Monday, 29 October 2018


The start of a new landscape, this time based on Tollesbury where I have walked a few times this year.  I did the walk round Tollesbury Wick with my sister and I also did the walk round Old Hall Marshes on two occasions, once with my sister and once with friend Angela.  The Old Hall Marches is a nature reserve which comprises extensive grazing marshes with brackish water fleets, reedbeds and salt marsh.  The three images below are the beginning of the landscape, which I have laid out and which is much longer.

The photographs below I took whilst on the walks and were the inspiration behind this piece of work.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Praa Sands Finished

The rolling landscape based on Praa Sands is finally finished - I have spent the week constructing the pot around which the landscape is wrapped.  Started absolutely from scratch making the pot from extra thick pelmet Vilene which was stapled to hold the correct dimensions and then covered with fabric and lined with cotton rag paper.  I have a wonderful circle cutter for cutting the base and lid from grey board, the base was covered with fabric and stitched to the main body.  For the lid, I wanted it to fit snugly so that it didn't move around and, of course, I needed to find a way that I could attach my wire birds.  Everything just seemed to go right with this pot - it didn't take long before I came across my stone with the hole that goes right through - it has been wandering around my workroom for years and now I have found the perfect use for it.  

Once the pot was complete I attached the rolling landscape and added the fastener to secure.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Rolling Landscape - Cornish Coast

Three wonderful weeks in Cornwall which gave me the time to make progress with my latest rolling landscape and to gather material for the next.  With this one I have put two pleats or folds in the piece to give a feeling of depth when it stands.  All that is left to do now is add the backing and make the box to which it will be attached.  The box lid will be finished with wire birds in flight.

The photo below shows the various layers of organza overlaying to give the final effect.

I snapped the image below from our apartment window last year when in Cornwall which was the basis for this piece - the apartment is in a coastal village with a wonderful view of the sea and this little collection of buildings I pass when on the way down to the beach. 

The other end of the rolling landscape was based on the photo below which I also took last year in Cornwall - I was walking along the coast path and in the distance I could see this blue colour.  

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

On the edge

It has been a little while since I last wrote a post but with the weather being soooooo hot - I don't enjoy this extreme heat at all and it doesn't exactly encourage me to sew.  Going to pottery has not only been a joy as I am loving everything about it but also it is lovely and cool in the barn and on most days there has just been two of us and two technicians.

Anyway I have done a little bit of sewing (I gave a workshop in early July in Stoke Mandeville and had to do some preparation) - I have finished the landscape based on a painting by Samuel Peploe and I have started another based on photographs I took in Cornwall last year. 

Above is the painting by Samuel Peploe of Iona Abbey and below is my finished rolling landscape.  I started this piece in the autumn, I think, of last year but found it impossible to work on during the long drawn out winter - I just couldn't seem to get the colours right - I wasn't aiming for the specific colours in the Samuel Peploe painting, what I like is the varying tones of the rooftops and the subtle marks in the landscape.  As soon as the light improved I found I could work on it again. 

I made a lidded pot to wrap it around and found the bird handle in a shop in Totnes.  

The painting by Samuel Peploe is of Iona and Iona Abbey and although in Scotland the landscape reminded me very much of Cornwall and it's pretty coastal villages - some villages have already succumbed to the sea, others edge closer.  Where we go on holiday in Praa Sands - a tree in someones garden in now on the beach - it now stands on the beach as it stood in the garden, bleached white by the sun.  It has stood there for at least a couple of years and I'm looking forward to going back to see if it is still there this year.

Below are a couple of the photographs I took in Cornwall which are the basis of my new landscape.  The buildings and shapes and angles are very like those in the Samuel Peploe painting.

Initially I sorted through the dyed fabrics I had left over from other projects - I like working with scraps - the odd shapes and bits which can then be held down with net or organza.  The sky I think is a silk chiffon I dyed some time ago - it takes the dye beautifully and gives a lovely soft effect -  I then overlaid with silk net, the land on the right is a cotton scrim. I then dyed organza to get the more specific effects and colours that were missing and below is what emerged.  

By overlaying the dyed organza and net over cut shapes a more painterly effect can be achieved.  I also decided to put two folds in the fabric as I felt the overall length of the piece was too long and I liked the feeling of depth that this gave.  All is then tacked down and stitching can be added where necessary - some stitches are just discreet holding stitches, others to add detail.  The piece is far from finished but I'm really pleased with it so far.  More detailed pics below.

Below are the fabrics I dyed for the sea and the foliage - procion dyes have been mixed with Manutex to make the dyes liquid a little thick (you don't want it too thick) - if you then paint the thickened dye onto plastic it will give the effect of water.  Lay the organza gently over the the top. For the foliage I used bits of roughly cut sponge bound together and dabbed and dragged and splashed the dye onto the organza.  The fabrics can then be torn or cut and used as and where you want it to go.

Friday, 29 June 2018

In Focus

Below are two of the photographs I have been concentrating on that I am thinking would  accompany the long, grey, winter landscape I have been working on.  The photographs are of aspects of the barn that features in the landscape - focussing in on the barn in relation to other buildings nearby and the condition of the barn itself.  I have cropped and tweaked the colour and envisage that these pictures will eventually be printed onto fabric and use stitch to emphasise texture and bring out more colour.

I feel this is the best one so far - I took a photograph of the barn from a different angle rather than straight on and in doing so found I had got the side of the large green silo, the tank with the pipe coming out of the top and also the building behind.  I really like the composition and the patterns but still not sure about either of the pictures at the moment. 

This one I like because of the position of the holes and the fact that one just looks into darkness and the other reveals what is on the inside.  I like the tones that are coming out in the wood but really not sure whether I should abandon both photographs at this point.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

From Grey to Clay

I have been doing some more work on my Shades of Grey winter landscape - which seems a bit out of season now the weather has changed but I am pleased how it is going.  Before the weather did change for the better I did have the opportunity to go back and take some more photographs of the barn - the barn I have been photographing is on Butlers Farm between Wickham St. Paul and Bulmer. It is a beautiful walk - the barn sits on rising ground - I have also photographed it in sections focusing on its dilapidated state. 

Prior to finding the barn at Butlers Farm I had found the one below in Cornwall - again it was on rising ground.

I drew and cut away some of the shapes on tracing paper - I used dye to colour the tracing paper which I really liked - I don't think it was the colours I was aiming for but I was pleased with the result.

I have been experimenting by mixing various colours to make different shades of grey - using paint is easy but when it comes to mixing the colours using Procions it is more difficult.

The piece is mounted on a long wooden panel which makes it difficult to photograph so I have done it in three sections.

Back in January I took up pottery which I really love - I suppose because it is using my hands - this week I made some plates and used some lace to press in a pattern - so it does have a link to textiles.  Also when rolling out the clay I was told to lay down some muslin and roll the clay out on top - again the clay picks up the weave in the fabric which I love - however, not sure how much this will show after glazing.

Below is a set of three vessels - they have been moulded around cardboard tubes using Earthstone Original - really pleased with the results.

Below is my little pea pot which is made from Millennium White - it took me quite a few sessions to create this little pot.

And finally for this post below is my ram - I took a photograph of this ram again when out walking and again the walk was the Wickham St. Paul to Castle Hedingham via Gestingthorpe.  The ram was in a field just across from Gesthingthorpe church and had been given a bit of a trim.  I think I will be going back yet again to photograph the church - I'd like to decorate him using sgraffito and images/motifs of Gestingthorpe.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

And now for something completely different

On Friday 27th April I had a brilliant day at a Michael Brennand-Wood workshop held at First Site in Colchester.  It is all thanks to my friend Pat as she was unable to make it on the day and she kindly asked if I'd like to take her place.

The workshop was called "Overlay" and prior to the workshop, as usual, we were each sent a sheet explaining the workshop with a list of requirements.  We were asked to take a frame to work on - it could be anything from an old picture frame to a drawer or a chair back.  This frame would be used to support a collage of selected items of our personal choice which would be concealed and revealed by stitching them into fabrics, cutting back or using transparent fabrics, items could be wrapped with fabric or wire, etc.  We were asked to bring an object or series of collaged found elements that could be used and these elements could be stones, toys, natural, mechanical parts, books, tools or random components - anything that could be wrapped, obscured, cut and so on.

I had taken along a random collection of things I had been either hoarding, had come across while out walking or had bought thinking they may come in handy sometime in the future.  The picture shows some of the item - my husband has never smoked but when recently clearing out his study he threw out three tobacco tins which, of course, I grabbed  for that just in case occasion.  The things I have found out walking included an old bit of metal heel enforcement from a shoe, a rust old nail (quite an old one I think), a stone, old cotton reels, wire I once used for tassel making, some rusty French patisserie moulds, buttons and an old reel of thread amongst other miscellaneous bits and pieces - oh and of course some fabric.

Michael started the day with a talk - people were avidly taking down notes but I felt quite tired having not slept too well the previous couple of nights and thought I will just go with the flow.  He mentioned several artists he was inspired by and gave lots of examples of ideas that might give the igniting spark to go and start experimenting.  Among the last examples he mentioned an artist who wrapped items, layer upon layer to create little mummies and this is the idea that appealed to me.  By this time it was getting on for 12 o'clock which meant we had about 4 hours to get down and do.

As I slowly started to wrap and collage some of the pieces I had brought it reminded me of the fertility figures I had worked on a few years ago.  Most countries seem to have had such things in their history and quite often they were made with found materials and what was available to hand at the time.  Many were beaded and involved many skills in the application of the decoration.

Below is my effort on this occasion which I feel gives me a whole new route to go down and lots of possibilities.  Michael thought the piece worked and picked up on my sense of humour - said it wouldn't look out of place in the Pitt Rivers Museum!!    He also said the frame was a means to support and not a end in itself if the piece didn't warrant it.  Although the tobacco tin doesn't exactly frame the fertility figure, it gives it a space/area and perhaps shows off the shapes.  Went home feeling very happy and wondering what my husband would make of it all!!

Not sure if I prefer him with the tin open or closed - at least he has a name now - Tom Long.