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Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I've been having what I usually refer to as a 'bad day'. Because I haven't been well, because I've overstretched myself over the past few weeks, I'm wobbly and weepy and, surprise, surprise, tired. When I feel like that, I don't usually want to do anything. But I have been following a course of computerised therapy, which, surprisingly, seems to be working, even if it does have a condescending voice and a nasty habit of commiserating with me (to which I say rude things...I know a computer can't feel anything, much less commiserate, I'm depressed, dammit, not stupid). The computer says (aaaaaargh, see, it's got me saying that....) that even when you don't feel like doing things, it's A Good Idea to do them anyway. So, rather than sit in bed all day, and I admit, I was tempted, even though Sally woke me earlier than intended this morning by phoning me up and being cheerful(ish),I decided to play with my encaustics.

I like working with encaustics. I produced three or so pieces, one of which, Elemental 1, is pictured here. The one I like best is only just finished and therefore not photographed. It's wild, semistructured and, I think (I hope) exciting. There's an assumption that if you're depressed, you must make stuff that's depressing...or at least, dark. Phooey. I have made art 'about' depression, but mostly, I make art for the joy of it. I have other fish to fry. I may be depressed, but there's no real reason to let it take over my life. Or my art, for that matter. So, it may have felt like a bad day, and maybe it was, but it was a productive one, and I had fun despite myself. Amazing, what you can do when you try.

Cats really do get everywhere...This piece is 'catman'. He has his own poem on the back, and he lives with my friend Sally, now. They seem to get along.

Monday, February 27, 2006


feature large in the household...we have four, and they know who is in charge... Sometimes, they even feature in the art!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

From Atchoo!...

I've graduated to cough, splutter, snooze. Fortunately, though, my brain doesn't seem to be overwhelmed by this, which is just as well. So, I started some of the admin work for an exhibition in the summer. As you may remember, I've teamed up with my friends Heather Howes and Helen Hasthorpe to form an exhibiting group, called H2M : Textiles Plus. The plus is there for two reasons. We do things other than textiles (I paint, for example), and so we will be showing Textiles, Plus other disciplines. And we also hope to invite other artists to show with us, thereby making another 'plus'.

Well, you know, there's this longstanding debate about textile art, is it or isn't it fine art, should art quilters show in fine art shows, etc. But I'm not aware of anyone in textiles actually taking the bit by the horns and showing their work across the spectrum of art activity, and I think that it's time we did. Of course, if you know of lots of people already doing this stuff...I'd love to hear about it. Meantime, we're showing our work at the end of August/beginning of September, in an exhibition titled 'Elementals'. It will be interesting to see what comes out of it.

ps free lutradur worksheet still to for your copy.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Atchoo! Atchoo! ATCHOO!

No, I'm not singing the refrain from 'When Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney'...though if you got that particular reference, I'm deeply impressed! Yes, for the first time this winter, just as we verge on Spring, I've come down with a cold. Normal service will be resumed as soon as I stop sniffing... meanwhile, a picture...the quilt is Hidden Depths, and it's about to have a sleeve sewn on it. Not bad after, oh, two years?

Friday, February 24, 2006

What Was Lost...

has now been found (it was on top of the bookshelves in my cloth studio. Yes, of course it was...). As you can see, it's the piece that I made in response to four words selected at random, blue, sky, window and spiral. Only now, I think it is actually finished. Or, at least, I don't intend doing any more to it. Which is probably closer to the truth. I don't think any work of art is ever finished. Or at least, none of mine seem to be. I just reach a point in the dialogue where I don't want to add anything else, and there's nothing else to take away, either. So, I stop. Anyway, I've uploaded both images, the earlier one and the new one, so that you can see the progression. All comments welcome (as always).

I almost stopped trying to think up a piece for a new local show, being held at Glemham Hall, in Suffolk. The theme is Spring. Now, that conjures up snowdrops, daffodils, lambs, a thousand cliches, but nothing that seemed to suit me. So, there I was this afternoon, thinking, a nap would be a good thing, horizontal, in bed...and suddenly, I knew what to make. So I lay there some more thinking, a nap really would be A Good Thing...but no, the idea persisted. So, now I have the beginnings of a piece called 'The First Day of Spring'. It is an abstractish landscape, made mainly in wools, and I'm really pleased with it. Hurrah. You never know what you can do, til you try, do you?

And finally, thank you for the supportive responses to yesterday's blog. I've had a few people contact me who are interested in actually being a part of this little project, so who knows, we may get it off the ground yet. I'll keep you posted. Or should that be blogged?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Walking The Talk

A few posts ago, I was on my soapbox about how difficult the interface can be between art quilters and the more traditional among us. I get quite aerated on the topic...after all, how can new art quilters learn, if all the groups they can join tend towards the traditional, and ask questions about the validity of art quilts? I do run an online art quilt group, Alternativequiltlist, but sometimes it's a good thing to meet people, and quilts, in real time, rather than virtually. So, I thought, time to walk the talk, as they say in business circles (or they do, round here, anyway). So I'm going to start an art textile association in my area (East Anglia), and have put out some feelers on the web and elsewhere to see if anyone is interested.

Personally, I don't really do groups...but sometimes you have to do the stuff you don't usually do, to step out of your comfort zone, in order to learn and grow. So, I've started. Wish me luck.
At the least, it will put textile artists in touch with one another, more aware of each others work... but it might also produce critique groups, workshops, discussions, any kind of learning. And that has to be good for us all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Vanishing Act or The Mystery of the Messy Studio

Well, like I said, yesterday I worked on three pieces. And so, as I had a friend coming to visit, I brought them downstairs to show (as you do). Except... I could only find two of them. The third one has vanished. And okay, it's just a small piece, but it's disconcerting. I suspect it has gone wherever it is my scissors go whenever I need them. Now, if I had but one pair, that would be understandable. I've got about ten pairs. It's the same with tape measures. Every time someone asks me how big a piece is, I think, oh damn...where's the tape measure. Yes, I've got half a dozen or a big ruler, a metre stick and sundry other measurement devices. None of which ever turn up when I want them.

Am I cursed? Well, no. Just incredibly untidy. What this really tells me is that it's time to clear up the workroom again. I feel a bit like a teenager. But muuuuuuuum...I did it in the Christmas holidaaaaaaaaaays..... But I have worked in there since then, just a bit. Really Must Put Things Away. On the other hand, what would I have written about today if I did!

Just to prove the truth of things, the photo was taken about a week ago. It has both improved and then deteriorated, since. There are two sewing machines in this shot. Bet you can only find one...

Know what? I like it like this. Except when I can't find the piece I made yesterday....

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Snarl. Growl. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

Oh, it's all right, really. It's just that Robin's not coming home for tea, and the small pizza I thought was in the freezer turned out to be a large chicken pie. Even I'm not hungry enough for that!

Today has really been a constructive one, despite an early start, which is never my favourite way to begin the day. More sleeves for more quilts, ready for handstitching. And three quilts that I thought were finished, turned out not to be. I do hope they are now, though. I ended up foiling them. I think they look fairly good, but I didn't take photos today, and now it's too dark. Tomorrow, maybe.

Meanwhile, here's a picture of Mask. It's dyepainted, and is the first piece in what was intended to be a series...I have two more masks painted, they have been for at least two years, but somehow they just don't seem to progress any further.
Perhaps it's that they are what they say they are. I like to look at a subject obliquely, to hint at or suggest a theme, rather than have it out there in your face (no pun intended...). Perhaps the trick would be to add some lutradur to the other two, change the way I see them... It's a thought. Either that or cut 'em up and piece them differently, or with other cloth... dammit. I don't need anything else to do.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Un Embarras de Richesses

I spent yesterday at 'Textiles In Focus', a combination of an exhibition of student's work in both weaving and embroidery, and a cornucopia of shopping opportunities, known collectively as 'the Traders', but in fact a gathering of interesting small suppliers, from Art Van Go, who seem to carry everything art related that you could ever imagine (and then some), to tiny specialist suppliers that focus on a particular part of the market. The picture is just two of the (rather a lot of) yarns I bought, aren't they wonderful? I'm looking forward to couching those onto velvet and silk, in particular. Not that I have any money left to buy said velvets and silks...

What is it about these exhibitions that brings out my desire to spend, spend, spend? I think it's the sheer excitement of a collection of specialist shops that cater to my arty whims. That said, I do use the stuff I buy. Honest! I overheard one woman say to another, I've bought this, but I suspect it'll still be in a bag in six months time... I thought, what? Surely the point of buying stuff is not to keep it, but to play with it? But then, here speaks a woman whose stash is dwindling to the point of almost not being there. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I have given away or sold a lot of cloth. And other than a bit of lutradur, I didn't buy any yesterday, which I'm pleased about! But those fibres were something else...

Of course, an exhibition is not just about shopping (though sometimes it feels that way). The joy of Textiles in Focus is that it offers comfy armchairs to sit in whilst perusing the work. And I was reminded, as I looked at it, that the rules of the quilting world don't apply in embroiderers' circles. Work joyfully rippled down the walls, with interesting irregular edges. It sat comfortably in frames. None of it would have got very far in a juried quilt show, but all of it was, in its own way, beautiful. I'm not a regularly shaped quilt...I'm a piece of joyful embroidery...a bit squint, here and there, wonderfully uncontained, unconstrained...wild and wonderful. And so are we all. All we have to do, is keep reminding ourselves...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Art of Patience

This beautiful creature sat with me on my favourite sofa one day last summer. We both basked in the sun. In fact, he (she?) was truly patient, and waited around while I dived upstairs for my camera, and took one or two photographs. Then s/he sat around some more, until one of the cats came, and decided to investigate. Discretion being the better part of valour, s/he flew off, out into the day.

Sometimes, there are moments when all you can do is sit with something or someone, and be patient. I spent a lot of time sitting with paintings, my own, both in process and finished, and with other people's work, usually in museums or galleries. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people drift through art galleries, giving scant attention to each picture, occasionally pausing in front of something they find interesting. I have been known to sit for an hour with a favourite painting, or just with something that appealed. After about twenty minutes, I find my attention waning, but I know that if I wait just a bit longer, there will be even more to see in that picture. I make notes, too, mostly about how the painting feels to me, about what I might make, myself, in the future. Or just whatever comes to mind. I haven't done that in a while. Maybe it's time to do it again.

Friday, February 17, 2006


I had a visit from Heather and Helen today, and, surprise surprise, we ended up in my cloth studio. As the room is in the attic, it is long and thin, fine for one, somewhat plump, woman, but a bit challenging for three. So I ended up lifting a pile of handdyed cloth, and we went through it to see what there was. It's amazing how quickly you forget about the cloth you have, even though it is piled up on the shelf in plain view. So we oohed, and aahed, and chose a piece to split between us. The intention is that we each make a piece for our first joint exhibition, which will be held in August this year. Our styles are very different, so it will be interesting to see what they all look like.

Of course, patting fabric is fun. Looking at finished work is good, too, and we did some of that today.The piece pictured here is an encaustic painting, made last weekend. Encaustic work is great fun, and, given that our central heating boiler broke down over the weekend, it heats the parts that other art activities know nothing about! Not a summer activity...unless you really love the heat.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Creativity Rules?

I was really struck yesterday by Omega's comment (thanks, Omega). In talking of a teacher she had had, John Hicks, she said that 'of all the things he said to me one made the most impression. That is that for serious work one should conceive of the whole work - how it is going to be displayed included - before embarking on it. Of course it will change and develop, but thinking about all aspects of it should be involved in that development. '

I think, or at least I suspect, that there are two kinds of creative people. One type does the development before they make the work. The other type does the development afterwards. I find myself in the latter category. I truly admire the former, though. I just can't seem to manage to remember to do it. It's one of the reasons that I've never seriously considered a City and Guilds course. Though I have talked to other people with the same approach as me, who have...and they always sheepishly confess to making the work first, and then writing up the plan etc afterwards. So perhaps it's a genetic thing, rather than a learned approach! What kind of creative are you?

ps On the odd occasion where I do plan things, things 'gang agley', as the poet Robert Burns says. This particular piece was made for Quilting Arts self portrait project. When I finished it, there was the wail of the overstretched's a quarter inch too narrow - aaaargh!! But the feathers added the extra measurement (phew). Not that it was selected, but hey, you can't win 'em all.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Doing The Necessary

I found myself doing the kind of finishing work that we all have to do, and none of us particularly enjoys. I have the nasty habit of looking at a textile piece, and thinking, that's it, and simply stopping work on it. It says what I want it to say, and that's enough.

Except it isn't, of course. With the paintings, it's easy enough. They come in a preset structure, depending on what type of canvas I'm using. You paint it, you finish, you leave it to dry. You varnish and frame it. Nae bother. With a textile, though, there are broader considerations. Did the stitch distort the shape? Does it matter? If so, how to fix it? What kind of finishing do the edges require? How to hang it, sleeve or other mechanism? To frame, or not to frame, that is...well, only one of the many questions you ask yourself of a finished textile piece.

Who said it was over when the fat lady sings? Hah. Singing is the least of it. It's over when the fat lady handsews the sleeve on. So there. You can tell I don't like the finishing stuff, at all. So this is the week I take stock, make sleeves and mutter under my breath. Yuk. I'd much rather be making any one of the hundreds of ideas crowding my head, at least, until the point where I think, that's it... which is where we came in, of course!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Lovely Lutradur

I was introduced to lutradur by Dijanne Cevaal, and I hold her entirely responsible for the outcome...which has been a LOT of work with lutradur in it! Every time either of us posts about the stuff, we get lots of questions about it, on the blogs or privately, so we decided to write a worksheet as an introduction to lutradur. It's not War And Peace, you understand, but there's enough information for anyone to get started in using this lovely material. An email to her, or to me, or to will get you a free copy of the worksheet. And we are currently writing a book on the subject, which will be available within the next year.

For the uninitiated, lutradur is a non woven polyester fabric. It is intended for industrial use, with a wide variety of weights for different purposes, from the purely decorative (florists use it as wrapping) to the Seriously Heavyweight (agriculture and road building, I believe, are other uses). You can dye it, paint it, cut it up (it doesn't fray), use it by itself or, because of the transluscent nature of the construction of the cloth, use it on top of other patterned cloth (my favourite use) without the handling problems of voiles and other lightweight fabrics . Dijanne makes wonderful prints on hers; the freize at the top of the page here is her work.

We both hope you enjoy using the worksheet, and lutradur, as much as we do.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Flying Dreams Reprise

Thank you to all for your kind words about the Flying Dreams piece. To answer the questions...Flying Dreams, the original, is 36" by 16". I always work small; so many ideas, so little time... The second Flying Dreams, I don't have a picture of...I hope Thelma will obligingly take one and send it to me; if she does, I'll share it with you. The third, the first one shown here, is a journal sized quilt, and, like FD 2, a variation of sorts, I suppose. The fourth, though, is back to the original concept. All that green. It's still in progress; I'm trying to decide what to do about the edges (probably nothing. I hate binding, the look and the process, though I might paint...) The photo isn't that good, either; the colours are much more intense in the 'flesh' (as it were). I'll post a better one when it's finished.

Marion asked about the painting/dyeing. The cloth, a polycotton, was originally dyed blue/red/purple with Procion MX. As it is a high cotton content cloth, the dye took reasonably well, but the overall colour was subdued. I then overpainted it with some pinky brown textile ink,with some puff binding in it, and produced...well...a truly horrible cloth! Not one of my better moments. However, when I started to experiment with working with acrylic paint, I hauled it out and over painted it, using a feather as an occasional resist. I just kept mixing and remixing a vibrant yellow with a very vibrant green, hence the variations in the green colour, plus I then added some bits of black and white net, wanting to suggest hillsides, shadow and light.

I seem to go through phases, where I work in a particular colour, intensely. Green was never a favourite, yet now, it's a firm part of both textile and painting lexicons. At present, though, orange and red seem to be dominant, to the point where I ran out of red paint, and had to order some more. Imagine, running out of paint...unheard of in this household!

Thanks again for your comments and questions...keep 'em coming! It's good to talk...

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Flying Dreams

Apparently, we all have them...flying dreams. Freud said they were about sex (well, he would). Personally, I've never had one, or at least, never remembered that I have. But as I worked on the cloth, dyeing and painting it, adding net, stitch and structure to it, I realised that this was the kind of flying dream I'd love to have.

Since then, I've made a number of Flying Dreams quilts. One of them hangs in Thelma's spare room, a gift for a special occasion. Others still live here with me, one unfinished, and at least one more in my head. I like working in series, and this one shows no signs of ending.

I love flying, though I rarely get the chance to do so, the occasional domestic flight back to Scotland, and that's about it. But I can work on these pieces whenever I choose...and a girl can dream...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Digital Drawing or Aloha, Arashi!

This piece is a reaction to Arashi. Well, not Arashi, in person...more his work. On his blog recently, he showed a piece of digital work, that was responding to my work with photocopies. Well, he said it was for me. In public. So I wrote and said, can I play with it? He, very graciously, agreed. So here are the results.

I love working digitally. It's clean, it's quick, it involves no tidying up other than switching the machine off and deleting the failures...sorry, steps on the learning curve... you don't waste anything, either.

I find that digital working often sparks something off for other artistic endeavours. I also print out the finished piece, often cut it up and use it in other works. The ultimate flexible medium.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Museless in Norfolk

I've been writing an article on spirituality and art for a new 'zine that will be appearing soon. I found myself comparing two of my paintings, one of which was made specifically to help me to understand a particular issue, one that wasn't. And yet, the same theme appears in both of them, just expressed in different ways. Or so it appears to me, anyway.

I'm a great believer in trusting the process. Much of what I do in preparation for a painting or a textile piece isn't conscious. I draw a bit, I look a bit, I think a bit, all, apparently, on different themes. And then, eventually, maybe months or even years later, all those tiny bits of preparation come together in a piece. I think that's why I no longer worry about inspiration, or the muses...for me, there are no muses. There's just the work, and a lot of questions, the kind of questions we ask ourselves from the moment we are born. Who am I, where is this, and why am I here? How do I make sense of this?

The answer to the last one, is easy. I make art. As for the rest, well, trust the process. Ask the questions. See what comes to mind...or hand...or brush... Make the work, and all will be well.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Surprise, Surprise

I love surprises. I particularly love unexpected parcels. One arrived this morning, full of fabric. Handdyes, mainly, some commercial fabric and some interfacing, the latter perfect for transfer dyeing. What a wonderful surprise, thanks, Thelma! So some pleasant time was spent this morning, patting, oohing, aahing and planning.

My second surprise of the day was work related, too. I spend a day with some friends, doing fast, spontaneous work...the postcard I showed recently came out of that. Well, we did one exercise that involved using four random words to trigger a piece of work. Mine were blue, sky, spiral and, to be honest, I forget what the fourth one was, and I can't find the piece of paper they're written on! The piece I made was small, and the spiral shone silver and definitely pulled all eyes towards its little self. I didn't like it.

Today, though, I covered it with a piece of dyed lutradur, stitched into it, and added a bit more dye (lutradur is dyed using transfer dyes, so it is just a matter of ironing the dye onto the piece). And I'm pleased with the result. I had been giving myself the, not every piece can be a winner, speech about it. This maybe isn't a winner, exactly, but it's not bad, either, for a piece that was conceived and made from start to finish in an hour and a half! See what you think. And try the exercise, why don't you? I dare you!

Monday, February 06, 2006

In The Ghetto?

The photograph here is a picture of the next stage of the piece 'No Man Is An Island'. It has had a bit of stitch added, here and there, and some couched fibres. It is beginning to come together, now, though I have still to add the text to it. But instead of doing that, I spent today at Helen's studio, playing with my acrylic paints, painting on tissue paper prior to bonding it to cloth, preparing a book for altering. It's unusual for me to make art with other people around; for me, art is a solitary activity. It is pleasant, though, to have company, to talk about life, the work, the universe or whatever comes up in conversation.

Sewing in general, but quilting in particular, has always been considered a sociable activity...quilting 'bees' are, of course, legendary, and I suspect that today's quilting house groups are but a pale shadow of their historical counterparts. For me, and, I suspect for most art quilters, that kind of camaraderie is not on the agenda. Apparently making odd quilts makes me an odd person... (if my son reads this, I'll live to regret that comment!). Perfectly pleasant people who would give all encouragement to someone making a bed quilt, seem to think that it's open season on people like me, who make wall quilts. The reaction I get from traditional sewers who see my work is rather akin to the reaction I get from some people when I admit to suffering from chronic depression. They don't know what to say, get embarrassed, and then invariably ask inappropriate questions. My favourite, though, is the question, usually whispered between two traditionalists, looking anywhere but at me, 'Is that a quilt?'. If I made the kind of disparaging remarks about traditional quilts that are made about my work, it would be rotary cutters at ten paces! Instead, I'm meant to pretend it doesn't matter.

And if I'm really truthful, it doesn't. I make what I make. I don't need anyone's permission or agreement. And, like Groucho Marx, I wouldn't join any club that would have me as a member!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Even More Collaboration

This time, we're looking at the piece I talked about recently, that Helen Howes had given me to play with. It started off black, pink and white. That was fine, but the contrast was a bit startling, so I overdyed it, making it black, yellow and an orangey pink. Yesterday, I thought, okay, now to play!

First, I added some fibres to the long, vertical borders. That strenghtened the impact that some existing quilting had, and added a lovely, furry texture to those areas. And, of course, it also gave me the opportunity to do a bit more of my new obsession, couching!

Then, I added some stitch to the pieced blocks, to break up the intensity of some of the colour. Sadly, it's not too visible in the pictures here, but the quilting pretty much echoes some of the shapes that are in the blocks. The stitch wasn't necessary from a practical point of view; Helen had already quilted the piece well. I wanted to draw with colour, if you like, rather than quilt, to bring up the strength of the pink inserts that feature in almost all the blocks.

And then I stopped. Now, the piece isn't finished, yet. I know it, it knows it. It wants some beads. Sadly, I don't have the kind of beads it needs (there's poetry in there somewhere!). So I'm taking it back to Helen tomorrow, hoping that in her bead mountain, there is something, or rather, a lot of somethings, that we can add to the little yellow squares running down the side...and possibly to dangle off the edges...

You would think that it would be difficult to work with something that someone else has made. The answer is, not really. Providing you remember to look at the piece objectively, and not worry about what the other person will think. When someone passes a piece they're not happy with for me to play with, it's because it was going into the bin, otherwise. So really, it's recycling, or, if you prefer, altering. I love making Altered Quilts. In fact, I think there's a book in there!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

More on collaboration

In an earlier post, I talked about a collaborative piece I'm in the process of making with Thelma Smith. Now, here it is again, but with (yet) another layer added to it. I think this will be the last, though I may have to consider what to do with the edges (probably nothing, I hate the look of binding, and don't want to face...but I digress).

The piece has been troubling me ever since I wrote the original post. I knew what was wrong with it, I just didn't know how to fix it. The problem was a lack of cohesion in the piece. There are at least three layers in the piece, each with its own distinctive marks, its own meaning...added together, and they make a fourth layer, which somehow fuses the marks and meanings together. But that doesn't necessarily mean that that is enough. I felt as if the fourth layer was warring with the other three. And I couldn't work out what to do about it. I had suggested foil to Thelma, who agreed, but somehow that didn't seem right.

Today, finishing off a couple of other pieces (more on that tomorrow...), I started drawing on the piece with a metallic gutta. That added more texture, the metallic gleam I wanted, and somehow seemed to pull the piece together. I have the feeling that I should consider adding more stitch to reinforce the drawing, but I also have the feeling that that would be too would confuse the issue (more than it is already). But at last, the piece has cohesion. It has a mood and a meaning of its own. What more could I want? Well, a title would be nice, but doubtless that will come too, in the fullness of time. Actually... In The Fullness Of Time is a good title...

Well. That's done, then. Onwards and upwards.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Marion's Day Off.

Well, it was, and it wasn't. Today, I made no art. I slept a lot, snacked a bit, drank copious amounts of (decaf) coffee, and was generally self indulgent. However, I did do quite a bit of thinking. I've been invited to submit work to an ezine, and I spent time pulling together the gist of what I was going to write about. I also did myself a big favour. I asked for help.

I rarely ask for help, even when I really need it. I do my best to hide how I feel, or what I need, as if somehow, it was a weakness to admit that I can't do everything, or don't know everything. Recently, the depression has been In Charge, and that makes asking for help even harder. Depression changes my world into a place where I have no value, life has little meaning and perfection isn't good enough. It affects everything, including the art, and it is difficult to get out of that dark place. I've been fortunate enough to have a little help recently to see that, to be reminded that change is possible, and it has been invaluable. I feel as if there is light at the end of my particular tunnel, and no, it's not an oncoming train!

So, today, I made a phone call. I talked to a lovely potter, who is willing to teach me the basics of pottery, one to one, so that I can make some raku with confidence that it won't explode in the kiln...and give me some advice on the kind of equipment I need. I have wanted to do this for a very long time, and finally, I have made it happen. Amongst other things, I'm hoping to make small embellishments for my work...and some elements for 3D raku/texile pieces. Wish me luck in my new adventure!

Thursday, February 02, 2006


When I have a few moments to spare, I draw. It's particularly good for those moments when you are waiting for someone to arrive, or something to happen. So, there I was, playing some more with the ideas I talked about in an earlier post, the idea of drawing with letters. Until I found myself wondering what it would be like to invent a language of my own. It would be an intuitive language, I thought. It would be written in response to the emotions, and as such, could start anywhere on the page, go in any direction and change direction whenever the mood changed.

Oh, yes, I thought. That language already exists. It's called painting.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What You See...

is not always what there is. Or perhaps, more correctly, what you see need not be the only thing there is. The two photographs are both from the same original, a photo of some of my dyed scrim. The original is pretty boring; a piece of cloth draped on a sofa, nice colours, and that's about it. However, if you looked a bit longer, and harder, there was an interesting shape or two in the way the cloth draped over the arm of the sofa. So I copied it, and then manipulated the images in Paint Shop Pro. The cloth itself will doubtless be used in the making of a 3D piece, a water piece. But no matter what I do with the cloth, the photographs can be changed as often as I wish, and used for any number of projects. The camera may never lie, but the software tells all sorts of different truths. Arashi specialises in this sort of thing, making fascinating images out of digital photographs. I wonder how many more of us are using the technology to make our own unique, textile inspired works?