Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Christmas presents

Still slaving away over a hot sewing machine! These are the tablet covers that I've just made for 6 year old twin grandchildren. I've popped some little eye-spy books inside so that (hopefully) they will be doing some looking and seeing other than of screens this Christmas.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Spring diaries

First sample completed for my Spring diaries class at Brewery Arts starting in January. We're going to be working from what we see each week as, hopefully, spring arrives! In case there's not much around I'm going to start with making the books for the diaries and then have a few things prepared like this bulb that is made using a pattern from Selvedge in an article about the work of Mr Finch. The bulb itself is calico that has been daubed with an old tea bag to distress it, the shoot is from a velvet furnishing fabric sample, and the roots are unravelled cotton string that was wetted and then scrunched up so that it dried crinkly.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Advent calendar

The advent calendar is finished and ready to send off to my grandson. I found some little wooden numbers in Hobbycraft and glued them on each house. In the end I couldn't decide how to attach a little gift to each house and instead added an extra bag full of little brown envelopes that I painted to numbers on. They were just big enough to take some tiny cars and Lego-type bricks to make into a kit. To mark each day as the countdown progresses a small wooden clothespeg with a bright star on it was included.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Advent calendar

The backs of the little houses are bonded with different red fabrics from my scrap bag. I've joined them all together with two rows of a stripy ribbon. Now to sew the fronts onto the backs.

Advent calendar

I'm making an Advent calendar for two of my grandchildren. The design is based on one in the December issue of Craft Stamper. That one was in paper this one is all fabrics. Two of the BBs came over last Friday and we had a fun day making the houses up. The base is pelmet vilene with Bondaweb or heavyweight iron-on vilene. It uses up lots of little scraps as well as various odds and ends of ribbon.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


On the journey theme this term I've been looking particularly at the journey that I make most days when I go for a walk. The hedgerows this autumn have been filled with berries and the ground covered in seeds. I thought I might make some jewellery based on these. Last night I made the beginnings of a conker, some acorns and a few orangey red berries. All from fleece left over from the birds and nests project in the summer so some of the colours were already mixed and carded.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Pieces of felt were cut out and arranged on felt and then tacked in place before being coloured with silk paints. These bits of lace are all cotton which gives quite a textural effect. I can't decide whether I prefer the formal arrangement of the white piece or the randomly placed snippets of the brownish piece.

Little lace samples

Pieces made at a workshop with Louise Watson last week. They are stage one and meant to be worked on further but I can't go to next month's session as I have to work.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Natural dyeing

Tried some more natural dyeing on paper and fabrics using onion skin. These are the papers. Boiled in a pan for 30 mins.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013


A rainy grey day so this morning painting lots of pages to make books to take on future trips. Now the sun is starting to come out I'll leave them to finish off this evening and go out and draw.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Workshop 4

Perhaps my favourite stitched piece. The threads stitched, then snipped and overlaid with another piece of muslin. The remnants of stitches were pulled through to the top surface.

Workshop 3

Here the thin paper has been replaced with muslin and the pen drawing with couched linen threads. Two pieces overlaid having been stitched on all four sides to get a feeling of depth.

Workshop 2

You got interesting results from overlaying two drawings on the thin paper.

Workshop 1

I went on a workshop at Matthew Harris's workshop in Stroud over the weekend. We were working with randomness to get us away from our usual sort of work. This is tiny pieces drawn round on Japanese paper.

Journey week 4 strip maps 2

For this sample, I drew the route onto calico with a grey fabric pen. Images from my sketchbooks, books and a nice bird serviette were glued on. Other pieces of different papers were also added for tonal contrast. A piece of scrim was bonded on the top and then the route was stitched in a dark grey linen thread. The birds illustrate the ones that I see and hear along my journey from my house to the top of the hill.

Journey week 4 strip maps 1

We looked at strip maps today in class especially those of the 17th C - John Oglby. This is my first trial for a sample. The journey from my house was divided into four pieces. Drawings from my sketch book were transferred onto T-shirt transfer paper and ironed off onto calico. Because the walk is generally quite 'green' I painted the fabric first, but I think this made it too green. Also the transfer paper was too shiny.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Journey week 3 part 2

Section of the destination - a country lane next to a wood - enlarged, traced and redrawn. Symbols printed onto fabric and the stitched by hand and machine.

Journey week 3 part 1

Exploring maps of the journey destination. Examining the OS symbols and making little printing blocks of more relevant symbols.

Journey week 2 part 2

Drawn memories of circular patterns - drain covers, flower pots etc. hand stitching with couching.

Journey week 2 part 1

Memories of a frequent journey, particularly patterns and textures. Appliqué and machined.

Journey week 1

Quick observational drawings around Cirencester. Booklets swopped. Another layer of sketching. Finally shared stitching.

Sunday, 29 September 2013


A collection of fruits from the hedgerows near my home. I'm in the process of drawing them to use in my 'Journey' themed work. The journeys that I make most often are along the country lanes when I'm out sketching the changing landscapes.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Leaf prints

Went to a workshop this morning where Fiona showed us all the pieces she'd stitched using crewel wools over the summer. One of them had a background of leaf sun prints which I liked so I rushed home to try it. Fiona said that you needed sunshine to make these prints using leaves and silk paints. After a morning of fog the sun had come out hazily lazily. Worth a try. I left the leaves on for an hour. The piece on the right was neat silk paint which gives rich dark tones. The piece on the left I wetted the fabric first and diluted the silk paints - it gives more contrasty effect. The sun kept going behind clouds which made me think - do you need the sun at all for this process? Will try indoors later but first off for a walk and draw.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Suitcases for the journey

Each suitcase was filled with a selection of materials for the students to use. First they used the zig-zag books and sketching materials to make sketches round the town. Later they worked from their sketches and produced stitched pieces from the different fabrics and threads.


I painted my version of the little suitcases and stuck some bits cut from a pack of travel themed papers onto it. The paint was neat brown acrylic which was dry brushed with paynes grey paint.

Monday, 23 September 2013


These are the little suitcases that I've made for the first session of Art Textiles at Brewery Arts. We have a theme of Journeys this term. Inside each suitcase are some pieces of fabric, a selection of threads, some needles, pencils and crayons and a little zig-zag book to fill with sketches out and about in Cirencester tomorrow. The sketches will be used as inspiration for stitched pieces later in the class.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Bridport exhibition

These are the latest three pieces that are going to make up my Seashore exhibit at the show in Bridport that opens at the end of next week. From top to bottom are - Selworthy, Porlock Weir, and Lynmouth West. It is going to be in a linear arrangement like the strand running along the seashore.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Seashore pieces for Bridport exhibition

Stitch patterns are based on the measurements of ridges and stripes taken from shells etc and I've tried to capture the subtle nuances in colour. Pebbles, shells, sea glass and other items were collected from different beaches starting at Severn Beach near the lower Severn Bridge. It has been really interesting to see how the range of items changes from beach to beach as one travels down the Severn Estuary. For this exhibition pieces relate to our journey as far as Woolacombe in Devon though we have visited beaches and collected items down to Padstow so far and I want to progress this work further in the future.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Felted bird 2 LBJ

This is the second, smaller, bird that I made. It fits the nest better. It is also needle felted but has rolled fleece as a core. It was based on a thrush as they have blue eggs but really it seems too small to be a thrush so I call it an LBJ instead! The markings on its chest were made from the bits pulled out of the foam pad I use to felt into and it has little black bead eyes. Not sure whether to give the birds legs or not.

Felted bird 1 Bullfinch

This felted bird is made by the needle felting method. He has a core of rolled polyester wadding which is easy the mould and felt into. He was a bit big for the nest that I made last week so made a smaller bird afterwards.

Bird's nest

Here is the nest lined with 'moss' with it's clutch of pale blue eggs inside. With the other nest sample I might try stitching into it and adding the felt twigs around the top.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Bird's nest

Felt bird's eggs, twigs and piece of green for leaves. Work in progress for a sample bird's nest. Felt making class on Monday. This week making the nest and eggs. Next week making the bird.

Friday, 28 June 2013


Also made some pebbles for samples in the class. They are based on an idea found in Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn's book - No stone unturned. Formed round a small pebble which is then removed and the fabric stuffed. Fabrics used were hand painted cotton dust sheet, muslin and scrim.


Recent trips to the coast have shown up rocks covered in barnacles at the tidal reach. These are hand stitched using cotton perle thread and stranded cottons. Washers and pill cushions created the raised bits along with lots of French knots.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Flat fish

Just finished this flat fish based on a picture of a dab. It's a sample for my Tuesday Art Textiles class at Brewery Arts in Cirencester. The fabrics are hand painted with transfer paints and the fish also has layers of sheer fabrics. A little wadding was used on the fish to make it slightly more 3D.


These are two of the jugs that I will be exhibiting at Bridport with the Brunel Broderers in August. They have transferred images on them from my seaside holiday sketchbooks.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Landscape bags

This is a photo of the front of one of my landscape bags in the Brunel Broderers current exhibition at the Lansdown Gallery in Stroud. The exhibition is on all next week, except Monday, and closes on Sunday 19 May. All the work is made from bolts of cloth given to us by a tailor closing his workshop.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Course at Hawkwood

At the weekend I went on a two day course with Gizella Warburton at Hawkwood near Stroud. We spent our time drawing with collage outside, painting fabrics and papers and stitching. Our final pieces were wrapped round papier mâché cylinders that we made. This painterly approach was way outside my comfort zone and challenging but good fun all the same.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Bird books

These books are a little bigger but have the same type of hand painted pages and woollen fabric covers. Also to be on sale in the Suited exhibition.

Little books

Little books for sale at the Suited exhibition in Stroud that opens in two weeks time. They are all made from the woollen fabrics that came from the tailors shop and have hand stitching. Inside the pages are hand painted with fold-up bottom edge to form pockets.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Two new bags

These are the latest in the series of landscape bags for the Suited exhibition in Stroud that opens at the end of April. They are made from woollen suiting fabrics with soft leather handles and are lined in fabric also from the tailors shop.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

More bags

I started 18 months ago with the idea of making landscape bags for the Brunel Broderers' next exhibition 'Suited' to be shown in Stroud as part of the SIT festival. A phone call out of the blue from a man living in the next village set me off on this project. He had worked in a tailors shop that was abandoned years ago and as the building had been sold he wanted to get rid of the contents. When I went to visit it was like an Aladdin's cave full of stacks of bolts of cloth, boxes and boxes of buttons, cracking paper bags of haberdashery items, rolls of interesting lining fabrics and thick cards tumbling with buttons. There were suit pattern blocks hanging from a rack, unfinished garments on a rail and an old wire dummy in a corner. Moths and dust had got in and enjoyed the wool fabrics but mostly they washed well and came back to life.

But what to do with all this wealth of materials. I talked to the BBs about it and we decided to base an exhibition around the tailor's shop. Early on, I felt that because of the utility nature of the business - making garments - that I wanted to make something that could be useful. Bags seemed the obvious answer. One of the stories that the tailor told us was about the old days when fabrics were delivered by cart to the pub in the village where I live before being transported up the hill to his shop. This journey resonated in me as it is part of the walk I do whenever I can and when I do I always draw. So the idea came to use my sketches to create landscape bags. Due to the limitation in colours of cloth available they cannot be realistic at all and are very much abstracts.

The landscapes are hand stitched and in some cases hand needle felted too. They show the layering of hedges and trees and fields through the seasons and different times of day and night.