Staying with my daughter last week. My grandson has a 6th birthday coming up in May. You might be able to guess that the theme is The BFG. Spent a day making BFG bean bags for the games and goodie bag to take home! For around 25 of his closest friends.........
I made 37 in the end!
I have finished my one-off quilt about my trip to Cape Verde. I had a few things to consider when putting it together. One was the background. I wanted to somehow suggest the ripples in the sand after the waves have gone, so I made a fairly simple stencil and printed with that. Then I stitched fairly randomly over it.
Lots more stitching on the sea too and more place names, then it was a matter of working out where to place the postcards to make a pleasing picture.
The finished quilt. Not the best photo - it does hang straight!
It had it's first outing last night to a talk I gave to a delightful group called Churchdown Quilters.
This one is for those people who like to go home at the end of a day's workshop with a completed piece of work! It is only small - 6" X 6" and very straightforward to do in a day. Quite sweet I think?
We had a week in Cape Verde in January. A real "fly and flop" holiday, and it was great.
I took lots of photos - just on my phone - and have been looking through them. It occurred to me that they would make great postcards, so an idea has been fermenting for a new quilt. This would be a one-off, although I generally seem to work in a series, or at least with an ongoing theme. This will be just for fun. So watch this space..........
Here are a few of the postcards in their raw state - untrimmed etc. I know I am going to stitch them around a map of the region.
The people are delightful and very attractive. We were staying within sight of the jetty where small fishing boats are constantly landing fish - lots of tuna.
Cape Verde is a popular windsurfing area.
I have blogged before about a new class that I am going to be teaching. The first time will be at Midsomer Quilting in Chilcompton.
As I also like to take the Contemporary Quilters Journal Quilt Challenge, I thought I would combine the two. The JQ challenge involves a small quilt each month for a year (see journal quilts elsewhere on this website). This year the brief is that they must be 11" X 11" and to a theme which we can set for ourselves, but commit to at the beginning of the year.
As I like to have samples to show in class, I decided to make my jqs on the theme of Black and White, with a splash.
It is almost the end of January, so I thought I had better get started. This jq is the result of looking around my desk and deciding to draw a mug of assorted items, adding a small pile of notebooks to the side. Almost anything can look ok if the colour is right. The mug is actually blue, but I decided to make it pink.
I started stitching and then decided to put a simple suggestion of a window and curtain in the background. The strong pink should bring the mug forward.
Ready to paint.
The finished piece.
My quilt "And then three come along at once..." has been selected for the SAQA exhibition.
The inspiration for this quilt came gradually. I had been wondering what to do for this challenge and struggling to come up with something i really wanted to do (there is no point in starting, I believe, unless you really feel driven to make a particular quilt. My quilts take quite a lot of work and time and, if I am not committed, it will show in the result.
My friend, Liz, and I had been to see an exhibition at Tate Modern - Georgia O'Keefe - which we had really enjoyed. I particularly liked some of her paintings of skies. I think it was late November.
We decided to walk for a while to stretch our legs before getting the train home. It was late afternoon and quite busy. I was taking the odd photograph on my phone (I do this all the time - you never know!) and there was a bright peachy/orange sky in the distance above the buildings. This is what started the process in my mind.
I had also been thinking about the red London buses and that they were so representational of this country.
The following morning I went swimming, which I do twice a week. This is almost always when the bits of ideas which have been floating around in my head, come together and I start to resolve things. (not just quilt issues). I am a very average swimmer and just keep going in the lane for medium swimmers. Although I am doing something, my head seems to clear and solutions often come! Maybe it is just water as I sometimes have useful ideas in the shower!
Anyway, I suddenly knew that I needed to make a quilt based in London at commuter time. This is not any particular street, just vaguely based on some of my photos. I also wanted to get a tree in to get some balance. When I started to draw a bus, it seemed obvious to include three. The colour of the sky was important too.
The exhibition venues and dates are on my About Page.
I have been experimenting with ideas for a new workshop - "Black and White with a dash".
It will be about painting and stitching in black and white, but with the option of adding a dash of colour. It might be quite a lot, as in the picture below (which is a simplified version of a lovely clock tower I saw in Madeira earlier this year), or just a small dash of colour to create a focal point, as in the picture below of the staircase with a parasol in red and white just showing.
More ideas are fermenting! I will add some more pictures later.
There will also be various options on how to mount/display the pictures.
It was very nice to receive "Best Machine Quilting" for my quilt "By the Light of the Moon". Not a very good photograph though!
Often, when I really should be getting on with a particular quilt, my preferred displacement activity is card making. I especially like making a new stencil and printing, then stitching.
I have several (mostly comic or fantasy) birds in my card range already, but there is always room for more!
I played with making some new stencils.
Then I had a lovely time messing about with assorted bits of background fabrics, created at various times.
Here is another one.
This is the original drawing for one of the designs.
No more excuses - back to the real quilt!
I have just spent a great two days on an indigo/shirbori workshop run by Jane Callender. Thanks to Liz for organising it so well.
We learned various folding, clamping and stitching techniques and how to achieve tones of colour by using different strength vats and by the number of times the fabric is dipped into the vats.
The number of variations is overwhelming and clearly in order to create some of the masterpieces Jane showed us you would need to study the subject for years. However, two days was great fun and I have just rinsed out my efforts and hung them out to dry (with blue hands - I always try and keep the rubber gloves on but somehow fail each time!)
The fabrics are all different - cotton poplin, lawn, cotton velvet and silk.
The Black Swan Gallery in Frome asked a number of artists to contribute two postcards to be sold in aid of funds at £30 each. These were my contributions - I am pleased to say that they they sold! I'd love to know who bought them. One was based on my series of "Frome Views" which I exhibited at the Rook Lane Gallery. The other was similar to one of my 2016 journal quilts on the theme of "Tea".
Our second exhibition finished today.
We exhibited in a beautiful gallery space - Rook Lane Gallery in Frome, Somerset.
The exhibitors were:
Do come and see our exhibition at Rook Lane Chapel.
We have two "Meet the Artists" dates - Friday 24th June and Sunday 3rd July. Most of us will be there.
The second week also coincides with the Frome Arts Festival, so the whole area will be buzzing!
This is just one of a set of pieces I am working on based on views of Frome in Somerset. I visited with my camera on a cold, bright day and found some lovely shadows.
CQ West, of which I am a member, is planning an exhibition to be held at the Rook Lane Chapel - a lovely gallery at the top of the hill in Frome. It will be at the end of June/beginning of July, slightly overlapping with Frome Arts Festival.
This will be our second exhibition and is entitled "Unfolding Stories 2". We are a contemporary group - everyone's work is very individual. Our first exhibition "Unfolding Stories 1", which we held at Bradford-on-Avon and later at the West Country Quilt Show in 2014, was a great success and we are hoping and intending to make this one even better!
I shall be exhibiting at the West Country Quilt and Textile Show which takes place on 12th, 13th and 14th November.
I am sharing a gallery space with my friend Christine Seager and our gallery is entitled "Perspectives".
Do come and see us.
I had a lovely two days last week on a workshop with textual artist/calligrapher Simon Sonsino.
It was arranged by my friend Sandra from Threaded Together (a group of textile artists to which I belong). There were five of us, which is one more than Simon usually takes. I stayed overnight and had dinner with a friend Marion, also from Threaded Together, which made the whole trip really nice.
Simon has a lovely house near Newbury (very near Highclere of Downton fame). The studio is light and cosy with a tiny wood-burning stove.
We were not there for serious calligraphy but lots of textual exercises with a view to making artworks or, possibly, combining with textiles at a later date. I think we all came away with ideas.
Simon is a very good teacher and made it all fun. Incidentally he is also a good cook and the cakes were great!
I have been working on more monochrome pieces. Occasionally it seems right to add just a little touch of colour (red) in one area. These are in the domestic pieces.
I have been playing with just working with black on white and maybe, occasionally, some shades of grey.
My method is to draw a light pencil outline on the cotton and stitch the basic shaping. I will then either carry on with the stitch drawing and then add paint, or add paint and go back in to stitch further. It doesn't really matter. Sometimes it seems finished but just needs a bit more shading.
We were in Brittany in August and I have some good photos of buildings and bits of buildings which took my eye. I am finding that it is necessary to have good contrast if you are going to work from photos, but I usually use a mixture of a photo and drawing to make it how I would like it. A series seems to be coming along.
I have decided to mount them on wooden frames.
Not yet finished the mounting, but will post when I have!
I have added a plain black border which will also fold over the edge of the wooden frame and then I shall hand stitch the corners.
I decided to have a go at flour paste resist on cotton fabric after seeing the results my friend Sandra had achieved.
First of all I made a batter of pretty much half and half flour and water. Then, as it was a lovely day, I set up the fabric outside and spread the batter over the whole surface, then made marks at random with any old implements that came to hand.
On a sunny day it didn't take more than a couple of hours for it to dry - it does need to be absolutely dry, but I guess it could take overnight on a different day indoors.
Once it was dry, I scrunched the fabric up to create cracks and spaces for the colour to penetrate.
I used fabric paint on this occasion, although you could also use acrylic paint or procion dye so long as the fabric was previously soda-soaked. Fabric paint worked well. I worked it well into the fabric and into the cracks and hung it up to dry. I used two or three colours and worked them into each other. Then hung up the fabric to dry out on the line.
It dried fairly quickly in the sun and then it was quite satisfying to pick off all the dried flour. I ended up scraping the last bits off. It looked really good.
I have finally finished my stencilled bed quilt and here it is. There are 36 blocks - two stencilled designs. It is actually rather heavy and gets pushed off every night! But I like the look.ual
I'm really enjoying printing on t-shirts and my grandchildren like having something unique to them, so this time the theme is foxes. My daughter found some nice fabric with printed foxes so I scanned a fox and printed it out, then made three freezer paper templates for each colour and stencilled the image onto the t-shirts. It is important to put some paper inside so that you don't inadvertently print through to the back!
A friend, Alan, is having a 70th birthday party this weekend. He absolutely loves to barbecue, so I thought I would make him a personal t-shirt for wearing when cooking. I made a couple of stencils from freezer paper and printed with fabric paints. A quick iron to set and it is finished!
On 7th January I flew to West Palm Beach, Florida, with my friend Anne. I went to visit my quilt which won "Best of World" in the World Quilt Show. My husband offered to pay for me so long as he didn't have to come with me! Anne was a much more appreciative companion!
The Show was at the West Palm Beach Convention Centre. There was a small TV film crew there when I arrived and I found myself being interviewed before having time to think about it. I have no idea what the film was like as I never saw it. This is a photo Anne took. If I'd thought I would be on camera I would certainly have thought more about the outfit!
Everyone was very kind about the quilt and I must have been asked around 100 times "how long did it take you?"
A friend very kindly put me in touch with her brother, Calvin, who lives in West Palm Beach for part of the year and he nobly met us at the Quilt Show. We had coffee and he gave us some very helpful local info - which made a big difference - especially the driving tips. We did pretty much everything he advised.
The other event at West Palm Beach was going to see the Beach Boys at the Kravis Centre. A great night. We couldn't believe how polite the american audiences are. At home everyone would have been up and dancing!
We then moved on to spend 6 days in Miami. We stayed in an apartment in midtown - it seemed a better deal than a hotel - and we were very glad we had. We had a balcony with a great view of the Miami skyline lighting up at night - wonderful to watch with a glass of wine. Especially wearing a t-shirt and thinking of the sleet and cold at home.
We wanted to go to the Everglades and Calvin recommended a trip to Shark Alley to see the alligators and unusual birds. It was a great day with an excellent guide - who might have been called Saun? who really knew his subject. We saw so many alligators!
There was an Art Deco Festival the final couple of days we were there - in Miami Beach (which is a place as well as a beach). There is a road full of art deco hotels which used to be frequented by the Rat Pack.
It was great fun with lots of stalls alond the road and a fantastic procession of period american cars.
We spent the afternoon at the beach and then flew home - it has taken a week to stop shivering!
I love textiles and especially quilting.