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!





Sunday, 12 February 2017

Half a hexagon.......

…. is better than none. Stitching this week has been piles of calico half-hexagons, therapeutic, but not exactly photogenic.

Sketching was focussed on the2017 journal challenge for the Contemporary Quilt Group. My theme is”microscopic” and my current thoughts are to focus on seeds, algae, bacteria and plankton, all tiny fragments of life that are critical to our survival.

Seeds, after looking at the photographs in “Seeds, Time Capsules of Life"

A very interesting class at Mary Ward this week, with a session on mono printing. We focussed more on making marks through an overlaid paper, rather than mark making on the ink itself.

Initial scribbles - plankton appearing!

More confidence in the line

More dramatic background effects. I’m very interested in this technique and am going to try this on cloth with Markal sticks.

overlaying with acrylic washes.

and on the way home, a protest against ironing


and for inspiration, the beautiful wood-carving of a modern Grinling Gibbons

Giles Newman






Friday, 3 February 2017

Sketchbook, keeping me steady

Not quite managing a sketch a day, but maintaining momentum. These from the sketchbook this week,  a full A4 page, pencil, charcoal and chalk.


A5 page, stuck into sketchbook


Small sketches, pencil



A1 size in the studio, charcoal, chalk and collage


Heading to some sort of overlay with the words "Save the data” which is what we must do to prevent climate-change data being deleted. Politics coming in to my creative endeavours at the moment, can’t avoid it.


Go and see Anselm Kiefer at the White Cube. Open until 12 February - astonishing installation and paintings you could walk into.


Monday, 30 January 2017

Shirt number 2 is finished

Shirt number 2 for son number 2 is completed. As this was a rush job to give to him when he was home for a weekend, there are no more photos of construction, only the final item.

There are still some fitting issues in the armpit, although this yoke fits him much better. The sleeves look oddly full in this photo, but they really are not.

The kilt was for our annual Burns Supper, so much fun.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

A week is a long time


What change in the world in a week. I don’t address politics much in this blog, but I fear for the future for all of us when truth is distorted so blatantly, and the only politics presented is the  politics of fear and division.

Inspiring then to find the words of Valarie Kaur.  Her speech is shown here, demonstrating that it is possible to be passionate without being opinionated, to be bold without being dismissive of others, and to be truly brave. Her closing words will resonate for me during 2017 - “ what if this is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?"

Walking with that thought in mind, a natural “womb” was photographed.


On the return journey, seen from a different angle, a hidden treasure was revealed to the camera.


Laughter and joy can still be found, we just need to look for them more closely.


Saturday, 14 January 2017

How long is a generation?

I have been pondering this question for a few weeks as I see publicity for revivals of three theatrical / dance productions that I saw in 1982, 1990 and 1992 respectively. Two of these have been publicised as “ not seen on stage in the UK for a generation”.

All three of these stand out in my mind after all this time for different reasons, and it seems important to me to embrace these works again as we are in such troubled times as a species sharing this planet.

So I would encourage anyone reading this to go and see:

"Ghost Dances’ by Christopher Bruce, performed by Ballet Rambert, touring and at Sadler’s Wells, London. A first exposure for me to contemporary dance when I saw it in 1982 and a  production that has stayed with me -  for 34 years: music, movement, costumes all superb - tickets booked.

The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus” by Tony Harrison at the Finborough Theatre, London, on until 28th January.  This was my first exposure to performed verse in 1990 and I have never forgotten the experience. Brilliantly updated, and in this 50 seat setting, an intimate encounter with very physical theatre.

“Angels in America” by Tony Kushner at the National Theatre, London. Such a moving, but occasionally baffling, pair of plays when I saw them in 1992. They were staged in the Cottesloe, which then seated around 350 people. The new production will be in the Littleton, seating 890 people, therefore presumably all to be done on a much larger scale. It will be fascinating to see how well this play translates to 2016, particularly as it starts in April, 3 months after the start of Trump’s term of office.  The National box office have already warned that these tickets will sell out quickly.

And the drawing? Yes it continues:

Feather from the “nature table” that seemed to have been attacked by some sort of mite, leaving a big gap along the shaft. Pencil and ink pen.


Serendipitous charcoal rubbing of the back of a section of last week’s collage of vases and jugs made me rub over the whole lot. Charcoal.


Corn cob and husk, pencil and charcoal. I could not get my eye in for this at all. Too much going on , so I then focused on a tiny bit of one of the husks.


Tip of a corn cob husk. Pencil. I was very pleased when I “saw” the hole in the husk and the light falling through that in to the cast shadow.


Paint can, pencil. Two in one day as I knew it would be difficult to fit in drawing time the day after.


Waiting for a break in the rain, to run to the Finborough Theatre. The reflective tray was very difficult. Pencil.


And the sewing? There is another shirt underway - yes for my younger son, he hates boring clothes.


Perfect placket, thanks to Off the Cuff.


Cuffs with contrast inside fabric - amazing what I find in the fabric stash.