Oh dear, it's February. No excuses I'll just get on with it...
Rather shocked by the death of David Bowie whose music I have always loved- he's been one of the artists who has always been part of the sound track of my life. I saw him twice in the seventies and I searched out my badge from the '78 gig.
I had to make a couple of pages in my journal (written on now) and I keep finding Bowie tracks running through my head, I'm still very sad.
Mr T go a copy of Black Star last week but we still haven't found the right moment to listen to it.
The high light of January was my Stitch Retreat weekend at Wyboston Lakes.
It was a follow-up from last year's gelli print weekend with Hilary Beattie.
Most of last year's group were there and as quite a few of us have kept in touch via Facebook it was a matter of getting back with old friends so everyone felt at ease straight away. I hope that those new to the group felt that way too.
After unpacking all of our 'stuff' Hilary took us through a routine for sorting potential material for a new piece. We brought some of our prints from last year and other papers and fabrics we'd dyed, printed etc.
I've 'stolen' Judth's picture here as I'm in it (back, right). So the first evening we sorted and then worked on our materials till we felt we had enough to create a collage.
I retired to bed quite early, shattered, only to find when I was in my PJs I'd left my iPad in the work room. It was a long walk back, our bedrooms seem to on the outer reaches of the complex. I didn't quite have the nerve to walk through reception in my flowery jim-jams, but hastily pulled a layer of clothes over the top.
On Saturday Hilary gave us lots of ideas on developing layouts for collage backgrounds. One of her ideas was to use traditional quilt blocks, but in a much looser way. Here are a couple of pages in my sketchbook using a "log cabin" layout.
We then used these ideas on our fabric and paper pieces and applied the background to a piece of felt.
The next task was to stitch the pieces down.
By Sunday morning everyone had their sewing machines out.
We finished Sunday afternoon, everyone determined that we should repeat the weekend next year.
I cannot begin to describe how much good the break did me. Hillary was brilliant at sharing her processes and working methods. Of course everyone works in a different way and this was reflected in our final 'show' when we looked at everyones work. I will include a link to Hilary's blog where you can see the photographs she took of everyone's work.
I came away with a battery of practical ideas for developing sketchbook work, with ideas for layout and colour. I found one of Hilary's recommendations second hand on the web, and I had to buy some Gelato colour sticks to play with.
I also came away with a nearly completed piece of work which I have finished stitching at home, and it is now ready for mounting. What is great, is that it is thoroughly me, using pieces I'd stencilled with one of my own designs.
I tried the mounting method Hilary shared on this little sampler piece. It's part of the Capability Brown project. So I now have a small hanging. When I have time I shall try it on my larger piece.
Meanwhile I need to get back to my proper Capability Brown piece. I was pleased with the free cut pieced background, and I'm now playing around with ideas for appliqué.
My weekend away gave me the break I so desperately needed. Home life can be a bit stressful, and I know I can be my own worse enemy. It was wonderful not having to take anyone else's needs into consideration for a couple of days. I'm going on another retreat in March with Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. How lovely that a couple of friends from this weekend will be there too. Looking forward to it very much, and guessing it will be very different. I'm also looking at the possibility of some others later in the year.
Here are a couple of links to other blogs about the weekend:
Heather - one of my fellow retreaters: http://heatherramsden.co.uk/tag/stitch-retreat/
Hilary Beattie - tutor: http://hilarybeattie.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/what-wonderful-weekend-we-had-piccies.html
Hope 2016 is going well for you - so far…