Tuesday, 21 May 2013


A few days ago Dionne Swift had a pop up sale via Facebook and as I viewed the works on offer I was instantly drawn to one of the pieces. (Well, more than one of them, actually).

The piece is called 'Blue Arc' and is absolutely beautiful.  The base fabric has wonderful colours and textures and these set off the energetic stitching inside the arc.  The turquoise surrounding the stitching is particularly vibrant and pulses and vibrates as you catch sight of it.  I am going to keep it in my workroom where I am sure it will constantly inspire me and remind me my favourite place, St Ives.

I am continuing to work on my 'Horizon' piece but have hit that brick wall bit when nothing seems to be working.  I had a play with the pieces this morning but I still can't decide how I'm actually going to put them together.  Back to the drawing board, I think.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

National Dementia Awareness Week

Today marks the start of National Dementia Awareness Week the aim of which is to get people talking about Dementia and Alzheimers which directly affects over 800,000 people in the country today, with many more people likely to develop it as the population ages.  As Beth Britton describes most eloquently on her blog, dementia casts a net throughout a network of everyone connected both currently and throughout their lives, of the person living with dementia.  

We all have our own fears about developing this condition and shy away from obtaining a diagnosis, especially early on when there may be help available.  You may be aware that my DH and I have direct experience of living with dementia as both our mothers' developed the condition.  In both cases I think it's safe to say that the condition was well advanced before we, as carers, joined all the dots and realised what was going on.  My mother's dementia seemed to hit us out of the blue when she suffered a stroke but when we had time to look back and think about things I realised that things had not been right for several years. Mum had been gamely coping with memory problems and difficulties in communicating and understanding and we had not recognised the signs.  Ironic since we had just gone through more than 5 years with my mother-in-law's experiences of Alzheimers.  You would think we would have noticed and helped mum ask the right questions at the doctor's but sadly distance prevented us making the connections that might have got her help sooner.  Our heads were in the sand.

Beth Britton's blog is excellent and she speaks with great candour and honesty about her experiences and also provides practical thoughts on living with dementia.  If you do nothing else check out my links and be aware.  Alzheimers is a frightening condition and we all shy away from facing it but there is hope for managing life with dementia and there is still room for smiles and laughter.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Festival of Quilts (cont)

I had the arguable pleasure of spending an hour(!) in the dentist's chair this morning and to keep myself distracted and away from panic while the dentist did her stuff I spent the time planning my quilts for FOQ.  I know I've already started on one but I am still at the designing stage in my head and the time was useful.  I'm pleased to say the dentist has so far managed to save my tooth too so a successful hour all round.

When I got home and the face had thawed out I decided to do some more printing just in case I havn't got enough when I start to work on the quilt proper.  I took a few photos to share here although they're not wonderful as the light was poor and it's difficult to photograph sheers.

I rather like this image which is a very lightly printed piece of scarf.  Most of the marks you can see are on the drop paper below but I like the effect and I have a plan to print this image onto Extravorganza to maybe use in my piece.

These are some of my print blocks.  I found some lovely 'spider's web' in a craft shop today and it makes the most delicate of marks (block is bottom left, a bit over inked).

These prints made on paper were to use up the inks on the print plate but they will form part of my beaches Sketchbook inspired by my course with Dionne Swift.

Not looking very special but more marks to play with.

Yesterday was Sit and Stitch day at Stitchcraft and for the morning I took my oilbars along as I had been inspired by a post that Maggi Birchenough had put up. (Oops!  I should have said by Angela of Art & Stitchamended 18 May) I first cut and then tore an edge along a piece of copy paper and then, having taped down a sheet of paper initially, rubbed the oilbar along the cut edge and then brushed the paint off onto the paper below.

Once I had sorted out the technique I started to work on one of my previous prints on fabric.

Part way through my efforts Wendy suggested I work in white to suggest the spray and then Jane viewed it from the opposite way to me and suggested I turn it upside down.

Apparently all it needs now is a lighthouse :-)

Thank you to Stitchcraft for this image of yesterday's play which I have unashamedly knicked from their facebook page.

Nothing looks much at the moment but I'm hoping things will start to pop when I add some silk paint.  To be continued.........

Monday, 13 May 2013

Festival of Quilts

Despite intentions to the contrary I am only just starting to get to grips with making a quilt, or maybe two, for this year's Festival of Quilts.  As well as entering for the main Festival I am thinking of joining in with a display of quilts by Contemporary Quilt Group members on a theme of 'Horizon', assuming my effort is accepted.  The Horizon quilts will be displayed in the food court area so will have a large audience.

Horizon can be interpreted in many ways, from the literal horizon to geological strata.  At the moment I am toying with a particular idea and am revisiting a previous challenge for inspiration.  Do you remember this?

My thoughts are running along the lines of layered sheers to make a very light piece.  I am going to be constrained by the requirement to have a minimum of two layers held together with stitch but I am hoping to find a way to keep everything floaty.  

Today I have been playing with some monoprinting and stamping on some of the fabric I intend to use:

I should really have been working outside in my studio but it's in a state of disarray so I took over the kitchen.  

Not long after it looked like this

The piece of styrofoam at the top of the picture is my favourite toy.  I picked it up on the seafront where seagulls had been pecking at ti and had wonderfully distressed the surface.

These silicon pastry brushes made some wonderful marks and I can see them becoming a popular tool too.

So far I've worked in black and white but there will soon be colour.  Some of the photos above have the drop cloth underneath showing through and that is going to become some lovely pages for my sketchbook.  

I am aiming to work in the style of Pojagi when I assemble the quilt so I just hope I have time to get it all done.  I have another idea for my entry for the FOQ itself and will need to get cracking with that very soon too.  Maybe I should give up sleeping........

Saturday, 11 May 2013

St Ives 2

Along with our visit to Tremenheere Garden we made a return visit to Barbara Hepworth's Garden which is different every time we go and this time was distinguished by the fact that the conservators were in the gardens cleaning up the sculptures.   If, like me, you thought conservators worked in a quiet, contemplative way, think again!

If  you look closely you may be able to see the jet of water pounding through the centre of the sculpture above.  The noise of the compressor shattered the peace of the garden.  Fortunately the guys were on a break for a lot of our visit so we weren't disturbed too much.

This young lady was much gentler in her work.

DH was not deterred from his photography by the workers.

It seemed very strange to see some of the pieces with scaffold towers next to them.

The rain and the effect of the soft light made for some design potentials.

I think these guys had already been cleaned up and I loved the grouping and the feeling of three people having a chat.  I did attempt a small contour drawing of these but don't have it photographed.

 As you can see from the photos we had a little rain while we were away and on our first day it 'pittled' it down, as they say in Derbyshire.  As we couldn't get into our flat until 3.00pm we took ourselves off to the Tate to see the William Scott exhibition.  If you check out the link you will see some of his work.  I didn't know his work before but I really enjoyed the soft quality of his colours.

Always on the lookout for inspiration, I was delighted that one of the stewards allowed us to photgraph the reflections in the curved windows that echo the shape of the gas storage (gasometer) that was originally on the site.

 A view of Porthmeor beach on a very grey day through the windows.

How would you like to live in one of these retirement flats?  They must have the best view anywhere in the country, looking out over Porthmeor Beach.  Do you think they'd let us put our names down?

Someone had made their own art on the window!

Circle inspiration was much in evidence in the Tate.

And finally, they put the flags out!  They must have known we were coming ;-)

Thursday, 2 May 2013

St Ives

Hasn't it been a beautiful day today?  Well it has been here, it feels as though, just maybe, Spring may actually have arrived and Summer may not be very far behind.  The best part is that it's actually feeling warm!

Warm is one thing it wasn't particularly, while we were in St Ives, but that didn't stop us getting out and about.  We don't take the car when we go to Cornwall but the local bus service took us along very bumpy lanes to Tremenheere Gardens which has opened quite recently.   The gardens are set on a steep hillside and and the planting is predominantly subtropical and still a work in progress.  

It was a long steady walk to the top of the site where we were rewarded with a wonderful view out to St Michael's Mount.  Along the way we passed both natural and man-made sculptures and sculptural plants.

The star feature of the Tremenheere gardens is the James Turrell domed chamber that is open to the sky.  It is said to be particularly effective at twilight but I enjoyed the experience even on an almost cloudless day.  

Our experience was made all the better by 3 ladies who are part of a new a capella singing group that meets every Thursday to enjoy singing in the open air.  They had come up to the dome to try out the accoustics and we were treated to a very atmospheric rendition of Kyrie Eleison.  Beautiful!

To be continued......