Thursday, 22 December 2011

A textile free zone ... almost

Most people who know me know that I don't really like Christmas for a myriad of reasons, however, this year when I thought it was going to be actually more angst ridden than even normal I think I have found the secret- Just don't think too much or if you do end every sad or sorry thought with a but...

I haven't managed to do anything 'christmassy' to get me in the mood this year for a variety of health and work reasons but I have taken to making sure that when I am out walking I enjoy all the little light displays that people put in their garden and there are some lovely ones out there.

Its been left entirely up to me to do nearly all the Christmas shopping - pressies and food - because everyone else has been too busy at work and as I don't drive this has been no mean feet. Even the wheelie basket gets heavy dragging it up the hill to my house for the umpteenth time. But I now have splendid biceps and I haven't had the other half (the accountant) staring over my shoulder saying things like 'couldn't you get the cheaper one?' (no because that tastes disgusting, will end up getting thrown away not eaten because even the dogs won't eat it and that's saying something as I don't do fussy pets and mine eat anything! and I'd rather eat less and enjoy it)

I'm no domestic goddess . I can pluck and draw a turkey, make all sorts of cakes and puddings and make any preserve you like but I don't enjoy it and the family (all 3 0f them) never notice and I'd rather be sewing. But they will all have all the trimmings (they all want different things including different types of pudding) and its actually cost me less than making it from scratch. More importantly as its all up to me I won't end wanting to stuff an onion up one of them rather than the turkey and even more importantly in today's climate we are lucky enough to have a Christmas dinner.

Although I was feeling a bit down because the daughter will be spending a large part of Christmas with her boyfriend and his family leaving me with the husband and the father-in-law who will probably be asleep by 5pm on Christmas Day , I realised I am lucky to have her with us for Christmas lunch and I shall spend the evening with something good on the telly and at last have time to pick up my much neglected stitching again.

Finally in just over a week it will be January- I love January, a new year, new challenges, time to get off and running again. So to everyone in Blogland have a Happy Christmas whatever you are doing, wherever you are and a joyful new year.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Minatures, Miracles and Matrices

Friday saw me meeting up with a couple of my closest arty friends to visit a plethora of exhibitions in London before they closed.
In reverse order we went to catch the 'Bite Size' exhibition before it finished this week and I am so glad we did. One of my friends had already seen it with a trip with her MA course and had recommended it and it was a joy , so calm, so peaceful, so clean.
For lunch we popped into the Wellcome Foundation but as they queue was so long we thought we'd have a quick whisk around one of the exhibitions before we ate and I am so glad we did.
The 'Charmed Life' exhibition was a real treat. Tiny little amulets and charms and how they were used juxtaposed with Felicity Powell's wonderful tiny wax pieces was a joy and extremely interesting. I would have spent ages in there if the hungry monster hadn't been calling.
In the morning we had visited one of our old degree tutor's show in the Crypt gallery at St. Pancras. Catherine Dormor had on display some of her work for her Phd. I had seen some pieces before and I do tend to find her work isn't quite me but they certainly looked stunning in this wonderful space and I particularly liked her silk organza pieces with seemed to warm against the brick walls and also her boxes which seemed to penetrate the walls and push you into another dimension.
The Crypt is an exciting space and it has certainly made me excited this week. My covert activity can now be revealed. I have had a proposal accepted for the gallery and myself and a group of fellow artists will be exhibiting there in May 2013! This is such an exciting prospect to be exhibiting in a London gallery with such a good reputation for unusual work and to be exhibiting besides artists of various disciplines will at last take textiles into the mainstream I hope, not keep it in isolation -something I have been working to do for so long. What a christmas present!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Textile Elfing

Recognising the fact that this year isn't going to be an easy Christmas for most people I decided that I would like to give the few friends and family I possess something special this year but like ,most people, this year is a little tight moneywise therefore we we have a conundrum .I put my tired little brain into gear and realised that I have a wealth of samples and ideas that could be developed into gifts from my degree work so for the last month or so I've been busy as a Christmas elf looking at these and working the appropriate ones up into pressies. If you are a regular blog reader you'll probably recognise some of these - they are not the same pieces as I did for my degree but they are developed from them. They are all made with love and esp. for the folks they are going to and I can post a picture of a few as I know they don't do blog reading so the recipients won't have seen them. Prettily wrapped and accompanied by some Crimble choccies I hope they will be pleased with them. Its not a diamond or a 3d telly but they are given with love. Who said all that degree work was a waste !

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Covert Postmodernism

Grace Jones in a maternity dress designed by Jean-Paul Goude and Antonio Lopez

Last week I was engaged in some 'covert' exhibition work. Well not really but it is beginning to feel like it as I cannot divulge at the moment suffice it to say it 'something's coming and it should be good'- I will reveal all as soon as its confirmed . However whilst involved in this adventure I also took time out to visit the Postmodernist exhibition at the V&A with my friend '77 Belle'.
We went, we saw, we got confused and ran away to have coffee.
I don't know why it just left me completely cold and I couldn't find one thing that actually inspired me in any way. Now I admit I know very little about this movement but that's not unusual and if I don't know usually exhibitions like this make me want to learn more -usually- but not this time. When we were discussing it later in the inner sanctum of the membership lounge at the V&A (excellent Lemon Drizzle cake there by the way) we did ponder if it was the familiarity of the objects and the period that had created this .......nothing feeling. But we couldn't put our fingers on it - any ideas those of you out there in blogland? I am a girl with a love of all things Morris and impressionist so maybe I just missed the point - but I thought I didn't like the Bauhaus until I saw the exhibition and that totally changed my perception.
The other strange thing was the place was empty! I have never been to a V&A blockbuster that I didn't have to push my way around even when it has been on ages but we were virtually the only people there. What a contrast to my feelings about the Grayson Perry I saw recently.

I am now up to my eyes in stitching - Hurray! working on my third piece for the forthcoming Bridging Waters exhibition and finishing off a few Christmas presents for family and its lovely to have needle in hand again.

I did have a comment on my last blog about using the computer as a creative medium and yes of course I often play with lovely programmes such as Paintshop Pro and Adobe (In fact the picture I showed in the last post was actually created using manipulated photos printed onto abaca tissue and then embedded with the emmbellisher onto home made felt and with stitch added)
What I don't like about the computer is being tied to it to do admin, interminable form filling and bill paying . Still all part of life rich tapestry I suppose.
Now I'm off to do covert things again ....pst,...Anyone seen my raincoat?

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Colour, Creating, Computers and Canadians

Time passes so swiftly and there seems so much to do. Next year is now fully booked with regards to exhibiting (in deed the subsequent two years appear to be rapidly filling up as well) and I am beginning to panic that I am spending so much time in organising exhibitions and the associated paperwork,etc... that is attached to them that I spend more time at the computer than I do with a needle in my hands actually creating the work to be exhibited.
When I finished my degree I thought that time at the computer would decrease and at last I would have the time to concentrate on more creative aspects but alas -at the moment at least- that just isn't happening . I can remember that I learnt that at least 2 days a week, if not more, should be given over to 'office work' once you entered the realm of the professional artist but it is still quite a nasty shock when it becomes a reality. Still I live in hope than once the new year starts I can structure my time more successfully to allow lots of space for creating. I have so many ideas,so much I want to do on the practical side and I never really expected to end up doing more on the curatorial. Until then I know that I still have a great deal to organise for my Material Girls and my other commitments.
Still its not all work and no play.
Last week I met up with one of my fellow graduates from my course who was back over from Canada to visit her brand new Grandson. We met up in Docklands as I had to meet my daughter that day as well where she works and had a great natter over coffee and I showed her over the Docklands museum as it was new to her. It was great to see her again and I am hoping she will be able to visit our Bridging Waters exhibition either here next year or when it transfers to her native land.
I also attended the ERTF conference on Colour at Letchworth last Saturday. I thought after all my studies I had 'done colour to death' but it appears not! I am not a great user of brilliant colour preferring more muted tones but I am becoming very interested in the symbolism of colour and its effects on human mood and emotion. Our speaker - Joyce Honeysett- was extremely interesting and as you know we never stop learning.
Now I must get away from this computer and back to my threads.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Long Live Alan Measles

Tick,Tock,Tick,Tock... The relentless march of time has become a little overwhelming just recently hence the absence from blogging. Each week seems to bring a new commitment. Number of exhibitions now committed to for next year -4, number in the pipeline for 2013 onwards so far - 3. Its all very exciting but I must be careful not to allow quantity to override quality.
Some of these I can divulge;-
3 venues now in place for the Bridging Waters work - one of which will be a textile weekend hosted by Material Girls with all sorts of goodies other than the exhibition on offer in a delightful country venue in May (so watch out for more info on that)
A brand new arts trail being set up in Romford this summer as part of the cultural olympiad. Needless to say I have ended up in the organising group (basically if you came to the initial meeting you were hijacked!) .

The other events you will have to wait for news of but it will be worth the wait- definitely for one we will be trying to break totally new ground with regards to textiles. Am I tempting you?

In the meantime I have just been to the new Grayson Perry exhibition at the British Museum 'Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman' (what a great name)
and I am totally inspired . Perry's work is always a joy - beautiful and humorous and totally unpretentious. The balance between hi s pieces and those items from the museum collection were thought provoking but somehow just 'right' and I've come away with oodles of ideas.
And the best thing - the very best thing -was the ethos. Nowhere was there one piece of art speak- just plain English and common sense. The whole exhibition seemed to say 'welcome all, enjoy, have fun and just appreciate these beautiful things for what they are'. That doesn't mean to say pieces had no concept behind them - there was a reason, a concept for all , thought and care and love they just weren't trying to pretend they were something they weren't and trying to exclude those who weren't 'in on the language'.
There was one quote that really resonated with me

" Craftsmanship is often equated with precision but I think there is more to it. I feel it is more important to have a long and sympathetic hands-on relationship with materials. A relaxed.humble. ever curious love of stuff is central to my idea of being an artist. An important quality of great art of the past was the pure skill in the artist's use of materials. In celebrating craftsmanship I also salute the artists,well, most of them"
Grayson Perry 2011

And then there's Alan Measles- whats not to love about a rather battered well loved teddy bear.
Long live Alan Measles and all who love him.

Monday, 26 September 2011


Sometimes I feel I am continually running up against a brick wall. Why oh why in this day and age is there such a demarcation between what people perceive as art and what they perceive as craft. I have had a couple of instances lately where when I say I am a textile artist people just look confused. If I say I produce work using fibre and stitch they ask if I make dresses or curtains, If I mention embroidery you can see their mind thinking cross stitch and their mouths saying 'isn't that rather old fashioned' and if I say I am an artist they immediately say -'oh do you use oils or watercolours?'
Its enough to drive someone insane! I even gave up the other day when at a bank filling in a form and they asked my occupation and when I told them they said 'I haven't got a box for that' so I ended up saying 'just tick the home maker one'. But I didn't want to- I've worked hard for my skill I would like it acknowledged.
I read an excellent article the other day by James hunting about the importance of achieving a balance between technique and concept- that they were both of equal and extreme importance and I so agree.Great 'Art', however conceptual, needs a grounding with good technique and all good 'Craft' stems from the ability to perfectly master a technique and combine it with a true concept. I wish we were still using the term artist craftsman it says so much more.
But how do we educate people - even those who are supposed to be part of this rather incestuous art world, to value textile art. There is a huge amount of unrecognized talent and creativity out there -Just in the last couple of days look at the blogs of people such as Brunel Broiderers and Judy Martin for inspiration, but do such as they ever appear 'in the nationals'
I suppose you could say its all about the creation not the recognition which is very true but we make work to be shared which usually involves exhibiting it and when the amount of affordable visual art spaces and galleries are getting fewer and fewer and the value of textiles still seems so underrated we desperately need a swing in opinion just to bring work to people who haven't experienced exactly what textile art is really about.
I don't know perhaps its just in my area-is it the same everywhere? the only thing I can do at the moment is go ARGHH!!!!!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Colour,Colour everywhere

A really busy week has seen me hanging the Primarily Colour exhibition at Craft Arena, giving a talk to the Chelmsford Branch of the Embroiderers Guild and taking a trip up to London to see the Treasures of Heaven exhibition at the British Museum before it closes.

It was interesting to see the 'colour' work hanging together at last - its previous outing hadbeen to the Jersey Textile Showcase in the Spring, where it was hung by the event curators. Unfortunately I was unable to get over there to see the results so this was the first time I was able to create the hang. The Craft Arena gallery in Billericay is the perfect space for this body of work being quite intimate and bright, I feel it shows the work off very well. Should you be in Essex in the next couple of weeks do visit as there are lots of things to do at the Barleylands Craft Village and a nice cafe as well as enjoying our work.

I hope the talk to the EG went well- I always find it difficult to judge with one eye on the clock and another trying to remember what you want to say and praying that it all makes sense. Talks aren't really my thing -I much prefer direct teaching.

Finally the trip up to London was well worth the effort. I had some business to attend to with a colleague which may prove extremely interesting and the exhibition was beautiful. You came out with an extraordinary sense of peace (I also kept smelling incense which my friend said she didn't so I presume this was psychological) probably being in the company of so many sacred relics. I noticed that there is shortly to be a Grayson Perry exhibition there so I feel another trip coming on. Meanwhile I must get back to actually creating - the deadline for the Bridging Waters exhibition looms ever closer.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Material Girls Exhibition

I'm back

At last I feel ready to start working again after feeling rather flat post degree which is a good job as its going to be a busy few months ahead.
Monday week will see me hanging Material Girls 'Primarily Colour' exhibition at Barleylands,Essex whilst on the same day in the evening I am giving a talk to the Chelmsford Branch of the Embroiderers' Guild (I always seem to end up double booking!)
The exhibition with the Canadian group Articulation is rapidly approaching and I have several other things in the pipeline (but more on those later). Just one problem I haven't been able to post on this blog since I have my new computer but with a tweak I am hoping this is going work- here we go again a new beginning.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

This is the end, my friend

Yesterday I graduated at Middlesex University. I was really glad that I was able to take the opportunity to go as it finally made me feel that I had actually achieved something important. Although you know how hard you work for it there was always a slight sense that some people considered it a mickey mouse degree, not quite a real one -but in some ways it was even harder because you are so 'out there on your own'. You have support but its not like being within a class situation with your peers around you all the time. Yesterday you really felt part of the university, that you were valued as a true graduate.
So that's it- the end.
I started this blog to map the highs and lows of the course, to act as my journal (part of the criteria for the course) and I don't want it now just to become full of trivia, or a moaning platform (because boy! I know I can do that!) or even worse a 'look how wonderful I am' boast fest
So I am going to change it over the next couple of weeks .I am going to centre it completely on textiles -to make it more of a professional touch point for this.
I am now a website (well not me actually but you know what I mean) its which will link to this blog. So if you want to see what I'm up to textile wise please drop in.
First I have to invest in a new computer as this one is on the blink so I may be away for a couple of weeks but as they say 'I'll be back!'

Friday, 8 July 2011

Time to say goodbye

Today Kit, my big, rambunctious, ginger tom, died.
Ever since he arrived in our lives over 15 years ago as a ball of orange fluff he brought nothing but joy. If there was an adventure to be had,mischief to be gotten into or food to pinch- he was there, with his 'who me?' expression ,a softly patting paw and his constant purr. Today he purred softly as he slipped away in my arms taking a little bit of my heart with him. Travel well my friend, I'll miss you.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

An End- A Beginning?

What a week! after slowly settling back into the 'normality' of post degree life all -of a sudden the fact that JC had ceased to trade drops like a lead weight!

How did it feel to the new graduate group? Initial relief that we had 'made it under the wire' so to speak, incredible sadness for our fellow students and friends who were still treading the path, almost a survivors gulit. Then the nasty realisation that, although we had 'graduated' and been informed of our awards informally we had nothing formal in writing. The next 24 hours and dozens of e-mails to both JC and Middlesex Uni. finally merited a reply- our degrees were definitely safe, Middlesex were on the case.

People keep saying to me 'how lucky it was' that I decided to condense my degree, to double up on my workload so I could graduate a year early. It was - but I always had a nagging feeling that the sooner I got out the better, even as we graduated there was an atmosphere in the air that all was not perhaps as it should be. I made no secret of this feeling but I did think it would last at least another year and now I feel so sorry for the others and guilty that just for once it isn't me up to my neck in it.

Then over the last few days parts of my 'new life' started happening - I had a small article about me published in Felt Matters, I hosted a really good afternoon for the ERTF (I'm the new Essex Rep. now) where we have managed to put in place all sorts of new, exciting ideas about regular events we are going to initiate for our area and then news that I had been selected as a Licentiate of the Society of Designer Craftsmen came through the door, a body I've hungered to belong to for a long time. Its a funny old world isn't it.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

All Over Now

Its over, I'm Free! after 5 long years I have finally finished my degree. I am officially a BA(Hons) in Embroidered Textiles and I feel.... nothing.
I am completely numb.I don't know what I expected -relief? elation? some sadness that it was over? (definitely not!). The week of the exhibition was exhausting, traumatic and extremely surreal.

Was it good experience?
I honestly don't know. I have staged or taken part in over 50 exhibitions in my time and I would say they were all a more enjoyable, fulfilling experience. We had a high number of visitors both to the Private View (although about 50 were probably the student crowd trawling the East London galleries for a night out with free wine - we had plenty so why not) and during the week , over 400 in 3 and half days so that was good -mind you we worked our butts off as a group to publcise the exhibition.

Do I think it was worth while?
Again I don't know. I have gained a reasonable degree. I have learnt things esp. about modern art but maybe I would have preferred to learn more about actual embroidery. I learnt a lot about professional practice and the thing I am most proud of was my dissertation. However I have also learnt to pick myself up after being knocked down more times than is good for you (perhaps that's a skill in itself), I have gained confidence and lost it again and I have learnt that an academic qualification can mean sacrificing technical skill on the alter of concept.

Perhaps when I look back in 6 months time I will have a clearer vision and can look back with some sense of pride but for now all I want to do is make things that I believe in and actually bring things through to a conclusion without having to change them to tick educational boxes and please tutors. And to sleep for a long, long, time.........

Sunday, 15 May 2011

E-Day commeth

So its here! by this time tomorrow my degree show will have been hung, to be followed over the course of the following two days by VIVAs and marking. The result of five years intensive study and work all hinging on the next 3 days.
The last couple of weeks have been an odd mix of feelings like waiting for the dentist and Christmas all wrapped up together but now there is no more I can do to prepare,I just have to trust that I will get the work displayed correctly and that I don't go mute during the VIVAs and then -who knows....

Sunday, 1 May 2011

16 days and Counting

The last month has disappeared in a blaze of last minute work and exhibition planning. There are so many little (or not so little) extra things to be done that it becomes very time consuming and if I have to read one more e-mail about wine for the PV I think I will scream - wet ,white, not too expensive other than that I don't care!!!!

I think I'm nearly there though-still a bit of sorting to be done with the support work and I really need to finally sort my thoughts out for the VIVAs (there are two official and one extra one). I think the next 2 weeks are going to be all go. On Wednesday I'm getting together with my 'assistant' which sounds posh but is a good friend and fellow student who will keep me sane on the day for a planning lunch (probably more lunch than planning)

On the home front, as that of course goes on regardless,- small dog's operation was a success although getting it to heal (it was a BIG wound on a little foot) has been a bit problematic as he has hated his 'cone' and he is on his second lot of antibiotics. The very good news though was that it was benign and he has been so good with me dressing it everyday for over 3 weeks without even a growl even when its looked very sore. My foot has come out in sympathy and I've been hobbling for a week, it feels suspiciously like it did when I cracked a bone in the past but I'm trying to rest it as much as possible as I want to be fully functional for mounting the exhibition. It was a good excuse to just sit and watch the royal wedding- so lovely and what a dress.Really glad to see the RSN prominent and embroidery a key feature!

The ERTF conference was interesting although rather full on- too much info. in too little time and I've taken on the role of area rep. for Essex for the next 3 years although I know I'll have lots of help from the retiring rep. Hopefully we'll get things in Essex really motoring over the next couple of years.

So now its a case of holding my nerve and getting through the next 16 days- argh!!!!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Pushing through to the end

After a really hard push I have finally completed all the stitching for my degree show. That means I was able to complete the photography and finalise my hanging plan. It seems a bit odd when I have been felting/stitching intensively on one body of work for long that it is now finished. Of course work toward the final show is far from over. I have to complete my statement, draw together all the supporting work and consider what I would like to say during my VIVAs (plus all the little group bits like sorting the details of the private view, arranging gifts for VIPs, our own publicity bits and bobs, completing forms for vaious bodies we would like to look at our work for post degree issues ,etc...) it all seems to take up a great deal of time but I am pushing to get most of it completed by Easter so I can have a bit of a rest before the examination/exhibition week. Life doesn't take a back seat either- family glitches are still occuring,material girls are undergoing a restructure, my own health isn't the best at moment (OH reckons its stress , I just think its time of year) and my poor little dog has developed a nasty lump on his toe which the vet wants to remove asap (never a good sign when they say that) so he's being operated on Monday morning. Still tomorrow I'm off to the ERTF conference at Girton College in Cambridge - passive selling, sounds interesting- which should be a nice break. Then its the final push-wish me luck!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Big Review

The last 2 weeks have been particularly intense. I've been stitching like crazy to make sure that I had something substantial to show on Review Day. This is our last hurdle before the BIG ONE and although not traumatic like the assessment before Christmas it was quite intimidating. You have to present your work to a panel of 3 tutors (one of which was my own lovely Kay Swancutt thank goodness) and basically justify the conceptual aspects plus all the work and how you wish to hang it at the final exhibition. The role of the panel which for me included such luminaries as Catherine Dormer and Sarah Braddock-Clark, is to challenge any fixed ideas you may have and they certainly didn't go easy but I think it went fairly well as I was still open to suggestions about the work and it has made me rethink a few things and ask myself why about a couple of others.
So now its the big push until the end.
One surprising thing that has emerged that everybody seems to wrap themselves up in the work esp. the path even the tutors were doing at the review.

The spring and summer panels are complete and I am well on with the stitching of the Autumn panel so just the winter one to complete. Then its getting back to the woods to complete the photography of the work (they really liked this so its got to form part of the exhibition) and then get everything ready for the big day in May. There are images of the others work on under the section grad 2011 if you're interested.

Otherwise its all been a bit up and down. More support needed for the daughter (down) a lovely trip to the Foundling Museum with Janette and some of the ERTF (up)Barney was poorly again(down) We had close family being operated on this week - one was donating a kidney to his wife - both came through ,so far so good (down and up) and I've just heard that some of the lovely ladies from Articulation (the Canadian textile artists we are collaborating with for an exhibition next year) are coming over to see the graduate exhibition so we are going to all go out and have a lovely lunch while they are here (definitely up!)
So for now its a case of 'keep on carrying on' as they say.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Outside the bubble

Last week disappeared in the usual blur. I did step outside the exhibition bubble for a few days so I could attend to a few other 'textile' commitments which was nice but put even more pressure on my time plan.
Monday was taken up partly with delivering work for our EG branch exhibition. I wasn't involved in any hanging for this so it should have been a quick in and out but as it was being held at the gallery we use for Material Girls I took the opportunity for a 'quick' catch up with the arts centre manager which turned into an hour long chat over various things.I returned to see it all hung on Saturday and partake in Tea and Scones that the VAC is now providing in its new cafe-an excellent idea.

Tuesday was Material Girls and I was collecting in and cataloging the work for Jersey which took up the whole morning. The work looks good and is being exhibited at the Textile Showcase under the title 'Primarily Colour'. This mini body of work consists of 10 hangings and 10 vessels (there are 11 of the group now but one is new so isn't exhibiting with this body) and looks good when all together so we are hoping to show it another small gallery when it returns home.
Considering there were only a few pieces it still took me 3 hours that afternoon to pack and sort out all the paperwork (I didn't realise Jersey had such strict customs legislation! I though it was part of the UK). I've led this group for 10years now and am still learning.

Wednesday was more relaxing as I took a break to meet up with my friend Marian (the other 3rd of our little group being sunning herself in Turkey this time) and visit the 'Chinese Robes' at the V&A. They really are exquisite but I really wish sometimes that you had the opportunity to actually get hands on and see how its done. It was some of the most delicate stitching I have seen in a long while and I loved it-real craftsmanship.

Other than that it continues to be stitch, stitch, stitch or rather embellish, embellish,stitch. I had to work out a way this week to knock back the areas that I didn't want focused on with the panels. Embellishing from the back took away too much detail so I have applied a fine mist of silk fibres over those areas which not only gives a hazy misty light to the pieces it helps draw all four panels together. I hoping to finish embellishing the final panel (winter) this week and then I can concentrate on all stitching. However I am nearly there on the textural stitching on the path and then can add the last layer of scattered tiny beds where necessary. So back to the bubble.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Life's a blur

Why is it when you make optimistic,firm decisions life has a habit of biting you in the bum? Well I've been well and truly bitten on a personal front which has caused home life to be sent into free fall over the last month but as I say its personal and not to be discussed here-I'm just explaining my absence from blogging.
Of course personal upsets couldn't have come at a more inopportune time but I am still plowing on with the work come what may.

Since Christmas I have created a piece of embellished fabric over 15ft long which has been under the machine 3 times to achieve the required effect. I have stitched all the text onto this 'pathway' by hand and then distressed and embedded it using the embellisher so it appears like the random and discarded thoughts that passed through my consciousness during the many walks I took through the woods. the next stage -which I have embarked on- is to hand stitch the whole path with texture representing the seasons that the journeys have taken from the first shoots of spring through burgeoning summer and a glorious autumn to the soft decay of winter.

Meanwhile I am starting to create the backgrounds on the 6ft panels (again this takes at least 3 passes under the machine to create the right layers and textures). I have finished the Spring panel which is ready for hand stitching and started the summer one. The main problem I have is good enough light to enable me to select the right colours of fibres and fabrics so I am limited to the hours I can work on that to mid-day as it has been so gloomy.

On top of this there is extra sketching that JC have asked me to do and all the paperwork that is required to be kept up -sketchbooks,journal and the endless forms they keep sending.Plus we, my fellow graduates, are trying to organise our exhibition from different parts of the globe so we are in e-mail overload. Plus we are still expected to keep up our contact with what is occurring in the art world in general - fortunately I have a couple of great friends in fellow students Helen and Marian who make sure I get to see at least some of the exhibitions and since Christmas I have been to Eastwing nine at the Courtauld and the Designer Craftsmen at the Mall Galleries and I'm off to see the Chinese robes exhibition at V&A next week all being well and I'm really looking forward to the break. So a normal day at the moment goes- get up and do some chores, paperwork etc... 3-4 hours on the embellisher until the light goes, more chores, cook dinner, 3-4 hours hand stitching, bed.

Finally there is real life to cope with- family issues,everyday living (the usual cooking washing cleaning etc...)

Meanwhile I've still got Material Girls to organise (the exhibition of work we were invited to do for the Jersey Textile Showcase must be packed up and sent next week) and some other work delivered to the visual arts centre for another exhibition. I am also trying to get everyone progressing on the next exhibition we are orgainsing with our Canadian colleagues.

Actually I'm making myself feel ill reading this and if it wasn't for the fact that I can use my blog towards my written work I don't think I would be writing it at the moment. So until the next update its back to the embellisher.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Happy New Decade!

Whoopee! Christmas is over at long last.The decorations are down and tomorrow I get my house back as Martin goes back to work and Kirsty starts her first nursing placement.Although we have a tiny close family we do have quite a few peripheral ones plus friends and I worked out that over the 'holiday period' I have entertained, cooked and generally run around after over 30 people. Invitations for me to be waited on or even made a coffee -0! can anyone wonder why I am not a Christmas fan?
OK enough moaning. This year I have decided to try and moan less and also not let myself be 'put upon' any more, no more Mrs. martyr.
When I wasn't cooking, massaging egos,cleaning, washing up, etc... (probably like every other mother/wife on the planet) I did manage to get a start on my fabric for my final piece and yesterday I finished producing 5 metres of needle felt (which has to have at least 3 complete passes under the machine to combine the various layers of different fibres). The old back is a bit stiff as I think it has taken about 24 hours in total but at least I can actually start the embroidery now, which is quite exciting.I'm really proud of my 12 needle Babylock Embellisher- everyone kept saying you need access to an industrial one to produce such lengths-well you don't. Lets hope it is up to the other 4 panels it will have to produce by the end.
So now its all systems go for 2011 and I can't wait.