Merry Christmas

What with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc, not to mention real life, this poor old blog has been very neglected in what has been a busy and bloggable year. Must try harder in 2017. 

Nonetheless I wish you all a very merry Christmas and the best beginnings to the New Year. I leave you with a seasonal sketch – a reindeer drawn in ink and painted with Brusho.

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I belong to the Sketchbooks and Experiments for Textiles Facebook group and enjoy joining in with their regular challenges to post a daily image of current work. I combined the February challenge with getting on with the previously mentioned NWCQ challenge for 2016, which is to work on the theme of pattern – a broad and enticing concept.

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Working daily on one subject enables you to make many lateral leaps and find your own vocabulary.  Sometimes it feels tedious, and then something fresh develops.  NB. DEVELOPS….. Many people feel disappointed in their work, (of course I do too, sometimes) but often that is because they don’t DO the work – they are disappointed in advance as it were!  DO the work and your artistic muscles, along with your hand and eye coordination will develop.  Once you couldn’t drive a car, then you learnt, then you drove everyday, maybe you even began to enjoy driving!  Art is similar, but more rewarding.

I have drawn, painted, printed and digitally altered for most of February, but in the last couple of days, treated myself by moving into textile translations of some of the pattern developments.  I particularly liked this print –


and these drawings –

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which led on to – FullSizeRender

I added a Stewart Gill silver, using a Fineline applicator.  Really pleased with the ease of using both items.

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Sketchbook Sketchbook Sketchbook

Waiting for a studio refit amongst other goings-on so in a bit of pickle space and equipment wise.  Luckily, a sketchbook takes up no space at all.

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Pattern is the North-West CQ group theme for 2016 and Judy Fairless gave us a headstart with a great day spent trying lots of methods of translating an original source into pattern. I am going to use two seashells as source material and began by doing a simple pencil drawing.  Things move pretty quickly though when you get enthused and pattern is endlessly fascinating and inspiring.  Here is just a sample of the directions – drawing, tracing and foam-printing, using pencil, fineliner pen, expanding paint, Brusho, and printing ink.

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Did a walkthrough about rust with Jen Collier for our MBAG chums.  Rusting does take up a fair bit of space, as a drippy, stinking, oozing gunky palaver, but you can get such amazing results, it’s worth the trials.  I have done a fair bit of fabric rusting but had to try out lots of techniques on paper to share with book-artists.  Despite my dislike of the process, it is a great way of adding non-archival character to a flat surface.


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More Chairs

Working with the many quick, and in a workshop not deeply thought through, prints.  There is treasure to be found. Each page of my sketchbook adds to my understanding of the theme and why it stuck in my mind, of the different mediums, of colour, of placement, and of how to develop my ideas and thoughts further, especially towards textile pieces.

A monoprint with pattern and colour added  afterwards with Brusho.

A person in the chair – taking advantage of the water-soluble print medium, by working into it with the end of a paintbrush  dipped in water and used to scratch marks.  reminds me of  Henry Moore – Woman on the Underground – just a little! I am not comparing my work to HM!

A fragment of a print based on knitted stocking stitch applied to a gessoed page – thinking about sitting and knitting.   More sitting and knitting – the page coloured with Brusho and then a monoprint worked on Deli-paper adhered so that the paint comes through lightly.

Monoprint  using water-soluble medium, brusho applied very lightly so as to disrupt the print a little.   Collage, applied prints, stencilled lettering.
  Lines, as if it were a school-chair, (not that I ever had to do lines. Ahem!) words thinking about sitters who have gone, written onto page and covered by print onto Deli-paper

  Monoprints, Brusho, collage and white pen.
 Candle-wax resist and Brusho.

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Another day at The Wooden House

Another art quilt adventure with Laura Kemshall!

We worked on composition, which is an area I definitely need help with. Sticking to our own themes, students beavered away using a method of screen printing that is new to me, and which I love.  It is painterly, and also incorporates the drawn line – right up my street!  I am sure Laura will be doing more workshops on the method so keep watching her blog for the classes, which rightly get snapped up!

I am continuing to work with an image I made in the 80s, and which I feel still has miles to go.  The chair, the jacket, the scarf – so far only one version of each, but as we met a man t’other week who has a warehouse of 3000 chairs, and I do possess more than one jacket and scarf, this theme might see me out!

For this workshop I stuck to a limited palette and explored the background – impressionistic and patterned.  I worked on paper:

first pull
second pull

And on fabric:

And combined the two – Laura showed us how beautifully monoprinted Deli-paper bonds to fabric. Can’t wait to add stitch!


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My Autumn Almanac

October 2015

Feeling autumnal and getting geared up to start lighting the woodburner in the evenings, plus I’m getting a yen for Cinnamon scented candles!

This is a piece that I did prepare for a selling exhibition but I liked it too much! The work measures about 9″ square, plus the dangley bit and materials and techniques include hand-dyed cotton, Rhubarb-leaf dyed cotton, Rust print, painted Bondaweb and backing paper, foiling, beads, Brusho, hand stitching, machine stitching and it is mounted on stretched canvas. Rubbish photo on a rather dark and gloomy October morning…now where is the hot chocolate?

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Back in the Room

It has been a long time between posts! I have finished working as the Education Officer for the Quilt Association, although I will still work with   some of the C&G students who began with me.  I can now pursue my own art textile endeavours in earnest.  Nothing like jumping in at the deep end so I had two different workshops in two days this week!  Different, but equally absorbing.









On Wednesday I visited the Wooden House for a workshop with Laura Kemshall.  What a beautiful village Worfield is, and Laura has created the perfect space to encourage creativity.  There are few days better spent than in the studio all day long, but if you add to that great coffee, superb cakes and biscuits, and a delicious lunch you haven’t had to make yourself, plus the gentle, knowledgable, and generous mentoring of Laura then that day cannot be improved upon.   As an introduction to a series that may be ongoing, we practiced using tracing as a starting point for design development.

I am still working on the themes of Dreamland and my grandmother, (which unite in the true theme which is ME!) and working up tracings from images of the fairground’s big wheel took me away from the pull of the representational which drags me down like quicksand, and I was very pleased with the abstractions.

In the afternoon, recharged after homemade soup and focaccia made by Linda, we applied our design skills to mono-printing.  It is a technique I adore and consider to be a staple of my repertoire, but there is always something to learn and I do not by any stretch consider myself experienced, let alone expert.  One aspect of Laura’s method that I found interesting was her use of water-soluble print medium – I was able to bring another area of contrast into my prints and pick up colour from underneath.  All the colour in these images is from leftover Brusho, (apart from some marks made with watercolour pencils) the dregs from various pots.  Brusho is another j’adore medium – a can’t go wrong product! Another technique we were able to try out is frottage over florist’s wire – I used graphite sticks.


The next day, (phew) I attended a lovely workshop organised by Region 13 CQ group which meets in Frodsham.  Alice Fox taught Lost and Found.

Now, whilst I adore found objects in other people’s work, I am a bit lost when it comes to using them in my own.  The other challenge was that, living surrounded by breathtaking scenery in Mid Wales, I have never felt up to the challenge of doing it any justice whatsoever in my work.  Well the day with Alice goes to show that adventuring outside your comfort zone can pay dividends.

I had one of those lovely absorbing days spent working with your tongue partly stuck out so intense is the concentration.  Alice took us through several permutations, all of which have myriad possibility. I worked directly into a small sketchbook and can and will continue until it is full.


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