Sunday, 27 November 2011

Productive Sunday

I was going to make a start on the large Life piece next, but although I have the necessary poses from a life model, I'm not happy about the quilts that make up the background yet.  I still need to play.

So, having myself a spot of space on a quiet Sunday, I decided to have a play with another piece based on the oriental theme for SiXandfriends.

 I've been looking at the woodcuts of Utagawa Hiroshige and felt inspired to attempt a landscape.

Left: white cloth with pencil outlines of what I want to put where. The cloth isn't even ironed. Hang your head in shame Rainbow.

I've been stretching people again! I just like the look of them. It's harder than it looks to do them but I've ended up with something that's nearly there (on the bottom right) The will make up a scene in the middle distance.
 Using cloth to start the collage.

Now this cloth is quite, quite special.  I bought it from Laura Kemshall and it is beautiful. I felt enormously brave slicing into it, but, what the heck, it's what I bought it for!

Below:  Then I got out the paints and started on the top part of the background, and darkening a few cloth edges.  I'm very pleased with the richness of the colours.

Needless to say, there's water and blossom trees in this somewhere, probably a big one on the right and a small one on the left.

Friday, 25 November 2011

1st, 2nd, and 3rd coats of paint on.

A Small Dragonfly
This Way, That Way, This Way, That,
And It Passes By.

Bit more to do but nearly there.

Follow the "Orientation" exhibition preparations here!

You are warmly invited to join, Hilary Beattie - Ineke Berlyn - Laura Kemshall - Linda Kemshall - Edwina Mackinnon - Catherine Nicholls  - Stephanie Redfern - Marie Roper, and myself on a new blog here (

It's an easy way for us to keep in touch with each other; what we're doing, our inspirations, thoughts and processes, and we hope you might enjoy reading about them too.  Please come and join us!!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Stitching finished, painting begun.

I've decided to try and give each piece for the Orientation exhibition at Redditch Needle Museum,  a Haiku rather than a title.

Giant dragonfly:
that way, this way, that way, this
and it passes by.

(you can just see the dragonfly dive bombing the second lady's nose)

Now for some paint!

New purchases

Above is a pencil sketch done by a family friend Rich Inwood.  It's dystopia - an imagined place where things are unpleasant and environmentally degraded. I love it. He's kindly doing me a coloured version too.

And on the right is my new sewing machine. The old one (Pfaff 2046) and I were both suffering from tension.  The machine finally cracked under the pressure and has gone to have repairs.  This is an entry level Bernina (1008) and so far, I'm extremely pleased as it seems very sound and forgiving.  It's allowed me to free machine through all the things I've thrown at it so far. Heaven. I shall keep it just for free machining and use the Pfaff for more delicate things (assuming it's repairable of course)

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Being a bit slow!

One lady is stitched and ready to paint, but it's taken me ages to do. Must speed up!  Still, I'm fond of the patterning on her kimono.
The layout is done for this one too but not sure about colourways yet.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Going pear-shaped!

Well, ok, I lied;  not pear-shaped so much as celery-shaped.

 I've been playing about making people long and thin....out of proportion and stylised, but still recognizable.  It was quite hard for me to do, as I normally try hard to be accurate, so I had to make a distorted grid and scale them up gradually.

These ladies are inspired by an old concert programme for the Doyle Carte, and were my starting point for Japanese and Chinese costumes, which seem amazingly complex.

A few stretched trees, a fence, a dragonfly near a nose, and possible Mount Fuji in the background, and I'm there.

I'm off to have ENORMOUS fun making fabrics for the clothes.

Friday, 4 November 2011

World, mobile phone, peg, choccy, contraceptive pills, dummy, and snippet from new piece.

 Above the world is nearly finished.

Right: mobile phone with suitable apps, peg (because whatever happens you need to wash yer stuff) choccy, because I'd always want to take it with me, contraceptive pills and dummy because for a lot of women, children are a choice.
Snippet of new Oriental piece.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Blog update - new addresses

Hiya, this blog has now split and is being published on the following blogspot addresses:

Travels around the UK

Do pop over and say hello if you have time!

Bindweed and Wedding Ring

Breaking free from your chains doesn't mean leaving all behind you.

Some things you choose to take along with you and accept the ties they make.

Durham Cathedral

I couldn't quite get to grips with Durham as a city; it seemed very small, and without heart, but perhaps we didn't spend enough time there to investigate it properly.  We went to look at the Cathedral, and were there for less than 24 hours.

Durham Cathedral, unlike many cathedrals these days, does not charge an entrance fee, but you are not allowed to take photographs inside. They rely on sales of the guide book I think, and the images on this blog,  of the insides of the cathedral, were taken from it.

The outside.

Durham is known for its cathedral, University and Castle. We had heard that the cathedral was magnificent and worth a visit, so off we trekked.

Durham is a city, above Yorkshire but below Northumberland in the top right hand side of England. (the bottom bit of the UK)

The picture above gives the impression that the cathedral is quite austere, and it certainly is "high church".  The outside left me with an overwhelming feeling of workhouses and puritanism!

These two towers (the Western Towers) are built above the gorge and date from 12/13th centuries. They hang on the side of the hill and can be seen for miles (below)

The building is huge and is 143 metres long, and is at one end of a very pretty green opposite Durham Castle.

Many of the other buildings around the green belong to the University of Durham, including in this row, the University's Police.

The great central tower (above) is 66 metres high and was the last bit that was built, in the 15th century.

The Insides

The inside of the Cathedral is truly wonderful.

The stone pillars and roof give a feeling of an enormous strong powerful place. They are highly decorated with carving rather than with paint and gilding. I tell you, it fair takes your breath away.

 The Nave (looking East)

 The Nave (looking west)
 Looking north across the nave. (the tomb belongs to a member of the Neville family)

Until the late 1800's there wouldn't have been any seats in the Nave. The carved pillars have stood for almost 900 years and are 6.6 metres round and 6.6 metres high. They support the ceiling.

There is a long narrow slab of black marble set into the floor and this marks the point behind which women had to remain, a restriction that continued until the mid-sixteenth century.

From about 1093 to 1539 the church was highly decorated and the windows filled with stained glass. but during the Reformation the walls were whitewashed and all the windows were broken.  What you see in the windows now is mostly Victorian.

 The Quire, where services are held every day.

Whilst we were visiting the choir were practising for Evensong, and the accoustics and the beautiful voices actually made me cry. (I really am quite soft, you know!)
 The highly decorated organ pipes which were also playing during our visit.
 The high altar, and behind it the Neville screen.
 The Shrine of St Cuthbert.
 The Daily Bread window.

This window is by the main north door, and was designed by Mark Angus in 1984, and paid for by the staff of Marks and Spencers, to mark the firm's centenary. It illustrates the Last Supper.
 The Galilee Chapel.
The Venerable Bede's tomb (right, and in between the candles)

Bede was born in 673, a saxon, who joined a monastery at Jarrow where he spent all his life. He was a scholar, historian, theologian, poet, scientist, biographer and wrote extensively about the Bible. He died in 735.

And finally a look at the wonderful architecture of the roof of the central tower.