Friday, 25 November 2011

Fruit Challenge at Midsomer Quilting

Hello everyone. I haven't posted for a few days for which I am very sorry! In my defence, in between workshops and talks this week, I have of course been busy with Sirius the new puppy. He is doing very well - in a week he has learned to 'sit', 'heel' and walk on the lead. I fear he is more intelligent than I am - perhaps I'll teach him to type then he can blog for himself!

I had a very enjoyable afternoon on Tuesday with the Quirky Quilters so thank you to them for having me! Also my two Christmas workshops this week were great fun, despite the sewing machine gremlins striking nearly everyone during the Tuesday evening session - but it's good practice for me to find my way around different models of machines. But why oh why can't manuacturers standardise where they put the presser foot lever? It' s very embarassing groping around the back of a strange machine only to find that some bright design spark has decided that on this model, they'll put the lever to one side! Aaaargh!

I am delighted to have been asked to teach a couple of workshops in the New Year at the wonderful Midsomer Quilting at Chilcompton near Bath. I love going there, it is such a treat and the coffee is always on! If any of you live or are in the area I would strongly recommend a visit. I also made a little wall hanging for the Fruit Challenge they are hosting to raise funds for CLIC Sargent - a very worthwhile cause supporting the families of young people with cancer. I heard from Midsomer this morning that entries have been numerous and of a very high standard, and from such noteworthy quilters as Alicia Merrett, Dawn Cameron-Dick and Lynne Quinn. Many of the entries will be offered for sale by secret auction with proceeds going to CLIC Sargent. If you can. please do visit the exhibition at the shop and support this wonderful cause. It runs from Thursday 1st until Tuesday 6th December from 10.30am until 4pm and admission is free. Details of how to find the shop are available on their website

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


I've been meaning to try this for some time, then my artist friend and neighbour started talking to me about alliums one day and how they looked like fireworks and she gave me a photo of one. So this got me thinking...

I started with a square (12") of a pale green batik and spray basted it onto wadding and backing. Then I drew a circle lightly in pencil. I got a handful of scraps out of my purples box,chopped them up with the rotary cutter and spread them out inside the circle. I used lots of different shades, dark and light and bluish and reddish. When chopped up, the colours blended beautifully like paint. I laid a square of organza over the top and pinned in place then freehand stitched around the circle. Then I trimmed off the excess organza about an 1/8" from the edge of the circle. I then FMQd radiating lines in lime green and purple from the centre out and stitched little purple florets along the purple lines. I stencilled gold floret shapes in the 'border' with gold shivastik (I used a stencil I got from a carboot sale - it is actually starfish!), then pebbled in pale green over the top to give some texture. Then I hand stitched a pale green bead in the centre of each FMQd floret and bound in a dark purple batik. I really enjoyed making it and confetti is definitely something I will do more of - if nothing else, it's a good way of using up those scraps too small for anything else! I am teaching a workshop in the Art Centre in Ilminster on Thursday 12th April 2012 and confetti will be the subject - it is such fun!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Close of my exhibtion and Christmas Workshops

Just wanted to say that my exhibtion at the Meeting House in Ilminster closes this Saturday. I have been so thrilled with the way it has gone and would definitely like to work with them again in the future. I will be going in at midday on Saturday to take it down so last chance to come and have a look if you haven't already!

Also, I am running Christmas Workshops at Whitelackington Village Hall near Ilminster on Tuesday November 22nd from 6.30pm until 9.30pm and Thursday 24th November from 10am until 3pm. I can take a couple more people for each if anyone would like to join us. We will be making various styles of fabric bowls both simple and complex, a little trinket box, tree decorations and some quilted mats. All abilities are welcome. See my website for details or contact me here via my blog. I'll post pictures of what we've made after the workshops but here's a little taster...

Monday, 7 November 2011

A new addition to our family

Yesterday we made the trip up to Lincolnshire to choose out Munsterlander puppy and here he is - 'Raycris Branko' who will be known to us as 'Sirius' after the Dog Star, NOT the character in Harry Potter and absolutely nothing to do with IPods!!! We were so impressed with the breeder and owner and his mum, Hanna was an absolutely gorgeous girl with a temperament to match. We chose this little chap as he was full of character and beautiful with it. The breeder called him the 'thug' - he was certainly the fattest so is apparently getting more than his fair share from the 'milk bar'. But he doesn't throw his weight around in a nasty way - he just tries it on a bit and is contrite when corrected (perhaps I can identify with that myself!). This behaviour to me speaks of great intelligence and when properly channelled, will make a fantastic dog. Now begins the looooong two week wait until we can go back and collect him!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Talk Art at the Meeting House

I just wanted to thank everyone who came along and made the afternoon so enjoyable - and especially to all those who asked me such challenging and interesting questions!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Puppy news!

Nothing to do with quilting but then I DO have other interests in my life (oh really???!!!). We have been on a waiting list for months for a Large Munsterlander puppy - this is a Hunt, Point, Retrieve breed, slightly larger than a flat-coated retriever but with the colouring of a spaniel - ie black and white. Well we heard a few weeks ago that the pups were born and this morning, I received my first picture! And they are sooooo cute! They are around a 5 hour drive away and we hope to go and visit the weekend after next, though we will have to wait a couple more weeks before going back to bring him home. He will be named 'Sirius the Dog Star' - Sirius for short. My children are thrilled as Sirius is also a character in Harry Potter.

Back to quilting, a reminder about my Talk at the Meeting House in Ilminster this Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are £2.50 and include a drink. Do please come if you can and support this fantastic venue.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Misty Fuse, Brian Clarke and Quilts as Art!

I'm currently working on a  commissioned landscape wall hanging and am using Misty Fuse for the applique - fabulous stuff! I am pressing it onto fabric scraps and then freehand cutting the shapes I need. So far so good and I can recommend it. The piece will then be thread painted and trial runs indicate that it quilts through almost as if it wasn't there, unlike other fusible products which can be stiff and affect the stitch quality. I'm nearly done with the applique and then I can get to the thread painting which for me is the fun part!

Yesterday evening I watched a documentary about the Lancashire artist, Brian Clarke. What an inspiration! He paints but his most beautiful work (to me) are his stained glass pieces. I love stained glass anyway, I think because the designs translate so well into fabric so I see a comparison with my work. The pieces of coloured glass equate to the fabric pieces and the leading is the seams.  Some of his work moved me to tears and he spoke with such honesty, insight and conviction on what it means to be an artist, about remaining true to yourself and your personal 'absolute' - ie not allowing convention, opinions or clients (!) to dilute your vision. He also spoke about the art of stained glass, how it is of course predominantly linked with the church and how he has worked to move it into secular areas and to use the art in new and exciting ways to keep it alive and give it a relevance for the modern world. I saw parallels here with quilting...

At an exhibtion of art quilts I visited recently - the work of Alicia Merrett who creates wonderful, brightly covered graphic art quilts - I overheard two, well, may I call them mature ladies discussing the pieces and contemplating how on Earth they would look on a bed! This highlighted for me a hurdle that art quilters have to overcome - that a 'quilt' in the public consciousness is so associated with 'bed covering' that we have to begin by convincing the viewer that it can be solely an art piece, that it doesn't have to have a practical function. When looking at a painting, people only consider it's artistic merits - no one expects it to have a 'use' beyond decoration. This is one of the challenges of the medium. Luckily I relish a challenge! And I must say that I also like the 'shock factor' that quilting offers - the opportunity it offers to change people's perceptions as to what a quilt is. I think this will be the theme for my talk at the Meeting House next week...

Monday, 17 October 2011

Welcome to my new blog!

Hello everyone. After a loooong time of good intention, I've finally got around to creating a blog!
Perhaps the final push was that yesterday, I hosted a preview of a month-long exhibition of my work at The Art Centre at the Meeting House in Ilminster, Somerset. It was wonderful to see the greatest part of my work in one place and displayed in this beautiful historic building. Many friends and neighbours came along to support me, for which I am very grateful. I am quite good at exhuding an impression of supreme self-confidence while inside I am a quivering wreck, so the friendly, smiling faces all around me meant a lot. It was so wonderful to have such a positive reaction to my work - not only to my face (which may be only out of politeness!) but also overheard by others and reported back to me. My partner Hans was, as always, my rock and talked to all the people that I neglected and my children behaved impeccably. My 7 year old daughter Lily was somewhat confused as she was expecting an 'expedition' but I think she got over the disappointment!

I will be popping in and out throughout the month and will be giving a talk on my pet subject - Quilting as Art - on Sunday 30th October at 3pm. This is a ticketed event but at £2.50 with a drink thrown in, even if I'm rubbish, it must be worth it! The proceeds will go to the wonderful Art Centre which is a fabulous local resource for artists and visitors alike and is run by volunteers who do a sterling job - so I have no qualms about using my first ever blog post as a bit of PR! My exhibition is in the Main Gallery and runs until 12th November 2011.