Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Spring Joy

A bit more Spring Joy today...amidst a day of bitter wind and rain!
We had the Crafts @the Library at Birch Hill. Because of having to let the pieces dry, I didn't get photos of Norma's, but she did a lovely daffodil with a light blue background.

The one I did has had a chance to dry, so here is a photo for you.

I might get "in Progress" photos tomorrow at Great Hollands. I am hoping we do get people out. I think this long winter has meant people are staying home in the warm.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Inspiration Monday

An adult cake for the 21st birthday of a Certain Lad.
pattern and repetition

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Sewing for Pleasure/ Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch

Friday and Saturday I was in Birmingham at the above show held at the NEC. Friday I mostly went round with my fashion teacher/designer head on. Sat I helped Hilary Gooding look after the Contemporary Quilt stand, where we engaged the visitors who stopped to look at the Journal Quilts from 2009. I think it was quite successful as we convinced quite a few people to begin to try new things, possibly in a scheduled way like the monthly journals. And that it wasn't so scary to do a small piece because you were only committing to a small amount of time and materials.

Here are some of the interesting bits of the time at the show...or at least some I thought to photograph.
The Fashion Show was fascinating. Not just Inkberrow Design Centre, but other colleges as well. These pieces were from the student collection from one of the colleges. The theme was Make Do and Mend, the inspiration being WWII fashion. I loved it. The same theme was the inspiration for one of my C+G pieces. The garments in the first photo were made from fabrics that had WWII images printed onto them.

Costumes from the film The Duchess.

Katie Patchett - one of the Madeira Sponsored Students
I love the way she displayed her printed and manipulated textiles!

And then from the sublime to the ridiculous...

As I was going from the hotel to the show on Saturday morning, I ran into a whole platoon"?" of Stormtroopers,
Visitors to the Sewing shows were a bit taken aback when they came down the escalators! ...and then whipped out the cameras!
Darth Vadar,
 Tuscan Raiders,
 and even 2 R2 D2's (remote control).
It was a Memorabilia show in a different hall.

As well as several other Star Wars characters, I also saw a Monkey from the Planet of the Apes, and several troops in combat gear with submachine guns, perhaps from that film, as they were talking together, but I saw it so long ago, I only remember the monkeys.

Needless to say, it was a bit surreal!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Featured Blog

Last week I posted about a blog addressing some of the various issues of quilt art. Recently, another blogger has begun to cover these type of issues as well. The Art with a Needle blog was only started recently, but already has quite a following. Kathy Loomis writes in a way which is easy to understand, even if you haven't got a background in Art and haven't read much about Art issues previously. I find I often agree with her, even though I may not have thought about the issue before.

Whereas the subject matter of Elizabeth Barton's work is mainly architectural, Kathy's work is very abstract. Her method of construction usually involves using very small pieces of fabric pieced together to make the whole. It gives the work alot more texture than using larger pieces might do.

Her current discussions have been about finding your voice, working in a series, and trying other methods of working as a way of experimenting to see how you might take your work in new directions. Kathy also talks about evaluating the experiment to see whether it can be used.

As for me, I am NOT very fond of piecing at all, but I do like trying to develop my work further. I think I have been stretched alot through the Fast Friday group, trying things I would never have attempted. In some cases, I have gone on to use what I learned and in other cases, I realised I never want to do that again! (like the Fractured Quilt challenge!)

My dragon series was started by responding to a challenge with Fast Friday. The Rain Forest Dragon was the result.
Then during the series I did the thread painted dragon claw which lead to more thread painted dragons and fire creatures. This year I am continuing the series using thread painted dragons for the journal quilts I am doing for Contemporary Quilt. I may not do thread painting for the whole year, but I know I am not done developing dragons and fire creatures. I am also experimenting with colour taking further some of the other things I started to learn with the Fast Friday group.

So, anyway, go check out Kathy Loomis' blog. She also does a post once a week with inspirational photos she has taken.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Staffordshire Hoard project

While I was in London (at City Lit seeing Margaret's exhibition), I was not too far from the British Museum. They have a few pieces from the Staffordshire Hoard on display til mid April, so I thought I would go and have a look in person.

The photos in the booklet and on the website are stunning. I knew it was macro photography, but I didn't realise the pieces were quite as small as they are! They were rather hard to view because there were skylights above them which reflected off the glass. Even harder to photograph, but I wanted some of my own images to take home as a reminder of what I had actually seen.

Here are some of the better photos. Some are zoomed in after I got them on the camera. You can tell how small because you can compare them to the weave of the fabric they were laying on!
Love the button!
The garnets inlaid into the filigree are so tiny.
You really admire the workman who made it!
an example of less geometric filigree.
I think they said this piece would have had garnets as well, but they have fallen out.
tiny eagle head
You may recall that our EquilARTeral group has a challenge in response to the finding of the hoard. We were very pleased to hear that enough money has been raised to keep the hoard in the country. Now to raise money to have it cleaned and preserved.

I am off to the Sewing for Pleasure show today at the NEC in Birmingham. I am going stay over to help with the Contemporary Quilt exhibit on Saturday. When I return, I shall let you know what I discover while there! I have set a Featured Blog post for while I am away.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Art foundation course exhibit

A few more of Margaret's pieces from her exhibit were in the glass case near reception.
Some of the scary stairs and in/out/between rooms.

And some of the artwork from other students that caught my eye.

A very glamourous chair covered with beaded fringe tape!
realistic ceramic flowers amongst real ones.
You couldn't tell the difference till you were up close!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Art foundation course exhibit

Today I went in to London to see the exhibition of the Art Foundation students at City Lit. My good friend Margaret Cooter (one of the bloggers under Featured Blogs in my sidebar) has been busily working on the course, and I wanted to see in person the fascinating things she has been making. This term she has been working with ceramics.

Margaret has been exploring the idea of things in dreams, like under stairs and wonky stairs, etc. If you want to see a bit more of the journey process and more of the bits and pieces she has made in the process, you can go to the blog and read through her posts about it.

Here are some photos of what she developed for the exhibition.
The whole piece
wonky steps leading to a dangerous ladder
which leads a long way up
to a virtual forest of wonky steps.

It is quite amazing. You can really see the work and thought she put into it. And as she says on her blog, some of her rooms with scary bits are also on display downstairs in one of the glass cases.

Well Done, Margaret! I hope you find that the visitors all respond well to the work. (I did overhear the head of college telling some other "important-looking person" how good her exhibit was. They seemed to be very impressed with the obvious thought and work that has gone into it. Quite right, too!)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Fire Creature

Today I started the Journal Quilt for March. I wasn't quite sure where I would head, but there are 2 things I am exploring (besides Dragons and Fire Creatures). I am trying to explore just what I can do with thread painting - how to avoid some of the issues I have had with it previously. I have also been looking at colour a bit differently. At the moment, I have been doing complementary colours (well, with a bit of artistic license if a thread has another accent colour in it.)

In Jan I finished the purple and yellow dragon claw and Feb I did the green on red piece. So, this month it is the turn of orange and blue. At present, I am having the warm colour in the background and the dragon is in the cooler colour.

And here is a bit of a start. I was going to start something using inspiration from a Dover Dragon book, but then I thought, No, I really enjoyed finding those Fire Creatures in the fabric, so I would see what was there today! Not sure what the story will be, but who knows!

What I did learn is that although in the past I avoided orange, I think I have been using it more and more. I have used the little orange fabric I had, except this batik with butterflies. (I think they will have to be turned into flames somehow!) and I only have orange rayon embroidery thread left! I shall have to remedy that when I have been paid this week. :)

Monday, 22 March 2010

Inspiration Monday

Crest on the building near the parade ground at Sandhurst

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Congratulations are in order

Congrats to a Certain Lad at his OTC passing off parade for the first year of his training! The sun came out for it at The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.
with proud dad and mum

AND his platoon won the Best Platoon Prize! As the programme says: From the outset of the Training Year, the Platoons have faced a competitive challenge at the end of each exercise. These have included loaded marches, casualty extractions, drill competitions and command tasks, all of which have attracted points for the fastest completion. Best Platoon is awarded to the Platoon with the highest number of points.

Here is the inspection of his platoon by the Lieutenant General.
The parade was accompanied by the Band of the Scots Guards

Great Day!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Featured Blog

I'd like to intorduce you to another blog. Art, Quilts, and cogitations thereon is becoming a place to go to for quilt artists to stop, think and consider various aspects of making art quilts. Elizabeth Barton discusses topics such as composition, making and selling, and showing your work.

Elizabeth, originally from England, often works in a series. Subject matter is generally architectural landscapes, ranging from her native York to ruins of industrial factories and mills near where she lives now in America.

Although she often uses her own work as examples of the topic she is discussing, Elizabeth also has a website, where her work can be seen better. or you can go to the Festival of Quilts in Birminham this summer and meet her! Within moments of the tickets for classes becoming available, Elizabeth's masterclass was fully booked. You can read about the exhibition she will have at the Festival of Quilts from this pdf download from Twisted Threads.

I haven't got to the place where I can fully comprehend all the matters of discussion at Art, Quilts, and cogitations thereon, but I do appreciate her willingness to share her ideas. I think I am still cogitating and by no means do I feel that I have anything that really relates to what Elizabeth says and does.

But, just to connect slightly, here is a photo of the only piece I have done that is somewhat architecturally related. Maybe it is time to look at all these archictectural photos I have taken and actually do something with them.

This is Ratna's Limited Horizon..my version of the inside view of an Indonesian jail, where Ratna and her 2 friends (one a doctor) were held for 2 years away from their families with threat of death. All because they were teaching muslim children, at the request of their families, in their school.

I used a corded pintuck technique to make the bamboo print more realistic. Through the window, you can see the guard and shadows representing the children of the ladies.

Friday, 19 March 2010


a bit of detail from the QA piece, showing the beads I added.

and a so far for the SAQA piece. I think it wants some kind of stitching, which may be hand stitching, but I have to have a think first.

Thursday, 18 March 2010


A bit more progress on the second communication piece.
After adding beads to it, I realised the first piece was in need of something more as well. Especially to highlight the idea about communicating ideas. So I have added beads in that area.

Here are the 2 of them.

I should be able to finish the second one tomorrow. I am going round the heads with beads to add more weight visually and physically. The top is quite heavy and the piece very light. but there will be a hanging sleeve of silk organza at the back. It will cover most of the area where the majority of beads are, so they will have the support they need.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

more communication

Following some of the ideas that came from the Quilt Art piece, I decided to do a 12" x 12" piece for the SAQA auction. Each year I mean to do one, but don't find the time or inspiration.

So, this is where I have got to so far.

I want to do something in the middle of the think bubble. It is about sharing ideas. I am still mulling titles around in my head.

So, the ideas which started with the Zoom:Language piece are now becoming a series of their own.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Spring Joy

As you might have been able to tell, Spring is my favourite time of year. 2010 has been taking its time about bringing Spring! Finally, today we had a lovely sun-shiney day.
So, it is a good time to show you the samples I made for this month's Craft @the Library, which will be the 30th and 31st of March. You can see in the side bar the time and place.

I am calling the craft Spring Joy. They are a simple way of celebrating the joyful colours that are coming into the gardens.

They can be hung in a window or on a mirror.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Inspiration Monday

One of the random adverts seen at the services off the M40.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

a race run well

A Certain Lad did the Silverstone half-Marathon today. At least it was sunny alot, although the winds were very strong. Last year the time was 2 hrs and 10 min. This year, even against the wind it was 1 hour 45 min!
Hurrah for him!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Featured Blog - Monday Artday

One of the blogs I like to look at regularly is the Monday Artday Blog run by Mike Baker. It has prompts to which illustrators and cartoonists respond. A challenge word or phrase is given each Monday for the members to illustrate and they post their work.

What I like about this is being able to see how artists from a different part of the art world work and think. And because alot of it is cartoon like, it is usually lighthearted. If you get a chance, you should go over and have a look.

I like this idea of working to prompts, not just limitations of a challenge that stretch you like the Fast Friday Blog, but words or themes. You may remember, I took on the admin of the Ideas for Inspiration Blog in January. There have been some pretty cool photos and work posted there in the past couple of months. As it is about ideas for inspiration, it has been a good place for those photos we all seem to take of random things. or about catching the start of an idea which we may or may not get back to sometime in the future.

Here is one of my latest photos which I manipulated and posted to the blog. Another lady then took my photo and manipulated it more! That was interesting!

We are having a new prompts on the 1st and 15th of each month. In the first part of the month, the prompt has to do with a colour and in the last part of the month it is a letter. You are welcome to have a look, and then if you want to join us, you can send me an email.

Friday, 12 March 2010

supplies vs getting stuff made

Some days I feel like I didn't accomplish any work. However, I forget to take into account the fact that paperwork goes with life and one must go to town once in a while, even though I would rather work in my studio.

So, today I did do something...booked hotel and train for going to the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC at the end of the month, where I will be helping with the Contemporary Quilt exhibit there. I don't like doing that sort of thing, and it took me all morning.

Went to town to the market (Bracknell market is only Fri and Sat.)to try to find:
- a dog fabric panel (to live in the dog house at the back of the Wendy house) at Lady Sew and Sew from Marlow, who do a stand in the market...no dogs today...ring the shop and maybe next week. (I don't plan to go to town 2 weeks in a row!)
also looking for:
- Piping cord, for more ideas I am having for corded work like I have done in the past
- job lot bag of buttons, for a workshop in April
- and iron cleaner, because regardless of trying very hard, the recent bout of fusing things has meant my iron got mucked up
from Sew Divine sewing machines and haberdashery from Reading who also do a stall in our market. Yes on piping cord and come next week for buttons and iron cleaner. (well I will go to town next week if I must).
- Tissue paper from the "cheapy cheap" shop. (for a workshop at the end of this month)
piping cord and tissue paper

- And trainers from Tesco, since mine have a hole and are too dirty to look nice.

Because I have problems with my feet, I can't wear my good shoes for the whole 2 1/2 hours I am standing teaching. Finding decent trainers is difficult since I wear 4 1/2 and even proper shops don't seem to do half sizes in trainers. I don't like paying loads since they still end up having some issue that hurts my feet, and there are not usually any better choices for colour. Well, today I found a pair for £5! The girls size 4 had more room in the toe, so they will do, even though they are white with a bit more sparkly pink than the ladies white with pink. (big choice! LOL) and since I want to do a bit of walking if it ever gets warm, I thought I better look at black (none in ladies sizes) so as to change and change about to avoid having problems with my feet. No black for girls (what do girls who don't do pink wear?) but I found some size 5 boys for £9 that work.

And you wonder why I would rather be in my studio making something?