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.