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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This is Approaching Winter, a small mixed media painting. Again, see below!
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This is the paddling pool that wasn't...see below!
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Oooh, Look...

a paddling pool! Okay, not really! What you see is the first stage of the preparation for my shudio. Hurrah!! It has taken a while to get things organised, but the builders came today and laid the foundations; now for the sand and slabs. And then the shed, which should appear next week.

And, of course, I've been working downstairs today; it's hard to hear a genteel knock on the back door when you're up two flights of stairs. So I've been tinkering with etsy, adding bits and pieces, taking stock (as it were), starting to get the admin systems that every artist needs into a coherent structure, taking photos... And I also managed to make a couple of blocks of Andrew and Sarah's wedding quilt. I'm going to need 36 of them; I've got 6 so far. Sigh. But I'm pleased, now that I've decided that they needed to be a bittie smaller than the 12" they were going to be. So I reckon if I can just make a few blocks a day, it'll be ready for quilting in no time. Well okay, maybe after Christmas. And I don't see myself quilting it, either. I did briefly toy with the idea of doing it by hand, but decided that life is just too short, and I am just too busy. So I'll be approaching someone soon about it.

And just to remind you what I'm getting a 20 foot shed for, a mixed media painting, Approaching Winter. It'll be good to get all the paint and mixed media materials together in one place...once I've worked out how to heat it...sigh.

ps oh great, blogger's sulking again...I'll try picasa for the pics...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Having Fun.

Great fun! I was given some cloth by my friend Heather, and in amongst it were some fussycut cats and hence, the quiltlet above you, Archie the Quilt Pet. Why Archie? Well, somehow he looks like an Archie...though I did toy with the idea of calling him Alf, instead. Then I realised that there's another little dog pic that does look like an Alf, so lo and behold, a series!

Am I going to make frivolous work for the rest of my life? Well, no, probably not. There's plenty of serious stuff, exploratory stuff, ready for me to make, or in the process of being made. It's just that I've spent most of my life being serious, lots of it struggling with the demon depression, and recently, that struggle has lessened significantly. Part of that is because I've been working with a really good therapist. Part of it is because I've changed the way I look at myself and my life. I used to see my life purpose as the creation of meaning. I still do, but much more so, I see my life purpose as the creation of joy. So if making Archie and his friends brings joy to me, and joy to others, then that's exactly what I'm going to do. So there!

And, if you'll forgive a bit of blatant self promotion, I've added Archie to my Etsy shop. Etsy is taking up a fair amount of time, all told. I've sold some things, which I think in the first month, is quite exciting... I'm enjoying having an outlet for all the bits and pieces that I'm doing; they mount up over time! I need the space!

Tomorrow, I go and take down my part of the exhibition at Watton (and Heather's too...lucky Heather is off to Houston...). It's a good bet that something that took a good half hour to hang will take a good two minutes to take down again! I'd like to say that was because I'd sold stuff, but it seems unlikely...sigh. And in truth, that's not the point. For me, all of this is about getting the work out, having it seen, hearing what people think about it, how they feel. That's the real reward.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

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I've just spent the last hour and a half applying text to a quiltlet. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I had bought a fat quarter that was printed with some very luscious roses, and that suggested Robert Burns' famous poem, 'My Luv Is Like A Red, Red, Rose'. So far so good. So I made the quiltet with the rose, some handdyed fabric and some tartan (I think it's meant to be Black Watch, but I'm not convinced), quilted the rose and started cutting the lettering out of 30gm lutradur. Sigh? Oh yes, more than once. Could somebody remind me why I do this stuff????? And then I stitched into the lutradur, got to the last word, and discovered that my luv is like a red, red ose. Not quite what is required. Couldn't find the missing r, either, so had to cut another one. Double grrr.

And then I went to fish out the sleeve I made yesterday and the quiltlet I had to attach it to. Quiltlet, yes. Sleeve? Well, no. Who knows where it went? Last seen on the ironing board. Along with a small mountain of cloth, and said quiltlet. So guess what's next? Yes, that would be it. Grrr.

Blogger isn't uploading pictures at the moment, so I'll endeavour to send it through picasa. If not, it'll need to wait til Blogger has fixed it, or tomorrow, whichever comes first.

Monday, October 22, 2007


is a challenge, sometimes. This one was...five works and limited space. I started out one way, thought it was fine, and ended up, four arrangements later, with the second photo you can see here. The variations were interesting, but the end result was almost identical with the first...sigh. I also had Heather Hasthorpe's work with me for display; as she only sent two pieces, though, hanging it was not quite as challenging! The gallery, the Dragonfly Gallery in Watton, is very artist friendly, however; the staff brought me a cup of coffee, made nice noises and generally were helpful and charming, too. As were the other artists, and the odd passer by (one of whom declared my work was 'exciting', to my great delight).

The exhibit is called 'The Magic Of Fabric', and at the risk of sounding sycophantic (as if!), it is a magical exhibit, a well balanced view of fibre art in East Anglia. Some of the artists have an international reputation, others are well known within this area. Somehow, the work all hangs together harmoniously in what is a very nice space. A space, I should say, that I have designs on, along with my friend Jill Arnold, who also has work included in the Magic of Fabric. We're planning a couple of joint this space! I've talked about Jill before (it's hard being a friend of mine, you get talked about on the blog!!), but if you missed it, her work is here

Robin is off work with a very sore back (he couldn't very well be off without it, I suppose, but hey...), so I think I'll be taking myself to the opening this evening. I know several of the artists, so at least I'll have someone to talk to... Must remember to take the business cards....

Sunday, October 21, 2007


thought she should come with me to Alveva Quilters, but got left behind. I had a really good time meeting the members there, a great group of people who clearly like to have fun! And they seemed to enjoy patting the quilts and handdyes I took with me, so that was good, too. For me, at least!

A number of you seemed to be puzzled about my four and a half cats, so I thought I'd explain.

We seem to have picked up a stray. We don't know a lot about her; we think she's a she because the boys aren't fighting her, and Advo fights anything that has four paws at the drop of a whisker... She's referred to as Girlie. She comes into the house through the catflap, a couple of times a day, usually, then she disappears for a day or so, only to reappear unexpectedly. She eats everything in sight, at a rate of knots, begs for milk pitifully every time she sees me open the fridge door, and generally behaves as if she owns the place. She used to be terrified of both of us, but she'll now let me stroke her if I'm quiet and calm. But she makes it clear that she's really only here for the food and the shelter. No Purring Whatsoever. Recently, she's been making herself a bed at the bottom of the stairs when everyone has gone to sleep.

Problem is, my girlie cats are terrified of her; she beats them up whenever possible. She may be frightened of people, but other cats are a different story. This annoys us, of course; as Robin says, I don't mind feeding her, if she'd stop terrorising everyone else (even Merlin hisses at her, and he's scared of his own shadow). Perhaps it's purely a territorial thing, but if it continues, we'll have to try to catch her and take her to cat rescue. If she does have an owner, that person isn't taking care of her at all; she's full of worms, and doubtless has fleas, too. I'd like to sort that out, but can't get at her for long enough, though I could probably give her a tablet in a bit of cheese...she might like that...

Okay, normal service will be resumed tomorrow, I promise...but I thought that given I'd trailed the story, I'd maybe better tell it here!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


which took me somewhat by surprise, by Sharon , whom I met on Fiber Arts/Mixed Media. She tells me that the instructions are...
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

Well, done the first one...

Seven facts about me.

1. I have walked on fire.
2. I spent ten years working in personnel management.
3. I have asthma.
4. I'm a Gemini (surprise...)
5. I have four and a half cats.
6. I'm married to an accountant (one of us had to be able to count, and it was never going to be me!!)
7. I'm giving a talk at Feltwell this evening, entitled 'The Dyer's Art'.

Hopefully the first one is weird enough to let me off the hook for any further weirdness...

I spent yesterday asleep, perhaps because of a reaction to the flu jab, though that seems unlikely, or maybe just because I've been working hard...and am anaemic, yet again...sigh. Today, I'm sorting out cloth to take to the quilters group I'm talking to, and putting the quilts in some sort of order so that I'm organised for the evening. I like talking to groups, it's usually great fun, we all have a good laugh and get to stroke fabric into the bargain...what more could you want?

Meanwhile...who to tag...
Neki Desu
Dijanne Cevaal
Sandy Marcoux
Thelma Smith
Sandra Wyman
Carol Clasper
Alis Clair

...a mixture of old friends and new.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Much Of Yesterday...

was spent lying on the sofa in the conservatory. I'd say I was languishing, but frankly, there's too much of me for a good have to be slim for that... I snuffled and sneezed a bit, instead, and read a good book instead. But later on in the day came a burst of energy...well, ok, burst is maybe the wrong word, whimper? Either way, I made this collage, a small thing, only 5" by 7". It's made from a digitally manipulated print as the base, with a section of a photo taken at Castle Acre, where there are all sorts of interesting ruins, plus some found images and text. Not to mention an embroidered motif which made its way on there. Eclectic. I like eclectic. Now, if I could just get rid of this cold...

Thursday, October 11, 2007


the way that things are panning out. On the one hand, I'm having a wee excitement to myself, all these new possibilities in collage, in altering, in painting, even...and on the other hand, I'm finding that I'm spending less time making, and more time at the computer. Partly, I blame Etsy. It takes up time, needs lots of photographs, and is more work than you'd think. On the other hand, though (yes, three hands, don't we all have three hands...)it's reminding me of just how many interesting photos I have on the computer, and what uses I can make of them. It's not just interesting, it's downright exciting!

I thought I'd put up a couple of ACEOs (and there's one on the emporium too), just to let you see what mischief I'm up to. I'm varying techniques and styles a lot, but then, these pieces are so small, it's no hardship to mix, match and swap around.

On the cold front, I actually feel worse today than yesterday, makes no sense at all. Robin's at home with a migraine, so I'm having to be quiet as the proverbial mouse, and that rules out going upstairs to piece anything. Think I'll tear up paper and make collages instead. Or there again, I could just lie down on the sofa and have a nap...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


better than yesterday, but still sneezing at inopportune when holding the camera still...sigh. So I'm just waving as I go past, and showing the new collage. Hopefully tomorrow, I'll be better still...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A A A A A A-

Tchoo! The cold has caught up with me, my nose is pouring and I'm going to stop now; I've been making more ACEOs, but now that my eyes are running as well as my nose, I'm going to go have a cup of coffee and sneeze. Robin is off to Paris, so at least he stands a chance of missing the infection...though the man who serviced my boiler today said that he'd just recovered from it, but only by taking to his bed. Not such a bad idea (my bed, not his!).

Meantime, a picture of the first of the Texture of Memory quilts. The quilting uses motifs from Celtic standing stones in Scotland, and the structure is reminiscent of the way that textiles are pieced together for demonstration in museums...indeed the very texture of memory itself.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Another Monday....

another ACEO, or ATC if you prefer. I'm having fun with collage and mixed media; this piece is printed and stitched lutradur, with paper additions. Rules...what rules? I made another collage today, too, printing off some of my manipulated photographs to use. It's quite hard starting this from scratch, hunting up text and images in a limited number of sources, mostly magazines that happened to be lying around. I'm working on the principle that, like the rest of my art, I only want to do things once, and to use things once, as much as possible. So the original gets used, almost every time.

I seem to be sniffling inordinately, suggesting a cold coming, hiss. Hopefully it'll be cleared before Saturday, when I have to have a flu jab. One of the only benefits of having asthma is an annual flu jab, arranged by the local surgery. Sniff.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Climbing Out Of The Box...

that I seem to have locked myself into, metaphorically speaking, of course, I made a collage today. Not an abstract, but rather the broader interpretation of collage, the one that takes elements from all sorts of places and gathers them together. I had fun! It is in many ways a very different thing from painting, or working with cloth, but it's rewarding all the same. I knew what I wanted for one side of the collage, but couldn't find it anywhere. You couldn't believe how difficult it is to find an image of a long stemmed rose when you really want one, but one that's outwith copyright...or maybe you would, given that it's not February. So there's a tiny one instead, and other images added. I'm definitely going to do more of this. The Serious Artist is getting rid of her misconceptions and her prejudices and having a very good time whilst doing it! Now to do something with those watch parts...

So, what do you think of my first attempt at Real Collage?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Using Up The Leftovers...

is a good housewifely thing to do. And a good quilty thing too, come to that. So when I made some ATCs for a swap using altered text, I wanted to do something with the bits that were too small to make ATCs I cut them into two inch squares and made some brooches. Jewellery is not an area I'm familiar with, though I've been known to make a brooch or two from found objects. This, though, is quite different for me, and I'd be interested to hear what you think. I'm considering adding a tiny bit of embellishment, perhaps...they're made from lutradur on pelmet vilene.

I'm intending to make a series of 'art speak' cards, and these brooches will be part of it. I like the idea of subverting some of the pretentious nonsense that's written about art, and altering it so that it not only sends a different message, but also becomes art itself. Works for me!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

On A(nother) Roll...

with these small pieces. I finished the two from yesterday that were left over. One is the rust dyed silk piece I mentioned here; It now has a name; Rust Never Sleeps. Given the nature of rust dyeing, that seems like a good name...besides, I like Joan Baez's music. I intend to make some more of these pieces with rust, they are intruiging; I like the cloth used in this way. I have a couple of larger pieces, one already quilted, but not yet bound, the other needing to be tacked together for quilting (by hand...). Hand stitching seems a requirement of the larger pieces, but Rust Never Sleeps has been machine quilted, and I think it's quite effective. More images are available on Etsy; just click here

The second piece is a felted piece that has been around the workshop for a couple of years, wool fibres nuno felted onto cotton muslin (cheesecloth). I fused it onto pelmet vilene, which is becoming my batting of choice, and stitched... It is called Blue Moon, Rising. I like the way it has turned out. My granny would say, if you keep a thing for seven years, you'll find a use for it. Fortunately, this piece hasn't been around quite that long, but I am pleased to have used it. Keeping things at all in this era of decluttering seems faintly decadent, but I can't see myself slimming down the supplies any; if anything, I think MORE is in order, given that I've started working with altered things, ACEOs and the like... any excuse!!

Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm Very Good...

at experimenting, getting so far with something and then stopping half way. Like the painted tissue paper that's ready to fuse onto cloth, for instance. Well, today was the day. Both of these little pieces were made from that paper, fused onto pelmet vilene, stitched and finished. I think they're fun! Autumn Earth and Autumn Circles. Given that the weather has definitely taken a turn for the autumnal, they seem very appropriate.

I made four pieces of this size today, and then thought, right, what next? My interest in altered things is increasing, and I'm taking part in an Artists' Trading Card (ATC) swap on a list I belong to. Now I've made textile ATCs before, but never a straightforward non textile ATC. I have now...nine of them, to be precise, using the 'altered text' seen here. Well, they are only little! I'm having a good deal of fun with this particular exercise, have come up with all kinds of ideas, so we'll see what comes next!