Thursday, 28 January 2016

Shell drawing

Three weeks in to the new term of the drawing course, and we have had the challenge to choose an object, divide our paper in to 4 sections ( whichever way we wished, but with straight lines only) and then draw our object using only line in one part, only tone in another, texture in the next and form in the last section.  We could use any medium we wished, wet or dry, but the drawing had to be very large, on at least A1 size paper.

I chose a shell, blurry photo below


and the result is


Furthermost left was line, the top section was tone, the middle was texture and the lower right part was form.  I got totally confused with form until I eventually realised that this had to be a combination of line and tone.  i used 4 grades of pencil, and about 5 different sticks of charcoal, both willow and compressed.

I can see now how my brain deceived my eye in drawing the inner curves of the shell  - drawn curving to the right at the topped, when they are clearly curving to the left. I need to write out the tutor’s mantras and recite them to myself at the beginning of each class:

- draw what you see, not what you know

- the light is your friend

- note down the light direction

- your object is sitting on something - what is it?

- a rubber is as important as a pencil or charcoal

Off to sharpen my pencils!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Partial new life

Due to changes to the flightpaths into and out of Heathrow, and the increased noise disturbance caused, my family and I are in partial retreat to Oxfordshire. Our new house is a compensation for leaving behind friends of many years.  New life beckons for us, and also in the overgrown wilderness, dominated by a yew tree, that is our new garden.

Snowdrop January

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Merry Xmas

Xmas postcards sent for swap this week.  The bauble detaches to be hung from the tree.

christmas bauble and trees 

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Year-end stitching

Last journal quilts of the year, October, November and December, stitched in a flurry due to pressures of work and stress due to aircraft noise.

October, experiments in curved paper piecing.  Stitched while on an idyllic two days staying in Lulworth Cove at Botany Farmhouse.  Wonderful hosts, terrific breakfasts, more textile than you could imagine would fit in to one house - as the owners say,  not for minimalists!




November, inspiration from an experimental piece by Christine Risley at  an exhibition in Goldsmith’s College.  Machine -stitched threads pulled long and loose on the top of stencilled hearts and chains, with accent of pins wrapped with red thread.




December, inside out for Christmas. Polyester wading on the outside with pinked, folded circles for trees.  Surprisingly difficult to sew through all of that.

christmas bauble and trees

Merry Christmas all.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Alice's leftovers - finished

I’m very happy with the texture in this after washing, the quilting really adds to the effect.

Alice's leftovers

However, despite thorough washing of all fabrics before using, some blue dye still escaped in to the rear.   Just need to call it a creative accident.

Alice's leftovers, back

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Baubling along

Plum posted a really good tutorial about using decorative stitches on the sewing machine to make quick felt Christmas baubles.  As I had some red felt circles n my stash of stuff, I adapted that tutorial to go into production.


 White stitching on red


Red wool thread on top of foiled circles, and also used on the back, in the bobbin.  Sewed beautifully, but there was surprisingly little length of thread on the bobbin, requiring lots of bobbin rewinding.


Back of baubles, with design developing across 4 different batches.

Red baubles and paste printing

Front of baubles.

Red baubles and paste printing


Wednesday, 25 November 2015


I have a week’s leave to “ use or loose” so am combining a list of household management tasks with attendance at several exhibitions this week.  So far:

Chris Beetles Gallery, The Illustrators 2015, on until 9th January

What a treat to see so many original illustrations one place, all framed beautifully and consistently so that the eye was not distracted from the image.  There is a superb online catalogue that contains all 354 images, here, and if I had infinite funds, I would have bought Aubrey Beardsley and Quentin Blake - especially “On the Roof” featuring Mrs Armitage.

 White Cube Gallery, Mason’s Yard, “Losing the compass”, on until 9th January

Lots of textiles, but I really wasn’t sure about this one.  Some if it seemed more like “losing the plot” rather than ‘losing the compass”.  Acrylic paint on the top surface of a piece of carpet, then stuck in a frame, not for me.  Some interesting historical quilts, but displayed in a rather odd way, lying on top each other on the floor and hung from hooks on the wall such that the whole design couldn’t be seen.  I did like the embroidered maps and slogans by Alighiero e Boetti


Sims Reed Gallery, Bury Street, until 20 January.  Lovely drawings and painting by David Hockney and beautifully drawn pumpkins by Yayoi Kusama.

Joy of joys, using my Tate membership  - thank you mother in law, to see Alexander Calder  - Performing Sculpture. ( on until April 2016) I could have sat there all day, watching the shadows, and the gentle movements.  Despite the signs asking for no blowing on the sculptures, some people could not resist.  The 3D wire sculptures of heads and acrobats were a real revelation, and made me understand some of the comments from my drawing teacher about using the  weight of line to show ‘disappearing and appearing space’.

Then, thanks to a tip off from a friend who works in the art word, a visit to Omer Trioche Contemporary Art, where a small show of Calder tapestries and gouaches finishes this weekend.  It is a bit intimidating visiting these little galleries, as you have to ring the bell and request entrance but nothing ventured as they say.   Photography was allowed here.  

Vibrant reds and yellows lit up the gloomy day.  These are not tapestries in the conventional sense of weaving, but are rather braids of fibres placed on edge and then attached to a backing.  The scale is not apparent here, but this star was about a metre across the widest part.


The braided cords can be clearly seen here.




On my travels, interesting architectural details that caught my eye

Current turbine hall installation “Empty Lot” 


Cheesegrater, Walkie-Talkie, Gherkin, and Monument, just appearing in gold, now completely dwarfed by these monsters of commerce.


Worshipful companies’ signs, which due to the wonders of the internet, I can now research.  Glaziers here, Scientific Instrument Makers here and Launderers here.


British Museum of Food was new to me


and in the basement, Alcoholic Architecture, only open in the evening.

Shard partially concealed by a tree


Workers on the Millennium Bridge - love those sinuous lines - of the bridge that is, not of the workers


The old and the new - almshouses disappearing underneath recently-built towers


Colour and shine in a shaft of light coming through the gloom


Bollards, and what looks like a giant, upturned, steel mug supporting this building


London getting ready for Christmas, from a balcony at Tate Modern.


Home for dinner, and hopefully tomorrow, if my brain and feet hold out a trip to Goldsmith’s to see the work of Christine Risley, a contemporary and colleague of Constance Howard.