auction at Burnham Art Trail  is long over and I'm assuming my Postcard has gone to its forever home.  Here it is to share with you all.

Of course, to match my window, it just had to be a Beach Hut!
The base is Kraft card with free machine embroidery
The Hut itself is has been closely straight stitched
then it was monoprinted and then attached to the base

close up detail

I hope its new owner enjoys

For the time being the Beach Hut theme is being put into storage.  I'm trying very hard to pursue an idea given to me years ago. That is to have 2/3 themes of work, to move between them, as both the mood and ideas strike.  To this end I've gone back to my Map theme, for my personal work - although I also like to play and just make whatever and have ideas on a third theme.  All of my ideas could mingle with each other, ie take a journey (map) to a beach hut!  But that is more accident than design, although may be a link can be found between anything, if you just look.
I don't know if this process will be long term, will be a good thing for me or not - its just not a way of working I've pursued before, but I can see benefits. So watch this space, and the Maps are due out on show in September.
Beach Huts, Maps and other pieces can be seen on my website which has a selection of my work.  Anything which interests, please contact me.