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.