Friday, 2 June 2017

Joyous, joyous, joyous colours

Times continue to be troubled, so pleasure must be found whenever we can. Glorious colour in a beautifully subtle installation at Weaving Magic by Chris Ofili in collaboration with the Dovecot Studios at the National Gallery.

Image result for weaving Magic
I now realise, seeing these colours, that this tapestry was on the loom when I last visited Dovecot. The translation of the original watercolour image in to the woven tapestry is a remarkable testament to the skill of the weavers. Free and on view until 28 August.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Good omens - spheres, hemispheres and almost circles

In these uncertain times, I am seeking good omens wherever I find them in my life. Yesterday, a charity shop find of beautiful yarn from Fyberspates, top, and Posh Yarn, 4 smaller balls. Bought in hanks and a meditative half hour last night spent winding them into balls.

Eight yolks from 6 eggs this morning (pavlova in the making)

Gloriously scented James Galway rose in bloom in the garden

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Unexpected outings, part 1, Manchester

I am working intermittently in Manchester until September.  This week, I discovered that the Whitworth Gallery is 5 minutes walk from where I am working. What a lunchtime treat.  The curators may have known I was coming - steel sculpture, intricate drawing, two textile artists, tranquil space, wonderful gardens. As I did not expect to be taking photos, I had no camera, only my phone, hence some wonky horizontals and verticals.

Tranquil spaces, and amusingly, labels on the walls giving details of the Little and Green paint colours used on the gallery walls


Garden glimpses


Steel sculpture by Anya Gallacio


Fabulous drawing by Deanna Petherbridge


and then Lucien Day


Followed by huge lengths of the astonishing printed fabric by Barbara Brown


Time after work, for a walk around Piccadilly Basin, along the canal. Great patterns in the ribs next to the lock gates to give grip while pushing


ribs of a different type.


Round the corner, some public murals - unexpected bluetit


and a calligram ( shape poem)  by the remarkable Lemn Sissay. ( Joyful things are found when looking up, rather than down at the phone or the map, when one is in an unfamiliar city)


sunset over the city rooftops


and so to bed.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Buried treasure

Not much time for stitching, as I am digging out a garden that has had no attention for over 20 years. Rubble pile so far
from these areas
has led to the discovery of rust dyeing treasure
The rest of the family think I am mad as I exclaim over rusty bits of barbed wire, broken horseshoes, rusty nails, steel wall reinforcing - rust dyeing plans are afoot!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Tulip flamboyance

I have been watching this tulip since the beginning of April as it becomes more and more extravagantly wonderful.  This may be the last photo as predicted rain and frost may finish it off this week. What dress inspiration this is.



Sunday, 16 April 2017


Weeds are flourishing in my garden, so I am obsessing over the shapes and colours of the tulips that I planted in pots in November. I can really understand how these flowers bankrupted so many people in the Netherlands in 1637.
These joyous colours keep me motivated as I dig out dandelions, alkanet ( longest root so far = 60cm, but I am not saving any of them for dyeing ) ground elder, buddleia, bramble, ground ivy and creeping buttercup.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

April journal - turning to fresh water

Blue-green algae

Journal quilt Apr 2017 Blue-green algae

Algal “blooms” form in both salt water and fresh water, but I wanted to focus on a microscopic form that grows in fresh water, hence blue-green algae.  While algae are needed and are beneficial in many aquatic ecosystems, excessive nitrogen and phosphorous, caused by farm or industrial run-off can cause overgrowth and “blooms”. These can be toxic, particularly to animals.

Hand-dyed fabric, experimenting with bobbin work, gathered ribbon, and chain stitch embroidery by machine ( great fun).

Monday, 10 April 2017

Kaleidoscope quilting continues

Glorious sunshine this weekend gave an opportunity to photograph the quilting on the Kaleidoscope quilt.  There is a lot of thread going in to this one.

Back, ‘'moths"


Back, corner feathers


Back, centre star




Front, detail


The diagonal lines in the striped border are from an unpicked quilting design that I decided I didn’t like when it was next to the more dense quilting of the central medallion. Just as well it was sunny as i could do it outdoors and leave some threads for the birds’ nests.



Sunday, 26 March 2017

Unexpectedly wonderful.......

Blossom at Swiss Cottage Library, 


EU hat at the March for Europe


Eye-dazzling euphorbia


Crystalline glaze ceramics by Matt Horne


Sunset on the River Thames


School of gentle protest by the Craftivist Collective

Wonderful British watercolour landscapes at the British Museum, free , on until 27th August. Rewards quiet contemplation.

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.