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22 October 2017

Comments Taken to Heart (and Scissors)

Much like my last posting, this one is about shining a light on my own thoughts, as instigated by others.  Like the last, I should have trust and belief I've done right... but found I was doubting myself.  This event took place before the last, so I guess I'm feeling hyper aware to such.

This was my piece for The Material Girls exhibition "Goodnight Children Everywhere" recently shown at Rainham Hall.



Whilst I was there doing my stewarding a member of the public asked after it.  So there I am, wearing my identity badge, standing next to my work which is also labelled with my name (in two places I might add) - and they happily tell me to my face what's wrong with it, and not in an art critique kind of way!

So this is where the light shines on my emotions.
Fair enough, no one likes everything, so you are perfectly entitled to think such.
But next I am filled with conflict.... is it really appropriate to say such to the artist?  Not to my taste, not my thing, all 'acceptable'.
However the comment, albeit throwaway almost trivial, and yet in one breath hurtful and also bemusing. Not really sure how I was supposed to feel about such.

I brushed the face to face comment aside, but days later it started to gnaw at me.  Why?  Could it be hurtful because it had an element of truth about it?  If I were totally happy with the piece, then the remark would have firmly planted in the bemused side.

I had never made a book like this before, it took a lot of working out the practicalities of the how, and I would make it differently another time.



Anyway post exhibition, I decided to take scissors to it - well a scalpel, as actually its too well made to succumb to scissors.
It needs some tweaking to sort out, few snips are not the end, and I've got to make best of it in situ, its neither practical nor something I want to do, to dismantle and reassemble.

So.... the irony is  "I Spy" (title of the piece) can no longer be spied as it was at this exhibition.  If its ever on show again, perhaps you'd like to play:  I Spy with My Little Eye - changes made!



17 October 2017

Suddenly, 3 At Once.

In the words of waiting for the proverbial bus... everything comes along at once.

On the bad/shrug shoulders news, three times last week I've been on the end of doing something to have it ignored.
There's been a 'I don't know anything about this' - OK so you didn't bother with the two emails I sent out, one a month ago and one only three days ago?
Add in another person saying "oh I don't read any of the emails you send"

I suspect one of these ignoree is playing a game....she's on my List, mwah ha ha!

Yes I could fill a book with them
Its not a Naughty or Nice List - you don't want your name in this book!

I answered these remarks - I have done as I've been asked, I've prepped, I've advised, you have all you need, its down to you whether you bother to read or not, I can't make you.

The only down side with these things, is in the past when people don't respond, claim lack of all knowledge and suddenly its panic, can you just...(don't we love those words) and its last minute must be done changes which fall back to me.  Still that will get them a Star next to their name on the list, they will move up in rankings!

I find myself somewhat amused though, quite Why do you bother to actually tell someone you haven't bothered with the communication, shows themselves up to be a wotsit and leaves me having it confirmed!!

door to opportunities

On the good news bus, another Workshop opportunity came up.  I haven't done workshops for ages, may be a couple of years, and now in the space of about 12 weeks I will have done three, or poss four, given the latest is two individuals or stay the whole day.  Mhmm what is a cluster of Workshops known as? Oh I know  PLAYTIME!
It will put me in my happy place as it will involve 






11 October 2017

September Whoosh

September was mega busy, it always is, but this year seemed exceptionally so, at one time 20 appointments booked in.  It gets more complicated for a one car household, having to work out logistics.
So let's take a look at it, in pictures.  Hopefully if you click on they will enlarge for better viewing, click on any highlighted links too.


First week of September attended a Workshop
Art Van Go
Now I think I've done 2 of these in the past, may be 3, but years ago.
Its play and experiment with paint products.




The following week it was time to set up
Rochford Art Trail





The next week with the Trail still on
time to set up and open
'Goodnight Children Everywhere'
at Rainham Hall





In amongst lots of stewarding, here and there and trying to keep track of
where I'm doing what, and him indoors with his own art display too
So on Sunday 1st October everything was down.

OK so its now October, but the finish to the mad rushing about
on the Monday night, 2nd Oct
50 Ways to Leave Your Layer



This was about base layers and how to layer up
so both of these samples may have a way to go,
but it was about process.
I loved this workshop came home buzzing with excitement.

I've had lots of thoughts comparing the two workshops at either end of this busy time., both with backgrounds, different approaches. There were differences in content, product, delivery, lots of similarities and differences.  I may commit my thoughts on these to another blog post.  So watch out.

Now that October is here, The Material Girls have one more Exhibition for the year at Loughton, which is all in hand.  Otherwise breathing space, which is good, time for the ideas to pop and be acted on, instead of a lot of reaction which is how its been of late.


16 September 2017

Trials, Trails and Exhibitions

September is madness month - at one point between us we had 20 appointments.  Some of them simple, but not so much when you are a one car household and its working out who is where and when.

Today is the 16th... and so far I've attended a Workshop, an AGM, set up work for the Art Trail, been to a finance meeting, a launch party, done two lots of stewarding, answered the 'can you just' which crop up.
Next week, we set up work for The Material Girls Exhibition which opens on Wednesday.

Hopefully I will have pics of it all later for you, but in the meantime, let's have a look see...


My piece for The Material Girls
whilst under construction


Storyjar Preserve
see below in window display


Work on display in Art Trail


So currently my work table/area looks like this












29 August 2017

Coming Soon



Next Exhibition from The Material Girls.
This is a new body of work, not seen before, lots of personal stories entwined with when the Hall was a Nursery.


22 July 2017

Encyclopedia - what tales you tell

Recently at my Embroiderers' Guild Branch, we had a most excellent talk by Amanda Clayton - one of those filled with snippets of information, the sentence in the midst of the topic which strikes a chord.  And of course the work, I loved.  Her own collection of things, handmade books, and, just pure deliciousness!

One of the things she brought along was an old copy of Therese de Dillmont's Encyclopedia of Needlework.  Two things I loved about this - its age and the fact it was a very fat little book.  I do already own a modern reprint of this book, but felt the need to buy an old copy.
So, Ebay search and this came through the door.


Its only A6 size, but over 800 pages


Look what I found within the pages
There's no date as to the print of this copy, save for it being a revised and extended version with colour plates.  It is full of wonderful phrases not used today, such as:
"Decoration of the gathers, known as Smocking"
Here are a couple of paragraphs which caught my eye.


"Mechanical power" - ooooh


So often we don't sit properly to work, and end up with neck and back ache.
"an awkward attitude" - mhmm does that include having a hissy fit when it all goes wrong.

This book is not so beaten up by time or use, I wonder who owned it, did they use it, was it a present for someone who hated stitching, but it was expected of them.
Who knows, I might make up a story of who owned it and when.

19 July 2017

Diary Dates - Embroiderers' Guild


Saturday 5th August 2017

Once again my Branch will be participating in the National Celebration of Stitch day.
I will be along from lunchtime to steward.  Please come along, we will have Make & Takes, a chance to share stitching and to chat with Members to find out what the Guild is about.


Saturday 12th August 2017
Branch Meeting
1.45 - 4.30pm
Balmoral Centre
Westcliff on Sea

This is our usual Branch Meeting, which will be a practical afternoon.  Bring your sewing kit. The theme of the afternoon will be Metallics.  There will be a variety of hands on practical sessions for you to join in.  I will be running one myself on Decorative Cords.
For more information on our Branch click, HERE 

I hope to see you at one of these events.


17 July 2017

Paper Everywhere

A plumbing issue meant a trip into the loft, so the much over due clear out of my Part 1 Embroidery commenced.


Out of sight out of mind... well nearly.  Plus at my P1 college all our samples had to be mounted for display, hugely impractical, mega expensive.  So the reluctance to edit came down to
1) blood sweat and yes lot of tears, to achieve 
2) the expense tied up in the presentation,
3) the evidence of a lifelong dream achieved, and
4) when would I feel ready to do it.
I'd already done the P2 work, because that was in folders, easier to edit, and never made it to the loft.


All of this is just the back up paperwork.... 10 x A3 files of design work for the Preparing Working Designs element.  There were an additional 2 files for the Full Working Designs - at my college we had to take a design further, and the item to be made from it, had to have full step by step instructions on how to construct, complete with photos, diagrams, costs. Happy to bin that.
Then there were the fat ring binders full of design techniques, principles of display, colour theory etc etc. All of that is in here somewhere.
The actual display of the 10 design themes, method of which we were not allowed to repeat, huge A1 boards, books, boxes and all sorts.  All out, phew.

Of course there were the actual embroidery samples.
Most of those have been binned.  Couple need dismantling, some need photographing before hitting the bin.  This is all that's left.


Not sure I have all the embroidery samples, think may be another box somewhere.  We had to make 3 Experimental Samples - the box contained 1 and 3, but no 2, and I can't remember what it was at all.  Quite a lot of the work was dire... so glad experience and practice makes improvement.

In one of the boxes I also found my childhood bible.   I can't remember if it was ever new, but its falling apart.


As a child I had heard that families kept their history records inside the cover of the family bible.  So naturally I thought I ought to do this, and kept a record of me!  I particularly like 'this is how I write long ago' - already writing it thinking of someone in the future reading!


I had also heard/seen that some books had gold edges to the pages... so I took a red pencil and coloured the fore edge of this bible!!

As an adult I would learn that indeed history of births and deaths were in a family bible. However my Great Grandmother was married to a violent man, she left him, but was ordered by the Courts to take him back, and in a fit of anger she ripped out this history, guess she was trying to remove his existence in some way.

I wonder if interests are forged in early childhood, certainly I love all things book... and I love words, but then as a child with nothing else available, I did used to read the family dictionary.  A big book with finger holes for each letter.  The last hole punch I bought makes the finger hole shape.

I'm in the midst of making more books.... perhaps its time to gold leaf the fore edge... or make a book with pretty edges, mhmmm good idea.





21 June 2017

Paper and Pages of Books, Events and Inspiration

Well the tidy desk soon became a mess again.

Covered with papers, buttons, paints, glue,
with the window sill occupied too
more paints, paperwork etc

So next tidy up will be when I lose something.

So what have I been doing.... well the Embroiderers' Guild Branch Exhibition is now over.
Lots of lovely work, met up with those not seen in a while and new faces too.  Please come along to the Branch.
The Spring Open Exhibition where I had one piece in, has also ended - told there should be another around October time.

I've entered the Rochford Art Trail - waiting for my venue.  Someone asked me how many years it had been going, well.....this will be Number 9.  I've been in every one, inc the pre-Trail tester exhibition.

I've also sent off a Statement of Intent for an Embroiderers' Guild event, but so far nothing more than that is in hand - pile of paperwork on window sill, its in there somewhere.

And now yesterday info on another local event, which I will have to be quick on, if I want to enter as deadline is only 10 days away!.

Toddled off to see a couple of things.  Up to Norwich to look at Turn the Page Exhibition, which is nothing but book art.  Lovely. Click on the link to see images from the event on their Facebook page.
I've seen some of the Exhibitors several times, can recognise their style. I saw a first time Exhibitor who clicked with me, Paula MacGregor.  One of these spooky muzak things, as I'd been working on 'found poetry' or 'found stories' - been frustrated by my efforts though.  If you don't know, its where you take original text on a page and highlight words to make something else.  I've managed to turn Charles Dickens into a daring burglary and escape by plane.  But my means to reveal this aren't as I'd like.  Paula's work showed me I could have a different viewpoint of this.  It felt much more comfortable to see her interpretations.

Keeping with books, I went to see friend Juliet's work with the group she belongs to - Seven.  Wonderful collection of Art Journals.  They had some common elements to use and/or techniques, but each gave their own interpretation to the artwork, in gorgeously well expanded accordion books. bursting with colour.

I'm currently doing lots of book things, ideas aplenty, hope it doesn't look like I'm copying because some of my ideas have been in existence prior to seeing others work.

I had better post this, before I lose yet another week and nothing gets done here.


12 May 2017

Paper Play

I had a very indulgent day playing with paper, only drawback is the need to clean up the floor afterwards!  But I love love love these - no project in mind as yet, its enough to do and sit and stroke.


Tomorrow sees "Ruby Stitches" Exhibition open.  Its my local Branch, South & East Essex, of the Embroiderers' Guild.  Over 60 pieces - contemporary, traditional, 3d showing the wide range of techniques which embroidery encompasses, proving that the Embroiderers' Guild has something for everyone.  Do come along and see - on until 17th June with Members in the Gallery at varying times, and a 'Make and Take' day free to all, on Wednesday 31st May.




04 May 2017

How Dead End Ideas Become Reality

So whilst its all so fresh I thought I'd show the piece I made for The Material Girls, the why, a bit of how, and what.

When we were given the brief of Environment, I thought 'oh dear' - I'm sooo not good at real, and a visitor last year made comment on the artistic interpretations of real design sources.  Of course it IS artistic interpretation, but it set up a dread inside.  So on my 50 minute drive home I'm mulling this all over and trying to think how on earth as a primarily abstract person can I do this, and what environment.  A short distance from home is a traffic light controlled one car width road, I stopped in the queue, to my right are fields, in front of me a railway line and right next to me, on the left, right beside the road, a Churchyard.  Still contemplating, the thought went through my head "what a dead end project this will be for me" - one more glance left and then lights changed and off home.  At home the irony of my thought at that place struck me - and ting, I could chose Churchyards.

So off on adventures to investigate local churches, and take photos.  Had several lovely trips out, time spent chatting with a volunteer groundsman, local dog walkers, and one very isolated church in a one street village, was suddenly interrupted by a group of walkers appearing over the fields, who were very bemused at my taking close up photos of lichen.


Discarded Memorials

Overgrown graves




And then amongst all my images I found the inspiration

And who better to be inspired by then someone who makes 'pots'
and Essex born - Grayson Perry.

So I constructed my pot, from card and calico


Abandoned any hope of being botanically accurate with my plants
as I've said, I don't do real...

Free machine stitching on paper - lots of paint of various colours and layers,
touch of crackle medium, and this emerged.


Him indoors loves his photography, and playing with images
So this original image
became this

I don't think Grayson will be troubled by this effort.

Having been swamped by too much realism, its time to immerse myself
back into the abstract, and just go where the mood takes me.