Sunday, 18 February 2018

Still life drawing

I am still learning to draw and this term we are focussing again on still-life. I have more confidence now, so could attempt the complex surface of the golden yellow vase.




Saturday, 10 February 2018

Exhibition wanderings

I have l had little blogging time due to a very busy January, but several artistic visits have been made.

Monochrome at the National Gallery, an unexpectedly absorbing exhibition of works in one tone, including several textiles. on until 18th February

Hannah Ryggen, a most Swedish / Norwegian politically involved  artist / artisan weaver - tapestries at Modern Art Oxford until 18th February. I was fascinated by these works, particularly the variety of themes and how she literally wove her domestic life into her art alongside depictions of huge political events. She raised her own sheep, carded her own wool, spun it, dyed it with natural materials and wove without any preparatory sketches or backing cartoons.

Image result for Hannah ryggen

My eye was drawn to the shadows created by the gallery lights on the fringes of the larger tapestries



The Lost Words, the most marvellous display of watercolour paintings on gold leaf , from the book of the same name by Jackie Morris and Robert MacFarlane.  At The Foundling Museum until 8th May. Truly beautiful, and although I own a copy of the book, to see the paintings glow in the light of the gallery in a way that is impossible to convey in a printed image is a wonderful experience.

Kingfisher © Jackie Morris

A visit to Warwick University Theatre ( younger son was playing bass guitar for a production of Rent) allowed time to see an installation of huge oil paintings by Clare Woods , on until 10 March. These are so new, you can smell the oil in the gallery, and they invite such close looking it was very difficult not to touch them. The educational activities attached to the exhibition are really superb, with a range of art materials and papers available for anyone to make their now work inspired by what they have seen.

Reality Dimmed

Reality Dimmed

Wanderings in St James to The Portland Gallery to see firstly the superb pantings of Scottish landscape by Frances MacDonald. ( exhibition now finished, and over 90% of works on display were sold) She uses a palette knife with such gusto, she sweeps you in to her paintings.

Then to The White Cube to see puzzling works by Korean artist, Mindjung Kim. I can appreciate the artistry of the works in ink on mulberry paper,( emending me of the shadows above)  but the assemblages of strips of coloured paper didn’t stimulate a great deal of interest for me.

Mountain - Minjung Kim - 2009 - 129192

Pieno di Vuoto - Minjung Kim - 2009 - 129199 

Great fun at the Philip Mould Gallery , until 18th February, with an exhibition of hats by, and a painting of, the millinery maker, Victoria Grant

20180208_145013 20180208_145034

Multiples of objects seen with reflections of London life









 My own multiples are also developing in a charcoal drawing inspired by the necks of gannets and the twisting structure of a wisteria pod




Sewing has been functional rather than artistic: repairing cushions; making hessian bags to use when transplanting garden plants; sewing hems, so no point in showing any of that.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Return to autumn

Winter is in full sway,  with decaying foliage lit by low-lying sun.


Stitching has however been on an autumnal theme, as part of our quilt group’s A3 challenge on the seasons. My theme is autumn and I wanted to get away from leaves, conkers, acorns and berries, lovely though they are.  I brainstormed and the word that kept coming up was rain. What comes out when the rain comes down? Wellies and brollies.

Autumn quilt


Autumn quilt

Autumn quilt

Machine trapunto, machine quilting, machine applique, hand beading.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Kew Gardens inspiration

Do go and see Life in Death by Rebecca Louise Law, a mesmersing installation at Kew Gardens, on until March 2018.

Kew Gardens Boxing Day 2017

Kew Gardens Boxing Day 2017

Kew Gardens Boxing Day 2017

Kew Gardens Boxing Day 2017

Kew Gardens Boxing Day 2017

In, and out of the greenhouses, the light was wonderful

Kew Gardens Boxing Day 2017

Kew Gardens Boxing Day 2017

Kew Gardens Boxing Day 2017

Kew Gardens Boxing Day 2017

Kew Gardens Boxing Day 2017

Kew Gardens Boxing Day 2017

Kew Gardens Boxing Day 2017

Kew Gardens Boxing Day 2017

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Presents wrapped, Xmas baking done.......... time to sit back with a good book and a small glass of this season’s sloe gin?  I was on the way to that, but pulled a dining chair out to sit on and decided that the Christmas table, dressed in its finery,  could not be disgraced by these dilapidated chairs..


Out came the upholstery tools, the stash was raided,


and a transformation took place.



Merry Christmas all, and hope you have the people you want sitting at your table this festive season.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Bling bacteria, sleep and stitching on wood

The last journal quilt has been completed, the third on the theme of bacteria. Photographed on a sheet ( I don’t like ironing!) to show the extended, wired threads. A single antibiotic-resistant, flagellate bacterium swimming in a soup of over-used antibiotics. Bling for December.


Hand-dyed applique on commercial fabric with appliqu├ęd threads, some hand-wired, which was much trickier than I had anticipated.

My copy of the book of The Sleep Quilt arrived this week, so I am setting aside time in the Christmas melee to enjoy that and think on how it was made. There is a superb blogpost about the project here.

A visit to Manchester allowed time to visit the Manchester Craft and Design Centre. This is lovely space, with a current exhibition of work by Kate Colin whose skill in paper folding is terrific.


Intriguing work with punched and stitched wood veneers by Jane Blease has gone on my long term wishlist.


Sunday, 17 December 2017

Last minute Christmas makes

A lovely workshop with Plum this week, making tree decorations from this tutorial


led to a few last minute makes when I should have been doing more boring tasks.