It must be spring; Winter Book finished.

As predicted I’ve finished my porcelain and textile Winter Book in spring. I have started a Summer Book now, which may well be finished in its actual season, which would be nice, and quite unusual for me..

The Winter Book will be shown in an exhibition later in the year, and hopefully the Summer Book too.

The panels are high fired porcelain with copper carbonate and some clear glaze for those of you with an interest in ceramic processes. Some are made from or include black porcelain.

They were rolled out by hand and textured with various texture blocks I’ve made over the last couple of years. They are mostly about 12 -15 cm, 5-6 inches, designed to be hung, or shown flat.

The textile additions are mainly moths, printed using iron on transfer sheets, with some stitch and beads. Other textile added to the panels are digitally printed and stitched silk images taken from my collages and finished work. There’s silver leaf too, some of which was advertised as edible; I didn’t eat any during the making of this piece.

The book was actually finished earlier but I didn’t like it, so ripped all the textile bits off and started playing with the moths instead. These came from a piece of work I’ve had on the wall of my workroom for ages. It’s now somewhat dismantled.

There are 16 panels altogether, although clever bods will note that there are 18 here, mainly because some are repeated to fit in with Instagram squares, of course.

Below, some individual panels.





And to finish, below, some more porcelain bits and pieces, ready to be used in future mixed media projects, although the Moon has been appropriated by the Winter Book already. There are some tiny pages for a little bound book. A friend thinks it should be called A Fragile Tale, which I very much like.

I love the black and white fragments. I have no idea yet what I’ll do with them, but I get them out to have a look at every so often. The bowl is thrown porcelain. I love throwing, but sold my wheel ages ago, which I regret.

Thank you for reading or even just looking at the pictures! Keep making, be positive, do it.

Projects, projects.

I’m suffering a little from project overload at the moment, combined with the fact that I don’t seem to have done quite as much work as I’d have liked to have done over the last few weeks. Well, nowhere near enough to be honest. I have several projects on the go and a couple of new biggies I’m itching to get going with too.

One of the main reasons is that I have less time due to exercise. I decided before Christmas that I needed to be fitter and not fatter. This does work I’ve found, but bloody hell you have to put the time in. I’m an apple and that’s not a good shape, but mostly I’m blaming my vague pudginess on lowering oestrogen levels. Well why not, it can’t just be eating bread, right?

So I’ve estimated with the routines with the pink dumbbells and the daily walk that’s at least 1.5 hours away from work a day, but as it’s good for you, well it better be, I’m sticking with it. Just so you know I’m not really slacking. And no I can’t get up at 6 am to fit it all in, that’s just inhuman.

Above is a project legitimately waiting to be concluded. It’s the winter book I actually started in winter, and as I anticipated I will be finishing it in spring, or possibly summer at this rate. This one isn’t waiting for me to get on with it though, I’m waiting for the porcelain pages to all come through the firing before I can arrange and attach the stitched silk pieces on them. These are some of the finished porcelain pages with the silk pieces as yet unattached. I’m really looking forward to finishing this one.

Below are some finished pieces from a series I’m hoping to finish soon. Hand stitching takes time though; is that a reasonable excuse?

I’ve included some poems I’ve written, as you can see, around the edges. These give titles to the pieces.

Above, The Ghosts of Summer, approximately 40 x 40 cm, appliquéd linen, silk, digitally printed silk, hand stitch, porcelain and beads.

Some details below.



Above, The Paths to Trees. 40 x 40 cm, silk, linen, digitally printed silk, porcelain, beads and hand stitch.

Above, A summer day. 40 x 40 cm, linen, silk, digitally printed silk, hand stitch, beads, porcelain pieces.

Now below is another ongoing project. It’s a scarf I decided to make, having fancied another Goth sort of scarf for some time. It has developed, as is usual for me, into a fiddly project as I’m making it out of some pieces of embroidered black silk which I’m going to stitch together, naturally not having one usefully large piece. That will happen when I’ve stitched on some appliquéd silk gauze roses.

To finish, some cushions. I am quite pleased with myself that I’ve done something with some of my completed needlepoints. I have still more needlepoints hanging around, some too large for cushions, so they’re a problem. They had dropped off my project list but now I’ve remembered them, so that’s another thing to go onto it.





This piece, above, is a wip. I’ve also drawn out another new needlepoint in my enthusiasm, just to add to the project pile.

Other projects on the list include some dresses, tops and trousers I cut out ages ago, in an effort to be an enthusiastic dressmaker. I’m actually not an enthusiastic dressmaker, I actively dislike it. I wish I was and didn’t, I love the clothes people make. Years ago I used to make quite a few clothes, but that was obviously then, and definitely not now!

So I’ll finish some trousers and a top, hopefully, but the rest, well, consigned to the fabric drawer to use in other work. Backing more cushions perhaps.

Then there’s a dress I bought last year that really needs altering, it’s too long and I want to dye it. And I have a nice Goth top to which I want to add some black lace…

Well, here’s to having enough time, when I’ve finished prattling on this blog about not having enough time.

My new ideas annoyingly niggle away at me with no respect for work that’s way ahead of them in the queue. I want to make a stuffed raven, for some reason, and I’m very keen to start a new series of work based on screen structures, using porcelain moths, fossils, and various other strange shapes, textiles, and some more poems/words. I’ve started to make the porcelain pieces, so that’s exciting.

I also have all the paper sorted, and the pages digitally designed, to make a new limited edition artist book, based on three series of hoop based work. I’ll print it myself, it works well for short runs. However I’m not entirely sure when.

So if you’ve kept up with this one, thank you. Or even if you’ve just looked at the images, which may be best for your mental health on the whole, that’ll do, so thanks again!

This, below, is a page from the Eclectica Textile Artists group’s visitor comment book, from our last exhibition in Cannock, just ended. It was very well received, we were thrilled with all the positive comments. I particularly loved this though, there are some fab comments here but I love the one about reading the signs, just shows how amazingly interesting we are, obviously. Thanks Erin!

Winter work.

I think I started to make my little Winter book to help myself deal with winter this year, to celebrate its good parts; the shape and graphic line of trees, the stark contrasting light when there’s a heavy frost and good light, which is quite rare, but beautiful. I also very much like working in black and white.

I planned the book [ I say planned, but all my projects are decidedly fluid ] as a zig zag book, but after my latest mixed media exploration into porcelain and stitched fabric, I now want this book to have porcelain pages. So below is how I’ve made the textile elements, but the porcelain bits will take a little longer. Making, drying, kilns, you know the drill.

I gathered together some collage materials to get some ideas fermenting.



Above and below, some collage materials put together to photograph and print onto silk, to make the textile elements of the book.



I printed out a selection of small images onto silk, and bondawebbed them onto silk gauze ready to stitch. They can be a little flighty without the extra layer and working in a hoop this time round was much easier.

Below, the finished stitched silk pieces, and some words I may use in the book.

So it may be some time before this one’s finished, hopefully though before the end of winter. I need to get a move on with those porcelain bits.

Thanks for reading!

Porcelain and silk.

I worked with porcelain and stoneware for over twenty years a potter and sculptor before the textiles took over. A few years ago though the ceramics started to nuzzle their way back into my conscious. I enjoy working in both media, and I’m always looking out for a way to happily combine them.

During the summer I made some small porcelain plaques, quickly rolling them out and impressing them with some of my texture blocks. As they formed I imagined them adorned with small stitched silk pieces, an idea that emerged as I made the plaques, which was perfect.

Typically other things took over so adding the silk elements had to wait a little longer than I wanted, but they’re finished now, and I rather like them. I added a good wallop of gold leaf, and some black leaf too, as they are going into some future Art Textiles: Made in Britain group shows titled Illuminate, in which my work is based on illuminated manuscripts. I also love any excuse to use gold leaf.

The plaques being made. They were eventually fired to 1260 degrees celsius, with copper carbonate and a touch of clear glaze. The texture blocks can be seen at the top of the images, they are made from some of my linocut plates, and print blocks.


Below, the fired plaques with some silk pieces and gold leaf being added. The silk is digitally printed on my inkjet printer, from images I have taken of natural objects such as echinoderms and a nautilus, and from my collages.

Below again, some of the finished pieces. They are about 14 x 9 cm.


I’ve been making other ceramic pieces, small textured hand built jugs and vessels, and small garden planters. I’ll post images of the planters next year, when they’re in use. Below, some small jugs and a little chap with ears, glazed with blue dry glaze. It’s called dry but actually means matt.

I took advantage of a recent foggy morning that made the branches of the cherry tree beautifully ethereal to use as a wintery background to photograph the pieces. The tallest is about 10 cm high.




If you got this far, thanks for reading! Keep making.

It’s looking like autumn.

It’s a very beautiful autumn here, between the heavy rain showers. Glorious skies, with glowing depths of sunlight illuminating the wonderful colours of leaf and tumbling cloud.

I bought a little pack of autumn coloured silk fabric pieces at the Festival of Quilts in August, not with the intent of making some autumnal work, I was just attracted by the colours. I think because these were the only fabrics I bought, I’ve actually started to make work with them straight away, rather than put them in a drawer. I love to use what I have but there’s no doubt that the occasional purchase of new materials can spark enthusiasm.

I think the resulting series has a look of late summer/early autumn, which was when I started to make the work. I’m not usually this exact in terms of seasonally based work, but they probably won’t be finished until spring, so that’s where any adjacency ends!



I had an enjoyable collage making session a couple of weeks ago, and after photographing the collages I layered some of them with some other images in Photoshop, to add detail, and in some cases to make the collage paler and more subtle. Above you can see the paper collage, and below one of the Photoshopped versions, overlaid with some delicate botanical imagery.



I printed these images onto inkjet silk. I have more in store to print, for future work.



Below are four pieces all laid down and ready to stitch. There is a fifth but it’s turned into an out take. It was the first I made and I changed direction after that one, as I decided to include birds and a dragonfly in the pieces. I often start some pattern based work, only to find it’s never quite enough for me when it’s done. I’m an illustrator at heart, and always feel happier when I’ve made a proper picture.



The new pieces include the new silk, linen, digitally printed silk and cotton, and porcelain pieces. Each is about 40 cm/15 inches square.




The birds are saved from a large piece I dismantled some time ago. I’m gradually using all the components from it.



Below are some preparation images and a couple of early pieces that won’t make the cut. Well they will make some sort of cut in that they will be cut up and used in future work, hopefully.



So, time to stitch. I should finish these before I start something else but I can already sense that that’s a fail…

Autumn collage

I often find that a new burst of creativity often leads to working with collage, to spark some ideas and to make new materials to work with.

I’ve started a stitched mixed media textile series based on fossils, nests and shells, with probably a few pebbles thrown in too. Some textile pieces are now ready and waiting to be stitched, which I’ll share in future posts, when I have added more textile pieces to the series.

I started with the old collage favourite, the painted papers. The idea wasn’t to actually use autumn colours, I did have some paler compositions in mind. But with collage I find it’s best to just let it do as it wants, something useful always comes out of it even if you don’t actually like all the results. I do like a bit of orange though.


Below, starting work with the painted papers.


Some of the finished collages are shown below. I photograph these, often with objects laid onto them, such as shells, a little deceased moth I found in the garden, twigs.

Then they are played with in Photoshop and printed onto inkjet fabric to use in the textile and mixed media work, either cut up or in full. They could be printed onto nice paper too, and incorporated into a piece. Sometimes I’ll choose a close up, sometimes the full piece to change by adding a layer or two in Photoshop from other images I’ve taken.






The collage above was based on botanical fossils.

After a few rather more vigorous collages a gentler piece appeared. I decided not to cut these printed papers up, I liked them as they are, blocky. They’re from previous digitally manipulated images printed on paper that I keep in my collage material folder.

I wanted to make a couple of sea collages to work with. These are just laid down, so the components can just be moved around to make different images.

There are more but that’s enough for the moment!

Natural Histories, the hoops version.

I’ve been making a new series of work in hoops, hopefully to show next year with the group Art Textiles: Made in Britain. Our new show is titled Illuminate, and we have some tour venues in place, with more to be added. It’s an excellent title, and we are naturally individually approaching the theme in a variety of ways.

Although my work is inevitably based on the natural world, another thing I love is illuminated manuscripts. I saw a fantastic exhibition of illuminated manuscripts some years ago at the British Library, and although their influence didn’t creep into my work for a very long time, I think it is now.

I have more in this series, Natural Histories, to finish, which I think I’ll keep under wraps until the show is up for its first date, but here are some finished pieces and work in progress.

I will be showing another hoop series too, and hopefully some mixed media work, involving textiles and porcelain. This is at the experimental stage, so who knows what will happen. I certainly don’t! There are a couple of images at the end of the post of this work just being started.




Two of the final pieces waiting to be stitched.

Below, some porcelain pages in the process of being made. They will be fired to 1260 degrees Celsius and will shrink a lot. They are just over 15 x 9 cm at the moment, 6 x 4 inches. I’ve textured them with texture blocks I made in clay from my old linocuts and foam printing blocks.



Well there’s yet anther heat wave here, with temperatures steadily climbing. It’s my least favourite weather, so I imagine I’ll be inside with the fan aimed at me, working on these pieces. I have no desire to be out and about in 30 degrees plus.

Keep well everyone, whatever weather you prefer.

Repurposing the repurposed.

I’m very much into using what I have these days, in terms of textile and other art supplies. This includes some older finished pieces that I’m happy to cut up and play around with, to then include in new work. It’s better than having them sit around aimlessly and it makes me feel thrifty, as well as being fun too.

I sorted some materials that I thought may work with the latest condemned embroidery. Not everything gets used, even though I always try to shoehorn as much as possible in. I then spend ages taking a great deal out. I wanted these pieces to be quite busy though, a mix of interesting areas combined with more mono or plainer spaces.


These three pieces below are the result.



The birds are from a large piece that I laid down last year, and although I liked it I realised I would never finish it. Smaller seems to be the way these days.

The idea is to stitch them quite closely with machine stitch, which I may do. I say may as although I like these pieces in some ways I really am not one for too much raised texture in my textile work. I like fine, flat and graphic on the whole. So the stitch would really have to flatten them a lot to make me happy. The already added beads could be a pest!

A neutral unifying thread used on all pieces may be the way. When I’d finished laying them down I put some images into Photoshop, and liked the results, below.

I’m possibly more likely to print these out and use them in some work. That seems fine, the originals can sit around and could spark something in the future, but doing them has been interesting and I have ended up with a good resource too.

I do many little sketches of ideas in my sketch books, but also see collage as my main and most interesting idea development tool. These fabric collages fit into that bracket, and I am tempted to do more whether they are finished as they stand, or not.



I’ve been in the garden, gardening of course but also using it as inspiration. It’s growing rather well this year…

I am tending to let it do its own thing more and more. The reason of course is that it’s good for insects, [ honestly, I mean it, even though so many of them like to eat me ] but also it looks good, and that this particular cunning plan matches my energy levels these days.


I know that in every way this garden is in my work. It’s not a big garden, but it offers a lot. This new series of work, below, feeds from the view from our kitchen window. Well, not the sea piece, unfortunately. They are all waiting to be stitched. They are in 10 inch/26 cm hoops.


I don’t yet have a title for this series, which is unusual. One will appear. Below are two night pieces from the series.

The piece below is finished.


So there we are. Thanks for reading, if you did. If not I hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Cut it up and start again.

That’s the good thing with textiles, you can cut up work in progress and re jig it if it’s not working.

I had an idea that I would like to use up my digitally printed fabric in a series of pieces of work. I print the fabric myself on inkjet fabric, using my own images. I like the silk best, on the whole. I mixed in some indigo dyed silk and commercial fabrics too.

I put together a few pieces, as you can see below. They are about 35 cm square.

Earth, above, and Sea, below.

Whilst they made nice images for Instagram, when I got down to actually starting to stitch them they did nothing for me at all.

So out came the scissors, and cutting up commenced. I had quite a few ideas about what to do with them, but none of them really gabbed me.

I’ve been working on another series of work for an exhibition next year, some pieces in hoops.These pieces below will fit in nicely with the others. I know there are hoop lovers, and those who don’t like them, but for some while they have interested me and I’ve enjoyed making pieces in them. I blame an exhibition of illuminated manuscripts I saw some years ago; the beautiful self contained glowing images on each page.

A hoop allows me to create and contain a similar small, delicate world.

So from the cut up pieces I assembled this, photographed it and printed it out on silk.

I decided to use that image in a straightforward manner as you can see, above, bottom right. For the other two hoops I used elements from the original square pieces. I must say I am much happier now and actually want to stitch them.

Naturally I haven’t succeeded in using up much of my original fabric, there’s enough for many more hoops and small work. Using stuff up isn’t easy, and I don’t have much of a stash at all! Still, it’s always fun to get the scissors out.

Below, some close ups.



So there we are, add these to the other five [ I’ve not blogged about the original five yet ] and I have a nice little stack of hoops ready to stitch. I’m trying to decide on a title for the whole series.

Thanks for reading and happy making!

Works in progress.

I’ve finished and sent off all my work for my show at Queen Street Gallery in Neath, Wales. The exhibition starts on May 7 and runs until May 28. Posting work is always a worry, particularly a whole show, but it’s arrived safely and undamaged, so I’m happy. The packing was less than elegant…

After I’d faffed about packing the work up and sending it it was good to be able to get back to thinking about some new work. I’ve called this post works in progress but really it should be called work I’ve started. I have around three or indeed four projects on the go, not counting the unfinished dressmaking.

I don’t seem to be able to stick to one at a time these days. I care not, it should be fun and enjoyable and to me that means doing what you want when you want to, which seems to be everything at the same time around here.

Firstly, some landscape pieces, in preparation and laid down. Yes, I do use all the scissors all the time too.

Next, the project I call my journal project, a collection of collages older and new, with printed text and I hope more textular additions, possibly written by hand. I want to stitch the pages too, I like that machine stitch on paper look, the crunchiness of it. I’m going to put them into a chunky ring binder. It will be an ongoing affair; when the basics are done I can add to it wherever I want to in the pages.

Below, some images, the first one of some of the papers I used, followed by some pages. I’m wanting to use all these papers and collage pieces rather than push them into a messy folder. Also, printing on tracing paper, ooh, love it.

I’ve also started a fabric project, which will be hand stitched. I like working with digital images and had printed off quite an amount onto special ink jet fabrics. I like the poplin and silk especially, and have used most of the fabric in different pieces of work. The scraps are being put together in mosaics on linen, and will be hand stitched with beads and some of my porcelain pieces added. I need to make more porcelain, particularly smaller pieces.
The two above are ready to be stitched. There will be one or perhaps two more in the series. The little piece below is an early idea of how the pieces may look.

Lastly, and phew I hear to say, if you’ve got this far, I’m still heavily into needlepoint. I’m quite excited as I’ve ordered a shade card of DMC wools, which seems to be taking a long time to arrive, fingers crossed it will get here eventually.

This will prevent me from ordering the wrong colours consistently from the internet, I hope. Not that they are that wrong, they will be used, but if I get any more of the wrong pink I will shout.

I’ve started a new needlepoint series, below is number one. I was watching the normal life episode of Grayson’s Art Club, and thought it would be interesting to observe my normal life. I’d forgotten it was called that, however, and I’ve called my series Ordinary, which I will stick with now.

A walk around the suburban roads, a few images taken, and it seems I’ve suddenly become keen on large vehicles and white vans. This is fun, and I chose this image and fiddled on Photoshop with it, mainly for fun. It’s the 39A bus, folks!

I’ve had to include the shadow of a moth, perhaps showing there’s magic everywhere, if you’re lucky. No stitches yet, plenty of weird internet chosen colours to get going with though.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to create, like I am, and bloody grateful for it too, keep at it, and keep sharing.


February news.

I’m finishing off some pieces destined for a little solo show at the Queen Street Gallery in Neath, Wales, in May. It’s a great gallery, run by textile artist Bethan Ash, maker of truly beautiful pieces.

My show is called Stories of the Bowerbird.

Here are four pieces, ready to frame in box frames. They are mixed media, consisting of fabric, paper, porcelain and beads, with machine stitch and hand stitch. They are quite small for me, 30 x 30 cm, 12 x 12 inches, so therefore compact and easy to work with. My work is getting smaller, possibly because I don’t have much space, but I do miss making a big piece. I have a dream of laying down a large background piece of fabric and basically extemporising across it, adding imagery and materials organically, no plans, just materials and scissors, iron and glue.

So, below, some individual views of some finished pieces.


I was hoping to make a couple of nests for my show, and was full of plans, with a sketchbook of ideas and thumbnails. But I admit I’ve made just one. It is a smaller version of one I made a couple of years ago, using wire, paper, stones, bark, plastic from milk bottles and sea glass. Of course now I write this I feel like making another, interestingly. I do have some tantalising coloured wires, and there’s still time…

Above and below, choosing materials and work in progress.

Below, the finished nest.

I still enjoy making ceramics, and below is a piece in progress. It’s porcelain, constructed from textured small slabs. I’ve made a selection of textured press moulds from linocuts and printing blocks that I’ve made over the years. I’ll post some finished pieces at some point. They are unusual shapes when finished, but are strangely useful.

The image is on a slope, to get as much as possible in, I don’t actually build my pots at this angle…

So there we are, a little round up of what’s been going on on the work table. I’m finishing some canvas mounted pieces next, below. I am rather dragging my feet about this, as I really dislike finishing textiles, but love starting new pieces. I don’t have that problem with ceramics, interestingly, I really enjoy finishing them. Apart from enjoying all stages of the ceramic process, there’s always the anticipated results when offering up your labours to the the kiln.

Keep creating, it’s good for you!

Stories of the Bowerbird.

I have an exhibition coming up at Queen Street Gallery, Neath, Wales in May this year. It’s a brilliant gallery run by Bethan Ash, the famous textile artist who makes enviably wonderful work, and is a fellow member of Art Textiles: Made in Britain. She hosts many excellent exhibitions and workshops.

I’ve called my exhibition Stories of the Bowerbird. I do love a title. It’s not all about bowerbirds, although they are joyous and far cleverer than I will ever be. But some have crept into the work I’m making: I can’t help it, being an illustrative type of person.

Here’s my statement about the show.

Collecting ideas and impressions from nature has always been the basis of my practice as an artist. I work with mixed media, including stitched textiles, sculpture and ceramics. My sculptural works incorporate wire and textiles, paper, plastic, ceramics, found objects, recycled and natural materials, and are often based upon woven nests. The bowerbird of the title is an analogy for my use of the variety materials and inspirations I collect which then lead to finished pieces, the realisation of these processes.

I started with gathering a few materials and making some collage postcards, which I did intend to stitch, but have decided to just keep them as inspiration, and this is what they have proved to be.




Below is a now broken piece of ceramic that I made and painted some years ago, which will be incorporated into a piece of work.


I’ll be adding more mixed media to my work for the show, and hope to make some sculptural pieces too.


Here’s a nice selection of materials ready to go. This piece and two others do feature actual bowerbirds! I intended to make a top with the fabric but there wasn’t quite enough, so it’s going to be pictures instead.


Here’s the first, laid out and ready to stitch. I printed the fabric using a home made print block and acrylic paint, adding porcelain pieces, and appliquéd mixed fabrics.

And to finish, a couple of completed hoops, with Japanese silk birds, quite a few beads, and digitally printed fabrics from images of collages.


Happy art making everyone!

Reminders of the sea.

I’ve not had a great deal of time to work recently but I have enjoyed some evening hand stitching on my sea series. That’s why I find working in hoops so liberating, they are easy to pick up, work on a little, put down.

This sea shrine piece, below, has gone through some changes. It was originally home to some sea urchins but they decided not to cooperate, so this fishy chap was employed instead. More work needs to be done to make the urchins agreeable, so they may or may not appear in the future. They were made from very fraying Japanese silk, which I love, but it’s not at all compliant.

These below are now finished too.

Above, detail, with feet.

And to finish, below, the next one waiting to be stitched. I was going to end this series here, originally. But I’m enjoying making these so will add a couple more, probably more little sea shrines, I think.

Can you create when the kitchen floor needs ripping up?

Well the answer is no, obviously. A little long term leak from the washing machine tap, conveniently hidden up a dark corner behind the hideously weighty washing machine had soaked the boards under the kitchen floor. We didn’t know, it was that sneaky. Well obviously we did eventually when we started to notice rising water between the tiles.

So quite a lot of time recently has been given to ripping up the floor. It was hard work but our daughter was great at it. It’s not a huge floor but the resulting amount of soaked wood and old tiles was. I’m quite pleased actually as I hated the floor and underneath are quarry tiles, all rather lovely but in need of much scraping. They’ve been there for 90 years and are flat and perfect. I’ve always wanted them revealed, they were covered 40 years ago as they don’t fill the whole floor, due to walls being removed and so on, and in those days homogenous and poor solutions were those generally taken. I prefer a more creative approach these days.

So there’s building work to be done too as we also need a new sink and unit and worktop. All this does affect the creative flow, so there’s not a lot to show, except for half a scraped quarry tiled floor, which I haven’t yet photographed, so don’t get too excited. Perhaps the floor could start its own Instagram account.

So back to the clean and peaceful world of embroidery. This hoop is part of a sea series I’m working on, it’s the first finished piece.

Below is a work in progress from the same series.

Lots of little stitches.

And this is one below is called Sea Shrine. I may make more sea shrines, the concept is quite appealing.

It’s based upon sea urchins and will be well beaded. I’ve used Japanese silk, which you really have to watch as it unravels before your eyes, and my own digitally printed cotton.

For the first time in absolutely ages I had a trip to London in September. We went to the Summer Show at the RA, and I must say it was great to be back there. I did a little dance, I love the place that much. Great hotel and company too.

Here are a few general images of the show. There was a good amount of textile art this year; Yinka Shonibare was the co – ordinator, so that’s probably why.

We also saw the David Hockney exhibition of his iPad French lockdown pieces, which I must say I did enjoy. He doesn’t mind a bit of bright colour, and isn’t afraid to just celebrate what he sees and enjoys. Really refreshing.

Back soon I hope with possibly one more finished piece and a lovely kitchen floor…

Square to circle.

I decided, last time I made a large piece of work, that I had had enough of big.

I have done a fair amount of big work, wrestling awkward and unwilling layers of fabric through the sewing machine. I’ve also made large work from hanging individual components together. And I’ve made some hefty artists’ books. That’s another story, ideal for weight training though.

I was always so enthusiastic, ideas spread over a large substrate are always exciting to explore and develop, , and the effort was worth it. The pieces earned their keep in shows and in gaining me employment, bless them. They are a bit of a pain now though as I face that artists’ conundrum of what to do with rather a lot of large stored work. Small pieces aren’t so much the problem, they generally move along given a show or whatever, but when it comes to pieces up to 2.5 x 2.5m I don’t think there would be many people able to give them a home.

If anyone out there has any ideas, please let’s start a help page, or whatever! It’s a common problem with painters, but textiles are more difficult to deal with, particularly ones that are XXXXXL.

So it was with fairly typical inattentiveness I recently started another big piece. It’s in the post before this one. It’s not huge by some standards, but when I finished the laying down I rolled it up and had no enthusiasm for stitching it. It’s on linen, which I love, but even with some test stitching using the machine I didn’t like the creasing. I do love flat and tidy. I love a wiggle, frayed edge and crease in other peoples’ work, just not mine.

Then I decided to use the naughty linen once again for some smaller pieces; they were about 40cm square. Once again I wasn’t happy, I didn’t like the machined look they seemed to demand, and hand stitch didn’t suit them.

So, it was back to the hoop. I have developed such love for the hoop. Stretched fabric looks excellent, linen can be well sorted, and as I really only want to do hand stitch at the moment, it looks at home in the hoops whereas on the flat pieces it just looked wrong.

I recently took part in my first exhibition for around two years. It was great to get back to it, and I chose to hang a number of hoops. Well, that was fabulous, they all fitted into a small box, they weighed nothing, they didn’t need levelling up and hung on a neat little tack. They were well received, undulating as they did across the wall.

Before and after images…

Some materials: digitally printed fabric from images of my collages, silk, thread and a bird I liked.

Above are some multiple images from the three laid down pieces of work in their square format. There was a fourth, and may the fourth not be with you because alas I cut it up, to be seen at a later date, I disliked it that much.

I do like a couple of these square lays though and may recreate them as stitched collages on paper, since I’ve photographed them all.

Below, after. Hoops! Fun at last. These are the first four.

I’ve used the three birds that I had already cut out, and it’s likely that following hoops will be a little more esoteric.

I’m finding I’m very sea orientated at the moment as I haven’t been to the coast for so long, it’s too sad. Really I should live there, I’ve always wanted to, but seem to be stuck in the middle of England!

Collage and pattern.

I’ve been using collage as an idea and a design tool for a very long time. I find it an excellent way to freely and vigorously create and develop images, often producing great surprises.

I have recently sorted out my collage paper collection. There didn’t seem to be that much, but many sheets and snippets of paper can fit into quite a small space, and it was a mess. Here is some of it below.

I used some to put together some tiny collages to stitch as cards. I really enjoy making these. Here is the pile of cut out and assembled cards ready to be finished with stitch and beads, and mounted onto card stock.

I culled a few papers I didn’t much like and then made a series of small collages. They are about A5, 8 x 5.5 inches. I layered and photographed them with various pieces from my small natural history collection, drift wood, shells, a wasp nest, dried leaves. I must make a note to try some with fresh flowers.

Here are some of those below.

Some were simply collages constructed for a photograph then deconstructed.

I printed a selection of the images onto cotton and silk inkjet fabrics.

Although it was my intention to make only relatively small pieces of work for a while, these images demanded a bigger canvas. Well it’s linen actually, just over a metre by a metre, around 40 x 40 inches.

I didn’t want to cut into the collage images too much, I mostly just sliced and separated them and placed them on the fabric.

I drew and selected pattern shapes for the birds, trees and so on and cut them out of more digitally printed fabric, along with some plain cottons, laying them across the linen. This is always my favourite part of making work.

I need a bigger table.

After pinning the piece to some calico craftily hung from the wardrobe doors I was able to add finishing touches.

I’ve bonded it to a calico backing before stitching as I like a firm piece to work on. I intend to hand stitch it, which should slow things down to say the least.

I have more collages and photo/collage combinations that are suggesting more new work. I should, I know, finish this one before I start another but that’s never been my way. I always think if the enthusiasm is there just go with it.

The Moon remains.

I’ve finished The Moon remains, a piece I’ve made for the Festival of Quilts to be held at the NEC, BirminghamUK, from July 29 until August 1.

It’s 1m x 70cm, made from collaged mixed fabrics, some printed and painted using acrylic paints, some digitally printed, some plain commercial fabrics, and printed Khadi paper, on black felt. It’s densely quilted by machine with metallic thread. It took a while!

The felt is a wonderful surface to quilt, resulting in a great texture. I’ll be using this combination of materials again, undoubtedly.

It’s mounted on canvas as it’s embellished with some porcelain pieces.

The piece is based upon some words I’ve written.

The night bird steps 

into the silvered  day,

and stars prepare their 

dance, unseen.

Through the lattice of 


the Sun becomes invisible,

the Moon remains.

Below, the work in various stages, and finished, ending with some details of the finished piece.

Thank you!


As promised, and I’m sure you’ve all been waiting breathlessly, here are all eight pieces from my now finished series called Gift. Based on some words I’ve written, in my own small way it’s a celebration of our planet, via the medium of mixed media and textiles.

All in 30 cm/12 inch hoops.