Thursday 22 December 2011

Textile response

I’ve just finished a piece of work and it’s packaged up and sent off for selection – hopefully – in the next 62 Group exhibition. I thought you might be interested to see my response to an item from the museum collection of Platt Hall, where the exhibition will open in January 2012.

This is the item I chose after a research visit last summer – it’s a child’s bonnet made of extremely fine silk net. The 3D form is barely visible except for the solid lines of the seams. I made some quick sketches a and took photos in the short time I had in their wonderful store room, filled with hundreds of boxes containing the most exquisite textiles. Platt Hall is only open to the public in the afternoons and 3 hours was just not enough!

P1040478 P1040453 P1040477 bonnet drawings

My newly discovered skills of working with willow seemed a good way of describing the lines of the seams so I soaked, tied, bent and coaxed my locally grown will into lovely curved shapes. I also broke and snapped more than I bent! I take my hat off to willow basket makers everywhere.


The ‘net’ was made from stitched paper, using pages from my old school sketchbooks, recently discovered in my loft. Many pages were machine stitched together making a long surface of about 3.5 metres. Many more lines were then stitched all over to form a connecting network. This stitching created the ‘net’ after being soaked and scrubbed in the sink – I didn’t risk the washing machine in case too much of the paper disappeared.

 WorkingStage2 lace

After lots of trials of how to attach the ‘net’ to the willow and how to form an interesting shape –


(no details here but to all who have deliberated and are currently deliberating with a ‘creation’, you will know the joys of anguish and indecision) this is what emerged – ‘The Empty Nest’.

It can be suspended or


placed on a surface.


Happy Christmas!

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Drawing Project–Christmas Competition–with prizes!

This is it – the finale to the Drawing Project – well at least for the time being!

I am inviting you to take part in the Distant Stitch Drawing Competition – with lovely prizes -

  • A £50 Voucher towards a Module of any Distant Stitch Course for you or a friend to be used in 2012.
  • A £25 voucher from Art Van Go (See Trusted Traders section on
  • A £25 voucher from Ario  (See Trusted Traders section on

This competition is open to any one who is a non-professional artist, whether you are a Distant Stitch student or not.

There will be three jurors – Jan Evans (Distant Summer School tutor), Viv White (Distant Stitch Creative Sketchbooks tutor) and myself, Sian Martin.

After judging, a selection of the submitted drawings will be posted on a special gallery on the Distant Stitch website along with links to your blog.

The title or theme is “Looking Into”.

A drawer containing ‘things’ could perhaps come under this title. I have a large cupboard of tiny drawers, rescued from a closing chemist’s shop. Peeling the tatty sticky labels off the outsides and scrubbing off years of grime revealed the original painted labels in gold. So now you can see what I keep in my ‘opium turc’ drawer! Any chemists out there who can tell me what ‘r:helleb:a:p’ is please?


What else could you ‘look into’? For all the details and hints on how to get started take a look at the Distant Stitch website.

Thursday 1 December 2011

Drawing Competition

Look out for a major Drawing Competition to be published here soon.

Visit my blog again to find out the details and the prizes!

Open to all.

Get your sketchbooks ready!