Sunday, 19 December 2010

All the rearranging was done in time of the opening at 10am and The Dulwich Workshop Christmas Sale, it was a great success! I came home very tired but very happy.
That was my last fair of the year, all my commissions that I had promised for Christmas have been made, framed, wrapped and dispatched with couriers and Royal Mail, I am now on my Christmas holidays!
I am looking forward very much to spending some time at home, larking around with Michael, Maurice and Big One and just 'pottering about' in general, of course I have oodles that I want to do, and crocheting hexagons and playing with fabric in my work room are just two of them!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy new year. xx

The final rearranging

Monday, 6 December 2010

Sunday, 5 December 2010

I can't believe I haven't blogged for over a month, but I haven't stopped! I know I say that all the time, but it's always true, my little feet have hardly touched the ground. In the last couple of weeks I've been exhibiting at The Country living magazine Christmas Fair, The Brighton Craft Fair - MADE, A house sale in Bosham, Making Merry Open Studios and then this Saturday I'm at The Workshop Sale in Dulwich Lordship Lane! Busy, busy, busy, but I've loved it. (if you want to grab yourself a real bargain come along to the Dulwich Workshop Sale, it's full of end of lines, seconds, old work etc. a genuine affordable feast of delights )

Thank you for all your kind comments and stories, it is always very lovely to hear from you and I am delighted to learn that my work is enjoyed - a true pleasure and you are very welcome.

I love what I do, there are many different sides that make up the whole busy business of my work, some sides it has to be said are much more attractive than others, but you really can't have one without the other.
Some times I have to get away from my work, I can't always see where I'm going and I have to do something else to "rest" whilst new thoughts and directions can then come quite naturally. What I have had great pleasure in making in the evenings over the last week with Big One and Maurice taking it in turns to scorch themselves alive in front of the fire is a Curious Things Patchwork Kit. It was really easy to do and I loved it! our sofa now sports a new cushion made by me in a medium I have never dabbled in before.
Go to my curious things link and have a look at all the different patchwork patterns you can get.

Saturday, 6 November 2010


I am nearly packed up and nearly ready to go.
I leave for the Country Living Magazine Fair on Monday, I have two days to set up my booth and then the Fair opens on Wednesday. As always I am so excited about seeing all my hard work set up and ready for the fair to begin.
I have just finished making some little brooches using Machine Embroidery and then decorated with little glass beads around the edges, I haven't made anything like this for ages and it has been like revisiting old Friends. They really are like little jewels of delight. Owwh, I hope they enjoy themselves at the Fair and make new friends too.

A Fishy Snack

Friday, 29 October 2010

I'm back from the Great Northern Craft fair in Manchester, which was a very positive experience. My work was received very well, I met some wonderful people, had sales, commissions, ate at Carluccio's and I really enjoyed spending time with Sarah Tyssen and her beautiful work, what more could I ask for? My next event is The Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair which is held at The Business Design Centre in Islington London. November 10th - 14th
Now I'm back to my studio and I can't stop making tiny pieces for tiny frames! My space which I share with Jill is so cluttered with all our stuff spilling out everywhere in an organized untidy tidy manor that I wonder if psychologically feel so hemmed in and so therefore can only make small things in my small space, or maybe I should stop navel gazing and pull out that poor big Fox piece that I started weeks ago and just pull up my socks and carry on!

Beach Chase

Friday, 15 October 2010

Shall I?

New Fair and Old Friends

I have neglected my blog terribly in the last few weeks, I truly don't mean to, but I just haven't been able to keep all the balls up in the air at once! Too much on all at the same time, and as I have fallen victim to some hum- dingers of migraine's, (I wouldn't wish them upon anyone) I am currently very reluctant to work at full pelt all the time. Something had to give and it was temporarily my blogging.
On Wednesday Sarah Tyssen and I drive together to Manchester to The Great Northern Craft Fair where we are both exhibiting our work. at spinningfields, M3 3AQ It's a fair that neither of us have exhibited at before and we are looking forward to the experience very much. (note the royal we) So hence, all my time and energy has been put into making new pieces for the event, and I have just loved making all the new little pieces.
Some of them are unframed pieces, mounted onto pale cream card and some of them are also mounted onto card and then framed in a pale natural wood frame, and Oh my, am I pleased with them, thrilled in fact. As described by the lovely Michael "A little bit of joy in a frame"
I wonder what beautiful delights Sarah will have with her, ooh, I can't wait.

Happy Cat

Saturday, 2 October 2010

I have spent the week with 220 other crafts people at Origin - the London Craft Fair in Spitalfields Market in East London, the show looked fantastic and I had a great week. I stayed with my friend Janet and we spent the evenings talking textiles and everything to do with making textiles, fantastic! Now I am back in my studio sorting out and putting all the components to my exhibition booth back again (including the blue tack) and starting to sew again, which is just delightful.
It may be a little early to be making pieces about a Robin in the snow, but I couldn't help myself. The piece I started making about a Fox in the Snow, is a very big piece and I've put it on hold, hence the little Robin! My head is also full of all the autumn leaves that are falling from the big horse chestnut tree outside the studio, and I want to make some more autumn leave pieces too and wind swept beaches, ooh, how the changing seasons change my work.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

I have found my way through the trees of panic and have come upon a peaceful glade.
All my work for Origin is made and in it's respective frames, waiting to be bubble wrapped. The unframed pieces are all mounted and cellophane wrapped, priced and waiting in a new cardboard box, my greetings cards are all shiny and new and are in their cardboard box also waiting alongside to be placed in my car on Wednesday when we drive to Spitlafeilds Market. All is in order and I feel calm.
I am very excited to see how all the pieces look when we hang them on Wednesday, in my head my booth is all worked out, but I know the hanging plan will change when I actually see the space. I must remember not to cram them all up.
Today I compile the massive list of all the things I need to remember to take with me to make my collection of work hang and my booth work, therefore lots of foraging around the studio and trying to remember where I put my blue tack! Where did I put my blue tack?

Monday, 6 September 2010

I am working on new pieces for Origin, at the moment it all seems up in the air with no order and I can't seem to find my way and make sense of it all. I think therefore I am in panic mode. There is so much to do and of course as always, so little time in which to do it all in.
I must just try to keep calm and carry on, and to add to all this - I am so excited to!

Origin Craft Fair 23rd - 29th September 2010 presented at Old Spitalfields Market London E1
I was so wonderfully looked after whilst I was on my visit to the embroiderers Guild of Market Harborough. We had a splendid day all stitching away to create machine embroiderers in various themes and sizes, and my, did the day just fly! but, I am very happy to say everyone involved used the day to its full potential and beautiful pictures, brooches and pieces were created and worn home!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

My little quilt sample

Guess where I have been?

I have had just the most wonderful time at The Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. It was my first ever visit, and I loved every moment of it. I went with my friend Rebecca Ball who herself is a very talented quilt maker and maker of the curious. curious things (see lovely links list) It was her who encouraged me to go. She is a very passionate maker, her work is just divine.
At the show, I loved it all. I loved the atmosphere, the buzz of excitement, makers quilts, the shops. Everything!
I saw so many people that I know, the cross over from embroidery to quilting can be such a fine stitch line, after all it's all still sewing, just in different ways.
It was a very fantastic positive experience. I enjoyed very much being a visitor and soaking it all up, with time to look, observe and react, and I am already looking forward to going next year, I think I would really like to be a student at one of the many workshops that run there. Just a taster for an hour or so.
It's something that I have never done-make a quilt, I have never had the confidence to make one, thinking of all the mathematical calculations that one has to do first, but as Rebecca pointed out "you can just make a strip quilt, it doesn't have to be by hand you can make it on your machine, with scraps of fabric" and I felt a light go on in my head and it all made perfect sense.
So here it is my first ever little quilt, as the professionals say "I have just pieced together the top"

Saturday, 14 August 2010

I have called the piece about a lady and her blackbird, "My blackbird friend" a simple, gentle piece, which I enjoyed making very much.
I so love the blackbirds song, wherever I am and whatever I am doing I never tire of hearing the beautiful tune.

There is now, just today I feel, an autumnal feel to the air. I'm not ready for August to stop and September to begin, a few weeks ahead yet I know, but I don't want the summer to end. I love being in sandals with bare legs and it being warm indoors and out.
I think knowing that the seasons are about to change has made me skip ahead a season or two and begin a piece which is quite big and about the snow, crisp and white with little splashes of bright colour and a fox in the background. There are two figures in the foreground and the lady has a rabbit in her pocket and I think I may put another little creature in her arms. I think I may also mull this piece over a bit, and dip in and out of it, taking my time with the making of it.

Barking Mad

Our two weeks of children's summer workshops have finished.
The studios Light box in the garden was full of children all busy making, excited chatter would escape from the building every so often and then a crackle of silent concentration could be felt as tricky cutting, sticking and the final negotiating of stitching was achieved to create wonderful, individual and unique creations.
I made sock dogs with a group of very talented little stitchers.

My blackbird friend

Sock Dogs

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Beginings and Endings

Thank you for all your kind wishes about Maurice. I am very pleased to say he has settled back into his home very well, his gashes are healing and he is putting on weight.
Big One has finally come around to the homecoming lad and has stopped his hissing, spitting and growling. Poor Big One, sharing is very hard.
I have finished two commission pieces and am currently awaiting my framer, who is awaiting his supplier. I can't wait to see the pieces in their respective frames. Looking clean and crisp and new. All ready to send to the clients who have commissioned them and have been very patient in waiting for their pieces - very exciting.
It is a funny feeling when pieces have been made. Once the work is in its frame it becomes whole and complete and I can detach myself from it. (to a certain extent) They have then become themselves I can can let the work go.

My first piece for Origin 23rd - 20th September which is being held at Old Spitalfields Market London E1 has been made, I have called it "An Afternoon Away".
The first piece of a new collection for a show is I think, the hardest to be made, the first step.
I haven't made a piece about a girl lying on a blanket for ages.
I now want to make a piece about a girl and a blackbird, I've been mulling this theme over for a few months now, like I did with the girl on her blanket. With each new piece the same feelings come over me, every time, excitement and nervousness and hoping and hoping that the piece will work and eventually become its own.

An Afternoon Away

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Beautiful Maurice

Maurice goes missing

Beautiful Maurice went missing five weeks ago, he walked out down the path one evening and never came home. I have been distraught, even though I kept telling myself he was just a cat, and not to get so ridiculously upset about the fact he had disappeared, it didn't stop the nag nag nag of what could have happened to him.
All the horrid lurid notions of where he might be, and what sort of a state might he be in, which make you wake you in the night. Then the hopeless and defeatist of willing, whilst you long for the comfort of sleep that if that the case that hopefully he is dead and no longer in pain.
I had convinced myself that he must be dead, after all we live next to a railway line and what chance has a un-streetwise very small all black cat got in the dead of night with a freight train?
Sewing in the evenings at my big machine in my work room has been very hard. He would always sit in my lap purring as I sewed. Now sewing alone, it is hard to sew straight lines whilst crying.
Then miraculously late last night my lovely husband took a call from a kind local resident to say he had a very distressed very vocal small black cat in his conservatory drinking milk from a saucer. On his collar tag was his name Maurice and on the reverse our telephone number.
Maurice, I am so very pleased to say is now home, very, very, thin with a cut on his leg and a cut on his neck, and no doubt a story to tell, but oh, how he is so pleased to be home. And oh, I am so pleased to have him back.
It is now poor Big One who is distraught, after having the run of the place for 5 weeks, with all the extra attention and extra dinners he could manage, to come in from the garden and find the nampy pamby younger brother steeling the show has tipped him over the edge into a massive sulk.
Although half a can of tuna and the promise of some lightly poached chicken livers did ease his disappointment of Maurice's return some what.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The whistle stop tour of visiting wonderfully inspiring embroidering away groups has, for a time, stopped. I feel a little sad, I love visiting groups and being with all the stitching energy that each group holds in its unique way, all those individual makers with their own take on making their work. The group I visited last Monday was The Dorking branch of the Embroiderers' Guild, and in true form, they were lovely, enthusiastic, creative and all very competent. The day just sailed by in a lulling whirring of sewing machines, and then at the end of the workshop the machine embroidered jewellery pieces were displayed, and what a beautiful collection they were too.
Well done everybody!

On my return to the studio, a piece that I finished off in the week is a jolly little pieces of two cheeky cats and two unaware fish. I've posted a close up of one of the cats, I hope it makes you smile!

A lunch idea

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Stitchers and holidays and new drawings

Well, what a whistle stop tour I have been on, accompanied by my book I have been visiting more most wonderful stitching women around the British Isles and working with clever groups of stitchers to make beautiful Machine Embroideries. I am posting photos of them and what they all made, except the lovely Embroiderers Guild group in Nottingham where I had not got my camera, so unfortunately no photo of them and their efforts, and a big apology to them for not being shown here.
I have been on holiday also which, with the fantastic weather was an even more fantastic holiday, and I recharged my batteries by spending copious amounts of time sitting in the sunshine eating cake and crocheting my time away-heavenly!
Now of course its back to the studio and back to my work, which all said and done I did miss.
I have just started drawings for a couple of commission pieces, which I am excited about and hope the clients like what I have drawn. I never show on my blog pictures of commission pieces because I believe that commission pieces are very personal to the commissioner and so you will just have to take my word for it that I am very pleased with what I have drawn so far!

Members of the Contemporary Guilt Group

Sunday, 13 June 2010

North and South

I have been with the West Bridgford Embroiderers Guild group members giving a talk and then a workshop in Pictorial Machine Embroidery. They made me very welcome and were of course an incredibly talented and lively group of stichers and textile enthusiasts. They were the first group to see my book and it was received very well with genuine excitement, it got very positive comments and lots of oohs are arrs over Cescas photographs. I had a lovely time with them. Next week I visit the members of Chelford and North Cheshire branch of the embroiderers Guild and then I go to Cowslip Workshops in Launceston.
I love meeting and working with groups of enthusiastic stitchers and seeing what delights they embroider with their sewing machines, each piece each student of the workshop makes is an individual piece unique only to its maker. I am very privileged to have the opportunity to meet and work with so many talented stitchers.
Then I am on holiday for two weeks, so this will be my last posting for some time.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

My book- Creative Machine Embroidery published with A & C Black, has arrived!

Cesca Sims photographs make it visually a treat. The text, well you'll have to decide on that!

My Book is on Amazon to reserve, and will be released on July 2nd.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Material made Magic

My collection of new pieces has arrived with Louise at Clay Barn for the exhibition "Material made Magic" 4th - 7th June I am really sad not to be there for the show but I am teaching over the weekend. My work is in the capable hands of Louise and the fellow exhibitors including:

Louise Darby-Ceramics

Jenny Crisp-Baskets

Anna de Ville-Jewellery

Ray Key-Turned Wood

Helen Nock-Furniture

If you are in the area go along. The address is:

Clay Barn




B49 6NQ

01789 765214

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Silkies here and Silkies there in sunshine and rain.

I am finishing off my last piece for the Ruthin Craft Centre's exhibition SMILE selected by Mary La Trobe-Bateman, the exhibition runs from 3rd July to the 8th September 2010. it's another big piece, well, big for me 22 x 45 cm. I am really enjoying making it. The piece is called, Silkies here and Silkies there, and it is a happy piece. Light blues and pale sand colours. All the pieces I have made for the exhibition have been about the sea, and the pleasure of being near the sea or in the sea and all the delights it holds. Four big pieces and six little tiny ones, all mounted onto pale cream mount board and framed in a light plain wood frame. I think it's a lovely collection of work and I hope it is recieved well.

I miss the sea very much indeed, and think about it at least ten times a day. My favourite colour is blue, and as I've said many times before if I could I would just make pieces about the sea, but if I did would I become board and tiered of my love? and so therefore loose my longing and the desire to make pieces about the sea all the time. I can't risk that option so I mix it in with other subjects I like, like gardens and being out and about in the weather, and keep it all safe.

It's raining today and although that's a real nuisance because its a bank holiday weekend and everybody (me included) wants to be out and about in glorious sunshine, there is nothing quite like the smell of the rain onto blossom, flowers and new leaves in bright green on the trees and plants. It's a sweet smell which only is smelt in the air in the summer months, with the swifts overhead screaming high in the sky it is, quite wonderful, and the promise of more sunshine too does ease the disappointment of current rain. I remember chatting to a Greek resident in a small town a few years ago whilst on holiday in Andros and he said how he envied us living in the UK because our weather each day was so changeable, he said "here, each day its always sun, everyday sun, everyday the same, sun."

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Henley-on-Thames Craft and Design Experience Fair seems like such a long time ago, but it was only last weekend that I was there with my Machine Embroideries under canvas in a well laid out marquee chatting and selling to clients textile enthusiast and friends. The only down side to the whole exhibition that is was so cold! not only in the day but at night too, camping is usually a wonderful outdoors celebration of mother nature and all her bounty's but not last week, I was too cold to notice the delights of nature, I'm ashamed to admit I longed for brick walls and central heating.

I have been and visited the Quilt exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum "Quilts 1700-2010" The exhibition was fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the quilts.
Each quilt possessed its own beauty, whether through the construction and choice or fabric (or the fabric available to the maker at the time of making) or the quilts happy or tragically sad story behind it (if know). Most quilts at the exhibition were made by women.
One quilt in particular made me cry. It was still unfinished as the girl guides who were making it had been found out, it was made by internees of a Japanese prisoner of war camp in the second world war, they were making it for their girl guide leader. In the middle of some of the patchwork florets they had embroidered their names. I thought about those young girls, cutting up their own clothes to make a decorative and useful gift for their guide leader, all working in secret and the thought of this act of kindness and the making of something so beautiful and with so much love in a place of such horror and deprivation and the tears just streamed down my face as I gazed at their quilt.

Knitted Corsages

Sunday, 9 May 2010

I am still spending all my time sewing and still I am loving it!
I've been making little pieces, still unfortunately take ages to make but they are certainly worth it.
I go to Henley-on-Thames on Thursday to set up my booth at the Craft and Design Experience Fair. There are so many last minute things to do in preparation for the event, but, I have my trusty list on my studio wall, so nothing can can wrong or be forgotten! I am getting very excited about exhibiting the new pieces that I have made and in my head I know how I want my booth to look. My one big concern is I am camping and I hope it doesn't rain, anything but rain!

A bit blowy

chasing a gull

sea side stroll

Thursday, 29 April 2010

New Pieces

I have done nothing but make new pieces all week and it has been wonderful. It has been so enjoyable just sewing.
I am thrilled with what I have made. It amazes me how you can start a project first thing in the morning and then by the end of the day what you have achieved and made. Magic!
Some of the pieces are for the Henley on Thames Fair and some are for the Clay Barn exhibition- "Material made Magic" 4 - 7 June Redhill Nr. Stratford upon Avon

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

My piece "Silkie Smiles" has gone off to Ruthin Craft Centre to be photographed for the catalogue for the show "SMILE" which opens in July of this year.
I wrapped it very well, boxed and taped it all up and then watched it being loaded into the couriers van, and off it sped to North Wales. Ridiculous to feel a bit bereaved, but I did.
I shall start making the sister pieces to accompany Silkie Smiles in a couple of weeks, I have lots of ideas but I want to mull them over for a while. The sunny weather is helping enormously, because all my pieces for the show are about swimming and the sea, I automatically associate the sunny weather with swimming in the sea, so my head is literally (forgive the pun) swimming with ideas.

I have just finished an order of 4 framed pieces, one of them being a lady in her garden picking beans, a sweet piece which I enjoyed making very much. Now I have an opportunity to begin making pieces for the Craft and Design fair which is held at the Henley Show Ground, Henley-on-Thames 14th-16th May, a fair which I have exhibited at for quite a few years now, and an enjoyable fair to do.

My week of making has been gently interrupted with a trip to Dorking embroiderers' Guild to give them a talk about my work entitled "In Stitches" a kind and enthusiastic group of keen stitchers, both hand and machine stitch.
As always, after the initially shock of standing in a room filled with people all sitting and looking at you expectantly, my talk was well received and I enjoyed myself.
I always look forward to visiting groups and guilds around the country, although I always get very nervous before hand. Who knows, the group could hunt in packs or be filled with heckler's.
More often than not, the groups always hold such a wonderful collection of personalities, kind, talented, knowledgeable and always very enthusiastic and appreciative.
On my return to the studio the workshop programme for the Easter Holidays Children's workshops was well under way. The garden was filled with happy and excited children all busy making.
The sock monkey socks were unleashed to a group of young makers, and eight little individual monkeys started to appear throughout the afternoon shine shine.
Oh, the delight of making.

More Monkey buisness!

members of Dorking Embroiderers' Guild

A lady picking beans

Thank you

Thank you to you all for all your kind comments and messages.

I am really delighted that you are enjoying my blog and also enjoying looking and taking inspiration from some of my lovely links.
let us all carry on creating!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Textile 10 at the end of a sunny day of stitching

Busy stitchers in the Lightbox

A Sock Dog in a bowl of Lego Space Ship pieces

Making Big and Small

My sister and her family came to stay for a couple of nights whilst still in the throws of the Easter Holidays. Whilst here my oldest nephew requested the chance to make something in sewing, music to my ears! as his younger brother busily fashioned a space ship in Lego on the big rug so also a little fashioning went on at the dining table with a pair of (new and as yet unworn) socks to create a little sock dog based on their own dog, Gypsy. The concentration that took place brought tears to my eyes with both little boys busy and happy making.
Sewing for the first time is hard, like everything it gets easier with practice, and I hope next visit I can entice them both to have a go.
The next day a lot more sewing took place in our studio garden workshop building, the Light Box.
A local group of stitchers called Textile 10 came with their sewing machines and we had a wonderful sunny day of Machine Embroidery. Of course as what happens at these magical meetings, everyone involved was shown the technique and then everyone used it to create their own delightful pieces of solid stitch. Each piece made, unique to the maker. I just love it! I love being amongst a group of people all busy with their work stitching away and making something unique to themselves, the creative energy that takes place in a room is almost tactile in the air.
They were a very happy and creative group and by the end of the day the fruits of their labours had paid off and beautiful pieces were laid out for show and tell, and then whisked away home.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Quilt in the making

St Ives in the rain, but still lovely

We went to Cornwall and stayed with lovely dear friends. My friend Rebecca Ball makes the most wonderful quilts Rebecca showed me her latest quilt which was on her quilting frame stretching the length of her studio work room. She had begun the quilting of it. The quilt quite took my breath away, it is absolutely beautiful. She has incorporated plain and patterned silk and cotton fabrics into the design. My photograph of it has not done it justice, not even including the amount of hard work, time and love that has gone into it.
She has a wonderful sense and clever play with colours and fabrics and maximises them to their full potential, it is only when you look at her quilts that you realise how clever she is with her choice of colour and how each block piece is placed so simply and so succinctly with the next block to create a clever optical illusion of the most wonderful colours and clever use of shapes to create unique and very desirable quilts.
We visited Truro Fabrics and spent ages just walking around the shop in a haze of loveliness before choosing fabrics and trimmings to take home to use. (well, one day)
I went to visit Tuppenny Barn in West Sussex an inspiring and long term vision incorporating learning, education and very very delicious organic fresh from the field produce. Maggie who runs it sent me on my way with the best flavoursome salad bag I have ever eaten.
My visit to Tuppenny Barn was a welcome break from the three commission pieces I am currently working on and have almost finished. The pieces have been very hard work, I did struggle with the drawings for the pieces, but the time spent has paid off and now the embroidered pieces work well together and now that I am on the last piece I feel as though I can relax a bit, I can't wait to get them framed and see them in their full glory.

Monday, 22 March 2010

All finished and well done!

Busy Stitchers

Stitching in Oxford

I have just returned from a weekend in Oxford where I was teaching at 'Plus' Spring 2010 Workshops, part of The Oxford Summer School which is held every July in Oxford and run by the lovely Liz Bryant. The workshops are held in a Secondary School and filled with students and tutors, it is a truly inspirational event, and the weekend I have just spent there was just so.
My students were a wonderful group of very talented and competent women. They had travelled from all over the south to spend two days machine embroidering and that's what we did. Pictorial Machine Embroidery, and after a demonstration of what to do, my, did they produce some fantastic things, including decorated garments, pieces about; cats, sea scapes, geometric abstracts, tuscan and the south downs way landscapes, portraits, funfair horses, singing women, ready, and almost ready to be framed. Each one was a true objects of desire.
I was so thrilled with their achievements, all the hard work that was put into each piece certainly paid off as beautiful images started to show on the calico, all produced in stitch! Again with each class of stitchers I meet I am always bowled over with how one technique is shown and how each individual runs with it to created something so unique and special that only they, the individual could have made, truly inspiring.
I was looked after by dear friends who spoiled me rotten, we went to The Trout at Tadpole Bridge and had a sumptuous meal in a friendly and sympathetically decorated atmosphere. It was very good food and I had a very nice time catching up with my lovely friends.
Now, it's back down to earth and back to work in the studio.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Monday, 15 March 2010


Teddington and then the sea

My simple cold turned in to a dreadful flu like nasty which layed me low for a week subsequently I stayed at home feeling poorly and tried not to climb the walls with the boredom of feeling too ill to do anything but lay on the sofa watching rubbish daytime TV.
Now I am back in the studio after spending the weekend coughing and exhibiting my work at the Landmark Arts Centre textiles Fair. It was very inspirational to be amongst 70 other textile makers and constantly surrounded by textiles enthusiasts all talking stitch, fabric and the construction of textiles as well as of course the delight of selling ones work!
I did feel very tired at the end of each day but feel much better today.
Whether this has anything to do with the sun being out and having the door (for a time) open to let the fresh air in at the studio I'm not sure, but I feel rearing to go once more. Not, however until I finish the mound of paperwork that is stacked up upon my desk, then and only then can I start another piece about the sea. It is a commission pieces about a girl and her cat. She has long brown wavy hair and I know exactly what colour blue I want to put down behind her, whether it will work or not is another thing. I love the anticipation so much of the time just before I begin a new piece.
Oh, I hope it works out well and looks as good sewn as I imagine it does in my head.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Big One keeping guard of all his/my hard work

Little Oystercatcher

Busy Birds

Another busy week is almost over and for my sins I am full of cold.
I have decided to stay at home today. After some initial house chores I will disappear into my work room and carry on with the little pin cushions and needle cases I have been mulling over in the evenings in preparation for the Landmark Arts Textiles Fair that begins next Friday the 13th March.
My room overlooks the garden and I hope very much in between stitching to glance up and hopefully catch a little garden bird being busy in preparation of nest building.
I watched a female blackbird yesterday in the garden of the Colour Factory Studio building her nest. I was mesmerised, and when I thought it was safe to nip out and observe her labours without causing her distress I peered into the hedge to witness her incredible nest building skills. Her hard work had certainly paid off, it was beautiful, made of old grass and small light weight twigs. I cant wait to see her eggs, that lovely light blue speckled wonder of delight.
At present this blackbird and her nest are in my head and I wonder if she will fly out and into one of my embroideries.

I love the wood cut prints of Thomas Bewick. He captured the world around him so delightfully in his prints. The contemporary scenes of everyday life he recorded we know now that those life styles were so hard and demanding on body and soul. The little prints are like visual poems and some of my favorite prints are his interpretation of birds.

One of the students last Tuesday at the one day workshop with the Marlborough Embroiderers' Guild stitched delightful studies of a tin toy bird. Her composition was simple and well placed on the 'fabric page' that she was working on and then finished off with some little french knots to represent seed.
Everybody in the class worked so hard, so much looking and observing at the still life and then recording their vision with stitch lines. I love the results so much of a hard days labour with a group of stitchers. I love to hold a 'show and tell' at the end of the class where every ones work can be seen by all the class members and cooed over with proud delight and relish in the simple pleasures of looking, recording and of course sewing.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

A little Silkie detail

The drawing for "Silkie Smiles"

The big piece for Ruthin that I have been mulling over for such a long time was finished today. I have called it "Silkie Smiles" I am very pleased with it, and it was so smooth and easy to make, no headaches, no worries. Even though it is (for me) a big piece 60cm x 35 cm I just relished the feeling of being 'lost' in it as I sewed away.
I now can make some more pieces for the Textiles Fair at Teddington with a clear path.

I visited Market Harborough branch of the embroiders' Guilds on Thursday and gave the group of very lovely members a slide talk about my work. They were a very enthusiastic and responsive group to talk to, and I enjoyed myself very much. I was looked after, and made very welcome by one of the members; Amanda who is not only an enthusiastic embroiderer but a quilter too.
I have been invited back to the Guild later in the summer to give a workshop, I know we will all have a great time.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Cat and Windmill


Trampolines, Lego and the colour blue

My week last week has been filled with little boys, varying in all ages from 3 to 13. My nephews came to stay for half term, and boy Oh boy did we pack activities in!! Two of the highlights being bouncing on trampolines for over 40 minutes and a massive Lego competition set by none other than Stephanie Bateman-Sweet. A delicious afternoon tea was provided before hand by Sarah Tyssen Stephanie, and myself and then we sat back still sipping tea and putting the world to rights watching as the group of boys sprawled before us on the carpet constructed the most fantastic array of Lego creations ever imaginable. Marvellous! I am glad to say that each participant won in his category, so there were no disappointments and no stamping of feet.

I've still been mulling over this big piece. Tomorrow however I begin it with the final drawing. Preliminary sketches were tentatively made a couple of weeks ago when I had the first initial idea of my girl swimming beneath the sea with seals. I only draw using a black felt pen, drawing with it onto big pieces of white cartridge paper which I then cut up and reassemble in collage form until all the placing of the composition is pleasing, usually knowing as I draw what colours I am going to use in the piece, but I don't use any colour at all in the drawing, I save that delicious aspect of making until I start to sew, choosing the colours as I go, following the pattern that is in my head and the reference drawing that is on my studio wall. I can't wait to start sewing once more, and the only colours that want to use are..........................different shades of blue.

Sunday, 14 February 2010