Friday, 28 June 2013

Evening Light

After a hectic day, a stroll around the estate is a great way to relax. The light is disappearing fast but the colours are so intense, the blues and yellows look ethereal in the evening gloom. After the continual rain of today it's hard to believe tomorrow is going to be warm and dry, it had better be. I have a lot of people coming to lunch to greet the home-comers.
Lots of cooking today but I still managed a couple of hours on the embellisher attempting a piece of work that will mark the end of Dionne's workshop. Very complex piece of work which I will post if I can pull it off, if not it will be a sample or I'll cut it up ( those famous words).

I'm trying to find some time to work on this drawing inspired by the shepherds purse and poppies that I have been weeding from the garden. The drawing will have to wait - family time is precious.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


I'm struggling to find time to fit everything in at the moment, however I have found a couple of hours to work on an needle-felted piece for Dionne's workshop. I initially had problems with this, everything I did looked hard and contrived, it was only when I let my instinct design the piece rather than copying from a drawing I had made that it came together.  I have a day to myself tomorrow so I hope to get up to date with the workshop.

I badly need some colour but I'm going to be disciplined and keep my palette pure.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Long Day

This is the longest Sunday ever, my son and daughter-in-law were due home at tea-time, the plane is running three hours late. So some drawing/doodling was called for to pass the time.Necklaces, Acer leaves, some plastic netting that the garlic was wrapped in, and of course a crochet lace doily. It has given me a couple of hours of amusement.
Barney and Kate  have landed and will be home around 10.30pm, so not long to go now. I've cooked enough for a small army and they have just text me that all they want is toast. It's their breakfast time, I'd forgotten the eight hour time difference. Never mind it will  save me cooking tomorrow. I'm very happy to have them both home!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Play Time

It was  a very demanding exercise this afternoon in Dionne's workshop, which really challenged my idea of 'art' (in a good way). As a reward I have indulged myself in some pleasing (to me) drawings to relax.

Finding negative spaces is addictive.

Inverting the colours in Picassa shows up all the layers that make up the final composition.
Can you tell I'm enjoying myself?

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Drawing for Textiles

It's a long time since I worked way into the early hours with no thought for the time. I'm usually in my pit by the time it's double figures. I'm on day three of Dionne Swift's drawing for textiles workshop and last night I was so excited I could have danced/worked all night. It would be wrong to share technique but I shall post some drawings during the rest of the week. 
I note that my work is still very ornamental compared to the others on the course and that it is in art terms quite self indulgent. I have thought about this a lot and come to the conclusion that the area I work in is based on the decorative image so why shouldn't I tailor my course work to reflect that notion. I'm sure that Dionne's aims are not for us to turn out clones of her work, I love and admire her art but that is not the area I am interested in producing for myself. This is by no means a rant, more a way of me bringing some thoughts together. I know what I need to do to improve my work to meet my own vision.
 I can't wait to get to today's challenges, once again this workshop has me fired up and raring to go!  

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Quiet Before the Storm

Setting up the exhibition was a fairly speedy affair yesterday, Biddy as always was well organised and the fact that we were not hanging work  meant that the whole thing was set up within an hour. I was amazed at the sheer quantity of work that came in and the finished set up looked  abundant and sumptuous.

Several people from the village visited and showed a great deal of interest and it was good to see that there were a number of young people in attendance.

Today will pass in a flash - Father's Day lunch, (cooking as I write), then I will take my turn at the stitching table in the barn this afternoon. Wouldn't you just know it - awake with sciatica most of the night, I should feel tired but all the lovely things going on have me fairly wired today, I shall probably calm down a bit tomorrow. 

Friday, 14 June 2013

Calico Open Weekend

The signs are made, the cakes ready to be iced, the venue set up, all ready to go for an open weekend to showcase the work that we do under the leadership of Biddy Bruce. We meet in the beautiful St Botolph's Barn in the village of Helpston, where I live. We are an invited group of textile artists and embroiderers and will be working in the barn this weekend (15th and 16th June) showing past, present and ongoing work. 

In among all this preparation I am teaching eldest daughter the art of dressmaking.

We are starting, as you do, with the most demanding and complex pattern you could wish for. Luckily we have decided to make a toille before we use the good fabric, I'm actually making it from one of my vintage sheets. This will mean we can get the fitting right, make any adjustments to the pattern and hopefully understand the way the dress fits together before we tackle the expensive satin version.

I have never  seen so many tucks darts and twiddly bits as in this Vogue pattern, I'm sure all this attention to detail will make a very well fitting garment. I just need a bit more thinking time to work it all out instead of attempting it in the middle of a very hectic weekend. Grandsons and family coming for Sunday roast for father's day, which I will cook in between being at the barn and socialising at home. 
Happy days! 

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Vintage Vibes

I had thought that today would be spent working in the garden but the North East wind sent me scurrying into the warmth of the workroom. It took me an hour to frame up 'The Garden at Number Six' and then without much thought I took a piece of white cotton from my stash. I cut it to the same size as one of my tables 60" x 30" and dipped it into a watery acrylic mix, faintly greenish blue just to knock the glaring white back a little.

I gathered some vintage papers  and some matte medium.
And randomly stuck some torn papers to the background.

I then stuck some stronger coloured circles of paper again quite randomly. I may want these to show through as a contrast in places.

The rest of the day has been devoted to laying, tearing, cutting pieces from my vintage stash to form a pleasing pattern.

This layering up will take at least another day and then I will start to invisibly stitch it all down. the next stage will be overprinting the whole piece and then in with paints and rubs. I think I will add lots of hand-stitching and maybe some free-motion machine stitch. Somewhere in the process I think I will lay it onto some soft batting. My aim is to keep the whole thing 'raggy' so that I can stitch with it bunched up in my hands. Damp stretching afterwards should square the whole thing up again.
 I want to keep it as pale as possible but I will need to put some soft tones in to give it some sense of depth. It's progress depends on the weather - I am definitely a fair weather gardener. 

Friday, 7 June 2013

The Garden At Number Six

I have been back for a couple of days now, most of which has been spent catching up with the garden. The builder in the bottom right pic is my husband, who over the course of this winter has dug out by hand 30 cubic yards soil to build me a sunken entertaining area, what a man! The frame for the steps has gone in today, the bark for the floor ordered and just 30' of trellis to make for the fence that will surround it. The fun will then start, we are attempting to build a pizza/ bread oven to fit into the grand plan, ready for Summer parties to begin.

I have also found time to rework several areas of this piece. It's not hard to see where the inspiration has come from, it's called 'The Garden at Number Six'. This is leading me towards the next phase of work. I know I shall be using a monochromatic palette over the next few weeks but I'm really taken with drawing and painting into my work at the moment, and Dionne Swift's course which I start on the 17th (Drawing for Textiles) will feed into my current ideas.

I have been making and repainting trellis for the garden over the last few weeks and my beads remind me of the little insect cocoons that I've found on the old fencing, so there it is, what I thought was a fairly abstract piece of work has it roots well and truly based in reality.