Tuesday, 16 September 2014


….in the spirit of our quilting group's round robin / quilt consequence challenge, I will be showing only glimpses of my contributions to these.



However, that orange caught my colour sensors, as did the corn husks removed from corn cobs and led to this still life.  (Morley starts today, so I'll need to get back to drawing.)


Then more orange, and inspired by the posts on this blog, about studio clearing, organising and unfinished projects, these little cats jumped out of storage, with some bits of yellow, orange and blue and led to some mindless piecing.


Therapeutic for the mind and the hands.

Sunday, 7 September 2014


………….is the art and practice of designing flags.  As a Scot who has lived outside Scotland for longer than I lived in it, I have no vote in the decision about Scottish independence. However, I have been pondering what might happen to the UK flag if the vote means that Scotland will leave the United Kingdom.  These thoughts have led to some questions and research about flags: who designs them; what size are they; what proportions do they have; how many colours make a distinctive flag?

Coinciding with the start of our quilt groups's round robin challenge, I had my subject.

I have started this quilt with a new flag for the remainder of the UK, without Scotland: running red, light blue waves, the dark blue of the Scottish saltire disappearing off in to the distance, and the black hole of “ what happens now?”.


This block is 9 x 15 inches and will hopefully return to me, in 5 months, accompanied by another 5 interpretations of a possible new flag.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Family heirlooms……..

I am not getting to any stitching, as our family support of my husband's  aunt is continuing.  A visit this week involved sorting out various items that she would no longer use, or that were too much of a reminder of her very active hobbies before her stroke.  As they say, it is an ill wind, as part of the clearing out revealed,

which you may have identified as a centenary edition Singer Featherweight 221K1, made  in 1951, in Clydebank, about 1.5 miles from where I was born.
It is in pristine condition, with all attachments, but has some sort of electrical fault that I will now get fixed.  It was bought by my husband's grandmother, so both I and my aunt are very excited at the thought of it being in use again.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

' The computer says no……."

….well, at least my bank's computer said no this week, requiring a trip to central London, a 45 minute phone call with an adviser who wasn't even in the branch, and then a witnessed signature.  Who thought saving money could be so complex?  Any way, using my train ticket to full advantage, I went to Bexleyheath, in Kent, to visit a quilt exhibition at Danson House, and then a short walk to William Morris' home,  Red House.  I am so glad I went as both of these venues are well worth the effort.

First, " Things We Do in Bed" a quilt exhibition curated by the author, Tracey Chevalier.  This is a really beautiful house and the exhibition. although small had several pieces from some of my favourite quilt artists

Sara Impey


Karina Thompson, ( whose work I loved at the exhibition at Saltaire


Becky Knight, this photo doesn't do this piece justice at all, as the inclusions in each pocket are pebbles


Grayson Perry


the stitchers of Fine Cell Work


with a lovely tea shop, looking out on to the ornamental lake, this exhibition is well worth a visit.  Besides the quilts, the house has a wonderful oval staircase, gorgeous hand blocked wallpaper, and terrific carpets, replicas woven in Hungary and in the UK.




The exhibition is on until 31 October.

A short walk away, is William Morris architectural adventure, Red House.  I found it thrilling to walk around the lovely garden and know that Morris and his family had lived there.


An added bonus is a joint project between the National Trust and the Slade School of Fine Art.  Artists are visiting in short residencies, working in an intriguing, tar-papered, wooden temporary structure n the gardens, built by Kieren Reed.


A fantastic day.


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Stitching hiatus gives time for London art day

I'm in a bit of a lull on the stitching front, due somewhat to catching up with family commitments but also to a degree of inertia at picking anything up.  In the hope of getting the creative juices flowing again, I had a London art day today.  As I started off at the wrong gallery, I had a chance to walk along Millbank and the Victoria Embankment and came upon two pieces of sculpture that have passed me by before.

First, 6 bas-relief panels on the doors of what is now Ofgem ( used to be ICI) by W B Fagan.  II was particularly taken by the panel depicting Jacquard loom weaving.  Terrible photo due to the shadows.


 I have loved this type of door since seeing Dante's Gates of Hell when I was young.  

Next, the statue of Daedalus, by James Butler, a memorial to the Fleet Air Arm.


On the way, three London icons in one photograph, with the camera showing that it is not the same as the eye in capturing colour constancy, which was part of the subject of the first exhibition.


Making Colour at the National Gallery has been on my list of must sees, and I'm really glad I went.  I am very interested in both the craft and the art of painting, and this exhibition combined both aspects.  Since reading "Colour, travels through the paintbox" by Victoria Finlay I have really enjoyed understanding why certain colours and painting techniques came into being.  The painting that I spent most time with today was Moroni's Portrait of a Lady "La Dama in Rosso" due to the sumptuous depiction of the three different types of cloth in the costume.  At the end there are some interesting experiments in the little cinema about  perception of colour , one of which had everyone in the audience gasping with surprise.  Well worth a visit.  Books in the book shop to go on my wish list are, " The Secret Language of Colour"  by Joan and Arielle Eckstut, "Colour in Art" by Steffano Zuffi, " The Colour book" by Sophie Pietromarchi ( intended for children I think, but looks like good fun).

Then on to the BP Portrait Award, and particularly the lace paintings by Sophie Ploeg.


I found these entrancing, and even more so when I read that the lace in each portrait is an actual piece of antique lace, and that the sitters could choose their own clothes that  they wanted to wear with the lace.

My favourite in the actual portrat award was Henrietta and Ollie, by Tim Hall, as there was so much going on in the painting.


Rounding off ( feet complaining a bit by now) with a visit to the Mall Galleries to see " Still Alive, contemporary still life".  Favourites here were Toby Wiggins " The Golden Cloth" and James Lloyd, " Paper Model".  In the book shop, " Nature Morte" by Michael Petry, and lovely cards by Sue Campion.

Steel drum player, glass harp player and good guitarist buskers on the way back to the station added to the perfection of the day.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Obsessed with waves

I am spending hours observing the current crashing seas.  I am telling myself that it is research for translating the shapes into colour, line and stitch, but I think it is really just obsession.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Was it Hurricane Bertha passing?

This morning the skies were very gloomy, apparently due to the remnants of Hurricane Bertha

but by the afternoon, cerulean ruled again.

and as a bonus, there were very big, exhilarating seas.

Too windy to stitch!