Monday, 30 September 2013

"And the Bead Goes On..." 30 Sept - and all of September's beads

The last September bead. Do you know what? It is 3/4ths of the way through the year! Down hill from here.


And a couple more just because...well, actually to get just a bit more turquoise in the mix.

And all of September's beads together.

I have a few ideas for October's alternative beads. But I will just have to have a go at something to see if it will work out. Tune in next Sunday!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

"And the Bead Goes On..." 23-29 Sept

2013 - Week 39 Daily Beads - at last!



 This rather reminds me of a storm trooper for some reason.





I have been finishing off my Water, Water piece. But at last here are the beads for the past week.

Friday, 27 September 2013


Today I am building the little girl - menina - for the Water, Water piece.

Her clothing and details will be cut from fused fabrics and mounted onto the brown felt outline. Then I will stitch and work into those fabrics with coloured pencils, etc.

Thursday, 26 September 2013


The houses are built. The photo next to it was part of the inspiration.

Pins mark the place where they are to be matched to the stilts in the water. This was before I quilted the sky, so I built the group of plafitas - stilt houses individually and then attached them together.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

still here

I am still here. I am working on my favela piece for Water, Water. A Certain Young Man is back home at the weekend, so I want to get it done before he comes.
Here is a detail of one of the water areas.

I am building some of the houses for the favela today.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

"And the Bead Goes On..." 16-22 Sept

2013 - Week 38 Daily Beads

I tried some slightly different ideas this time. I had these circular disk beads, so I paired them with different beads to see what worked.




small black disc bead of natural material (wood?) with a bugle bead stacked on top.


This was a disc bead stacked with a small black button. These disc beads and the ones for no.264 are not natural material (or glass) but they don't feel plastic-y.



This set of bugles and disc beads worked well, but one or two of the discs had holes just large enough that they slipped over the bugle bead and came off when I tugged all the beads snug to the fabric! So I had to go back through to all the stacks and do a stitch over the disc bead to make sure they all would stay on.


I really liked this last one. I used a wee tiny black button as if it were one of these new double hole beads you can get. I wondered how you'd use those kind of beads and when I worked out a pattern for these buttons and started stitching, I realised the double hole beads would probably work in a similar way.

So the pattern was done with this format... pick up a crystal bead, then one side of the wee tiny button, then another crystal bead, then three of the stop beads I have been using this month, another crystal bead and back through the other button hole, carefully pick up another crystal bead and put the needle through the fabric to the next place. You just have to be a bit more careful with tangling when you are pulling the beads snug down the thread to the fabric.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

2 pieces in PNQE 2013

This weekend I have 2 pieces in the PNQE (Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza) show in America. They are part of the Stretching Art and Tradition group exhibition. The exhibition theme is "Hi, It’s Me!".

My pieces are : ‘Self Portrait’
also known as Lady Sew-Forth

and ‘Swamp Dragon’.

You can see images of the Stretching Art pieces in the show at this link. Click on the title of each piece to see it.

If you click on the detail thumbnails for each piece you can enlarge those photos.
At present, you have to go back to the 'current exhibition' page to go to the next piece.

I have been part of this group for several years now. New members are welcome. Maybe you would like to join? The new challenge for next year’s show will be posted in October. There are further links to find out about it on the website. The focus is to challenge yourself with ideas and techniques.

I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, 20 September 2013

what I am working on

A bit of a teaser - the fabrics I am using for the background on the piece about favelas in Belem.

I am using some of the indigo dyed pieces I did last Autumn in Janice Gunner's workshop at the CQ Winter school.

I hope to get it done in the next week and enter it for Water, Water - a CQ exhibition to show in Henley in November.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Sara Impey at TVCT

Saturday was our TVCT meeting. (Thames Valley Contemporary Textiles) Sara Impey gave a talk in the morning. Her work was great to see up close. It was also interesting to see the directions her ideas have been taking her through the years. I have uploaded a few photos from the many I took of her quilts throughout the talk.

This was from her letters in a grid series she is known for.

This was made in a similar manner, but with a 'blank' (unthreaded) needle on plastic. It creates a lacy effect which can be seen better when held up to the light.

This is a newer direction in her work - colours with alternative word definitions. The colour shapes are meant to represent pills. A piece like this is touring with Quilt National. It is called 'Bitter Pill', the words are ironic commentary on what is said about society's issues. There is a detail photo from that piece here.

and this is also newer - speech bubbles. A lot more complex to design the layout than the letter grids.

Of course this is a very small selection. For the most part Sara uses grid paper and pencils to design the work. Even the grid pieces take a lot of planning for the word placement to work right.

If you ever get the chance to hear Sara talk, she is quite entertaining as well! We really enjoyed her. One of the best bits was to discover she feels a bit like most of us about the work. At the start she is excited. After a bit she wishes she never started. Midway she hates it. But as it nears the end, she gets excited again about it but is very glad to be done!

Sara has recently written a book 'Text in Textile Art' Published by Batsford. (The link is from Amazon, but I see you can get it from WHSmith.) It includes work of other artists as well as some of her work. I have put it on my Christmas list! She had some copies, but I hadn't the money for a book this month.

You can see some better photos of the grid type pieces here. She was invited to submit work for 'Quilts 1700 – 2010' at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2010. Her piece 'Punctuation' is now part of the permanent collection at the V+A. A photo and description of it can be found here.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Brazilian fabric stall!

So, even 40 years ago this fabric stall in the market in Belem caught my eye.

another photo of a slide

Even though the sign is fuzzy, I have worked out - via Google (torturously because it only believes in Portuguese from Portugal) that the sign says something like.

Tecidos: barato aqui entre, Compre e ganhe milhões em prémios

Tissues: (like French for fabrics)
Cheap here (with the added meaning: between/among - more like within?),
buy and earn millions in prices (or premiums)

Oh yeah, Galinha dos Ovos de Ouro? The image is a clue. The Goose with the Golden Egg! of course.

I didn't know she did a line in fabric. Now there is an image for your imagination!

Monday, 16 September 2013

something very cool!

So, I keep coming back to ideas from when I was in Brazil in 1973. I want to make a piece based on the favelas in Belem where the houses were on stilts over water.

My husband found the slides I took when I went there. My dad insisted on slides because then I could show them to groups...but after showing them to a few groups, this is probably the first time I have seen them in 40 years! They are in pretty great condition.

We have a couple little slide viewers, so it was amazing to see those images that still remain in my memory like snapshots. I guess I chose the right things to get photos of!

So, the very cool bit...
I worked out a way to get a photo of the slides through one of the slide viewers! Okay, not so great a photo, but for now, I can refer to the photos of the favelas for the work I am doing. My husband says his scanner will do slides, so I will get him to do some better ones for long term/easier access.

Here is a photo of the slide of the house where I stayed in Belem. It was a guest house for the organisation. My parent's friends ran the guest house where people stayed while they waited for barrels to get through customs and where they stayed when they came to purchase several week's supply of food and basics to take back into the interior where they were working.

Earlier in the year I posted a photo found on the internet of the equipment used to get the juice from sugar cane. This was near Vianopolis where I had travelled to from Belem with the family I stayed with.
Here are photos of my slides of the sugar cane press and how it was 'powered'.

Sugar cane was crushed between the cylinders. The juice ran into the bowl. This was boiled down for syrup, then to the point it crystallised. Then it was placed in a hollow log and buried. I wrote about that in the post I linked to above.

This is the harness for the animals who turned the press.
The 'pile of sticks' are actually a pile of the cut sugar canes.

This is the sort of oxen they used to turn the press.
I was surprised at the type of cattle, having associated this type with India prior to the visit.

I will show you some photos of the favelas another time. I want to get to work on this piece (I have begun the background) and get it finished first. It will be a combo of memory, photo reference, and artistic choice, so I don't want to be trapped into an idea by posting the photos here yet.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

"And the Bead Goes On..." 9-15 Sept

2013 - Week 37 Daily Beads








Bead's are coming! Sorry for the delay.

I am back...Friday. I am shattered, but I have the beads done.

And Then Saturday morning, we found the freezer wasn't shut properly Friday night. So, the meat was partially thawed but I needed to get on with running the TVCT meeting Saturday during the day. So, Saturday evening, after a nap to recover, I browned mince, stew meat, and chicken with their spices to freeze and use for starting meals. Sunday lunch will be pork loin steaks for an army, some of which will be had for dinner and the rest in the freezer.

All of which means I didn't get the beads photographed. So, I will sort them during the day and get them up later.

...hang in there!

By the way, I took some more wonderful tree photographs at the RHS Harlow Carr Gardens near Harrogate - in the Arboretum. I will intersperse them here and there - possibly Saturdays? - in the next few weeks.

Saturday, 14 September 2013


A couple of the trees at the top of the hill above the actual North Lake of South Hill Park
You can see from the trees the past few days that some of them have already been seriously 'trimmed'. The large branches that reached way out and nearly touched the ground at the end have been taken off. Probably 'health and safety'. But I guess within reason...I have seen kids climbing up and swinging on them. and the branch at the trunk is usually around the size of a 'normal' tree. So it could do someone some damage.
I do know that some thing more about these trees will get into my work someday.

Friday, 13 September 2013


Two older trees in North Lake - one is a Cedar of Lebanon

Thursday, 12 September 2013


Cedar of Lebanon
Another one of the trees in North Lake

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


Cedar of Lebanon
One of the old trees in North Lake

Tuesday, 10 September 2013


Cedar of Lebanon
One of the ones in North Lake

Monday, 9 September 2013

in yorkshire

for a break and a 93rd birthday. See you at the weekend.

I am leaving you a few trees round my neighbourhood to give you something to look at!

Wellingtonia's on Frobisher

This is particularly for Irene who 'needs' to see me post! ;-) but really, I took these photos because I was trying to document them in some way before they, too, are gone. I marked them on the first map of my neighbourhood.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

"And the Bead Goes On..." 1-8 Sept

2013 - Week 36 Daily Beads

I didn't post Sunday's bead last week because it was the 1st of the month and I wanted to reserve it to show with the beads for the rest of the week.

I am are back onto embellished fabric beads. I wanted a bit more of a graphic look. I had a scrap of fabric I really liked - blue with black abstract print. So, that has become the base for the embellishment.

I started with the plan to use black and white/clear beads, but I didn't have the range of black beads I wanted for making each bead unique. So, I decided to include turquoise blue coloured beads using the same colour combo as in the fabric.








There is a bit of a pattern going on as to placement and when to include the blue. But it is rather a convoluted reasoning I don't think I have the energy to explain! Just part of my design process though - setting random extra challenges for myself.