A Miscellany

This is one of those posts that I can tell is going to bounce from one thing to another, hence the title.

Firstly I had a lovely time with the Leamington Branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild last Friday and Saturday. It’s the second time I have visited them and they are always so enthusiastic and hard working. Lovely work was produced; sorry no images, I forgot my camera and ‘phone. If anyone reads this and has any pics please forward them; I’d love to blog them! And here in response to my request is an image showing the work made by the group, supplied by Sarah, many thanks!


I’ve been steadfastly stitching away at my piece Li Carpet for our Six  and Friends show, Orientation. There are still 10 panels to go, then the construction, but there we go. I have decided to keep my studio, having come to my senses and realising that it is impossible to work from home, for many reasons. Having no space is probably the most pertinent. A room of one’s own is definitely needed, I just need the private income to complete the package! The decision to keep it has made me feel very creative again though; I realised I had started to close down a little. And of course it is my place of work and helps create my income, so it’s necessary, a fact I had sort of forgotten; sometimes joined up thinking eludes one.

A lily pad from Li Carpet, 30cm x 30cm.

A fish, and below, some lizards.

I have decided to do most of my work at the studio now. I used to start work there and bring it home for completion. I have found myself unwilling to work at home with the same intensity that I have been working with for the last few years, and find that I get a lot more done at the studio too. So I’ve been compartmentalising a little, and feel very happy about it. It also means I get to actually see some of those TV programmes I have mostly listened to for years!

These are some of the embroideries I had piled up at home waiting for completion; the adding of hand stitch and beads sort of thing. They were taken to the studio and I finished all of my backlog in 3 days there; it is a weight off the old shoulders.

I have recently developed a great need to do some drawings, which is good. I have always drawn a fair amount, certainly in the past I did lots of drawing, but of late it has been drawing as design, very definitely for a purpose. So I intend to start some drawings as soon as possible using mainly coloured pencil, pencil, and perhaps some mixed media/paint. I have some subjects in mind, and I am very much looking forward to it; I seem to feel less constrained than in the past. Age and contrariness have their benefits!

So of course I bought some new pencils, and some lovely paper,to get going. I have some watercolour pencils and Inktense pencils so that should be a good mix to experiment with, for starters. These were a bit of an internet bargain, but I’m pleased to say today I bought something from Birmingham’s only proper art shop, Spectrum. We don’t want these wonderful shops to disappear.

I used to use coloured pencils a lot in the past; I had forgotten how much until I dragged out my old portfolios.

One wonderful thing to really get me going and about which I am very enthusiastic is ‘Alphabet Soup’, an on line exhibition which you can read about on Clive Hicks-Jenkin’s blog [see side bar.] Clive’s blog is one of the best I have read anyway, so try to have a look. It’s good to have an aim, and what marshalls one’s thoughts better than an alphabetical aim?

8 thoughts on “A Miscellany

  1. Hey Steph, that joined up thinking is dangerous stuff. It seems to have galvanised you into a frenzy of activity and I get a real sense of renewed enthusiasm for things. I would love to join in with Clive’s Alphabet Soup but don’t have the confidence that I’d hold my end up amongst the others. I love the work of one of the organisers Shellie Byatt. She wields those coloured pencils with practiced ease and I love her figures, particularly their elegant hands.. Looks like you’ll soon be doing the same with that mega set of yours!

  2. Her work is indeed lovely, and intriguing. You should have a go Lesley, you don’t have to do the whole alphabet [X is proving difficult at the moment, but I’m not drawing yet, just thinking.]
    I am, as you have spotted, enthusiastic again, which is very enjoyable. You can use any technique, as long as it’s all black and white, and, as Clive says, shades between, if wanted, with an accent colour too if you like.

  3. Excellent decision about the studio Steph ….. I know it costs (where are the patrons of the textile arts one wonders??) – but it must be so liberating and also motivating. Bet you don’t stop doing big stuff either … I’m loving the carpet for orientation … the colours and design just sing … can I have it for the sitting room floor after the exhibition? Nice to see you haven’t messed around with a little pencil set – always seems far too earnest to me … get as many as possible that’s my motto. What are they? I can see Faber Castell, but annoyingly my eyesight just isn’t up to any more detail. I am totally disgusted that you have sorted out your backlog (as well as finished stuff for FOQ) – I do hope you are not ging to stick with this smug, self satisfied way of doing things?? Just not the ticket old bean – Hils xx

  4. You sound on creative fire 🙂 I know what you mean about listening to programmes, not watching them – I recently started watching The Killing box DVD set thinking of all the knitting that could be do simultaneously – but it’s subtitled!

    1. I know what you mean, all these good imports we have had recently, the family watch them but I have no idea what’s going on! I did ask my daughter to read out the subtitles but that was a non starter! You can’t get away with glancing up every so often can you? Even Midsomer Murders needs more attention than I usually give it.

  5. Hils, you’re right about the studio being liberating. Compartmentalising works for me, too, being a simple sort of bod, so now I am sorting lots of stuff at home, which had all been in a sort of mental and therefore physical log jam. Oh to be minimalist! I am SO feeling smug though…
    It’s actually not a carpet, sad to say, as we need a new one. It’s calico, felt, and plastic. It could be a floor covering in many ways, as the calico is really tough when painted as you know. The plastic would be weak though. I think it may be one of my last big pieces, but of course I have some big drawings in mind instead. Help me someone!
    The pencils are Polychromos, I haven’t used them yet, I’ve just tended to drool on them a bit. I feel you have to have the full set, so you know eventually what colours you really like…
    So far the most expensive coloured pencils I spotted in my researches seem to be Luminance,somewhat beyond my reach.
    Just off now to sit in my perfectly ordered environment [I wish]. Keep up the good work Hils, I can’t wait to see your pieces at FoQ.

    1. I cant wait to see my pieces at FOQ either – it will mean I am not still stitching the little crtters! I like the new look page here too – you are good at keeping stuff fresh – must try and follow suit soon. Mind you – it took me a while to work out where the comments had gone .. but that is because my brain has reached a stage where it resists change. Off to llok up Luminance – you have to don’t you?? – H xx

      1. Took me ages to find a nice boring white template for t’blog. It’s called ‘Clean House’, you have to laugh.
        It’s the best fun looking up stuff other bods mention, that’s how we pick up new ideas isn’t it, [and then spend money.] Keep stitching Hils, nearly there! Sxx

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