Wonky but finished, number two.

I’ve finished my second needlepoint. It’s veered around just as the first one did, and will need blocking. I have no idea how to do this but will have to learn at some point. I am avoiding at the moment, well, until I absolutely have to do it.


It’s around 50 x 50 cm. I changed the colour plan as I went along, as I am discovering that what works with paint and collage doesn’t necessarily translate into yarns and needlepoint in the same way.

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I’ve started the next one, which is a sort of partner to this one.


This one is 50 x 50 cm too. Here’s the collage and the canvas.


And above and below, the wool, linen, cotton, and bamboo yarns I’m going to use.


And this is how far it’s progressed, below.



I’m wondering if the blue is going to happen with this piece; as I work on it it seems to be saying not.

A great studio day and getting going with the book.

Working with other artists is enjoyable and when a space became free at one of Ineke Berlyn’s studio days I decided a day doing my own work surrounded by others working on their own projects was just what was needed. Outside was grey and wet, inside was warm and convivial.

It also made me actually get started on the stitching of my book. I had gone through the delaying tactic of making a neat pile of the work to be done then ignoring it. I’ve decided against machine stitching, so I was at it with the bradawl and sturdy needle.

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Three pages done, quite a lot to go…

Here’s the last batch of laid down pages of the Concealed Revealed book. I really must finish this soon, as there’s a rather intensive chunk of work on the horizon, and I need to clear the decks.










Righto, back to the bradawl…


A brief post showing a few more laid down book pages from my latest artists book, Concealed Revealed. It’s based around a series of haiku I’ve written.

The sewing machine is out now, ready to get going on stitching the pages. There are some more laid down pages that I’ll post soon, along with some progress pictures as the pages are finished. Brave words, progress and finished.

Once again, in no particular order…



This is from a sketchbook page, printed onto canvas paper, with paper collage additions.


The female blackbird is a visitor from my book The Stone Bird, also printed onto canvas paper, as are the images below, which are then mounted onto A3 Khadi paper to form the pages of the book..



The stone tracery is from Gloucester Cathedral, the cobweb from our gate.



Clouds from the Midlands, sky from the Universe, echinacea and bee from Winterbourne Garden in Birmingham,  ghostly giant dragonfly from a photograph of my old dried dragonfly from my little natural history collection, and the background is a piece of watercolour paper which I printed with watercolours. It was an experimental messing about sort of print, but said summer to me, so I used it.

And, below, needlepoint number two is moving along. Actually more has been done since these were taken; not long before I can start the next one. I am tempted to start it anyway, as a treat.

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You either love hot pink and bright greens, or not. I find the combination life enhancing, and seem to be developing a liking for this cheerful pinkness.

It’s a reminder of the thrill of spotting a male bullfinch, [ I love the subtle beauty of the female too ] and the joy of light moving through a leaf.

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Favourite images.

I have a habit of using some images over and over. Ages ago I made a linocut, this little sparrow, below, and he has been used in many pieces of my work. He may have retired now, I’m not sure; I enjoy introducing an old friend into a new piece, it’s an important continuity.

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Here he is below, on a few pages of Shadow and Light, an artist’s book I made a couple of years ago. On these pages he is printed onto calico and cut out, then applied to the page. Theses pages measure 75 x 35 cm.

The flowers are made from photographs printed onto t shirt transfer paper, the footprints are mine, made with genesis green acrylic ink. It took some scrubbing to get it off.

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This drawing too, below, is also something I keep returning to. It’s actually a little smaller than this, and was completed very quickly. Perhaps that’s why it works for me. It was drawn from a photograph I took of a rowan tree.


It’s been featured in a fair amount of work too. Below, in Shadow and Light, blown up to fit in with a 75 x 35 cm page. I printed the image onto a piece of Khadi paper then sliced it up, and added fabric and other media.


Here it is in a photo collage I made.


And in my new needlepoint, below, once again blown up in size. The overall piece is 50 x 50 cm.


And guess what, it’s in my latest artist’s book too, as you can see below,  printed in this case onto canvas paper, and applied to the page. The pages are each A3 in size.




These pages are laid down but not yet finished, and to finish off here are a couple more. The blue image is taken from an embroidery of mine, which is actually black and gold. I changed the colours using Photoshop, to fit in with the haiku. The hand is a handprint I made with black ink. I’ve just noticed another theme emerging in this post, that of printing using various bits of myself. Don’t worry, I’ll go no further.




Back soonish with more pages from the latest book.





Wrapping up.

Well, here we are, the end of 2015 fast approaching. The year has whizzed by, as they seem to these days.

Giant thanks to all who read my blog; it’s now time to wrap up the year.

Hopefully I’ll be back blogging in 2016; [ always say ‘hopefully’ ] most likely with more of the same, unless I go seriously off piste. Actually that is quite a temptation.

So, have a happy Christmas, or Yule, whatever you celebrate, a jolly new year, and, carpe diem…

Work wise, I’ve been moving on with the new book, and here are a few more pages, in no particular order, as usual.

As I have been putting the pages together it’s become clear that this is a book that is going to be made from printed paper. I did intend to add fabric, and other media,  but this hasn’t happened, and doesn’t seem right for the book; the images of my work printed on canvas paper and Khadi paper seem to be all that’s needed.

This was very freeing. I find recently that limiting the range of media I use in a project is both liberating and creatively stimulating, especially if it’s unplanned as in this case. I suppose it’s a sort of decluttering.



The piece above is a printed image on canvas paper of a fabric collage on a photograph I made last year.




And above, the bird and tree image are from two of my embroideries.

These pages are now on the pile waiting to be machine stitched.

Needlepoint number two is moving on slowly. I have been out and about quite a lot recently, so that’s my excuse. I also work on it whilst watching tv; it’s safe to say these two activities are basically mutually exclusive, if you actually want to get much actually done. Still, someone has to try.


I’ve drawn out the next needlepoint in line, removing many of the leaves around the bird, a lesson learned from needlepoint number two, above.



I’ll probably start this one soon, as I like to have two going; it seems to keep things fresh.

And finally, a quick sketch for the next one, still in early development stage. This one includes some of my favourite subjects, plants, fossils and bones; I’ve not finished with them yet.




A new artist’s book.

I’ve started my new book, named Concealed/Revealed; it’s based on some haiku I’ve written. They are all quite jolly, for me at least, no mention of bones and so on at all. The images may conspire to be a little more ambiguous, however; I’ll have to see what wants to materialise.

It’s basic construction is on A3 Khadi paper sheets. As anticipated, once I got the pack of blank sheets out, the book got going. The pages are being constructed around some images I have digitally altered and printed onto canvas paper, and I will be adding more paper and fabric, as necessary, and some stitch.

I started, unusually logically, with the first double page spread, but then, more characteristically, found myself working on the double page spread for haiku number four. They move through the day and the seasons, and will be in order when the book is finished. Well, let’s hope so.

Below, the work in progress.


Below, the double page spread for haiku number one. I tried to add much more to these images, but ended up virtually using them as they were. The books image is a Photoshop collage of a herbal I photographed in the British Museum, and the other print is from an altered image of our magnolia in flower. DSC_0114


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And below is spread number four, which includes a photograph of some young trees I took in the Lickey Hills, a country park close to where I live, with added papers. On the facing page there’s a smaller version of the magnolia print, and an altered version of a photograph of a bird from my artist’s book The Stone Bird.

The original bird is a brightly coloured and stitched hoopoe; unfortunately there are no hoopoes in the Lickey Hills. There are also some strips from a print of some blossom I photographed locally a couple of years ago.




The haiku are written in the 5,7,5 syllable format.

I’m not sure what haiku I will be working with next. I’ve been organised enough to actually start with the first pages so that’s good enough for me; I can go wild now, if indeed you can go wild with haiku.

I do tend to simply start with one image that inspires me, which leads me naturally to another; the ideas flow for me in that way, and I often find the materials I use in one piece also fit in with another set of pages, so the process is also materials led.

Wonky but finished!

Well, here’s needlepoint number one finished. It looks as if it’s trying to ease its way out of the picture, as unobtrusively as possible. This is because it needs blocking, which is a whole new thing for me, so I intend too avoid doing it for a while. I’m not sure how I want to mount it yet, either, so there is research to be done.  


It’s 50 x 50 cm, and called Metamorphosis. I was going to do a Metamorphosis series, but have been taken with other ideas, so this piece is now the sole representative of that title.

I’ve just started another piece, which I’ll post as soon as there’s something interesting to show, as it’s in its very early stages.

I’ve also been choosing and altering some images of my work and sketchbook pages for a new artist’s book I’m about to start.

It’s a book based on 12 haikus I’ve written, and here are a few of the images which will form the basis of the pages. This is a mixed media piece, no needlepoint, I’m saving that for bigger pieces of work at the moment.


These are A4 sized prints on canvas paper.


There will be more media added, in terms of fabric and paper, and no doubt the odd bit of stitch too. It’s all very early stages; I’ll post each page as I make it. I hope to finish it by Christmas, as I have a big exciting new project to get stuck into in the new year. I feel this may be a little over ambitious, but as long as it gets going, that will be fine.