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.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Life 8 stitching

I suspect you may be getting a little bored with seeing images of stitching on bodies!  It's a time consuming thing putting them on so there's not much going on around here except that at the moment. 


The story is one of reflection, thinking about what might have been, but being happy anyway.

Once again, although my father did say these exact words to me, it is a work of fiction....I have never varnished my toe nails and am a dreadful cook.

The words are:



"When I was 10, I asked my father what subjects I should take at school and what I should be when I grew up.  He said it didn’t matter because I would be a wife and mother and my husband would look after me.  He said it was important for me to learn to cook and to look pretty.  My brothers were furious at my escape from supposed drudgery and toil.

So I made sure I fulfilled my parents expectations and married at 16 to the first man who’d have me. I made a really good sponge cake, and varnished my toe nails.

My brothers were stupid. What could be more demanding and time consuming than being a mother.  It’s the ultimate career and every other career exists to support it.  I did the work of 20 for free, and lived in heaven and hell at the same time.  I was racked with self-doubt, panic, insecurity, tiredness and indignity. I found strengths I didn’t know I had and suffered fears I didn’t know existed. I found that happiness is made up of tiny moments and wasn’t an ultimate destination.  I learned how unselfish I could be, and forged chains of flesh and blood.

I often used to wonder what would have happened if my father had expectations beyond a wife and mother for me, say, an astronaut.  Now I’m older, I wonder if he chose the hardest career of all."

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Some playing

 






















Just having fun in between other things such as painting garden features, and mopping bathroom floors.

Some of these were printing ink and some acrylic. 4 out of about, ooooooo, millions!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Life 7 - On The Shelf ...Finished!

I shall probably fiddle a bit more but in essence Life 7 is now finished.























The wallpaper stripes say: 
Mood swings: chocolate, cats, wine, Black cohosh, divorce
Weight gain: diet, exercise, bigger clothes
Hot Flushes: fan, soya, exercise, light clothes, HRT, diet, evening primrose oil
Insomnia: Remove clocks, no caffeine
Depression: clonidine, gabapentin, toy boy, acupuncture, venlafaxine
Osteoporosis: tibelene, calcium, jumping 13 times a day
Low self-esteem: testosterone
Irritability: diet, cannabis, citalopram
Loss of libido: HRT, champagne, abstinence, testosterone
Tearfulness: friends, food, sleep


The words on the body are:
Keep young and beautiful
It’s your duty to be beautiful
Keep young and beautiful
If you want to be loved.


Ah sod off.  So what if I’m on the shelf, I’m very happy here. Last year the man I’d lived with for over 20 years told me he wanted a divorce because he didn’t love me any more. The truth was that he’d found someone younger to flatter his ego. He didn’t like the way I’d started to sag and pucker, and grow moles and hair . He said I was grey and miserable.   I was desperate and cried so hard but I couldn’t stop him. I was so lonely, dependent, insecure, ageing and invisible.
But slowly, slowly, I began to feel better. Each day I got stronger and realised that if you are unwanted, then you are also free.   I guess I took stock and evaluated my life. I was frightened at first to go out on my own and make friends. When I was younger I used to trade on my appearance and get attention because of the way I looked, but suddenly everyone just stopped looking.  A friend told me I needed a make over, with a new hair do, and visits to the gym, maybe get my nose straightened at last, but they were wrong.  Over 17 million cosmetic procedures were done in the world in 2011 but It’s silly to pretend that I can be young forever like those stupid celebrities.  17% of the UK population are women over the age of 50 but they seem faceless and  without a defined role. Why? Getting old is interesting. I think I care less about things than I used to but I have more power and serenity.   I may not be an attractive young woman any more, but I don’t need men to make me feel good about myself.  I’ve adjusted, and I think I’m ok.  Do you know, life is good and I like the shelf.

The Imagery

I'm basing the still life part on the old dutch paintings such as the Harmen Steenwyck's Still Life: An Allegory of the Vanities of Human Life.

Skulls are a universal symbol of death and this together with the tablets mark the length and passing of life.

The eggs, are a symbol of birth and fertility.

The books represent human knowledge. My sketchbook is there of course, as is a Germain Greer. The piece is about menopause so I felt "The Change" had earned a place!

The fabric is an expensive commercial piece. That and the teapot and cup and saucer represent life's luxuries and indulgences.

There is a trug with a rose. Pinky roses mean desire, passion, joy of life, youth, energy- which is perhaps why the bloom is fading and drooping slightly.  Burgundy roses mean unconscious beauty.
The pearls are for femininity. The tablets as well as indicating mortality, show a degree of control over life.

There's also an electric hand held fan.  I expect you can work out the symbolism of that one yourself!!

Friday, 19 April 2013

The Life of Time is Motion.

I went to Snowshill Manor again this afternoon, to see if I could take a picture of a Japanese or Chinese table, on which I could put the pots I've been collecting for Life 6  (Still Life).  I love that place. It's endlessly fascinating and I see something new each time I visit it.


I couldn't find what I wanted today, but I did collect a lot of inspiration for the next, but one, Life piece. It'll be "Life 8 - The Life of time is Motion" or something along those lines.  I've been thinking a lot about this piece and when I saw the huge clock, pictured at the bottom of this posting, something inside my head went ping.

 A possible table below this table!


 I'm a sucker for cabinets and boxes with drawers in them.  One day I'll buy myself one and fill it with treasures. Maybe not an ancient chinese one like the one on the right, but maybe the IKEA equivalent!!





















This is the clock.


One of the sayings on the wall, is inspiring me too and will doubtless work it's way in somewhere.

 "Time, swifter than the wind, yet still as a stone"

How flipping-well true.

The tiny sculpture was on the window frame by the exit. Easily passed by, but exquisite.  I can so see this face looking down from the top corner of a quilt.


Thursday, 18 April 2013

Festival of quilts - deadline for Fine Art Quilt Masters fast approaching

Had you thought of entering the Art Quilts section of Festival of Quilts this year? 

Go on, give it a go!!  Be brave - what's to lose?   I thought I'd remind you, just in case you're tempted to support this wonderful new innovation and idea, with a whopping prize of £5,000, the closing date for entries is MAY 3rd.

Here's the blurb from Twisted Thread....

"This category was introduced in response to substantial research which indicated the need to showcase the work of accomplished quilters and to celebrate excellence within patchwork and quilting.

Full details can be found on the attached PDF entry form and at our new website: www.thefestivalofquilts.co.uk . All shortlisted works will be displayed in a distinct gallery at The Festival. Our aim is to display a collection of quilts which transcend craft and demand equal billing with work shown in an art gallery.

To show the strength of our support for this new important category, Upper street Events have agreed to underwrite the prize fund for Fine Art Quilt Masters. A significant award to the winner of £5000.00. I would also like to stress that this is not a purchase prize however, we may want to tour shortlisted as well as the winning quilt to other exhibitions including The Knitting and Stitching Shows.

Friday, 12 April 2013

A sneaky peak at the painting in progress

 Needless to say, I have to qualify this posting at the start by saying there's loads of work to do and the quilt is nowhere near finished yet.

I'm working on the still life element today.

Stage 1 - the photo. I worked out the pieces I wanted (they all mean something) and photographed them in situ.






Below: Stage 2. putting in the fabric applique shapes.



















Stage 3: Stitching the shapes and adding details.




Right: Stage 4: adding the first coat paint to the stitched applique.

I love this sketchbook. It's a lovely soft leather and is being made to go alongside the award I got last year for gardening.

The EXTRA special thing that I love about this version is the pages.  A while back I asked Linda Kemshall to print some altered book pages for me for a piece that's coming along later in the Life Story series.  I was able to use some of the excess to make my sketchbook pages (you can just make out some of the printed words)  So I have my sketchbook pages, really making up my sketchbook pages. How cool is that?! 

And this is how far I've got today.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Ahem, I digress, sorry! For Catherine.

You should never ask a new Granny if she has any piccies Catherine, because you know what will happen don't you?





Saturday, 6 April 2013

Words for Life 7 - On the Shelf

NB: This is a story, not autobiographical!





























The wallpaper stripes say:

Mood swings: chocolate, cats, wine, Black cohosh, divorce
Weight gain: diet, exercise, bigger clothes
Hot Flushes: fan, soya, exercise, light clothes, HRT, diet, evening primrose oil
Insomnia: Remove clocks, no caffeine
Depression: clonidine, gabapentin, toy boy, acupuncture, venlafaxine
Low self-esteem: testosterone
Irritability: diet, cannabis, citalopram
Loss of libido: HRT, champagne, abstinence, testosterone
Tearfulness: friends, food, sleep



The words on the body are:

Keep young and beautiful
It’s your duty to be beautiful
Keep young and beautiful
If you want to be loved.



Ah sod off.  So what if I’m on the shelf, I’m very happy here. Last year the man I’d lived with for over 20 years told me he wanted a divorce because he didn’t love me any more. The truth was that he’d found someone younger to flatter his ego. He didn’t like the way I’d started to sag and pucker, and grow moles and hair . He said I was grey and miserable.   I was desperate and cried so hard but I couldn’t stop him. I was so lonely, dependent, insecure, ageing and invisible.

But slowly, slowly, I began to feel better. Each day I got stronger and realised that if you are unwanted, then you are also free.   I guess I took stock and evaluated my life. I was frightened at first to go out on my own and make friends. When I was younger I used to trade on my appearance and get attention because of the way I looked, but suddenly everyone just stopped looking.  A friend told me I needed a make over, with a new hair do, and visits to the gym, maybe get my nose straightened at last, but they were wrong.  Over 17 million cosmetic procedures were done in the world in 2011 but It’s silly to pretend that I can be young forever like those stupid celebrities.  17% of the UK population are women over the age of 50 but they seem faceless and  without a defined role. Why? Getting old is interesting. I think I care less about things than I used to but I have more power and serenity.   I may not be an attractive young woman any more, but I don’t need men to make me feel good about myself.  I’ve adjusted, and I think I’m ok.  Do you know, life is good and I like the shelf.



Thursday, 4 April 2013

Life Time



 "Time, swifter than the wind, yet still as a stone"

A day away from the machine face today, and another visit to Snowshill Manor. There was an awful lot of snow still left on the Cotswolds and at times we were driving through quite deep drifts. But, intrepid travellers that we are, we arrived safely and just in time for lunch.

I may have mentioned before that I LOVE Snowshill.  I think Mr Charles Paget Wade, who put the collection together - buying the house for that purpose whilst he lived in what is essentially an outhouse - must have been a bit weird.  But Thank Goodness for that, or life would be just a little bit duller!  It's crammed full of interesting bits and pieces and I can never spend enough time gazing at them.  I especially like the Chinese cabinets stuffed with tiny hand made gorgeous things.  I want one of those cabinets to put treasures in.

Today was about the clock above. I wanted to refresh my memory for a life piece about time.  Maybe Life Time?  I love the sayings on the wall as the numbers count down.  And what a lesson:  "The Life Of Time Is Motion"....therefore, never stop, people, never stop!  Always find time and do everything whilst you can. Cram more in. It's an order :))

Yesterday was spent with a student from Birmingham Uni, and we went through a days work experience and chatted for 6 hours about quilting whilst making a small piece of work using some basic techniques. Very interesting; a lovely student, but not much work done from me, so back with a vengeance tomorrow I hope.