A very few of my experiments are for sale on my website very cheaply if you're interested, as I hate to throw things away. However, selling is not what this blog is about - I'd have starved to death years ago if it was - it would make me happy if you just enjoy the processes.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

happy New Year!

Oh what larks!  Christmas leftovers are nearly eaten, and we are just about to celebrate the New Year.  Have a happy and peaceful one if you can :)) All the best to everyone for 2012.

I have finished sewing the Japanese Landscape and will begin painting in the next day or two, so will be posting about it this week I hope.

Here's the piece with the sewing finished.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

And onwards in thought.

I may have stopped sewing, but as ever, my thoughts are continually turned towards quilts and paintings (nb I really really must do a portrait of Michel Roux Jnr - having watched Masterchef, he has the most expressive face and lovely smile!)

I shall be moving on to a quilt for the Leamington Spa exhibition next and have discovered that Laura Kemshall will shortly be doing large scale printing onto cloth on a commercial basis.  (that link is to the SiX and friends blog, where she describes what she's doing)

The quilt will be called Life (3) Switching Off. It's another one in the Life series, and will be an art quilt. In my mind there is a distinction between what I make and call art quilts, and the botanical or abstract ones. True they could also be considered art quilts I suppose, but increasingly, I have a need to make things which say something about life. I'm not always sure what, but it's quite fun to just let things evolve and be surprized by what comes out of the ether. They are also carefully considered though, before I begin the sewing process,  as I'm aware that both the Switching Off quilt and the Afraid Of Your Shadow quilt (which is in the pipeline) are about sensitive subjects.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Free machining with narrative.

I've haven't been able to stitch much in the past week, and must now clear my workspace for other things, so I probably won't be doing a lot more to the landscape piece until the beginning of January.

That being the case, if I'm not back before, A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone who reads this.

 I don't think I've ever done a landscape before and I've found the stitching has turned from abstract pattern to narrative. This means that it's quite heavily free machined, but I've enjoyed the process very much, especially trying to find shapes which join together so there is as little stopping and starting as possible.

The mountains have been shaped to show incline, and to separate one from the other; the leaves veined; the sky gently moved; the grass grown; the water made to  flow; and the trees turned into small forests!!

(left) This is the next bit that has to be finished. I haven't yet resolved the foreshore stitching. It looks blobby with harsh edges which will disappear into a mass of flowers, sand and grass.

The tree, lady, and grass will then be painted.

I don't want to obscure such beautiful fabric either...so will be careful with the painting.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

York Minster

The York Minster posting is so large that I'm doing it in two pieces, this being the first.

And a view of the Minster at night. (I was on a Ghost Walk and the Minster was our starting point....pretty, I thought)

This is the last cathedral posting - having done Worcester, Gloucester, Durham, Lincoln before this one.

York Minster is a very beautiful place. Like Lincoln, you have to pay to get in. The ticket lasts a year so you can go back as many times as you wish within that time; if I lived closer I most definitely would!

Why's it called a Minster?  Yes, it is a cathedral  (cathedra, and hence cathedral,  being an old word for the seat of the Bishop, in this case the Archbishop of York). It was built at the end of the Roman empire as a centre for the Christian faith in the north of England. Minster (from the Saxon word mynster, simply means a mission church. So it's three things; a church (a christian place of worship), a Minster, (a missionary church) and a cathedral (the seat of a bishop and mother ship to the local diocese!)

I recommend you take advantage of the frequent free tours on offer as you find out so much more than if you would by reading the leaflets or wandering around on your own. I was highly amused.

The Minster is built from magnesium limestone, and is the largest gothic church this side of the Alps, measuring 150 yards by 28 yards.

It has 128 stained glass windows, which need to be cleaned and re-leaded every 80 years. It takes 2 years to remove a window and 22 years to clean and put back in, so you can see they need a lot of looking after - hence the entrance fee I guess.

 Much of the cathedral is built out of wood, which means that it burns quite well and there have been a number of fires. In 1840 a candle started a fire and destroyed the roof of the nave (right) which had to be replaced. They tried to restore it to the original condition and did quite a good job except that there is a carving of a baby being bottle fed on one of the bosses!

If you look carefully at this photo on the left, about half way down above the right hand arch, you can see something sticking out into the Nave. This is a golden dragon's head but no one is quite sure why it's there - probably part of a mechanism for raising a heavy lid probably over the font or some reliquary long gone.

There is also a memorial to William Wilberforce in the nave. He was a Yorkshireman who led the fight for the abolition of slavery.

At the far end of the nave is the Quire. (Quire/Choir?? Quire is the place, and the Choir are the singers that sing in the Quire) It's slightly askew to the Nave because of a mistake by the medieval builders. It's still standing though, so no harm done.

 In 1829 another fire destroyed the roof and most of the woodwork in the quire, including the organ. It was rebuilt, recreating the medieval and is a most wonderous thing.  The organ has over 4,000 pipes which if laid end to end would stretch for over 4.5 miles.

The fire was started on purpose by Johnathan Martin, who spent the rest of his life in an asylum.

These rows of seats (right) are the quire stalls. They have symbols on the back of each seat which represent the various parishes in the north of England.
 The organ above the quire stalls.

This is the cathedra, or throne, of the Archbishop of York. The quire also contains 267 memorials.

Another York Minster posting soon.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Mad Leaf Making Warwickshire Woman Starts Forest

Well, that's what it seems like at the moment. I've had to stop making leaves today because my finger joints on one hand have started to swell!

So with trees in mind, I'm off to see an exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery, by my friend Michala  Gyetvai  (blog with links to Gallery) who does the most fantastic things with felt. Do have a look if you're in the area.

Whilst I'm about it, here's another link to a friend of mine who makes the most amazing clothes. If you need anything for a special occasion and want it made, I'm sure she could help!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Mordor and odd weather

 I may have over-egged the mountainous regions of Japan and turned them into Mordor. I have a feeling I should be stitching Frodo in there somewhere!
 I would like to put some Japanese anenome's in the foreground, which means (and you know this sort of thing matters to me) that I can't have cherry blossom in bloom at the same time.  So, I've been checking out acer leaves as an alternative.  Choices, choices. Autumn or spring?

AND, I planted this lily in my garden way back in the spring, and it's done nothing all summer, but here we are on the 3rd December after a couple of moderate frosts, breaking into bloom.  I don't understand.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Busy, busy.

Not huge masses done to this in the last few days. I've added trees, figures, a small boat, and some hogweed. All these things are there to give depth as well as interest.  The trees will be covered in blossom and I intend putting more flowers in the foreground too.  I will then quilt and paint.

 I made a little Chinese junk for the watery bit, but then realised that Mount Fuji was in Japan, so all that work went to waste. I've swapped it for a Japanese Sushi boat.....not that anyone can tell the difference, but I'm happier!

I'm not sure at this stage whether or not this will be part of the SiXandfriends exhibition at Redditch or if it will be used elsewhere, but it's quite fun to do.

I've been busy with other things though including a lot of gardening.

You might not think there's much to do at this time of year, but it's when GALS get the ground cleared and perennials trimmed up etc.  There is always something for us to do, and it's good to get out in the fresh air and have a spot of exercise.

We thought this space between the gabions and walkway would make a really nice fragranced border...perhaps with herbs etc.