Friday 21 December 2012

Work in progress

I haven’t blogged for ages as I’ve been zooming around the country – Ammerdown Centre near Bath for my masterclass weekend, Harrogate Knit and Stitch and Penzance for my baby brother's 60th birthday.

In between, there hasn’t been a lot of time to make progress with my own work but thought I’d record these images just to remind myself of what I was doing so I can take some time over Christmas to make real progress.

Firstly, an image of my ‘studio table’ at Art Van Go’s “Artists in Action” area at the Knitting and Stitching Show as Harrogate in November. It was great to see so many of you who came to say hello. I did manage to get some work done and you can see some of my preparatory ideas on the table and large sheets hanging on the washing line behind. I drew large flying bird shapes with a feather and ink onto large sheets of tissue paper and tissutex . I then cut them vertically into strips and re-arranged them in over-lapping flaps. This was to see if I could create a feeling of movement. The lighting wasn’t good in this area so it doesn’t show the translucency of the papers well and therefore the overlapping of the bird shapes. But its given me food for thought.

This photo is one I took myself – hence the empty void in the middle. Viv from Art Van Go will be sending one which shows me to replace it soon – so come back in a few days.


I painted similar shapes with ink on a long strip of linen scrim (see right in the photo above) and then pulled the threads sideways slightly to displace the ink colouring. I think this might have some value to develop later. I found that you can control the direction of the pull to suggest movement  differently.

pulled threads

I haven’t added more stitching to this piece below as am warming to the feeling of understated completion it has at this stage. The edges are curling beautifully as a result of the slight dampness because of the metallic paints I smeared on.

metallic thread 1

I have several drawings  and more ‘pulled’ bird shapes that Id love to show you so please keep looking. I hope to blog more often over Christmas.

I leave you with this piece of loopy hand stitching into perforated vellum – again - done as a Christmas pic for you with a little help from PaintShopPro.


Monday 19 November 2012

Japanese kimono for Catherine

This is probably my most favourite textile book. I bought it in Kyoto and can’t tell what its title is but here it is incase you can get it translated.

Hope this gives you some inspiration for your own kimono design Catherine.






Friday 16 November 2012

Paint and stitch

A side-step to using warmer colours. Decided to try to show the strong waves of movement with paint and inks, then adding stitch in bronze threads.

stitch paint 1

stitch print 2

stitch wax2

Adding bronze thread to the wax surface above and then placing it onto a painted surface below.

stitch-paint 3

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Digitising the stitch


Having a play with this scanned section of my stitching.

Sunday 11 November 2012

Sunday sunshine stitching .

After doing some early morning stitching with my little assistant, thought I’d take another look at it against the window. The shadow of the creeping clematis adds tonal qualities to it that have given me food for thought.

stitch window 3

Yesterday I waxed a small piece of tissutex and attached some scrim and fragments of map to the reverse in the ironing process. More perforated lines of machine zigzag ‘stitching’, intending to take heed of Meg’s suggestion to use fly stitch instead of straight stitch. This stitch formation still didn’t work but I then tried stitching across the parallel lines of perforations in simple loose stitches. They are a bit pale in this photo below but I hope you can see them. The darker thread I’m using in the vellum piece above is quickly running out – its a dark grey stranded cotton. I took the skein with me to town yesterday to match it up. The shop was closed and when I got home, found I’d lost the skein I’d taken with me! Perhaps this is telling me something? Colour perhaps?

stitch wax2

Just got back from the village war memorial – a huge crowd, a wonderful trumpet solo and brilliant sunshine. Left with a feeling of its good to be alive and back to some more stitching and a lovely stint in the garden.

Thursday 8 November 2012

Stitch progress

A walk towards the River Parrett to the bird hide to do some bird watching and drawing.

bbird hide2 bird hide1

A lovely peaceful place with benches to sit on as you view through the opened wooden ‘windows’.

I think I would have seen more birds in my garden but I did see a few, but enjoyed drawing the long grasses that bordered the pond more. Must take graphite stick with me next time as the thin drawing pen was too – thin.


I’ve started stitching into the perforated vellum – adding a few stitches per day, but enjoying the lack of a rush to finish something for an exhibition deadline.

I added a piece of ‘map’ to the back and machined more lines of perforations. Might rip this off again … or not.


Monday 5 November 2012

autumn colour

Most people seemed to be taking photographs pointing upwards at the beautiful trees, at Stourhead yesterday, but couldn’t resist taking this one, looking downwards.

Just look at those stitches between the leaves!

autumn colour

Sunday 4 November 2012

Stitch inspirations


This awesome sight can be seen at this time of year on the Somerset Levels at dusk. This year the spectacle is particularly wonderful – just like a mass of moving stitches across the sky.

During autumn, dark clouds begin to form in the sky above fields, woodlands and reed beds. But these are no ordinary clouds. They are one of the UK's most incredible wildlife spectacles.

Throughout the autumn and winter months, hundreds of thousands of starlings turn the sky black around the UK. The birds come together in huge clouds, wheeling, turning and swooping in unison.

This jaw-dropping wildlife spectacle, known as a 'murmuration' is my inspiration for a doodling stitching activity that I have challenged myself to do everyday and post on the Distant Stitch Facebook forum.

perforated vellum

First stage was to make the stitching ground – a piece of vellum that was ‘stitched into’ with a threadless machine needle. Next stage – look out for tomorrow on Facebook and search for ‘Distant Stitch’. This is a closed group, just for Distant Stitch students but anyone can take a look but not join in the conversation.

Sunday 28 October 2012

Words and colours for inspiration at Gloucester Cathedral

The Symposium, ‘Architecture, Colour and Cloth’ at Gloucester Cathedral I attended yesterday was an inspiring range of ideas and imagery presented by a series of super textile speakers – two of whom were Ptolemy Mann, Anna Glasbrook. who were both exhibiting their work within the side aisles, cloister walks and a small gallery room. Sophie Smallhorn showed us her work based on clever colour harmonies and contrasts and told us how she was the colour consultant for the Olympic Stadium – all the wonderful coloured architecture and lights were all down to her.

Margo Selby showed her beautiful woven surfaces that are based on repeat pattern, made intriguing by her sensuous use of colour. Her designs have been made commercially now by leading textile firms and she showed us her beautiful shoes that she was wearing that are covered with her woven textiles.

This event was held in the Chapterhouse of Gloucester Cathedral. itself a superb example of beautiful design in its vast height of stone-carved walls and magnificent stained glass window. Our lunch was taken in the King Henry room, where Henry is supposed to have first met Ann Boleyn – this time, the walls were of solid carved wood and massive beams to the ceiling.

Ptolemy Mann creates woven textiles in soothing colour changes, space dyeing her own yarns in the traditional ikat weave process. Her designs have also been used as printed lengths and upholstered textiles. Long lengths were hung from each of the pillars in the main cathedral.

I viewed these long hangings to the accompaniment of the most beautiful music in the Cathedral which seems to reflect the up-lifting nature of the textiles. Here’s a little snippet for you.

Textile by Ptolemy Mann, with Gloucester cathedral choir and orchestra.


Woven textile, in progress by Ptolemy Mann.


Stitching between two surfaces – work by Anna Glasbrook. Also shown were panels Anna made for a garden in Chelsea Flower Show which won a silver gilt.

Although there are not a large number of items on view, the setting of Gloucester Cathedral makes a visit a very up-lifting experience. The exhibits will be in the Cathedral until 31st December.

Tuesday 9 October 2012

It’s been a long time…

I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging for ages – the Distant Stitch Facebook Forum has been distracting me! So I thought I’d post some of my recent holiday pics – highly censored of course.

Oh for the bright light of a sunny climate and the sound of the waves on the beach – written on a very dark, wet day in Somerset.


A week away from my computer and my first visit to Cyprus – a lovely way to unwind and see some interesting people and landscape as well as – plants, cats, lizards, mosaics and tombs.




I have only seen pecan nuts in bags before!


Exquisite and well preserved mosaics discovered only 50 years ago.


Archaeology is obviously of no interest to this furry visitor – see above not below.



Acres of excavated rock forming a ‘honeycomb’ beneath the ground at the ‘Tombs of the kings’ in Paphos.


Parasols made of ribbon-lace and embroidery were much appreciated gifts on our return.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Figures in clay

Yesterday I visited Barrington Court, Somerset to see the Antony Gormley ‘Field for the British isles. This is part of an interesting initiative by the National Trust to involve contemporary art within their properties. Is there something ‘in the air’ about figures at the moment? I keep seeing them everywhere so will now show you more.

‘Field for the British Isles’ is the fifth in the series that Antony Gormley has made around the world with hundreds of volunteers from diverse communities. These figures were made by people of all ages in St Helen’s and Merseyside for an exhibition at Tate Liverpool and has toured to numerous galleries and historic venues. I was so lucky to see it had been installed at Barrington Court which a fascinating old house and lovely garden not far from me. The Great Hall, Buttery and the Kitchen have been ‘invaded’ by masses (40,000) of tiny clay figures which silently return your gaze. Each figure is unique, the entire mass suggesting past and future generations and ‘reflecting humanity as a whole’.

No photos were allowed as you would expect but I did take the opportunity that the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen were giving everyone – to make clay figures of their own to contribute to their own ‘Field for Somerset’ at Barrington Court for Somerset Arts Event in September.  

my figure1our figures

It was great fun moulding the clay to make our own figures. We’re looking forward to seeing ours added to the ‘Field for Somerset’ which are being installed in the bushalls (Somerset word for cow stalls) at Barrington Court.

in the bustalls1