Thursday, 20 October 2016

Venice after all these years

Just Returned from this magical city

After a gap of 45+ years I have just come back from a few days in Venice.  It is a wonderful as I remembered. When I was an art college graduate, backpacking around Europe I stayed in a youth hostel on the Grand Canal.  It was very different this time with my husband (of almost 40 years) and with possibly 50 times the number of tourists than was experienced before. (and that was mid October).
I have to say, despite having just experienced a cruise to Antarctica on a relatively small cruise ship, (400 people)  I was shocked at the 4 enormous ships in dock - each probably with 4,000+ visitors overwhelming the main sites in Venice.  There is a movement at the moment to stop this as it is affecting the foundations of many buildings nearby.
However, there are many places that are less crowded and it is great to just wander and discover secret places and restaurants for yourself.  It was all so colourful and inspiring. Galleries are plenty for some of the best Renaissance art as well as some stunning very modern art collections. Here are some photos of Venice and our trip to Burano, a must if you are ever visiting.

Burano is a 45minute Vaparetto ride away and really worth the trip.

That's all for now, - my feet are back on the ground and ready to start some new work.  
Watch this space...... thanks for reading...

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Celebrating your work

Here's a thought?
Have you been tempted to self publish a book, but don't know where to start?  If you have considered putting your photo images in book form there are many different online photo book companies available.  I have considered using this as a 'one off' way to document inspiration, sketches and images of a series of work that I would want to present in a book.  This might be great to show at an exhibition, and it might be substantial enough to take further with a number of copies. is one such photo book company which features contemporary templates to follow and allows you ample space to write as much as you want.   For a modest amount of money (and there are always 50% off sales) you can produce a book.  It gives you a good idea the quality of your photography and it is amazing to see your work in print.   Go into the website and see for yourself.  I have used them twice recently, first for a small softcover square book, based on images of a trip to the Isle of Mull, primarily to see the quality of the printing, then a lovely hardcover 81/2"x11" landscape perfect bound publication about our Antarctic expedition.  
Thrilled with both, I thought I would share them with you.  I am tempted to do another based on my photos, images, sketches and stitched pieces based on the Somerset Levels.   If anything it could focus one's attention on either self publishing a limited edition or finding an interested publisher.
Please keep in mind the weeks workshop near Cahors at as seen in my recent post.
thanks for reading.....  off to the Knit and Stitch tomorrow and can't wait.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Studio Preniac May 2017

Less is More ... for Dramatic Textile Art  6th - 13th May 2017
Come and join me for an inspiring week at Studio Preniac, near Cahors, France.  Set in a beautiful rolling hills in southern France, you will have an opportunity to have creative fun while you explore new textile art and stitch challenges in a spacious studio environment.  You will enjoy wonderful hospitality, great accommodation and fantastic food as well as well as an opportunity to visit markets and local places of interest.    Please visit for more information about flights, accommodation and fees.

Less is More ... for Dramatic Textile Art 
Addressing the important principle of ‘Less is More’, we will explore exciting new approaches to simplifying our stitched textile work for a more dramatic effect.

During this workshop the aim is to create a variety of mixed media surfaces and imagery from a personal theme through a variety of techniques, processes and materials that include mono prints, and simple collagraph prints. Research material (photos or sketches if you have them) will be the starting point as we work through exercises to isolate line, shape, and texture, creating a variety of design and composition ideas.  We will consider a more subtle use of colour - black and white, monochrome and neutrals with limited colour for dramatic impact.  Imagery and writing on cloth will further enhance surface possibilities.

Several mixed media collages will be developed further, with machine and hand stitch added.   There will be discussion and demonstration throughout the course with an opportunity to include many small samples and surfaces in a small bound book for future inspiration.

Do consider a creative holiday in France at Studio Preniac.  I have great memories from last year and look forward to teaching again in May.
Thanks for reading......

Monday, 3 October 2016

I just found this

Here is a post that didn't quite make it.  Not news that is too old as this work is still being exhibited, around and about.
Truthfully, I have been very busy in the studio with work for several exhibitions this year and I haven't been actively sharing so much, but will try and change that soon.    
These pieces are based on the Somerset Levels series and I still add new work to it.  Although the sombre colours that reflected the flooding have been rejuvenated somewhat.
These pieces are part of Quilt Art's touring exhibition called Dialogues, currently in mainland Europe - all based on layers of water and history on the Somerset Levels.

What's been happening?

What's been happening?  

It has been a long time since I wrote and I really will try and keep this more up to date.  It isn't as if I have been away or anything... just busy with this and that.
Briefly, what I have been up to.

January - a fabulous 'bucket list' experience on a cruise to Antarctica with 6 days on the White Continent.  I have to say it was a dream come true... You know me - besotted by ice, glaciers, snow everywhere.  Well... it was so inspiring!  I will have images to work with, draw, paint and stitch for the rest of my life.  And... the penguins were perfect as well.
Here is some recent work done for Art Textiles Made in Britain exhibition in August at the Festival of Quilts.  The first 3 pieces are currently at the Forge Needle Museum in Reddich and the 5 will be seen when 'Concealed' exhibition goes to the Minerva Gallery, Llanidloes, Wales in May.  

Titled "What lies Beneath" each piece is 24" square mounted on canvas and is a composite of images collaged together, heat transferred onto cloth and machine stitched.  The concealed aspect reflects the evidence of fossils and petrified rainforests that have been found in Antarctica.   

The last few months have been busy with sketches and paintings based on local landscapes, vistas from the A303 across the plains and valleys of Somerset and Wiltshire.  This time the stitch paintings were started as monoprints and watercolour painted pictures.  Transferring them onto cloth with stitch gave them new depth.  Very colourful and lively for me.  They have been fun and all were framed for Somerset Open Studios here in Somerton this year. It is always a great event and we had close to 300 visitors. Looking at these remind me of the colours in the Bocca area of Buenos Aires.... Maybe I brought the colour home with me.
These are all quite small framed pieces, and this abstract approach to my local landscape has been fun.

I will be adding another post soon with details of a course I am teaching in France next May...  so please come back for a visit.  

thanks for reading,   

Monday, 13 April 2015

Colour, Colour, Colour

Life has been busy - working with many textile projects that were interupted with a spate of colds, coughs and illness in the family.  I was sorry to have to miss the recent opening of Quilt Art's Dialogue exhibition in Heidelberg at the end of March and could not attend, due to illness.
My piece for the exhibition is called Reality and Rhetoric and is 2.7m wide.  The slats of transfered image hide the dialogue that reflects the history and economic life on the Somerset Levels, especially after the flooding of last year.
Back to my roots

When we moved to Somerton, we joined the Bruton Art Society which is a skilled group of painters who love all aspects of fine art, andwe can attend lectures, outdoor painting sessions and workshops. I recently did a workshop with Annette Burkitt an artist from Frome and we looked at Abstraction and Colour in the Landscape with reference to Gaugin and Kandinsky.

Getting a brush in my hand (except for painting paper and cloth for collage in stitched textiles) was wonderful to revisit.  Especially using Gouache which I used for illustration when I worked in publishing, years ago.  I had forgotten what a great medium it was.  Vibrant yet forgiving.

The first day we took the painting by Gaugin called the Talisman and looked at colour and shape.  This is not exactly like the original but I love how 'freeing' it was to just look at an artist's work for inspiration.

I have used this practise myself in textile teaching and really loved the experience of just giving myself over to another work of art.

Then, later we took our own inspiration and developed two paintings, again looking at the vibrance of colour, shapes and marks on the surface

A winter lane near Ilminster
Hills north of Somerton
Now I surprised myself at how colourful these paintings were. Not my usual pallett.
I am loving revisiting 'art' again and really want to do more painting - work, just for me.  None of these will necessarily find their way into stitched textiles, but I am keen to explore so much more 'art' practice and really having fun. 

So watch this space.... I'm busy filling sketchbooks now with new directions and will post more pictures soon.

Thanks for reading 

Friday, 23 January 2015

Facebook Challenge

I have risen to the challenge of 3 pieces on the Facebook Art challenge for 5 days and it has been fun to see so much creativity.  I am writing blog entries on my new website, so for now, will try and do the same for entries for Art Space.   Here is Day 1 and Day 2 so far if you are not a facebook viewer.

The first, current work based on the Somerset Level Flooding and the 2nd drawings and marks that inspired the Last Silence work as wall hung and 3D work.   Watch this space for more entries.

On another note...
I am planning to offer short mini idea/workshop suggestions in future blogs. They will mostly include drawing, collage, and imagery for inspiration, art and stitch practise.
I know there is so much 'out there' online and not sure if there is a place for it, but feel that as I am always creating and filling sketchbooks as a starting point for my own work, it might be good to offer some suggestions for others who may not be able to take classes so regularly.

As mentioned - the ArtSpace (the same name) blog part of my new website will have up-to-date information and news and I eventually hope to introduce flip page mini workshop approaches in the future as well.  Please keep an eye on the website  as well.

Thanks for reading.....more to come.