Thursday, 29 September 2011

revisiting and developing

 I'm revisiting some of the work I did in semester one last year at college.  This work was all based around beachcombing trips and the different types of items I collected.  It involved classifying and grouping the different objects and making assemblages with them in different ways.  The interplay of natural and man-made was a key theme.

 I've taken some of the prints and embossing that I did using found objects  and have scanned them to make digital versions.  I'm now cleaning them up in photoshop to make layers that can be played about with.

I'm going to be doing a collagraph printmaking workshop this weekend.  I'm really excited about it.  I've dabbled with this sort of printmaking at various times over the last 5 years.  It all started when I went on a printmaking holiday in Cornwall and I've wanted to bring it more into my practice ever since.  At college I had some access to the printmaking department (different to textile print) and most of my college projects included something derived from either collagraph or embossing using a printing press.  Often this was some element of texture that led to a print, which I then incorporated into my work in different ways.  The paper based element of my final year work, which was paper embossed with stitch marks and then stitched into further, is something I'm really keen to develop.  I'm hoping to get my own small printing press soon and this weekend should give me the boost I need to develop this area of my work.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

flitting and fiddling

It feels like I've been flitting between lots of different things all week.  I have a number of projects at the planning stage and, while I wait to be in a position to get stuck into any of them, I fiddle about in a slightly disjointed way. 

I finished off the warp I'd had on my loom since January, when I wove scarves for late Christmas presents.  I had hoped that there would be enough left to weave one more scarf, but I came to the end sooner than I thought.  It has made a (very) short scarf length.  I was then eager to get another warp on the loom.  I wanted to see how some British wool yarn I have would fare as a warp.  In my impatience I decided to try and make my warp using the old chairs-upside-down-on-on-the-table method.  

Things didn't go quite to plan and I regretted my haste.  The warp was a nightmare from here on in and I now know that this wool yarn is not really suited to being a warp, as I had suspected.  

I've also been fiddling about with some of the leftover bits of printed felt I have from my degree project. 

Saturday, 17 September 2011


I sat and stitched in between sales at the Makers Fair last weekend. I played about with some of my rust/seaweed dyed silk and found that little seeding stitches helped to keep the crumpled structure that the silk has and which I want to retain.

The wool felt I have left from my degree project makes a lovely base to stitch into and I find that I keep coming back to the square units that I used throug
h out my final project, derived from ideas in architecture. There is something so pleasing about the square format.

I started off with a larger piece of felt and an even larger piece of sil
k and played about, but without direction. As soon as I cut off small squares I was happier with what I was doing, finding ways to vary the repetition subtly.

I've also been experimenting with ideas for a commission I have. I'm hoping that I can use some of the leftover materials from my degree work, as well as some left over ideas.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


A little while ago I was invited to attend a couple of music workshops to photograph and sketch the participants while they played. I jumped at the chance: an excuse to sit and draw for two or three hours is a valuable one. Of course I shouldn't need an excuse to draw - it is something I should be doing every day - but somehow it just doesn't happen that way. If I'm away somewhere I can make that a part of how I experience a different place but at home it is a different story, despite my many resolutions to make it part of my daily routine.

Anyway, I just got round to photographing and cleaning up my sketches. Here are a few of the ones I'm most pleased with, of a string quartet.

Drawing people is particularly challenging, I find. I just can't do faces, but I do enjoy trying to capture people (and animals) while they're moving. Th
e resulting sketches are often quite sparse as they have to be so quick, but somehow I find I can capture something of the moment or the movement without having to get bogged down in too much detail.

Sunday, 11 September 2011


I'm planning something new, but which will enable a return to something I love after some time away from it. It is five years since I dyed with indigo. I love blue very much and simply can't get enough of the particular shades that come with indigo dyeing. I'm hoping that it will be just the thing for this new project.

Friday, 9 September 2011


I've finally unwrapped the bundles I made at the old fishing station, shaking out the dried up seaweed, stow-away sand and rusty bits and pieces.

The most successful marks were from the bundle containing seaweed and rusty screws. The seaweed colours are fairly subtle but some of the marks from the screws are great.

Unwrapping it like this and allowing the wrinkles and creases to k
eep some of their shape leaves a lovely 3D sculptural feel to the silk, even where there isn't much colour.

This bundle just had various rusty objects and no seaweed:

This was a piece of wool felt that I wrapped round some limpet shells and bound tightly. I wanted to see how much the shell would emboss its texture into the felt. It has taken the shape of the shells but there is only a little of the surface texture.

The felt bundle that had seaweed in didn't take much colour, but I do love the marks you get on the outside from where the threads were wound round.

iron men

I'm reading this to my son at the moment. Last night, as we read about the iron man standing on the edge of the sea, listening, looking, and then finally wading in to the water, deeper and deeper, I couldn't help thinking that he'll get awfully rusty!

...thoughts of rusty stuff by the sea from earlier in the summer and all sort of things I'd like to try using rusty marks...

...thoughts also of these iron men who stand by the sea. I read a children's story about them too yesterday. I have to use my imagination to picture how their surfaces are affected by the place where they stand as I have yet to meet them. I am determined to before too long though.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Debbie, who I met at the Festival of Quilts, has just sent me this photo that she took of me and some of my work. Thank you Debbie and welcome to all those new followers who have joined recently.

makers fair

This Saturday I will be selling my wares here:

If you're within reach of Saltaire then come along. There are all sorts of different things happening over the period of the festival but the makers fair is for one day only this time.