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 say hello to me on Facebook or Instagram...or come and get creative on a workshop!

Monday, 23 September 2019

back to Islay...

I promised part 2 of our blissful trip to a scottish island...so here goes. I have to say a lot has been happening here at home in the meantime so it's quite hard to get back into holiday mood...but it's actually lovely to look at my photos again and remember...

the ruin of Kilchiaran chapel and walking down to the pretty bay, always something to please the eye and a desire to draw it, to capture a sense of the place on paper, a more tactile connection with it than just a photo...

A trip out to peaceful Port Charlotte overlooking Loch Indaal...and a picnic lunch in glorious sunshine in this peaceful bay...
Everywhere there are tiny details to inspire ideas and feelings...a visit to the Islay Museum which had so many interesting items, an out of date post box in Port Ellen, typewriters, yarns and weaving equipment in the Islay Woollen Mill...all give a sense of history, of lives lived, of people and place.

Going much further back in time to the Lords of The Isles... we had an evocative time wandering at Eilean Mor, the once inhabited island at Finlaggan. In ruins, surrounded by water, but with signs of occupation from long ago, marks of man in the landscape...very romantic!

and again and again I was drawing, making marks and shading colours, with simple pen or pencil, or watercolour pencils and some watercolour paints...
and there had to be at least one swim and this was the day...not me, just my daughter having a fantastic time in the cold waters at Claggan Bay, in the late afternoon hot sunshine...and such a peaceful spot...

Then it was time to head back to the ferry, caught from Port Askaig. We watched as the tiny Jura ferry came in...and went, sideways across the short water to Jura....next time we'll go on it! Eventually the huge Cal Mac boat steamed in, dwarfing the tiny Jura ferry. Heading back across the sea to the mainland...then the long drive home, back to our own beds in our beautiful Cumbria, refreshed and replenished, and inspired...

and now, back to my studio...imminent workshops, and Christmassy thoughts required...



Sunday, 1 September 2019

time for another Scottish island retreat...

our annual treat has become a family holiday away up to the Scottish islands, this time we were off to Islay, the southernmost island, picking up the ferry at Kennascraig on the mainland, docking at Port Askaig on Islay. Part of the relaxation is the long drive up north, playing Runrig at full volume on the car stereo, knowing that at the end a huge Cal Mac ferry awaits, and we drive on clunking over the ramp, park carefully in the belly of the boat directed by the wo/men in hard hats, and head up to the top deck for a couple of hours of sea watching...nowhere to go and nothing to do!

Tho' it's always an opportunity to take photos and be inspired by the industrial colours and shapes of the ferry, and of course the sea, the endless sea...and the romance of the distant islands...

 
Arriving in the late evening, we drove to the cottage, greeted by a barn owl as we arrived...a good omen for the week ahead! The cottage was just lovely, feeling clean and new and neat, with beautiful tweed curtains and a simple easy style, and everything you would need. And no wifi! More info here if you'd like to stay there...

Through the windows there was just the surrounding moorland, and deer coming close by...lots of birds, we even saw a golden eagle soaring up above the hill, and plenty more as we were very close to the RSPB reserve. The sea is never far away and there were lots of little bays to visit...and no one else for miles around!
The views from the windows were so calming and beautiful, whether in rain and mist or in sunshine. I had taken a sketchbook with pre-prepared pages, so I spent the week doing a drawing or two each day, using my water soluble coloured pencils, and some amazing old watercolours (from my childhood!!) to create some simple interpretations of what I saw. I upcycled some plastic packaging as a water pot!
Wildflowers and wildlife abounds on the island, so much to see and delight in...

and there were even donkeys! As many of you may know we have donkeys at home...and we are always happy to see more...you cannot be uncheered by them, and these were so friendly! Sadly we had no carrots for them...

I think I will show you a few more photos next time...there's plenty more where these came from! We are home once more and I'm back in the studio, getting ready for another set up of our exhibition Sewing the Seeds: we're going to be at The Gather at Ennerdale Bridge, here in Cumbria for a month, setting up tomorrow...so I'd better go and find my boxes and get organised...

Happy 1st September...time for some autumny creating methinks...I'm running Seedheads workshop on 26th September and Mini Landscapes on 17th October if you fancy some fabric and stitch fun! check out my website for details...
 


Friday, 9 August 2019

private view...

if you didn't make it to our "Sewing The Seeds" exhibition...then here's taste of the work on show. Some is tricky to photograph as it was framed behind glass, so I selected the easier textiles to snap...

We each made a letter (or two) for the banner, it's amazing how such different techniques look so good together...collaboration is always a winner!











My work was displayed in a little alcove off the main gallery room, which I loved. I was able to set out my stall with pictures and brooches and books, and have space for my larger pieces: my "butterfly net" and butterfly dress.


I really enjoyed creating so many delicate fluttering creatures! Using souble fabrics and layers of net and lace, each one looked as though it was flying, and I really liked the unforeseen effect of their shadows on the net, and their movements as the net shifted lightly in a breeze.




I created a collection of butterflies, moving like sooty moths from the darkness of despair to the light and brightness of hope. The circular shape represents the earth, and the butterflies, the earth’s fragility.




My other pieces were pictures, brooches and books, with butterflies, flowers and seedheads as the theme, in keeping with the overall idea of pollinators and pollination.




More and more I find my work almost creates itself. I start out with ideas, I start off with something happen in a sketchbook, a few words and images appear, then gradually as I sit back and allow, intuition guides my hands and my mind in a new direction. I had no idea where this work was taking me, I would just show up each day and stitch one or two butterflies, as my energy permitted. Then slowly the ideas of how to display them came to me. I knew I wanted to make a corset piece, as that's one of my favourite ways to work in 3D...after that what came was anyone's guess!

 

In the end, I was very happy...not least because I am working in our group 'Fabricate' with some lovely, talented, kindred spirits and makers, and we all just blend harmoniously together, as does our work...so I hope seeing this small taste of our collaboration will please you too! 
 
You can find Fabricate on Facebook here...do come along and give us a like and say hello!

Enjoy the rest of this beautiful summer, from my garden full of flowers, butterflies and tranquility...

with love


PS The exhibition is moving to The Gather in Ennerdale











Sunday, 9 June 2019

sewing the seeds...

is the title of our Fabricate exhibition, and my work is beginning to come together. I am working very slowly at the moment, inching my way towards the creation of work I can actually show! The posters beautifully designed by Ruth Waterhouse are printed and being displayed...so I'd best get a move on!
 

Each exhibitor has also designed a letter to spell out a banner for the show, my letter was 't' and this design made itself as if by magic!  A lovely piece of a green linen skirt made the background, then some samples of cording and some flowers were added to the simple letter underneath.
 

My ideas on the theme of plant pollinators began way back I think in February/March, the sketchbook begun one early morning in bed...and the creative journey has taken me far away from those early thoughts. They served really only to get the pumps primed and keep fear at bay so that the real ideas could gently filter through!



And now my work is so different compared to my first rather earthy ideas around gardening and planting...they have transformed and become light and ephemeral butterflies...and I'm not really sure how! 



I've played with soluble fabrics and paper and stitch to create a collection of delicate butterflies, the word fragile in my head, translated into fabric creations. I have layered net and lace to create a sense of movement as if they are fluttering...



Using free mchine embroidery is so versatile, it's a slow and dainty production process with soluble fabrics, but so satisfying when the butterflies start to pile up...


Experimenting with colours to see what feels right...not sure about the orange...








and now some very different shades, as the colour moves from light to dark...




I am also working on a larger piece, starting with a corset or bodice, to create a butterfly 'dress'...hopefully I'll be able to show you more of that next time!

Meanwhile, time to stop procrastinating and get back to the studio...

Hope you have a creative week too!