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!

Friday, 8 August 2014


A great pleasure of holidaying at a location with a big tidal range is the opportunity for rockpooling and beachcombing.  While my sons were off rock scrambling, swimming between outcrops - far too far out for my nerves, but at least on an incoming tide, I was rather more sedately browsing the tideline.

A little bowl of shells

I love beach glass

Supposedly I'm taking these photos to understand about light and shade, to then translate in to drawings, but that hasn't happened yet.