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Saturday, January 02, 2016

It's been a while...

...a year, more or less.  Most of you have probably forgotten who I am... and I don't blame you. About fifteen months ago, I became ill; it turned out to be ME, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).  What that means, in practical terms, is that I don't have much energy, can't walk very far and can't work.  I mean that in the broadest of terms; I have my usual load of ideas, just don't want to do anything that even vaguely resembles art.  I've spent a year being very upset about that. My creativity has always been at the very heart of everything I've ever done; I'm not sure who I am without it.  After a lot of thought, though,  I've decided, though, that it's okay.

New Year is the traditional time for making changes...and here's mine.  I'm not going to make any art for a year...and I'm not going to get het up about it.  I have already given away a significant part of my stash, with more to go, and then I start on the non textile 'stuff', the paint, etc.  Whether I like it or not, my body craves rest... so I'm going to rest, body and mind.

I'm also going to get organised.  My theme for this year is a place for everything.  If it doesn't have a place, it leaves the building for a charity shop, a friend or whatever... as long as it doesn't stay here.  That's about simplification; I'm called 'artmixter' because I've always done lots of different things.  No more.  Clearing out will, I hope, clarify what I really want to do, so that when I'm well enough, I'll be able to do it, and do it well.  Whole heartedly.

So...that's the plan.  No blog for a year, either.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Revealing All....

So.... did you have any thoughts as to what the theme of the quilt I made for the 100 Fundraiser?  Here's the whole thing...

It is entitled 'Natural Graffiti', and measures 23" by 32".  It's a bit of a steal, for the price; it would sell for a bit more than the $100 that is being asked for it.  It was inspired by a number of things.  I've always been interested in marks in nature, where natural phenomena like erosion cause unexpected effects in the landscape.  And I love looking at graffiti, of the manmade variety; there's a lot in the area of Norwich that I park in when I go shopping.  And several years ago, I took photographs of two different buildings, one a church, one a cathedral, where copper had changed the colour of the stonework, as if something had been poured down the walls.  That's what inspired the discharge dyed centre of the quilt.  It was pieced using a variety of dye printed, dye painted and discharge dyed fabrics, in a single piece.  It was then folded to find the optimal positioning and stitched together, which is why it has no edges (I hate binding, and it wouldn't have been appropriate for this work). Finally, it was discharge dyed and a little drawing added, before finally stitching by machine.  The stitching is minimal, because I think that in this piece, the fabric does the talking.... so I stitched to support the patterning and give a bit of texture.

I do hope someone likes it enough to give it a good home; I love this piece, personally.    I've come as close as I can to the colours of the original in the photograph.  The 100 deadline is Wed 4th Feb, and full details are available here.  There is a lot of amazing work available... go check it out!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

More on the 100 Quilt...

Another detail image for you.  I wanted to show all the different surface design techniques that are present in this piece.  Batik is something I rarely do, but thoroughly enjoy whenever I do it.  This piece has one of those elusive batik fabrics in there...

The cloth on the right hand side is the batik piece.  It started out as a piece of white cloth; you can see the bright white marks of the original cloth really clearly.  It was overdyed in orange, and finally in blue, to produce the brown background.  The piece next to it was a double dyed piece, which was then discharge dyed; once the quilt itself was assembled and stitched, it was discharge dyed again, across both pieces of fabric.  You can quite clearly see on the left hand side piece that it is lighter in some places, where it has been discharge dyed twice.  There are a few places at the top where I've allowed it to return to the original white, but by and large, I've used the discharge technique to alter the colour, not to remove it.

So... any closer to establishing the theme of this quilt?

ps more about the 100 here...

Monday, January 12, 2015

Time Is TIcking On...

...and the 100 fundraiser for the American Cancer Society is approaching (Wed 4th February, to be precise). You can find all the information you need on here,  and a quick selection of the work that's on offer (for only $100 dollars per piece) can be seen here.  I'd intended to post more often, but have been overtaken by events and illness.  Hope this makes up for it...

I thought I'd show you some close ups of the work I'm submitting this week, unveiling the whole piece on Saturday.  The first image has already appeared on Facebook, as a taster...or is that a teaser...?  Either way, here it is.

The work is made from pieced, hand dyed cotton.  This section features a discharge dyed section, delineated in ink, and is closer in colour to the original to the version on FB.  The next section is below:

This section is much more complex.  The top section is discharge dyed, the right hand side, a section of a monoprint, the middle section is made up of dye painted cloth, some of which has drawings on it.  I still work in this way, but on a smaller scale, usually.

So, as I asked my friends on Facebook... can you pick out a theme here?  There have been a few answers already, some of which capture part of the story of this quilt, others which tell the stories that others see in it.  There is, of course, no real right or wrong.... but it's fun to wonder....

more images soon...

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Fiberart For A Cause : The 100

I am absolutely delighted to be an invited artist for "The 100" to be held on Wednesday, February 4, 2015. The goal for this fiber fundraiser for the American Cancer Society is to raise $10,000 in one day.

How? All the details are here 

I'm sure you will want to be one of the very exclusive 100 patrons who will be randomly assigned artwork from an extraordinary line-up of international fiber artists.

Fiberart For A Cause has already raised $240,000 through the generosity of fiber artists and patrons.

Cancer has no boundaries, and as a Scot living in England, I wanted to support this campaign in honour of my late friend Lynn Bunis, and of my very much alive friend Clare Hedges, who lost her husband to cancer recently. Art works from some truly amazing artists (and me!) will be on offer... don't miss out on a unique opportunity!

At a personal level, this is likely to be the only opportunity to get a piece of my work for the foreseeable future.  I stopped blogging in August, after being admitted to hospital unexpectedly.  To cut a long story short, I haven't been well since then... my GP isn't sure, but I suspect that it is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).  In a nutshell, I don't have the energy to work.  So, much as I'd like to make something completely new for this great cause, I'll be looking for something that I've done recently.  Keep an eye open...I'll be publishing  pictures in the next day or so.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


is something I have felt I ought to be able to do, but somehow couldn't.  I trained as a linguist; if anyone could write, you would think that I would be able to. I thought that I was condemned to translating other peoples' work, other peoples' ideas...that I had none of my own.  Recently, though, I've been writing a lot, mainly haiku, but some poems, and the tentative beginnings of a novel.  Very tentative.

I've been quite disturbed by the way in which the recent suicide of the truly gifted Robin Williams has been reported, so I wanted to share this.  Those of you who have followed the blog for a while, know that I suffer from chronic depression, and that some of my work is around that.  This is by way of an attempt to explain to people who just don't 'get it' for one reason or another, just what depression is like.

To Those Who Don't Believe In Depression.
I know you don’t believe that we’re in pain. Mostly because you cannot see we’re broken, The things that we keep hidden because we feelAshamed, inadequate, insufficient, lostIn a darkness you don’t seem to see,Mostly because you don’t know how to look.Or perhaps, you’ve never thought that it was possibleTo seem to be one thing, yet feel another,Both at the same time. And yet, it is.We can’t explain it to you; hell, we can’t explain it to ourselves.But it is as real as you are, to us, and though our bodiesAre not broken, we are in pain.How can we explain it? Did you, when you were young,Lose a cat, a dog, or even, perhaps, a person? RememberHow it hurt? Remember being told that the cared for oneHad gone away to heaven? And thinking that you didn’tUnderstand? Such pain, such confusion…but gradually, youFelt less and less, remembered less and less, and returnedTo your usually happy state… and life went on.Imagine that pain, intensified, confusion combined with the feelingThat it is all your fault, the way you feel, that this thing should be happening.Imagine it going on and on, for years and years, without improving; ratherIt just gets worse. And it is never forgotten, not for a nanosecond. 
Perhaps, if you can imagine that, you can beginTo understand, to accept, above all, not to judge.That is all we ask for, we who suffer. It doesn't seem like much.

Personally, I thought Robin Williams was immortal, a touchstone, a miracle.  Through his work, perhaps he truly is.  His death is a reminder that all of us have demons.  Some of us deny them, some ignore them.  Some grapple with them and lose.  Some gain temporary respite... but they don't often go away entirely.  We don't know each others' demons... but we should try to remember that they are there.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Destashing... a fascinating process.  I've found things I didn't know I had...and I'm  only half way through the process.  Then, combining them in groups to sell them has been interesting, too... here's a selection.

All those ideas, and good intentions, that never came to anything.  Now, it's a question of making room for all the new ideas I'm having...

If you want to peruse my stash as it appears for sale, and you're on Facebook, look here; I'm giving my FB buddies first shot at this...then I'll move them to my selling blog, Artmixter's Emporium.  Meanwhile, I've got some measuring and cutting to do... (whimper).  After the commercial fabric, comes the hand dyes... and then a few small pieces of work... I really do need some space.