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 January 2015

Laburnum done for now, so on with the hogweeds and monks hood etc.

Thelaburnum is finished for now but it might need more foliage or racemes a bit later on. It was a bit tedious if I'm honest! They will look better I hope when they're stitched and painted a bit.

Below are some photos I've been keeping to show the stages of development.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Putting together exhibitions - cranking up for 2015!

Through Our Hands which I co-curate with Laura Kemshall is having 2 exhibitions this year, with lots of different work in each.

The first exhibition is called The Liberated Quilt and will be at Bilston, part of the WAVE gallery at Wolverhampton, UK. (Middle-ish of England for those not familiar) and the second, called Maker-Making-Made will be at Festival of Quilts, NEC, Birmingham, UK from the 6-9th August. (also middle-ish of England!)

There's a bit more to organizing exhibitions than putting one's hand up and asking for a space - as lots of you might already know!  We now have 24 Affiliate Artists, all of whom will be exhibiting work at Bilston, and a large majority who will also be at Festival of Quilts, so it takes some planning. We have to help sort out the funding, postage to and from both, childrens activities, VIP events,  resources, plan the space, think of making a video, studio mock ups, workshops, delivery vans, storage, insurance, things on plinths, advertising, catalogue production, opening events, invitations, hanging plans, and putting the work up, selling, commissions, queries, going to meetings, and lots, lots more too! All times 2.

I met with the lovely Laura yesterday for tea-and-buns at Birmingham Art Gallery, and we had a lovely catch up about it all.  We had a fabulous meeting and sorted out quite a few things, and we both got quite excited at the prospect of bringing you so much beautiful, new work. We're hoping that both exhibtions will showcase different work by the artists, so a visit to both is recommended.  I can tell you now, they are producing some gobsmacking stuff. And we have an unusual and challenging idea for Festival....but you'll have to wait and see what that is!!

Above is the Through Our Hands logo for Festival, made by Laura of course.  Isn't it fab?!!  It's to go on the updated Twisted Thread website with all the new 2015 information, but please feel free to download it if you wish. You can also receive the TOH newsletter by signing the box on the right hand side of the website - we'll send it to your inbox. No spam, no masses of stuff, just occasional updates.

(Left: Festival of Quilts 2013 with work by Eszter Bornemisza and Sandra Meech)

Laura, Linda, and I will also try to produce special editions of the magazine to accompany the exhibitions, so even if you can't get to see the work in person, you can view it all online for free, or by pdf if you prefer or perhaps want to print it for yourself.  Details later.

So great stuff, and lots of work done and yet to do, but exciting.  Oh, and the three of us still have to make work too. Forgot that bit!!

Thursday, 29 January 2015


Getting a tad bored cutting and sticking tiny bits of yellow fabric, but about half done. 

Monday, 26 January 2015

"Come on Nanny!" and I issue a challenge.

 My delightful 2 year old granddaughter has been to visit.  She has boundless energy and enthusiasm, and I tend - at the very old age of 59 - to struggle to keep up!!  She's forever saying "Come on Nanny" when she wants me to play at being a caterpillar or a bear or to make cakes under the duvet.

But what a reward for the effort given!  Such a delight.

So what's this got to do with me issuing a challenge?  Simply this; if you click here, you'll find a great sketchbook which has been half-made for you.

I've ordered one of course, and I thought I'd work through it here and on Facebook, and wondered if you'd enjoy the challenge of working alongside me perhaps?  I think Laura is doing this as a project, and is going to put lots of ideas on her blog so tune in there to cut out the middle man! (click the link above).

Of course, this being me, it's just a fun idea, and you might like to have a go yourself, or simply watch my progress. It would be nice to have your company though!

The photos on this page are of the last sketchbook I started in September, but that was more to do with daily drawing practice than having a general slosh around!  I'm looking forward to throwing lots of things at this new book and just seeing what happens.  "Come on, give it a go!"

NOTE:  If you want to follow progress you can now do so on Facebook. It's easier to post and comment!

The page is here

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Love this book

I've just bought this book as I have a need to be near to cake. All you need is a spoon to measure with, a mug and a fork to mix.

It's brilliant because there's practically no washing up, and you don't have the guilt of scoffing a whole cake. Perfect.

Life 16 - making a start on the fussy cutting

I've made a start on the background for Life 16 - Poisonous Plant.

The garden behind the two models will be filled with plants - poisonous ones of course! The ground underneath their feet will be earth and dead vegetation apart from a poisonous ivy plant which is growing from the poison bottle at the bottom of the picture.

Other plans so far include making leaves from green eyes, and putting ears on bushes, but more of that later when my thoughts have distilled.

The real poisonous plant bit of course, is the whispering into ears.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

What I did on my Hols.

 I've not posted for a few days and that's because I've been on m'hols.

Not many people would choose to go to the seaside in England in January, but I'm quite fond of a bit of a dramatic sea - providing I'm safely on land of course. I get hopelessly seasick on a pier.

Poole Harbour is home to some very expensive property - 4th most expensive homes in the world; I kid you not - but we contented ourselves with the more mundane. Here's the view from the living room window of our apartment; watching the beautiful sunrises/sunsets was amazing. The calm belies the storm force gales, the snow and thunder (the first time I've experienced the two together) and the lashing rain that we had, but you can't let little things like that stop you from enjoying yourself. On the horizon is Brownsea Island.

We found a pub that sold 84 varieties of cider which was cool, and amazingly well stuffed pies for DH, which meant we were both happy.

I've decided to save up for one of these boats. I've raided the piggy bank and have come up with 47p. Only another couple of million to go.

Back to work now - if I can find those photos I took by candlelight (thought they might make interesting paintings)  NB the vase is a studio piece from Poole Pottery.  Couldn't resisit it - I've had a thing about orangey corals and turquoise ever since seeing the Crab painting by Van Gogh (a few posts ago)

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Sketchbook finished

I've been making a sketchbook/journal to keep a record of my part in GALS, a guerrilla gardening group in my home town.  My time with gals has come to an end now, and I'm moving onto other things, so this will be a record of my work and my time and I'll put it into a box with the MBE we were given in 2012 by her Maj.

A lot of the pages are a bit plain so that you can actually read the printed text on emails etc, but I hope that the bits I've personalized the book with, might be interesting at some point in the future. Here's just a few of them.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Backing Cloth - a step too far for most folk I suspect!

Sometimes I have odd ideas, I know.

A couple of quilts ago, I was looking for suitable backing cloth and couldn't find any as the quilts were large.  I got out all the dye stuffs ready to make something suitable. Then it occurred to me that as far as a piece of artwork goes, should it matter what the back looks like? Should it?  You don't find painters unduly worrying over the backs of their canvasses.

But a quilt?  Shouldn't that have a pretty backing cloth?  I get the idea that it shouldn't have wrinkles in it, and that ones technical prowess is on show by having no pleats or dodgy bits, (that's a whole different question!) but does it have to be colourful to look at if your aiming for a piece of art as opposed to say, a bedquilt or tablecloth?

So, I made one or two of mine with plain white cloth.  AND, I'm not the slightest bit bothered that the paint's come through.  I don't see that as relevant to be honest.  Why would I try and stop it?  To what purpose? It's to go on a wall not a bed after all.

But there again, I don't do labels either.  I sign my quilts on the front.  If a piece is going for exhibition or sale then I do add a printed piece of cloth on the back so that the curator/purchaser doesn't have to work out the text for themselves, but I don't add my name or date etc.

But that's just me!! Everyone is different, and I may change my mind and use a credit card to spread acrylic paint in colourful swathes over the back, but I don't think so at the moment. 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Putting pencil to cloth for Life 16

Life 16 - Poisonous Plant.

I'm beginning to draw the bodies onto the cloth, having spent ages thinking about where to put them and what they'll be doing.

Here's the heads. As you can see there's been a bit of rubbing out!

The model is the same one, used for both poses.  As befits paranoia I think. They're not looking similar enough just yet.