Monday, 8 February 2016

Purple Holes and New Shelving

 I've just uploaded an image of my  Journal Quilt for January ('purple holes') to the CQ Yahoo Group - I did most of the stitching on the train back from Weymouth and watching the final episode of 'War and Peace'
Over the weekend Ian and I dismantled the wardrobe that was in the alcove of my studio and I constructed another 2 sets of black plastic shelving ( now have 5) . Much better use of space ,I wonder how long it will take to fill them...
The wind is a bit alarming on the second floor! Not much sleep last night as we're not yet used to what the 'normal' sounds of our new house are.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

A touch of purple : 2016 Scrap Journal Quilts

The CQ journal quilt challenge this year is 8 x 10 inch portrait with a 'touch of purple' Jan- April ( green and orange later in the year). I like to base my JQ's on what I'm doing throughout the year , and the last couple of years I've  mainly used scraps to make little sketches/ compositions. So I came on holiday  armed  with sketching gear; Kindle; score for Haydn's Creation ( will do some practicing alto chorus parts singing along to 'cyberbass' ) and a large bag of bits of fabric.
I sorted them roughly into colour groups and even with such a large selection, find I'm short of lights and yellows. Never mind, my first tacked composition is based around trimmings of indigo damask with holes in  ( with flashes of purple beneath). I'm intending to explore darning, mending  and other 'slow stitch' techniques this year.  

Talking of purple - this colour is missing from my oil  pastel starter set and  more  blues and reds are required in order to mix them. There's lots of greens but purples are the quintessential landscape colours for me, I had requests on a watercolour course on how to mix ' Mags Purple' as everyone else started seeing them too!  

Windy Weymouth

Back in Weymouth for a weeks holiday - I have lots of creative breaks lined up for the year but   we both need some time away from unpacking boxes and planning what to do in our new house. It's also become a bit of a tradition to come here around Ian's birthday. Yesterday after a stroll at the end of the Rodwell Trail  we headed over to Portland. Very windy around Chesil Beach and a lot of debris washed up. A depressing amount of brightly coloured plastic but also a lot of wood - there were a lot people beachcombing taking away logs  and branches and even what looked like a large wheel. 

It's our 9th visit to Mariners View, definitely a home- from -home now  which adds to the instant relaxation effect. This time there was a new dishwasher  and a lovely stained glass window in the front door   which cast amazing  coloured shadows.

The parasurfers were out in force making the most of the wind ( I counted 15). Rather them than me.... We're content to have strolls based around  nice meals - Cove House Inn yesterday and New Inn for Sunday roast today. Ian has requested Rodwell Trail followed by Nothe Tavern tomorrow.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Sketching Catch-Up

This  weeks Sketching Tuesday was at the V&A  in the newly opened 'Europe 1600-1815' Galleries. So much over the top ornamentation isn't really to my taste  (and lighting levels were low)   but I found much to enjoy in the section on drinking vessels !  I   was trying out combining graphite and watersoluble colour pencils ( and finding colour pencil marks don't  erase)  and in the last few minutes  scored into my paper with a piece of wire and then rubbed it over with pencil  with intriguing results - one to explore further.

Last week it was opaque turquoise glass vessel in the  Islamic Gallery at the British Museum,  separate drawings in watersoluble colour pencil and in graphite exploring the negative shapes.  One of many discussions that day in the café afterwards ( apart from sketching stools )  was how the objects that interest you most initially seem to be the ones that fall off the edge of the page!  
Looking for art classes more locally, I've just signed up for course on using oil pastels ( not a  material I've used much ).   I was late for the first class yesterday  , no bus turned up for 50 mins and then I couldn't find the Adult Education Centre  in the large Canterbury School campus! But I soon got stuck in, making simplified tonal sketches from photocopies of photographs, b&w to start with and then  more difficult colour ones.   

 All useful exercises and I've ordered my pastels   for next week when we'll be playing exploring their properties.  

Hard not to get distracted with views of Canterbury Cathedral  in the distance and  glowing wintry skies.  

Monday, 11 January 2016

2015 Journal Quilts

Looking forward to receiving my copy of CQ newsletter  and finding out what this year's Journal Quilt   Challenge will involve. This will the  10th year  doing them with CQ  but my 14th as I started in 2003. I can't stress enough how much I've learnt through the process of making them .Often they're samples testing out ideas for larger quilts or experiments from workshops or classes. More recently however I've been making  small collages using scraps  responding to places I'm visiting. My regular trips to Weymouth/Portland  and on retreat at Rydal Hall continue to be a source of inspiration.  We'll be in Weymouth again the first week in February and I'm already choosing scraps to take!
The montage of my quilts from last year is pretty diverse ( and yes I do know there are 14 - I got carried away with the B&W ones!), none of this designing them all at the beginning for me, that wouldn't allow for changes along the way. It also reflects what has been a year of  momentous change  for me  - I'll be doing another summary post in preparation for the 'change of address' letter we'll be sending out instead of our  annual Xmas one.

Another reason for looking forward to the CQ newsletter is that this JQ features on the cover to accompany  an article on eco-dyeing - Margaret Cooter is doing an excellent job as editor, she was so patient!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Creative Start to 2016


Happy  New  Year! Thanks for all your good wishes.  Still unpacking boxes  but spending time getting to know our new surroundings : the photos above are from a walk  around the Iron Wharf boatyard  and the  crown spire of St Mary of Charity on the way back from the pub. Lots of inspiration!! 


 My studio is now functioning: black plastic shelving constructed, fabric stash boxes un-taped , threads unpacked and sewing machines in action.
 Today was first day of 'Open' exhibition at Creek Creative - I had 3 pieces of work selected and hung. Interesting display of work - the exhibition is on until the 31st ( and I can highly recommend the Café).  Next week is first rehearsal for Haydn's Creation. A good start to  2016!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Move to Faversham

 It's been a while since I posted here but I have a good excuse: 2 weeks ago on 8th December  we moved to Faversham!! We were without internet connection  until 16th and the landline was only activated yesterday!
Selling up  and buying has been a prolonged and stressful process. We started preparing the house for sale in March with a  lot of stuff going into storage in  May , then painting, new carpets etc.  We   accepted offer in last week of July and had our offer accepted but there were a lot of delays along the way  with buyer having to reapply for mortgage and then in the final stages  problems with the top of the chain and their equity release. It was touch and go whether we'd make it before Xmas,  with less than a week between exchange and completion.
But we're here now ,enjoying turning this house into a home and preparing for  Christmas.  Xmas is in storage !!( at least all our decorations are) and there's been no time to send out cards - we'll be putting together our annual newsletter while Ian is off work  and sending out new address /New Year cards.
The kitchen is unpacked and fully functional. Our sofa and rugs look good in the sitting room  which has improvised curtains from an old duvet  and heaps of boxes of books in front of the 'feature wall'   (to be covered up by bookcases eventually )

Ian has set up his computer in his office ( mine is in the dining room). My studio (below) is still more of a work in progress though  I found a good solution to raising height of old table  - 4 sand castle buckets! Plastic shelving will be arriving tomorrow.

Our bedroom is huge! ( and has an en suite). Being on the second  floor it has a good view of our compact garden  and ever-changing skies.

The move itself went pretty smoothly.  Our friends Sue and Peter kindly offered us accommodation at their house for  the few days before we moved so we were able to pack up everything ( including bed linen etc) and  have a nice meal and company at the end of the day rather than camping out.

This is the dining room  the night before the removal company came and below is part of my stash all stacked ready to go.

Because of all our preparation , the van was packed up the day before  completion so all we had to do on removal day was go  back to read the meters, take one last look around and head down to Faversham by train with hand luggage ( Sue and Peter came the following day with a car load of our stuff).  We had lunch in the  Sun Inn anxiously waiting to hear we'd  completed - as with everything else it went down to the wire, only got the keys at 1.30 . The removal men were already there unpacking so we never got the chance to see it completely empty.

Rather than camping out in our new house we' d booked  3 nights  in 'Queen Matilda' in Faversham Creek hotel  which was very luxurious - I've  never slept in a 7ft four poster before!  Sue and Peter joined as at the hotel for 2nd and 3rd nights and we had a delicious Xmas meal in the 'Red Sails Restaurant  to celebrate.  They earnt it , unpacking the kitchen  boxes and taking them back to recycle.
There's been lots going on in Faversham in the run up to Christmas: markets , concerts , carols  ( look forward to joining the choir for Haydn's Creation in January). I've also  submitted a couple of pieces for the Open Exhibition at Creek Creative. Haven't yet made it to Macknades   but  I'm collecting a leg of lamb and choosing some cheeses tomorrow for Xmas from MB Farms on West  Street . Faversham is very foody place, I think we will be very happy here!