Monday 28 February 2011

Stepping Stones

 In the 1990's, on a watercolour course at Juniper Hall ( which I left early as the tutor was so awful), I painted the stepping stones across the River Mole, catching sight of a mink strutting along the bank. I was trying to capture the difference in movement in water either side of the concrete 'stones' (and  wishing I hadn't taken the subject on given the difficulties in accurate perspective)
 A different view yesterday when we revisited Box Hill  although still interesting differences in water movement despite submerged stones
 It started out bright and sunny, if a bit muddy toiling up the steps from the river to the viewpoint. But just after we'd had our lunch on a bench overlooking distant  hills, admiring the cloud formations, just contemplating getting my watercolours out, it started to rain. As it wasn't forecast, we'd only brought light waterproofs - and we found the zip had gone on Ian's. In our haste to get down Burford Spur to the train, Ian took a tumble and got coated in mud  (bit shaken and sore  but otherwise ok) -  luckily I had a bit of plastic beachmat to protect the seats on the  train. No curry buffet this week - straight home for a good soak in the bath with a glass of 'Hever' ( homemade sloe gin!) 

Saturday 26 February 2011

Hidden Treasures

 Almost by chance I caught a programme on BBC2 on 'Hidden Treasures of  Australian art',(on iPlayer for next 20 days) concentrating on Torres Strait Islanders. Starting with an artifact in Cambridge University collections , it looked at the connections between artwork and culture both in the past and how it is practised today including the amazing linocuts of Alick Tiputi

It reminded me to search out this Torres Strait fish platter I bought in Cairns nearly 20 years ago  - time to put it on more prominent view. Makes me want to fish out (pun intended) my lino cutting tools or at least take rubbings of those wonderful textures.
 Also in that Cairns shop I bought this netted bag ( bilum) of vegetable fibres  although I think it's probably from Papua New Guinea

Monday 21 February 2011

Circle Journal Quilts

February's Journal Quilt on the theme of circles: Critically Endangered Ascension Island Fern growing in vitro in Petri dishes in the lab. Photoshop manipulated photographs printed on cotton.
I don't know why it should come as a surprise to me what a difference quilting makes - that is after all why I love to work with textiles. But when I looked at the before and after photos after putting my new Pfaff GrandQuilter through it's paces it really was quite shocking! It also made me realise that what I thought was a relatively simple piece was actually too busy. Back to the drawing board to simplify for March.

Quilting made quite a lot of difference to these 2 recycled samples of failed 'Pearls, Pearls, Pearls' piece.
Thanks for all your lovely  comments about my new website. I was aware that the blog link on the home page didn't work - fixing it involves writing html rather than just using a template, something I've very little practice in. Unfortunately although the link now works , it's invisible, being white on white!! Quite how that happened I have yet to resolve.....

Thursday 17 February 2011

My website goes live!

Last night I took the plunge and pressed the 'Go Live' button on my new website. I've still to do some tweaking to some aspects that weren't obvious in preview mode ( for example I don't know what happened to the gallery heading  images) but overall I'm pretty chuffed!!  Bob  (from Words and Pixels) gave me some excellent advice  and in the end I decided rather than  a bespoke website or a free one I'd take the compromise template approach, signing up with Clicpic. I took a 2 week free trial  and played around with it over Xmas and decided that it would suit my purposes.What's taken the time is shrinking the pictures down to the right size, loading them, writing the blurb that goes with them and shuffling them around in galleries.
It wasn't really possible to give folks a preview for comment before going live so please take a look now and I'd love to know how you like it, whether you find it easy to navigate  and whether there's any glitches.

Sunday 13 February 2011

Recycling Rejects

 Remember this? Experiments on the theme 'Pearls, Pearls, Pearls ' which didn't lead anywhere apart from some cogitating about my design processes and preferences.
Looking through my box of rejects I wondered whether I could resurrect it into a journal quilt (or 2) on the circle theme.
 So I've chopped  it up, rearranged components and put to mellow on the design wall. I'm thinking of quilting around some of the pearl shapes  in the overlays and cutting back the organza to reveal what's underneath.
I  haven't forgotten about the Petri dishes - I chose composition 'g' from my paper collages and constructed it in fabric. Now I need to see whether stitch will unite the elements -or not. In any case  it will be interesting to use it as a stepping off point for abstraction and see where it takes me.
Meanwhile Ian is continuing to ask 'What about the Weir?'

Saturday 12 February 2011

More Silk Paper

 Margaret beat me to it in using supplies from George Weil!  Time to experiment in between baking 2 batches of rolls, making soup and cleaning the kitchen and bathroom . All before 4.30 when we set out to the Cadogan Hall via Pizza Express for a benefit concert in aid of Medicins San Frontiere.
 This one used cocoon strippings on one side, throwsters waste on the other, both containing  natural sericin. The thowsters waste gives an interesting texture but definately not so well behaved as the cocoon strippings - perhaps best used trapped between layers
 I like the irregular grid of the builders scrim ( and it gives a sturdy product) - I could see me exploring this one further with potential for both paint and stitch
 A broken dyed skeleton leaf gives a more ethereal effect.
Perhaps I should incorporate some of the 'old man's beard' collected at Box Hill last weekend ( more posts soon on how I'm trying to record my walks there)

Saturday 5 February 2011

More Circle Compositions


Thanks for your useful comments on my choice for circle compositions. I did go away and print some more and try overlapping some of the circles ( E and F above- ignore the red pin!). Then I asked Ian for his opinion - he said A because of the tonal range and suggestion of circles, that it was the most abstract. 
So modifications of that and D to produce G. 
Think I'll leave them on the design wall to mellow for a while a la EB .  Off to Box Hill again tomorrow - weather forecast looks set to blow the cobwebs away.

Thursday 3 February 2011

Choosing Circle Compositions

  A                              B
C                                 D

The Contemporary Quilt Journal Quilt Challenge this year is for a 10 inch square but there's also a theme for each 4 months: circles, text and buttons (I know I'm going to struggle with that one!) 

For circles I straight away thought of Petri dishes at work - I've taken loads of photos over the years for potential inspiration but not done anything with them apart from small  quilts/cards  for  staff and students leaving the lab. 
I've altered them quite a lot in Photoshop ('find edges' filter) so I could start to see them as shapes and not worry too much if I place a section upside down ( still a bit difficult- I visualise the plants falling out! ) I've printed out 3 images and chopped them up and rearranged them in different combinations.  I could do all 4 and that would be them done but not really in the spirit of experimentation! 
So, which to choose from the above? Or none and start again? Or have some of the curved shapes overlapping  rather than getting cut off at the straight edges - just thought of that -I'll have to go and print out some more!