Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Finding a direction

I'm adrift at the moment. Having finished my C&G I feel all at sea, I need to find direction in which to sail. I'm delighted to report that my final quilt went down very well with my tutor - Linda Kemshall, and got full marks across the board, which is very pleasing. Now I'm going to let myself indulge in a few whims which have had to wait while I concentrated on my course work, but I don't want to drift about aimlessly.  I have said I will contribute to a local exhibition in September and aim to have some textile pieces ready for then. That's a good start as it will be my first as a textile artist, and there is plenty of time at the moment!!!

Meanwhile I have a few odds and ends to share with you. Firstly I had an urge to create a rag doll.  My sister and I made a doll we called Betty when we were really too old for dolls, she became an mascot and had all sorts of adventures. Betty was about six or seven inches tall, made from an old pillow slip, and had short, black wool hair.  My current version is rather more elongated and whimsical, and I have three in progress.

One thing I have learned is how tricky it is to make something like this of decent quality. These may just languish on a shelf unless someone offers them a home.

When I first tried some rust dyed fabric, I had to scrape together a few suitable pieces of old iron wear, but in the back of my mind I remember some old drill bits and so on that my Dad had given us when he moved.  A search made me think we'd thrown them out, but when MrT gave the greenhouse its spring clean they turned up.  It has taken me till now to give them a go.

 I re-wrapped everything after leaving it overnight and left it for a few more hours.

The Surform plane blade and the chunky drill bits have created some interesting marks.

Meanwhile the beautiful weekend meant a spot of gardening...

 and a spot of sketchbook monoprinting...

Chilly and drizzly here today, although it is brightening up a bit, no, now it's raining again!
I hope you have a bright week,

Thursday, 23 May 2013

It's done and dusted

I have finally finished my City and Guilds course.  I have been doing it for about 15 months, and although I started fast and furious the last couple of Modules have taken me much longer than I anticipated. I have learned a lot, not least, that I can turn what is in my head into a piece of textile art work, but also that I must not expect to be able to do so over night.  As this goes against my nature of a quick turn around on the making front, it is time to take stock. When I retired from my full time teaching I knew that I could at last find time for creating in my life and it has lead me to explore lots of new areas. I certainly did not expect to have an on-line shop when I started out.  I have also learned a lot about myself. I started this blog as a means of recording my continuing education into my third age.

This quilt holds rather a lot of very special meaning for me and I was sure that I really wanted to get it right.  Firstly it started with photographs I took at Luton Hoo walled gardens.  Photography was the first step I took in my new adventure in creativity. The garden was like stepping into a secret world, discovering a neglected, magic place that was being lovingly restored. It spoke to me, I had been looking for it ever since I had read Frances Hodgson Burnett's book The Secret Garden as a child.
When I had chosen the images for the design, I searched for quotes about figs. There weren't many, but the one that stood out was the reference to Sylvia Plath's novel, The Bell Jar, which I talked about in a previous post. Although I did not remember reading the passage, the book holds a special place with me as described before.  I decided against putting any words onto my quilt, but it took me a long time to make up my mind, in fact, it was trying to choose which fabric, which stitches, where to place things that took so long.

Before I decide which branch I am going down next, I could do with a little consolidation, but who knows what will grab me next.

But now I will lay this project to rest and share with you some of my inspirational photographs and the finished article.

Thank you all so much for your lovely support.
Now I'm going to do a big tidy-up and decide what I'm going to do next!!
Hope you have a great  holiday weekend and are able to make the most of the grim forecast.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Stitching, stitching, stitching

I'm not going to say a lot,  you may be relieved to read.

Machine quilting ...

... and hand stitching.

There's still a way to go. Can't decide whether to put some words into it or not... and can't decide whether to bind or face it. 
Off to do a bit more seed stitching.
Have a good week,

Sunday, 5 May 2013


Here's a quick post as I take a break before putting the dinner on. Can't believe the weather has matched the forecast so I have been torn between the garden and sewing machine. 

But meanwhile here is the lovely Bobby Britnell, whose two day workshop I was on last week. She has just published her book, "Stitched Textiles: Flowers",  and launched it at Art Van Go, so all the examples from the book were on the walls. She is a super teacher and it was great to be surrounded by her work - totally inspiring.

We worked in our sketchbooks and on fabric using similar techniques in each. 

When I got home I had to continue playing and this was the state of my workspace, but I had to get on with that quilt.

So I cleared it up and got out the machine

You will be so relieved to know that I have actually started quilting - hurrah!!! The end is in sight.
Hope you are having glorious weather too.