November update

I have yet to get to core of blogging – really should be blogging more when busy not leave it unblogged.  Oops.

The exhibition at the Chapel went well, most enjoyable, sold a couple of pieces, nattered alot  and met a lot of people.  That feels like ancient history now. The existance of an artist seems to be very complex, there is no single timeline, no single goal or agenda.  It is the time of year when I want to hibernate, or at least eat crumpets ( with ginger jam) (or even marmite).

I am trying to focus on getting work together for an open call  and for Open Studios  while trying to get little things made for my selling days in the Christmas market – ha hah- low wattage lightbulb moment-  use the offcuts and samples  to make badges  etc.  I reaaly don’t want to go down the crafty maker route – I am a thwarted perfectionist- the role doesn’t sit comfortably. So the badgey things are quirks and favours, a little daft, a bit me and  very not precise. Spot the ones that were originally trying out ways of showing reflections of autumn leaves,  frosty rough ground and landscape as colour.And the birds- I think I was having a Rococo moment.  The mini trees are try outs for some transfer designs.   At the moment I may like them more than the ‘proper’ work….

and as for the main piece still part done-  feel like leaving it in baby bio overnight to see what grows.  Need to find the sharp tweezers and get the extra strong colour threads out.



I just got the scissors out and it has not been seen since!

I think it ran away, joined a circus, and is now a reformed character, probably called  Albert, or  even Mavis.  I know it has found a new role and way of being  amongst like minded friends.


Meet the new AlbertMavis…. as it morphs into its new incarnation.  It has been opened out and is now joined with 3 others.  It is at the ‘oh-no-what-have-I-done’ stage. The plan is to flatten it down into a landscape, attaching to a ‘carrier’ fabric and probably quilting a little.  There are a lot of probablies, so this is something that will develop at its own pace. I have the core idea but then 3 or 4 possible outcomes in mind, but will not be too rigid about steering it.  I am not going to show the whole until it is more resolved – see whether your ideas of it match the reality.

Texture Workshop

The next 2 weeks are  to be spent exploring textures in the workshops-  looking at raising and lifting surfaces, adding in and taking away.  Mixing techniques and combining processes to make that shift away from craft into art textiles. Workshops will run on Wednesday and  Friday  of the following week.

Contact if you are interested.

Up comong events –

York Textile Artists at the Cemetery Chapel, York,ytaexhibflyer100

Askham Bryan  event

Standing in a hut in the middle of Middlesborough in December

Also breaking-ish news – will be doing the YOS19 next April.yos19

Avoidance issues

Who is avoiding me? Who am I avoiding?  Turns out I am. That is I am trying very hard to avoid me, and proving quite good at it. Must be all the practice.

I am having a down time/inbetweeny bit/wallowing time. I can always tell because the consumption of pulp fiction goes through the roof. Never mind, make another coffee and find another distraction.  There are ideas there but not really resolved and functioning.  So after endless fiddling and havering at least I have greeting and Christmas cards ready to sell…..


…and a giant ‘stone’ wrapping experiment under way.

This is already on stage 4 or 5, poss 6.

Blue, purple and orange versions of the same fine cotton were machine sewn in random patches to create field patterns.

Machined tucks added in regular lines.

It was then applied to the stone shape, pinned and pulled to stretch and break some of the seams, extra patches added to give some stability and then hand stitched pleats and tucks made whenever the fabric was ‘flabby’.

Next into the bleach and colour run dye restorer. I do want it almost colourless but am now thinking that the orange is as stubborn as I am.

Emery board and tailors awl later the surface stitching began- making desire lines across the form, lacing the holes, working with the imperfections in the patches caused by the wrapping.

Stage 6ish –  back in the sink pulling more colour out. If any fabric survives this chemical and physical assault it will be amazing.  The orange still glows but the blue is far more of a sensitive beast. Hopefully it won’t end up a tangoed ghost stone. Won’t tell until it dries.


In fact, looking at this poor abused beastie, it might the thing, not avoidance of the thing after all.  Still don’t like orange though.


I set myself a task of reworking ( repurposing?)  an experimental piece I found lurking in the deepest, darkest cupboard. It must be at least  be of an age to be taking exams and leaving school for an exciting future – well, it got me and my rotary cutter.

Carrying on with this compromised landscape theme of imposed divisions, patterns and shapes being distorted by having to fit onto an imperfect surface, it seemed appropriate to play over the top of this discarded piece.

It was sliced and diced totally arbitrarily into 3″ish pieces and patterns and lines from the current sketchbook worked over the top.  The images are from Great Fryupdale and Rosedale on the North York Moors.(and yes, they are real names).P1180246  The level of  aesthetic consideration and planning was kept to a minimum – after all most landscapes are the result of practical and  pragmatic  decisions.  Some I think have worked well – they retain an element of landscape, others are more abstract, some have all the charm of  the Vale of York on a cold and soggy  Sunday. At this scale the stitching often feels crude and working over the mixed layers  of flimsy synthetic sheers and net  was a bit of a nightmare – no wonder I shifted onto heavier fabrics.

These are going to be presented as greeting  cards rather than get reassembled, so may achieve that exciting future after all, as they spread far and wide.

Please check the workshops page or website for the next classes – the next, Colour, is fully booked but there are spaces after that.

Do make a space in your diary for the York Textile Artists exhibition  in November, and I have taken an opportunity to stand in a hut in the middle of Middlesborough 2 Sundays in December  selling my wares, so please come along if you can.


york textile artist logotmbBeen  dotting about and fairly busy, so the only sewing I have done this week is a distraction…is it possible to have pre-emptive brinkmanship?  Talk about organised,  actually made these for an exhibition  I am part of over Remembrance weekend in November.  We are at the Chapel in York Cemetery (beautiful Classical style building and not at all creepy) on Remembrance Sunday – which going to the hundred years since the end of the First World War.

There are 9 of us exhibiting as a textile group so it seemed appropriate to make a hundred poppies between us and hopefully sell them with the funds going to the British Legion.P1180230

These were fairly simple to make, technically a bit twitchy, but pretty effective.

The idea was to make simplified, wearable fabric  variations based on the iconic British Legion poppies. The fabric is a quite light weight fulled wool, which gives it a kind of felted , matted surface so it shouldn’t fray(!) The stitching is intended to give shape and modelling rather than aiming for  decorative thread surfaces.

The problem with free machining is that it causes distortion  as the stitches pull the fabric. This is what I am using to give the 3D shape to the flowers.  I did try with different threads but settled on a very thick top thread and a standard dressmaking thread underneath. The imbalance gave the most exaggerated distortions

P1180231but it took a bit of fiddling to get the tensions right.  The spiral pattern made cones, the petals created  lumps and bumps and it all worked best on a solid piece of fabric not individual petals. I did try, but kept falling off the edge as the fabric constricted so spent forever digging bits and tangles out of the needle race. (Pah)

The finished ones have silk velvet centres and brooch backs. They are simple, direct and hopefully effective enough to be attractive, and to take their place in the group piece.

The new season of workshops is out now – check the Want to Try tab for more details. There are fewer, different  timings and prices, but still in York , small, informal and friendly.




Despatch and Hatch.

Hurrah the first batch of work has been delivered – this was to Art In The Mill Gallery for their Summer Salon, part of the FEVA festival.

Bit of a scramble to get everything ready, onlyP1180139 picked the work up from the framers on Friday afternoon – the one opportunity to get the work across was on Saturday after work.  Rather busy Saturday morning, breakfast was on the hoof in the rush to prep, record, price  and pack,  then off to work for a rest!


I had wanted longer to reaquaint with the work in its new clothing, somehow framing does make the scruffiest work look ‘proper’. But it is gone now – hopefully someone will love and buy! (still waiting for my millionaire to come along and insist on buying all of it- I would resist of course out of creative modesty, but after subtle persuasions ( poss invovling chocolates, flowers, etc,) I would give in  and  then live in happy self indulgence until the next P1180153one  comes along….)  Lacking a millionaire I did settle for icecreams…..  and then set about prepping the neP1180152xt idea – and as you can see the first ‘stones’ have been hatched. They are carved out of old insulation block so should be much lighter to work with now I want to increase the scale a bit.

Shame about the mess.