Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A moments introspection - and what went wrong!

I do hope everyone reading this will have enjoyed the Christmas festivities if that's something you do, and if not, you spent a happy and healthy few days not overdoing it! Myself, well, I'm looking at another 3lbs on the girth - and that's being optimistic!

A more universal celebration is perhaps New Year. Happy New Year everyone! It's a time to make new resolutions, and possibly forget them again by next week. I'm reminded of the words of Joseph Connolly:

How you elect to spend New Year's Eve, will depend on your:
1)   Age
2)   Remaining levels of optimism
3)   Threshold of pain

I shall be popping off to bed for a well earned rest with a cup of something that warms (cocoa)

However, I do like to spend a moment reflecting on the past year and thinking about what the next one will hold.







Things that could have gone better:

 

1) Not have worn my trousers inside out for a whole morning without realising. Rendered especially attractive by the large label which stuck out from behind my bum saying XL.

2) Complained about the lack of time I have to do things, but waste my time faffing on the interweb.

3) I really should try and not to be so forgetful.  Still, did you know that Einstein forgot his address and had to ask a cabbie to take him to "Einstein's Home".  There's hope.

4) Take the giblets out of the chicken before cooking it especially if they're in a plastic bag.

5) When standing on a bucket, not lean too far to the left even if you need to.

6) Also, when standing on a very steep slope which is made of clay and is wet, don't garden, or if you do, use the fork for grip. Moving slowly backwards inexorably towards the ground is a recipe for a bumped bum.

7) Not doing the housework doesn't mean that the fairies will come and magically do it for you.

8) Failing to travel successfully by train anywhere and permanently lost and needing help is pityful. Here's an excerpt from another blog.....

It's such a pain to catch trains to London and then have to battle with the underground.  Generally speaking I have no sense of direction and I have no idea where I'm going most of the time. I blindly follow G like a faithful old dog trying to please.

 Apart from needing help to get into and out of all the stations because the ticket machine wouldnt read the ticket it was fine.  NB I was told politely by one station manager, that I should try using my train ticket in the machine and not the seat reservation ticket which really couldn't be expected to work.  I told him that's what happens when cousins marry.  He fell over.

We had oodles of time to spare so went for a bite to eat and spend an hour at the Tate.  This involves a walk along the south bank, next to the river.  I hadn't twigged that it was called the South Bank because it was on the South Bank of the Thames. But then I only recently found out that Banoffee pie was a mix of the words banana and toffee. What can I say?

9) I could also have man-ned up a bit when it came to worms.

This gardening lark can be quite alarming and I did have a bit of a shock - ghastly goings on in the compost.  Eeeeeyouuu.

I lifted the lid of the black bin in which DH stores the leftover raw veg and trimmings, expecting it to be empty.  No, no snakes or toads, but there were worms.  Not just say, a hundred, but a thick layer almost 2 inches deep of small red wriggly things. 

Well, dear reader, I confess to a muffled scream. The lid was flung upwards in my haste to escape. Sadly, I failed to notice the thick lining of worms on said lid, which soon parted company from the plastic once the correct velocity was reached.  Unfortunately for me, most of them landed on my arm and head.   I confess, I ran. Pointless of course, as worms are not known for giving chase but there you go. I shook my head until my ears rang and tore off my clothes doing a passable impression of a Life quilt as I hastened to the shower and a slug of gin. Phew and yuck.

 

Things that were just Ace

 

1) Family.  I especially adored my granddaughter this year.  I hope it's mutual. Bless them all and I love you lots xx

2) Work-wise, I had enormous fun, with probably the height of arty-pleasantness in March.  I don't think I'll ever better it to be honest. I went to the opening of an exhibition at the Oxo Tower in London where my work was hanging alongside Tracy Emin and others.  I was taken in hand by Cherie Blair, who put her arm through mine, and who was simply wonderfully nice to me. We had a really long chat about the quilt, left, Life 4, and how I did it and the thinking behind it. Rather immodestly, I'll admit I was in heaven.

At the time I was pleased to sell the quilt, but part of me was sad to see it go. It took me so long to do, think about, write etc. However, I also learned that I never would have had that opportunity if I hadn't have kept plugging away and kept doing my own thing. You need to do that people. I still doubt myself but some self-doubt is healthy.  There's more odd quilts to come and I'm learning to be brave.

My thanks also go to those 2 fabulously talented and kind quilt artists Laura and Linda Kemshall, who have been so wonderful to me, and to Through Our Hands.  We jointly write a free quarterly magazine for everyone to enjoy. It's hard work at times - and just the sheer number of emails makes me pale; it's all done for free with goodwill and endless energy.  Thanks also to Margaret Cooter and Helen Cobby for writing for us, and to all those who've contributed so far.

Laura and I also jointly run a free website with a platform for artists to advertise their work, and take part in exhibitions we organize on their behalf.  It's all about getting art quilts out there and helping to raise their status; we have 2 exhibitions in 2015 at Wolverhampton in May/July and Festival of Quilts in August.  Again, as ever, all done for free with hours devoted to the cause.  Thank you Laura.

So lots to look forward to and be grateful for.  Brilliant stuff. Onwards!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Life 16 - a blank canvas

Life 16 - Poisonous Plant


The first thing that happens with a quilt is usually an idea caused by random thought or conversation.

I let it simmer in the old brain for a bit - maybe up to a year - whilst I slowly digest the premise of it.

Life 16 started a few months ago and you can see I've just made a start by deciding on the orientation of the cloth and it's size.  I don't know - which may be unusual,  - how the completed piece will look yet, though I do know which direction I'm heading in!

I put the cloth over my easel a few days ago, but since then have been searching for the right words to go onto the two bodies that will feature in the piece.  Needless to say I can't find any!!

There's plenty of poetry about love and death, but not much about jealousy, or paranoia which is the theme for this one.

Some words I've found which I like:

 Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.

Strong minds discuss ideas,
Average minds discuss events,
Weak minds discuss people  (Socrates)

No matter what you do, someone always knew you would.

Oh, beware my lord of jealousy. It is the green eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on.

Jealousy is no more than feeling alone against smiling enemies.

Gossip is a sort of smoke that comes from the dirty tobacco pipes of those who diffuse it: it proves nothing but the bad taste of the smoker.

But that's all very bleak, and so my favourite so far, which you may think odd at this stage, is by Shakespeare : 

 

I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine

Monday, 22 December 2014

Poison bottle

I had a few moments to spare this afternoon so had a go at the poison bottle I mentioned yesterday.  Always tricky to do glass, but old glass is especially hard as it's different thicknesses and wobbly shapes mean the light reflects in odd ways.  However, I liked doing it.

Apologies for all the marks on it - they've been left on the scanner, by some numpty who's got red acrylic paint all over the plate from lino print Christmas cards. Mmmm will have to have words.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Life 16, 17 and 18

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all have a good one.

The Mitochondrial Roots quilt is now finished except for the frame.  I've put it to one side so that I can prepare for Christmas and have a bit of a switch-off before starting again in January.

Trouble is, I itch to get on and do more!!  I don't want to stop, but daren't get out the paints and the sewing machine as there's too much to do around here, a lot of people, and not much space.


Life 16 - Poisonous Plant is next on the agenda.  M'mate Laura has given me a photo of a poison bottle she bought recently (empty, I'm sure) which I could make a start on by drawing.

Life 17 - The Life of Time is Motion (that's probably the title) is, I think anyway, hilarious and drawn out.

Life 18 - Interactive Woman involves portraits and self-disillusionment.

All of these quilts will be at Festival of Quilts in 2015 as part of the Through Our Hands stand, but I'm not saying too much more about that just now, except that I'm really looking forward to it and it will be quite challenging!  Hope you'll be intrigued over the coming months, and then visit us in the Main Hall to see what's going on.  ?????

I'm getting awfully close to that 20 quilt limit I set myself 2/3 years ago.  Mmmm that all needs a serious think or two as well. 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Life 15 - Mitochondrial Roots finished. The image, story, reasoning, and text.


Life 15 - Mitrochondrial Roots
60" x 54" when frame complete

The “story” is about male primogeniture.  It was only 2 years ago that the UK government agreed that a first born, even if it was female, could succeed to the throne. It’s only 2014 and we are supposed to be civilised and living in a country with equal opportunities legislation! Throughout history male primogeniture has meant “keeping it in the family”, but recent discoveries about mitochondrial dna, mean that we can all trace ourselves back to one ancestor…who was female.  To “keep it in the family” perhaps we should have had female primogeniture.

I started getting a bit cross about all this a few months ago.  I have a Tesco Clubcard, and Bank Accounts and DH and I decided it would be easier for us in the event of catastrophe, to have all such things in joint names. To start with companies began sending information in joint names, then they started deleting my name and sending only to DH.  This means that my details, savings etc now go to him rather than me.  I don't know what you think about that, but I find it offensive...and unnecessary.


Anyway, the quilt says:



No matter what colour our skin is, or our language, or our culture, we all share ancestors from the people who built Stonehenge, or who rode with Genghis Khan, or set sail across the oceans in canoes, or who planted papyrus on the banks of the Nile. Everyone alive today can trace their lineage back over 2 hundred thousand years to one woman, Mitochondrial Eve.

The following female names are stitched onto the roots shown above.

Artimisia Gentileschi, Catalina de Erauso, Catherine de Medici, Flora Sandes, Judith Leyster, Laura Bassi, Lucrezia Borgia, Madam de Staet, Maria Montessori, Maria Theresa, Properzia Ross, Mary Queen of Scots, Barbara Hepworth, Indira Gandhi, George Eliot, Lady Jane Grey, Jenny Joseph, Wendy Cope Anne Bronte, Sappho, Clepatra, Hildegard of Bingen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Joan of Arc, Mirabai, Elizabeth 1, Catherine the Great, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Florence Nightingale, Susan B Anthony, Emily Dickinson, Marie Curie, Emily Murphy, Helen Keller, Annie Besant, Simone de Beauvioir, Mother Teresa, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Seacole, Rosalind Franklin, Jocelyn Bell Burnett, Esther Lederberg, Chien-Shiung Wu, Lise Meitner, Nettie Stevens, Emmeline Pankhurst, Boudicca, Nancy Astor, Dorothy Hodgkin,Millicent Fawcett, Billie Holiday, Eva Peron, Betty Friedon, Marie Stopes, Anne Frank, Germaine Greer, Wangari Maathai, Shirin Ebadi, Malala Yousafzai, Marie Antoinette, Amelia Earhart, Amy Johnson, Aung San Suu Kyi, Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Caroline Norton, Elizabeth Gaskell, Virginia Woolf, Edith Cavell,Elsie Inglis, Ellen Isabel Jones, Grace Kimmins, Lady Constance Lytton, Christabel Pankhurst, Sylvia Pankhurst, Queen Isabella of Spain, Pocahontas, Frances E Willard, Lucy Stone, Dorothea Dix, Sojourner Truth, Edith Cavell, Virginia Apgar, Christine de Pizan, Hrotsvitha, Theodora, Maria Agnesi, Mary Anning, Florence Merriam Bailey,Laura Maria Caterina Bassi, Ruth Benedit, Elizabeth Gaskell, Elizabeth Blackwell, Annie Jump Cannon, Emilie du Chatelet, Cleopatra the Alchemist, Gerty T Cori, Eva Crane, Artemesia, Gertrude Bell Elion, Alice Evans, Sophie Germain, Maria Geoppert-Mayor, Elena Conrnaro Piscopia, Mary Fairfax Somerville, Ada Lovelace, Sofia Kovalevskaya, Alicia Stott, Amalie Emmy Noether, Anna Maria Von Schurman, Anne of Austria, Tanni Grey Thompson, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Naomi Anderson, Annie Arniel, Gertrude Ansell, Olympe de Gouge, Mary Sophie Allen, Louisa Garrett Anderson, Frances Balfour, Mary Gawthorpe, Lydia Becker, Ethel Bentham, Teresa Billington Greig, Margaret Bondfield, Mary Crudelius, Emily Davison, Nellie Hall, Mrs Beeton, Rosa Parks, Lady Caroline Lamb, Irene Sendler, Ealizabeth Eames, Alexandra Kollantai, Julia Bentley, Abigail Adams, Eudora Welty, Ada Lovelance, Margaret Macdonald, Queen Victoria, Mrs Siddons, Elizabeth 2, and Anne Boleyn.  (pardon any typing errors – they’re all ok on the quilt!)

Monday, 8 December 2014

Someone asked me....

........for all the names that appear on Life 15 - Mitochondrial Roots. Here's an explanation and a list.  I'm still adding, so if you have any suggestions, let me know!



We've all grown up with male primogeniture.  It still exists of course.  It was only a couple of years ago that the UK government agreed that a first born - even if it was female - could rule. This makes them equal in standing to male siblings.  But hey, it is only 2014 after all.  Did you know that you don't have to change your name when you marry and could carry on the family name to your children if you wish?  Did you know, that we can all trace our families, all our ancestors, back to one woman?  Every single person alive on this planet today is related to one woman, Mitochondrial Eve.  So really,  to keep things in the family, we should have had female primogeniture.  Just saying!!  Here's the words:

No matter what colour our skin is, or our language, or our culture, we all share ancestors from the people who built Stonehenge, or who rode with Genghis Khan, or set sail across the oceans in canoes, or who planted papyrus on the banks of the Nile. Everyone alive today can trace their lineage back over 2 hundred thousand years to one woman, Mitochondrial Eve.
Names on the quilt

Artimisia Gentileschi, Catalina de Erauso, Catherine de Medici, Flora Sandes, Judith Leyster, Laura Bassi, Lucrezia Borgia, Madam de Staet, Maria Montessori, Maria Theresa, Properzia Ross, Mary Queen of Scots, Barbara Hepworth, Indira Gandhi, George Eliot, Lady Jane Grey, Jenny Joseph, Wendy Cope Anne Bronte, Sappho, Clepatra, Hildegard of Bingen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Joan of Arc, Mirabai, Elizabeth 1, Catherine the Great, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Florence Nightingale, Susan B Anthony, Emily Dickinson, Marie Curie, Emily Murphy, Helen Keller, Annie Besant, Simone de Beauvioir, Mother Teresa, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Seacole, Rosalind Franklin, Jocelyn Bell Burnett, Esther Lederberg, Chien-Shiung Wu, Lise Meitner, Nettie Stevens, Emmeline Pankhurst, Boudicca, Nancy Astor, Dorothy Hodgkin,Millicent Fawcett, Billie Holiday, Eva Peron, Betty Friedon, Marie Stopes, Anne Frank, Germaine Greer, Wangari Maathai, Shirin Ebadi, Malala Yousafzai, Marie Antoinette, Amelia Earhart, Amy Johnson, Aung San Suu Kyi, Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Caroline Norton, Elizabeth Gaskell, Virginia Woolf, Edith Cavell,Elsie Inglis, Ellen Isabel Jones, Grace Kimmins, Lady Constance Lytton, Christabel Pankhurst, Sylvia Pankhurst, Queen Isabella of Spain, Pocahontas, Frances E Willard, Lucy Stone, Dorothea Dix, Sojourner Truth, Edith Cavell, Virginia Apgar, Christine de Pizan, Hrotsvitha, Theodora, Maria Agnesi, Mary Anning, Florence Merriam Bailey,Laura Maria Caterina Bassi, Ruth Benedit, Elizabeth Gaskell, Elizabeth Blackwell, Annie Jump Cannon, Emilie du Chatelet, Cleopatra the Alchemist, Gerty T Cori, Eva Crane, Artemesia, Gertrude Bell Elion, Alice Evans, Sophie Germain, Maria Geoppert-Mayor, Elena Conrnaro Piscopia, Mary Fairfax Somerville, Ada Lovelace, Sofia Kovalevskaya, Alicia Stott, Amalie Emmy Noether, Anna Maria Von Schurman, Anne of Austria, Tanni Grey Thompson, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Naomi Anderson, Annie Arniel, Gertrude Ansell, Olympe de Gouge, Mary Sophie Allen, Louisa Garrett Anderson, Frances Balfour, Mary Gawthorpe, Lydia Becker, Ethel Bentham, Teresa Billington Greig, Margaret Bondfield, Mary Crudelius, Emily Davison, Nellie Hall.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Life 15 - Mitochondrial Roots, coming along.

 On the offchance that you're not bored with seeing lots of roots, I thought I'd post some progress pictures.  The body below isn't finished yet, as the portrait has to be done and she has to sit in the trees a bit more.



Friday, 5 December 2014

What a (Christmas) pudding!

There are those in life who can easily write backwards and upside down, and there are those who are a bit more special. I guess it's what you get for trying to do lino cutting on an old Argos catalogue in front of the TV whilst planning the Christmas dinner.

Ah well. We all need a laugh as we slip down that razor blade of life.













 Footnote:  Here's the amended versions!







Portrait in parts

For this portrait I'm starting off by using some stencils and stamps to make a background. I especially like the stencil with the jumble...