Monday, 18 January 2021

2020 Highlights

Favourite double page spreads from  daily drawing sketchbooks

I  didn't do  been  much sewing  in 2020 (apart from  about 110 fabric masks made for family and friends which made no impression on my stash).  However,  I   did some  daily art projects, mainly drawing,    starting with the annual #30daysketchbookchallenge and  keeping going .  At the beginning of the year, a local artist set up a ‘Small Reflections’ Facebook page to post daily Black and white photos.  As one of the  The ‘Hot Tin Girls’  ( named after the venue  we used to meet regularly) we took it in turns to set daily drawing prompts continuing to Day 169 before things started opening up . The ‘Drawing Tuesday ‘ group  is still active, sketching at home rather than London museums but missing the catch-ups over lunch afterwards

The most memorable thing that happened , a day of wonder,  was the visit of the bees.  We like to think our garden is wildlife friendly  with lots of herbs and have many bees and hoverflies visiting.  But to have a swarm of about 5000 arrive was magical and we felt so privileged for them to choose us. I'd seen what I thought were wasps around a crack in an upturned trug over some compost (Ian had emptied and sifted one of our compost bins earlier in the year). But when we saw a huge cloud descend we knew it was bees not wasps and contacted the local beekeepers association. ‘ Steve Bees’ came with a portable hive loaded with sugar to tempt them ( we had an excellent view as it was just outside the kitchen French doors) and left it for a couple of days before he came back for it. There were about 100 girls who were out on a ‘cleansing flight’ when it was collected and came back to find everyone gone. Felt a bit sorry for them but at least they had plenty of food.                                                                       

We had a very fruity summer,  discovering all the local produce in the area on my cycle rides.  At the beginning of the cherry season, hand painted signs began to appear along the road directing down a bumpy track, past a small holding, through orchards to ‘Terrys Cherries’ (Sound Horn for Service). I’d ring my bicycle bell to summon him from the incredibly tall cherry-picker ladders.  Terry is quite a character (and a bit of a celebrity – he’s featured in foody articles in the Telegraph). We tried about 8 or so different varieties, many of which aren’t available in the shops as they bruise easily. When the cherry season was coming to an end, in a field further down the road, a series of enormous wooden crates stacked against the hedge were transformed into a fruit stall. We bought raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, gooseberries, loganberries, and then later in the season, so many varieties of plums and then the first of the apples. 

Ian’s office  was the major project of the  year. Months in the planning, Ian had his computer set up in the dining room which wasn’t ideal but we somehow managed to squeeze in the decoration and then construction of the bespoke bookshelves / built-in wardrobe  by a local carpenter in between lockdowns!  


Monday, 30 November 2020

Wind Me In The Sea : SOLD

Amongst all the gloom, something wonderful.  I've  sold my  textile artwork  ' Wind me in the Sea'   to  a collector  of Japanese textiles. 
I was contacted  out of the blue, they'd seen it  when exhibited  with 7th European Quilt Triennial ,  was it for sale ? After an exchange of  lovely emails (  we found we  had  many  shared interests  )  I was very happy to sell it knowing it  would be going to   a good home where it could be displayed.   
Its a very personal  piece of  indigo scraps  stitched to  lengths of Japanese kasuri  from a kimono purchased  in Tokyo  when I travelled there with Susan Briscoe in 2006:  

A  year of stitching in the form of a winding cloth: double-sided, semi-translucent in a continuous loop. Mainly sewn on train journeys, my stitching, like my travels, continues and repeats looping back to familiar and treasured places " 

I was thrilled when it was  juried  into the 7th  European Quilt   Triennial,  it was exhibited  at:  

Textilsammlung Max Berk Heidelberg (D)  19.09.2018 – 06.01.2019

Kreismuseum Zons Dormagen (D)    18.01.2019 – 24.03.2019

Textiles Centrum Haslach (A)            11.05.2019 – 30.10.2019

Textile Museum St. Gallen (CH)           14.02.2020 – 19.04.2020

 It was supposed  to have come to the UK as part of the Festival of Quilts  2020  where I was looking forward to  not only helping to set up the exhibition and steward but also to see all the wonderful other quilts in the exhibition.   Alas  COVID  intervened so it was  returned to me  and was still carefully packed up in its bag .  

 I  unfolded  it for one last look  reminding myself of the  journeys made  stitching it   before carefully packing  it up and posting it .  It has now arrived with its  new owner who has let me  know how much they appreciate it.  I hope one day to visit . 

  Now I'm  inspired to start  again on it's companion  piece  "Wrap  Me In The Shore"  which has been   put aside since NW retreat  in February . Though  I won't be stitching  on the train  anytime  soon I look forward to  playing with  scraps  and remembering past travels. 


Friday, 16 October 2020

Livingmaps: Dreaming of a Post-Covid World

 I currently have 2  pieces of work in the  Lockdown Art  Exhibition  at Creek Creative, Faversham. I've visited a couple of times  now  and there's some really interesting   artwork  on display reflecting different peoples experiences.  Wonderful to be doing something almost ' normal' again! 

 ' Nimbushimano' 


 In July I produced  these collaged  maps in response to invitation  by the Livingmaps network   to submit work on the theme of  'Mapping the Pandemic : Dreaming of a Post-Covid- World' and took part in a fantastic  webinar . I've just been re-watching it  ( I'm  at 57 minutes )  and had forgotten   how varied  and  poignant the work was.   
This is now being  written up for publication in the LivingMaps Review,   below is the  image of  my submission and a   summary  of   the ideas behind it. 

 "Before lockdown I travelled regularly by train from Faversham in Kent to London to visit galleries and for art courses and made artworks based on my journeys, my ‘Space Out Of Time’.  These included an installation of stitched overlapping booklets of tracings of maps along the route.  I primarily work with multi-layered, worn, textiles:  double- sided semi-translucent loops, referencing the continual repeats of my travels and linear records of walks on painted strips of calico.   

In lockdown, my focus has become been very local, using my bike to explore the countryside around me. I’m increasingly risk averse and feel safer on my bike than on foot, a travelling island with limited contact with people. My map ‘Shimanonimbus’ uses photos of my bike, altered in Photoshop, de-constructed and collaged onto a background of painted newspaper with glimpses of underlying text and colour. The shapes remind me of places visited and where I hope to travel to once more."  

 Hop  Fields, Graveney Road ,  June 2020


Thursday, 21 May 2020

Drawing Tuesdays

14 April: View from a Window

21 April: View from Below 

28 April: Bags Purses, Bins  ( I didn't know I had quite so many bags on the back of the door...) 

5  May : Vases, Jugs, Pitchers  ( think Morandi

12 May : Holiday Souvenirs (  Echidna from Australia above, Guinea Fowl from South Africa below) 


 19 May : View into a cupboard/ drawer ( kitchen drawer continuous line above; watercolour below )

 Enjoyed the doodles round the edge, capturing the essence of implements! 

Monday, 13 April 2020

Keeping Going

World turned upside down ( or running empty ? ) 

 Today we  had our traditional Bank Holiday  brunch , yesterday we had  our usual Easter lamb with veg ; summer pudding and ritual sacrifice of a Lindt chocolate  bunny.  In some ways  it didn't feel that different  to usual  holidays when  we have  quality time together  but outside the bubble of our dining room the world  around is a scary place 


 We've been focusing on projects around the house , dismantling bookshelves, re-organising the garage ( and I've pumped the tires up on my bike ) and I've pulled out a lot of dandelions from the lawn
 We got a Waitrose delivery (ordered weeks ago) , probably the last for a very long time.

 I use ' Erica the Exercise bike' every day (  she was the subject I drew for Drawing Tuesday's ' Chairs' )

 And  going for a brisk walk round and round the rec , observing the squirrels, the trees coming into leaf and in this case my shadows. 

Last  weeks ' Drawing Tuesday' was 'Self- Portraits'   so I refreshed my rusty sewing machine drawing skills ( counterintuitive as you move the fabric rather than the drawing implement) 

In theory  have lots of time for creative projects  but  little motivation,  doing the ' Small Reflections' , the  'Drawing Tuesday'   sessions and the daily prompts   with the 'HottinGirls'   is  enough and all offer contact and support. 

 When  it was my turn to set the prompts , I used the titles from quilt exhibitions I'd been involved with and was amazed with the different  imaginative responses . My interpretation of 'Horizons'  was the rooflines from the bedroom (  my original  was ' Nautical Dawn'  which featured on the cover of the catalogue) 
 Other prompts have been more challenging eg  ' Quarantine '  ( 'Tahini Rage'- disproportionate rage over trivial things ) but also opportunities to reflect , tell stories  and find out more about each other
' Dig'  my mum's  trowel ,  well designed  and balanced , a pleasure to use.

 I miss  going to exhibitions in town , going to the sea,  my journeys  by train  but I'm enjoying the small things, like seeing  daisies come up in the lawn.  Keep safe

Sunday, 29 March 2020

A Changed World...

 It's difficult to believe  that  just 5 weeks  ago , Ian and I were having Sunday  lunch at the Carriage Restuarant   in between talks at Faversham Literary Festival  before I headed off   to the Lake District  for my annual  sewing retreat.  So much has changed.
  At the Carriage, Nicky and Tania  are doing   a fantastic job cooking meals for those who need them ,   and we're luckier than most. Ian was already  working 3 days  a week  from home  but now full time, not having to go into London which was our biggest worry  tho' he's working longer hours  answering peoples concerns. 
 I was lucky enough to squeeze in a haircut just before lockdown which should  last  me a while. Faversham   has a real community spirit  and open spaces to exercise in.  There's several local food suppliers besides the  supermarkets,  and  we've got a full small chest freezer ( batch cooking  is something we've always done)
 Like many creative people,  in theory I have lots of time  at home now to  stitch and draw , and lots of projects  I could be working on   but as   many people are finding,  concentration and motivation are limited.   This week I've spent a lot of time in phone calls  with my MIL , finalising an online food order for them to  delivered on Monday ( she's used to shopping almost daily ) .

 Thank goodness for the internet and  social media, I'm  probably more in daily contact with people than I've ever been .  Since  January I've been  posting daily black and white photographs( ' Small Reflections')    with a group of around 150  people locally.  

   I used to meet once a month with sketching friends at the 'Hot Tin'. We all did the #30daysketchingchallenge   and  now we can't meet up  physically, we're  taking it in turns to  set prompts  which has been  challenging and hugely entertaining. I'm already thinking of what ones I'll set. 
' HotTinGirls' 
' Luxury' ( Reading in the bath , with apologies to Bonnard) 

'Temptation' ( looking at reference material when I should be doing something else) 

Likewise the 'Drawing Tuesday'  group, with museums closed  and not able  to meet up  has gone virtual. Last week we were all drawing tablecloths.

  On the Oast Quilters  Facebook  page we've been keeping in contact , posting photos of our studios,  first quilts and   having a drink together at 6.30 on a Friday !  ( the small circular depression on my SewEzi table is just the right size for a wine glass!)   What do you call #trainstitching  when you no longer travel?...
The 'Edgy Stitchers'  group I belong to had met up  at a members house at the beginning of March  - most of what we discussed then like visiting exhibitions is irrelevant now.  It was lovely to  have a Zoom meeting  with some of them  , see their studios and  sharing what we'd been up to, as well as  our frustrations, I look forward to  more of these  virtual gatherings.

 Being in contact with friends and family is so important ,  sharing  helps to  diminish the  worries   a  little  ( as does shared laughter)
 Keep well, keep safe. 

Friday, 13 March 2020

Daily Drawing: February 2020

 After problems  in my last post  of photos not appearing ,  I hope that these are better behaved.  it basically says that blogger is not secure but I'm unclear how to make it safe.    
After #30daysketchbookchallenge , I've continued with 'dailydrawing'   in it's loosest sense , with  drawings, collages, photos of drawings, Photoshop manipulations , stitched samples etc.  And sometimes I might  catch up with up to 3 days in one go. But the important thing is to keep going  and enjoy the process  and it's a quirky record of what I've been up to