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

Saturday, 26 July 2014


This is a most appropriate word for this week with lots of preparation for my 5 day workshop at Oxford Summer School where I am teaching Patchwork Pictures. I can't wait to see what inspiration each student brings along to work on during the week. My car is packed with lots of fabric - hand dyed and black and white, thread for both hand and machine, Markal sticks and stencils and a head full of ideas to share. Should be a good week.
As soon as I have unpacked from the Summer School I will be putting the finishing touches to quilts for the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. This year I have a quilt selected for the European Art Quilt VIII exhibition and also several pieces in Art Textiles: Made in Britain plus a display of quilts on the Mettler Thread stand where I will be teaching and demonstrating all four days of the quilt show.
My Quick and Easy workshop this year is Tantalising Tulips. The panels are all screen printed and the student packs are ready.
I'm looking forward to meeting lots of new students and introducing them to the joy of simple free motion machine quilting using a selection of Mettler threads.
I will also be demonstrating my Cut and Come Again easy piecing patchwork technique so do come along to the Mettler stand and see what I'm up to!
I made an indigo vat earlier in the week and a friend and I had a great day out in the garden folding, clamping and pole wrapping pieces of fabric. This is one of my favourites.

It would appear that I can never have too much indigo dyed fabric!

Look forward to seeing many of you at Festival, thanks for reading.


Friday, 18 July 2014

Here, there and everywhere!

It certainly feels as though I have been here, there and everywhere over the last few weeks. I hate to think how many hours I've spent in my car in the heat with no air conditioning but I had a free day today so it's been to the garage and is hopefully now fixed. So that's probably the end of the summer weather!!
The Pojagi workshop I taught in Southampton produced some lovely pieces of work.
Everyone enjoyed working with the hand dyed cotton organdie and to have the excuse to sit and hand stitch all day. This is not a quick technique but the results are worth it.
The students went home armed with a lot more fabric so I'm hoping that these will develop into larger pieces.
I stayed with old friends so it was good to catch up and have the obligatory walk by the sea. Living in the Midlands this is an essential part of any trip to the coast.
I love a train trip to London and I managed to fit one in and visit the Making Colour exhibition at  The National Gallery and an added bonus, the Summer Exhibition at The Royal Academy. Something that has been on my 'to do' list for a long time. Both not to be missed, but for very different reasons!
Another excursion on my 'to do' list was the Eden Project near St. Austell in Cornwall and we escaped down there for a few days last week. This is an amazing place to visit with so much to do and see. It is also a photographers paradise with so many unusual plants to capture and drool over later. Here are one or two of my favourites.

Needless to say the rainforest biome was my favourite.
The last few days have been spent stitching, printing and dyeing - what joy! I have finished quilting 'Matera' that I printed last year in Italy following a trip to this wonderful town. I have used a variegated thread and quilted vertical lines over the whole piece. I felt that the quilting needed to be simple to allow for the design and colours to dominate.
This will be on display on the Mettler stand at Festival of Quilts next month. Do come along and see it.
I have been busy printing some banners for the stand this week.
Here they are having just been printed and pegged up to see how they look. This piece may be on the stand as well. I placed the Lutrador over a length of cotton poplin so that any excess printing ink would not be wasted. A few hours later and an application of dye and this was the result drying on the washing line!
More out and about next week before teaching at Oxford Summer School and then it's Festival of Quilts. Who says summer is for relaxing!

Thanks for reading.
Bye for now