Friday, 31 August 2007

Shibori sampler

Patchwork shibori sample photographed on back door(light shining through top)

Detail of effect of shibori on organzas

I've been unpicking the sections I bound with thread on the shibori sample prepared during
a Yoshiko Wada workshop at the FoQ. We'd been asked to bring a selection of cottons, silks, wools and there was a workshop pack containing a selection of unusual organzas and wools, some from Japan. We sewed these into a patchwork sample and then tried various resist stitching methods, the piece being dyed afterwards in the virtual studio. Unfortunately I didn't budget my time properly, taking too long to incorporate as many fabrics as possible so I was frantically tying knots until the last minute, most areas getting just a token wrapping.
The results are intriguing, particularly how different fabrics take up the same dye (the silk velvet a rich dark brown, silk satin orange, silk/linen mix almost green) . I thought I might prepare a similar sampler the next time I have a go at indigo dyeing.
I particularly liked the effect of binding on silk organza ( used both white and a slightly coarser textured gold colour). Besides the difference in colour where the binding acts as a resist, the gathered and ruched surface is interesting. Wonder how you calculate shrinkage?

Thursday, 30 August 2007

The front room says its had enough

The stash finally has a new home! The move went smoothly - everything that wasn't obviously kitchen, garden or bedroom was placed in the front upstairs room that is destined to be my studio until one of the removal men pointed out that they couldn't squeeze any more in. We spent the Bank Holiday weekend cleaning and unpacking essentials and finding unexpected items ( the labelling rather went to pot towards the end of the packing process ).
We took some time off to explore the local area, especially around the canal - well we had to eat out as the fridge/freezer wasn't delivered until Tuesday.
Our new property dates from around 1905 and besides a working Edwardian fireplace complete with heat-crazed tiles, it still has the original stained glass in the upper panes of the front bay window.There's even a spare pane in the cellar, salvaged I guess when someone else had double glazing installed. I'm already planning the possibilities of installing Pojagi blinds below them based on the colours tho' I guess it will have to be nets in the interim.

Thursday, 23 August 2007


Last day of packing before the move tomorrow - sealing up with parcel tape all my plastic boxes of fabric (55 of varying dimensions) so that they don't release their contents on descent from the loft. That's quite a stash!

The removal men are coming between 9 and 10, we've reserved a parking space for the van using compost bins. Coming to the end of the second bottle of wine - time to pack up the computer.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Jellyfish Tree

Before I pack the printer up , I've been printing a card for the microprop sandwich student who is leaving soon. Sam has worked on several Critically Endangered plants including Medusagne oppositifolia (the Jellyfish Tree, so-called as its fruits resemble Medusa!)

I made a journal quilt a couple of years ago based on photos of the plant (from websites and from jars in the lab) , altered in Photoshop. The pink stripes are photos of the growth room lights- the 'gro-lux' tubes didn't need much altering!

Monday, 20 August 2007

In the Spotlight

Just back after 4 days at the Festival of Quilts. I was thrilled to
see my piece 'Strindberg Shore' in such a prominent position
in the gallery space allocated to the QG 'In the Spotlight' exhibition. It was finished close to the deadline so I didn't have much opportunity to live with it before being sent off so I was more concerned with the disatisfaction of it not turning out as I'd hoped. Viewing it afresh I'm rather pleased with it - the biggest challenge was scaling up from experimental A4 pieces to something so large ( 80 x 130cm). Artists who's opinions I respect have been very kind with their comments so I feel confident in exploring these new techniques further.

I've been to FoQ every year ( including directly after my honeymoon!) but this is the first time I've gone for 4 days instead of 2. It makes a big difference in terms of pacing and contemplation, going back to pieces several times. I thought that I might do less impulse buying with time to consider purchases but I still spent a lot, all necessary supplies of course! The main difference was that I had the opportunity to take part in some workshops in the quilt academy, learning techniques , some more of interest than others (especially the shibori )

Now back to earth with a bump, packing things up for the move on Friday.

Saturday, 11 August 2007


Fennel is one of my favourite plants, both pleasing to look at and to eat ( especially in salads and steamed with fish ).
This bronze fennel was originally bought in West Ealing Farmers Market and has thrived and spread 'pups' around the garden from seed.

Today was our last visit to the farmers market from our current property although we'll still be visiting occasionally from our new home .

Besides fennel, rocket, goats cheese and walnut bread , we bought wild boar to have as our last roast and ate it out in the garden to the sound of Ring Necked Parakeets.
Last year I based one of my journal quilts on the fennel in my garden. The background is pieced from strips of different brown fabric, quilted in lines on the machine and overpainted with acrylic paints. Embellished with yellow beads and applied green metallic cord

Friday, 10 August 2007

Sewing Space, Old Place

When is the best time to start a blog?
Probably not when about to move house but then there'll always be reasons not to do things .

I've been writing annual Xmas letters for 10 years about my work, travels and textiles which recipents seems to enjoy and I also like to look back on. I'm also in my 5th year of making 'Journal Quilts' (A4 size , one a month) so I guess a blog is the next logical step. I've certainly been enjoying many art quilters blogs, particularly those that emphasise the process over the finished product ( must be the scientist in me that likes the experimental bit best)

I've been sorting through the photos on my computer, backing them up on a external hard drive prior to the move and found pictures of my sewing room in the loft prior to 3 lots of stuff consigned to storage. With the shape of my design wall I'm surprised I didn't make any triangular quilts!

The 'LoveNest' as it was advertised was what sold my flat to me 11 years ago ( having 2 bedrooms AND a playroom/studio). Despite having to shin up a ladder, it's been my favourite room, spending many happy hours painting and sewing listening to Classic FM

Since Ian moved in 3 years we've needed a bigger property to house contents of 2 x 2 bedroom flats plus thousands of books. We're finally moving in 2 weeks time - our specifications were exacting needing a large office/studio each. Although I will be sad to leave, I look forward to taking over the largest room in our new house.