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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hand Work...



isn't something I'm associated with, much, but ever since I made a hand quilted piece from a piece of rust dyed silk, I've wanted to do a bit more. Today, as well as preparing the lutradur for the workshop in Lyon, I made a postcard, one of the first of several samples I'll take with me. It is made from lutradur and pelmet vilene, with an edging of knobbly yarn attached using hand stitching, and some random seed stitches at the bottom, and measures 8" by 6". It was fun! I'm now working on a smaller version with a similar theme, but using blanket stitch to edge it. Arguably, you don't need to edge the postcards at all; neither vilene nor lutradur fray. But it adds a little something to it, I think.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Gone...


at hideous expense, the Lyon quilts. I feel...relieved. Lets hope they get there safely. I spent most of the day hunting for a book that I needed to send to Sarah, and which I'd put away safely. Yes, we all know what that means. But I did find it eventually, and it is on its way to Edinburgh.


Other than that, there's not much going on. I did domestic stuff, like washing (sigh) and the like...and am about to Iron. I dislike ironing until I get going, and then I remember that it's actually quite mindless, and therefore therapeutic.


Have a bit of eye candy on me...like Margaret Cooter, I was fascinated by Barcelona's eclectic collections of grafitti. This one was spotted behind the market. I'd love to work at that size...sigh...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Gearing Up...


for Lyon. Here's the proof; some of the quilts, rolled up and ready to go. All ten are now ready, all I need to do is add the labels, pack them up and send them, which I'll do tomorrow. All ten are made using lutradur; I hope they demonstrate the versatility of my favourite fabric. Or is that Evolon...sigh... I never expected to be seduced by a polyester cloth, much less two of them!

There's always a lot to do before a show; much of it has nothing much to do with the actual pieces you're exhibiting. I'm trying to get things sorted out in my head; what has to be done, when, and where. The packs for the workshops have to be assembled; I may dye and print some cloth to take, too, and some lutradur. I may also translate the lutradur worksheet into French, laminate it and take some to sell. (Yes, I know it's a free worksheet, but laminating etc all costs money. I won't make a profit, but I'd like to spread the word a bit, make it easier for people to use this new and wonderful material. Do I sound like a commercial? Probably. Sorry, just enthusiastic.
Very!
The other picture is of postcards and other small works, waiting to be trimmed and finished, so that they too can travel to Lyon. Some are embellished, some lutradur, some quite heavily stitched. Unlikely as it sounds, I do do more than just use lutradur...sometimes...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

It's Amazing...


what you can do when you have to. I've just about finished Swoop, the last of the quilts for Lyon.
So what, I hear you holler? Well, I'm completely and utterly stoned. For all the best of reasons. It would appear that antidepressants plus painkillers plus antibiotics and a wee bit of iron combine to leave me, at best, lightheaded. I was intending to write at length about Swoop, and how it came to be how it is, but it'll have to wait until I have a clear head. As will the other stuff I have to worry about, like the sleeves for nine quilts, and the location of 'Blue Tree Dreaming' (it's upstairs somewhere, it must be...). Sigh.

Meanwhile, a snippet of a spread from an altered book. I now know what I'm going to use it for.
But more of that when I'm compos mentis...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ouch!

,
Ouch, ouch, ouch. Yes, said the dentist, I think root canal work is in order here... my poor front tooth (okay, one of them...). So I'm doped up to the eyeballs, penicillin and painkillers, looking forward to being able to bite into something soon without wincing, weeping or whingeing. And the dentist visit today did let me sew on the first of the sleeves for the Lyon quilts. I hate sleeves almost as much as I hate binding...sigh...

I thought I'd say that the Lutradur worksheet I cowrote with Dijanne Cevaal is still available; however, for me to send it to you, I do have to have your email address. If you reply with your Blogger identity, often there isn't a return email address, so if you're waiting for a copy, please contact me, in case that is the problem (lutradur@tiscali.co.uk).

Isn't she wonderful? Spotted reclining in the garden at Oxburgh. Sadly, she was the wrong side of the moat, so I couldn't get up close and personal with her, but even at that distance, she's lovely.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Favourite Tool...


for drawing, at least, is a Pentel Brush Pen. They're not cheap, exactly, but they behave like a brush, and the variety of marks obtainable by using them is amazing. This drawing was made this morning in my sketchbook; as usual, I was early for the therapist and spent the time taking a couple of photos and drawing. Then, of course, there are calligraphy pens, coloured pens and all sorts of other excitements.

What struck me about this drawing, or doodle, really, was that it demonstrates what I've been learning recently about mark making, design, repetition and scale. The more I do, the more I learn, and, interestingly, the less I read. What it seems to need now is a colour wash...and perhaps a few more lines...

The thing about birthdays is that you get to buy yourself wonderful things; in this case, The Surface Designer's Handbook by Holly Brackman. I've purged my dyeing books long since, but this one gave me three ideas in the space of as many minutes, so it seemed a good way to spend the voucher Andrew and Sarah gave me. I also bought the last in the series of books on Boudica by Manda Scott. Boudica would have been very familiar with the landscapes I live in now. She was, as the Scots say, a bonnie fechter (a good fighter; though the Scots means something more than that, that I find untranslatable).

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Real Life...



is now back in force...therapy today, more tomorrow, must be real life!! In many ways, it's a privilege to have regular opportunities to talk about your life and your feelings with someone who listens, comments and asks good questions. It helps. Drawing also helps. And lots of other things. No work done today, just a bit of reading, a Su Doku puzzle and a lot of thinking. Tonight's tea is cooking on the hob, the cats have been fed and I'm going to Norwich tomorrow to spend the Borders token that I was given for my birthday. With a bit of luck, Robin will take me to lunch, too... and all will be well with the world.

The photograph is of a wall at Oxburgh; I was struck by the patterning of the plant on the brickwork, and by the obviously filled in part that differs quite dramatically from its surrounding bricks. Wonder what the story there is... I'm also struck by the patterning left on next door's garage, now that Mike has cleared back the shrubbery and cut away the ivy. Must take a picture of that, too; it's definitely food for thought...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Back...


to England from Edinburgh. Back to work from...I would have said relaxing, but it was a busy few days, and I think I need a holiday from my holiday, now! As Sandy had never been to Scotland before, we did some touristy things, but the trip to Dirleton Castle was as much business as pleasure; Andrew and Sarah will be married there next year, so we wanted to go and look at the venue, and the hotel they've chosen for afterwards. As you can see from the photo, the colours in the walls of the castle are amazing, and the area in which the ceremony will take place is very impressive. I think there's a painting in there, somewhere, or a quilt...but for now, I'm focussing on the last of the quilts for the show in Lyon next month. It'll just have to wait in the queue...and there's always a queue...

Of course, we had to eat while there...and we went to a Mongolian restaurant. It was by way of celebrating four non-birthdays; Andrew was 25 last month, Robin's mother had a birthday the week before, I have a birthday this week and Robin has a landmark birthday next month. Our friends Alison and Michael came to celebrate with us, and much fun was had. No cake, though. Sigh. I'll have to make one for myself, I think... We did have balloons, though, large ones with 50 prominent on them...oh, did I tell? Oops!

More sightseeing, and a long drive back home on Sunday. It was wonderful to see everyone, but it's great to be home and back to work. 'Swirl', the last quilt for Lyon, is half quilted, the sleeves are to be made and added, labels too. Not to mention the packs for the workshop. It will be fun, though...and I hope to squeeze in some dyeing, too.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Inspiration...



comes in all shapes and sizes; in this case, the natural world provides shape, colour and texture to make me wonder and imagine...and, of course, draw. Short breaks are wonderful, but they don't allow you time to sit and stare, or sit and draw. Or just sit...though my feet required regular breaks. The rest of me was happy to walk and walk.

We get accustomed to the plants that surround us daily in our own habitat. I found the palm trees fascinating, their shapes, sizes and textures...not to mention the flashes of flying green parrot that could be spotted in and around the branches (or are they bracts? I'm not a gardener...). Palm trees seem vital, somehow, reaching strong and tall to the sun. I find myself pondering personal totems, and somehow feel that the palm could well be one such.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Home Again, Home Again...

a

but only for a few days; I'm going up to visit friends and relations in Edinburgh on Wednesday, so am likely to have another quiet week blogwise, if not in real life... though we might well take the laptop... there's a thought...

Barcelona was.... how do you describe it? I could do a string of superlatives, but at the end of the day, the best I can say is that it is magnificent, and I will go back, sooner rather than later. I loved it. Colour, light, food, sea, friends, laughter, Gaudi; what more could a girl want? Photographs will doubtless follow in the days to come; the first of them come from the market, a huge indoor market that was fascinating to visit (and revisit). How unlike me to concentrate on food, first...but look at the wonderful colours. They glow. If I wanted inspiration, I need not have gone any further than here. We did, of course. We walked and walked (I have the blister to prove it!). Every corner turned produced something else to marvel at. And marvel, I did. I have 130 photographs to prove it!

In the meantime, I've got sleeves to make for the quilts that have to travel to France, and three of them still to quilt. Don't think I'll get all of that done today, somehow, but perhaps much of it will be done before Wednesday. Today, though, a nap and a little light thinking...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Checking Out...


for a little holiday with Dijanne and Sandy. A few days in Barcelona, soaking up the beauty (guaranteed), the sun (likely) and doubtless a bottle or three (or four) of wine... Last time we three went anywhere together, we came back with Big Plans, which got overrun by Life In General. Who knows what'll happen this time...and we're also planning to go to Carrefour in September, so we've got time to Get Things Done. And of course, mainland Europe has time to recover from the shock of the three of us in one place, together...

It's clearly the season for holidays; my friend Terry is white water rafting in the Grand Canyon. I'm not sure what possessed her to go do that, and I'm not that sure she knows, either. And there was a queue for bureau de change services in the post office. But I'm all ready, I know where my passport is, and I'll pack me bags tonight. Sadly, the quilting will have to wait, though I've got all the remaining quilts tacked up and ready to quilt when I get home. Then, of course, I disappear again, to Edinburgh, to visit our son, Robin's mother and sundry friends... I'll be glad of a rest by the time that's all done... just in time for France and the show in Lyon.

The picture today is of a printed piece that I overdyed, just out of interest. I'd not overdyed printers ink before, it held up well, certainly better than acrylic paint does. Here speaketh the voice of experience... Now, I want to add some lutradur, dyed in a particular way, and then, possibly burned back to expose the pink at the centre of the print. All these ideas, so little time... better get started. I want to finish the sixth quilt before I vanish off to play with Dijanne and Sandy!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Few Things...


are more annoying to a dyer than discovering that the cloth she bought in good faith as cotton poplin, is in fact a poly blend. It looked like poplin. It felt like poplin. It was marked as poplin. It wasn't. Grrrrrrrrr. Note the pastels ahanging on the line. Still, I had intended using it for backings, so I dare say it'll not kill me to have pretty pastels on the back of my work. And I did use another cloth, which did produce that lovely blue. And, fortunately, this is not the cloth I bought a bolt of. Come to think of it, I didn't use that yesterday, and I should have. Must Test...but later, when I'm not dressed in Good Clothes. Between painting and dyeing, I don't have that many Good Clothes left...sigh.

Bessie the Boiler was pressed into service yesterday, and she performed magnificently; hot water on tap in the tiny area I dye in...dyeing on a sixpence, you could say. She holds more than enough water for a day's dyeing, though if I was production dyeing, she would need to be filled twice, I think. But a nice day's personal use stuff was fine. Yippee!!


Now to iron the cloth, and see what goes with what...hopefully the sixth of the ten quilts for Lyon will be finished today. All I have to do now is Wait For Batting... and, of course, pop over to Barcelona at the weekend with Sandy and Dijanne, and then to Edinburgh later in the month... My, ain't I busy...but it should all be fun, and I can always take the quilts and sleeves with me to edinburgh to finish off...I hate sleeves...grr...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Whole Bolt...


of cotton poplin arrived yesterday, all 116 metres of it. Overkill? Well, yes, now that you mention it. I'm not really selling cloth any more, so that's enough to keep me going for quite a while... a year or two, perhaps?

The truth of it is, I miss dyeing. I enjoy taking pieces of cloth and changing them completely, from white to multicoloured, from multicoloured to patterned, from patterned to 'complex'. It's an adventure all by itself. Some of the cloth I make, I can't work out what to do with. One piece lay around for about eight years before I used it in Urban Grafitti II, which is bound for the 'From The Heart' exhibit in the US this year. I need some backing cloth for quilts for France this year, so that will be my primary objective this week, I think, but any piece of cloth, the more boring the better, can be used as a springboard for surface design work.

The picture today is the newly bound 'Three Red Suns'. I don't usually do binding, but it seemed appropriate on some of the lutradur pieces. I think it improves the piece.