Much moving of stuff.

Well that’s the way it’s been around here, much moving of stuff, as we have been sorting my mother in law’s house over the last few days. She had a LOT of stuff too, I can tell you. I don’t think she’s thrown a thing away since 1949, and all tidily kept. It has been a revelation, you discover a lot more about people when they are gone, but truthfully I’m all for people doing whatever they like with their own houses and possessions. It’s just sad when the person has gone and the relevance of all those possessions changes radically. It’s made me enter into quite a declutter at home too. Pursuing the quiet joys of minimalism is the ideal, which isn’t ideal timing at the moment but when the mood takes you etc etc. In fact I think the simple nomadic life with a yurt and a camel may be the way to go, but I’m not sure if a camel can be classed as a minimal sort of chap, albeit a very self sufficient one. So here are few images of some completed, laid down pages for the second book, Rain and Sun, which I am making for my artist book book. All the pages are done now and waiting to be machine stitched. The first two images are two double page spreads, each about 1 metre wide. DSC_0319 DSC_0324   DSC_0339 Above, the cover in very early stages, and below, the laid down finished version. DSC_0340   Obtusely, the title will be on the back of the back cover, but that’s artist books for you, you can do exactly what you want.

Work and sadness.

It was promising to be a strange week last week, you know, when a bunch of disappointing things happen, but you just get on with it. Then we lost my Mother in Law on Wednesday, which was a shock, even though she was chronically ill in many ways. She had a complicated life which actually makes memories of her more desperately sad.

So things are not as usual around here. In between dealing with all the things one has to deal with, which naturally will go on for a while, I have done some work, which as usual keeps me going; not a lot, but here is some of it. It’s for Rain and Sun, the latest artist book.


This is actually quite large, about 130 cms wide, as it’s a double page spread with extra fold out pieces to make a panorama.


Above and below, details, but with the sides folded in.


And below, two Gelli plate prints used in two more pages. The background fabric is actually a drop cloth I cut up.


Below, the piece has moved on, with birds added. Stitch and beads will be added too.




Keeping up the gecko theme, these two are looking at the sun. The pages have grown in size, what’s new there I wonder? They are about A2 sized.

Below, my work table at the Bramble Patch Open Studios, where I had a lovely time chatting to lots of visitors, and finishing some of the pages from The Summer Gardens, another artist book. Thanks to everyone who came, making it a really worthwhile experience.


Rain and Sun.

As well as describing the weather we have had recently, rather a lot of rain for August I can’t help thinking, this is the title of the second book I am making for my Artist Book book. I’ve machine stitched the first book, The Summer Gardens, and it is ready to finish with hand stitch and beads, so I’m now laying down the pages for book two.

This is a different sort of chap altogether, being made entirely of fabric; I’m using many of the fabrics I have recently printed using my new Gelli Plate, especially the strongly graphic and vivid ones.

The fabrics have dictated the idea for the book, which is based on the rain forest, using strong bold elements and colours that cannot be described as shy. This is one of my favourite subjects.

Below is a selection of some of the fabrics I have sorted out for possible use. I will add some plain painted fabrics and the odd bit of silk and metallic too.




Some of the creatures that may be in the book, a mix of drawings new and old.


The first double page spread laid down. I chose fabrics I really wanted to work with and some little gecko drawings, and basically cut and placed until I was happy. There may be some text; this will be a fun book to make, as I will enjoy experimenting with shape and pattern and juxtaposition. I hope to include a few little surprises in it too, in terms of its structure. The pages are about 45 x 35 cms.




Above are some pieces of fabric ready for the next pages, which will be interesting to make as I have the idea of making a fold out panorama. I’m not sure which creatures and plants will be starring in it yet, I will decide that later, when I’ve finished packing for the next three days; Hilary Beattie and I will be at the Bramble Patch Open Studios from Thursday- Saturday, demonstrating and willing to chat, so come along if you can.


The Summer Gardens.

When I was at the Festival of Quilts, many lovely people were talking to me about my recently announced online course. I had to tell everyone that after much consultation with more level headed people than me, I had decided to turn my artist books for textile artists   [ and other artists too, I hope ] into a printed book.


It had become clear that the online course was an ever ballooning creature, in many ways, and the necessity imposed by a printed book of consolidating, editing and compressing my ideas was the best way to continue for me. And of course, it is all about books, so a book format does seems apt. I do hope to supplement the printed book with some more sensibly sized online diversions too.


The first artist book I am featuring the step by step making of in the book is laid down and ready to stitch. This is The Summer Gardens, which is constructed from painted and printed fabrics and papers on A3 Khadi paper sheets. Some images of it in progress are interspersed here.

I will be machine stitching the pages soon, and will be taking it to The Bramble Patch next week to continue working on it by hand, when Hilary Beattie and myself will be there for three days working in the Open Studio.



That will be Thursday 28th – Saturday 30th August, 10 -5, so drop in if you can. There is a small entry charge, which goes entirely to charity, and free tea, coffee, and biscuits, if we haven’t eaten them all before you come.


DSC_0216I will be starting the second book featuring in chapter one this afternoon; this is heading in the direction of a wild jungle affair, from what I can see, so that will be fun. This will be coming to the BP too, well, at least as much of it as I have made, with lots of other pieces of work too.



Bold and Bright

I’m teaching Bold and Bright on October 31st and November 1st at The Bramble Patch in Northamptonshire.

There are a few places left, and this is what we will be doing:

Working with strong bold shapes and a colour palette of your own choice, explore the pleasures of working with bold simple shapes and colour to produce a piece or a series of work. One of my favourite methods of working, it can produce some glorious vibrant pieces. Felt can be used as the background if you wish, it is very enjoyable to work with and lovely to stitch. We will also be painting and printing our own materials using acrylic paints and inks, to add a personal touch, as well a using any commercial fabrics you may want to bring along.

If you fancy joining in, click on the link to The Bramble Patch on the sidebar. Below are some images of some of my bold and bright work, ideal to cheer up winter days.

Steph Redfern, Floating pattern 3

Steph Redfern, Floating pattern 2






Festival of Quilts, all over for another year.

Phew, there it was, gone. Shows like this are crazy, really; an amazing creative event running absolutely full on for four days, then all cleared away until next time, not a trace left except in people’s memories, on their cameras and with a possible impact on their wallets too.

It was a great show, with so much lovely work. I particularly enjoyed Alicia Merrett’s gallery,  the European Art Quilt gallery, and Eszter Bornemisza’s amazing work. Then there was Anne Johnston and the Fine Art Quilt Masters galleries too, which were inspiring.

Our gallery, Art Textiles: Made in Britain was a lovely calm, white space, and I think it’s accurate to say we were all thrilled by the result of many months of hard work, which although featuring the hugely differing work of the eleven members, looked elegant and coherent. We received so many positive comments, it was marvellous, with many people saying it was their favourite.

Here are a few images, starting with my own stand. Many thanks to all the lovely people I spoke to, both old friends and new ones too, it was such a pleasure to meet you all, and thanks to Chloe, my lovely daughter, aka the product queen, for her help on the stand. It would have been impossible without her and my husband, who is the driver and an exceptionally indispensable bod.




Above, the Art Textiles:Made in Britain gallery, with some more images below. I will be putting more images onto the ATMIB website soon, too.





Here’s Hilary Beattie, on the left, the person who had the idea of forming Art Textiles: Made in Britain, and who has done so much work in getting it all going and indeed keeping it all going; it wouldn’t exist without her. Next to her is Cas Holmes, another hard working group member, as is Rosie James, below. We need a group photograph, must sort that for the next show.


So that’s all for another year at the Festival of Quilts, no excuses now, time to get down to some more work.


The art of concentration.

I’ve been working this week on making and writing my artist books course, and finishing the stitching on some of the new Natural Histories pieces. It’s not been easy, I don’t work that well in warm weather, as every part of me would prefer to sit down and read a book or have a doze, and my mind is very full of the approaching Festival of Quilts.

It’s been difficult to concentrate, especially as the kitchen is already filling up with boxes and other paraphernalia for my stand, and there’s a lot more to add. Then next week I get to enter the wonderful world of the 3d jigsaw that is getting all the stuff into the car. I need a lorry.

My stand is Demo H if you fancy dropping by. It’s close to the back of the halls by the loos and food, so always easy to find, for me at least.

I must admit I can’t wait for it to start, and this year we have the Art Textiles: Made in Britain gallery too which is very exciting.

So, below, some of the finished Natural Histories pieces, which will be mounted on canvases at some point. They are about 60 x 75 cm.









Below are a few images of work in progress for the artist book course. The pages are A3 sized, and I’m using paper as the base for the work, which is mostly textile.

The first image shows some of the fabrics recently painted and printed for this and future book projects. Image two shows design work in progress, and image three the laid down double page spread, which in this case will be machine stitched and hand stitched.





Right, off to do more book work and perhaps bring more awkwardly shaped objects into the kitchen ready to move to the NEC next week.