Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Final Countdown

West Dean 
For those of you who do not know this terrific residential venue for adult education courses, you must look at the new perspectus for 2012/2013 to see what wonderful creative classes are available.  I have just taught a 3 day class there and it is always a pleasure for me to enjoy the scenery and ambience of this stately home once again.  
The class was based on the new book Connecting Design to Stitch and we created a wonderful little book full of design and composition ideas on a personal theme.  Everyone brings something unique to a class with their own personal theme and interests and the results at the end of the course is always very individual and different.  It is great to see how work evolves from a photo design source as we looked at the elements and principles of design.  is the website - then look at the short course 2012/2013 pdf brochure for a wonderful selection of workshops.  I am teaching there again next spring.
         By working through line, shape, value, colour, pattern and texture in any one particular theme or focus – dozens of potential ideas can emerge.  Only a small number might be appropriate to the essence of the subject but by working through several compositions, it is possible to see a series of pieces begin to emerge.  It is always so exciting to see this evolve in sketchbook form – a little treasured compilation of different ways forward for new work. Here is a selection of work done in class – I am very excited about this class and will teaching it again soon.
wonderful work done by the ladies on the course

Surrounded by boxes.
Well the MOVE is happening very soon and we shall be in Somerton by the 2nd October (all being well).  Moving house in the UK is certainly a very frustrating process and somehow with all the technology today…email, downloadable files etc.  you would wonder why the whole procedure has to be so lengthy.  Until this ‘exchange’ of contracts happens you are in ‘limbo’.  Thankfully we had started to pack several weeks ago.  Very necessary with all of my art and textiles and 22 years of ‘life’ accumulated in Binfield, Berkshire.  I have given, donated, parted with as much as I can and there are still more and more boxes to fill.  It seems endless.  I definitely wouldn’t want to do this too often.
Views of Somerton and our new home. 
Somerton seems a lovely small town, south of Glastonbury and Street (Clark’s Outlet village) and the lovely countryside of Somerset.  Can’t wait.  There is a very active Studio and Arts week - SAW (the Somerset Arts Weeks) which is on now until end of the month.   The Courthouse Gallery which is home of the Somerset Guild of Craftmen is located in the Market Square in Somerton – just 5 minutes away.
I will be quite close to the A303 and not far from the M5, so travelling won’t be too difficult.  Just further from London, which shouldn’t be too bad, as bus and train services are good. Once settled, I look forward to getting back to some new work.  Several pieces already started, have been put on hold. 

A possible new course for 2013 
My plan in the new year is to introduce an online 'Design Essentials' course (design and composition for stitched textiles) in 10-12 instalments - with homework involved.  There will be one or two 'face to face' visits and tutorials (when possible) during the program, but for the most part it will include online presentations with coursework as pdf files which will, with your own design and composition exercises create a wonderful resource for future stitched textile work.  The course will include some of the feature workshops and classes in my latest book, taken further with more possibilities.   I am very excited about the prospect… so,  watch this space.

I have a welcome reprieve from packing and travelling to Lancashire for a course I am teaching at Alston Hall for 3 days next week, then the MOVE.
Until then…. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Where has the Summer gone?

A wonderful stretch of beach in Ontario..... can you believe how white the sand is?
My feet haven't touched the ground all summer - Tell a lie.... I did watch plenty of wonderful Olympic coverage in a seated position and.... wasn't it wonderful.  Team GB (and  I am entitled to cheer for Britain after 35 years living here), did fantastically well and worth all of the accolades and gold medals for all of their years of hard work.  They did us proud! Of course my next favourite team was Canada, and although we had a very British coverage did manage to catch some victories.

Despite the miserable cool and wet summer here in the England, it was a very busy time for me teaching and getting ready to move house....More about that later.
Apologies for not being more frequent with my posts, and I promise in the future to add more news on a more regular basis.  I also want to include more design, composition, sketch and stitch hints for art textiles. So, watch this space.....

I had planned to share some pics and memories from a wonderful week in Halifax at the beginning of the summer, so this is long overdue.  I was teaching for the Canadian Quilters Association in Halifax, and although this happened back in June,  it was wonderful for me to visit this part of Nova Scotia for the first time, and combine it with a trip to see family in Ontario.  Here are a few photos - the dockside and 'Murphy's' - a great place for Lobster ( and oh .... did I have lobster) with my good friend Maggie Vanderweit who was also teaching for CQA.  What fun....  a great textile teacher.... and experienced lobster gormet... so the class continued.
A few glimpses of Halifax and work from one of the CQA classes
The students in my two workshops did some wonderful work... one of the classes was creating bound sketchbooks with design and composition exercises.  The CQA continue to have these wonderful residential conferences across Canada, giving so many quilters and those interested in art textiles a great opportunity to meet, exhibit and share ideas with friends AND visit new parts of the country.  Have a look at their website and see what is happening in quilting in Canada

Urchfont 2012

URCHFONT Summerschool
In July I had the opportunity to teach a summerschool for Sian Martin's Distance Learning program at Urchfont.  I hadn't been to this wonderful country house adult education centre in Wiltshire for many years and it was wonderful to be back again.  The class was about Digital Imagery in Stitched textiles and we learned about using personal themed images as a starting point for not only future design, but how to include transferred sections into contemporary work. Sadly, as the home and gardens are being sold in September, 'Urchfont' as we have known it over the years (stitched textile classes in adult education by some of the best embroiderers in the country) will no longer exist, but the memories, inspiration and creativity that came from these walls will be remembered for years to come. More information about Sian Martin's Distance Stitch Online program can be found on
Stay tuned.....  More blog entries to come very soon - Information about my new book 'Connecting Design to Stitch' and a house move from Berkshire to Somerset.

thanks for reading.  

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Spring travels

Early this year was the proof  stages of the new book 'Connecting Design to Stitch' and when it finally got to the printer, I could concentrate on other teaching and textile commitments. So, apologies for not updating this site.
In March I visited Puglia, Italy at the Masseria for Twisted Thread teaching 'Design to Stitch' to a great group of ladies from the UK, Israel and Italy.  We visited Polignano a Mer, a wonderful seaside town, - and Alberobello a world heritage site full of historic and regional buildings. The 'Truilli' houses in the whole town were an amazing site. Do you see the blue skies?  The light was wonderful and I wish I could have brought some of that weather home with me to the UK.

It was great to take photos again and what a wealth of different colours and textures to choose from. The spring blossom was a bonus.
The students did some fantastic work and we made bound art/sketchbooks filled with photos, design and collage ideas on their own personal theme.
I will have wonderful memories of that week in Italy - Must get back again to Puglia - there was so much to see.
On the home front - we have decided to move house - Somerset or Wiltshire, so in my spare time  I've been sorting through 16 years of accumulated textile and teaching materials in preparation for putting our house on the market. What a job....
Stay tuned...... and thanks for reading.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

More News 2012

Here it is mid January - no snow....and the daffodils are just peeking through.  It may not last for long as it is meant to get colder soon. So far this year I have been involved with two exhibitions
The first was the winter exhibition of the Society of Designer Craftsmen at the Mall galleries in London and it was a big success.  It is always nice to see a small collection of one's work in such a good gallery space.  My 'Meltdown' series based on global warming was the work that featured this year.  This is some of the smaller pieces.  For more on this series look at 'My work' on the blog.
The other exciting exhibition that is on at the moment is 'Voices' - Quilt Art (the international group) of which I am a member.  It opened at Bovey Tracey, Devon at the Devon Guild of Crafts gallery last week and will be there until the end of February.  A wonderful location and well worth the visit.     or visit our website at
We have produced another little gem of a book to accompany the exhibition.
Latest news -  
Connecting Design to Stitch class
There are still places left for the textile retreat in Puglia, Italy, sponsored by Creative Exhibitions (Festival of Quilts and the Knitting and Stitching shows, UK)
It will be 5 wonderful days in a superb setting - a villa in southern Italy. 
We will explore representational and abstract design, first in mixed media collage, then with fabric and stitch. Digital imagery, sketches, writing, painted paper and other surfaces will be explored in addition to wire form for dimension.  Many of the exercises will be compiled in a hand bound sketchbook for future reference.

Landscape Imagery in a stitched book, in Burgundy, France - in mid 9-15 September  Taking inspiration from the local countryside as well as one's own personal theme, students will be creating a sketchbook and several stitch pieces learning about design and composition and using imagery and mixed media collage.  Sounds like fun!!   It will be a perfect time of year for great food and wine as well as creativity and inspiration.

Visit the workshop section on this site, for additional class information - 
I will be in Halifax, N.S, Canada for the Canadian Quilters Association conference end of May, Cowslip workshops, Launceston, Cornwall in July, and at the Distant Stitch Summerschool at Urchfont Manor, Wiltshire also in July. 
And don't forget to visit me at the Festival of Quilts in August, where I am introducing my new book Connecting Design to Stitch.

An exciting year ahead......     Thanks for reading.

Happy New Year - Never too late!!

It has been some time since I wrote last - Too many things happening and it's all good. Where to begin.
        A September trip to Ontario visiting family with side trips to Cape Cod, Princton NJ and Maryland to see friends has kept my computer busy with hundreds of photos.  So many, I just bought a 2TB hard drive to keep up.  Many of the images I wanted to use for small stitch compositions.
Images from Cape Cod and a stitched textile inspired by our visit.     
 The biggest news is writing a new book ' Connecting Design to Stitch' (Batsford - August 2012) and it has been my main focus for the last 2-3 months.  It will address design and composition through the eyes of a stitched textile maker- not just for contemporary quilters but embroiderers or anyone who loves fibre with mixed media and stitch. Similar to Connecting Art to Stitch, it will be full of wonderful pieces of work from international art quilters and embroiderers, composition collage exercises and design workshops.  Hopefully, something for everyone.  I will be at the Festival of Quilts in August (the NEC in Birmingham) with a small stand to introduce the book, so if you are in the UK and planning to attend, please come and see me.  
      One of the main sources of inspiration this time has been images from the Jurassic coast in Dorset - that 135 km stretch of ancient coastline.  Cliffs, beaches, boats and the sea  from West Bay to Lyme Regis feature often, and of course the classic fossil shape - the 'spiral' as it relates to the 'golden mean' - perfect proportion in nature. The 'rule of thirds' a simple version  of this, helps us to practise good composition in both fine art and wall hung stitched textiles.
Here is a glimpse some of the new work that will appear. Inspiration throughout the book will come from photo images based on a theme, world textiles, architecture, the landscape, nature and many more subjects of interest. 
Work from dozens of well known fibre and fine artists will be showcased in addition to my own latest art quilts and textiles. And... a  design class devoted to creating a stitch bound book, - full of great collage and composition exercises to try.
Apologies again for taking so long to write .....  Life overtakes....  I continue to teach, make and exhibit has kept me quite busy.
Look for another blog very soon with the latest news for the New Year.
Thanks for reading....