Thursday, 12 December 2013

Season's Greetings

 So, why has it taken me so long to write another entry??  Well.... no excuse, except to say life has been busy and full of good things.
Seems to me the last time I wrote we were off to Yorkshire for a holiday.  It was great and it seems so long ago I won't bore you with all the wonderful photos of the Dales.  I did get my piece for the Studio 21 'Chinese Whispers' finished and we had a super exhibition in October.
Here are some of the photos from South Hill Park...  Watch this space - we are seeking more venues in the UK at the moment.  Our website for more information is

  My 'Design Essentials' course is now happening! 

 It will be about understanding good design and composition for stitched textiles.

The classes will run from 1 March in 5 sessions (with homework) Although not a vocational course it will be a comprehensive guide to good composition for art quilts and stitched textiles.  We will be exploring the elements and principles of design. This will include ideas such as consolidating themes, working in series, the essentials of line, shape, form, colour, texture, abstraction through a series of collage exercises with some art practise, print and digital imagery.  For each session there will be a complete set of notes, demonstrations and exercises to follow and there will be some homework.
5 classes will run every 2 weeks on Saturdays
1st , 15th  and 29th March, and the 12th and 26th of April.  2014.  9.30am to 4pm 
at Midsomer Quilting, Norton Green Garden Centre, Chilcompton, Bath, BA3 4RR.   
Please contact me soon for fees if you are interested. Places are limited as booking has begun 
I do appreciate that it might be a distance for many, but Midsomer Quilting, where I am hiring the workshop, does have a list of accomodation nearby.

That is all for now, Christmas is coming and it is a busy time for everyone.  
Have a great holiday and I wish you and your family all the very best in 2014.

Thanks for reading......

Wednesday, 28 August 2013


Summer Update
I've been busy working in my new studio and quite excited with some new developments.  While sorting through old portfolios I came across some large paintings on paper that might find their way into some new work.  It is surprising that over the last 15 years, I have revisited my love of blues and whites with textures in many different series of work.  Most have been ice/Arctic inspired, but more recently I have been addressing global warming and sound.  The Meltdown work you can see in the New Work part of this blog.
Although working at this time more in black and white, with limited colour, I am sure these images might find their way into some new pieces.   Once I have a good jpg of any surface art, there are so many possibilities.
Lately, I have been exploring sound and silence with some pieces that are being developed for a new exhibition by Studio 21 called Chinese Whispers 14-27 October at South Hill Park near Bracknell, Berkshire.  for details.
Some of the work is a collaboration with other members work, but primarily my work will follow sound 'marks' and inspiration from sound waves.  I begin by working in paper with line, paint and imagery to resolve the composition on a small scale, then look at creating surfaces that will be eventually machine stitched.  Here are some explorations so far.
Watch this space......
 Stay tuned also for news of a SALE of quilting materials, books, embroidery cottons and threads at my home in Somerton, Somerset on the 2nd November.  I have so much material accumulated over the years, it is the time to take stock (or eliminated some of it)...  More information to come.

We're off to the Yorkshire Dales soon for a week (probably in the rain) .... some walking, site seeing
(to Bradford for the Hockney and 'Cloth and Memory' exhibitions), some reading....and hopefully creative time for sketching and sewing.

Thanks for reading.............

Friday, 16 August 2013

High Summer
We have a lavender hedge's been a hive of activity (excuse the pun)
Well it has been too long since I last wrote - still unpacking boxes and making my Studio a working space.  It will be fine but just so many things to find a home for.
We are still discovering wonderful places to visit in Somerset...  Porlock Weir, Dunster, and discovering new roads and footpaths in Exmoor.  I especially liked the isolation of Porlock Weir, the huge stretch of pebble beach....great textures and subtle colour (and a good pub).

 I really could show so many photos from the National Trust gardens we have been exploring in the last few months as well....  Barrington Court, Tintunhull, Montacute House to name a few.  But I won't. We all love to take pictures and I have just spent the last 2 days trying to sort the hundreds..or should I say thousands I have.  It is compulsive to just keep taking pictures.... I love it.!!!

Festival of Quilts was wonderful last week and I was pleased to be part of
Annabel Rainbow and Laura Kemshall's exhibition 'Through our Hands' with a great group of textile artists. The piece on the left is called 'Pathways' and it first was exhibited with Quilt Art a few years ago, but not seen much in the UK.  Still one of my favourite images of endangered forests.

I was also pleased to be selected for the Fine Art Quilt Masters at Festival.

The 'Last Silence' (above) is a very small piece of work which is a starting point for larger work in the future.  It is always a shame that the artist statement is not available (except if you have the program in your hand).  This piece was inspired by sound... or the lack of sound when I walked onto the frozen Baker Lake in Arctic Canada many years ago.  At the time I heard 'nothing' - no birds,planes overhead, ...nothing except for the occasional sound of cracking ice.  I was able to find the ice-crack sound waves and replicate them as a dimensional textile piece.  The other marks represent the tinitus that I hear now .... no complete silence for me ever again.  More work on this theme is being planned for the Studio 21 exhibition in October at South Hill Park, Bracknell.  I will be adding it to my latest news soon.

On the left is another new stitched textile inspired by winter flood images and marks from last winter on the levels in Somerset.
Coming to live in a different part of the country did inspire a lot of new photographs this winter and I loved the subtle colours of the trees.  It is called "LevelSlice' (far left with detail)  Marks on paper were made and combined with black and white images, then heat transferred onto cloth (it is 30cm x 1.2M) with the colour added with machine threads.

Well that's what has been keeping me busy lately.  I must try and post more frequently....
Off to the Yorkshire Dales soon..... more photos no doubt... and some sketching too.

Thanks for reading... until next time...

Friday, 24 May 2013

Just to let you know that my book Creative Quilts...Inspiration Texture and Stitch published in hardback in 2006, with a red embellished cover (see below) has been reprinted now in softcover.  The quilt that Batsford used is from my 'Near North" series and it looks clean and fresh..... BUT it may confuse many who think it is a brand new publication.  All the pages inside are the same as before.
For those of you who have not seen this book, it covers embroidery embellishment techniques, surface design and ways to explore creativity in contemporary textile art.  Like my other books it includes mini workshops and design classes to try.  It is illustrated with my own art quilts and textiles as well as work from many other stitch textile professionals.   So, pass on the word that this is the original Creative Quilts book with a 'new look' soft cover.

Time has passed since my last blog - I've been busy with new work and a trip to Canada and the States.  More news coming soon.  
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Alive and well and living in Somerton

It has been too long... apologies!!.  
Settling in nicely to life in Somerset and love our new home.  I still have boxes to unpack but have been managing to get really inspired by the landscape in this part of England.  So historic as well !!,  Very near to the ancient seat of Avalon... King Arthur and all, - Glastonbury and the 'tor', and Wells Cathedral - on the doorstep.  The Somerset levels are also very near.... a perfect blend of history, nature and the rural idyll of the west country.

Many of these wide landscapes and big skies have inspired some current work in black and white. The colours are so subtle in winter, yet the shapes of trees are  magnificent. Converting images to black and white is often the first thing I do with photos.  It is possible then to really see shapes and detail in black and white.  Too much colour for me sometimes gets in the way.
I am excited by a combination of mark-making and photo images, and this piece reminded me of the floods in many of the areas of Somerset and beyond this winter.  

Other Textile news....
After a little break from any work for the last couple of months, I am inspired and busy creating new pieces.  A recent exhibition called Chinese Whispers by Studio 21 at a stitch textile show in Birmingham at the NEC, gave me a chance to do a piece based on sound and ice.  Using some images and marks made to sound, I researched the sound waves of ice breaking and combined the shapes together to create this small piece called "The Last Silence".  I am excited about more pieces on this theme and the Studio 21 will be having a large exhibition in October at South Hill Park, Bracknell.  We are planning some workshops, and events during that time.  Watch this space for more news.

Finally, a wonderful view of the Murmuration of starlings a few weeks ago.  Just before dawn when they all flock to an area on the Somerset Levels to roost, you can see the moving patterns in the sky of thousands of birds.... the most wondeful sight.

Until next time.....                   Thanks for reading