Saturday 31 October 2015

Cwilt Cmyru 'Connection' at Pierhead Gallery, Cardiff

 Very proud to have my quilt 'Red Ripples' on the publicity  leaflet for Cwilt Cymru ' Connection ' exhibition  in  National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff. In the midst of packing up so I  won't be able to visit. Wishing those hanging the exhibition on Monday the best of luck, hope it goes well.
UPDATE - do have a look here at the exhibition , it looks fab.

Friday 30 October 2015

Red Circles ( September JQ)

 Hand stitching in the evenings is just about keeping me sane! This is my Journal Quilt for September. Using the same idea of positive and negative  circles  from my July  piece and the boiled wool which is a delight to stitch into( if a bit stretchy), I used thick  red crochet cotton and French knots. In some ways it was more challenging than little black stitches ( I'm not an embroiderer)  but I quite like that they're a bit lumpy and uneven.

International Threads in Maastricht.

 Gillian Travis is currently in Maastricht at the Open European Quilt Championships. She's made a fantastic job of hanging the International Threads exhibition ( which includes 7 of  my quilts - see if you can spot them...) Thanks Gillian, also for posting them on Facebook.   

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Drawing Ceramics at the V&A

No official ' Drawing Tuesday'  yesterday while Margaret is in France  but after  a morning sorting out house stuff ( and delivery of yet more boxes ) I headed off to  the V&A  in the afternoon to the ceramics gallery to draw the oil lamps that caught my eye on previous visit .   Sketched for just an hour then rewarded myself with coffee and brownie ( alas no custard tarts left...) in the Members Room. It was good to  draw again after  a bit of a break but I missed the company.

Perched on my stool I found material for future sessions just in that one case - the  complex patterns of the pierced incense burners  on the shelf below, and the subtle variations in bowls on the shelf above. Also overheard a conversation between 2 elderly gents  looking at ancient Chinese pottery to work out whether they'd been diddled in their recent auction purchases!!
South  Kensington was  incredibly busy being half term  but it's good to know that museums are still so popular. This  newly installed  sculpture  was a contrast in every way to what I was looking at  but  was being enjoyed  in the autumn sun ( for a seat if nothing else).

Monday 26 October 2015

49 Quilts

This morning  Sue came round to help me pack up my quilts. I started with covering the  bed with hand quilted  'Medieval Tile Quilt' that took me 7 years  to make!   Then   brought quilts together from the Georgian mahogany chest they're normally stored in and those draped over the bannisters from hanging on the walls and lay them on the bed to sort by size and type.  I cut 'noodles' to size  while Sue ripped strips of old sheet and then rolled  and tied them in  3's and 4's.  The largest quilts were refolded and placed in pillowcases. Next step will be matching the rolls with storage bags or wrapping them in  pillow cases  and sheets ( run out of time to make more bags and my machines are now packed up anyway). I ordered some metre high cardboard boxes for transporting them. 
There's 49 quilts here - not counting the 9 that are currently away from home for exhibitions(Cwilt Cymru and International Threads)  and the 220ish Journal Quilts in  2 very large plastic boxes....
That's an awful lot  of investment of time  ( at least half are hand stitched) but I've enjoyed every minute.


Friday 23 October 2015

Ai Weiwei at the RA

Almost 2 weeks ago since my visit to see the Ai Weiwei exhibition at the RA!
Loved the trees in the courtyard and proud of the small part I played via 'Kickstarter' of bringing it to London - my  name, along with the 1000+ others is recorded  on the stairs.
 I didn't know quite what to expect but was overwhelmed by the beauty of some of the artworks , enhanced by the meaning and background to them.

This enormous  piece in room 3, made of straightened metal bars from  collapsed buildings was not only stunning in its scale and the subtle waves and  patterns but brought a lump to my throat, with it's  reference to  the impact of shoddy construction of public buildings such as schools and the list of the thousands of students who lost their lives when buildings collapsed in an earthquake.  


The tale behind the piece in room 4 with studio pulled down as supposedly didn't meet build regulations beggars belief

 The use he'd made of antique ceramics  is controversial - dropping pieces or grinding them up I'm not too sure about but I loved the brightly coloured Neolithic pots. It felt like he was honouring the craftsmen of the past by bring new life to what some regard as dusty relics. I think if they'd had access to such colours they'd have used them. After all I'm a 'quilt resurrectionist' myself!
Also liked the map of  China in room 6 and the chandelier made of bicycles! 
I've since been to the Fabric of India exhibition at the V&A ( fabulous!)  and going to the  Celts : Art and Identity at the British Museum  with Ian tomorrow after lunch at Savoir Faire .  Have  just  paid for  membership of both V&A and British Museum so that as well as getting into exhibitions, can use the members rooms as 'clubs' when  coming up to town from Faversham . 

Sunday 18 October 2015

Photos from Portland

Two weeks ago  at this time (Sunday afternoon) we were  in our  room  in the  Heights Hotel , Portland digesting a delicious Sunday roast at the New Inn, Easton  hoping we'd have enough room for 3 course evening meal in the   hotel restaurant ( we were staying on a BBD basis). We just about managed it by choosing lighter items from the menu!
 This Friday to Monday  break  came at just the right time - Ian hadn't had a holiday since we were last in Weymouth in March and we were much in need of  fresh air and a change of focus from  sorting out house move.

We travelled down on Friday morning and  travelling light, caught the bus to the hotel, then headed straight  back out again to  visit the Chesil Beach  Centre  halfway across the causeway to pay homage to  my beloved fleet mudflats. The weather gods were with us, the sun was shining, the temperature  warm. Back  to the hotel to sketch  from the restaurant and begin to see the sky change . It was over by the time we had dinner in the restaurant but there were some lovely residual colours.
After an excellent  nights sleep and a lovely buffet breakfast overlooking Chesil  we headed out on foot to explore the Kings Barrow Quarry nature reserve, literally next door.  We had it pretty much to ourselves  and it looked rather different to when I went in May
 Took the wrong path leaving the reserve so we ended up skirting the edge of  the Admiralty Quarry, very much in action with giant sized bits of equipment and massive lumps of stone marked for use.

After coffee, pizza and florentines at Jackson's Art Gallery  we head down to Chiswell, I settled down to do some sketches of the West Weares   and pebbles from Chesil while having a beer at the Cove House Inn. Again, lovely weather and there  were lots of people enjoying the sun, difficult to believe it was October!

We'd booked an earlier dinner back at the hotel  to catch the sunset -  a lot more cloud around so not quite as spectacular but lovely panoramic views of the orange glow  
On Sunday to build  up an appetite  for  our roast lunch, we ambled around the Tout Quarry sculture park. We've been several times before but always find new discoveries  like this one   cleverly designed to look like it's fallen from the rock face.
The weather started to change on Sunday afternoon  and by Monday on our return to Weymouth station it was very wet and windy. But that had its' own magic in the ' white horses' waves and the colour of the red seaweed   washed up on the shore. A wonderful relaxing break, we're now packing boxes in earnest



Tuesday 13 October 2015

Sketching in African Gallery at British Museum

 Today's sketching in  British Museum was supposed to be back in the Barkcloth but on arriving early and going up in the lift, there was a notice to say that gallery was closed!   Texted Margaret  that  I was heading off to the African Gallery  and the others joined me there. It was a mixed choice - wonderful objects but rather dark and very busy, mainly with school groups who were also drawing so bench space was at a premium! I  bagged a bench in front of these amazing throwing knives  with their wonderful shapes and patinas. The disadvantage of being some distance away ( and the poor light) meant I missed the exquisite incised designs on them. Next time I'll see if I can get a sketching stool.
Swivelling on the bench ( reluctant to give up my hard won seat)  I gazed up at a huge tower of large pots.

 You can just see a bit of the 'warty' one in the photo ( I enjoyed making marks in my sketch)  The water pot I drew with it's multiple openings looked, the others thought, like a heart.
And finally   in the last 20 minutes, on a different bench shared with some students,  a wooden mask ( they were very impressed I was drawing with a pen!)  Then lunch and a visit to Ai Weiwei at the RA on the way home ( another post)


Saturday 10 October 2015

Beyond Small Treasures

My  1/2 hour drawing sessions recording 'small treasures' has  worked well getting me back into  good habits  (  along with  the kickstart of City Lit  drawing class and sketching Tuesdays in Museums).  As with when I started making Journal Quilts in 2003, the appeal is   fitting something creative in  when  life is very hectic and larger projects are impossible. They provide opportunities to explore new materials and techniques and if they don't work, well you've learnt from it.  I like that they don't need to be for anything, just themselves,  and my observational skills ,  have improved no end.  I'm also currently in love  with the 5 1/2 inch square  Seawhite sketchbook I'm using.
So while away for the weekend on Portland, besides studies of some of the wonderful  pebbles on Chesil Beach ( which I carefully rehomed after I drew them - you're not allowed, quite rightly, to take them away ) , I moved on to recording larger views, while still sticking to the half hour rule.   


 The views from 'The Heights' over Chesil  were wonderful, especially in late afternoon, drawing from the  restaurant after a cream tea (me) and a beer(Ian)  

Drawing the West  Weares at Chiswell , first from a bench and then at Cove House Inn with a beer ( always have to be careful not to dip the brush in!) in hot sun   was  blissful. My kind of break