Monday, 24 October 2016

Seven year stitch?

UFO clearing is a good thing to do when creative energy is in short supply, but is going back to a project that was started 7 years ago a good idea in this situation?  The answer was yes, when it is this swan, started 7 years ago, in a workshop with Ferret.

I got stuck on this as I was going to appliqué some leaves into the corner, but couldn’t get the scale of the leaves to my liking.

A cycle along the river ( the only benefit of visiting my relative with the stroke) gave inspiration of just stitching on lines of stitch to suggest the winter threads of willow branches.

A greenish, variegated thread from the stand looked like a good mix of colours.

Trying to apply some of my new knowledge about tone, I also added some darker stitch down one side of the variegated thread and some lighter stitch down the other side. The Bernina edge-stitch foot is a great tool for precision stitching.

I need to stitch more lines and to decide whether to stitch in the thread ends or sew them in.


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Scarf, silk, stitch

Several months ago, I dyed some silk that had been a gift from Lorraine Pugh. Supposedly offcuts - these were superb lengths.  I never posted the results of the dyeing, so here they are, as I have finally got round to using them


I have a much loved wool / cashmere shawl, but it is grey. Trying to introduce a bit more colour, at the same time as simplifying my wardrobe, is proving a challenge, so the grey had to be brightened up.

Quilting some of the silk on the wool

Next stage is to stitch some rouleaux loops and fabric buttons to make it a more individual version of one of these. Inspired a bit by the beautiful scarves made by Ekta Kaul, that I saw in Edinburgh, earlier in the year.


Sunday, 2 October 2016

Creative energy returns, at last

Younger son went to university yesterday. Elder son is having the time of his life on an internship in Paris. We have all come to terms with the reality of my mother-in-law’s condition post-stroke, so life can proceed, with a new rhythm, and time to be creative.

Messing about with charcoal, after inspiration from the charcoal drawings of Georgia O’Keeffe ( still on at the Tate until 30 October).


Picking up a piece of postcard-sized, rust dyeing that had been languishing on the laughingly -called, “inspiration board”. Stitched with vintage Perivale Regal Twist thread ( read about Perivale Mills, here) and mounted in the sketch book. I love the serendipity of rust dyeing.


Seeing the paint bleeding on to the piece led to some experiments with watercolour pencil and acrylic paint. The areas that are heavily rusted act as a resist to the watercolour and to the paint. I shouldn’t be surprised, as it is difficult to get a needle through those sections.


Creative inspiration was stimulated by a visit to the Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition, on until 23 October. So many questions by the work of the artists on display, mostly as to hoe some of them are classed as drawing. The winner is a mesmerising video of “drawing” using white ink suspended in gelatine.

Blue skies today and an opportunity to get outside and look for reflections, and there was a great one from a convex mirror at a concealed entrance.


 Onward and upward, but usually  sideways, as an ex-colleague used to say.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Stormy skies

No time to stitch or draw as our family comes to terms with the long term consequences of a stroke on an elderly parent. Much turbulence for everyone.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Serpentine squares ( and some rectangles)

In contrast to the curvaceous summer house, the pavilion this year is all square-faced, open, cuboid modules bolted together in to a soaring curve.

A performance artist is needed to set up some contrasting vignettes in those square openings.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Friday, 1 July 2016

Exhibitions to lift the spirits

October Gallery, until 30th July, Eddy Kamauanga Ilunga.  Very thought-provoking use of circuit diagrams on the human body, and fantastic depiction of African fabrics.

Morley College, textiles foundation until 7th July, wonderful work by all students, beautifully staged, and with a chance to pore over sketchbooks.

 Debora Jedwab


Nikki Sims


Bridged Hall



Margaret Scott


Liz Clamp


Textile Alchemy, Waterloo Art Centre, until 02 July, where the influence of new Morley tutor with an interest in dyes form natural materials is very evident.