Texture Tuesday and other things.

I’m linking up to Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday today after I managed to get a photo of the Euphorbia in my garden. It is a bit of a thug in the garden and would happily spread itself willy-nilly but, it has such a beautiful lime green colour,  I can’t bring myself to get rid of it completely, so it’s always there. Textured with kk_lisa


As well as working on my class with Lisa, I took time out  a couple of Saturdays ago to attend a log cabin class with Chris and Barbara. I’ve thrown out most of my commercial fabrics but couldn’t bear to part with my Oakshott ones and so I decided to go armed with just those. It’s good to meet up with old friends, and to re-visit basics with a slight twist.  I ended up with two cushion covers, the smaller one is from their silk range which frays terribly but is just so beautiful – the cat hasn’t been allowed on that one yet!


You may remember my amaryllis which eventually bloomed in February with four enormous flowers. It threw up another flower stalk which burst open about a week after the other one had finished. I was amazed by the fact that there were actually five enormous flowers that opened up.


I was even more surprised by the fact that there was also a sixth bud forming. And since I took this next photo it has opened up to be the same size as the others. Not bad for a £3.99 purchase from Morrisons as it has been blooming now for just over two months.


Regular readers of this blog may remember that earlier in the year I sent off two small pieces to SAQA, one for the Spotlight Auction and one for the Anniversary Trunk Show. Martha Sielman, the Executive Director, sends out a regular e-blast to all members and I was so delighted that my small offerings were featured in two of them. Fame at last, or should that be notoriety!



My next challenge is to get a 12″ x 12″ piece done for the benefit auction. I missed the early bird deadline which was today but should still have time to get it done before the final deadline.

I would like to say thank you to everyone who commented on my Working in a Series pieces in the last post. It isn’t easy working alone and so feedback is always very welcome and I am quite happy to receive any kind – good or bad.

I hope that the beautifully warm spring weather that we are having here is visiting everyone else in the northern hemisphere.

Have a good week and thanks for dropping by.


Working in a Series

Having completed four weeks of the ten weeks in Lisa Call’s Working in a Series class, I think it is probably time to show that I have actually been doing something. I decided to use some of the images that I took down at Belper Mill as my inspiration and whilst I haven’t actually got anything that constitutes an actual series at the moment there is at least a common element.

My first piece was made by printing various images that I had layered and altered in Photoshop and then piecing them together. I used silk noil and silk/cotton mix fabric.


27″ x 20″

The  following week we had to consider colour. I decided to use a monochromatic colour scheme which ranged from deep burgundy to a very light pink, all done by varying the saturation in Photoshop. The various images were then printed onto silk/cotton mix fabric and collaged together. I used these colours as I don’t normally work with pinks (the colours are for you Shirley!) but was actually quite pleased with it in the end. The cogwheel motif is the only thing linking the pieces together at the moment.


12″ x 12″

This week we had to consider space and scale. I have been working entirely with printed images up until now but decided to bring some of my dyed fabric into the mix. The background is pole dyed silk noil, the windows are printed onto silk organza and the cogwheels are made from a piece of silk/cotton which I had printed with a rust image. It took me  along time to get going with this one and, as it is only 8″ x 8″, it will double up as this month’s journal quilt for the Contemporary Group’s challenge.


This coming week we are doing shape and texture design exercises and, as the assignment is due to be up on the website at midnight next Saturday, I don’t think I’ll be getting much sleep this week. I have a two day class with Catherine Nicholls at the Bramble Patch on Wednesday and Thursday (there are still a couple of places left), a tour of the PDSA hospital on Derby on Tuesday afternoon and my cat cuddling at The Ark starts on Monday morning. To add insult to injury, the clocks go forward an hour in the UK tonight so that’s one hour less available to me!

One thing I should mention is the current exhibition at the Beetroot Tree which is on until April 12th if you are local and fancy a trip down there. It is called Of Heat and Chaos, featuring felt landscapes from Diana Worthy, interactive sculptures from Jack Sawbridge and ceramics from Ben Brierley. Quite a small exhibition but very interesting.

Whatever your schedule is for the week ahead, I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for dropping by.


Feeling very lucky

I’m really sorry that I haven’t been around for a couple of weeks but I have been working really hard on my online class with Lisa Call – Working in a Series. More of that in the next post because today I am feeling extremely lucky and much of  that is due to the internet. Feels good to have something positive to say  about it as it does get some negative press.  Why am I feeling lucky?

First of all, I discovered Heather Dubreuil, a Canadian textile artist, while I was reading the latest newsletter from Textile Artist.org - a really great site; if you haven’t seen it yet do try to take time to have a look. Heather has a really distinctive style which I love for its simplicity and also the colours she uses.  I started following Heather’s blog and recently she had a giveaway which I was lucky enough to win. It is a 5″ x 7″ piece, Water Tower #5. This arrived on Saturday and was there to greet me when I returned home from a class. Thank you so much Heather.


Monday also turned into a lucky day when the postman knocked on the door with a special delivery from America for me from Jan. Inside was a recording of the Bruce Springsteen concert in Melbourne from back in February. He is as good as he ever was and was even joined by Eddie Vedder – definitely something to boost energy levels and mood. An added bonus was the box that Jan had made for the CDs. Some time ago I sent Jan a book on how to make the thread booklets,  (see here for a post about them if you haven’t seen them before), and she had made me a lovely folded box for the CDs. I doubt that you can tell from the photo but the sides are decorated with Inca Gold, printed through a stencil which means that it has a low relief effect. Thank you Jan, The Boss is playing as I am typing this. Jan is someone else discovered through the internet and we have become good friends over the years.


This morning brought yet more wonderful mail in the form of mail art from my friend Donna in Canada. The postman must have thought it was his lucky day too as he had a huge smile on his face as he handed it to me. Inside was a lovely tag, also made by Donna. We met through one of Dale Rollerson’s online classes a few years ago and have kept in touch ever since. I have blanked out our addresses, for obvious reasons.


Finally, I was at the Ashbourne Animal Welfare Open Day on the 16th and bought some tickets in a Chinese Raffle. I had a phone call later that day to say I was one of the lucky winners. My favourite item is the mug. The wool is polyester and acrylic so that has gone into today’s Air Ambulance collection and I don’t drink ordinary tea so I am going to take it to a nearby food bank so it won’t go to waste. I’m also joining their volunteer dog walking team in April and hopefully will be helping out with the cat section too.


I’m wondering if I should buy a lottery ticket this weekend, although I have to say that the above gifts give so much more pleasure.

In the meantime, I had better get back to this week’s assignment. Have a good week and may it be a lucky one for you too.


Digital art and fabric

I had to go down to Belper yesterday and as I was on foot I decided to go to the River Gardens which is behind Belper Mill, part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage SiteI haven’t been down there for several years but I discovered that there were some great photo opportunities. Some of the peeling paint and rusting on the beams was amazing. This is just a small selection.



The river itself was not very exciting in the actual gardens but at the end of them is a weir and because the river levels are so high there were  some pretty good patterns emerging.

belper-mill_waterIn case you are wondering how the photo, bottom right came about, this relates to the title. I have been wanting to get back into printing digital art onto fabric  and so have been playing with the photos that I took yesterday. This particular one was a water image, inverted, and layered with a photo of a watercolour page done many years ago. I then used the Difference blending mode. Many hours ahead with this I think.

Because I also wanted to try out my new printer I had to put together  some other images that would be worth using ink on. All are A3 size and were printed on a silk/cotton mix fabric and are likely to be cut up and collaged into a larger piece. I haven’t made any final decisions yet. I have to say that the printer behaved perfectly so my next venture is to try it out using silk noil. I also want to try printing images onto previously dyed fabric. For two of these images I used a photo of my fabric (see below) as one of the layers. And I still have the fabric left – perfect!



And these are the printed pieces of digital art.






And now, because it is such a glorious day here, I’m going to remove myself from the computer and get out into the garden. I hope that you are having a lovely day where you are too.

Thanks for dropping by



Friday Finds

I’m very busy with Lisa Call’s Working in a Series class at the moment so I’m just stopping by to link up with Kim Klassen’s Friday Finds. I spotted this in a local churchyard and it makes me feel as though it is a female form that has been created with the pruning. She waits.


Thank you all of you who commented on my previous post regarding the small quilts, I really appreciated your input. Many of you preferred the black and white one and, as I was leaning towards that one anyway, it has now gone in the mail for the SAQA Spotlight Auction. This is the piece as it is sent without any mat.


I’m enjoying the sunshine here which suddenly appeared after a very wet and unpromising start to the day. I hope that it is good for you too and that your weekend is a sunny one.

Thank you for dropping by.


Working small

I’ve been working quite small recently, starting with a clear out of my studio, where I discovered a sample piece that had not made the grade for my Horizons quilt. We had to do an 8″ sample to go along with the quilt so I tried out the potential quilting on this one and decided against it. However, attached to a box canvas it makes a pretty little landscape.


I also decided to continue the Rose theme for a small SAQA piece to send for their Anniversary Spotlight at the annual conference. The first one didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. I wasn’t too happy with the solid red shape and even the addition of a thorned stem didn’t seem to help. Sort of made me think of a hippy Dalek!


Back to the drawing board and, because I couldn’t decide which background I wanted to use, I made two. Both have cotton squares fused onto a silk noil background. All I have to do now is to decide which one I am going to send. If you have any preference please let me know as that might help me to decide. The finished size is 6″ x 8″ but they are going to be matted so only the 4.5″ x 6.5″, shown here, will be seen



And finally today, because it’s Tuesday, I’m linking up with Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday. The theme this week is Free and Easy. Textured with KK_partings


I’m enjoying the start to Lisa Call’s class and am currently making a list of possible themes on which to base my series.

Thanks for dropping by. I hope you are enjoying your week.


Surface Design.

I really do enjoy surface design work and having read somewhere that gelli plates are not supposed to work very successfully with MX dyes so, of course, I had to have a go to find out just why not. Well it turns out that thickened dyes do work with gelli plates although it is impossible to get a sharp crisp image if that is what you are looking for as the dye separates on the plate and creates a sort of blobby textured background. The other thing that is almost impossible to achieve is a ghost print. However for one-off textures I think it works pretty well. All  the prints were made with a 6″ x 6″ gelli plate as I didn’t want to risk ruining my larger one, just in case. You should be able to see the marks more clearly by clicking on the image and then clicking again for a real close up.

Printed onto plain white cotton.


Printed onto previously dyed and printed silk/cotton mix


Printed onto a dyed and printed cotton.


Printed onto a piece of cotton that had been dyed and then used as practice for mark making.



All this printing activity motivated me to get back into some dyeing again so I did some small samples of fabric manipulation. I really should be one of those organised people who make a note of the colours they use as some of these are worth trying out on larger pieces.

Heavy habotai silk. Love that purple and lime green together!

heavy-habotai-silkSilk/cotton mix.



Silk organza


Silk Noil




Cotton Broadcloth. Love the way that the lettering seems to be embossed.


The result of all this  is  plenty of ideas to play around with. Not sure how much time I’ll have for that over the next few weeks though as I’m starting Lisa Call’s Working in a Series class tomorrow and if it’s anything like the Abstraction class, it will be pretty intense but highly rewarding.  At least I will have things to post about!


Thanks for dropping by. Have a good creative week.







It is frequently said that disasters come in threes so having had a computer failure and car engine failure just after Christmas I was almost relieved when my trusty printer died overnight recently. I normally leave it switched on so was surprised that it was off when I came to use it but not unduly concerned as the loss of power can cause it to switch off. Not this time, it refused to switch back on, no loose wires, no blown fuse, absolutely as dead as a Dodo.  As I had been considering getting a larger printer to do some more digital textile work this was the idea opportunity and, having checked out various recommendations on forums that I belong to  and emailing a blogging friend, Shirley,  I came home with this. Excuse the photo but it is so shiny and new that it is impossible to photograph without reflections. And, of course, I haven’t actually got around to printing anything on fabric yet but I’m sure that it will be fine!


So I mentioned that disasters tend to come in threes, well I shouldn’t have become so complacent after the printer episode. I have been working on a piece that I had hoped to enter into a SAQA juried show. I had decided to stay with the Rose theme that began in Lisa Call’s class and printed a piece of fabric with a thorny stem image, didn’t like the white background so over dyed it. That was better so I went ahead and did all the quilting. I then overpainted it with white acrylic but it didn’t look good so I scraped the whole thing with thickened dye. Better but now I had lost the thorny stems so I printed those back on. At this point I noticed that one side was wavy so cut through a part of the quilt by the diagonal black line. It was at this stage that I should have screamed ‘enough’ but instead I got all the spirals cut out and fused on and then began to stitch them down. Missed stitches, broken threads and a very unpleasing result and it’s not a small piece at 48″ x 29″. This is now languishing on the wall and as the deadline is today, that is the first one of the year missed. Will, I go any further with it – absolutely NOT. I just hope that aren’t two more disasters lurking in the wings!


Finally, because it’s Friday, I’m linking up to Kim Klassen’s Friday Finds. These lovely flowers just lift my heart after the darkness of winter.


Thanks for dropping  by. I hope your creative endeavours meet with more success.


There goes another year

I can’t believe that it is a whole year since my last birthday. They do seem to be coming round very quickly these days. Ladies of a certain age will probably agree with that one!

I had two particularly lovely presents this year from dear friends who I met through blogging. I think that may be the reason that I feel the need to get back to blogging properly again. Linda took me out to lunch last Friday and, apart from some rather messy plate decorating by the chef with balsamic vinegar, the food was very good. Those of you who know Linda will recognise her hand in this beautiful needle case that she gave to me, amongst other things. This even comes with needles and pins inside. Thank you Linda, it will be used often.


The other blogging friend who sent me a gift is Jan of Laughing Dog Arts Blog. I have never met Jan as she lives in America but I feel she has become a very dear friend and this year she sent me one of her dooleybobbers. If you Google that you will discover that it is Jan’s name for her beautiful felted and embroidered pieces. This one is called Dooleybobber #3-2014 but has been renamed Collaboration, with Jan’s permission. I gave it that name because it is a special piece in that it incorporates a background and other bits that I sent to Jan last year and so is a true collaborative piece. Thank you Jan, I love it and also the Greg Brown CD.


Last year I signed up for the Contemporary Group’s Journal Quilt Challenge but didn’t even get going with it so this year, with a nice workable 8″ x 8′ size format I am determined to complete all 12. I have managed to do the first three months (well it is nearly March!). Here are all three together.

JQ-compositeThe first one is a reworking of the Rose quilt I did in Lisa Call’s class. The background is dyed and overprinted, the lines and thorns are in ink and the spirals are applied. For the second two I used two Notan images that I had made for a recent class. The pinkish one is two images combined and the blue and yellow one is a spider orchid image. Both were manipulated in Photoshop and then printed directly onto a silk/cotton mix fabric. I printed the images a second time in order to make the bindings. Below are the two Notan images that I worked with.

Spider Orchid

Spider Orchid





Finally, I bought an Amaryllis bulb kit from Morrisons well before Christmas and thought that nothing was going to happen with it as all that appeared to be growing were the leaves and they normally come up after the flower. However, a flower stem eventually appeared and began to open on Sunday. By Monday I had a single enormous flower and yesterday three more opened.


And there is more; another flower stem has appeared so it looks as though I will have definitely got my money’s worth by the time it is finished.


Enough for now. I am determined to manage my time better and get on top of blogging from now on. And, for those of you who are also Facebook friends, I am also returning to that but with a very restricted time allocation. Thank you to everyone who sent me birthday wishes, whether via FB or by email.

Thank you for stopping by. Have a creative time.


A deadline or two met

So sorry to have been missing for a short time but I had a disaster with my computer where I accidentally deleted some things that I shouldn’t have. The result was several days without a computer, a hard drive completely erased and a new computer purchased. I won’t go into the techie details but suffice it to say that, without backups I would have been in real trouble.

Fortunately I managed to get my entry in to SAQA for their 2014 Anniversary Trunk Show. I had to enter and pay online which I did on Tuesday morning and when I came back from having posted the actual quilt off was when the computer crash occurred. I breathed a huge sigh of relief that at least I had met the deadline. This is a small piece of work, only 10″ x 7″ and is called ‘Waiting’.  I combined an original photo of a tree with a scan of deconstructed fabric, and blended them together. The image was desaturated leaving just a hint of colour in places. The final image was printed onto silk/cotton mix fabric, machine quilted in the background and thread sketched for the detail. I am particularly interested in the seemingly lifeless trees that I have come across whilst out on my walks. Whether they return to life is uncertain, in the meantime there is the waiting.



This year the Contemporary Group of the Quilters’ Guild are also creating a new suitcase collection. The theme is ‘All In A Day’s Work’ and the deadline was December 1st. I just managed to meet the deadline by submitting another Rose quilt. This one was smaller (A3 size) but was based on the one that I did for my Abstraction class. The background is silk noil which I printed with thickened dye, using writing and random scraping and the piece was again rollered with white acrylic after quilting.



In case you are wondering how this fits with the theme, here is what I wrote

My day’s work consists of printing and dyeing fabric, making textile art and tending to my garden, where roses are my particular favourites, so it seemed inevitable that I should choose to create a piece that combines all these activities.

Will it be acceptable? Who knows, I haven’t heard anything yet.

Although the weather has turned treacherous for many people in the UK it has been  quite kind to us in Derbyshire, for a change, this winter with some beautiful sunny days and recently there was one of the most spectacular sunsets I have seen since living here. The part that is light was a beautiful turquoise colour but I just couldn’t capture it.



Very shortly after, as the sun continued to sink, the colour had changed to this.


That’s all for now, except to say, rather belatedly, that I hope that you all have a happy, healthy and peaceful 2014.




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