Monday, 24 October 2016

A time of reflection

it has been a busy few weeks. visiting the 'Knitting and stitching show' at Ally Pally and then a trip to Norfolk.
the highlight of the K&S show was Debbie Lyddon's 'Sluice Creake cloths' inspired by Wells on the North Norfolk coast an area i know well.
the trip to Norfolk was a complete co-incidence; a courier trip with three Fijian items to the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich and collecting my work from the exhibition at the Hostry in Norwich Cathedral brought everything back in a circle.
i arrived on the UEA campus on 12th October to be greeted by coaches full of band members for a gig at the Students Union. anyone who follows this blog will know that the piece i showed at Norwich was based on these guys
who i saw at the UEA in October 1977. if i had the rest of the ticket stub i could tell the exact date, perhaps it was the 12th who knows, probably Google!

 after a day at the Sainsbury Centre installing objects i met up with friends 
Henry Moore and reflections
beautiful stonework in the cloisters
it was great to meet Jan Miller again (my tutor at TSG Summer School year before last)who had helped organise the exhibition at the Cathedral and after collecting my work we went to the coast for a day which brought back more memories, Blakeney, Cley and Wells

View from the Blakeney Hotel where we had a wonderful lunch, it hadn't changed in 15 years!
the only thing that had changed which of course you can't see in the above photo are the wind turbines way out at sea. personally i think they are quite beautiful.
how many people have photographed this i wonder?

and these?
there is more work in progress, going back to proper embroidery!

Saturday, 10 September 2016


i am lucky to have have had my piece 'Blockheads' accepted for the Costume and Textile Association for Norfolk Museums exhibition in Norwich.
i have just got the poster and there i am! wow! i don't know if there are different versions of the poster but this is wonderful.
the piece inspired by printing blocks also stemmed from my life in Norfolk and quirky word associations.
i saw Ian Dury and the Blockheads in 1977 at the UEA as part of the 'Stiffs Live' Tour; almost 40 years ago. ironically the day the exhibition opens they are playing at RAMM (the Royal Albert Memorial Museum) in Exeter where i work. unfortunately not with Ian Dury but i am sure it will be entertaining.
some things i keep and this part ticket stub i have now put to good use along with other pieces of ephemera from my days in Norwich.
the piece is actually composed of two pieces 'woven' together from strips. i used a fine wire and a twining technique to replicate the leno weave of a Norwich shawl.
wire gave me the ability to mould the finished weave reminiscent of the market awnings in Norwich, if anyone is familiar with them and the metal strips used to make the printing blocks in the first place. 
the fuzziness is flock which was attached to some printing blocks to take up the ink more readily.
and here the finished piece. each about 20cm x 30cm. can't wait to see the exhibition now.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Textile Study Group Summer School 2016

Can it really be a week already since i came home from York where this years Summer School was held?
this year the tutors were Bobby Britnell, Sheila Mortlock and Alison King. i chose Bobby's workshop 'Drawing the Line' as i wanted to spend some time getting back to 'drawing' and mark making which i seem to do infrequently at home.
Bobby's quote for the week was 'Drawing is putting 'a line' around an idea' Henry Matisse. i chose the right course for me as she certainly got us thinking about lines and ideas.

she plunged us straight in with black pens and paper and a small square template to work within. starting with the basics of a straight line drawn freehand.
gradually getting more complex as the afternoon progressed. we moved on to using graphite and gesso.
making squares of textured gesso to work on when dry. we then went on to explore the use of different papers and textile and gradually introducing one colour. i am becoming a bit predictable as i chose green but varying shades.
i used abaca, cotton organdie, tissue paper, varnished paper and photocopies. as usual i got some text in there with the use of bonda web. Bobby tried to then get use working big or bigger which proved difficult for me.
so here is a larger one on ramie which i love for the flat smooth surface it has.
our workroom was the largest which was great because it was quite a hot week and although it doesn't look it from the above image we were a positive hive of industry. since coming home i have continued with this theme which i hope to use in an exhibitable piece.
James College was our accommodation this year, absolutely beautiful is surrounded by a lake with geese, ducks, coots, moorhens etc wandering around.
lines can be seen everywhere especially where the sun shines. a thoroughly good week. 
i feel that the next course i do should be something completely different to stretch me and take me away from my comfort zone: ceramics or metals?

Monday, 20 June 2016

What on earth has this to do with Norwich Shawls?

in October 1977 Ian Dury signed up for the 'Stiffs Live' Tour, with Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Nick Lowe, Wreckless Eric and Larry Wallis. Ian Dury and the Blockheads stole the shows completely.
I was there in Norwich and i have kept my half ticket ever since
i seem to remember Ian with a plastic fried egg on his shoulder, it was a great time in my life; art college and punk! what more could one wish for?

and i will leave you with that thought

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Travellers Tales at the Bristol Guild

South West Textile Group are having an exhibition at The Bristol Guild from 23rd April until 14th May. 
Title: 'Travellers Tales'

and I have just finished my main piece hurrah
'This I have heard'
 so i have come a long way since my last post about this work. the crocheted containers are now consigned to the drawer marked 'possible use in future projects' and my plaited bus tickets have become the container/reticules. i usually come back to the idea that less is more and to keep things simple and not to overwork them.
working in a spiral manner, stitched with transparent nylon sewing thread through the holes in the previous spiral they remain slightly articulated. each is about 4cm in diameter at their opening and i had to use a magnifier to work the cross stitch letters on a 1cm wide tap. the whole finished piece is 45cm long x 20cm wide.
the background was chosen with some help from my friends at a SWTG meeting and it is actually in keeping with 'tagecoach' buses as here in Exeter they are white blue and orange. the orange is a achieved with a 'Montana' aerosol paint sprayed onto white Ramie fabric and when dried i polished it by rubbing with a smooth surface. So much easier than dyeing.

because essentially they are a collection; bus ticket collection and collected phrases i have treated them like a museum collection and placed them in a perspex box. this one above complete with my image unfortunately.

please do come along and see the exhibition but please check the website for opening times.

Monday, 21 March 2016

'Nature in Art' Stitch Textile Artists exhibition

we are exhibiting over the Easter weekend and onwards at 'Nature in Art' near Gloucester.
the exhibition is our 'On the Edge' exhibition we exhibited last year at ilminster but with quite a few changes (except for mine) to reflect 'nature'

please come and visit

Friday, 4 March 2016

Plaiting or is it weaving with bus tickets

i always seem to do it to myself and i'm obviously a sucker for punishment but i'm still plodding through the bus tickets. it all stemmed from conserving a straw bonnet at work and weaving japanese paper strips to match missing areas of  straw plait. i enjoyed the rhythmical nature of the plaiting and thought i would remember it for future use!

Travelling about on the bus here in Devon leaves me with a purse full of tickets i always think a waste to throw away and at last i'm putting them to some good use.
the tickets themselves are quite small 6cm x 8cm so i join about 4 together with adhesive and then cut them into 3mm wide strips! i'm using 5 strips to plait, joining more on when needed. when finished they look a bit stark although the backs are quite colourful with 'McDonald's', 'Subway' or 'Burger King' vouchers on the back - just think of all those missed meals i could have had (or not), perhaps that's another work for the future.

the great thing about the paper they use is that it's heat sensitive so i take an iron to the plait which makes the front a beautiful dark grey. i then wax the whole strip and construct them into reticule type containers using traditional bonnet making techniques by spiralling round and stitching the edge of the braid through the layer underneath.

a taster of part of the finished item. i dread to think how much i have spent on tickets!