Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Christmas Common

We went to Christmas Common to buy our Christmas tree. I love the fact that the place is called Christmas Common, and wonder which came first, the name or the tradition of seeling trees there. It is such a lovely experience to buy a tree from there. There is a huge plantation of trees, so they are cut fresh and brought into a large barn. You get the chance to pick your tree from the barn, and then it is wrapped tightly so it fits into the car! There is also a beautiful shop for decorations. Each year there are different ones, and from all over the world. This year we found papier mache brightly coloured stars and trees from Kashmir. There are a lot of hand crafted items for sale, and all in good taste.
Happy Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Art Deco in Miami Beach

Richard and I enjoyed our week in Florida. Before visiting Orlando we spent a couple of days in Miami, where he had business. I was really impressed by it, and loved Miami Beach. The Art Deco district has 800 buildings in Art Deco style. Built in the 1930s and 40s ,they were originally plain white, however in the 1980s, designer Leonard Horowitz created the "Deco dazzle" by painting them in a rainbow of bright colours.

City and Guilds Certificate

I am pleased to report that I have passed my City and Guilds Certificate in Embroidery and Stitched Textiles, Level 3! I also received the certificate in the post. Now I have a piece of paper to show for all the hard work of the past two years.
I am going to put away all my C & G work, and I hope I can organise it, so I can find things when I need them. However the arrival of two knitting machines plus all their accompanying paraphenalia has filled up the room, so makes it more difficult to navigate and also to find things! The knitting machines were a gift from a neighbour, who is moving to a smaller house and knows I like textiles. I have never used one before, so look forward to playing with them. Watch this space for news .
Relieved and pleased to have finished the Certificate, I have signed up for Shelagh Folgate's on-line course , called THE SMASHEES. Shelagh is a C&G tutor, and the course is going to be fun projects using the techniques studied in C &G, and I am looking forward to it.
I am continuing with my art classes at the local adult education centre, one class in painting and drawing, the other in art journaling and mixed media.


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Autumn at Harcourt Arboretum

In search of some Autumn colour, I dragged Richard and Guy off to Harcourt Arboretum. I needed to gather some leaves for this week's art class and wanted to take some photos. A few days earlier I had been bemoaning a distinct lack of colour, but we got it just right. The colours were amazing. The acers, as always stole the show, their vibrancy is unbelievable, but the other trees set them off beautifully. Most of the photos I took were of the acers and the Arboretum has a great variety on its Acer Walk. The day was dark and dismal, and extremely wet, not helped by the clocks going back and being conscious that darkness would fall earlier, but when we arrived the rain stopped and we enjoyed a bright spell.


Friday, 29 October 2010

Knit and Stitch Show Stash

Here are some pictures of my stash from the Knit and Stitch Show. I didn't go this year, but by a twist of fate my mother-in-law, who doesn't like either knitting or stitching, did go. She accompanied a knitting friend, and I don't think she enjoyed it very much, although she was really interested to look round Alexandra Palace! However she very kindly bought some nice bits and pieces for Rosemary and I to divide up, which we enjoyed, as we will enjoy looking at them until we make something with them. Or maybe we will just enjoy them being in our stashes. So Thanks to Bridget! The first picture has such lovely shiney varied thread! The next looks perfect for stitching trees or grasses. Then the next has such texture and added square sequins! I love the little bundle of felts and threads, suitable for a mini project. The last is some kind of tape, with beautiful edging of another colour. What could I make? So many possibilities....!

Monday, 25 October 2010


I have decided to take a Sabbatical from C&G this year. I have learned so much on the C&G Certificate in Stitched Textiles and Embroidery that I think my brain is full! It was an exciting 2 years, learning so many new techniques, and very full on. Now I want to play around with some of the things I have learned and re-visit the things I particularly liked.

Before I did the C&G course, I did a year-long Access Course in Art, Craft and Design at Thames Valley University in Reading. This was an exciting and action-packed course covering many different disciplines. We studied drawing. painting and colour theory, contextual studies, photography, printing, sculpture, jewellery-making, ceramics and Photoshop.

Just reading this makes me realise why my brain feels full! This is because I had never done any practical art before, although I had taken a minor in Art History at University, and had spent years looking at works of art. I had always done craft, but suddenly I wanted to learn all these new things! First I did a class in stained glass with David Wasley, who studied under John Piper, which lead me onto the Access Course.

Now I want to assimilate what I have learned. I don't want to go on and on learning new things, but to refine my techniques in the things I have already studied. There is so much I want to do and practise.

At the moment I am taking art classes at our local education centre, New Directions. The classes I am doing are Art in the Morning, and Art Journaling. The first covers basic techniques in different media, and is very disciplined. The other is about letting go and covering pages with paint and paper. I expect to gain a lot of experience from these 2 different disciplines. In addition I have plenty of textiles and mixed media books that I would like to work from, the only problem is where to start?!

Thursday, 21 October 2010


Here are some photos of Marseillan. Although the holiday was in August, I wanted to share the magic of this part of the South of France with you. It is a pretty little place, tucked behind a lagoon and close to the sea. It has a bit of everything, really. If you want bright lights and late nights there is Marseillan Plage close by. I have a feeling I will want to go back there!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Marseillan-Midnight Craft Market

We had a lovely holiday in the South of France, staying in a small fishing port called Marseillan. There is an active artist's community here- wonderful light and warm weather, although it is very windy at times. The midnight artisan's market was very atmospheric. Where else can you shop for art and craft after dark ? I met a lovely mixed media artist called Sylvie MARTI, who has a shop called Duo d'Ateliers. I liked her work, for its varied style and media, and of course the texture! I particularly like the background of the radishes and the chicken, which is actually painted on wood and then made to look like wood panelling.

Back blogging again

Hello there! I am back again. I have had a long break from posting. Life has been getting in the way again-school holidays, a house full of boys, summer holiday in France, a flare up of my auto-immune arthritis and trying to juggle the dose of Methotrexate I take. Also my computer has not been working, and in order to get on line I have had to climb over the debris in Oliver's room and squat on a futon on his floor! Anyone with a teenage son in the house will know exactly what I mean about his room!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Knitted Memories-Melissa Ryland

We visited Jane Austen's house in Chawton today. I was very taken with the exhibition there by students from Farnham University of Creative Arts. I particularly liked Melissa Ryland's work which features knitted pieces cast in bone china. I think that knitted textiles lend themselves well to solidifying in ceramics.

Monday, 9 August 2010

I have been working from this exciting book, Journal Spilling by Diana Trout. The book has a lot of different ideas for laying down colour and covering pages. I don't think I will do any journalling, but I would like to use some of the techniques for sketchbooking. I had fun playing around with the acrylic inks I just got from Jacksons mail order. I haven't used these inks before and found them enjoyable to work with.

Paper folded and painted with water, ink in red and yellow dropped on. I like the effect of the ink in the ridges.
Pearlescent acrylic ink in pink and blue. The page was brushed with water to allow the ink to soak in and the colours to blend.
Wet paper with 2 colours of ink dropped on, then printed onto a sheet of cartridge paper.

Wet paper crumpled and red and blue ink dropped on.
This sample is a bit different. I was experimenting with wax resist, and put wax crayon onto the pad which is made of brown paper. Then I grated some wax crayon and heated it with a heat gun. Lots of lovely blots and splodges, which come out the other side of the paper too.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Experimental sample:-bonding

I have finished my experimental bonding sample. It has taken me ages, but I blame life getting in the way! This time it is because of the school holidays, and although I have taken a lot of photos, I am not getting much textiles work done.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Hambledon Lock

We had a lovely walk at Hambledon. Look at the textures of the water!