Wednesday, 23 September 2009


I'm enjoying welcoming the moon back. As the nights draw in little by little I'm aware of it up there and have been inspired to produce these pieces. The top one is a postcard sized piece incorporating fabric and paper collage, closely stitched. It was inspired by work on the Spirit Cloth weblog and reminded me of the amazing stitched kantha pieces I saw in India. Postcard sized was about the limits of my kantha-concentration. The second is a tapestry that's still on the loom waiting to be finished. It's the precursor really to the other tapestry (also still on the loom waiting to be finished!).
Work is in progress for the Thoresby gallery and I've been enjoying having a deadline to work to. I'm working toward completing four pieces by the 12th of October and I have two well under way. I've been out and about buying different papers to use for the collaged parts, old books, childrens' books, newspapers. Having had a huge purge of materials earlier in the year it's good to be collecting again.
I've not been out to actively seek inspiration this week. I'm still waiting for this month's Selvedge magazine which is my life line when my world becomes dominated by the lives of two small boys.
Hope the harvest moon is glowing in the sky over you.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Wirksworth Festival 2009

What a day we had at Wirksworth Festival. It was such a warm September day and the town looked beautiful and bustling with allsorts of folk up for the weekend arts and architecture trail. This is the third year that I've been and it's a place I feel really inspired by. There's so much to see and a day isn't really enough. The town comes alive with homes being opened to host artists, shops commissioning creative window displays, street theatre, music and open gardens.
I loved these cakes by Jeni Smith displayed in the bakery window. I was thrilled to find a white ceramic cake stand in the vintage shop around the corner. Sadly it met it's demise about an hour after it was purchased for me. Another reminder that nothing lasts forever.
The visit to Wirksworth festival coincided with the back-to-school week and has become part of my ritual of celebrating the end of summer. Now I'm looking forward to the richer, shorter, intense days of Autumn.

Thursday, 10 September 2009


Based on the piece I've had accepted by the Thoresby gallery, I'm doing a tapestry weaving. I'm enjoying capturing the moment of the storm in the enduring medium of tapestry. I've extracted a section from the original artwork. Like the ariginal artwork, it has a muted pallette with stronger colours to add depth and intensity. It's woven on a frame loom with a cotton warp and rayon weft. I chose rayon, purely because I had access to a supply in a wide range of colours. The work is slowly growing. I get a really calm, meditative sense when I'm weaving, totally absorbed in the moment.

Through the Storm

It's been a good week creatively. I've had a piece accepted for the Thoresby Gallery open exhibition. It's called 'Through the Storm'. It's a collage, ink and stitch piece that I worked from memory after travelling through a summer storm. I was struck by the darkness of the sky against the light summer fields.
I'm really excited because the gallery have asked me to do some work to sell in their gallery shop. I'll post up how the work develops.

On The Hills

I came across this poem that described so well the landscape that's so inspiring to me at the moment. It's written by Elizabeth Coatsworth (1893-1986) who wrote that her poems were "essentially a short record of my delight in the world and living."

On The Hills

Today I walked on lion-coloured hills
with only cypresses for company,
until the sunset caught me, turned the brush
to copper,
set the clouds
to one great roof of flame
above the earth,
so that I walked through fire, beneath fire,
and all in beauty.
Being alone
I could not be alone, but felt
(closer than flesh) the presences of those
who once had burned in such transfigurations.
My happiness ran through the centuries
and linked itself to other happiness
in one continual brightness. Looking down,
I saw the earth beneath me like a rose
petaled with mountains,
fragrant with deep peace.

I've been inspired this week by two artists. One is the Scottish artist Madeleine Hand. This picture is called Wash Day. I love the sense of pattern and rhythm to her work and the muted pallette.

I'm also liking the work of Chris Cyprus whose work was featured in this months Country Living magazine.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

In the beginning

I've been trying to give permanence to those fleeting moments of life. Not known for being overly romantic, here I tried to capture the moment that led to the reality of my here and now. I love the idea of fate bringing Dave and me together and the sense of self that gives me, and the meaning that gives to all the highs and lows of life. Sketchbook page, ink, collage and stitch on paper.


This is one of the first pieces where I worked from memory. I wanted to capture that insular, wrapped up feeling I had when my first son was born. He loves going into my studio and looking at this piece. Now he has a younger brother, I think he likes to remember when he was the centre of our world. It's on paper, about 25cm x 25 cm, paint, ink, stitch and collage.

Pink and Yellow

I'm loving the landscape at the moment. The summer seams to have drenched Derbyshire in colour. There seems to be a real heightened pallette and I'm enjoying layering colour and texture. This is only small, 15cm x 15cm and is a paper and stitch piece.

From my mind's eye

I've been trying to work from my memory. There are images in my head, some that have been there nearly all my life, and I've been trying to evoke them in my work. Some are hazy, early memories of people, some are family tales, others are fleeting moments of my life that were so beautiful or so dramatic that they etched themselves on my retinas. It's been a challenging step, in terms of trying to make my work more personal and in trying to realise an image when there is nothing tangible to draw from. It's also been liberating, making my mark stronger and honing in on what is important to my mark making; pattern, image as symbol and also image as metaphor.

Capturing the moment

Our time in Northumberland was too short. Such beautiful dynamic landscapes and huge skies. I really felt that I could breathe. Travelling through the landscape in the car my mind filled with one breathtaking view after another; deep valleys, misted mountains, the deep green of pines, chocolate fields, caramel hay bails. I have held all those images in my mind's eye to process later.
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