Saturday, 24 July 2010


Earlier this year I found myself without wrapping paper for a friend's birthday. Being in the middle of studying for exams at the time, and needing a creative break, I gave myself 3 hours to make a basic wrapping cloth.
We decided to turn it into a friendship cloth, each of us adding bits over time. Debra recently returned it with washers sewn on to secure the ties...
...and this beautifully stitched quote on the back.
Much more enriching than disposable wrapping paper!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Burning Down

Janet suggested burning a house as well as the archway for a better effect. Now the arch needs to be burnt more...
I like how it looks on the table cloth -

 - not sure I'm ready to burn into that yet!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Pulling it Together

Had an inspirational day at the Journey workshop this week. Janet helped us think about how to use our samples as a route to a finished piece. She gently encouraged me not to get too attached to what I have done so far, but to incorporate the techniques from the pieces I like into a new design.
Due to Janet's vast store of ideas, I've changed direction slightly and have now got 2 paths to follow: a sort of family-story-cloth starting with some gifted linen...
...which will be gradually added to over time.
I've made a start by dipping it in coffee and sewing an archway...
...and may put this in the middle
 - stitched by my daughter -
cut out but kept ragged edged.

The second idea stays with the 'Garden of Forking Paths' but involves making a series of holey stacking bowls or vessels that can be turned and swapped around. So the challenge now is to make something that has a drapey feel while being stiff enough to hold its shape...

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Indigo Dyeing

A group of us spent a lovely day yesterday stitching, dyeing and chatting.
Stitching on sheer white linen 

Pole wrapping and stitching on an old indian cotton pink sarong 

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


Mostly more defined houses. Keep them together or rip them apart?

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Layered Printing

Lots of monoprints on top of each other. Pleased with this - so far...


Mmmm... Bit too much definition on the roof of this house, pleased with the steps and door though. Need to stitch the arch now.
I've been exploring the theme of archways. I like the nurturing curve they have, encouraging me to go through and explore beyond my immediate space. Unlike circles, arches do not confine me, but gently lead me further on. Without a door, they provide a glimpse to their other side, imagination filling in the gaps so that before I go through it there is a sense of another reality lying beyond, something different to my current world.
Arches feature in much of John Piper's work. His style appeals to me because his buildings are often blurred and indistinct, but the arches are highlighted, a moment of clarity but also movement, giving the sense of there being something beyond the canvas.
The word arch came from the Latin arcus meaning arch or bow. 'Arc' has the same root and was used in Middle English to mean the passing of the sun from east to west, forming the 'days arc'.* This led me back to the idea of arches as a symbol of movement and development. There is a proscribed frame of time and space, but within that the day is full of possibility.
John Piper's painting of St George Church in Ivychurch, was the starting point for my decaying archway. Finding these photographs of the inside of the church reminded me that the arch is used in buildings because of its strength. Go through it in search of another world, but build on top of it and around it and you will make a solid, immutable structure that will last over a thousand years...

* Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, 2000

Friday, 9 July 2010


I'm enjoying this process - working out just how much stitching is needed to enhance the houses without spoiling them. I like working outside the edges but need the occasional defining marks to provide 'a momentary stay against confusion'.*

*Robert Frost, The Figure a Poem Makes, 1939

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Looking, Looking, Looking

Inspired by the simplicity of Alfred Wallis, and going back to the colours and painted effects in my moodboard. Acrylic monoprint on calico, stitched onto layers of linen with a calico backing.
I like the physical layering of this as well as the layering of techniques - both add interest to the simplicity.
As Hussein Chalayan said on Grayson Perry's programme Creativity and Imagination: "the process gives it the layers".

Friday, 2 July 2010

Playing with Print

I wanted to represent the human figure in a way that wasn't too obvious. I printed two photographs of my silhouette onto linen (using a freezer paper backing through an inkjet printer), put a sheer linen over the top and stitched over one image. I think it can still just about be seen...
The original photo is on the top right of my moodboard

Thursday, 1 July 2010

V & A Visit - "Architects Build Small Spaces"

A lovely day out
This was the view from inside "Ratatosk" - apparently named after the Norse legend of a squirrel living in a huge ash tree at the centre of the universe.
There's more about the structure at the bottom of this page.