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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nervous Artist...

surveys her friend Jill Arnold at her Christmas Open Studio on Friday evening (photographer reflected in the window, to boot!). Note the cheering glass of wine, de rigeur at any opening. Jill's textile work is amazing, incredibly detailed, beautifully made, much of it inspired by Native American culture and beliefs, of which she has made a study. As an ex museum curator, though, there's not much that she doesn't know a bit about...a great person to have a conversation with. The theme of this open house was Christmas, though, and as you can see, the Christmas theme predominated. I bought myself a little piece of hers, a little Christmas tree, which I pretended I was going to give as a gift to Andrew and Sarah...but I think I'll Just Keep It, thank you very much!

Jill also makes jewellery, bags, cards and all sorts of interesting bits and pieces. And she introduced me to the Embellisher, for which I'm very grateful! At the moment she's doing an MA in Textile Culture, but still promises me she'll find time to fit in a joint exhibition in the Summer...something to look forward to!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Busy, Busy,

much of it online, too. I joined Squidoo yesterday, and had an entertaining time exploring the site and writing 'lenses'. If you are interested in my journey into mixed media, try reading about it here I've also written lenses about blogging and about my etsy shop. It's an interesting variation on a theme, squidoo; I rather like it!

Not that I needed more work to do...sigh. I did, however, take time off on Thursday to have my hair cut. I then went the whole hog and had a makeover by a beauty consultant in one of the department the pic is me in my madeover state! And yes, I did buy the makeup!

Applying makeup is remarkably similar to painting, really, so I'm hoping the skill will come back to me after a fifteen year break. I can't imagine that painting my face with acrylics would be quite the thing for Andrew's wedding next year! Normal service will be resumed in my next post...though I should say that this has done wonders for my confidence, and all artists need both time off and an ego boost every now and again!

Friday, November 23, 2007

On The Run...

between helping a friend to set up her Christmas Studio, and going to drink the wine she's laid on as a reward!! Good luck, Jill!

I was fortunate enough to win a surprise on someone else's blog...Kathy of Vintagesnapsnscraps
had a draw, and guess who got the prize!! Part of it is pictured here, aren't they lovely! Or it would be, if I could upload a photo. No, I'm not sharing, they're all for MOI!

The weekend is busy too, but I'll doubtless manage a post...or two...

Monday, November 19, 2007

I Have...

a new artist friend, Andrea, who has tagged me with this...

1. link to the person who tagged you: Andrea; 2. Post the rules. 3. List seven random things about yourself. (see below) 4. Tag seven random people 5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

I can do this!

Random things...

1. There's a little article about me in Magic Patch this month! Hurrah!
2. I'm a Gemini. Probably no surprises for anyone there!
3. My son gets married next year. How time flies!!!
4. I'm on a diet. Sigh.
4. I can't count for toffee!
6. I love reading fantasy books.
7. I love cooking for my friends...we're having a shedwarming dinner on Saturday, hurrah!

Ah, who to tag... a random selection of some of my new BBEST friends!

Alis Clair
Eclectic Oddities
The Knotty Sheep
Zuda Gay

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'm Thrilled...

to be featured on the front page of the Art Portal on TalentDatabase I've only recently joined this particular site, I have a small gallery I'm really pleased to have been selected at this point. To check it out, click on the link!

I'm gardening today, busy, busy (don't ask...just be sure it has something to do with the shed...). Having looked at it properly, I'm considering running small 'playdays' with different themes, ATCs, Altered Books, Dye Painting....or anything anyone wants to do that's in my portfolio of skills. A maximum of three, a good, healthy lunch and some chocolate cake...what more could anyone want? Let me know what you think, won't you! If you're interested, drop me an email (there's a link on my profile page).

Doubtless more ideas will appear...gardening at this time of year is suitably mindless. And at least, at this time of year, it stays done for more than two minutes!! It is Somewhat Cold, however, so FrostFather seems like a good image to show! Detail shots are on my etsy site here
if you'd like a closer look! Now to make a cup of coffee and get on with some more work!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Joining In The Fun...

seems like a good thing to do, so I've been joining in things...firstly, the BBEST team at Etsy, comprising Boomers and beyond, ie the over forties. We get together to chat, support each other, chat, promote our work, chat, and maybe chat some more... it's a great way of getting to know other artists from all over the world, and to discover that you're not the only one who isn't selling much! There's all sorts of information about BBEST on our blog, which I manage (using the term loosely, of course...). Click on the link to see what we're up to, and who we are. There are some interesting artists and craftspeople involved in our team!

Then I joined Dijanne Cevaal's project, Expressive Books. I have a specific theme and aim in mind, and hope to enter it into Quilts 2008 next year; how's that for confidence! I enjoy making books, and it will be a pleasure to work in a small group like this.

And then, I am taking part in a Pay It Forward (PIF) project. It's Karen's fault! What it means, though, is that the first three people to leave a comment on the blog today will, at some point in the next year, receive a small piece of work from me. Or, to be precise:

"I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 artists who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this Pay It Forward exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."

So, what about it? For once, I have work to hand, so you might even get something before Christmas!! Joining in is FUN!

Last, but not least, I agreed a trade on Etsy with Dani, a talented artist. We traded ACEOs; she made one specially for me, called 'Marion's Movement', based on a painting I saw in her shop and really liked. It's lovely to have something so special arrive on your doorstep! Marion's Movement is the picture on my blog today, isn't it lovely!

Friday, November 16, 2007


the shed is up! It doesn't have windows, and the roof felt has to be added, but it's up. Hurrah. And the builders are back tomorrow to finish it off. Double hurrah!

My scanner stopped working; as it is up on a high shelf, I got on a chair to see what was going on. Pressed all the right buttons, got it to work again...and fell off the chair. Thumped myself against a wall, bringing the chair down with me (don't ask, I don't know, I just did, okay!). Chair thumped me on the chin, thump on chin knocked head back against the wall. Ouch. If I bruise tomorrow, and I doubtless will, the builders will be wondering...

I did, however, get a visit from my friend Heather, who has just been to Houston. She came bearing gifts, and very welcome they were too, the SAQA catalogue from the show they put on at Houston, some fabric and threads too...lucky me! So all in all, it's been a good day, despite the bruising!

Having fixed the scanner, here is the picture I was trying to show you; a couple of small encaustic pieces, slightly bigger than ACEO size, done on khadi paper. I started an altered book today, but only got as far as the cover...I'll show you when it has moved on a bit. Meanwhile, I'm going to stop typing...must have bashed my wrist too. Poor me....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cracked It...

The thing to do is to put the picture up first, then write the post...that way, I don't have to mess about with a picture here, and text there.

This is the face again, amended and some more wax added. It is purely an experiment, and is made on khadi paper, there are about five layers of wax on it now. Click on it to enlarge the image, and you'll see that the face is still there. I think another layer of wax, probably, and I'll call it done.

I spent the afternoon working in oils, the first time I've done so in a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and suspect that might be how I spend tomorrow and Friday, too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Not Everything...continued

Actually, looking at it, I need to lose the chin line, too. It's interesting how much more you can see from a photograph than you can from the real thing. Perhaps its just that it puts some distance between you and the work. Or perhaps it's more honest than your eyes. Answers on a postcard please!
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Not Everything...

succeeds as planned. Which is one of the reasons I rarely ever have a plan when I'm working. I started out with the intention of working with encaustics, probably on things that aren't finished, but were waiting for me to get the stuff out... Instead, I made some miniature pieces, one or two that I'm really pleased with, and I'm working on this piece here.

I avoid drawing faces, people too. That's where my confidence runs out. But there was something about this encaustic that suggested half a now has most of a face, but there are some lines that are going to disappear...the one suggesting the forehead or top of the head, for instance. It doesn't work. It's not right. So it's going. With encaustics, of course, that's easy, just scrape or melt and the line disappears... But I do think I need to tackle this place where my confidence runs out. I know that all it needs is practice. I can't find a good life drawing class, but I can sit in cafes and sketch surreptitiously! Or I can draw Robin, who won't sit for me per se, but doesn't know what I'm doing when he's got his back to me! Or I could find someone to sit for me. Mind you, they'd have to accept the likelihood of not recognising the finished article...sigh...

Now to get some tissue paper to clean the palette. And go sit down with a coffee...sounds good to me... though I'll have to feed the cats first, or I'll get no peace!
Oh goodie, no pics with blogger...I'll upload it with Picasa...just a moment...

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Another thing the 'net is useful for is reminding you of things, of the way you worked or thought a while ago. This article was published in the 'Muse', an online 'zine, so long ago I'd forgotten I wrote it! It still has relevant truths, though, and pictures of my work at that time. My work has changed quite a bit, really, over the years (okay, it was written in 2002, five years ago...). I'm intruigued. I wonder where it's going to go over the next five years. Not that it matters, really. Just curious...

Meanwhile, Curving is a small piece made from Evolon, dyed many times, then stitched. I'm very fond of it; in some ways it epitomises the way that my art work has lightened and brightened in those five years. I think that's a good thing.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Telling It Like It Is...?

One of the problems of being on a European shopping board like Dawanda is that you do have the chance to write about your work in three or more different languages. Now I trained as a translator, you would think that would be easy... But I don't use my French all that much; same for my German, but much more French is reasonable, but my German is grammatical, but so rusty it squeaks! And as every translator will tell you, technical language is a nightmare. You either know it or you don't. What to do.... Well, for one thing, I've paired up with a German speaker whose English is great but who doesn't do French; I can translate her French listings, she can translate my German listings, and all is well with the world. So far so good, huh?

But that still leaves me with the French technical language. So I thought...I'll just go and have a look on amazon France... and lo and behold! I bought a couple of books, en francais, one on ATCs and one on postal art, which I haven't really tried...sigh... I'm just telling it like it is, here, you understand...I need these books to enhance my vocabulary...!!!

Because I opened a flickr account, I got the chance of ten free Moo cards. They arrived today, and they look *wonderful*, so I think I will go ahead and have some cards of my work printed. And maybe even some more Moo cards! Meanwhile, though, you'll have to put up with looking at the first of my holiday offerings!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

It's Time...

to get out the encaustic stuff again. The temperature is low, low, low, my feet are cold and the conservatory isn't the warmest place to work. I was reminded of how much I enjoy working with encaustics when I came across this altered book that I made with encaustics. I'm hoping the weather will be better tomorrow, so I can take more pictures of it...meanwhile, you get to see the cover.

The shed arrived yesterday at 6.20am, an inordinately early time for anything to be delivered. The builders, however, failed to appear today, so it's still piled up beside the house, somewhat damply. Grr. Other than that, all's well with the world, really!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Even The Smallest Scrap...

gets used these days. I'm finding ACEOs to be an interesting challenge. Working that small is difficult; simple often just looks unworked, somehow; Starry Night, one of my favourite cards is made from a small piece of hand dyed kitchen roll with a handful of stars sprayed across it. I think it looks wonderful (click on the link to see it). But this new one is much more complicated than that! More hand dyed kitchen roll...upon which is collaged some slips of hand dyed lutradur, over which is applied a piece of hand dyed evolon, some punchinello (sequin waste to the rest of us) and then more evolon, dyed and drawn upon. I thought the larger piece of evolon was wasted when I burnt it; the nylon content in the cloth makes it susceptible to melting when you use transfer dyes on it, if you're not careful. But as we all know, even the greatest mistake has the potential to become a design feature, if we work at it hard enough; and so has it been here, I hope. This piece is called 'More Than Meets The Eye'. After that description, I think you can see how it merits the title!

Monday, November 05, 2007

One Of The Benefits...

of joining Etsy and Flickr has been finding lots of other artists who make beautiful things. I was so stunned by the beauty of this paper that I went to visit the blog of its maker, Alsokaizen at KaizenJourney This artist, based in the US, doesn't just make paper using shibori methods, but cloth, also...and is very generous with her in process photographs...go look and enjoy!

Blogging is a wonderful thing. It allows us to meet up with all kinds of interesting artists and wonderful art works. It inspires us to make more, different things... I'm really grateful to my fellow bloggers for everything they share with us. Thank you. I can't say it often enough, really.

I don't have the patience for shibori, really, though given that I have some dye made up, I might dye some paper today. I can't really see myself going back to making hand made paper, either, unless I suddenly take a notion! But I'm enjoying working with papers in mixed media, and I think it allows me to transfer what I learn to other things. Celtic Spiral, pictured above, is a good example, I think. I've been making a number of Celtic inspired things recently, a link to my Scottish roots. Those roots have transplanted well to Norfolk soil, but I am none the less a product of my earlier environment; it is inevitable that those cultural references will prevail, I suspect.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Cold Feet...

in November seems reasonable. I have particularly cold feet, hands too, and the saying, cold hands warm heart, wears a bit thin after the first fifty times! So I'm posting a picture that expresses sunshine, to remind myself that when it was hot, I complained also.

I've added a DaWanda shop to my portfolio, on the principle that if one is good, two has to be twice as good...but that remains to be seen. Spent an interesting whiley translating stuff about hand dyes into indifferent French, but need to find my German dictionary before I tackle anything else! Not to mention having to learn how to make an umlaut...sigh.

The things we do for feedback...

Friday, November 02, 2007


the base for the shudio is complete, pretty and ready for the shudio itself...which will, I hope, arrive some time next week. Meanwhile, I'm working hard and keeping out of trouble...and very tired. I don't do early morning starts, and I've had three this week, feeling distinctly dozy.

UK artists may not have come across Artforums I confess to a slight vested interest; I'm a moderator on their Textile section. It has been quiet, as with any new project like this, but someone asked a really interesting question, and off I went about why textile art now embraces such materials as tin cans or even slate...

Got the handdyes rinsed and washed, ready for drying and ironing...hurrah. They're looking reasonably promising, despite the hassle I had yesterday. But of course, that's only half the story; the rest is cutting up, photographing, folding, assembling... but that's another day. Today, I think I'm going to pat them gently, smile at them and do something else instead!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

In An Attempt...

to cheer myself up, here's a picture of Fred, another quilt pet. I'm making sundry variations of these pets, they're bright and cheery and make me laugh. And for me, that's a good enough reason.
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dye when you're tired. Especially if you want to be very careful, and keep colours separate, because you're dyeing single colours for a particular purpose. What happens? Oh, the usual. Spill cerulean blue over your hand instead of into the container it was meant for. And on the floor. Ditto, orange. Splash the damp fabric that's waiting to be dyed with a colour you never meant to use... Put orange into the mix that was supposed to be purple...

Anyway, it's done now, and I'm going upstairs for a nap, accompanied by a new book, 'Magical Secrets About Thinking Creatively : The Art of Etching and the Truth of Life'. Well, that promises much. And, flicking through it, it is possibly one of the most beautiful books I've seen in a long time. And it's got a DVD, and a website all of its own. Never let it be said I don't share anything with you!!!

But first, I'm going to add the soda ash. Otherwise, I suspect I'll be washing out the dye whether I like it or not...given the way today is going. Sigh.