Sunday, 26 October 2014

Nature and Artifice

I have just returned from Weavers Gallery in Ledbury where we have set up the latest exhibition of the Contemporary Quilt Group, Stitch in the Middle. This year's exhibition is 'Nature and Artifice' with the work on display influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement.
As you can see, the exhibition opens tomorrow so we hope you will be able to come and see how we have interpreted the theme. Here's a taster of what is on show.

We have also worked on a  whisper challenge with interesting results. We formed two groups each starting with the same photograph taken by one of the group members during a visit to Wightwick Manor in Staffordshire. Only the first person in each group saw the photograph, the rest of the group had only the previous person's quilt as inspiration.

It is fascinating to see how one quilt inspires the next. I will take some detailed photographs tomorrow when I am stewarding, and I will also include the original photograph that inspired the challenge.
Hope to see you there!


Monday, 20 October 2014

A weekend of treats

Well it was my birthday!
On Saturday we visited Gloucester Cathedral to see Crucible 2, an exhibition of fabulous sculptures. This is the second exhibition of its kind at this venue and I can see exactly why as the Cathedral makes a wonderful setting.
Walking in through the main entrance we were met by Pilgrim by David Backhouse . What an amazing face.

Then through the door to be confronted with The Thief by David Mach. An imposing, larger than life sculpture.
Mach uses mass produced items, in this case wire coat hangers, from which to construct his work.
One of my favourite pieces was Sue Freeborough's Let There be Spaces in your Togetherness.
It was a difficult piece to photograph but I found it a powerful sculpture especially where it was positioned within the chancel.
All of the Cathedral is used to display the 100 sculptures, from the Crypt, the Cloisters to the College Green.
In the Cloister Garth was Beyond Silence by Ann Christopher, such a contrast to the architecture surrounding it in this peaceful garden in the centre of the Cloisters.
Lynn Chadwick's two sculptures Sitting Couple on a Bench and Jubilee IV dominate the green near to the Cathedral entrance.
This exhibition is on until 31st October and definitely worth a visit as is Gloucester Cathedral which has wonderful architecture, stained glass windows and other works of art.

As the sun was shining yesterday we decided to find some autumnal colours and visited Bodenham Arboretum which is situated between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth. We were not disappointed!

We needed a walk after brunch with the family and as you can see, it was enjoyed by all!
After the celebrations I must get down to making a play mat for a new member of the family due to arrive next month, a brother or sister for my beautiful granddaughter.
Hope you have all had as much fun as I have this weekend.

Speak soon

Sunday, 12 October 2014


I know that some people clean the windows or tackle a pile of ironing when they are working through their ideas for new work - I attack piles of fabric, books, papers etc lying on the floor of my workroom!

This leads to a major sort out because I then decide to remove the Horn cabinet that I have used for more than twenty years and invest in a Sewezi table to make better use of the space in my workroom.

I have also ordered an extension table which I will be able to set up either next to the machine table or somewhere else in the room depending on what I am doing.
It was quite frightening to see quite how much white fabric I have in my workroom. In fact enough to fill a blanket box! I have to admit I had to stand on the fabric to squash it down far enough for the lid to close! What I haven't admitted to are the bolts of white fabric which are hidden away in the cloakroom. I think it must be time to start on some new work and have a dyeing session.
All of my local courses have now started and the students are producing some exciting work as usual. One of the exercises was to 'draw' with scissors and collage the resulting papers. Most people worked on a large scale as you can see.
Liz's clock mechanics.
Jan  and Jenny working on their collages.
Love Ruth's spirals.
Trish was inspired by a recent trip to Paris.
Jill's take on a circuit board.
I'm looking forward to seeing how these collages develop over the next few weeks.

Thanks for visiting.


Monday, 22 September 2014

A few days in Lisbon

An old school friend and I spent a few days in Lisbon recently and found it to be a fascinating city. The architecture is amazing, even the buildings that are only shells, hold a certain magic. We found the hop on, hop off buses the best way to see the different areas which was great when the sun shone but not so good on the rainy days, especially when we didn't realise that the seats were wetter than we thought and both had a nasty surprise when we stood up!!
Here are a few highlights from our trip.
Torre de Belem, built in the 16th century in the Manueline style on the banks of the River Tagus.

This amazing Discoveries Monument, a little further east along the river, was built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of  Henry the Navigator, who led Portugal's discovery expeditions into the New world.

It is in the Belem district that the famous Pastel de Nata (Portuguese egg custard tart) were first made and of course they had to be sampled. I understand that it is compulsory to eat at least two with a bica (coffee).

Several thousands of these tarts are made daily at the Pasteis de Belem where we partook of the delicacies!
Other highlights of our visit were the amazing pavements,
the building art,
a trip to see the palaces of Sintra,

in particular Pena Palace (below),
which had a fascinating courtyard with walls and floor covered in a wide variety of tiles.

Back in the city centre there were wonderful views from the many hills which could be enjoyed from the steps while eating dinner.
Castelo de Sao Jorge can be seen in the distance.

Back home now and preparing for the start of my new courses this week.
Chris was busy while I was away setting up his new blog, do take a look as all comments and feedback would be much appreciated.
Thanks for visiting, I'll be back soon.


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Summer time

So far 2014 has been a very busy year with lots of teaching and exhibitions to prepare for so I was determined that following Festival of Quilts I was going to have a couple of weeks at home to relax and 'do my own thing'! And I am happy to say that is exactly what I have done. Of course that doesn't mean to say that I have lazed around doing nothing but I have caught up on many of the things I have intended to do for a long time.
I have made new curtains for the lounge using an amazing eyelet tape I discovered in a local soft furnishing shop. It was extremely easy to use and I am very pleased with the results.
I have also experimented with an overlocker that I bought secondhand over 18 months ago (where does the time go!)
I must admit I was a little afraid of this machine but once I took the time to play with it (after being shown by a good, patient friend!)  I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to use. After producing several metres of perfectly overlocked seams I dug out fabrics and made a skirt which has beautifully overlocked edges and a tunic made almost totally using the overlocker.
I have managed to sneak a few days out as well and yesterday I went to London to Tate Modern to see an exhibition of Matisse's later work, The Cut Outs. This was definitely not to be missed but the exhibition does finish on Sunday 7th September. During the latter years of his life, Henri Matisse worked with scissors to cut and sculpt painted paper to create masterpieces such as the Blue Nudes, all four of which were exhibited and were my favourites. I was amazed at the size of many of the cut outs considering how incapacitated he was towards the end of his life, which was when these pieces of work were produced.
As we were fairly close to the Tower of London we took a stroll along the banks of the Thames to  view the installation of ceramic poppies 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' created by Paul Cummins and set by Tom Piper throughout the moat surrounding the Tower. By Armistice Day, 11th November, there will be 888,246 poppies 'planted' to represent the number of British servicemen who lost their lives in the First World War. A sobering thought.

Each poppy is for sale and the money raised will support six service charities in the UK.

Thanks for visiting.


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Post show syndrome!

I think most of the boxes are emptied, quilts rolled and put away and life is returning to normal - what ever that is - after another successful Festival of Quilts.
It was a busy few days and here are a few photos of my highlights.
The Mettler thread stand, ready for action on day one. We each had excellent gallery space this year.
Each day we taught at least one hour long workshop and I happened to be teaching my workshop 'Tantalising Tulips', when filming was taking place. Thank you for all the ladies who signed up for the class and produced some lovely panels. I hope they are all now finished!
I was very excited this year to have my quilt 'Six Houses' accepted into European Art Quilts VIII. This was a fabulous gallery and the quilts will now travel to several other venues across Europe over the next 18 months.
And then of course there was Art Textiles:Made in Britain Our first exhibition looked amazing with a wide variety of textiles in all shapes and sizes as you can see on the website. I thought the mood boards worked particularly well.
Here we have Rosie Thomas, Stephanie Redfern, Christine Restall and Louise Baldwin
Sandra Meech and Cas Holmes

Hilary Beattie, Pauline Barnes and Ineke Berlyn
Mine and Jenny Rolfe
I only took a few photos of the rest of Festival, these were determined by which route I took to the loo! But these are a few of the quilts that caught my eye.
One of the quilts from Ann Johnston's gallery, The Contact, Quilts of the Sierra Nevada. These were large pieces with an amazing three dimensional effect.
Marian Hall's 'Barge in the Mist' for me was an atmospheric piece in Fine Art Quilt Masters and I loved Karen Farmer's use of colour in 'The View from Here' displayed in the same gallery.
I'm always attracted to quilts using indigo dyed fabrics and this two person hanging 'Indigo Two Step' made by Annette Morgan and Louise Batten was an interesting way of using the fabrics.

Another quilt in this category was 'Rural Landscapes' by Mary Palmer and Anne Kiely. The simplicity and the map like quality of this piece really appealed to me.
The winner of the Art Quilt category, Merce Gonzaez Desedamas produced a beautiful two layer pojagi hanging, Sunrise, Moonrise and was another of my favourite quilts at the show.
There were many other quilts that I would have brought home with me and I'm sure when I see other peoples photos I will be amazed that we were at the same show!
Now its time to start working on pieces for a new exhibition in 2015 - watch this space!

Thank you for visiting,
Speak soon