November 2017

Phew nearly the end of the year, don’t know where the last 12 months have gone. It’s been so full of changes, I am still adjusting to it all. My partner and I both reached 65 and retired, within a few months of each other. He got there first and threw himself into a huge spring clean of the house, wow long may that energy last!!

We are loving our new life, suddenly freed up from full time employment and enjoying spending time doing our own thing. It still feels very new and exciting and  I hope that feeling never changes. I have to say I don’t like the word retirement… all the wrong connotations, as if you’re on the shelf and redundant whereas I am full of energy and so busy  spending a lot of time in the studio with  art  projects as well as working a few hours for a friend who has her own pottery business.

We spent the summer enjoying our garden and had a brand new kitchen fitted. We have been ever so sociable with lots of friends to stay,  getting all those cook books out and experimenting with dishes. The good man has taken to bread making and the house is full of lovely inviting aromas.

Our two daughters in the last year have finally flown the nest both of them having bought houses with boyfriends one in Nottingham and other in a village 20 minutes from Leamington so we have the house to ourselves. Already spreading my art across several rooms now. Yikes.

We have had lots of mini breaks down to the Cotswolds and Wales walking and exploring. All good fun as well as trips to London galleries , including visiting a wonderful Giacometti  exhibition at Tate Modern and Matisse in his Studio at the RA. I did a fab three day paper lamination course with Christine Chester which has given me lots of new ideas, just need to put it all into practice.

Christmas Wreath
Christmas Wreath

November looks set to be especially busy for me, I am running a Christmas Wreath Decorating course on Saturday 26th November at the Pump Room Gallery in the centre of Leamington. This will be my third year; it’s great fun and I get the participants to make lovely textile, clay and metal decorations that are interchangeable and can be used every year.  Book a place here

 

This month an online tutorial I was commissioned to write  called  ‘Printing and Stitching a Picture’ will go live on the web catch it at  www.workshopontheweb.com

Screen Printed Cushions
Screen Printed Cushions

I am also doing the Gate Farm Christmas event on 27th November, a first for me so busy framing pictures, making more wreaths and Xmas stockings and screen printing up more of my cushions which seem to sell well.

 

Then at the beginning of December will be doing a Pop Up Gallery for the first three weekends of December so finishing off work and prepping for that.

It will be at Future Rabbit Studio. We will be open Saturdays 11-5pm; Sundays 11.-4pm 2nd – 3rd; 9th – 10th; 16th – 17th December.

I will be exhibiting with seven other artists, all very exciting. There will be painting, prints, paper collages, cut outs ceramics, textiles and jewelry. Come and visit us at 10 Grove Street, Leamington Spa.

More of that in my next blog!

October 2017

Just finished making a series of play textiles for a profoundly disabled young woman who has no speech and limited mobility but she like to play with fabrics and enjoys noisy bags to put objects into.

After visiting her with her mum, I put together some ideas and made a ‘stimulation’ play blanket, a book and a noisy bag to hold objects like rattles and bells . All of this was  brought together to celebrate her birthday.

She loves soft blue denim so I integrated this into the blanket and the book and as she is part Indian I wanted to use silky jewel colours to represent this aspect of her cultural identity.

I really enjoyed sourcing materials and pulling together these ideas in the hope that she would enjoy playing with them and they could  help her full-time carers build some activities around the objects.

I found this a challenge but really worthwhile project. She had a lovely birthday party and is really; enjoying playing especially with the bag! 

 

 

 

May 2016

May has been such a busy month for me. I am still working full time but now only have 12 months left to go until I retire form my current job as a Learning and Development Consultant. So squeezing in time for my art has been a real challenge. It’s meant working feverishly into the middle of the night, or up early in the mornings and most weekends, for several months now.

During May I have been busy working on the Healing Project for University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire to create 5 pieces for the Radiology Department. Emma Linnane, Arts Officer, a really lovely woman, has been helping me consult with staff and patients and together we organised a couple of half days for me to go into the hospital and set up a table showing samples and sketchbook ideas and talking to staff and patients about what they would like to see incorporated into the work. It was such an extraordinary experience and despite patients waiting to with go into chemo or radiotherapy, people happily gave me their time and lots of very helpful and positive feedback and got involved in the whole concept.UHCW3UHCW 1
I have also been part of the organising committee for our local EG Branch for an exhibition celebrating 300 year anniversary of the landscape gardener,  Capability Brown at Charlecote Park, this show opens on 26th May, come and see us.This month I also gave two talks to two different Embroiderers Guilds at the  Hinckley Branch and Banbury and District Branch. This was a good opportunity to organise myself and my work and  update a Power Point presentation. Thinking about what I wanted to say definitely helped me to focus and consider aspects of my work in a more challenging way. I have  also been working on series of samples and little zigzag books both for Open Studios and for the talks and this has pushed me in different directions. using different printing and stitching techniques, bondaweb for building up colours and textures.

I have also been working to complete pieces for Open Studios which starts on  18th June, so not long to go and have been  experimenting, making more abstract pieces to extend my repertoire.

 

Beetle garden black and white zig zag Garden colour zigzag patterns 1 Three women Tweet zig zag book

All in all its been a very hectic time., yesterday I took the day off to go with my daughter, Lotte to Daylesford Farm Summer festival , it rained and was bit chilly and muddy underfoot but that didn’t stop us sampling a wonderful rhubarb prosecco and learning about bees, very unusual different sheep and cow breeds and purchasing some amazing bric a brac, galvanized planters, rusty metal star and woven twig wreaths. All great fun and relaxing!!!

Today I have been sorting through work for Open Studios, taking lots of photos and updating the website, in between enjoying cups of coffee,the balmy sunshine in the back garden. A much better day today.

 

 

Book Covers  Small covers

Warwickshire Open Studios 2015

This has been a great success, we have just finished! Phew
I exhibited with Len Mackin, a talented oil painter and Corinna Spencer a print maker and creative ceramicist. We opened up our house and turned our living room into a beautiful and intimate Gallery. Over the three weekends we had over 360 visitors. See pics below of our work…..

Flowers 1
Flowers 1

Flowers 2
Flowers 2

print with text
print with text
Untitled 2

 

Cornwall in February

photo 1
Beach near Padstow

Just arrived in Padstow, or Padstein as the locals refer to this fabulous Cornish fishing village!! The presence of Rick is everywhere, shops, cafes and restaurants. We are here courtesy of my gorgeous and extremely generous sister and her husband for a very extravagant, birthday present, staying at St Petroc’s hotel a which is verrry swish . Tomorrow we are up at 8.30 to go to the cookery school to learn how to filet fish and cook up a storm, cant wait!!  More of that later….

 

St Peroc’s, the oldest building in Padstow, has beautiful bedrooms, all the floors are slightly wonky and slope; we have a very high and comfy bed, a huge wardrobe;  there are shutters on the windows and two Somerset Maughan, days of the Raj, chairs to relax and chill, all tastefully painted in shades of off white. There is even a  beer in the mini bar named after Chalky, the dog.

Downstairs, is an intimate and pretty restaurant,plus two lovely sitting rooms with comfy chairs and a library full of books and magazines to peruse with a glass of vino. Won’t ever want to leave this place.

Padstow, a busy, fishing harbour, looks very atmospheric on a misty and drizzly February afternoon. Seagulls squawked overhead and dainty, very tame sandpipers with orange beaks pecked at our feet. Padstow is full of places to eat, little shops and galleries, a real treat. Have already spotted a place to purchase some good frames for my work.

photo 5
Padstow Harbour

photo 3
Boscastle

 

photo 4
Chalky’s Bark

 

Hello

HAPPY VALENTINE’S …we had a fantastic trip up the Shard, a magnificent skyscraper, beautifully designed, elegant in its scale and sheer simplicity. The ‘we’  is me and my partner ( in love and crime) Len. I have been calling him my VaLENtine. He is humouring me!!

The trip up the Shard was our Christmas pressie from Lotte, our youngest daughter and her boyfriend Louis, such a fab idea. Cleverly planned to co-inside with Valentines Day, so we had a romantic glass of champers at dizzy heights, I am sure the altitude affected the number of bubbles!!! The extraordinary thing was that we were so high and whilst we could see the breadth of London unfolding beneath us we could not hear the noise of the city. Going to the loo was almost the highlight as its sheer glass in the window, great place to sit and view!!

View from Shard
View from Shard

Cheers!
Cheers!

 

We linked up with our other daughter, Bex at Tate Modern and took her out for lunch and managed a quick trip to Borough Market, foodies that we are, we indulged in some Valentine cakes, very red and yummy  !!

Detail of Sacred Places
Detail of Sacred Places

Back to earth today and madly sewing and printing, getting a couple of pieces ready to submit to an Open Textile exhibition in Solihull, so fingers crossed one might get selected.

I am using Lutrador, which if you don’t know is a fantastic man-made fibre to work on, its very absorbent, easy to heat distress but doesn’t fray and is good for stitching. I have been painting ‘grounds’ (Background cloth) and then printing and stenciling to build up pictures, it s slow business everything has to dry and I need to think carefully about  colour and composition, and then once dry they are ready for stitching.

I was given some lovely new threads for Xmas, some variegated and some deep blues and greens. These are making their way into my work.