Monday, June 19, 2017

The next five days...

There's no point setting yourself a target if you're not going to record progress on it, and I'm only late because I set off for the CQ Summer School on Friday afternoon.

Following on from identifying my need for clearer goals my week changed part way through and although I can claim my two hours on Thursday and Friday I spent far longer than this rationalising my workroom so that I can have things to hand when I'm ready to stitch into them. I have several projects on the go and I realise that each needs to be in front of my eyes and easy to pick up from the last session, not tucked under a successive project out of sight! So:
  • Day 6 – 2 hours
  • Day 7 –  2 hours
  • Day 8 – 2 hours
  • Day 9 – 1 hour stitching, several more sorting and clearing
  • Day 10 – 2 hours (At Summer School!)
Mid sort!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Two hours a day

... is the target my friend Leah has set herself to keep up her productivity and motivation and the goal of creating a new piece of work each week. (She does have an exhibition or two to work towards!)
At first I thought this wasn't for me but then I decided to take up the two hour challenge, I'm not stitching as much as I'd like and I've no deadlines to work towards at the moment so this might provide the motivation I need.
Leah has a full on, full time day job and me - I'm retired, have all day to do as please so it should be easy... Except that those of you who are retired know that this isn't the case, first of all you lose your routine and the hours that are available to you suddenly aren't so precious. You volunteer to do to stuff to make friends/remain active/fill up your days and then there are the demands of your  changing family, some of which are welcome - like watching your children's families grow, others, like dealing with aging parents, less so.
So what happened this week (It's a five day working week, by the way)?
  • Day 1 – 30 minutes, stitching on the train
  • Day 2 – Away from home
  • Day 3 – 40 minutes, unpicking on the train (Not te stitching from Day 1 thank goodness!)
  • Day 4 – 2 hours
  • Day 5 – 1.5 hours( After a sleepless night and too many mistakes, I threw in the towel.)
One thing that I've learned from this week is that unlike when I have a clear goal in site e.g. an exhibition deadline or commission I'm not planning/preparing for the next day so Week 2 has the added goal of finishing the two hours by preparing for the day, materials and goals clearly identified!

To quote Daddy Pig - "What could possibly go wrong?"

Thursday, April 27, 2017

All that stitching ..

.. and your work ends up on the floor! Except in this instance I don't mind because the floor in question belongs to Salford Museum and Art Gallery!

 Our exhibition Ten Plus @ Salford begins with a 'Meet the Artist' on Saturday afternoon 29 April and runs through to Tuesday 5 September 2017.

Admission to the Museum is free and opening times can be found on their website -

Monday, March 27, 2017

Mounting quilts on frames

is said to make it easier for a potential purchaser understand what to do with your quilt when they get it home. I've tried it one or twice but have never been happy with the finish, particularly on the corners which carry more bulk than elsewhere.

Having decided to create multiple small (6" x 6")pieces, abstracted from tiles on display in Salford Art Gallery I had to find a way around the problem and it seemed that attaching small finished 'quilts' to a painted canvas would have to be the way forward, but even this has it's drawbacks. If your quilt is anything less than square the engineered accuracy of the canvas shouts at the viewer. So I was delighted to have one of those 2am in the morning ideas and even more pleased that I could remember what it was when I woke up the next day!

This method involves ladder stitching the border fabric along the edge of the canvas but, having learned ladder stitching in the days of machine knitting, it's something that I enjoy.  One down, only nine to go ....

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Change of scale ...

and an increase in enjoyment! I'm making these small pieces, to be mounted on 6" square box canvases for the next 10+ exhibition at Salford Art Gallery next month - They are based on one of the tiles on display made by Pilkingtons and designed by Lewis Day.
I began with quite a literal interpretation of the design but as ever my untidy way of working led on to these abstractions of the original. ( My original sketch slowly got covered by fabric and other pieces of paper until just a section remained in view, leading to that wonderful 'What if' moment!)
Because the pieces are small and some of the curves quite tight I decided to do some of the piecing using needle turn appliqué and have thoroughly enjoyed the time this stitching has given me to consider the next steps.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Hunterwasser my way ...

for the 12bythedozen challenge.

I assumed that my piece would be inspired by Hunterwasser's use of colour, but when I looked at my books the thing that caught my eye was the busyness of his work, the small details, the concentric lines. I was also taken by the number of times he used head outlines and when I came to a painting that, to me, resembled a brain, the link was made. Probably because this was at a time when I had more things to do than time in which to do them!

For my piece I actually used a small detail from another painting that references the concentric circles, but I also liked the lines running through the middle which to me represented those sudden shock of remembering things yet to be done.
I've worked on top of a piece that I made for the CQ Horizon challenge as the piecing, in the central area, of small irregular shaped scraps of fabric represents both how I like to work and how my brain can feel at times with lots of ideas jostling together!!!!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Creativity of a different kind...

I've just spent the weekend with my daughter on a 'Modern Patisserie' course led by baker Ross Baxter. Even though I do very little baking these days the instructions were good enough for me to be pleased (Amazed might be nearer the mark!) by the results!

Small confession - the white chocolate ring and swirl were made by our tutor as part of his demonstration. The room was rather warm for amateur chocolate handling!!!!

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Achieving abstraction ....

There are quilts that I think about but never make because they are too literal. Not exactly photo-realistic, but lacking in subtlety. That's one of the reason's I enjoyed my recent workshop with Shelley Rhodes who showed me ways to move images and ideas along this continuum.
Now along comes another excellent post from Elizabeth Barton entitled Adding Mystery with more ideas about making things not seem quite so obvious to the viewer. I get the feeling that I'm being nudged in a new direction ....

Monday, October 17, 2016

CQ Winter School

I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend in the company of fellow CQ'ers under the tuition of Shelley Rhodes. Shelley is a great tutor - no pressure, just a steady measured flow of information (Until something exciting happens!) that moves you slowly towards creating work that is your own whilst based on the intent of the weekend.

Like all workshops I reached a point where I didn't know where I was going, if anywhere, but with quiet support I got through that point.   Now I'm excited to think that I can add some line and stitch to these pieces, then move the process into a different area altogether. Watch this space - I've even got my sketchbook out again!


Monday, August 01, 2016

What goes around, again ...

Whilst drafting out a cartoon for my next TwelvebytheDozen challenge based on the work of South African artist Pierneef I started to make connections with previous pieces that I've made, one of which was my first ever 12 challenge. The connection may not be too obvious in this collage as I'm only showing a small section of the new challenge piece, the reveal isn't until the end of the month, but my brain is making all sort of links and wondering about next steps! It seems that I don't have as many original ideas as I thought!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Are you a starter of a finisher?

They say most people fall into one or other category - these days I can do a bit of both but what I'm definitely not is a maintainer! I love starting things and can even finish them when a deadline is near, even self imposed deadlines. But ask me to do routine stuff and my brain just goes into resistance mode, and so it has been with my website. Even though I have set a reminder to update my website on a regular basis, it has been gathering dust to the extent that I was shocked by how dated some of the work on it was. But no more! I'm now up to date with some work in the wings ready for the next time. The update took such a relatively short time to do I don't think I'll be putting it off for quite so long again!

Monday, July 04, 2016

Reminder to self

This quote from from should be enough - but I'm not good at routine or a builder of habits ......

“Forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain whether you’re inspired or not”

Octavia E. Butler

Thursday, June 09, 2016

12bythe dozen have begun a new round of challenges

 - we have to create a16" square piece based on the work of artists chosen by each member in turn.
The first artist chosen is Paul Klee - see to view his work.
I've enjoyed Klee's art for as  long as I can remember. I was attracted to his use of geometric shapes even before I took up quilting, so I looked for something new about his work and discovered that he included an enormous number of facial features in his work. They were sometimes the main feature as in Senecio or more abstracted as in Red Waistcoat.

I drew eyes, I sampled techniques, I pulled out some colour families and then went back to review Klee's faces again. That's when I saw 'House on the Water' .... It puzzled me, it felt unbalanced, my eye kept settling in different places, it seemed to lack focus. I wondered why, I tried cropping the image in different ways - those two light areas felt quilt uncomfortable. I covered the left hand area of the painting and suddenly the eyes were forgotten and a quilt was born!

The finished piece has slightly different proportions to the original, they didn't seem to work as well in the square format we had to use. I still feel uncomfortable for (Almost) copying my chosen painting but I really like the end result:

Monday, May 16, 2016

On the edge ...

is the title of the 2016 CQ Challenge. I nearly didn't enter this year's challenge as the title didn't seem to fit with what I'm currently working on, which I'm still trying to verbalise! It has a lot to do with how adding and altering shapes impacts on the negative space around them...all closely linked with the idea of personal space.
But then whilst I was exploring my theme I asked myself what would happen if the shape was on the edge and a quilt was born and, to my surprise, accepted to be exhibited at a range of venues including:
  • Bramble Patch: 4th June to 11th June 2016
  •  The National Needlework Archive, Newbury: 1st October to 3rd November 2016 
  •  Quiltfest, Llangollen: 8th to 19th February 2017
  • Knitting & Stitching Show, Olympia, London: 2nd to 5th March 2017 
  • A selection of the quilts will also hang at the Grosvenor Autumn Shows in 2017  at Harrogate, Scottish Champs, Kent, Malvern and Duxford
A Point of Balance 60 cm x 100cm

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A good read

I'm currently enjoying the writings of Nicholas Wilton you can see his work and read about him here -!nicholas-wilton/c8k2
I'm not sure what I think about his art but his approach and the simplicity with which he describes it is very appealing.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

What do Rayna Gillman and Coreldraw have in common?

A conversation with Sandra Wyman today came round to a discussion about a class that Sandra had taken with Rayna Gillman. I've always appreciated her work so was keen to hear more. Except that Sandra has pointed out that her class was with Susan Brandeis not Rayna Gillman, though we did talk about Rayna, and memory loss!! It was obviously a class that Sandra felt that she'd both enjoyed and benefited from including, almost as an aside, learning to use thumbnail sketches to develop an idea. Sandra even had her sketchbook with her to demonstrate the point - so simple, half a dozen pen sketches on a page exploring line, scale, position and other variations. Wow, I thought, I can do that. Every piece of work has several iterations before reaching a conclusion but recording them in this way is both easy and relatively quick.
Then driving home it occurred to me that I already do something very similar using Coreldraw. It doesn't work for all my quilts, but as I become increasingly interested in how you can affect a space by the way you sub-divide it or add shapes to play with the negative space then Coreldraw makes the thumbnail sketch idea very easy indeed:

Wednesday, March 02, 2016


In the words of fellow member Heather Dubreuil "Monday marked the twelfth and final "unveiling" in our second series for the 12 by the dozen group. Every three months for the last three years, we have set a challenge for ourselves: to make a small A4  piece highlighting a particular colour. This time Dianne chose "yellow" as our theme and, unlike the rest of the group I wasn't inspired. I chose instead to use this as an exercise in varying the thread colour and quilting pattern to observe the effects.
Interestingly the threads varied from a mustard yellow to white in colour and from 12 to 50 in weight. There's a rayon thread in there as well as cotton and polycotton. All of this is totally over-ridden by the quilting patterns: