Friday, 17 March 2017

Journal quilts 2017, January to March, completed

I did not take part in last year’s journal challenge organised by the Contemporary Quilt Group, mostly down to problems with my Yahoo account. These problems’ to be partially resolved, so I signed up for this year’s challenge.  This year, the size is 11” square, with a theme to be decided by each participant.  On the last date of signing up, there were 170 participants for 2017.

My theme is “Microscopic” and I will be attempting to work in 4 series with 3 quilts on each theme.

The first is “Plankton” as I already had some shapes in mind from previous work and from current sketchbook activities. The plan is to start with a shoal of plankton ( is that the correct term?), then focus on an individual plankton (I think plankton is both a singular and a plural noun) and then show a close-up detail of the single plankton. the additional challenge I have set myself is to buy no new materials, and to use my hand-dyed cloth wherever possible.



Deconstruction-printed cloth, then masks and stencils applied and overlaid with oil paint sticks.






Overlapping stencil and mask

Finished. I really enjoy random textile processes, and interpreting these when I use them in a final piece. In this one, I like how the circular blobs suggest the plastic waste polluting our oceans, affecting even the smallest life forms.



Appliqué cut with scissors and scalpel


Experimenting with foiling ( the foil a generous gift from Helen Howes)


Choosing the orientation of the appliqué - first time using Steam-a-Seam 2- I’m impressed - the temporary surface stickieness, makes this very easy to use.


Quilting before stitching the applique


Machine applique


Finished. I like how the foil dots can suggest either the light on the water or the dots of micro plastic pollution - depending on how optimistic one feels!

Plankton single


A magnified detail of the single plankton, machine appliqué again

More foiling

Finished, but pondering  whether I should go back and quilt the lower edge.  I’ll live with it for a few days then decide.

Plankton detail

On top of all of that, I went to see the exhibition by LondonQuilters on until 15th April. Very generously, there are photos of all of the quilts on their website, here. I was drawn to the works by Jane Steward, Rachel Tyndall, Vivien Kernath and Martha Crouch.  Well worth a visit.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Stunning stitches at Victoria Miro Gallery , Whitechapel

On a beautfully sunny day, I was able to get to the Victoria Miro Gallery to see the work of Do Ho Suh.  Stitched, gauzy cloth in glowing colours, replicating some of the places where he has lived. On until 18th March, well worth a visit.  Not so sure about the exhibits at the next door Parasol Unit, where the stitch is poorly-executed and looks like an afterthought.








And on the way home,more colour to make the heart sing.


Monday, 6 March 2017

Our drawing tutor is back

Our inspiring tutor, Abigail Downer ha been absent for a few weeks.  Her cover teachers have been good, but not as stimulating ( for me anyway).  A complex still-life this week, with reflections, shapes, tones, 


rendered in charcoal


We are supposed to be working further in to this next week, inspired by the collage and layering of Rauschenberg. I’m not sure where that will take me, but let’s see.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Four years ago.....

I printed a piece of white cloth with random rectangles ( half way down this post). Last weekend I painted it with a wash of acrylic paint and auditioned threads from the thread jar

for potential quilting.

This weekend I quilted it with twin needle straight stitching and stippling. My sketchbook is now feeling much more like an object that I want to use.






Monday, 20 February 2017

Old friend..........

I needed some stitching time this weekend, so returned to the Ricky Tims Kaleidoscope quilt. One of my favourite threads, Superior threads, Rainbows

Freehand feathers

The corners of this quilt have been a conundrum for some time, but said butterfly wings to me this weekend. A lovely diversion in to images of wing patterns, led to

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Are you a potential Craftivist?

On Wednesday, I joined a group of volunteers to assist at a “ Patches of Hope” stitching event run by the Craftivist Collective.


I have been aware of the work of the collective for about 18 months, and have been impressed by their philosophy of "gentle protest”. I’ve been a regular attender of demonstrations during my life, but am increasingly worried about the lack of impact even the largest of public demonstrations is having on government policy.

This event was a prelude to a Tate Late on 24 Feb ( free, but registration needed, I think ), and is based on the Crystal Quilt by Suzanne Lacey, an installation addressing several topics but one of which was  how women, particularly older women, are perceived in society. ( Photos from @Craftivists and Aron Klein)

The intent was that each attendee chose a word that they wanted to see more of in the world, and while stitching, thought about what actions they would take in their own life to enable more of that word to come to the fore. In addition, each table had a facilitator who eased people in to discussion about why their chosen word was important to them, and encouraged cross-table debate about the word. The little bottles of Prosecco helped conversation flow, but were not as helpful to the flow of the stitching.

This was a lovely event, and an opportunity for cross-generational conversations about the state of the world and what we can each do in our own communities, however small or large they may be, to increase hope. Unfortunately, I can’t make it to the Tate Late, but the Craftivists will be there, as will be many of the attendees from Wednesday, all wearing their patches. As one of my words was “Share”, a much mis-used term in these days of social media, if you do go , and want to wear a patch, please contact me and I’ll send you one of mine!