Monday, 29 April 2013

Where to start?

You probably havn't noticed much difference as the gaps are pulling out between my postings here, but we have been away on the first of this year's holidays.  (Oops, that's a lie, we went to Cardiff, didn't we?).  

We've just got back from our favourite place, St Ives, and as usual had a fabulous time, meeting up with old and new friends, visiting gardens and galleries and getting slightly crafty.  So, where to begin?  Since this is supposed to be a creative blog I think I'll start there first.

Last year, as you may remember, I did a day's workshop with Dionne Swift at the Festival of Quilts on Developping Sketchbooks.  Dionne also offers this workshop online with the ability to have access to the videos and Facebook group for 2 weeks so I decided to 'repeat' the experience but with much more time to devote to it.  I started watching the videos before we went away and carried on with the course while we were in St Ives.

You can probably guess the theme of the sketchbook but I have to say that it was a really good decision to work the course again.  Dionne's videos are always concise and encouraging and there is a clear path moving through the procedures for building the sketchbook which can be used with any future theme you may care to choose.  My head is still full of ideas and possibilities for future work with circles and I have enough pages to make two sketchbooks and probably more on this theme.  It was lovely to have the extra time to play and the more I played the more ideas came to me.  Equally the Facebook page set up for all the participants to interact if they wished was invaluable.  It was great to see some of the work others were doing and to get feedback both from Dionne, who was tireless in her support, and from the group.  

I've made a start on a new book on a new theme and I'm hopeful that this time I will keep up the good work.

The crafting theme continued while I was away with a fused glass taster session with Terri Bunn in St Ives.  It was lovely to share this with my very dear friend Carolyn Saxby and a new friend, Margaret Garrood.

Margaret and Carolyn in Terri's studio.

This is the lovely Terri  showing us some of her work.

 I think you could say it was a bit of a breezy day.

This is Carolyn and I with the finished product.
And the lovely Margaret with her fabulous knobbly coaster.  The knobbly blobs were accidental but Carolyn and I loved them, very tactile!

Above, my coaster with spirals which are just visible.

Margaret gave me this lovely gift of fabrics (dyed by her), sari silk, buttons and a card holder.

As you might expect DH and I took many, many photographs while we were away, despite having taken 1000's already so there'll be more to come in a future post.   I will leave you with one or two to whet your appetite.

The intrepid photographer!

The view from our rental.

St Ives in a foggy mood.

And finally, an exceptionally low tide.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Quilters' Guild AGM

This past weekend I took myself off to Nottingham to the Quilters' Guild AGM.  I am not usually big on official AGM-type events but as my Region was organising everything and there were lectures to hear and traders to support I thought I would venture forth.  The added bonus was that the venue was on my doorstep so I packed my case and trotted off (I decided to stay as it seemed less stressful than travelling each day).

The AGM took place at the Jubilee Campus of Nottingham University which is a very attractive site.

Most of the events took place in the range of buildings shown above.

I wasn't lucky enough to get into any of the workshops but I heard that they were fun and rewarding.  I did, however go to some of the lectures and helped out at Gillian Carke's as a 'quilt angel'.  The lectures were held in the very impressive auditorium.

You may recognise Laura and Linda Kemshall in the photo above who enlightened us as to What Makes a Quilt.

The Young Quilters were busy over the weekend and produced some impressive work.

The work in the two images above is by the Young Quilters and was on a theme of Myths and Legends.  Robin Hood and The Medusa were two of the prizewinners.

You may remember my quilt for the 'My World is Green' challenge.  There was quite a large entry and I found it very hard to choose my favourite.

I'm not sure whether my quilt benefitted from its positioning ;-) but it was in stark contrast to the gentleman above!

I can't attribute this quilt above as they were not named but I really liked it. (10 April 2013 - I've just been contacted by the artist who made this quilt, it's Liesbeth Williams   There is an article by her here.)

This is the reverse of the top quilt.

These amazing quilts in the 4 images above (only snippets are shown) are by Gillian Clark, whose lecture I helped out with (pinning up quilts and such).  Gillian had spent her working life studying Mediaeval history and became fascinated with mediaeval manuscripts which she reinterprets for her quilts.  Sadly I cannot find any internet presence for her.

 These wonderful fish were made by German Quilters as part of a challenge.  Apparently they were given a piece of tartan and had to incorporate it into a quilt on a theme of fish.  There were goofy fish and beautiful fish.  I rather liked the effect with the last fish where angelina fibres were being blown in the breeze coming through an adjacent open door.  It made the fronds of seaweed come to life. :-)

As you might expect, no trip to a quilt event would be complete without a little shopping and I didn't want to disappoint you.....

These fat quarters each cost only £1 as part of a fundraiser for Quilts For London which was so successful last year.

I have been pondering over Gwen Hedley's book for some time and finally gave in and bought it.

I loved these ribbons and I have plans for the button that involve making a stamp for printing, I hope.

These threads and the needles were a generous gift from Coats Crafts who also donated a raffle prize which sadly I did not win.  Of course they have enlarged their database by inveigling us to give them our emails in return for the goodies :-)

Next year's AGM is in Portsmouth if you are in the guild and fancy a weekend away or even if you feel like joining the Quilters' Guild.  The official stuff didn't go on too long (to be honest I only went to the first part of the official meeting as I felt a bit grotty and decided to get some air) and it was a warm and friendly weekend away with like-minded people.  I have to acknowledge the tremendous amount of work that the team of organisers from Region 10 ( my region) of the Quilters' guild put in to bring this event to fruition.

As a footnote, I also need to note the passing of Lady Thatcher, the first and quite possibly the only, female Prime Minister of Great Britain, today at the age of 87.  Margaret Thatcher was born here in Grantham and regardless of politics was a remarkable woman who has earned a place in history. 

Friday, 5 April 2013

Life gets hectic, don't it?

April already!  Can you believe it?  I seem to have been very busy but I don't seem to have been particularly creative in the last few weeks, although I do have a few things to share with you.

First of all and most important, my baby brother and his partner made me an auntie towards the end of March.  As with all babies J is the most gorgeous little boy and I can't wait for a cuddle!

He looks so much like his Daddy and I am delighted for his parents as I know my brother has always wanted to be a Daddy and now he has this beautiful little boy.  I made J a quilt with these Riley Blake stackers and a cloud fabric to my own design but I was in such a rush to post it that I forgot to take a photo.  Hopefully my brother will send me one soon so I can show you.  Doh!

I promised myself this year that I would explore mark making but I havn't been very good at it so far.  I did however get my Gelli Plate out and have a little dabble and I'm quite pleased with the results so far.

The one above is the print from cleaning off the stencils.  Cool!

These are all made with Artist Cellar stencils and at the moment are not much more than backgrounds to be worked on but I do love the marks I've achieved.  The last one is done on tissue paper.  Not only can I play about more with these prints they will make great photo textures!

I am supposed to be joining in with the Contemporary Quilt Group Journal Quilts challenge this year and with the deadline looming I have only just made a start.  Goddness knows whether I am going to make it!  Yesterday I got out my oilbars, long neglected, and made a start on preparing some surfaces to stitch on my theme of Making Marks.

I used children's texture plates and a bottle holder from an old fridge to get the marks and decided to stick to one colour for these first four.  They are 8" x 12" in a landscape format and after the weekend I will be furiously practising my free-machining in the hope of completing them all before the deadline, otherwise I will be shuffling off in an embarrassed way and withdrawing from the challenge.

I have loads more to tell you about, including a coach trip to Cardiff last weekend and a fabulous day out with my lovely friends Linda and Maggi on Wednesday to see the Living Threads exhibition at Long Eaton which is definitely worth a visit if you are withing reach of Long Eaton, Nottingham.  Sadly I don't have any photos of the exhibition as none were allowed.

Sorry to be so brief but I should be getting ready to go to the Quilters' Guild AGM today so I must dash.  I may be a bit delayed in answering any comments as the next three days are going to be a bit hectic but I do value all your comments and support.  It's really lovely to know such friendly and warm people.  I hope I'll see some of you in Nottingham later today or over the weekend.  Kick me in the shins if you see me, I'm a bit bad at noticing people sometimes ;-)  

PS  If you are within reach of Grantham, Stitchcraft are having a 4 day Spring fabric next Wednesday 10 April and I've heard they have some fab fabrics.