Hello and a warm welcome to you! Thank you for visiting my blog where I love to share a little of my life and my passion for textiles, I hope you will enjoy what you see and read here...do also visit me on Facebook and say hello...or check out my workshops and come and get creative...

Sunday, 8 April 2018

how to get going, when you have no idea where you're heading...

My new work is for an exhibition called Interwoven, with a new textile group 'Fabricate' based at Florence Arts Centre near Egremont in Cumbria. We are from all textile disciplines and individually investigating 'heritage' and what it means to us. I have chosen to think about the ultimate heritage, or inheritance, which comes to us via our DNA.

But where to start with a new body of work? When your mind is blank, like the pages of a new sketchbook? Some tiny scraps and wisps of ideas are lurking...so I need to find a way to allow a chink of light, an opening for any ideas to emerge and grow.

Questions must be asked and an investigation begun! Playing with fabrics, exploring in my sketchbook. Sometimes just taking pages out of my book and covering them in paint or ink gets the ball rolling, at least it gets rid of all those blank white pages looking at me! 

This time photography may not be directly relevant, but textures or lines may stimulate a notion. I even toyed with the idea of getting my own DNA imaged!

There are no rules, other than the importance of showing up in my studio...and then something can start! 

Writing words can also help me form ideas, move me from nothing to something. Words are another way to express of what comes into my head, one word leads to another and as the flow brings new thoughts and different words, I carefully write them down, allow them out. Keywords can give focus as well as inspire and fire up my making.

Sticking and stitching into the pages is part of the process...and process opens up possibilities. No outcome is necessary...it will, I trust, unfold as the work goes forward. Happy accidents and ideas you'd never have thought of come out as you fiddle about, and you can make what seems to be awful rubbish of no value, and yet it can clear the way for the exciting stuff...you just need to get going!

Even the edges of cut off pages from another project when stitched into my sketchbook can be suggestive, linear patterns implying the orderliness of genes and genetic information.

Words when stitched with free machine embroidery make their own pattern and statement...here words are conjoined or tied together, linked as genes are linked and we are linked to our genes...

Circles and more circles keep appearing...perhaps they could be atoms and molecules, maybe cells...

Even the waste from the hole punch when stuck down and stitched into has a feeling of biological and DNA like stuctures...

Some random sketching of shapes becomes cellular structures once stitched and cutting holes out offers another dimension, we can see through the structure, perhaps to snippets of information about our genes, or a glimpse to the past or future...

Using dissolvable fabric can create delicate almost transient structures which could add into the mix...

It may all seem rather random and unconnected, and may not have any relevance as the work progresses but it is a starting point to open up ideas which develop as I experiment and explore...

How it will become a body of work is as much a mystery to me as it is to you!

let's wait and see what comes next...

By the way, have you seen Make!Craft Britain series on BBC4, really exciting and inspiring, hands on with lots to be inspired by, both the people and the crafts!

stay creative!

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

fun with a fabric bowl...

well hello March!! where February went I have no idea...perhaps we were just all snowed in, and snowed under with getting through winter... thank goodness for lighter nights and a sense of opening out and greater possibilities. I hope you too are enjoying a sense of spring wherever you are. I have lots of interesting art and textile challenges coming up so I now really need to focus! 

Sooo, to get my creative juices flowing I started with some fabric play, making some new samples for a fabric bowl workshop later in the year. And boy it was fun! I just dipped into the brightest fabrics I could lay my hands on....and let rip!

There are I am sure many ways to make a fabric bowl, in the past I have used my embellisher (needlefelting machine) to lay down the fabrics and blend them together, but here I decided simply to use free maching embroidery, as not everyone has the luxury of an embellisher. This made a different challenge but I think it worked well. As usual with my work it's a great way to recycle fabrics, using even tiny scraps to add to the colour mix or to add texture.

and why stop at one when you could have three? and notice the holes I cut out, I am really enjoying circles and holes, and what they offer in terms of altering a surface and creating a different sense to the structure...

thought for March: in art as in life...
no rules
just play
be authentic
be honest
have fun!

see you again soon for the latest hot off the press happenings here at Fabric HQ! 

stay creative!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

artists do it in galleries...

when any group of people come together to create something new, there is a power and an energy in their shared passion and vision. Eden Valley Artistic Network(EVAN) is just such a group. Its' birth and growth has been amazing to watch, it is all inclusive of anyone who is an artist, musician, writer etc, it has a website, over 100 artists signed up, a regular programme of events...and now an art gallery! 

And not just a gallery, this is a studio hub, where you can see raw art in the making in a real artist's studio, artists do the selling so you can talk to a live artist, a fantastic opportunity to connect... how does it get any better than that?

Not bad for just over a year! Truly 'Made in EVAN' is going places!  It is based in the Eden valley which is East Cumbria, and over here in the 'wild' West, a West Evan group is coming together, slowly creating a network for artistic people to share experiences, come together socially and offering opportunities maybe to show work or run workshops to get others creating. Just being with a group of people who get who you are, and why you do what you do, is incredibly valuable!

hope you enjoyed this mini tour and a celebration of the power of connection and collaboration...inspired and inspiring...well worth a visit if you're in Penrith

EVAN Arts – Gallery and Studios 

4 Corney Place, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 7PX

I'm back into my own studio now as there's lots to be done, including some tidy up time! 

have a creative week!




Friday, 12 January 2018

new year, new ways...

wishing you all a very Happy New Year...thank you for being here and sharing my journey through life and textile art...

they say "old ways won't open new doors" and I have adopted this as is my motto for this year...what can I do or be different in order to create my new reality?? 2018 feels full of promise and opportunities, already things are very different to last year. 

I have started clearing out again in the house, a little bit each day. We have a new sofa, a new bread bin, and await a new freezer(so exciting!) and I am looking forward to sorting out cluttered rooms and gradually introducing more harmony and simplicity. It is a process to be savoured and enjoyed...each layer removed lifts and enhances the spaces, and bring ideas for new things and new ways. 

I have even been making beautiful new cushions, blinds and curtains...a rare treat to use my sewing machine for craft not art, and I am open to doing more, it's so relaxing and satisfying. Even using my beautiful Harris tweed that has been waiting patiently to be made into something lovely. And after 20 years in a home it is certainly time for some fresh new items, designs and colours! It allows energy to flow in a new way. 

Yesterday I asked for a gift from The Universe something to surprise and delight, as I often do...as I stood in the local supermarket car park, a beautiful skein of geese flew overhead in long sinuous lines...such a joy to see, I always feel uplifted by signs from nature. And then in the charity shop I felt compelled to pop into, a stunning pink wool coat hung quietly on the rack... perfect size, brand new, price £6!! It is now home, washed and awaiting a first outing. How does it get even better than that?

On the work front I have been offered some fantastic new creative opportunites, a series of community workshops to create banners to celebrate 100 years since the Suffragettes, and not one but two commissions for large pieces of work. Scary? yes, but exciting too, taking me out beyond where I could have dreamt of being, so easily. It seems the less I do, the more Life brings me perfect things and people.

Last year saw the setting up of an arts collaboration in the Eden Valley, here in Cumbria: The Eden Valley Artistic Network (EVAN), and we are now in the process of setting up a West Coast version,(WestCAN) the idea to create a support and collaborative group, as so often artists, musicians, writers and others work alone and it is so beneficial to connect with other similar folk. EVAN last year ran an arts trail and has now just set up its' own gallery in Penrith which is fantastic. It empowers artists to take charge of their own destiny, together we are powerful! 

So many new things are happening...and in the meantime, apologies if you've been waiting for my new workshop dates, I have had to wait for information on projects, and am now about to sort them out for the year...

An artist may wear many hats...designer, maker, project manager, publicist, admin officer, secretary, artistic director, creative director, photographer, technical department, teacher, workshop facilitator...all of them fun and creative if I allow them to be so! 

I'll see you again soon, as I have some fab photos from my visit to the EVAN gallery a few weeks ago...lots of inspiration!

have a fun weekend...remember "every day's a play day!"


Saturday, 23 December 2017

making merry...

dear friends...who although I may or may not have met you, I think of you all as friends, thank you a zillion times for being here and reading my ramblings and enjoying my photos and creative textile arty fun, 

wishing you may enjoy a peaceful and relaxing festive season...

see you again very soon.... for the best is yet to come!

with love

Monday, 11 December 2017

Take Six Make Christmas Easy

it's over...we did it! Another lovely event where we pooled our resources and energy and our passion for our art or craft, and lovely people visited and looked and admired and bought...and then said 'we'll see you next year!' We had the added joy of being in Phil's delightful new workshop in his restored byre, so were able to showcase our work in a beautiful clean white but characterful venue.
So have a browse here if you didn't make it this time...we were even filmed setting up, by Freya from the 'That's Cumbria' team and appeared on Channel 8 on Freeview (a mysterious place!). That's Cumbria is part of a BBC venture to produce local films about local people, and I have to say if you'd like to watch an antidote to the 'real' news, check out your own locality version! So many heartwarming projects and people doing good and interesting things.
Check it out on utube here and get a 'behind the scenes' sneaky peek!

you may even spot the artist herself in the above photos...that pink coat is my favourite!!

have a creative Christmassy week....and stay warm in this frosty weather!


Sunday, 19 November 2017

mind the gap...

well where did October go that's what I'd like to know? My apologies for lack of appearance here, but cunning plans went all asunder as family events took over. The passing of a loved one, even after a long life well lived impacts on every aspect of daily life, the heart carries many memories, the threads of 'another' woven into the fabric of who we are, stitched in place with every smile and joyful moment remembered, every kindness felt and recorded. Family ties are strengthened by connection and reminiscence as we share sorrow and laughter mingled. There is only love at the end of the day.

Tempest fugit...not half! Suddenly November is upon me and the date of our Christmas 'show' grows ever closer. I am back in my studio, with renewed heart for my work. I have been quietly making, new work has emerged and I am pleased with the outcome of the process. Old work has been cut up and juxtaposed with new in a pleasing and exciting manner! Sketches, photos and feelings start to merge into new ideas and compositions, as fabric play leads the way.

First off is brooches, small and fun, each one unique! Individually created from upcycled fabrics, needlefelted and stitched then beads added by hand...so they become a mini work of art. Inspired by the theme of stone, heather, sea, earth and rust...starting
off with sea and stone...

wishing you a peaceful and creative weekend...